Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

I’ll have to admit that I have been confused between the difference of joy and happiness.  I thought I knew what it meant to be happy, but was confused about joy.  I wondered if they were the same thing.  I often heard Christians say they had the “joy of the Lord,” and I wasn’t sure if I had that or not.  So, I decided to study it out and see if I could make it clear to myself what the difference between joy and happiness is.

I realize that happiness depends on our circumstances.  It is a feeling or emotion.  We can be extremely happy and then the phone rings and we get a call that can dash all the happiness away and fill us with the utmost sadness.  Perhaps it was a call from a loved one to let us know that one of our dear relatives had passed away, or been in an accident, or developed a terminal illness.  Then all our happy feelings are washed right down the drain.  Happiness is fleeting.

Also being happy is something that all people can enjoy.  It isn’t dependent on being a Christian.  I know lots of people who are unbelievers who are very happy.  Their circumstances are good at the present time and all is right with the world.  So, happiness isn’t something that is for a Christian only.  Happiness is natural (fleshly) and can be felt by the natural man.

Joy on the other hand is not natural to us.  It is in fact supernatural (spiritual), and it is a gift of the Holy Spirit.  It is something only Christians can experience.

I listened to a sermon by Dr. Alan Cairns that he preached way back in 2000, and he explained joy something like this: (not an exact quote.) “Joy is the response of a believer to the understanding of God’s love for him in Christ.”  And, he said that we only know that God loves us by the Holy Spirit.

Isn’t that awesome?  When we realize the depth of the love God has for us in Christ then we can respond with utter joy.  I like that!  Now, I’m beginning to see what joy is.  It is my response back to God for ALL He has done for me.  He saved me from my sinful self; He adopted me into His family, and He gives me the hope of heaven.  There is so much more.

I learned that our creator God is even joyful over us.  Can you imagine that?  God who created everything has joy over little ole us?  That boggles my mind, but the Word says it’s true.

(Zephaniah 3:17 NASB) “The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

Wow! That is truly amazing!

(Isaiah 62:5b NASB) …And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.

The reason we can be joyful is because God created us in His image and He is joyful.  It is our birthright to be full of joy.  When we are in Christ we are like Him.

Now here is something I found that’s really a treasure.  Listen to this:

Cover of "The Joy of the Lord"

(Nehemiah 8:10b NASB) …Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

When we see LORD written in all caps like that it means, “the self-existent one.”We need to meditate on that promise:  “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Where does our strength come from?  It comes from our joy in the self-existant one!  Isn’t that amazing?  Do you need strength?  Dwell on the LORD!

We need to realize that only Christians can have this kind of joy.  That’s because it is given to us by the Holy Spirit.  It is the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 NASB But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The joy that the Lord gives us enables us to cope with life’s trials.  It gives us hope, and enables us to become overcomers instead of victims.  It is true! This joy of the Lord is very powerful indeed.  It is our strength!

How to we apply this joy in our lives? 

First lets take a look back in Galatians.  We will see a contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit.

Galatians 5:19-21 NASB Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,  (21)  envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Anyone who fits in the list above is not a true believer and will not experience this wonderful joy of the Lord.  If you find yourself here, then please consider it a warning to repent and get right with God.  See: https://hatchcreek.com/the-true-gospel-message-2/ The True Gospel Message.

The Bible tells us that believers have the fruit of joy given by the Holy Spirit and with that they have strength.  But, we can’t just let it lie there dormant, we must cultivate it and make it grow and become second nature to us.  We do this by engaging our mind.  God tells us to rejoice in the Lord always.  It doesn’t say sometimes when things are going good, but always.  Yes, even when things are bad.  Remember, our strength is in the joy of the Lord.

Philippians 4:4 NASB Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Look at what James says:

James 1:2 NASB Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

Personally, I never liked this verse.  What does he mean by consider it all joy when I come into various trials?  Why would that be joyful?  That just didn’t make sense to me until now.  Because now I see that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  And, with that strength I can overcome trials.  Praise the Lord!  I like that!

We can cultivate the fruit of joy in our lives by taking control of our thoughts.  This is so very important.  We find the mind to be a very powerful thing and it can be used to lift us up or to tear us down, and the enemy would certainly like it to be used for his purposes.  But, Christians don’t have to go there.  We don’t have to worry.  We don’t have to fret.  We don’t have to be weighed down by all our troubles.  Yes, we will have trials and tribulations, but they don’t have to destroy us.  We don’t have to have extreme anxiety, stress, fear, or helplessness.  Those things don’t come from God.  We can live above our circumstances!

