Category Archives: angels

Joy Came To Earth – Religion and The World Did Not Know And Still Don’t

Consider – before the Incarnation, God had not spoken to man (through the prophets) for over four hundred years! Selah

When God finally had something to say it centered on joy and a Person!

Even though this joy was for the whole wide world, joy happened in a small and ‘hidden’ way, consequently religion and the world didn’t know it and still don’t!

‘Hidden’ Joy

God’s way – small, hidden, humble.Mary Greets Elizabeth

Look at these small ‘hidden’ joy-filled encounters involving the Incarnation story. Note Greek meaning elaborations included.

  • Elizabeth shouted with clamorous screaming that was extremely boisterous with great emotion as she explained, upon hearing the sound of Mary’s voice, how her baby John in utero – leaped skipped, bounded with exuberant, wild, ecstatic, delightful joy! (Lk 1:39-45)
  • Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, extolled that her spirit was experiencing a gladness that was jumping in celebration! (Lk 1:47)
  • The angel, standing before the shepherds, reassuringly and excitedly declared – Don’t be afraid, I bring good news of great and large joy! It is a joy because of grace recognized. And this joyful news is for ALL the people!” (Lk 2:9,10)
  • Then suddenly the sky filled with a multitude of heavenly host, who brought the message to conclusion – “peace to the earth and goodwill, happiness, favor, and delight in men”. (Lk 2:13,14)Heavenly Host Declaring Peace and Goodwill Towards All
  • The Shepherds urgently went searching for the babe. Can you imagine their wide-eyed excitement and anticipatory joy at what they would find? Afterwards encountering, they spread abroad this joyful good news. Those who heard marveled and were astonished. Perhaps because it came from shepherds! (Lk 2:16-18)
  • The Wise Men, after their arduous long-seeking journey, when they saw the star standing still to indicate where Jesus was, rejoiced with excessive, violent, extreme, great, loud, even fierce joy and delight. (Mt 2:9-10)
  • The earth was given a declaration of peace – i.e. a sense of welfare, to tie together into a whole, God’s gift of wholeness. Imagine the joy with that kind of ‘togetherness’! (Lk 2:14)

Joy Is The Focus Not Sin

When Jesus became flesh it was a happy, exuberant celebration. Joy for the world was the Godhead’s focus in coming to earth. Sadly, sin is religion’s focus for His coming.Oh The Joy!

Please realize Jesus did not have to come, He wanted to come to restore truth. Jesus came to show us who the Father really is and who we really are. (Jn 14:9 2Tim 1:9)

God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world be saved, preserved, rescued on account of His Son. (Jn 3:17)

God’s joy over us propelled Him to come and remove the emptiness of sin that was keeping us from real relationship with Him.

Sin literally means ‘without form, having no substance’. Truly when we sin there is no fullness in it. It leaves us formless and empty in the long run.

God hates that emptiness. He originally made us to enjoy His fullness. Jesus came to restore that fullness. That is why God was so happy when, after 400 years, the fullness of time had come to reveal His eternal joy over us and restore access to the fullness.

Dig In

  • At times it can seem God is nowhere to be found, all is silent, life seems hopeless. But joy is coming. He might surprise you in a humble hidden way. Be open to believe (be persuaded) and receive, just like Mary. (Lk 1:38)
  • If you live in fear and guilt in your relationship with God, then know that is a religious relationship. Repent = change your religious mindset! Joy is a huge part of  God’s kind of relationship. Ask for the real deal. He longs for you to have it.
  • The Incarnation is huge – it means God enjoys our human ‘be-ing’. And God is not partial in His enjoyment. Consider – He made known to illiterate poor shepherds (the lowliest of people in that culture and time) something profound. In the darkness and quiet of the night He let them encounter  the supernatural and hear heaven-resounding news that affected the whole wide world. The shepherds didn’t grasp it all. But, they were one little hidden way He expressed His value of all mankind.

Joy to the world the Lord has come!

Oh the Fullness in hidden smallness!

More Than One Grace Macedonians Money Angels Incarnation How Do They Go Together

The traditional teaching of 2Corinthians chapters eight and nine is used to get believers to give money to religious institutions’ needy causes. The  Macedonians, who gave in the midst of affliction and poverty, is the standard to duplicate.

