Commonwealth, Disney, Eurovision, Brigadoon – reflections on the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games

We need a mighty work of God, a revival and awakening to deliver us from this time of judgment.

I suspect this one is not going to win me many friends. Whilst there was much that was good about the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth games – overall it left me ashamed of Scotland – or at least how we are portrayed – and how we now portray ourselves – as a dumbed down, tartanised, branded, Godless nation. In this piece on ChristianToday we look at some of the things we learnt about modern Scotland – and indeed modern Western society….enjoy and feel free to comment.

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Feelings Aside

A man once came to a preacher and said, “I was filled with joy in the meeting yesterday. Now it has all gone—all—and I do not know what to do. It is as dark as night.” “I am so glad,” was the preacher’s reply. He looked at the servant of Christ with astonishment and said, “What do you mean?”

“Yesterday God gave you joy. Today He sees you are resting on your emotion instead of Christ. He has taken it away in order to turn you to Christ. You have lost your joy, but you have Christ. Have you ever passed through a railway tunnel?” “Yes, often.” “Because it was dark, did you become melancholy and alarmed?” “Of course not.” “And did you, after a while, again come into the light?” “I am out now!” he exclaimed, interrupting the servant of Christ. “It’s all right, feelings or no feelings!”

—A. E. Janzen

Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

Joy because of God’s Unmerited Favour

The Greek words for joy and grace are related; grace causes joy. In the Christian understanding, nothing brings joy like the good news of what God has done in Christ to bring us salvation. Salvation by grace is “through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works…” (Eph. 2:8–9). God’s grace also brings about qualities of conduct in the believer (2 Cor. 9:8; 12:9; Eph. 4:7). The word grace came to be used as a kind of prayer (“grace to you”) in Christian greetings at the beginning and end of some of the New Testament letters (2 Cor. 1:2; 13:14).

The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, (Harold Shaw Publ., Wheaton , IL; 1984), pp. 250-251.

Joy and Contentment

Joy and Contentment
Never does a soul know what solid joy and substantial pleasure is till, once being weary of itself, it renounces all propriety, gives itself up to the author of its being, and feels itself become a hallowed and devoted thing; and can say from an inward sense and feeling, My beloved is mine (I account all his interest mine own) and I am his: I am content to be anything for him, and care not for myself, but that I may serve him.


Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Pursuit of Joy

Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:

• Not in Unbelief — Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”

• Not in Pleasure — Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.”

• Not in Money — Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”

• Not in Position and Fame — Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.”

• Not in Military Glory — Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”

• Where then is real joy found? — the answer is simple, in Christ alone.

The Bible Friend, Turning Point, May, 1993

Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.

Serve the Lord with Joy

• Preaching ought to be joy, and yet it may become a task. Constant preaching should be constant enjoyment.—Charles Spurgeon

• If ministers only saw the preciousness of Christ, they would not be able to refrain from clapping their hands with joy and exclaiming, “I am a minister of Christ.”—Robert Murry McCheyne

• Let us rejoice with one another that in a world where there are a great many good and happy things for men to do, God has given us the best and happiest and made us to be preachers of this truth.—Phillips Brooks, in his Yale Lectures

• I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers.—Oliver Wendell Holmes

• Thank God for the joy of ministry.—Warren Wiersbe


Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Joy, various authors:

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.—C. S. Lewis

• Happiness is an emotion, and joy is an attitude. Emotions come and go, but attitudes come and grow.

• If you have no joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.—Billy Sunday

• Holy joy will beautify you.—Charles Spurgeon

Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Lack of Joy, Richard Baxter

I desire the dejected Christian to consider, that by his heavy and uncomfortable life, he seemeth to the world to accuse God and His service, as if he openly called Him a rigorous, hard, unacceptable Master, and His work a sad unpleasant thing. I know this is not your thoughts: I know it is yourselves, and not God and His service that offendeth you; and that you walk heavily not because you are holy, but because you fear you are not holy, and because you are no more holy. . . . If you see a servant always sad, that was wont to be merry while he served another master, will you not think that he hath a master that displeaseth him? . . . You are born and new born for God’s honor; and will you thus dishonor Him before the world? What do you (in their eyes) but dispraise Him by your very countenance and carriage?


Thomas, I. D. E. (1999). The golden treasury of Puritan quotations (electronic ed.). Simpsonville, SC: Christian Classics Foundation.

JOY—original, eternal state

Psalm 30:11; Philippians 4:4

Our Natural State

In Orthodoxy, Chesterton wrote that most humans rejoice over the insignificant and despair over the essential. However, that isn’t the last word, Chesterton averred. “Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude … praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul.”
Why does joy go deeper in humanity than pain? Because joy is at the heart of our relationship with God and was the basis of Adam’s initial walk with God. One day that joy will be restored as the basis of our redeemed walk. So often now joy lies manacled by the equivalent, or excessive, sorrows of life. And while we can hear joy shouting its existence, even while imprisoned, it will one day break free and embrace all the saved in its delight. Pain is a viscious interloper that will one day vanish. In the new world, free from restriction, joy will once again prevail, rippling like waters through stony heights.


Psalm 30:11 (NKJV)

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Joy, From a Sermon by Charles Spurgeon

On Sunday night, March 24, 1895, Charles Spurgeon prepared this sermon for his congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

• There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart.

• This blessed joy is very contagious. One dolorous spirit brings a kind of plague into the house; one person who is wretched seems to stop all the birds from singing wherever he goes.… [But] the grace of joy is contagious.

• Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor. Holy joy will beautify you and give you an influence over the lives of others.