Category Archives: wise men

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!

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Who Are The Ten Virgins? What Do The Ten Virgins Show About The Kingdom of God?

Have you ever considered how the traditional religious punitive retributive mindset about God will keep you from understanding the kingdom of God?

The parable of the Ten Virgins is one of many parables that Jesus used to mystify us rather than inform. The Kingdom is so full of goodness for all that most were blind to that fact. Hence their conclusions (and ours) on this parable meaning would focus on judgment, punishment, and hell.

Ah, but there is good news in the parable of the Ten Virgins!

Check out the video and be surprised at what these virgins show us about the fullness of the Kingdom of God:

 

Dig In

  • Do you have your walk figured out, kind of like the five ‘foolish’ virgins? You have enough. Or do you think God only has a little bit for you? Or are you open to getting so full of Truth that you would be like one of the five ‘wise’ virgins lugging around a jug of oil?
  • Do you think God has delayed, is delaying, or will delay in things you are waiting for? God doesn’t delay. “Behold the Bridegroom!” HE IS HERE NOW! Fill up your jug!
  • Has your religious teaching put a hard edge on the parables and programmed you to see the negative? Do know you really can grasp the fullness of grace that is hidden within them. Repent! 🙂 In other words change your mindset and enter into the inclusiveness, joy, and fullness of the kingdom, of which the parables point.

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.

The Wise Men Had Too Much Joy

Have you ever paused to consider how much joy the magi had? Scripture says they rejoiced exceedingly when they finally saw the star standing over the place where the Child was. Were they naturally happy men? Did they have bubbly personalities? Seems out of character for such smart men!

These magi were wise men, scholars of their day, some say of the order of a priesthood. Obviously they were learned in astronomy and looked into the mysteries of the night sky to understand and determine their times. However their research unfolded, they knew they had seen His star in the east, that He was born King of the Jews, and they were willing to travel thousands of miles just to worship Him. (Mt 2:2)

What makes their statement about Jesus being born King of the Jews gripping is that ancient Jewish tradition stated their king, the Messiah, when he came would be king of the whole world! Perhaps the wise men knew this, hence their journey. Perhaps Herod knew of this ancient tradition too, and that is why he went to great lengths to try and destroy this newborn king.

Isn’t it interesting that the magi got their bearings and their leading during the night hours. They needed the dark sky to see. Oh that we could be so sensitive to ‘see’ in the darkness, knowing He is leading and providing a sign to help us along our way.

Led In the Night

Now these wise men followed a moving star! But some intellectuals of our day say they must have followed a planet, because stars don’t move. Obviously these intellectuals do not understand the power of God, nor His sovereignty. For goodness sake, the Lord caused the sun to not go down for about a whole day! (Jos 10:12-14) So to make a star move is nothing to God! These wise men were astronomers, they would understand the stability of stars. Maybe this supernatural moving star confirmed their revelation that the King of the Jews had been born.

Miles go by, weeks go by, months maybe – whatever the length of the journey they were determined and confident they would reach their goal. Their commitment, confidence, and determination were rewarded when the moving star, which had faithfully gone on before them, finally stood over the place where the Child King was.  Then their joy burst forth! Did the joy come from confirmation of all their calculations? Was the joy expressed because they could tell all their friends back home, ‘We were right! See, we told you so!” Was it because they didn’t have to ride their camels for a while? Was it because they could finally get a good night’s sleep?

To really answer those questions it helps to figure out what kind of joy we are talking about.  Scripture states, “…the star which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (Mt 2:9,10) Now obviously they had been seeing the star all along their journey, but the rejoicing commenced when it stood still – like it was saying to them – “Here He is!” The joy had to do with Him!

Now here is the good stuff. Looking at the Greek word meanings of “rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” will explain why the wise men had too much joy.

  • rejoiced – chairo – to rejoice, be glad
  • exceedingly – sphodra – excessive, violent, very much, deeply, extremely
  • great – megas – great, abundant, loud, fierce
  • joy – chara (from chairo) – joy, delight

This is not your ordinary bubbly joy.

Just try to picture these magi – wise old men, smart, learned scholars, professionals in their field of study – hence reserved, have a certain aplomb about them, carry themselves with decorum that shows an assurance and dignity, astute, circumspect. Now picture these magi losing it. They are excessively and deeply glad. They are rejoicing violently. Talk about extreme! Their joy is so great and abundant that it is loud. Did anyone hear their shouts of joy? In fact you could say their joy was fierce. Talk about intense! Their joy had to have affected their whole being. Their body could not have contained or restrained this kind of joy. What a sight they must have been!

Exceeding Joy - image by Crystal Munoz @ theflourishphotography.com

This kind of joy is to be ours too. Now if you are a more quiet or reserved person, that might scare you. But hey, to be that free with joy! Come on! Besides, I don’t think those wise men could stop themselves. Nor would they have later discussed their exuberance as inappropriate or beyond their status. They were too happy!

Extreme – perhaps another good name for God. He always does things extreme. So why wouldn’t His joy be extreme? His joy is part of who He is. Now why would we be afraid of Joy? So if you have any fear going on in your understanding of God, then you need to encounter His joy!

His joy is supernatural. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It is has nothing to do with circumstances. It has to do with a Person, the King of kings. The magi were seeking the King in order to worship Him, to adore Him. They got more. Unexpected, never before experienced, beyond restraint, unhindered, out of this world joy! In fact, joy unspeakable and full of glory! (1Pet 1:8)

You can’t muster up, work up, or laugh your way into this kind of joy. It is supernatural and pure. You can’t earn this joy either. It is free! It is part of His kingdom, along with righteousness and peace. (Rom 14:17)

My goodness, what fullness the Lord brought to the world when His Son was born King. Maybe many of us have not experienced the fierce joy like the wise men did, because we don’t fully understand the significance of His Kingship?

Oh to be like wise men – seeking, finding, and knowing the King of kings. Then, we also will have too much joy! Hmm, maybe little children are wiser than we know!

Pure Joy

May you experience joy unspeakable that impacts and refreshes your whole being.