But searching through the verses of this passage in light of Greek meanings reveal a different point.

Here are a couple of key words from previous posts about this passage that help reveal the fullness of what Paul was saying.

(2Cor 8:2 2Cor 9:11,13 – BTW liberality is not about giving money)

liberal/liberality in the Greek means

  • simplicity
  • singleness
  • sincerity
  • purity
  • graciousness
  • not compounded or over complicated
  • single-threaded

(Liberality is not about giving money.)

(2Cor 9:7 BTW –  a cheerful giver loves God, not God loves a cheerful giver)

cheerful in the Greek means

  • propitious (favorably disposed toward someone)
  • disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”)
  • won over
  • already inclined

(Cheerful in this context is not about smiling or laughing when giving.)

We will see that grace is the source of of the Macedonians’ liberality and cheerful giving.

More Than One Grace

In the Greek there is more than just one word for grace. They are cognates of the same root word, but their individual meanings are important to apply.

In this passage (2Cor chapters 8 and 9) several cognates of ‘grace’ are used NINE times.

Now this is curious. Any Greek words for money or offering are NOT used in these two chapters!

Grace is such a big deal that Macedonian story (chapters 8-9) is book-ended with grace.

Grace Bookends

Beginning of story –

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia.” (2Cor 8:1)

End of story –

“… who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:14,15)

The Graces_GrowingInFullness_Nancy Teague


It is grace, grace, grace! It is not about money, money, money. In fact, there are no Greek words that mean ‘money’ or even ‘offering’ in this story.

Exposing Mistranslations

In fact let me back the grace focus with a few examples.

“…to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of God” (2Cor 8:19)

Now, we would automatically think this gift is money. Some translations even say ‘offering’. So it must be money, right? Nope.

The Greek word for gift in this verse is

  • xáris (charis)- favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit”) – properly, grace. xáris preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”)

“…prepare your generous gift beforehand…” (2Cor 9:5)

Looks like a big offering of money! Ah but, ‘generous’ is not even in the Greek, and ‘gift’ is eulogia – adulation, praise, blessing. Of course ‘blessing’ can be money, but I am deconstructing the religious mindset that this passage is all about giving money.

More mistranslations:

  • In verse 20 Paul continues – “avoiding that anyone blame us in the lavish gift…” Sounds like a lot of money. But, ‘gift’ is NOT in the Greek. “Lavish’ means thickness, abundance, lavish generosity. It seems there could be an abundance of something else going on.
  • Verse 21 – “providing honorable things…”. The translation ‘honorable things’ in the Greek means beautiful, good, worthy; beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character. ‘Providing’ means – I take thought for beforehand, provide for, practice; to think, plan before. There is thought and practice of things beautiful, worthy, and of honorable character. Again, more than about the wallet.

Looking up some of these words in the Greek can certainly get one to reconsider what is really being said!

What Is Thanks

It is the GRACES theme that overwhelms Paul at the end.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2Cor 9:15)

Now, Is this a usual “thanks”?

When we say thanks, it generally means we are expressing gratitude for a pleasant experience, kindness, or help.

Is this what Paul was doing, but was just super thankful to God? No.

Paul is not thanking God. Say what?!

Check out the actual Greek meanings in this verse:

Thanks  

xáris ‘charis’ (khar’-ece) – grace, favor, kindness, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit; sometimes rendered ‘thanks’, but the core-idea is “favor, grace“, “extension towards“.
[Please note it is NOT the cognate euxáristos – prop. thankfulness (thanksgiving) – literally, “the giving of thanks for God’s grace – e.g. 2Cor 9:11,12.]

to God

for

epí (a preposition) – upon – naturally looks to the response (effect) that goes with the envisioned contact, i.e. its apt result (“spin-offs,” effects).

the

indescribable

anekdiḗgētos – indescribable, that cannot be thoroughly related, inexpressible, impossible to estimate

of him

autos – an intensive pronoun (1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.)

gift!

dōreá – a gift, freely given and hence not acquired by merit or entitlement. It expresses a brand of giving that highlights the beneficent desire of the giver. (Note: this word comes from dídōmi – to put, place. It is used in 2Cor 8:1 – “…the grace of God put/placed on the churches. So when God ‘puts/places’ something or Someone on or in someone it is actually connected with being a free gift!).

