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.

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 Benefits of God’s Grace

God loves the whole universe, even those who do not believe in Him and those who curse His name (John 3:16). He allows both sinners and Saints to reap the benefits of His love (Jeremiah 12:1; Psalm 37).

God is drawing us all to Himself by sharing blessings to both evil and good people, and by sending refreshing rain to believers and unbelievers alike (Matthew 5:45).

The grace of God benefits everyone ever born. The whole earth overflows with His loving kindness (Psalm 33:5). If only everyone would turn to Him because of His benevolence (Psalm 107:8).

Although everyone ever born initially realizes the goodness of God, even through creation, most people fail to honor Him or feel gratitude, because our foolish heart is clouded by Satan’s lies (Romans 1:20-21)

The human tendency is to credit our good fortune to own efforts or to “fate”, rather than to God. We fail to see the goodness of God in our success. This causes us to condemn our self by our unbelief (John 3:18).

Our futile attempts to find a measure of happiness and success in life are empty prizes. We work throughout our whole lifetime to build our own little kingdom on this earth, only to lose it all in death.

We face eternity without the saving grace of Christ. God’s grace is His undeserved favor shared with every human being ever born. Yet, most people disdain His attempts to save them.

God calls us to a personal relationship with Him. His everlasting arms are open wide, encouraging both the good person and the foulest sinner to abandon their futile lifestyle and to trust Him.

He provides for all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:16). He shepherds us and keeps us safe (Psalm 23). He longs for our fellowship day and night (Exodus 33:14; 1 John 3:24; Revelation 21:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, we can never thank You enough for the loving kindness You shower on Your creation (Psalm 145:9). You provide for us and protect us by Your mighty hand (Psalm 139:10). If You were to forget us for one second, destruction would overcome the universe.

Make us ever mindful of Your desire to fellowship with us. Remind us to take time to consult You for Your perfect plans for each moment of our day. Allow us to make a difference in the lives of the people You bring our way. Please come soon and restore Your order to the earth.

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to love all of humanity just as He does, sacrificing as His Spirit directs us for those He brings into our life. – Romans 5:7-8

Communication in Marriage

Most couples dearly love one another, but have a hard time expressing their deepest feelings. They desperately want their mate to know they love them, but have no clue how to do this ( http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ ). When it comes to verbally expressing their feelings, they get tongue-tied. The old joke states, “I told you that I love you when I married you; and if I change my mind, I will let you know.”

Unrealistic expectations prior to marriage often ruin a couple’s chance at happiness in the marriage. No one can live up to the fairy tale romance they dream about or the practical expectations they anticipate. Many people also think they will change their mate once they get married. One man put it this way, “Honey, what you see is what you get. I’m not changing for anyone or for any reason.”

We also misunderstand what our mate desires from us. We get frustrated, angry, resentful and feel hopeless because we cannot measure up to the ideal, which we think our mate wants. If we realize that we are both human and have foibles and idiosyncrasies that make us the unique person we are, then we can be more accepting of our self and one another.

There are realistic goals for marriage, however. We want our mate to care about how they look; and we appreciate their efforts to dress neatly, to stay groomed, to maintain a reasonable weight and to be caring and loyal. Our mate will be less tempted to look outside of the marriage if we present an attractive package within the marriage. We also want our mate to cherish us and to desire our company.

One key to a happy marriage is honest communication. Not brutal honesty, but loving, confident, uncritical expressions of what we want and need. It puts undo stress on a couple to try to predict what gift our mate wants for special occasions or what behavior they are expecting from us. The second key is a servant’s heart. In all things, we can love, serve and accept each other’s differences (Ephesians 4:2).

Prayer:
Father God, You give us the desire to love and to be loved. It is our most basic human need. We know without a doubt that Your love for us is the most fulfilling and the most urgent of our human needs. You do not love us for how we perform, because You loved us while we were still depraved sinners (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). Help us to love one another unconditionally. Our mate may choose to leave us, but we do not have to take their choice personally, because we know You will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)

Thought for the Day:
Men and women both thrive on praise, appreciation and affirmation, rather than on criticism, condescension and being taken for granted.

Abiding in Christ

Most people just want to live a quiet, normal life. The real question is…what is normal? Jesus promised that in this world we are going to have tribulation, so we can count on experiencing trials. The only way to deal with them is to change our attitude about them. Each interruption to our normal schedule is actually an adventure in Christ and a potential miracle.

Happiness is not the absence of problems. Happiness is knowing God and walking in His precepts. We do not have to rely on another person to help us to make decisions, to feel happy or fulfilled or to be complete. We are already complete through Christ in us (Colossians 2:10). We can minister to our own needs as long as we do not get self-centered with it.

Abiding in Christ means to dwell in Him, to stay connected and to continue to walk by His Spirit’s direction each moment of our day. As we do, we are amazed at His character that is birthed within us, and His perspective on life, which becomes our own. We do not simply obey the dead letter of the law, but we have our Living Lord abiding within us.

At times, we slip back into the flesh. We may be tired, hurt, perplexed, anxious, overworked, unappreciated, neglected or emotionally wounded. We forget all about the Spirit and allowing Him to live and move in and through us. We strike out in the flesh to make the negative experiences go away. However, living in the flesh is unproductive and grieves God’s Spirit.

We need to ask anyone we hurt while we reacted in the flesh to forgive us. The flip side is important too, that we forgive those who hurt us. We do not erase the person’s behavior with forgiveness, but we free our self from the bondage that unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment cause in our own soul. Our healing is facilitated by forgiveness and frees us from past negative experiences.

Prayer:
Father God, You are the one constant in our life (Hebrews 13:8), and You never abandon or disown us (Hebrews 13:5). Your Spirit will give us wisdom in decisions, comfort in grief and direction to keep us in the center of Your daily will for us. You give us Your peace in the middle of horrendous physical and emotional tribulation. As we keep our mind on You, You abide in us and we abide in You (Isaiah 26:3). You heal our heart and give us Your lasting peace and joy.

Thought for the Day:
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, abides in us. – Romans 8:11

Secure in an Insecure World

There are so many unknown entities and insecurities in life today. Our world’s governmental and financial situation is predicted to eventually fall like a house of cards. This news certainly does not inspire confidence in our future. However, for authentic Born Again Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ there is no fluctuation in our joy and peace or in our hope for the future (Romans 8:28).

We may find our self in a simpler lifestyle, without modern conveniences and money, but the Lord of All always cares for us. It usually takes most people years to mature to the point of learning to praise God in all things, especially in the negative aspects of life. However, when we finally realize that all things will ultimately work out for our good (Romans 8:28), then it is so much easier to go with God’s flow.

We are citizens of Heaven, because we are born of God (Philippians 3:20). God hides us with Christ in Himself to keep us always safe (Colossians 3:1-4). We rejoice throughout every new adventure with Him, and we look for His miracles couched in the circumstances. We confidently know that He will complete the work He started in us (Philippians 1:6). He gives us the desire, the energy and the ability to do His will for our life (Philippians 2:12-13).

Sinners attempt to justify their existence; however, their soul knows without a doubt that sin separates them from God. They use defensive tactics to keep other people or their conscience from condemning them, but they know the truth no matter how much they try to deny it. Jesus eradicates this dichotomous struggle from the Believer’s life (Romans 8:31-39). He sets us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

Prayer:
Father God, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, Satan can no longer harm us (1 John 5:18). Our security in this life starts with the lack of condemnation, which comes from a sinful lifestyle, but is eliminated by Jesus’ death (Romans 8:1). Thank You for setting us free from the Law of Sin and Death by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). Help us to live our life cleansed by Jesus’ blood, led by Your Spirit and right in the center of Your will for us, which is the happiest place on earth (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
When we call on the Lord and come to Him in prayer, He always listens to us; however, we only find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart. – Jeremiah 29:12-13