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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Exacting Revenge

Revenge is sweet, or so they say. We plot and plan our next encounter and how we will get the jump on our enemy’s rude and spiteful behavior.

We set up a cycle of events in order to position our self to put our enemies in their place and to hurt them before they can hurt us. We despise them more with each breath we take.

Yet, revenge leaves us feeling empty. As Believers we even regret our display of ungodly behavior. Our vindictive and vengeful thoughts and actions take a toll on our spirit, and grieve the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:30).

It seems impossible to love our enemies. They taunt us, thwart us and stab us in the back every chance they get. We are willing to struggle with the concept of not hating them; but loving them is going a bit too far.

There is good news. We do not need to feel emotional affection to love our enemies, just a heart, which is surrendered to Christ.

When we love Christ more than we love our self, we can love our enemies with His Agape love. We grow to desire that our enemies will prosper and to experience the love of God, which we enjoy.

We can minister to our enemy’s physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and mental needs when God prompts us. He shows us opportunities to share His love with them.

God’s Word, which richly fills our soul, helps us to have meekness in order to walk away from the temptation to inflict revenge on our enemies (James 1:21).

God walks with us and in us through the dark night of our soul (Psalm 139:17-18). He rewards our faithfulness to walk in His truth. He roots us in His love and builds us up in His presence.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that vengeance is Yours and You will repay our enemies for their treatment of us. Help us to kill our enemies with kindness, pricking their conscience with our loving behavior toward them (Romans 12:20).

Soften their heart toward us. Show us the root of their feelings, which cause them to despise us. Use us to help them to heal from their wounds which cause them to bully us and others.

Cause their reasons for attacking us to diminish; and if nothing else, make them just walk away and leave us alone. In all things, help us to prosper even as our soul prosper when we follow Your will for our life (3 John 1:2).

Thoughts for the Day:
God establishes our faith in His faithfulness; and we abound in our gratitude to Him. – Colossians 2:6-7

More Than We Can Bear

Jesus brings us into right relationship with God, by bearing the ransom for our sins and giving us new life in Him both now and for all eternity (Romans 4:25; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 2:24). We have more than blind faith that His love is ours.

Although God will not give us more temptation than we can resist, because He always gives us a way to repel it (1 Corinthians 10:13), there is no verse in the Bible, which guarantees that God will not give us more tribulation than we can bear.

In fact, God actually does give us more tribulation than we can bear. That may sound pessimistic and you may not believe me, but just look up the verse and see that it refers to temptation, not trials (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The good news is that God never gives us more negative circumstances than HE can bear, and He lives within us (Colossians 1:17; Galatians 2:20). He has compassion on us and is only a prayer away (Psalms 103:13).

We also have one another when we experience tribulation. God’s Holy Spirit orchestrates all of our lives as His Body. When we work together, each one doing his/her part (Ephesians 4:16), then we all flourish.

When one member of His Body suffers tribulation, we all suffer; and when one is honored, we all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). There is no jealousy in the body of Christ. We strengthen one another and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).

Prayer:
Father God, You are the one constant in our life. You never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We can count on Your presence in our life to comfort, direct, encourage and abide within us. We love knowing You in a personal, intimate relationship. We hunger and thirst after a holier life and a deeper connection with You (Matthew 5:6; Psalm 107:9). Thank You for giving us a taste of eternity right here on this earth (John 17:3).

Thought for the Day:
We live in continual communication with the One in whom we place our hope; and He gives us strength to victoriously overcome the trials we face.

Good News for the Distressed

The Psalms is a great place to spend time when you are distressed or in trouble of any kind. Poor David and his friends, who contributed to the Psalms, experienced all of the negative emotions we are prone to today. They journaled their feelings and then usually ended up praising God before the Psalm is finished. What a great example to us.

There is no shame in having a bad day, experiencing emotional trouble in your heart or feeling stress (Psalm 25:17). We all experience negative thoughts and emotions, which are triggered by daily life. In addition to these current negative emotions, we also have emotional baggage from our past. In former experiences, we left segments of our true self along the road we have traveled.

Current incidents draw from the negative emotions we felt in these former traumatic conflicts. Names, places, colors, smells, topics of conversation or TV dramas, ornamental objects, etc. may all trigger memories from our past, which caused us pain or distress. All of that negative emotion comes to the surface and adds to our current emotions.

Satan will plant a lie in each of these negative incidents. If we take time to explore these former experiences, we can resolve those conflicts and clean up some of our emotional baggage, which we accumulated over the years. This prevents these past events from influencing our future and controlling our current life. We put a stop to Satan’s torment.