Paul, in other words, is ecstatically shouting – “Grace to God upon the indescribable of him, Jesus, His free gift to all of us. ”


Angel Announcement Precursor to the Macedonians

Speaking of Paul’s loud pronouncement, how about –

The angel shocked the shepherds and said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people…” and then suddenly a multitude of heavenly host filled the skies with praise to God in response to Grace becoming flesh and the goodwill it meant toward men! (Lk 2:10-14)

Paul, in a way, was joyfully echoing this angelic raving, besides boasting how the Macedonians couldn’t help but display the fruit of  true grace!

It is not about money. It is about GRACE GRACE GRACE.  And the essence of grace is about joy!  The Macedonians got that. Talk about fullness!

Dig In

  • “I bring you tidings of great joy.” ‘Joy’ (xará) comes from the root word for grace (xar). Xará means – grace recognized, joy because of grace. Now this angel is talkin’ GREAT joy. Greek ‘great’ means – large, great, in the widest sense. To parallel that, the Macedonians had an “abundance of joy (xará)”! (2Cor 8:2) Their “abundance” (GR superfluity, excessively large amount, an abundance that exceeds normal expectations) was noticeable too. Hmm, is the grace you experience noticeable?
  • The heavenly host were actually saying (in the Greek meanings) – “Glory to God, namely upon (upon – that causes an effect) the physical earth peace (peace – from a word that means to join, tie together into a whole; properly, wholeness) in (in – inside, within – as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside) the human race, with whom He is pleased (pleased – good-will, good-pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, delight of men). Hey, is something wonderful going on IN each human, but we can’t see it because we really do not understand grace nor what Grace completed?
  • The story of the Macedonians is truly about being enriched in all ‘liberality’ – simplicity, purity, sincerity, singleness. This caused euxáristos (giving thanks for God’s grace). (2Cor 9:11) Gosh, to grasp that the coming of Jesus – His glory, full of grace and truth, revealed in flesh (because He really does enjoy our likeness of Him) – brought excessive enrichment to all mankind.

Oh, the exceeding grace of God in you!!!

 

“Heaven Is For Real!” Movie – The Case for Nearness and The Supernatural

Heaven is for real! You bet it is!

The movie, “Heaven Is For Real!”, is heartwarming and stirring. It stirs one about the substance of faith, shallow beliefs, confusion about who God really is, and confirmation of that other truer ‘Reality’.

Just remembered my other confirmation! I forgot to mention on the video about my grandmother, at age 91, dying at the nursing home while eating her lunch in the cafeteria. She was by herself at the time. When the nurse noticed her slumped head, she went to check on her and felt no pulse. They quickly wheeled Grandma to her room. The nurse began to check her heart and vitals to confirm she was dead.

All of a sudden Grandma swung her arm and knocked the stethoscope from the nurse. Scared the living daylights out of the nurse! Grandma’s first words were, “I saw Ernest! I saw heaven! It was beautiful!” Here is my grandma, suffering from dementia, but she was clear as a bell about what she saw. She saw her deceased husband who had died about 16 years earlier, and she saw incredible beauty. You can’t tell me heaven is not for real! By the way my grandparents had been married for over 60 years. Cool, huh?

Now why would God do that with my grandma, and to realize she wouldn’t die for another five years? I don’t know.  But it sure blessed my dad some forty plus years ago. In fact Dad can still get choked up telling that story. Hey, by the way my dad is 92! Another cool.

God has so much for us here and now, and in the future. He doesn’t want us living in doubt, unbelief, anger, resentment, confusion, or fear.

Speaking of fear, little Colton said, “There is nothing to be afraid of.” One of his big take aways from his encounter with Jesus and Heaven. Big truth in that statement.

Check out the video for my thoughts and confirmations that this true story- based movie declares.


Dig In

  • God really cares and God is really involved in our lives. His involvement is part of our fullness.
  • Let the children come to Me, for such is the kingdom of heaven. Don’t be afraid to be a child (again).  Mt 19:14
  • Receive His perfect love, you will experience freedom from fear and freedom to love freely! 1Jn 4:18,19

 

What’s With All the Joy Over Jesus’ Birth? Part 2 Mary Angels Shepherds Wise Men It’s For You Too!

