CREATED TO PLAY

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

CREATED TO PLAY Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The sons of God, the angels, children, and animals were created to play. The wicked, the self-centered, cannot play. They can be uninhibited, immoral, drunken, destructive, grasping, vile in imagination, sordid, faithless, and cruel. But they cannot play.

Until we overcome evil through Christ we cannot play. We can practice unrestrained behavior but we cannot truly play. When play isn't holy it is not true play, just self-indulgent activity.

Table of Contents

Introduction The right To play Keeping our mind on things above Doing what we have to do—carrying our cross Delighting ourselves in the Lord Committing and trusting Making ourselves a prey Resting and waiting patiently Overcoming The Ability To Play Deliverance from worldliness Deliverance from the works of the flesh Deliverance from self-will Deliverance from the effects of work and imprisonment Conclusion

CREATED TO PLAY

Introduction

Rejoice! Evil is a dark cloud that soon will pass. God and His sons then will have all eternity to play. For this He created the worlds. The universe is one great playground for the children of God.

As in the beginning, holy language is poetry. Nature is a dance. All the heavens are singing the eternal praise to God and the Lamb. The darkness is passing. The future is bright indeed for those who can truly play!

In the Presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy. At the right hand of the Lord there are pleasures forever. Your journey is toward joy, toward the desires of your heart.

The sons of God, the angels, children, and animals were created to play. The wicked, the self-centered, cannot play. They can be uninhibited, immoral, drunken, destructive, grasping, vile in imagination, sordid, faithless, and cruel. But they cannot play.

Where there is no sin, work is play—as in Eden.

Until we overcome evil through Christ we cannot play. We can practice unrestrained behavior but we cannot truly play. When play isn't holy it is not true play, just self-indulgent activity.

True play is never selfish, heedless, or slothful. It is the highest expression of faith. When Satan stopped playing and started to scheme, destruction entered the creation.

To play is to do what we want to do. But until we have been transformed morally and are at rest in Christ in the center of God's Person and will, we cannot follow our desires without destroying those around us—and ourselves as well.

We are a fallen race. We have to earn the right and develop the ability to play.

Originally in the heavens all was play. Every angel did what he wanted to do. No doubt there were an infinite number of enjoyable tasks and pleasures that angels took delight in, according to what they were created to do and was put in them to desire to do by the Father.

Satan was a marvelous creature, a cherub of the highest order. He had nothing to do except to enjoy himself and those around him.

Then there entered into Satan the most dreadful of diseases. The most dreadful of diseases, the source of all sin and misery, is self-will. "I will be like the Most High. I will set my throne above the stars of God." Self-will is the opposite of faithfulness.

As long as Satan played, the universe was peaceful. The moment Satan decided to exert his self-will, to enjoy himself outside of the Father's will, destruction entered the universe. Every time you and I exert our self-will destruction enters the universe.

Originally on earth all was play. There was nothing Adam and Eve were required to do that they did not enjoy doing. They played all the day and night.

Their work of caring for the garden was play because it was what they were created to do and desired to do. All work is play when this is what we have been created to do and want to do.

At one time I was an elementary-school teacher. I said to myself many times that if I had so much money there was no need for me to work I would still be there at school in September, ready to enjoy a new class. Teaching was not work for me, it was play because I wanted to do what I was doing.

So it was with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But then the wretched Satan entered. Satan no longer is able to play. Everything he touches is corrupted and destroyed. The Satan-filled individual cannot enjoy and love a small child. He must molest it, corrupt it, destroy it. He is unable to play.

Because Satan cannot play he does not want anyone else to play. He accuses the saints when he sees them playing because he is envious. He moves among the carnal believers so they too will accuse the saints. This is why there is so much slander and gossip in the Christian churches. It is because Satan and those who are influenced by him cannot bear to see people playing. They want the believers who are enjoying Christ to grind at the mill and be miserable along with them.

Adam and Eve acted outside of God's will. The moment they did they no longer were permitted to play. They were cursed with work.

Work is that which we are required to do but would not do if we had a choice. Any task can be play, or it can be work, depending on whether we wish to perform it.

