The Art of Joy
If you have any inclination to good Hip-Hop, solid beats, beautiful poetry or just straight #dope word play you need to go grab Jackie Perry Hill’s new album here. Now if you have some money, go buy it on iTunes. Everything coming out of Humble Beast is just freakishly good. Also, if you missed it… listen up on Foreknown’s new joint.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-7 ESV)
1 Corinthians 10:31
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)
As I sit on a plane headed to Denver to spend sometime with my family, I ran right across this verse. lt was not particularly what “I” planned to contemplate as I’m in the middle of some theological writings, but alas l keep coming back to with a yearning heart.
What are the implications in our daily lives if we take this verse literally? (I read this as a prescription)
The first implication that immediately jumps out at me is the fact that my life is not my own. We can see this weaved in and out of the NT, the idea of complete sacrifice to God, our lives. Paul points out that your life is not your own, but to be used to preach the Gospel.
(1 Cor 10:31)
Has the gospel gripped you to the point that you will do whatever it takes (short of sin) to spread the good news?
What situations do you find yourself in, where you don’t glorify God? What about when you do? What in the circumstance changes?
Do you feel like you glorify God in your daily life? If not, are you trying to earn God’s favor or are you worshiping?
Just some thoughts at 10,000 ft. in a tuna can.
I think the more appropriate prayer looks something like this:
Thank you for all that you have done for my family, friends and loved ones. Please continue to give them the boldness to spread the gospel wherever you would have them go. Father, I pray that you will continue to purify them through the refiners fire so that they can look more like your Son Jesus Christ. Thank you for your promise to always be with them thank you for continuing to bless them with the grace and mercy that they don’t deserve.
O and as for the blessings, thank you Father for blessing us with more of You.
We ask this in Your Son’s almighty name,
There has been some questions to why I would repost a prayer that looks significantly different than the image that that was reposted. Comparing the prayers I think that you will find that the prayer I wrote really focuses on thanking God for all that he has done and asks him for more talent to complete the tasks that Jesus set forth before ascending back into heaven. Matthew records that Jesus commands us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
The Great Commission
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
The first part of the prayer focuses on the Great Commision and asking Jesus to continue to provide boldness to teach all that Jesus commanded. I think that one of the best examples of boldness that we see in the bible is Stephen in Acts, proclaiming the Gospel to the Jewish leaders knowing that he was possibly signing his death warrant.
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?” “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:48-50
For my family and friends, I want that kind of boldness. The boldness that makes a difference, the boldness to do what Jesus commanded. I know that this idea looks different from what has been taught before but it’s what Jesus wants. We find out more about what that boldness and life looks like in Luke 9.
Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:23-27)
The Cost of Following Jesus
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)
Obviously, the scripture points out that the cost of following Jesus is high. You actually have to give up certain amenities (read everything) in order to make that commitment. Thats a far cry from the prayers that read something like, “God, I want, I want, I want, I want….”. The cost of following Jesus looks more like, “Jesus, here is what I have and it’s yours.” And the real kicker to this whole idea is that “In the beginning God, created…. “ so all that you have is not yours anyway.
The main point here is that it’s not what you can give, it’s what has been given to you. Jesus paid the ultimate price of being crushed on the cross.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
He was crushed so that we can live, he died to save us from ourselves and our selfish desires.
The prayer doesn’t get any easier from here. It reads “Father, I pray that you will continue to purify them through the refiners fire so that they can look more like your Son Jesus Christ.”
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord . (Malachi 3:2-3)
I pray that my friends and family go through the trials and the tribulations and have been set forth for them before the beginning of time. I pray that they go through them so that they can be refined, so that they can continue to become more like Jesus. I pray that they walk through them pressing deep in the gospel and trusting that Jesus will be with them through the entire journey, that they will glorify the one who deserves all glory. Psalms 23 reads:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Jesus didn’t say that it would be easy, He didn’t say you would get everything that you want. He said that he loves you. We see the Jesus, all man, all divine weeping for he loved his people so much.
Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:35-36)
We see at the end of The Great Commision that Jesus will be with us always, to the end of the age. He’s with us now, the one who loves the world and loves you.
Paul lays out so clearly in Romans that grace is a gift from God. We can’t work our way to heaven. Jesus is the only way.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. (Romans 5:15-18)
My prayer reads a little different from most that you will read on Facebook. It’s deeper, it’s very real. When I pray for my friends in family, I pray for a deeper relationship with Jesus, whatever the cost. I know that regardless of what that looks like, the joy and happiness, the freedom and family is worth it. Its worth it because I love them enough to show them Jesus. I love them enough to trust that the Holy Spirit will change hearts that need to be changed and continue to provide the guidance that Jesus promised. Thats why I pray the way that I pray.