The Problem with Happiness

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, easily interrupted by negative thoughts, words and actions. Humans can experience the switch between the heights of euphoria and the depths of depression in a matter of seconds.

When we seek happiness in circumstance, people, events, pets, career, home, gardens, hobbies, church, etc. we are continually elated and then disappointed.

In disappointment, we even give in to fear, anxiety and feel apprehensive when we consider more than the one moment of time which we are experiencing.

Fear will dispel happiness quicker and put us into a deeper depression than any other emotion, especially if we suppress the anger, which we feel along with it.

We have the right to pursue happiness, but we cannot maintain it. There is good news in the midst of this negative prognosis, however.

We can continually dwell in an emotion much deeper than happiness. This emotion is not contingent on circumstance and is spiritual and depends solely on the presence of God in our life.

This deep seated emotion is also our strength to traverse the negative path in life, which we occasionally experience. There is no earthly issue, which can ever shake us from this positive outlook on life. It is called JOY.

If we choose to focus on the negative circumstances, or if we adopt a negative attitude, our joy will hover just outside of our soul, waiting in our spirit for us to change our focus to the joy, which is always set before us (Hebrews 12:2).

The world-wide Body of Christ, both in times present and past, is an example of a people who love and joyfully trust our amazing God for His constant provision, even during dire circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, You reach down Your arms and hold us until our grief and fears are gone (Psalm 68:5). You walk within us and guide us through the depths of grief, distress and insecurity. Regardless of the negative circumstances, Your peace and joy are our constant companions.

You love each of us the same amount and in the same way, regardless of our sinful past. We are confident of Your continual, unconditional love for us (John 3:16-17). We can never thank You enough for continually filling us with Your presence and Spirit, and for helping us to maintain a heavenly mindset rather than a carnal, earthly one.

Thought for the Day:
Our constant joy depends on our focus on the eternal Christ and our attitude of total dependence on His perfect will for our life.

Let Me Tell You, Gentlemen

If you think that your marriage is good, or even perfect, that may be because all of your needs are met by your good and faithful wife. Have you ever asked her what she thinks about your marriage?

You may be surprised to find out that she is so busy caring for you and the home and children, that she has no time to fulfill her needs. She may have longings in her soul that are not realized; so make the time to discover her needs and help her to accomplish them.

You may criticize her for her irritability, insecurity, jealousy, rage, discouragement, etc., and view these negative emotions as separate from your behavior. They very well may have an outside source; but you could help to relieve them, even if your behavior and attitude are not causing them.

Do you ignore her when she talks to you, and only listen to her with half an ear? Do you take all of her needs seriously and ask her how you can help her? Do you provide her with a stable living environment full of cherishing, nurturing and acceptance?

She may need an hour to soak in the tub, some help with the dishes or bathing the children, a night alone to read or watch a movie in the sanctity of your bedroom, or a special date night. Take charge and give her that time.

Make sure that you inundate her with continual focused attention; date nights which you help to plan; and little gifts, notes, cards, emails and phone calls to let her know that she is not only in your heart but in your mind as well.

Never take her for granted. Bless her with words, which affirm your appreciation of her, but back the words up with actions too. Celebrate her successes along with her and show her your care and concern when she is discouraged or ill.

If she works outside of the home too, help her with the household chores and make sure all of your children have assigned duties, so that the whole family cooperates to keep your home clean, harmonious and running smoothly.

Never allow your children to speak to your wife with disrespect, and model this respect by your behavior. Find a church to attend with your family, have daily devotions with them all and disciple them in Biblical truth to help them to withstand the devil’s temptations.

Prayer:
Father God, You created the husband to serve as a role model in his family as he patterns his behavior and attitude after Your character and nature (Galatians 5:15-25; 2 Peter 1:4). Help him to consider the needs of his wife and children above his own (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, give him the boldness to express his needs as well, so his family can uplift him as he supports them.

Meld the husband and wife in such unity that they provide a positive and cohesive home for their children. This will give more security to the children and reduce rebellion in them as well. Remind us that You are the reason we are alive on this earth, and that serving You as a family is the greatest privilege, which life affords us.

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer one another, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

The Problem with Revival

Ever since Adam’s failure to walk according to God’s precepts in the garden, God’s whole creation longs for the freedom, which God’s presence brings to our life (Romans 5:12, 8:19-23).

We all desire revival to bring us closer to God. Revival is a time of intense concentration on God’s truth and His Spirit. We sit still for several days cloistered with Christ’s Body.

God immerses us in His presence, because we take the time to rest at His feet. The music and the preaching of God’s Word brings life to the spirit and the soul – our mind, will and emotions.