The right to play

The right to play was withdrawn from us because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve. God will return the right to play to us if we meet His conditions.

In addition to the right to play we also must develop the ability to play. The means of obtaining the right to play, and then the ability to play, overlap. But for increased clarity of thought we will discuss them as though the way we gain the right to play and then the ability to play were two separate programs.

Keeping our mind on things above.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2—NIV)

The Bible says that if we have received Christ our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Our new born-again personality is at the right hand of the Father, far above every other power or authority. It is a firstfruits of the new creation being waved before the Father so the remainder of our personality will be holy.

The most difficult thing we have to do in America is to keep our mind on things above. The part of our life that is still on the earth, the part not yet harvested by the Lord, clamors for our attention all day long. We have to keep choosing to pay attention to our new life, which is Christ, that is above us in Heaven.

So many things, circumstances, and relationships strive to bring us down from our heavenly position! We have to keep praying, keep meditating in the Scriptures, keep gathering with fervent believers, keep reminding ourselves that we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God.

We have to realize constantly that our treasures are in Heaven, that our present life on earth is temporary, that our purpose here on earth is to be changed into the moral image of Christ and to be brought into untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.

The temptation is to try to play before it is God's time for us to play, to attempt to dodge the pain of this cursed world in which we are attempting to serve God. The worst mistake any human being can make is to set his or her mind on things on the earth, trying to find out how to avoid the unpleasant work that God has set before him, the prisons and testings.

If we do not strive continually to keep our mind on Christ we will put our treasures on earth. We will hold onto our pleasures as long as we can. We will not give all to Jesus. We will seek to save our life. The result of such shortsightedness will be to lose everything, including the right to play.

Your life on earth will be short in any case. Don't be so foolish as to stray from the path God has set for you.

Doing what we have to do—carrying our cross.

And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27—NIV)

By definition a Christian is a disciple of the Lord Jesus, not just the member of a church or religion. We have to carry our cross or we cannot be a Christian.

Carrying our cross is work—hard, painful, grueling work. We have to do it but do not desire to do so. There is no way in which we can make carrying our cross to be play. By its very nature the cross is the opposite of play.

It was God's love that withdrew play. Having to do that for which we have no heart is part of the curse. If we avoid doing that which we are required to do because it is unpleasant, we never will be permitted to play with the children of God.

It is God's love that gives us our personal cross, that gives us work to do. Why is this? It is because the source of all corruption and misery in the creation is our self-will. As long as we are bound by self-will we cannot enjoy God or His creation. We cannot play. It is carrying the cross that destroys our self-will.

It is right at this point American Christians have a difficult time. According to our Declaration of Independence we are entitled to the pursuit of happiness. Our right to be happy is dinned into us day and night by all the advertisers.

We want to play. We have a right to play, we suppose. Yet we are living under a Divine curse that refuses to permit us to play just yet.

We must carry our cross of self-denial we have no choice. If we hope to ever gain the right to play we must do many things we do not want to do. If we try to take a shortcut, avoiding that which is unpleasant, we will not gain the right to play.

The believers, and in many instances their pastors and evangelists, will do all in their power to sidestep that which is unpleasant. The Christian churches teach us we do not have to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. The commandments are difficult and unpleasant. Therefore we will invent a "state of grace" that removes the requirement that we keep the commandments.

We do not preach to the congregations that they must deny themselves and take up their cross. We do not tell them that if they do not remain in the prison where God has permitted Satan to place them they will not be given the crown of life.

We have invented a "pre-tribulation rapture," a totally unscriptural doctrine, to remove the thought that Christians might have to suffer.

What we are doing with these incorrect teachings is trying to make it possible for the believers to play before they have earned the right, before they have done the work God requires.

The American people are at the point now where they will not restrain themselves from what they desire even if it means getting AIDS, lung cancer, sugar diabetes, a heart attack, or being imprisoned for driving while drunk. Their response to the pain they have inflicted on themselves is to sue someone they believe to be responsible. It is a sad state of affairs. No doubt a sharp, heavy sword of Divine judgment is poised over America at the present time.