As you walk close to God and enjoy Him, He will help you train your mind to think on things that build you up instead of tearing you down.  Here is a great scripture that you ought to write on a card and put it where you can meditate on it and memorize it.

Philippians 4:8 NASB Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Whenever, you notice that you are worrying, ask the Lord to change your thoughts into ones that honor Him.  Then turn to the list above and think on those things.  You can analyze your thoughts and see if they line up with them.  Is what I’m thinking about true?  Is it honorable?  Is it right for me to think about this?  Is it pure?  Is it lovely?  Is it of a good report?  Is it excellent or praise worthy?  If so, these are the things I should dwell on and not worry about my problems. God will take care of them.

We need to think about Christ, who I believe is pictured above, and all of what He has done for us.  We ought to think about how and why we got saved, and how Jesus suffered and died for our sins.  We should look to heaven and set our minds on things above.  We can dwell on Christ  coming again.  All those things and more are what we need to think about.  Our joy comes from all that Christ has done for us.  Our joy comes because we know what lies ahead in heaven. Our joy comes as we dwell on the things of the Lord.  Just look at His creation and the beautiul nature around us.  Look at all He has made.  Look in the face of a little baby and rejoice.

I think I’ve discovered what joy is and now that I have, I am going to cultivate it in my life.  How about you?

                                                                                                                                                                      

Is there a difference between joy and happiness?  Here is what Andran Rogers has to say:

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy August 14, 2008

Sin promises joy, but it never delivers it. Why? Because true joy is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ. You can be a lost person and be happy for a while. But what I’m talking about here is not happiness because happiness depends upon what happens. Joy depends upon the Lord.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” If you live for happiness, you are a prisoner of circumstances because if the circumstances change, then you are not happy anymore.

Jesus never changes. Happiness is a cosmetic; it is on the outside. Joy is character; it is on the inside. Happiness only meets your surface needs, but joy meets your deepest needs. Therefore, happiness is like a thermometer, it just registers conditions. Joy is the thermostat that controls the conditions. Happiness evaporates in a crisis. Joy many times intensifies in a crisis. Happiness is wonder but let me tell you something, friend. Happiness is at its fullest when it is mingled with joy, when you know the joy of the Lord. Adrian Rogers from Love Worth Finding : 8/14/08

Read Full Post »

Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances.  If things are going well, then we are happy, but if some trial comes up we become unhappy.  You see God did not promise that everything would be hunky-dory once we became a Christian.  We still will have trials in our lives.  There will still be illnesses, job loss, accidents, death, disappointment, relationship issues and more.  So, as Christians we cannot expect to be happy all the time.  Just as non-believers life throws us curves.

I’ve been a Christian for about 37 years.  Have I been happy all that time? No!  I’ve had my ups and downs like everyone else.  We are all human and live in this cursed world.  Sin is all around us and it effects each of us.

What makes a person happy?  I believe it is different for each of us.  What makes me happy might not make you happy.  One thing that makes me happy is fishing. I just love to sit on the dock, or out in a boat, and wait for that big one to strike my bait.  What anticipation and what happiness when it happens and I actually land it.  There are many other things that make me happy.  Some as simple as a smile on a child’s face.  Or, when the birds are at my feeder.  To hear the bird songs in the spring time puts a smile on my face, and, oh yes, to listen to the peepers.  I know that spring is near, and that makes me happy!

I remember before I was a Christian my happiness came from going out and partying, or getting a raise at work, or being able to purchase a new car.  Things like that made me happy for a time.  But, it would wear off and I’d be on the search for another thing to make me happy.

When a person says they are a Christian and they are unhappy I wonder what it is that they are searching for.  Maybe they expect more than God has promised.  He has told us that in this world we will have tribulation.

(John 16:33 YLT)  these things I have spoken to you, that in me ye may have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation, but take courage–I have overcome the world.’


What can make a person unhappy? There are all kinds of things here are a few:

  • CHURCH

Yes, I said church!  I remember going to church and every time coming away with a feeling of disappointment and unhappiness over the time I spent there.  If our church is not giving out the Word of God in a sytematic way, then we are deprived of the food we need to feed our soul.  We need feeding and we crave it as Christians.  Also, we crave fellowship and friendship with other like-minded individuals.  My church wasn’t feeding us the food we needed.  We had tons of music and a very short canned sermon sprinkled with more stories and jokes than Bible.  I would go home and feel empty.  I had to get out of that modern church and find a good Bible teaching church.   I did that and it was like the difference between night and day.

