Category Archives: Spirituality & Money Gate

Asia stocks up as Wall Street rally calms markets, dollar surges

Employees of a foreign exchange trading company work under monitors displaying the exchange rates between the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar and the Japan's Nikkei average, and the exchange rates between the yen against the Euro in TokyoAsian stocks rose on Thursday as a sharp rebound on Wall Street helped soothe investors' tattered nerves, while the dollar rallied as risk aversion eased. Stock markets around the world had tumbled earlier in the week as a slump in Shanghai shares fueled worries over China's economic health, but some calm returned after Beijing rolled out strong policy easing steps late on Tuesday. Japanese and South Korean stocks gained strongly on Wednesday after U.S. stocks racked up their biggest one-day gain in four years.

Does Joy Die in Sorrow?

Does Joy Die in Sorrow?

I want to underline the great truth that Christian joy does not die when sorrows abound. Joy and sorrow in the Christian life are not sequential, but simultaneous. We are called to rejoice always, and yet sorrow breaks like waves over our lives.

Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning,” which is sequential. I am aware of that. I don’t think it is a contradiction, though, because there is a kind of joy that is pain-free, sorrow-free, and without tears. God does that all the time for us. We’re not experiencing the pain because something happened to take away that pain in the morning. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Even that night before when the weeping is abounding, joy has not gone. It hasn’t died.

Paul commands us, “Finally, brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble for me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh” (Philippians 3:1–2). He didn’t say, “Rejoice, and then stop rejoicing and deal with the conflict.” No. “Rejoice in the Lord . . . and watch out for the dogs.” This is simultaneous.

In Philippians 3:18, Paul describes these folks again: They are enemies of the cross of which I have told you before and now tell you again with tears. Paul is modeling weeping over the dogs and evil workers, even as he commands us to rejoice in the midst of the conflict. Just a few verses later, in chapter 4, he says (and repeats, lest we miss the point), “Rejoice always, and again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). The repetition says: Yes, I did mean to say always, because I have already modeled for you how you rejoice and weep at the same time.

And the key to this kind of joy in the circumstances where we are prone to murmur or grumble or cry is found in the sovereignty of Christ and the sweetness of Christ.

Even in Trials, You Rejoice

Maybe it would be helpful if I give you a couple of other examples from the Bible that support this simultaneous experience of sorrow and joy — not sequentially, but simultaneously:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. (1 Peter 1:3–6)

There’s no sequence there. “In this you rejoice, though you are grieved” are simultaneous experiences. That’s the nature of the Christian life. Second Corinthians 6:10 simply says, “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” These are simultaneous events for followers of Jesus. Therefore, when sorrows break over our lives as Christians, which they do and will regularly under our Father’s providential and disciplinary care, our joy does not die.

The Day My Mom Died

When I was 28, my mother was killed. I remember just where I was standing when the phone call came. My brother-in-law said, “Johnny, I have bad news. Your mother was just killed in a bus accident and we don’t know if your dad is going to make it.” I went back and knelt down in the bedroom, by my bed, and cried for two hours.

And as I cried over the loss of one of the most important people in my life, I was overwhelmed with joy. I was overwhelmed with joy that she was a great mom. Secondly, God had given her to me for twenty-eight years. Third, we had wonderfully reconciled from ways I treated her as a child. Fourth, she didn’t suffer for a long time. It was instant, in a moment. Last, I was overwhelmed with joy because she was with Jesus.

Alongside loss, massive — painful, heart-wrenching, tear-flowing loss — was joy, joy, joy. Christian joy is not meant to be killed by the breaking of sorrows.

Sadness and Sweetness

For another example, about three weeks ago I spoke to my older sister, my only sibling. God has been good to us over the last few years to give us a renewed, sweeter, deeper relationship. I only see her once a year or so. She lives 1,100 miles away. We were on the phone and talked mainly about sadnesses in our lives. We were sharing our sadness and both of us were taken totally off guard by the emotions of those moments. When I hung up, I said to my wife, “That is the best conversation I have ever had with my sister.”

What was that? The conversation was totally dominated with tears — with sadness — but something else was happening. There was an emotional and bonding sweetness between us. My point is that Christian joy in Christ is not killed in sadness. It doesn’t die when sorrows abound.

A Call to Joy

Let me leave you with this personal exhortation from Philippians. Receive it as though the inspired apostle Paul, and even Christ himself, is speaking it to you.

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Don’t be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4–7)

This video is the sixth and final of a six-part series on the theme of joy in the book of Philippians. John Piper walks us through a short study of how to understand joy, pursue it for ourselves, and then apply it in all of life. Here are the other videos in the series:

Part 1: How Do You Define Joy?

Part 2: What Is Christian Hedonism?

Part 3: What Is the Secret of Joy in Suffering?

Part 4: Do We Have to Enjoy God to Believe?

Part 5: How Does Joy Overflow in Love?

Part 6: Does Joy Die in Sorrow?

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Ackman says Pershing Square down for the year after markets drop

William Ackman, founder and CEO of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New YorkWilliam Ackman's hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management is down for the year so far after the recent market decline, the billionaire investor told investors on Wednesday. "At the date of this report, the year to date investment performance has been erased, and the Company is at a loss position for the year," the hedge fund said in its interim financial statement. Lower commodity prices or economic weakness in China are unlikely to have a "material impact on the intrinsic value of the portfolio," Ackman continued.

Stock markets diverge, crude falls as China jitters persist

A man shelters under an umbrella as he walks past the London Stock ExchangeBy Sinead Carew NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street was sharply higher on Wednesday while European shares and commodities prices fell as investors balanced strong U.S. economic data and interest rate comments with fears about China's slowing economy. The benchmark S&P 500 was up 2.6 percent in afternoon trading, helped by stronger-than-expected data on durable goods orders and comments that appeared to make a September interest rate hike less likely. New York Fed President William Dudley said a rate hike next month seems less appropriate given the threat posed to the U.S. economy by recent global market turmoil.

Greek privatisations to go ahead: outgoing economy minister

A view of the cargo terminal of the Piraeus port near in Athens, on July 13, 2015A major sell-off of Greek public assets promised as part of its huge international bailout will go ahead as planned, the outgoing economy minister vowed Wednesday, despite looming snap elections. "The agreed arrangements have been agreed and will be applied," Georges Stathakis told reporters in answer to a question on the planned privatisation of Piraeus port, the national railway company and a string of other ports and airports. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned last week after his acceptance of a 86-billion-euro ($96 billion) rescue package for Greece's stricken economy triggered a major rebellion within his radical-left Syriza party.

Life’s Knots Need Jesus

Life’s Knots Need Jesus

Phrygia was an ancient kingdom in what is now central Turkey. According to legend, once upon a time Phrygia was without a king. One day, a pagan oracle declared that the next man to drive an ox-cart into Phrygia’s capital city, Telmissus, would be the new king. That man was a farmer named Gordias.

Gordias’s son, Midas (who later became the king with the golden touch), decided to honor his newly exalted father by dedicating the ox-cart to the Phrygian god, Sabazios, and he tied it to a pole using a knot so complex that it was considered impossible to untie — the Gordian Knot. Another oracle pronounced that the one who would solve the riddle of the knot would rule Asia.

Centuries went by and the ox-cart remained securely tied to the pole. Then Alexander the Great came, conquered, and happened upon the knot. Being the decisive warrior-leader he was, he dispensed with the inscrutable knot by slicing through it with his sword. And he went on to conquer Asia.

The Gordian Knot has become a parabolic symbol of intractable complex problems and Alexander’s sword has been a parabolic symbol for decisive, out-of-the box leadership solutions.

Our Gordian Knots

In the kingdom of our souls, we each have our Gordian Knots, don’t we? Some of them are impenetrable intellectual quandaries over God’s sovereignty and human responsibility, the nature of suffering, the origin of evil, God’s eternality, the Trinity, and so on. We press on these and discover our limits and hopefully learn to exult with Paul in saying,

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)

The more painful knots are the complex spiritual, emotional, and psychological entanglements of indwelling sin or the temperamental weakness, disability, circumstantial adversity, and traumatic past experiences. Combined together, these often shape how we think and what we do in ways that confound us.

We try to untangle them. We try to figure them out. But the more we work at them, the more complex we find the knots to be. Counseling and certain kinds of therapies can certainly help us the same way teachers, discussions, and books can help with intellectual struggles.

Counseling will only help us to a point. Therapy doesn’t possess the power to cure us. We discover our limits. And we cry out with Paul,

“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). Who can untie these sin-permeated, hopelessly intertwined knots of pain?

None of us can. The most gifted human pastor, counselor, or psychological expert is unable to fully untie the knots that entangle us. Nor can any of us make a sword ourselves that will cut through them.

Our Conqueror Has the Sword

The answer to our cry is the same answer Paul declares in the next verse:

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25)

There is one who can solve the riddle of our Gordian Knots. He is the conqueror. “He is called . . . The Word of God” and “from his mouth comes a sharp sword” (Revelation 19:13, 15). And with that sword, all that is sinful in us and all that is part of the futility of this age (Romans 8:20) will be cut away.

On Cavalry, Jesus the Great dealt the decisive blow upon every sinful knot of every saint who would ever belong to him. In this age, every promise of God is yes in Christ and has power to cut through our knots with truths and set us free, if we will believe them (2 Corinthians 1:20, John 8:32). And in the age to come, every Eden-induced Gordian Knot will have been destroyed.

Loose the Sword on Your Knots

Some knots you will never be able to untie on your own. But there is one who can undo them. Jesus, the Creator of our bodies and psyche, the Maker of our souls, the One who really knows how we’re wired and what we need, essentially counsels one primary thing for our troubled hearts: “Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1). Jesus wants us to look to him, listen to him, and trust in him.

The key to dealing with our Gordian Knots is not ultimately introspection and analysis. Effective counseling and therapies will aim to help us see more clearly what lies are interfering with our believing in Jesus so we can counter them. But the key to freedom, the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) that will cut through the knots of lies, is believing Jesus’s words (John 8:32, John 15:7).

The words of Christ are living and active and the sharpest sword (Hebrews 4:12) and in him every promise of God is yes for us. He alone will set us free (John 8:32).

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U.S. housing market seen strong enough to handle Fed rate hikes: Reuters poll

Newly constructed houses built by Lennar Corp are pictured in Leucadia, CaliforniaThe U.S. housing market is probably strong enough to stand up against an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve this year, with stabilizing home prices supporting sales, a Reuters poll of top economists showed on Wednesday. Of 22 economists surveyed, all but two said the market could withstand the Fed's expected rate hikes. "Rates are very reasonable now, and the signal the Fed will give when they begin raising their key lending rate will push more people into the market," said Rajeev Dhawan, director of the economic forecasting center at Georgia State University.

After Scandals, Ireland Is No Longer ‘Most Catholic Country In The World’

The scandals of recent years have destroyed popular support for the church in Ireland, with many Irish people ignoring the hierarchy’s guidance on social issues.

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