Our country has turned away from the former values and standards of conduct. Unless there is widespread repentance in the churches we Americans are in for serious trouble.

In order to gain the right to play we first have to do the work that God is requiring of us. There is no way around this.

Delighting ourselves in the Lord.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4—NIV)

One of the great problems facing the Christian in the days ahead is that of fretting because of the maturing of the tares of wickedness. The thirty-seventh Psalm commands us not to fret but to delight ourselves in the Lord. If we would gain the right to play we must delight ourselves in the Lord continually.

We who are older can see the destructive course our nation is taking in so many areas. It is difficult to keep from fretting about the political and judicial bodies, the things they do, the perversity of those who are serving themselves and holding up personal freedom above all other values—even to the aborting of the rights of the innocent. But we are forbidden to fret. We simply must pray for strength until we can delight ourselves in the Lord, and then obey the Lord if He gives us something to do concerning the evil around us.

If we choose to delight ourselves in the Lord continually He has promised to give us the desires of our heart, that is, to make it possible for us to play. His promise is sure. It can never be broken. If we are wise we will permit the Lord to decide what the true desires of our heart are, because sooner or later we are going to receive what we continue to desire.

Committing and trusting.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: (Psalms 37:5—NIV)

Part of delighting ourselves in the Lord is to commit all our ways to Him and trust Him that He finally will bring us into the place of play.

To commit our way to the Lord is to bring every decision of the day and night, no matter how small or great, to the Lord for His will to be done. There must be absolutely nothing we hold back. Whatever we decide to hold back from the Lord's decision, choosing instead to follow our own desires, has the potential to completely ruin the Lord's plan for us and to prevent us (perhaps eternally) from playing with the children of God.

The original sin was self-will. It was through Satan's self-will that every misery entered the universe. God has imposed work on us, the doing of that which is unpleasant, that we might be completely delivered from self-will. If we do not give everything, every circumstance, every relationship to the Lord, we are an integral part of the original rebellion. We are a destroyer of that which is good.

We cannot commit our way to the Lord until we trust Him. To trust God means we are confident He knows everything there is to know about us, we are confident He is seeking to give us the desires of our heart, and we are confident He has the power to give us the desires of our heart, to bring us to play. We trust He will not forsake us in the middle of the program. We trust in His utter faithfulness.

Until we commit all our ways to the Lord, trusting Him implicitly to bring us to joy, it is impossible for us to gain the right to play.

Making ourselves a prey.

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. (Psalms 37:6—NIV)

Whenever we decide to do the Lord's will, to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles as He helps us, to stay in the prison where we have been put, to not fret ourselves but to delight in the Lord always, to keep our mind on the things above, we are preparing ourselves to play, to be brought to the place where our desires are the same as the Lord's.

Satan cannot play. He can only corrupt and destroy. Therefore he will accuse us to the Father, because of his envy, and will put it in the minds of our fellow believers to find fault with us, to criticize and slander us.

If we choose to defend ourselves, to fight back, to justify ourselves, we will lose our ability to play. We will become filled with darkness and misery, bitterly fighting back against our accusers. This is what Satan hopes we will do.

Instead we are commit our way to the Lord, to trust in Him. to let Him bring forth our righteousness and the justice of our cause.

Keep in mind how Christ was unjustly charged and how He did not respond to His accusers. Christ committed Himself to the Father, and the Father has vindicated Him.

If you have sinned, confess your sin to God and turn away from it. If restitution is to be made, then make it with the Lord's help. Keep pressing through until you clear yourself with God. You may suffer the rest of your life for what you have done. Just keep coming to the Lord until your conscience is perfectly clear before Him. Do not justify yourself or blame anyone

Then let God bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.

Whenever we decide to serve the Lord, to walk before Him, to do His will, we make ourselves the prey of the enemy. Just making a profession of Christ may or may not bring trouble upon us, but turning away from wickedness will cause people to try to find fault with us. Our change of heart makes them uncomfortable and they want to pull us down to their level.

Do not fight back. Never fight fire with fire. Satan is a master of fire and you will lose. You cannot get down in the mud with someone else without getting dirty. Let people say what they will. You make sure that you are pleasing the Lord. Then you will gain the right to play.

