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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Entering God’s Rest

All during our lifetime, we love to create on God’s behalf through our vocation, hobbies, parenthood and church ministry. However, we fail to heed God’s advice to take times off to rest (Genesis 2:1-2:3).

God gave us an example of how to spend our time by taking a day to focus on rest. We usually use our “day off” to catch up on chores around the house, to stock our pantry and to prepare for the coming week.

During the most hectic days at work, home and with family, we often wish we could fly away on the wings of a dove and be at rest (Psalm 55:6). Yet, we fail to use our days off to relax and breathe.

Most of us enjoy our work, and realize that no matter what our vocation, it is God who actually pays our check (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25). This helps us not to be anxious about our livelihood.

God gives us our job and keeps us there until He has another place for us to minister for His Kingdom (Acts 8:39). Regardless of our vocation, God has His perfect plans for us (Ephesian 2:10).

There is no reason to feel worried about any aspect of our life. We take all of our cares to the Lord in prayer, because He cares about us (1 Peter 5:7).

God’s peace guides us, not through our human mind, but through our spirit. He guards our emotions and mind from worry and stress, because we abide in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Jesus modeled this peace through storms, Satan’s temptations, persecution and His crucifixion (Matthew 8:24). God is humble and gentle with us and gives us rest for our soul (Matthew 11:28-29).

Pray:
Father God, remind us that You offer us a fulfilling and passionate relationship with You, which keeps us in peace because of Your faithful provision for all of our needs (Romans 8:28). This requires regular quiet times in order to enter your rest (Hebrews 13:5).

As we pray with our children and model a Godly walk for them, they too will learn the importance of trusting You with their life. Help us to enter into Your rest and to abide under the shadow of Your wings (Hebrews 4:10; Psalm 91).

Thought for the Day:
Pray as a single person, as a couple and with your children to inspire anticipation for the miracles ahead, as well as faith in God’s faithfulness, which both inspire us to rest in Him and to walk in His peace in every situation.

The Cost of Compassion

Consideration for others is a lost art today. We are too busy to care too deeply for anyone, not even for our self. We streak through life fast enough to repel anyone, which we think will weigh us down.

One group of people are so focused on themselves that they have no time for anyone else. They plan their day, follow their agenda and fall asleep at night with little interaction with the people who love them.

There are video games, overtime at work, television series, sports, hobbies and extra-curricular activities, which keep us so occupied that we take everyone else in our life for granted.

Another group of people are so wounded from their past, that they have little emotional energy to expend on anyone else. The cost of showing compassion is too high, and they are emotionally bankrupt.

When we see a need, which God directs us to meet, yet we walk away, the love of God does not dwell in us (1 John 3:16-17). We are unwilling to pay the cost of compassion.

We have another purpose for our time and money and do not want to share with anyone else. Sadly, our joy from our own plans will quickly fade; and since we are out of the will of God, we cannot prosper.

Jesus gave us the example of the Good Samaritan and the father of the Prodigal Son to teach us to care about other people and to give them a second chance (Luke 10:25-37, 15:11-32).

As we walk in the Spirit, we will give away more and more of our self, and we will receive more of God in return (Luke 6:38). God is love, and the more love we share, the richer we enjoy God’s presence in our life (1 John 4:8).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that negative emotions within our soul come from the wounds in our past, placed there by the devil. They will prevent us from showing Your love and compassion to others (Ephesians 4:26-27). Help us to seek Your truth about every satanic lie, which births these destructive feelings within us ( http://www.theophostic.com ). Once we are free from this woundedness, we are also free to receive the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Remind us that whether we are preoccupied with pain from the past or our current self-centered pursuits, obedience to You is the only way we can reap Your rich rewards. When we empathize with the pain and rejoice in the joy of others, and share Your kindness and mercy with our self and them, we will truly and eternally prosper (Romans 12:15; Luke 6:35-36).

Thought for the Day:
If we say we love God, yet hate someone else, then we are a liar and do not know God; yet, if we are truly in love with God, we will love His children too. – 1 John 4:20-21

So Much More

Some of us accept the free gift of Salvation offered by God through Jesus Christ, others reject Him altogether, and some of us try to earn Salvation through our own merits and good works (John 3:16-18; Ephesians 2:8-9).

People blame God for the suffering in this world. Once we put aside our pride and rebellion, we can influence our children, family and friends to use prayer to solve their problems rather than to resort to blame, violence and carnality.

We teach them to aspire to use their vocation and hobbies to make the world a better place. Even more important than this, however, is teaching them the Word of God.