Christmas Day is around the corner. Oh joy! Is it? For you?

Now what’s the big deal about joy at this time of the year? Well, something happened historically that  supernaturally released a lot of joy.

Isn’t it something that most of the world and most Christians have yet to grasp the magnitude and depth of deliriously expressive joy.

John the Baptist, Mary, a heavenly host of angels, shepherds, and Wise Men from the Far East had the pleasure of experiencing this seemingly silly joy. Actually I think they were allowed to tap into a Source of joy or rather, Joy tapped into them. Obviously they had no understanding of the FULLNESS of this joy unspeakable that showed up as a little bitty baby.

Hey, just maybe the Lord was trying to get us to see through these few, who had no idea what was really going on nor had they done anything to earn it, that excessive delight is available – for free! No conditions, no requirements.

What kind of joy?

We talked about baby John (the Baptist) and his wild joy in the previous post. To save time and words, here is a (Greek) nutshell explaining the kind of joy experienced by

  • Mary – her spirit rejoiced in God – exulted much, leaped, was so glad she jumped in celebration because of being so experientially  joyful  (Lk 1:47)
  • The angel (that showed up in the middle of the night in front of the shepherds) – he brought good news of large, great (in the widest sense) joy and gladness. (Lk 2:10)
  • The sky full of angels (that also astounded the shepherds) – declared peace to the earth and goodwill (happiness, favor, delight) in men. (in is the real meaning of the Greek word translated ‘toward’ in most versions!) (Lk 2:13-14)The heavens announce joy to the world! Illustration by Gordon Stowell
  • The shepherds – now there are no specific ‘joy’ Greek words regarding these guys – but can’t you just imagine the wondrous delight they encountered in hearing the angels’ news of happiness for and in all?  Obviously their haste to Bethlehem and their wide pronouncement to many speaks of some kind of uncontained excitement and delight. Then those who heard their stupendous news marveled and were astonished at what they spoke. (Lk 2:16-18)
  • Wise Men – when they saw the star they rejoiced with excessive, violent, extreme, great, loud, even fierce joy and delight. Now we are talkin’ serious joy overload here! (Mt 2:9-10)

Ever seen a Christian so ‘out of it’ with delirious, hilarious, Fierce silly joy uncontained! Photo by Crystal Munoz 'Chasing Beauty and Love Photography'uncontained, rip-snortin’, exuberant, excessive, joy? How about fierce and violent joy like the Wise Men experienced? Whoa!

Of course religious tradition would say that is not proper. There must be decorum and control. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone.

Does churchianity even know this kind of joy is part of our inheritance?! Pretty much, not. Hey, maybe a smile or a laugh, but not silly hilarious joy.

Do you think Mary or the Wise Men were worried about what other people thought of their extravagant behavior? Nope. They were in a place beyond that. And they didn’t even know the full story of what was unfolding with His coming! But we can!

Then why aren’t more Christians stupefied with joy? Religion.

You just can’t be religious with the kind of joy experienced by those above.

May this Christmas stir up in you a desire to know this JOY. May He overtake you with outrageous gladness!

Dig In

  • There is more to this joy than being exuberantly joyful. It also has to do with strength. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)
  • Paul knew this joy-filled strength, even in the midst of a dark prison cell. (Php Php 1:18 2:17 3:1 4:4). Circumstances are not to control your joy level.
  • Increase your sensitivity to restrictions and expectations of churchianity and religion. They are joy killers!

What’s With All the Joy Around Jesus’ Birth? Part 1 Baby John

Ever wonder –
how much joy happened?
who had the joy?
what kind of joy was it?
when was this joy?
what did darkness have to do with this joy?

How much joy?

Gosh, how do you measure joy – by the cup, by the gallon, by the barrel?

Is there such a thing as immeasurable joy? You bet. We all need this immeasurable joy?! In fact it is part of our inheritance.

Who had this joy – way back when?