Resting and waiting patiently.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalms 37:7—NIV)

Our prisons and trials go on forever, it seems. As we grow in Christ we are brought into periods of waiting that keep getting longer. It is in these times of waiting, of imprisonment, that the saints are formed in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.

What is God seeking? He is seeking the death of our self-will, the original problem.

If we are to obtain the promises of joy, of the fulfillment of our hope and desire, we must wait patiently for the Lord.

Resting and waiting patiently for the Lord is not easy when all around us religious leaders are exhorting everyone to get out and do something, to "heal a lost and dying world"; to "bring thousands to Christ." Such ambitious people do not always understand the value of or the necessity for resting and waiting patiently for the Lord.

No doubt it is the role and calling of some to "do great things for God." But for most of us most of the time it is a case of looking to the Lord each day for His will, and resting and waiting patiently for Him to show us what to do. Is it this way with you? If we ever are going to gain the right to play, to do what we want with the Lord's blessing, we are going to have to wait for His approval. Isn't it so?

Overcoming.

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10—NIV)

Probably all of the exercises I have mentioned could be placed under the category of "overcoming."

To each believer each day there is a assigned a portion of evil, a problem, a hurdle. Also to each believer each day there is assigned a portion of Divine grace by which the evil can be overcome with good, the problem can be solved, the hurdle can be jumped. The evil may take the form of a temptation to break one of Christ's commandments, or it can come as an external threat to our safety or health.

Each day we have a choice. We can yield to temptation and not follow the teachings of Christ and His Apostles. Or we can attempt to avoid the evil or overcome it in our own way. We can try to figure out the problem. We can look for a way to get around the hurdle by lying or in some other sinful manner. Or else we can pray until the Lord shows us His way of dealing with the situation. To take our own course is to attempt to play, to follow our own desires. To take the Lord's way is to work, to do what we do not wish to do.

The overcomer is the believer who elects to overcome the evil of the day with the Divine grace given that day. Often this will mean forgiving someone, or denying ourselves, or saying we are sorry, or being patient with an individual. We do not wish to do this. It is work, an unpleasant effort. But by pressing into the Lord we finally overcome the evil, solve the problem, leap over the hurdle.

This program continues day after weary day; year after weary year. Will it never end?

It will not end until God is satisfied we have gained the right to play, to receive the desires of our heart.

When our fervent desires and hopes are deferred it makes our heart sick! But when our desires are fulfilled in the Lord it is a tree of life—life that blesses other people as well as ourselves. And the Lord adds no sorrow to the joy we have been given.

God is worth waiting for! Don't you agree?

The Ability To Play

We have discussed gaining the right to play. Now we will turn our attention to developing the ability to play. As we said previously, the means of gaining the right to play and the means of gaining the ability to play are often much the same or overlap. But we present them in this manner for increased clarity.

The right to play means God has lifted the curse from us, at least for a season, and we are able to do things we enjoy while the painful tests and trials are held in abeyance.

The ability to play means we are free from passions of the flesh, self-seeking, and other bondages so we can enjoy the things, circumstances, and relationships God gives to us without idolizing, corrupting, or destroying them. Although pleasure and success have been withheld from us for a period of time, maybe many years, when they finally are given to us we are able to relax and enjoy them properly.

We have been in prison but we did not let ourselves become a prisoner.

Let's go on now to some of the factors involved in being able to play.

As is true of both the right and the ability to play, we must be changed into the moral image of Christ and brought into untroubled rest in the Father through Christ. Being changed into the image of Christ and entering rest in the Father involve our being fed constantly with the body and blood of Christ in the spirit realm, as we do His will. We learn to live by His Life rather than just by human flesh and blood.

In addition the following four deliverances must take place:

Deliverance from worldliness.

Deliverance from the works of the flesh.

Deliverance from self-will.

Deliverance from the effects of work and imprisonment.

Deliverance from worldliness.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. (I John 2:15,16—NIV)

As long as we find our security and comfort in the world we are not able to play. The cravings John mentions (above), the desire for material things, the acquisition of money, houses and lands, all can ruin our ability to play. The cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choke out the very Divine Seed that has germinated in us.

Perhaps we have gained the right to enjoy ourselves, to do what we wish. But then the burden of material possessions and our trust in the world to save us prevent the simple childlike faith in our Father that is so much a part of playing. Delight is all around us but the world has its claws in us and we cannot play in the playhouse the creation actually is.

As we pray to the Lord Jesus He will show us how to escape the clutches of the world spirit. The world spirit is Antichrist. Man is his own god. Personal liberty is held out as the highest good. Money and education are sought for their own sake and worshiped. We can't play when we are drowning in this swamp.

Deliverance from the works of the flesh.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21—NIV)

The demonic passions that inhabit our flesh are alien to our personality. They are not part of us. They have their own agenda, so to speak. Until we get rid of them we cannot play. We cannot play because our appetites want to play and they control us. So we end up making it possible for unclean spirits to satisfy their lusts through us, their insatiable passion for the flesh of man. Then we pay the penalty for destructive behavior.

God may have given us the right to play, but we are unable to do so because we do not know what our true desires are, there is such an overlay of demonic appetites living in our personality.

As we recognize these strange desires we are to confess them to God and ask His help in putting them to death. Pronounce the judgment of God on them. Call them sin and turn away from them. As you do God will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness relating to the bondage being dealt with.

Until you are free from alien spiritual drives in your personality you cannot possibly play with the children of God. You can only wrench your environment, raping, molesting, destroying, murdering, polluting, idolizing everything around you.

Deliverance from self-will.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5,6—NIV)

Of all the follies that have entered the creation of God, the worst by far is self-will. All sin has its source in self-will. The moment Satan ceased playing and began to exert his self-will, unbelievable agony and destruction entered the universe.

Until we learn to trust in the Lord and are willing to forsake our own understanding, it is impossible for us to be able to play. When we do not acknowledge Him in everything we do, think, and say, in every direction we take, in all we hope and imagine, our paths remain crooked.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3—NIV)

When we are filled with self-seeking our desires battle within us. We don't get what we want. We kill and covet because we cannot have what we want. We quarrel and fight. When we ask God for something we do not receive it because we ask with wrong motives, praying for something we may spend on our own pleasures.

While we are filled with self-will, self-seeking, we cannot play. God may have given us the right to play but we cannot do it. We are our own worst enemy.

The self-driven believer is a source of continual quarreling and fighting. When he enters a situation that has been peaceful or could easily be made delightful he turns it into dead sea of bitterness and misery. He is unable to play!

Deliverance from the effects of work and imprisonment.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10:40—NIV)

Think of it! The thundering God of Sinai was in their house! Mary and Martha were adults who apparently lived ordinary lives. But today an absolutely unbelievable, staggering, fantastic event had overtaken them. God was in their front room!

What would you and I give to have the Lord Jesus come and sit down in our living room!

But it did take place in their home. The Majesty from Heaven was visiting with Mary and Martha just as God in the beginning had been with Adam and Eve.

Marvel of all marvels! Joy of all joy! The ultimate fulfillment of all desire had happened to them. It now was time to play.

However Martha was unable to play! Mary was instantly ready to play but Martha could not play.

Why was this?

When we work, work, work, are frustrated, disappointed, it takes its toll on our personality. This happens to faithful, conscientious, diligent people. The older brother was unable to play when the prodigal returned home.

It seems unfair that the weary pilgrim who has fought the good fight of faith for so many years, whose back is bent under the cross, is then unable to straighten up and ride victoriously into the city with Jesus. There is his war stallion and he is not quite up to mounting it.

Sholom Aleichem tells of the beggar who died and was brought before Abraham. Abraham invited him to ask what he would and it would be given him. The beggar, who could have received the wealth of Heaven, requested a hot roll and butter—something he had dreamed of eating during his days on earth.

Life beats the idealism, the joy, the wonder, the hope, the play out of us.