Life is not about doing, but about being. God has a perfect plan for each person ever born (Ephesians 2:10). If we branch off in our own direction, we end up spinning our wheels.

However, if we focus on what God is doing in and through our life each moment, we discover His divine appointments throughout the day as we follow the leading of His Holy Spirit.

Through the blood of Christ and the word of our testimony, we can heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out devils all in Jesus’ name and through His Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:8).

Christ in us is the light of the world (John 8:12). God places His authentic Believers in a candlestick, which He can move as He wills, to give the whole world an opportunity to come to Christ’s Light.

As His church, we are a city set on a hill, which cannot be hidden. We can let His light in us shine so brightly that people will see our good works and give God the glory (Matthew 5:14-16).

Prayer:
Father God, we have assurance that You hear our prayers. Not only do You give us what we ask for, if it is according to Your will, but You also give us abundantly more than we request (Ephesians 3:20). We see the truth of this in Your answer to Solomon’s prayer (1 Kings 3:11).

How often we place our affections on this world’s wealth and resources. We labor more for mammon’s trappings than for the eternal matters of Your Kingdom.

How much better it is for us to put our treasure where moth and rust do not destroy (Matthew 6:19-20). Remind us that prayer, witnessing, Christian relationships and mentoring others for Christ are the true jewels of life.

Thought for the Day:
The Word of God truly is the mightiest sword. – Hebrews 4:12

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.

Know That He is God

God brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt to give them the promised Canaan Land. Even after that miraculous deliverance, the Isrealites discounted the benefits of their freedom from bondage. They missed the delicacies of Egypt. They forgot that their 40 years of wandering were the result of their disobedience to enter the land after God delivered them from Pharoah’s army.

 

Even after that disobedient generation died, the next generation also despised God’s provision for them. Our Father God wants to provide a blessed life for us, as we follow His will during each of our days. We may not have the delicacies of this world, but we will have more than we need. God desires for our focus to change from self-reliance to reliance on Him for everything.

 

The more we take our eyes off our self and focus them clearly on the Lord, the more peace we experience in our life. We have no idea what God is capable of doing and providing for us until we put our total trust in Him. He is faithful and worthy of our faith in Him. He often provides our needs before we even ask Him. He cares about every area of our life.

 

Sometimes, we demand blessings from God. We attempt to hold Him over a barrel, as if we have something to bargain with that God actually wants. God does not want us to grasp at the gifts He is waiting to supply. He wants us to sit still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). He wants us to wait with open arms to receive all that He has for us. He has a blessed life just waiting for us to receive.

 

Prayer:

Father God, our unbelief keeps us from entering Your promised land, just like it did the Israelites. Help us to relinquish the secret sins, which we think we cannot live without. We want to devote more time to seeking You than we do to pursuing an income, a family, our hobbies and our earthly priorities. Remind us to obey by faith instead of trusting only in what we can see with our natural senses. You will supply all of our needs, according to Your glorious riches, if we simply trust in You (Philippians 4:19).

 

Thought for the Day:

God gave His own life to ransom us from sin; yet, we defile His gift with our disobedience and rebellion.

Love Lifted Me

Prior to our salvation, we lived life with one goal and focus…our self. We did what we wanted to do and what pleased our self. Even living a life in service to others was done to please our self, because it made us feel good about who we are and what we were accomplishing. Once we come to Christ, those carnal desires to please our self are still there.

 

This is called, the flesh. The flesh wants to have its own way and rebels against anything to the contrary. At first, Paul’s admonition to die daily is not only foreign, but also repulsive to us. We cringe from inflicting any hardship on our self. However, God gives us both the power and the desire to walk in His will for our life (Philippians 2:12-13). Desiring to please Him above all else, becomes our goal and focus.

 

It is interesting that the only areas of our life that God wants to change are those parts, which are harmful to us anyway. Hobbies, habits and hang-ups, which are sinful, are also destructive to our well-being. God replaces our selfish character with His divine character and our human nature with His divine nature, and we are much more fulfilled and at peace.

 

In living for our self, Satan made sure we were attracted to sin. He made it look enjoyable and used that to tempt us. In Christ, we no longer enjoy the same activities and many of them are actually abhorrent to us. We no longer see any value in them or why they had any appeal to us in the first place. We find more and more freedom in our service to God.

 

Prayer: Father God, there is nothing this world has to offer that can take Your place in our life. We are never lonely again, because Your presence is with us and in us through every experience we will ever encounter. Our best interest is at the center of Your heart and You work out everything, even the worst sickness and the most dire of circumstances for our ultimate benefit. Thank You for Your love and direction in our life.

 

Thought for the Day: God’s love lifted me.