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.

Hearing from God

In my attempts to walk in the Spirit, God is using some unusual object lessons to teach me some valuable lessons. For instance, during a shopping trip, God impressed upon my spirit to check out the sales in the shoe department for pool shoes.

I already possessed a wondrous pair of Speedo pool shoes, so I spent the rest of my time in the store praising God for His abundant provision for me.

The next day, the very next day, my shoes were stolen at the pool. My Father God attempted to provide for me before I even realized my need. However, I chose to praise instead of to obey (1 Samuel 15:22).

The fine tuning of my spiritual ears made a giant leap that day. I ended up ordering a cheap pair of pool shoes online; however, for the following week, I had to wear my shower shoes to the pool.

The flip flop construction of the shower shoes rubbed a bruise on the bones between the toes of both of my feet. Even after the new pool shoes came in the mail, those bruises were a painful reminder to not only listen, but also to obey the leading of God’s Spirit.

Another morning I woke up and the Spirit told me to go out and fertilize my garden plants. I anticipated doing this the next time it rained, but I did not want to go outside before I was even fully awake.

I listened to Mother Nature murmurings outside as I rolled out from under my covers, and realized that it was already pouring rain outside. I wanted to snuggle back under my covers and snooze a while longer.

Remembering my bruised toes, I immediately slipped on my house dress and pool shoes, grabbed the bag of flower fertilizer and went outside.

The rain instantly gentled to a slow drizzle while I spread the nutrients around my three flower gardens. As I washed my hands in the kitchen sink after the chore, I enjoyed the beauty of one of the gardens outside of my window.

I also noticed that the drizzle changed back to a pouring rain – God’s perfect timing. I am so glad that this time I obeyed His Spirit immediately, or I would have resembled a drowned rat if I waited until I fully woke up to obey.

God graciously gave me that perfect window of time to nurture my plants. I see a pattern developing. God rewards all of my efforts to obey, as I learn to walk in His Spirit each moment of my day.

Prayer:
Father God, You are not really interested in pool shoes and flower gardens, but You certainly do care about my obedience to Your Spirit. You have a perfect work for me to do with my life (Ephesians 2:10). As I walk in Your Spirit, I will see the fruit of Your labors through my body, soul and spirit (Galatians 2:20, 5:15-25).

Thank You for caring so much for each individual part of Your Body (1 Corinthians 12:12). We would never have enough time to give You the praise You deserve, if it was not for the fact that we will live for eternity and worship with the angels around Your throne.

Thought for the Day:
To obey the Lord is much more important than making sacrifices for His glory.

– 1 Samuel 15:22

Health and Well Being – Part 2

God fashioned humans as a triune being: body, soul and spirit. He created our body from the dust of the ground, breathed into our spirit His breath of life and formed us into a living soul (Genesis 2:7). When our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions – is neglected, it attempts to draw our attention to our legitimate needs, which require fulfillment.

If we neglect our needs, our Inner Child, which the Psalmist alluded to (Psalm 131:2), will make sure our body and spirit are also effected by this mental and emotional deprivation (Psalm 107:5-6). Mind-related illnesses cause our muscular, nervous, respiratory and vascular systems to break down. They are called psychosomatic illnesses. These have no physical cause or explanation.

Our dreams and negative emotions are two more avenues, which the soul uses to attempt to bring our needs to our conscious awareness. Our overall health depends on us heeding these messages. At times, as the psalmist realized, our soul is like a child and must be weaned (Psalm 131:2). If the Inner Child controls our thoughts, words and deeds, we never grow up.

Alternately, many of us work all day long to provide for the needs of other people and neglect our own needs. God created us to care for our own needs as well (Mark 12:31). This is not selfish unless our whole focus is on our self, or if we care for our self to the detriment of others. God’s Spirit will lead us into a healthy balance of nurturing our self and others.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we can give our soul a wholesome treat every day! Walking in nature, a healthy snack, chatting with close friends, hobbies, reading Your Word, writing a letter or email, relaxing in the sun and nurturing a garden are just a few healthy choices. Help us to discover what makes our thoughts and emotions happy. We want to make Godly choices, which meet our needs and to help us to nurture others as well.

Thought for the Day:
If we neglect our soul, we are only 2/3 of a person! If we do not nurture our soul, one whole third of our self is crippled.

Keep Vigilant Watch

In the process of moving from one house to another, my husband went back for yet another load of boxes. As he opened the house door, his arms encumbered with a teetering stack of our worldly treasures, he noticed a black racer snake paused just outside. In a flash, the racy reptile slipped between his feet and into the house.

Gently tossing the boxes into our vehicle, he hurried in hot pursuit of the sleek, slithering black ribbon. By this time the snake was scared out of his mind and his only thought was, “Get me out of here!” Through several rooms in the house, this awkward duo danced a duet, trying to outsmart one another.

Finally, with a stroke of genius, my husband opened the front door again and got behind the snake. The wary hunter paused for just a moment, eyeing up his options, then raced through the gaping opening in seconds and sought cover in the garden plants.

This detour in his plans and the adrenalin of his pursuit caused my husband to grab a drink of water and sit to rest in the only chair left in our house. Satan does this very thing in our lives. He lurks just outside the door to our soul – our mind, will and emotions, and waits for the narrowest opening to dart right in and cause havoc in our life.

He gives us a merry chase, taxing our spiritual power and exhausting our soul’s supply of energy. Without wisdom from above, he might get the upper hand; but if we seek God’s counsel, the Lord always shows us how to defeat the devil’s schemes (James 4:7). Even better, we can prevent his entrance by keeping a vigilant watch over the door to our soul (Proverbs 4:23).

Prayer:
Father God, if we wear the full armor You provided for us, polished and ready for battle, we can stand our ground, protected from the wily snares of the devil (Ephesians 6:13; 2 Timothy 2: 26). We have no need to fear, because Christ in us is greater than Satan and his hoard of demons (1 John 4:4). Jesus already won the victory over sin and death and His divinity abides in each one of us (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Thought for the Day:
As we submit to God, and resist the devil, he has to flee from us.
– James 4:7