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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Life’s Disappointments

Considering the disappointments of our past, the uncertainty of our future and the unexpected surprises which meet us with each new day, we often feel frightened by a world that can be very overwhelming.

We always wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people. We search our soul to discover if we did something to deserve the trials we are experiencing. We shrink from the pain and suffering inflicted upon us.

Regret and anger over our past mistakes, depression and loneliness in our current experiences and hopelessness and fear concerning the future make us regret the day we were ever born.

Yet, when we allow God to open the eyes of our understanding and to open our hearts to His eternal love, our life takes on a whole new meaning.

Our compassionate Lord experienced the same degree of suffering and degradation, which we do; and He understands how we feel. He suffered so much more than we ever will and He did it all for us.

He uses the sin-caused circumstances of daily living to strengthen our character, perfect our patience and draw us ever closer to His bleeding heart (James 1:4-8).

He is our hope, and our expectations are in Him alone. Apart from Him, there is no joy and peace in this life. He satisfies our longings and fills our empty soul (Psalm 107:9).

He heals broken hearts, answers our doubts, calms our fears, strengthens our endurance and gives us hope for a tomorrow filled with His presence, regardless of our circumstances.

Prayer:
Father God, we depend on your mercy to see us through this life, on Your grace to make us victorious over every negative experience, and Your goodness to give us a miracle from every trial. From Old Testament examples and New Testament encouragement we realize that You are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

You help us to remain faithful regardless of our experiences, never losing hope, never slandering Your name and always walking in Your righteousness; so we do not cause anyone to doubt Your goodness. Nothing can ever separate us from Your love except the distance that we put between You and us (Romans 8:35-39).

Thought for the Day:
As we are fully aware and present in each moment of life, we see how God is weaving them into a beautiful tapestry for us to enjoy.

Renewed Mind – Part 4 – God-Given Emotions

Our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is a vital part of who we are as human beings. Ignoring our soul only stunts our growth both in our soul and in our spirit.

A need for attention, dependence on others, and fear of being alone are results of abandonment issues from our childhood. Destructive acts, pouting, self-centeredness and temper tantrums all stem from deep deprivation and anger from our past.

Our lack of self-awareness and failure to accept our emotions will compound our past wounds, which we carry with us every day of our life, some of them since conception.

Our relationships suffer due to emotional, behavioral and mental deficits. Psychologically, we are stuck in the unresolved issues of our past, which prevent us from experiencing adulthood with a mature attitude.

We fail to succeed in most of our endeavors due to the lack of adult persistence, self-control and planning. Some of us are consumed with anger and unforgiveness, which we internalize.

This results in depression for which we take medication. This simply masks the pain in our soul and causes more grief as well as physical ailments such as headaches, and stomach and breathing and heart related issues.

If we allow our self to feel our anger, we can work through it to the grief buried within our subconscious mind (Ephesians 4:26). We can journal our thoughts and feelings, and ask God to help us to find the root cause of our grief and other negative emotions.

Never apologize for your emotions. God gave them to us. They are either a sign of sickness in our soul, a precaution to keep us safe, and an expression of the joy He places in the heart of His children (Proverbs 16:32, 17:22, 19:8; Ephesians 4:26-27).

After we identify the source of our negative emotions, we can grieve our losses and affirm and validate our feelings. Then we pray for God’s wisdom and healing, we forgive the perpetrators, who wounded us and caused our grief; and we move into the freedom and rest of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:5; John 8:36).

Prayer:
Father God, there are few of us on this earth who did not experience some form of abuse in our lifetime. We never learned to handle our emotions and often sin because of them. We may minimize, disassociate from or magnify our feelings; but teach us to learn from them, and to bring them to You for understanding and healing.

Help us to stop blaming our self for the abuse we suffered; to release the pent up energy from our negative emotions without sinning against You or someone else; and to allow our self to cry and grieve our losses. Then we can release the incident to You and find Your forgiveness for those who wounded us.

Thought for the Day:
God and Christ both gave us clear examples of how emotions are a normal and healthy part of life.

God’s Comfort through Grief

The death of an intimate relative is one of the most challenging, disturbing, overwhelming, and painful experiences we may ever survive. Grief shakes our core foundations and creates devastating and sometimes unrelenting loss and chaos in our life.

For a period of time, depression dampens all of our activities and feelings, and it interrupts our normal schedule. Grief has even been known to hasten the death of the surviving partner or parent.

Our life may never totally recover after the loss of a loved one. At best, life will take a new course, which brings change and fear of the unknown. This change is often one we would never select if we had a choice.

Grief may even accompany the loss of a cherished personal possession, a pet, or even financial security or a part of our body. Aging also produces aspects of grief as we experience the loss of friends, health, physical appearance, energy, family support and memory.

Divorce is another loss from which some people never recover. It causes traumatic grief in most cases, which is similar to or even more distressing than a death, because our mate chooses to leave us.

Each person alive experiences grief in some form or other in their lifetime. Even minor losses will trigger heartache. Grief from former losses will accumulate over the years and add to the sorrow we feel in current losses.

