Maybe you remember the What Would Jesus Do phenomenon in the 1990s. The Christian culture of the U.S. was abuzz with the question in youth groups and Bible studies because an awful lot of people sincerely wanted to use it to help them live a more consistent Christian life. Maybe the bracelets and coffee mugs and shirts and aprons and bibs (yes, bibs) would help. Continue reading “What would Jesus do, revisited”
A friend listened to the song “If You Want Me To” by the blind songwriter Ginny Owens. She said, “I can’t say this is where I am all the time, but it’s where I want to be. I know it’s all true.”
That’s it. That’s it. “It may not be where I am all the time, but it’s where I want to be. I know it’s all true.”
This friend was about to have surgery and didn’t know if she might come out a paraplegic. Continue reading “Expecting the joy when you can’t feel it (joy part 4)”
Have you ever noticed those verses in the Bible that talk about God’s judgment on the wicked coming in the form of birds picking out their eyes? (One of them is in Proverbs 30.) I know that’s really a disgusting image, but it’s describing something completely realistic: when the ravening birds would start to eat a dead body, the first place they would go was the eye. If the eye didn’t respond at all, they knew that creature was completely dead.
Not a very likely opening to a post about joy, I know.
But the point I’m making is about response. The Bible links life to responsiveness and death to unresponsiveness. There are many, many places where this understanding of death and life bring into full focus what God is saying. Continue reading “Joy comes as a response in the realm of the spirit (joy part 3)”
Last week I gave the first part of a definition of joy, asserting the controversial opinion that we have to admit that it’s a feeling, an emotion.
This week I want to say something that might also be considered controversial: Joy arises as a response to something outside of us. A sensory response. I’m talking about the five senses here: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. As in . . . Continue reading “Joy is a response (joy part 2)”
One day before beginning a meeting, a lady gave us all a Thought to Ponder. “Joy is a discipline.”
Hmmmm, whirred my ancient rusty crankshaft of a brain. That doesn’t sound quite right. That bothers me. Continue reading “Maybe joy isn’t a discipline but is . . . (gasp) a feeling (joy part 1)”
Update February 2015: Joy Ridderhof’s biography became the second in the Potter’s Wheel series of Christian biographies for children. You can see the book here and read a sample chapter here. I’ve written here and here and here and here and I guess especially here about how important I believe it is to give children good examples of Christians who “do exploits” for the Kingdom of God.
A woman named Joy garnered fame
So different was she from her name.
Vindictive and rude,
Bitter venom she spewed–
But oh Joy! She was never to blame.
(This comes from being in bed with the flu. Sorry.) Continue reading “The joy of Joy Ridderhof”
One of the most important principles of Biblical interpretation that I ever learned had to do with pronoun trouble. (Daffy Duck had a good bit of Pronoun Trouble in the video above.)
The way I had learned, by osmosis and example, was: “If a passage of Scripture has a pronoun in it (you or I or he or we or pretty much any of them), then you can and even should apply it to yourself.” Unless of course it’s ludicrous to do it, like that holy kiss stuff. Continue reading ““Pronoun Trouble” in Galatians 5:16-17″
Though I’m not big on controversy, I aroused some when I guest blogged on a friend’s website. Ostensibly about church attendance, the underlying question was one I’ve thought about, pondered, and prayed over many times and much over the past months and years: How can I please God in my day-to-day life? Continue reading “How can I be pleasing to God?”
“So what do you mean by gospel?”
My friend was taken aback by my question. She had just been talking about the importance of living a gospel-centered life, based on the transforming power of the gospel.
But I had been feeling some concern that gospel is becoming more and more of a buzzword Continue reading “Should my life be centered around the gospel?”
You probably know people who have said, essentially, “I know I ought to pray, because the Bible says I should, but if God is going to do His will anyway, why is it important?”
Yes, prayer is about seeing God’s will done. But really, it’s about so much more. Continue reading “So what’s the point of prayer?”