An inability to play in the wonderland of the creation is an occupational hazard of cross-carrying obedience. David could not build the house of the Lord because his hands were stained from fighting the Lord's battles. Moses was provoked until he lashed out at the Israelites. His reward for leading them for forty years, for bearing the burden of their grumbling, unbelieving spirit, was to be denied entrance to the land of promise.

We seek holiness and instead are trapped in a Christ-murdering religious spirit.

Is life fair? No, it isn't. It is dangerous and not fair.

Is God fair? God cannot be otherwise than fair. All sense of fairness comes from God's own Character written in the conscience of man.

How can we figure all this out? We can't, but this is not important.

The important thing is that when we finally are given the right to play we recognize, if we have obeyed God sternly for many years, that we may be saddled with bitterness, self-pity, and a momentum that drives us to keep on gritting our teeth and laboring under a cross that no longer is present.

Many years after the end of World War Two a Japanese soldier was found in a cave on one of the islands. He still was watching and prepared to hold off the enemy.

What are we to do? We are to go to God and ask Him to remove all heaviness and dread from us, all that still is striving to cope with unpleasant duty no longer required—all that would keep us from playing as a happy child in His garden.

Conclusion

For those who have an eye to see, the creation indeed is a marvel of beauty and glory. Poets glow and exclaim with delight over the progress of a lumbering beetle or the glorious colors painted on dust as the sun turns in for the night, a reminder to man that there is more to life than plodding through the mud.

But thanks to our own willingness to disobey God we have been given a hoe and required to cultivate the ground under the burning furnace of the sun—to hoe until we cannot straighten up and we return from the field bowed over. It is easy then to forget about palaces and castles where there are no troubles, only beauty, grace, and laughing children. It is time to milk the cows and take care of the animals.

But God's elect are all princes, all sons of the greatest King. Their destiny is to inherit the works of God's hands and to govern them, to do whatever their heart desires, to play. The angels are servants who obey the King and watch out for all His sons.

We are given the right to play by first faithfully, diligently, performing the required work.

We develop the right to play as we cooperate with the Spirit of God in our change from the living soul to the life-giving spirit, as we forsake the adamic nature and live by the body and blood of the Lamb of God. His flesh is the only true food. His blood is the only true life.

The horrific dungeon of self-seeking, self-centeredness, self-will is burned out of us. In is place is written a song: "I delight to do Your will, O God. Your law has been written in my mind that I may understand it; in my heart that I desire to obey it in every detail and at all times."

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the LORD, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:4-9—NIV)

Notice (in the above passage) why there is so much joy, why all nature shout and sings for joy. It is because of the prospect of the Lord returning to the earth and judging the world in righteousness. It is sin that brings misery. When we are removed from sin, then righteousness, peace, and joy follow. This is the Kingdom of God.

For six thousand years mankind has sought peace and joy, but peace and joy have eluded the world. Peace and joy can be found only where there is righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

To the present hour the nations have not understood the relationship between righteousness and joy and continue in their sin and rebellion. But within the Christian churches there are people who are pressing forward in Christ, and Christ is teaching them the relationship between righteousness, peace, and joy—not imputed righteousness and imputed joy but actual righteousness and actual joy.

Such will return with the Lord Jesus and bring judgment and peace to the saved nations.

The most marvelous condition by far into which a human being can enter is that holy of holies where his will and God's will are one and the same; where what he desires most intensely is what God desires for him most intensely. Such a state of being is worth more than all the wealth of the world.

Then, and only then, does he have the right to play, and is able to play, throughout the universe, ages without end.

Of the increase of Christ's Kingdom and of peace there never shall be a conclusion, a termination, a finish. A billion years from now, as measured by earth's time, the romance will have germinated and the first green shoots have appeared above the ground. The baby will have cried the announcement of his entrance into the world.

Rejoice! Evil is a dark cloud that soon will pass. God and His sons then will have all eternity to play. For this He created the worlds. The universe is one great playground for the children of God.

As in the beginning, holy language is poetry. Nature is a dance. All the heavens are singing the eternal praise to God and the Lamb. The darkness is passing. The future is bright indeed for those who truly can play!

In the Presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy. At the right hand of the Lord there are pleasures forever. Your journey is toward joy, toward the desires of your heart.