The Secret Of Happiness
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” Philippians 2:19-20
Have you ever looked for everlasting happiness? Maybe you thought, if I could just have the perfect relationship; or a new house; or a raise at work; or a tropical vacation. As Christians we know we cannot find that everlasting happiness. Prosperity is foolish to seek for happiness. Why is this? Trying to have all of our desires met, so that we can have everlasting happiness focuses on the self rather on God. It becomes all about “me”.
C.S. Lewis said our bodies are created by God, like humans created cars. We need fuel to keep us going. But that fuel does not come from being successful, or any earthly desires. But rather, that fuel is God. God keeps our spirits going. Satan will do anything to pull us away from God. He tells us to focus on ourselves, on our wants, desires, successes, to find happiness.
So how do we find happiness then? We look at what Jesus has told us in
Matthew 5:1-12. He tells us to be poor, persecuted, meek, and mourning. It is denying the self, and focusing on Him. The eternal life that God has promised us will bring us much more than happiness; it will bring us everlasting joy. C.S. Lewis said, when we give up our self, we will find it. When we give up our life, we will save it. When we give up our wishes, we will find eternal life. We need to keep back nothing. When we do this happiness will follow.
Dear Lord, help me to hold nothing back, to give you my all. Amen
Dealing With Change – Part 3
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Exodus 14:15
With the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s chariots behind them, Moses told the Israelites: ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians, whom you see today, you shall see again no more, forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. And the Lord said to Moses…“tell the children of Israel to go forward”’ (vv. 13-15). Notice, God told the people of Israel two things. First, that He would fight for them. Second, that they must go forward in spite of their fear. When you face the unknown it’s normal to feel fear, but that’s when you need to put your trust and confidence in God! In order for Him to fulfil His promise to you, you must obey what He has told you to do. How should you deal with change? In three ways: 1) Focus on its long-term benefits instead of its short-term inconvenience. 2) Be honest with yourself about what you really feel and fear about the change, and take it to God in prayer. 3) Keep an open attitude toward new ideas, and refuse to be influenced by rigid thinkers. Stand on this Scripture: ‘Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left…’ (Isaiah 54:2-3). God doesn’t change, but He moves! In order to succeed, you must move with Him.
Heavenly Father, help me trust You in the bigger picture of things – the things I do not know or can see, knowing that You do and You will lead me safely through all changes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Dealing With Change – Part 2
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. Genesis 12:1
How would you feel if God told you to leave your job, sell your house and go to a city you didn’t know? That’s what happened to seventy-five-year-old Abraham and his sixty-five-year-old wife, Sarah. ‘…Leave your native country…and go to the land that I will show you.’ Why would God do that? Because He has a special destiny in mind for each of us! He told Abraham, ‘I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you…and you will be a blessing to others’ (v. 2). With no major hint of resistance, Abraham embraced change, trusted God, and reaped the incredible rewards. It’s no wonder the Bible calls him the father of faith. Sure – he had his doubt moments, but God worked through that with him. To walk with God and fulfil His will you must have a mindset that adapts to change—sometimes costly and uncomfortable change. How do you do it? ‘By faith’ (Hebrews 11:8)! Faith in whom? Yourself? Others? No. Faith in the goodness of God! Did you know that those who flow with change rather than resist it are less stressed, healthier, and generally happier? So start developing a ‘change mindset’. Break out of your rut and develop a new routine and if you’re serious about it, ask your friends and family to point out areas where you constantly demonstrate inflexibility. Where should you start? With this Scripture: ‘Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully’ (1 Peter 5:7). Live by the principle, ‘Where God guides, He provides.’
Heavenly Father, help me to embrace change and the unknown trusting that You know and want what is best for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Dealing With Change – Part 1
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4:10
Think how foolish it is to pray for success, and resist the changes needed to bring it about. However, we do that, don’t we? Let’s face it; it’s easier to settle for the status quo than to face the ‘what ifs’ that accompany progress. Some of us even think it’s selfish and unspiritual to pray for success. Not Jabez! Listen to his prayer: ‘…Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’So God granted him what he requested. Consider this list of ‘changes’ you may be resisting: leaving an unfulfilling job, starting a business, or letting go of an unprofitable one, learning to use a computer, abandoning a toxic relationship, letting go of an unaffordable home, car, or lifestyle, establishing a responsible spending plan. All these changes are normal; they’re part of daily life. However, panic sets in when the change is unexpected. That’s when we discover the difference between what we say and what we truly believe. ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28). The key words in this Scripture are ‘all things’ and ‘good’ and ‘purpose’. Since you are ‘in Christ’, nothing can get to you without first coming through Him. In ‘all things’, including things you don’t like, God has a ‘purpose’, and He’s working for your ‘good’. You’ll look back and say, ‘If I hadn’t gone through that, I wouldn’t be experiencing the blessing of God I enjoy today.’
Heavenly Father, help me to see that change is a good thing in order to grow and develop and move forward. In Jesus name, Amen
Whose Company Do You Prefer?
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. Acts 4:23
We all have our ‘own company’. It’s where we feel most at home, where we naturally gravitate to when we have the choice. The great Bible teacher A. W. Tozer once said, ‘The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will.’ The apostles went to jail under compulsion, but when they were given their liberty they chose to return to ‘…their own company…’ of praying believers. How revealing! The clear choices of life—not the compulsions—reveal our true character. Let’s consider a real-life illustration. You’re absent from church on Sunday. Where are you? If you’re having surgery, your absence reveals that you’re ill and compelled to miss church. However, if you’re on the golf course, that tells us a different story. Assuming that you’re not on a well-deserved vacation, we know that you chose to skip church in favor of your ‘own company’—your fellow golfers. Has your choice to play instead of to pray become a habit? If so, you might be on the threshold of letting slip ‘…meeting together with other believers, which some people have got into the habit of doing…’ (Hebrews 10:25). Habits are not the product of one decision—they’re the result of repeated choices that eventually become automatic responses. How can you know your true spiritual condition? By the company you keep and the choices you make. When you’re free to go, where do you choose to go? Whose company do you prefer?
Heavenly Father, forgive me when I have made selfish choices on where I go. Help me stay in the company of Your people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen