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.

Natural and Spiritual Mind

The natural mind cannot comprehend spiritual truth with the intellect. Without the Holy Spirit of God resident within our spirit, God’s truth seems foolish (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Without the Spirit of God, we pick and choose what we want to believe from the Bible, if anything at all. We attend church services to feel good and make friends. We may even find a place of service in the church and community.

Our inner being needs strengthening by God’s Spirit, so that we can receive Christ in our spirit (Ephesians 3:16). If anyone is willing to trade pride and rebellion for humility and submission to God’s Spirit we can experience salvation (Matthew 5:5).

Then God fills us through our entire being with all of His fullness and gives us the richest portion of His presence, so we become a body completely filled with all of God Himself (Ephesians 3:17-19).

As we are quiet before the Lord, He inspires us (Psalm 46:10). Christ abides within us by His Spirit, influencing our thoughts, words and deeds; helping us to fulfill God’s pre-ordained purpose for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

We stop stressing over life, or attempting to find God’s will, or to make a living and to amass worldly goods. We enter God’s rest, and He floods us with His peace and joy regardless of life’s circumstances.

God directs each moment of our day and provides for our every need (Proverbs 3:5-6). We are the only Bible some people will ever see, so let us live life in God’s fullness and righteousness.

We exemplify to them God’s reality, love and peace, which transcends all human understanding. We are the branch on the Vine, bearing fruit used by a lost and dying world to nourish their souls and strengthen their spirit, so that they too can believe (Ephesians 3:16; Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, we realize that all of You dwells in every Believer at the moment of salvation; but Your Word teaches us that we can increase the intimacy of our union with You (Psalm 42:1-2; Zephaniah 3:17; John 14:21).

Remind us to pursue You rather than worldly gain, and to taste and see just how good You really are (Psalm 34:8; Hebrews 6:5). Your Word is sweeter than fresh honey to our mouth (Psalm 119:103). We delight in You always and rejoice in Your presence in us through every trial and tribulation we ever experience in this sin cursed world (Philippians 4:4; Psalm 37:4; Matthew 28:10).

Thought for the Day:
At the coming of Christ, the whole earth will be filled with His glory, just as the waters now cover the earth. – Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34

Jesus is All We Need

God orchestrates the losses, broken heart, difficult trials, and painful tribulation in our life to bring us to the place of total surrender to His love and our perfect submission to His will.

The quicker we come to the place of complete compliance to His will, the fewer negative aspects enter our life.

The less we trust in and cherish the temporal aspects of this life, the fewer losses we experience.

The more intimate we grow in our union with Christ, the less we experience the negative effects of trauma.

We are not devastated by our losses, because nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). We will not lose Christ, and He is all we really need.

We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). We have all wisdom, right standing with God, holiness and redemption in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).

His grace is sufficient to uphold us in any tragedy or insufficiency, which we face in this world (2 Corinthians 12:9). In Christ, we have every spiritual blessing, which heaven has to offer us (Ephesians 1:3).

God perfects us and sanctifies us in Christ (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus is not an option to add to our life; He is our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

He is our peace, and He breaks down every wall, which stands in our way (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus is our treasure hidden within us; our pearl of great price; our coin, which was lost, but now is found (Matthew 13:45-46; Luke 15:8-10; 2 Corinthians 4:7).

Jesus is our all in all (Ephesians 4:6). He contains all the fullness of the Trinity (Colossians 2:9), and He triumphed over our enemies through His death (Colossians 2:15).

He gives us victory through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:55). Jesus is all we need (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Prayer:

Father God, thank You that through Christ we have redemption through His blood and forgiveness for our sins. He is Your actual image and through Him everything was created and is under His authority. He is our all sufficiency (Colossians 1:13-16).

Remind us that the philosophy of man and the cares of this world are nothing when compared to the majesty of Christ on high. We give Him all of our praise and the glory for everything we ever accomplish through Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:

Through Christ we find our right standing with God and enter a spiritual life, which never ends.