The problem with revivals is that as the memories of the revival fade, the soul no longer feels the euphoria, which was present during the revival; therefore, our soul will look to the world for new feelings of elation, rather than to the Lord.

Israel is a perfect example of this issue. In their entire history as a nation, they always fell back into the world after every revival (Hosea 14:1; Psalm 78:10-11, 40-42, 56-57). The casual church member is no different in their behavior.

Only a remnant of Believers respond to revival in their spirit, as well as their soul. Our spirit experiences a deep immersion into the presence of God. His peace influences our attitude and outlook.

Authentic Believers gradually realize that our soul is even more satisfied as we spend more time with God than with the world. We find the joy of the Lord as our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

We wake every morning and luxuriate in the presence of God all through the day. Even at night, our spirit rejoices as we sleep; and when we wake, there is a song of praise flowing through our mind.

In times of trial, we maintain the peace and joy of the Lord, realizing that there is a seed for a miracle in every negative experience we encounter. We enjoy fellowship with our brother, Jesus Christ, by His Spirit who dwells within us.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for keeping us as the apple of Your eye, and sheltering us under the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 17:8). When we encounter trouble, we are always safe in Your dwelling place, as You hide us in the shelter of Your sacred tent and put us high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5, 32:7).

Teach us that revival is an attitude of our heart, not a week of meetings or a group experience. We can dwell in a time of revival each day of our life, as You renew a right spirit in us and make us ever mindful of Your presence our life (Psalm 51:10).

Thought for the Day:
We have an advantage in our life over the Saints who lived prior to Christ, because we actually have the presence of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within us; and He is continually reviving, comforting, correcting and drawing us closer to a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Words Matter – Part 1

The reservoir of a good heart produces encouraging words. The abundance of an evil heart generates evil results (Luke 6:45). Our words are the product of how we think, what we feel and our beliefs (Matthew 12:33-35).

Rash or too much talk can lead to sin (Proverbs 13:3); therefore, it is sensible to keep a guard over our words (Proverbs 10:19). To bridle our tongue is a talent that only the perfect person masters, but it would help us to control our whole body (James 3:1-2).

Lies and negative thoughts are like a skein of matted thread, so tangled that they are impossible to unravel. They weave confusion and cause us to miss God’s best for us.

When we believe Satan’s lies, complain or focus on the negative aspects of life, we miss the hand of God bringing blessings from the midst of all our trials (Romans 8:28).

Disparaging thoughts come from a troubled heart and never help us to prosper. They lead to negative words and actions, which cause trouble in so many ways (Proverbs 17:20).

Before we speak, a good rule is to pray first in order to speak the words, which God gives us to say and which will bring glory to Him (1 Peter 4:11). Wholesome, positive, uplifting words.

This is hard to do, especially in any moment of controversy. We are either exonerated or ruined by what we say and do (Matthew 12:37). Praying first gives us the needed boundaries.

Our thoughts affect our beliefs, our emotions and our attitude. We reap the consequences of our words, and they affect our relationships and even our health (Proverbs 8:21).

Therefore, we reap a blessing if we choose to think only about those things, which are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable (Philippians 4:8).

Prayer:
Father God, help us to submit to Your Spirit as You transform our mind, so that we may prove what Your good, acceptable and perfect will is for our life (Romans 12:2). Only a fool keeps on talking (Ecclesiastes 5:3), and an evil man is trapped by his sinful talk. Help us to live a righteous life in our thoughts, words and deed, so that we may escape trouble (Proverbs 12:13).

Thought for the Day:
Let us conduct ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ, and to live with each other in one mind and spirit rather than in arguing. – Philippians 1:27

School of Hard Knocks

Life often sends us through a crash course at the School of Hard Knocks. We feel overwhelmed and hopeless, because of the weight of disappointment smothering the life right out of us.

As authentic Born Again Believers, we have Father God, Brother Jesus and their Spirit – who defend, protect, advise, guide, provide for and love us, so much that Jesus laid down His own life for us (1 John 2:1; John 14:16, 15:13).

We can have faith in God’s faithfulness, because He proves His love for us each moment of every day. He provides a miracle to accompany every trial, such as: spiritual growth, lessons learned, or blessings, which come in spite of our suffering.

In our trials, God surrounds us with His ministering angels, provides for our needs, builds our faith, gives us wisdom to share with others, and uses us as an example of one who maintains faith in God (Hebrews 1:14; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:7; Luke 22:32).

God’s Spirit uses trials to shape in us the fruit of His Spirit: love, joy, faith, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith (Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:3).

God also teaches us contentment, which fills our heart regardless of the severity of the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). God continually abides in us through everything we ever experience (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).