That is why it is important to allow our self the time and opportunity to grieve until we feel closure from any loss as it arises. Ignoring or suppressing grief compounds this devastating emotion in our soul.

Taking our grief to God allows us to heal more completely than if we try to heal on our own. His solace provides peace and joy, which surpasses human reasoning and emotion. We feel His presence within us, filling us and lifting us up.

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for walking with us through the valleys of grief we experience throughout our lifetime. Your comfort transcends any mantras we utter or human counsel we receive during these times of loss.

We come to You and Your Word and find our wellbeing through Your life-giving truth and wisdom. We know we will see our saved loved ones again, but please fill their void in our life with more of Your presence than we ever felt before now.

Thought for the Day:
God brings physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual healing to us in every instance of grief we experience during our lifetime.

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

The Truth about Forgiveness

Sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is our self. We struggle with forgiving the intrusion inflicted on us by others; but we often find it easier to forgive their insults and violation than to forgive our self.

 

If we refuse to forgive others, the resulting bitterness is a malignancy, which invades our body, soul and spirit; yet, if we choose to forgive, we do not excuse their behavior, but we set our self free from the bondage unforgiveness causes (Ephesians 4:31-32).

 

Our refusal to forgive our self, will inflict these same results in our body, soul and spirit (Proverbs 10:12). We grow bitter at our self for disappointing our self or someone else, or for failing to meet up to our own idealistic standards.

 

Bitterness attracts other negative emotions, such as shame, depression and hopelessness. We accuse our self of ineptitude, carelessness, greediness and thoughtlessness.

 

When we make choices that turn out badly, we are disappointed and hold a grudge against our self. These grudges fester and affect our future choices, our reactions to others and our feelings about our self (Hebrews 12:15).

 

We end up in a downward spiral, which keeps us locked into negative thoughts, emotions and future behavior (Colossians 3:8). Therefore, it is imperative that we forgive even our self (Luke 6:37; Proverbs 20:22).

 

There is no sin too wicked to receive God’s forgiveness. God’s Word tells us that to lust is equal to fornication or rape, and to hate is the same as murder (Matthew 5:21, 28). God considers all sins equal in their depravity.

 

When we forgive our self and others, we humble our pride, admit that we are human and open our soul up to God’s immeasurable grace (Hebrews 4:16). When bitterness no longer takes up space in our heart, we feel God’s peace and joy filling the void.

 

We bask in God’s love for us, and His love empowers us to love our self and others. God calls us to forgive our human tendency to wound our self and one another (Psalm 103:12).

 

Prayer:

Father God, teach us humility through our foibles and failures. It is only in our weakness that we reach out to You. Help us to understand that to forgive our self and others is to free our self from the bondage of bitterness and unforgiveness (John 18:15-27).

 

Help us to relax our impossible standards and to allow our self and others to be human (Philippians 3:13). Remind us that our prayers are hindered by negative emotions; yet, when we forgive and focus on the life of Christ within us, You can forgive us and open the windows of heaven to pour out Your blessings on our life (Mark 11:25; Malachi 3:10).

 

Thought for the Day:

When we choose to forgive our self and others for being human, we allow our self the opportunity to experience the forgiveness and unconditional love of God in all of its fullness. – 1 John 1:9

 

 

 

 

 

 

Focusing on the Eternal

I was born with a melancholy personality. Over the years of my life, God’s Spirit transformed many of the negative melancholy characteristics into His fruit. I went from a reclusive introvert to a spirit-filled extrovert.

I used to drown in depression, but now I only experience brief moments of melancholy. My former pessimism is swallowed up by optimistic faith in God’s faithfulness (Hebrews 12:2). It is all a matter of our focus.

Do we see the glass half empty or half full? We make innumerable choices every day, all day. If we use the Philippians 4:8-9 formula, we will choose to think about, say and do only positive words and deeds.

We keep our mind on eternal matters, rather than on worldly, carnal aspects of life. “God promises that if we take care of His business, He will take care of ours” – Kevin Bradley (Matthew 6:33).

Unless we are reaping some corruption, which we sowed into our life, there is nothing that will happen to us, which is not already part of God’s plan for us. Give the truth of this statement some time to sink into your soul.

We no longer tremble in fear of the next natural disaster, relational issue or financial loss devastating us. God has all of this, every single part of it, under His sovereign control. He has a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Although the destruction accompanying trials seems horrendous at the time, there is always a seed for a miracle in the midst of the catastrophe, and it will eventually turn out for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, you never allow Your Saints, whom You make righteous in Christ, to go hungry (Proverbs 10:3; Psalm 37:25). When we honor and obey You, we lack no good thing (Psalms 34:9-10). When we trust in You, we prosper in every area of our life (Proverbs 28:25). We are Your adopted children, because of our position in Christ (Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:20). You are our good and loving Father and You care about every aspect of our life.

Thought for the Day:
We serve a living Savior and minister at the pleasure of our King.