The Futility of Worse Case Scenarios

Painful incidences teach us to be wary of life and to fear the future. We imagine situations that may never occur. These are called “worse case scenarios.”

In order to feel powerful over life, we rehearse these invented circumstances in our imagination, trying to come up with coping skills to deal with any event, which may possibly attempt to blindside us.

This habit causes us to squander our human assets in time, money and energy on an event, which may never happen.

This pattern may also cause a negative attitude toward life and may even result in depression or addictions to provide us with an illusory defense from future pain.

Sometimes, unnecessary and malicious punishment cause us to grow up taking our self too seriously, never learning to laugh at our self or trust anyone in life.

We cannot even trust God, because we harbor the false belief that He allows bad things to happen to us; when actually sin in the world is the real culprit here.

Some people make no decisions at all for fear of making a mistake. If we do make the wrong choice, we overreact and berate our self over our lapse in judgment.

We worry endlessly over things we have said or done, fearing that others will reject us. We rehash past and future conversations in our mind, which does not help at all.

These emotions then fuel negative and addictive habits that we use to cope with our buried feelings. We use them to prevent ourselves from feeling our fears, or to silence the negative thoughts playing over and over in our mind.

These thoughts may be attached to some past experience or connected to some fear regarding the future.

When we put our worries to rest, we will find a whole new world of creativity and expression without the fear of failure and judgment from our self or others. We have God’s pervading, abiding peace.

Even if someone disagrees with our opinion, or if we make a mistake, we have no need to fear disapproval. Christ died to take away our fear, insecurities and condemnation (Romans 8:1-2)

Prayer:
Father God, as long as we do our best, that is all You require of us. You liberate us from the crippling effects of fear and condemnation. We enjoy new mental and physical health, restful sleep and peace-filled days without dread of the future (Proverbs 3:24).

As we seek You and focus on Your Kingdom on the earth, You provide all of our needs from Your glorious riches (Philippians 4:19). Thank You for healing us of our need to engage in worse case scenarios to feel the false security they provide. We give You all the praise, glory and honor for our freedom in Christ (Colossians 1:27).

Thought for the Day:
Serenity comes when we ask God to give us wisdom as we make a list of the things, which we can deal with our self; make another list of things we need to ask other people for help to deal with; and lastly make a list of the things we need to leave in God’s capable hands.

God’s Peace

God gives us the choice to use our life to either serve Him, self or Satan (John 3:16-18). We human beings search for peace all of our life, usually exploring all the wrong places, until we find Christ. When God’s Spirit reveals the reality of Christ to us, we turn from the dark life of separation from God to the spiritual walk of light and life (Romans 8:9).

There are two types of spiritual peace. One is peace with God, and the other is the peace of God. Both of these transcend any earthly peace we experience. They are true and present within us, regardless of our outer circumstances. God’s peace blesses us in every area of our life.

Peace with God comes when we surrender our life to Christ and trust Him to save us from our sins. He leads us in His daily will for us as we reject the influence of the world, the flesh and Satan (1 Thessalonians 1:9; John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:10). God wraps us in His wisdom and strength. As children of God, we receive all the benefits of adoption into God’s Kingdom through our unity with Jesus, God’s Son and Heir (Acts 26:18).

The peace of God is a fruit of His Spirit, which we receive at salvation. It manifests in us as we rely on His Spirit instead of our human strength and accomplishments. We allow the peace of God to rule in our heart and to affect our body, soul and spirit (Colossians 3:15). We live by the faith of God’s Son, who dwells in us by His Spirit, and we trust Him to work out everything in our life for our good (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, we can never receive more of You than we have at Salvation, because You move into our spirit with all the attributes and power of the Trinity. However, we can enjoy more intimacy with You in correlation to how much time we spend with You each day. The more of our flesh, which we surrender to the Cross of Christ, the more of Your fullness we experience (Ephesians 3:19). We can never control life, but You always work things out for our good (Romans 8:28). In the midst of the storms of life, Your peace keeps us calm within and gives us wisdom for every situation, which we face (John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
As His Word dwells within us, God’s peace, which defies human comprehension, guards and rules in our soul – our mind, choices and emotions. – Colossians 3:16; Philippians 4:7

Self-Confidence or God-Confidence

There is nothing on this earth that I want more than to be filled through all of my being with all of the fullness of God, and to have the richest measure of His presence until I completely overflow with God Himself (Ephesians 3:19). This starts at Salvation when we receive all of God’s fullness. He moves in by His Spirit with all of His glory and power.

I know that there is no way to contain more of God, because His fullness already abides in Believers; but I do want to experience a fuller awareness of His presence and leading. Too often, we are so full of our self, that we miss out on the fullness of God within us. The more we allow our flesh and self-confidence to dictate our life, the less we walk in the Spirit.

We need to surrender to God the self-assured part of our identity in order to trust Him. People with a high opinion of their assets have so much to overcome, but those who suffer with self-doubt and who lack self-esteem are closer to walking in the Spirit. The uncertain, timid person is already light years ahead of most people. Insecure people trust God more than those who are secure in their self.

What we need more than self-confidence in our human attributes is our confidence and identity in God. John advised us to decrease, so that Christ in us may increase (John 3:30). We gain our identity in who we are in Christ, not in who we are as a person. There is nothing, which God calls us to do, that we cannot accomplish, once we realize the extent of His power within us (Philippians 4:13).

If we list our human assets and talents, we discover the gifts God gave us. For instance, what are we good at? What positive character traits do we already have? These are the areas where God is already shining through us. We are His light in the world (Matthew 5:16). God lives in us, and we have all the power of the godhead working through us. Now, that fact will improve any self-image!

Prayer:
Father God, when we face challenges in life, which overwhelm our faith, we are tempted to roll up our sleeves and apply some human effort to the problem. We fail to realize our limited human resources. Remind us that the nation of Israel faced such an issue at the outskirts of Canaan, and felt like grasshoppers. They wandered in the wilderness, because they thought they had to rely on their human effort rather than on Yours. Give us the faith to follow the leading of Your Holy Spirit each moment of every day.

Thought for the Day:
When we gain our identity from Christ in us, rather than from our human capabilities or insufficiencies, we accomplish everything, which God calls us to do.

Lightening Our Load

There are times when circumstances overwhelm us. Our life is riddled with disease, broken relationships and material losses. Negative emotions fill the void left behind by these severe issues. They cause us to withdraw, to lose hope and to feel weary and uninspired. We cannot seem to lift our head up off the pillow.

There are thousands of people in your sphere of influence, who all feel the same way that you do. They are looking for someone like you who will understand the place that they are in and to reach out to them and pray for them. You can take tiny steps at first. Go to your small group and share your experience. You may find others there who can relate to your experiences.

As you feel better, you can learn a new hobby. You will meet new people in the classes you take, which are potential new friends. Some of them will encourage you, and you will encourage others. You can join the YMCA or a fitness club and lose weight. That will enhance your self-image and physical well-being. Volunteer at your church by serving in a ministry or helping in the office or the nursery.

Play a game on the computer to improve your mental concentration and to bring some joy into your life. Get interested in your neighbors and lighten their load in some way. Giving your time and attention to others will also ease your burden and give you less time for Satan to drench you with self-pity. Follow your passion and get involved, so you can put down your heavy burdened, and feel less lonely.

Prayer:
Father God, help us to turn to You in our time of need. You provide these trials to draw us closer to You. Remind us that being busy is helpful, but spending time with You is even more appealing. We grow in our intimacy and love for You and we receive direction from Your Spirit. Remind us to allow You to use us to lighten the burden from someone else’s shoulders (Galatians 6:2).

Thought for the Day:
As we help others to deal with their issues, we will help our self at the same time.