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Prayer:
Father God, the devil is out to steal our joy, kill our ministry and destroy our relationships (John 10:10). We no longer need to give him permission or suffer from his torment. Help us to persevere in prayer with Your Spirit in a quiet, undisturbed place and time. Remind us to journal, so we have a way to vent our pent-up emotions. You will reveal to us the issues at the root of our feelings, and You will heal us with Your Word of Truth by Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit within us knows the exact time and place these trauma’s occurred, and He will take us back to that memory, uncover Satan’s lie and heal our emotions. This discontinues the current pain, which haunts us from the past.

It Really is Your Choice

Jesus Christ provided for a way for us to enjoy the glories of Heaven (John 6:44; Acts 4:12, 16:30-31). He is the only way for us to receive redemption. That is why Christians are always sharing the good news of the Gospel of Christ. We may get on someone’s nerves, but we share God’s Truth for their benefit, not our own. We are already Born Again and our place in Heaven is already reserved.

What about your place in Heaven? Have you repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your personal Savior (John 3:16)? Have you surrendered your life to His redeeming grace and realized the benefits of living in His family now and forever? There are multiple ways to enter eternity, but only one leads to Heaven; all the rest lead to hell (John 3:18).

Satan is very cunning. He appears as an angel of light and he perverts God’s truth to his own advantage. He wants to take Jesus’ place as King of the universe. He already rebelled against God and lost his place in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14). Now he is the “god” of this world and he wants to stay that way (2 Corinthians 4:4). He fills the world with his lies in order to take as many people to hell with him as he can (John 8:44; Romans 1:25).

If you reject Jesus as your Savior and remain as an unbeliever, living in unbelief and sinful pursuits, you will never see God (Revelation 21:7-8). If you admit that you are a sinner, regret your sinful lifestyle, choose to live according to Biblical principles, ask Jesus to cover you with His precious blood, and place your faith in God’s faithfulness, you will enjoy the blessings as a co-heir with Jesus of God’s Kingdom (Romans 8:17).

Prayer:
Father God, I come to You in Jesus’ name to acknowledge that I am a sinner. I am as grieved over my past lifestyle as You are. I want to turn from a life of sin and self-reliance, and live according to Your Biblical principles.

Thank You for sending Jesus to die for me and to pay the penalty of my sin debt to You. I believe that You raised Jesus from the dead and that He now sits at Your right hand. I want to take advantage of Your grace and to live a life of purity and truth.

I will serve You in gratitude for the many blessings You provide for me throughout my lifetime. In Jesus’ name and for His glory. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
Once we place our full trust in Him and His promises, God keeps us in His hands and never forsakes us. – John 6:37, 10:28-29; Hebrews 13:5

Just the Way We Are

Just the Way We Are

Living in fear of someone discovering our true identity often drives us just this side of insanity. We dread someone else realizing that we are just “not enough”. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not kind enough, not capable enough…not enough. Jesus came to give us good news. We all fall short of the glory of God.

There is no one good enough, not even one (Romans 3:10-12, 23). Even people with a high opinion of their self have issues with insecurity. We all have little nagging doubts, which corrode our confidence and whittle away at our self-esteem. We live under a cloud of negative self-talk. We hide behind superficial masks, in hopes that no one will ever uncover just how deficient we really are.

Once we come to Christ, we can stop pretending, stop striving to be good and throw our self on the mercy and grace of God instead. He accepts us just the way we are (Romans 5:8). We need no pretenses with Him. He loves us in spite of our failings. God is our Father who cares for us, nurtures us and provides for all of our needs: spiritually, physically and in our soul – our mind, choices and emotions.

Our Heavenly Daddy gives us a sense of security as we dwell in Him and He dwells in us. His love fills in the gaps in our self-esteem and changes our opinion about our deficiencies. We no longer need to fear life and its consequences, to listen to any negative self-talk or to believe anyone else’s negative opinion of us. We are complete in Christ (Colossians 1:27, 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, we drink from the living water of Your Word, which calms our soul and fills our spirit with godly character, Jesus’ divine nature and the fruit of Your Holy Spirit (John 7:38; 2 Peter 1:3-4; Galatians 5:22-23). When fears creep in to cripple us and render us ineffective for You and for a productive life, we can run to Jesus, who is the Rock that is higher than we are (Psalm 61:2). He gives us power over these demonic attacks and He strengthens us to prolifically bloom where You plant us.

Thought for the Day:
God provides His people with a Sabbath rest from our weary labors; for when we enter God’s rest, we stop spinning our wheels and trust Him to bless our lives with His fullness. – Hebrews 4:9-12