Joy verses Happiness

Image

I enjoy strolling through bookstores from time to time. I’m sure many of you do as well. What I find interesting is that on any given subject one could locate a book pertaining to the topic of happiness—more specifically HOW to attain it (For example: exercise, cooking, positive thinking etc.). This seems like a good idea, right? I mean we all desire to be happy, and maybe even to remain in that state for a while. Happiness is all-well and good don’t get me wrong, but did you know emotions such as happiness are only temporary. They are circumstantial, based on feelings (which are not very trustworthy or stable) & fleeting.

While the world wants us to attain happiness what they’re really saying is that we only need to aim for TEMPORARY HOPE. Because happiness often comes crashing down when things start to fall apart or bad news comes. One could act ‘happy’ but inwardly feel lost. Since it’s such a passing emotion, why not aim for something a little more stable? How about a level of ‘happiness’ or ‘content,’ which circumstances cannot rob? Sounds good to me!

This is called “JOY.” At first thought one might assume joy is merely a heightened level of happiness. But truthfully, joy has very little to do with how we actually feel. It really has to do with what we know, or rather whom we know. I’m talking specifically about Jesus Christ.

When you read scriptures such as James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” it may seem confusing. How could one be joyful all the while in the midst of chaos? Is that even possible? Yes, yes it is. You see there exists a peace, which comes only from knowing the Lord. This specific peace cannot be shaken by the mountains and valleys of life. See, joy comes from knowing the LORD. In fact, the “fullness of joy” is found by living in His presence.

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Really in order to maintain joy, we fix our attention on Jesus and the future HOPE of eternal salvation! When we are looking up we can’t also be looking down. The joy doesn’t necessarily come from our own life. We can be content in ANY circumstance (Phil. 4:12) as long as we keep in mind where we are headed. And for those of us in Christ Jesus, we are headed toward Heaven.

Even Jesus himself was able to endure the CROSS by keeping in focus the bigger picture, the joy YET TO COME—the joy that was GOING TO BE His after He was faithful unto death.

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What I’m really saying is that JOY is eternal and happiness is temporary. Why not seek something that will last? HOPE will get us through our darkest times. The joy YET TO COME is what produces for us a here and now endurance. So keep your head pointed toward HEAVEN. Despite what things look like now joy can be yours if you focus on Jesus and the future awaiting you in His presence.

 

 

He IS Risen

My heart could literally burst with joy at the sight of people running to the arms of Jesus this Easter morning. There is nothing that compares to this hope. Truly the same power that raised Christ from the dead is ALIVE and well today! Through the Spirit, it is at work in each of us who have claimed Him as our own. Oh the JOYOUS SHOUTS of Heaven the day Jesus was RAISED to life! Yet still two thousand years later praises of celebration ring from Eternity to Eternity. He died as much for persons in Scripture as He did for YOU and ME; That we might be set FREE from the power of sin and death and made alive in the hope and truth of Jesus. Talk about a reason to CELEBRATE! Happy Easter indeed!

Acts 2:47 “all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”

2 Timothy 1:10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.”

Good Friday: Jesus Paid It ALL

Good Friday

Blood Moons Timeline

Lunar-Eclipse-Tetrad-Prophecy-of-Four-Blood-Moons-650x487

God is getting our attention tonight! Around approx. 12-2 a.m. Pacific Time April 15 will be the first of four blood red moons between 2014-2015. Hope you can stay up to catch a glimpse. Should be interesting to see the signs from the Heavens!

What is the Difference Between TRUST and FAITH?

Image

I have been thinking a lot about the topics of trust and faith. The two are so closely intertwined. Trust in God is needed to grow faith, because it allows our faith to become personal. I’ve come to realize, however, that faith and trust may not be identical. You see it’s one thing to accept that an Almighty God is capable of anything because of His resume, whereas it’s another to believe He is personally controlling YOUR life.

This is where we can look to the father of our faith, Abraham. He indeed was a man after God’s heart but, like all of us, had a few bumps and detours along the way. His trust in God began to flourish when he believed that God was capable of not just miracles, but miracles in HIS life. For example Abraham (then Abram) was told by God that he would have decedents as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5), even though he and his wife were advanced in years and still childless.

Even before God came through on His promise Abram believed the LORD, demonstrating his FAITH (Genesis 15:6). But he later succumbed to his wife Sarai’s suggestion to have a child with her servant Hagar, since Sarai was still barren. (We always run into problems when we try to hurry God along). Why did Abram do this? Well it could have been a result of timeline discrepancy. In human minds it is difficult to grasp that God has a much different schedule than we do and is in NO HURRY. His timing for the fulfillment of promises is what will come to pass, and no amount of us intervening will make things happen any faster. TRUST in God means trust in HIS timing.

Abraham (God changed Abram’s name in Gen 17:5) learned this lesson the hard way when God revealed that the promised child was not Hagar and Abraham’s son Ishmael (human intervention), but a child to be born at a subsequent date.

God later showed His faithfulness by the miracle child Isaac’s birth. Abraham’s faith increased AND he began to TRUST God more with his life. This then created an obedient heart in Abraham. The more trust we have in God’s character, the more likely we are to be obedient to His leading. This concept is shown in the life of Abraham at a later time when God tests his faith and asks him to sacrifice his son Isaac. At this point he does not hesitate to submit his will to God. No, Isaac does not actually die but the point is God revealed Abraham’s heart and brought to the surface a new level of TRUST. Abraham was WILLING to obey God even when He didn’t understand, because he knew that God would keep His promise of descendants. Abraham reasoned that God would simply raise Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill His word (Hebrews 11:19). His TRUST in God’s ability to work in his life was strong.

Despite different circumstances our relationship with God could look a lot like Abraham’s. First we look at God’s resume and deduct that He is clearly qualified for the position of sovereign ruler (Genesis 1). Next we believe in God’s character: meaning the nature of God (loving, faithful, just, merciful, compassionate) based on what we know His is like in Scripture (Psalm 145:8). Finally we transfer those beliefs (our faith–Hebrews 11:6) to an understanding of how God may work in our own lives and begin to trust Him personally.

If you haven’t already developed a TRUST between you and your Heavenly Father it would be a wonderful time to start. God cares for you: Matthew 6:26. He has equipped you: Ephesians 1:3. There is nothing too difficult for the LORD. Take a step of faith and TRUST Him to guide the way.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

 

To look up any of these Scripture verses here is a link to Bible Gateway: http://www.biblegateway.com 

Like it, Love it, Gotta Have It

Image

blog.marketstreet

Do you remember the ice cream shop Cold Stone? It was quite a fad when I was young. With its many toppings and personalized flavors the shop was something ice cream lovers dream of! I used to go there as a kid. In fact, there are still many flavor combinations I regret not trying now that I think of it … but that’s beside the point ;)

Each time I visited I was forced to answer the inevitable question: ‘what size of ice cream did I want to consume?’ Now in case you haven’t been to Cold Stone, they have their portions designated by small–better known as “like it,” medium “love it” and large “gotta have it.” I was never really allowed to get the “gotta have it” because my mom always thought that was way too much sugar. Typically, being on the conservative side of sweets consumption, I ordered the “like it.” But I have to tell you I always wondered what a “gotta have it” size would taste like. Would it be better, I wondered? Would I feel more “grown up and mature” if I ordered it? I concluded it’d be a different, incomparable experience altogether.

I recently began thinking about this ice cream store, and it reminded me about my walk with the Lord. When I was young I “liked” Him. I enjoyed His stories. I found His presence pleasurable. My life was settled in a sweet spot of knowledge. I thought that religion was merely a portion of my life and that’s all it was going to be. What I didn’t know is there was more of His presence available to me than I assumed. I think a lot of people could stay in this phase of faith for quite a while, never really questioning their place but comfortably seated on the recliner chair of “good enough.”

But what if you wanted more? You can have it! Did you know that? Here we land at the “love it” phase of faith. Being the adventurous type I have rarely been satisfied with the “like it” amounts of anything in life, so I found myself digging deeper. I read more. I prayed more; found myself in small group Bible studies and you know what, I loved it (pun intended)! It was a step up, there was more to be learned, more to experience, more to feel. It’s during this phase of faith where I think we develop into a groove in our relationship with Jesus. He knows us, we know Him. But there is still more, yes don’t settle! This is the part before things actually get exciting. This is the part before Jesus becomes our “everything”—our love, our strength, our life, our home, our friend, and our confidant. Keep climbing!

Here we are at the pinnacle of faith where Abraham, David, Saul and so many of our Biblical cohorts have found themselves: The point where there is no turning back “gotta have it.” As Simon Peter replied to Jesus in the book of John “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life (John 6:68).” High or low, mountain or valley we cannot separate our identity, our complete existence from the Lord. In fact we can’t even imagine a life without Him. There’s no area that we don’t want turned over to Him. We are never satisfied with the amount of His presence that we have, so we are constantly seeking more and more of Him.

I want to encourage you today to evaluate which size of the Lord you ordered. Have you chosen the “like it,” the “love it” or the “gotta have it?” Did you know its not too late to change your order? We should strive to never become stationary in our relationship with Jesus. Remember, the Lord told us He can be found. He is not just in our minds; He is everywhere. Never stop searching for Him in each and every area of your life. He wants us to find Him and when we do we will want even more.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

 

Son of God Movie

Image

God is on the move in a big way! The story of Jesus Christ is coming to theaters this Friday, Feb. 28. You will be very blessed by this film titled Son of God, and I highly recommend seeing it. What a great opportunity to dive into the story of Jesus and share His message of truth and salvation for all who claim Him as Lord and Savior.

John 3:16  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Note: I do not own this photo

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: