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.

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Worry Never Helps

Worrying is the world’s favorite pastime. Our emotional, spiritual, physical and mental powers diminish when we give in to worry. We make our self sick in body, soul and spirit by worrying.

Doctors write a score of prescriptions each day for anxiety-related illnesses, such as: anxiety, apathy, headaches, decreases in our immune system, increases in blood pressure, insomnia, and even bad habits such as grinding teeth and biting nails.

Worry is a negative emotion and is very self-destructive. I believe that worry comes from a subconscious fear that we are basically vulnerable and unprotected.

Worry influences our thinking, decisions, opinions and reactions to life. People who worry cannot relax and enjoy life. We fail to trust God with our life (Matthew 6:25-34).

Most worriers grow up in dysfunctional households and/or have traumatic negative experiences in life. Worriers have low self-esteem caused by one or more shaming incidences perpetrated by our parents or someone we respect or love.

Worry takes our mind off the here and now and keeps it as either a prisoner of the past or trapped in an imagined future full of worse case scenarios. Surrendering them all to God is our only hope.

Understanding our worries can diminish their intensity and possibly eradicate them completely. Ask yourself, “What is causing me to worry?” “What is bothering me right now?” “What happened to put this fear in my mind?” Journal the answers and pray about God’s resolution for each one.

Prayer:
Father God, we worry because we believe that we have to maintain control over every aspect of our life in order to keep our self and our loved ones safe. Parents worry about children, wives worry about husbands and career, husband’s worry about their family and work related issues, and everyone worries about having their basics needs met.

Remind us that the best way not to worry is to follow the advice of Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (TLB) Lord, we trust You to make even the bad events in our life to work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Thought for the Day:
Worry can paralyze us into inactivity and limit our productivity and inventiveness.

Why Believe in God?

Why not believe in God? What is the alternative? We can rely on our self, our career, other people or addictions of some kind, but these are not stable or eternal. The fulfilled prophecies of the Bible prove that it is worthy of our confidence in its Words. They are life, and they give us a road map to follow in this unstable world in which we live.

God knows us intimately, and deeply cares about us (2 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 2:20; Psalm 139:13). Our God of Hope fills us with all joy and peace. As we trust in Him, we will overflow with His hope by the power of His Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). This hope in God does not disappoint us, because God poured out His love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom He also gave to us as our Comforter and Guide (Romans 5:5; John 14:26).

We are blessed when we place our hope in the Lord, our God, from whom comes our help (psalm 146:5). God knows exactly how we feel and He cares about us, even if people do not understand us (Hebrews 4:15). Our faith, knowledge and eternal hope rests on our God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 7:19; Acts 26:6). When we develop the mindset that we ultimately need no one but God for our life and our future, we are truly free (John 8:36).

Our Heavenly Father gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. God is great in His mercy. He is our future and our inheritance, which will never perish, be destroyed or fade away (1 Peter 1:3-4). We can place our faith and hope in God, because He raised Christ from the dead and restored to Him His great glory (1 Peter 1:21).

Prayer:
Father God, You removed our fleshly tendencies by the circumcision of Christ, You buried us with Him in His baptism and You raised us up with Him, because we have faith in Your plan for our salvation (Colossians 2:11-12). Now our flesh is dead with Christ, but we also live in Him (Romans 6:8; Colossians 3:3). He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4). As our love for You increases, our connection to this world decreases, and our intimacy with You intensifies.

Thought for the Day:
We wait expectantly for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus, the Messiah.
– Titus 2:13; Acts 24:15

Following in Jesus’ Footsteps

As humans, we devote hours to gaining proficiency in our career, hobby, talent or sport. We sacrifice everything else in our life to acheive greatness in this one field. Yet, in our walk with God, our most important relationship, we barely give Him one hour a week. We decide that since our eternal destination is secure, we do not need to put any more time or effort into a relationship with Him.

 

Is our eternal desitination really secure? Praying a prayer, getting baptized, attending church on Easter and Christmas, reading our Bible and believing in God do not insure our salvation. True, authentic Born Again salvation will give us the desire to sacrifice all for God. Jesus is the pearl of great price; and we willingly give up everything to attain a deeper relationship with Him (Matthew 13:45-46).

 

God desires an intimate relationship with us; that is why He created us. When we finally come to the point of total surrender to God, He leads us into His perfect, everlasting rest (Hebrews 4:10). We are living stones with which He is building His holy temple (1 Peter 2:4-6; 1 Corinthians 6:19). He is faithful, and we can trust Him with our current and future life as we seek Him only and always.

 

Jesus is our very life (Colossians 3:4). Almighty God is ever ready to shine forth His light and life into our hearts each moment of our day. The Holy Spirit abides in us, leading and directing each step, which we surrender to Him. We can trust the Trinity to work out every aspect of our life for our good (Romans 8:28). Jesus lives His divine life in and through us (2 Peter 1:3-4).

 

Jesus gave 33 years of His life to show us an example of how to live a Spirit-filled life. He walked, talked and demonstrated the power of God in human form. We have this same Christ in us and we can follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He lived in complete dependence upon our Father God, absolute surrender to His will and total trust in His guidance and power (John 5:17-30). We have His same character within us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Jesus knew that without You He could do nothing (John 5:17-30). He communed with You throughout His life and looked to You to fill Him with everything He needed in power and majesty. Remind us that You are in control of our life and You did not give us our life to squander in seeking earthly riches and relationships. We are the branches of the Vine of Christ and Your Holy Spirit is the sap which empowers each branch to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

 

Thought for the Day:

We are dead to sin and alive to God, a living sacrifice for our Father’s use. – Romans 6:11; 12:1