A Happy Fix

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We cannot secure happiness on our own. The words “happy” and “secure” probably should not even be in the same sentence. Happiness is based on circumstances which are anything but secure. Instead, we should look to our relationship with Christ as the foundation for true and lasting joy.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Verses 10 and 11 speak to the futility of chasing after everything we think will make us happy:

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.

I have certainly been guilty of “chasing the wind.” It’s as if the state of being happy is this elusive prize we think we can attain.

“Maybe under different circumstances I’d be happy. Possibly with different people around me I’d be happy. I would be happy if I had a better job or a nicer house. Perhaps if I buy more things or give more stuff away then I’d be happy.”

The list of things we believe will make us happy can go on and on. But I have learned that the only genuine source of lasting joy in my life is my covenant with the Lord. He never changes. His Word is true. He always, always keeps His promises. His presence is the only truly stable, completely satisfying thing in my life.

So rather than pursuing temporary happiness by “building my kingdom just to watch it fade away,” I must instead press in to my relationship with HIM every time I need a “happy fix!”

Blessings, Becky

Psalm 68:3   But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.

Psalm 84:1-12     v. 10 – Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

John 3:3-8  3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

John 3:16-18    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

1 Timothy 6:6-7     6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Press On!

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Sitting here with a heart so full of emotions. Emotions past, present, and even future.

Struggling. Struggling to see and hear clearly. See the path the Lord has for me. Hear His voice.

Struggling to surrender. Surrender those emotions from the past. Past decisions. Past pain and suffering. My pain and my children’s. Even my sweet husband’s.

Surrender the fears and unknowns regarding decisions that need to be made in the near future. Surrender the consequences of disobedience and yes, even obedience.

Depressed, over-worked dad. Exhausted, angry mom. Stressed, frustrated kids. Mixed-up priorities. Good things crowding out best things. Time to make some changes, but I’m struggling.

Struggling to surrender feelings of pride, fear, control, inadequacy – all of which paralyze me and cause me to procrastinate at best or refuse to move forward at worst.

Stuck somewhere in between,  I get stagnant. When I imagine stagnant water I picture water that is dark, murky. Water from which no light is being reflected. Water that is motionless. It has remained still with no life moving around inside it which has, over time, caused a film to cover it.

A film like the one that covers my eyes, clouding my vision, preventing me from seeing all God has for me. For a while, I lose sight of what I know to be true about Him from His Word. I become temporarily blinded to the truth that He is working behind the scenes, in and through my circumstances to accomplish His will and to conform me to the image of Christ! He does have a plan!

By not staying focused on that truth I will develop a pattern of reacting with resentment to the interruptions and inconveniences in my life instead of responding to them as opportunities. Opportunities for Him to grow me, teach me, draw me closer to Himself, bless me, bless others, accomplish His will and plan… not mine.

I stop looking at certain people in my life as blessings and gifts. I miss the big picture, failing to see these people as tools in the hands of God to chisel me into His likeness. Through my distorted vision I view them as instruments of Satan sent to torture me and cause me all manner of grief! This outlook blurs my perspective and robs my joy.

The film that covers my heart is tougher than the one that covers my eyes. It’s thicker, acting as a double-sided barrier. It keeps feelings I don’t want to feel from penetrating the few soft spots remaining in my heart, while at the same time, prevents certain emotions that I have carefully kept buried, and the memories attached to them, from rising to the surface.

When I am stagnant, the light within me, which is Jesus, is not being reflected as brightly as it could be. All the while I allow people, circumstances, and emotions to immobilize me. I shut down. Meanwhile, there is no life stirring around inside my heart, moving me forward.

No movement inside or out equals no life. No joy.

But wait! His living inside me is my joy. I must protect and nurture this joy. From it comes my strength to move! Doesn’t it take strength to move? His Word says the joy of the Lord is my strength. So by delighting and abiding in Him every day, I’ll have strength. The strength I need to press on, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

Are frustrations, fears, and feelings hindering you from moving forward today? Saturate your mind in the living Word of God so your heart will know that paralyzing circumstances and emotions will come and go. Feelings are not to be trusted. Only the Word of God is sure, steadfast, unchanging, life-giving!

There is life moving inside the Word! Jesus is there. He is the Word. It is alive. It will move you!

Blessings,

Becky

Philippians 3:13-14 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The Joy of the Lord

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“The joy of the Lord is joy that comes from the Lord. It is a joy that is fueled by being in a right relationship with God through Jesus. It comes because we are living the life Christ intends us to live not going off on our own.”

Read Lamentations 1:1-11. In these verses, Jeremiah is overwhelmed by the consequences of Judah’s sin. He is grieved over the people’s suffering and their broken relationship with God. God values His relationship with His children today just as much as He did when Jeremiah wrote these words. His heart longs for us to repent so that He can restore us to Himself. My pastor said that God restores us so that He can reuse us! Isn’t that great?

There are some warnings in this passage as well as predictions for those who do not follow the Lord but instead try it their own way. God’s children, who were “queens (or kings) among the princes” now have become “slaves to sin” (v 1). Those who let sin overtake them and enslave them and ensnare them “bitterly weep at night… there is none to comfort them” (v 2). Verse 3 says they “go into exile” and “will find no resting place.” They will be overtaken in the midst of their distress. They will be in bitter anguish (v 4). Their enemies will become their masters. The Lord will bring them grief because of their many sins. Their children will go into exile “captive before the foe” (v 5).

It just gets worse as time goes on. All their splendor will depart, they will be weak and will flee (v 6). They will have days of wandering and affliction. They’ll wish they could go back and do it differently. Boy, have I been there! There won’t be anyone to help them (v 7). They who were at one time honored will become despised. They themselves will groan and turn away (v 8).

Verse 9 describes more devastating results of being unrepentant. It says, “… she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.” Then she herself says, “Look, O Lord, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”

Reading this reminds me, “Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go. It will keep you longer than you wanted to stay. And it will cost you far more than you were ever willing to pay.”

Disbelief, fear, anger, and helplessness are some of the feelings associated with the consequences of your gradually drifting away from God and His will for your life. If the drifting goes on too long, it will lead to running far and fast from God and what you know He wants for your life, to possibly a complete rejection of the Holy Spirit’s convicting power.

True repentance is a change of mind resulting in a change of action. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

God may allow you to continue down the path of self-destruction for many years, but all the while He is softly and tenderly calling you home. He longs for you to come back to Him. His arms are wide open. He’s watching and waiting for you. He loves you, no matter what. He wants you to love Him, no matter what.

Jesus is by His Father’s side even now, praying for you, that you may have the full measure of His joy within you (Jn. 17:13)!

Offering up prayers for you today, too, my friend… that you may find that complete joy which can only be found in a right relationship with Christ.

~ Blessings, Becky