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Jesus can be our greatest joy

 May 2009 

It has been said that we are living in the greatest Christian revival in Church history. With millions turning to the Lord in places like China, many countries in Africa, Asia and South America it is very encouraging.

It is, however, very discouraging about what is happening in the Western World. Europe, which a few generations ago were the centre of Christianity has gone right down with a very low proportion of the population worshiping the Lord on a regular basis. It appears that other Western World countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are fast going like Europe. The question needs to be asked as to why this is happening.

Recently I have been reading a number of books which are basically about having intimacy with Christ. In these books the key issue that prevents intimacy is our self-seeking lust for such things as pleasure, material possessions, and people's esteem.

One book brought up an interesting thought. The writer said that there is little difference between liberal and conservative/evangelical Christians in their approach to having intimacy with the Lord.

The liberals who are often vague about their belief in miracles and the Resurrection, are concerned about this life. They have tended to emphasise social work, helping people in this life, and have been weak over such things as conversion and the need to repent from our sins.

The conservative/evangelicals, of whom I am one, are very concerned to get people saved so that we have the assurance of getting into Heaven. But we then live as though this is the only life. We are concerned to have good health and wealth and general prosperity.

It is almost impossible to have close intimacy with the Lord when our focus is on trying to get heaven on earth - when our concern is for the comforts and pleasure of this life. When such things as television, computers and expensive houses are our main priority, our walk with the Lord will be almost non-existent, even if we regularly attend church.

Our focus should be like the Early Church, where Christians loved not their lives even unto death, as it says in Revelation 12:11.

This trying to get heaven on earth is perhaps the key reason for the decline of Christianity in the Western World.

The lust for such things as material possessions and pleasure is causing havoc in many Christian homes. In the prosperous times in recent years, some Christians mortgaged their homes for many different types of investments hoping to eventually be financially free to live the "good" life. It appears that, now there is a worldwide recession, many Christians are struggling financially.

It is my belief that Jesus Himself can be our greatest joy, whether we are wealthy or not. Families that have little of this world's wealth can share and pray together and do lots of fun things together, fun things that are quite inexpensive. We know families that are not wealthy who are doing the Quiet Times, where family members pray and share together and they also have lots of fun together. Such families have a joy and peace about them that money can't buy.

It has been nearly two months since Nana died and we miss her greatly. In some ways her passing has freed us up, as we can go out when we wish without having to arrange for someone to care for her. On the other hand, we felt so blessed caring for such a Godly woman that the loss to our family is great. As a family we could now easily live a more self-centred lifestyle which doesn't bring joy and happiness.

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