  • Baby John (AKA John the Baptist)
  • Mary
  • The Angels
  • The Shepherds
  • The Wise Men
  • The World

For this post let’s do

Baby John’s joy

 Two key dynamics here – a voice and a leap

The setting –
Mary, was in the midst of hearing incredible news, from the angel Gabriel no less. She heard the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Highest would overshadow her so that she would conceive, and give birth to God’s Son (God’s incarnation). As if that wasn’t enough baffling good news, the angel also explained that her relative, Elizabeth (a barren woman, now in her old age), was six months pregnant! Goodness gracious, what a day of news!

Mary takes off from Galilee, for an 80-100 mile hike to the hill country in Judah to visit her Elizabeth!

Was Mary so full of joy and wonder that she just couldn’t sit still? I bet there was a lilt in her step over all those hills as she walked, and walked, and walked. Figure about 24 hours to get there.

Mary arrives with a greeting. Ever wonder what Mary said?

But, it wasn’t her words, it was her voice that sparked a special response!

When Elizabeth heard the greeting, six 6 month old John,  while in her womb, leaped. (Lk 1:41)Visitation by Carl Bloch

Elizabeth explained, “…as soon as the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Lk 1:44)

Okay, gotta do a little Greek to get this joy.

heard –  akoúō  (ak-oo’-o) – I hear, listen, comprehend by hearing; properly, to hear (listen); (figuratively) to hear God’s voice which prompts Him to birth faith within (cf. Ro 10:17).  akoúō) is the root of the English term, “acoustics.”]

voicephóné  (fo-nay’) – a sound, noise, voice

cameginomai  (ghin’-om-ahee) – I come into being, am born, to emerge, become, transitioning from one point (realm, condition) to another

leap/leapedskirtaó  (skeer-tah’-o) – I leap (for joy), skip, bound

foren  (en) – in, on, among. En (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).
[Obviously the word ‘for’ used in this passage is not the most accurate translation on en!]

joyagalliasis (ag-al-lee’-as-is) – exultation, exhilaration, wild joy, ecstatic delight, exultation. (from agalliáō, “to exalt” – exuberant joy; “intense joy and gladness”)

John didn’t do just a little leap in his mommy’s womb.

We’re talkin’ about an inward exhilarating, wild, ecstatic, intense joy and delight of skipping and  bounding – that manifest itself physically!

Geesh! Did that leap hurt? Apparently not, Elizabeth, being filled with the Holy Spirit after her son leaped,  shouted out with a loud voice… (Lk 1:42)

Realize – Elizabeth was one wild crazy old lady at that moment. She shatters the ‘little old lady’ mindset.

A little more Greek

loudmegas (meg’-as) – large, great, in the widest sense

voice kraugé  (krow-gay’)  a shout, clamor, outcry (from 2896 /krázō, “cry out” – loud crying, done with pathos (great emotion); clamorous screaming (shrieking) that is extremely boisterous

Whoa! Can you cop a picture of Elizabeth?!

Now some might think – well, I don’t want to look that stupid. However, it sure looks like this kind of reaction can happen when you tap into the pure Gospel.

Of course Mary, Elizabeth, and John only had an inkling at how good this news was really going to be. We on the other side of this wondrous story have a clearer opportunity to realize what this immeasurable joy is all about. Just remember though that religion is really good at stifling fullness of joy by its ignorance, misunderstanding, and proper decorum mindset.

Next post – Mary gets ‘whacked’ with joy!

Dig In

  • Looking up some key Greek words really helps to dig into what is really being said in a passage of scripture. BibleHub.com (LINK) is my go to source for getting the goods.
  • Jesus stated, “out of the mouth of babes You have established strength.” Scripture also states “the joy of the Lord is my strength”. In light of baby John, we could also include, ‘out of the movement of babes…’  Hmm, how strong was baby John at just 6 months in the womb?! Now don’t forget, this exhilarating joy burst forth all because of a sound. It’s that simple. You can’t work it up. Let the sound (the acoustics) of His voice reverberate in you – the same wild joy can be yours. It’s part of fullness!
  • Something else to ponder – ginomai – the Greek word used when Mary’s voice came into Elizabeth’s ears, is the same word used in Jn 1:14 “And the Word became flesh…” Hmm, now that’s a whole ‘nother  point to dig into! Just sayin’ – those Greek meanings are worth the search.