Isn’t it an amazing fall? The colors are everywhere! Reds! Greens! Yellows! Blues!…
"Blue!? Blue leaves?"
Opps! Sorry! I’m not talking about the trees! I was thinking of all those colorful political signs stickin’ outta the ground everywhere! It’s that time again! It doesn't happen every year.
But it seems like it.
Did you know that on this date, October 24, in 1648, the Thirty Years Year and the Holy Roman Empire both officially ended? Shew! I'm just glad they're over! They were cruddy ideas to start with! And also on this date in 1861 the first transcontinental telegraph was sent across the US, from San Francisco to President Lincoln ("dear mr president stop sorry the giants beat the washington nationals for the NL pennant stop we cheer for you so cheer for us in the world series stop")
I couldn’t wait to get to this email ‘cause I have a hilarious story to tell y’all! But before I do, I just want to wish you a day full of joy! Just a joy-filled day!
I really mean it!
I realized the other day that I almost always start these emails out with those words…”Hope your day is filled with joy and praise!...”
But there’s NOTHING more important than that! I learned this from an unlikely teacher…especially if you’ve ever seen a picture of him! Remember Jonathan Edwards? Y’know…the ”Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” dude from high school Western Civ…If your text book had his picture, you wouldn’t forget it! Talk about grim!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but nobody smiled for pictures back then! Maybe it’s because it’s too tiring to keep the corners of your face turned up for the fourteen hours it takes to paint it. Maybe dentists didn’t have it together yet. But pretty much everyone was sour-looking back in the day.
Problem is…we grew up thinking Mr. Edwards’ heart was as dour as his face!
Sure, he could preach a heated sermon on occasion, but most of his talks were about the beauty of the grace of our God…and about love (ever read his sermon, “Heaven is a World of Love”? Wow!)…and about joy!
You’d never know it, but that ol’ Puritan looooved chocolate! Once he wrote to a friend to remind him to not forget some on his trip to the Edwards home…” If you will bring what chocolate remains, you will much oblige your humble servant."
And he loved joy even more! It’s why he loved Jesus!
He said over and over that joy is the most essential heart ingredient for a healthy vital faith!
"It would be worth the while to be a Christian, if it were only for the pleasantness of it…it begets love and peace, good will one towards another, brotherly kindness, mutual benevolence, bounty and a feeling of each other's welfare…it sweetens" the fellowship of those who believe!”
He first felt this “sweetness” the day he opened his heart to Jesus. "My soul," he reminisced, "was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged, to spend my time in reading and meditating on Christ; and the beauty and excellency of his person, and the lovely way of salvation, by free grace in him."
He believed that knowing and loving Jesus was the most pleasurable thing the heart can do, and our number one duty before God is to “seek our highest pleasure”
“The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here…”
Wow! How could a guy with a heart like that look so grumpy? Maybe the painter was the grumpy one! Maybe he just didn’t believe a person should be as happy as Jonathan!
Our very own Apostle Paul felt the same joyous way! He told the Corinthians that he was a “worker for their joy” Not the “lead pastor”, “youth pastor” or the “small groups pastor”, but the “joy pastor” was his job title!
He told the Philippians that he felt his only reason for not going to Heaven immediately was so he could stay around a while longer and help them have more joy in Jesus! (Phil. 1.25)
His prayer was for joy (Rom 15.13)
The Kingdom is about joy (Rom 14.17)
The fruit of the Spirit is joy (Gal 5.22)
Apparently there’s nothing more important!
So, as I was saying… I hope you have a joy-filled day!
Oops! With all that, I don’t have time for my hilarious story…Oh, well. Probably wasn’t that funny. And these verses will give you more joy than a joke would, anyway!