At times, Satan tempts us to blame God for our losses and to feel anger towards Him for what we perceive as Him letting us down. However, God sees the big picture and He allows trials for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, as we live through the school of hard knocks, remind us to adopt an attitude of joyful acceptance and thanksgiving. Help us to focus on Your sovereign purpose in everything we experience (Romans 8:28). Remind us to trust in Your foreknowledge and grace (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 4:16).

Your infinite ways exceed our finite human understanding; therefore, we can always trust that You have our good at heart.
We trust in Your faithfulness to fulfill all of Your promises, even when the circumstances appear hopeless.

Thought for the Day:
Praising God in and through trials helps us to feel contentment in spite of them and gratitude for His presence in us through each one of them. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18; John 17:23

The Problem with Happiness

Happiness is a fleeting emotion, easily interrupted by negative thoughts, words and actions. Humans can experience the switch between the heights of euphoria and the depths of depression in a matter of seconds.

When we seek happiness from areas such as: circumstances, people, events, pets, career, home, gardens, hobbies, and church, we can experience both elation and disappointed.

In disillusionment, we even give in to fear and anxiety. We feel apprehensive about the future. God taught me to find freedom from fear by not focusing on more than one moment at a time.

Fear will dispel happiness quicker and put us in a deeper depression than any other emotion, especially if we suppress the anger, which we feel along with it.

We have the right to pursue happiness, but we cannot maintain it. However, there is good news in the midst of this negative prognosis.

We can continually dwell in an emotion deeper than happiness. This emotion is spiritual and depends solely on the presence of God in our life. It is a fruit, which God’s Spirit works into our nature.

It is also our strength to traverse the negative path we experience in life (Psalm 28:7). There is no earthly issue, which can ever shake us from this positive outlook on life. It is called JOY.

Even during dire circumstances, the Body of Christ world-wide, both in times present and past, is an example of a people who love and trust our amazing God for His constant provision.

Living in continuous joy depends on our focus and attitude. If we focus on the negative circumstances, it affects our attitude and dampens our joy. If we keep our mind on the delight Christ sets before us, we abide in His joy (Hebrews 12:2).

Prayer,
Father God, You reach down Your arms and hold us until our grief and fears are gone (Psalm 68:5). You walk within us and guide us through the depths of grief, distress and insecurity. Regardless of the negative circumstances, Your peace and joy are our constant companions.

You love each of us the same amount and in the same way, regardless of our sinful past. We are confident of Your continual, unconditional love for us (John 3:16-17). This one fact gives us all the joy we need to traverse the worst circumstances we will ever face.

Thought for the Day:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy always comes with the dawning of each new morning. – Psalm 30:5

Our Divine Refuge

There are many rocky roads in this life; but as we traverse them, we can abide in the presence of our Almighty God (Psalm 91:1). Christ dwells within us by His Holy Spirit, who abides in our spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19). Realizing this prevents the negative aspects of our circumstances from adversely affecting our soul: our thoughts, emotions and attitude.

We live in victory, regardless of the situations in which we live or how negatively they are affecting our life. God uses them to develop His character in our soul, and we learn life lessons through persevering in the trials we experience. We also grow spiritually as we develop faith in God’s faithfulness (Romans 5:3-5).

Eventually, we enjoy God’s love in the midst of hateful people; His joy in depressing issues; His peace in our spirit when anxiety threatens to overwhelm our soul; and His patience, because our focus is on the eternal rather than the temporary issues of this earth (Galatians 5:22-23).

We walk cautiously and carefully, as we traverse the mine-field of life (Ephesians 5:15:20). We pour out our heart to God, trust in Him at all times as our mighty Rock, and find our hope in Him alone (Psalm 62:7-8). God’s Word provides us with a lamp to light our way (Psalm 119:105). God’s divine love and attributes fill our soul and spirit, and allow us to make the best of every situation.

We are in the world, but there is no need for us to be affected by this world. God is our refuge and strength, and He is always available to help us in all of our troubling times (Psalm 46:1). We no longer worry about the world around us, because God is the sanctuary in which we reside. He is our lifelong fortress from the world and its troubles.
Prayer:
Father God, change occurs in our spirit as a result of Your completed work of redemption. Then Your Spirit gradually influences our soul and behavior as You renew our mind through sanctification (Hebrews 10:10-14, 12:23; 1 John 3:9). You completely seal us in soul and spirit with Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Thank You for teaching us to be heavenly minded, rather than carnally minded (Colossians 3:2). We continually praise and glorify You throughout the day, as we serve You in the calling and vocation Your prepared for us before we were ever born (Psalm 31:4; Mark 13:30; Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
As we abide in Christ, God works out all of the details of our life for our good. – Romans 8:28; John 15:3