  • YOUR MARRIAGE

You may be in a marriage that isn’t going so well.  You may be a Christian, but your spouse isn’t.  That can make for all kinds of unhappy times.  In that case you are not equally yoked and think from two different views.  This causes many conflicts.  I didn’t have that problem, but I do know people who do.  One of my friends had that problem. They had conflicts about going to church.  Many times the unbelieving husband would not go.  It made it hard as the wife wanted her children in Sunday school and she wanted to worship the Lord at church.  Another problem they had was over giving money to the church. They had many arguments over this.  God tells us to do that but the husband would not hear of it.

(2 Corinthians 6:14 ASV) Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness?

  • NOT MARRIED BUT LIVING TOGETHER

I also know of people who are not married but are living together.  They can’t find true happiness because they are living in sin.  God instituted marriage between a man and a woman and that is the only one he will bless.  If a couple are just living together and are not married they can expect God to disclipine them.

(1 Corinthians 7:2 KJV) Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

(Matthew 5:27 ASV) Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

  • UNFORGIVENESS/ VICTIM OF ABUSE

Maybe you are a Christian, but have unforgiveness in your heart.  If so, you really need to study what the Bible says about forgiveness and apply it to your life.  It will make a world of difference. Unforgiveness holds us hostage.  It actually hurts us much more than the other person.  As Christians we must forgive as God has forgiven us.

Mark 11:25-26 KJV And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  (26)  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

There were people in my life that I had to forgive once I became a Christian and realized this.    Sometimes the person we need to forgive has already passed away.  When that happens we can pray to the Lord and tell Him the whole thing.  We can pour our heart out to Him and He will listen.  Then we can tell the Lord that we forgive that person for what they did to us.  It is a very freeing thing to do.

I know people who hold grudges.  That is sure to bring them unhappiness.  They are always bringing up past hurts and rehearsing them again and again.  When they do that it is like reliving the past.  They must forgive even if it is for their own peace of mind.  We can forgive others and let the Lord take care of the rest.

Romans 12:19 KJV Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Do you see yourself as a victim?  Has life been hard and you’ve been abused in the past in some way?  If so, again you need to study about forgiveness.  You will have to learn to put the past behind you.

Philippians 3:13-14 ASV (13)  Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before,  (14)  I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

  • SELFISHNESS

I believe that selfishness is the number one cause of martial and relationship problems today.Is there selfishness in your life? We can become very unhappy when we don’t get our own way.  What does the Bible say about this? We are to think of others as more important than ourselves.

Philippians 2:3 KJV Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

One time shortly after I was saved I could not understand why people behaved the way they did.  I prayed and asked God why and it was as though He placed this one word in my mind: SELFISH.
As time went on and I put this word to the test I found it to be true.  People are selfish, and that is the root of many, if not most problems.

Matthew 16:24 ASV  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

  • MATERIAL POSSESSIONS

What about possessions?  Do you think that having just one more thing will make you happy?  Do you have to have the latest fashion, electronics, furnishings?  Do you think a new car, or home would make you happy? If you won the lottery would that make you happy? What thing that you don’t have now, if you could get it, would make you happy?

Matthew 6:19-21 ASV Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal:  (20)  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  (21)  for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.

Today I’m content most of the time.  I don’t need a lot when I realize how much God has given me.
He has adopted me into His family, given me a citizenship in Heaven, made me a saint, and has for me an inheritance that far outweighs anything here in this life.  Oh, I have so much to look forward to and that brings me great joy!

  • DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD

Perhaps you feel disappointed with God.  When you became a Christian you might have had the idea that everything would be great from there on out.  That view is sometimes given to a new convert, but it is not the truth.  God tells us that we will have troubles in this world.

Sometimes people don’t realize that God is sovereign.  This is very important!  He is sovereign over everything that happens to us.  Nothing can happen without his permission.  He is totally in control.  Just knowing that takes the pressure off us.  We can rest in the knowledge that He loves us and wants the very best for us.

Romans 8:28 ASV And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

The Bible also teaches us to be content in whatever state we are in.  Paul is a wonderful example of that.  He went through all kinds of trial and tribulations.

Philippians 4:11 ASV  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.

Also, a fruit of the Spirit is joy.  For a Christian even when times are very hard we can still have the joy that God has given us inside.  This is a gift from God, and it helps us through tough times.

Maybe I’ve touched on why you are an unhappy Christian, and maybe not. Write into the comments section and share what makes you unhappy and we can search the scriptures to find the answer for you.  I would love to hear from you.  You can also email me privately if you wish.


Read Full Post »

Dear friends, I don’t know where you are on the road of sanctification, but I do know we are all at different places. 

For some of you it would be a huge victory just to leave your bedroom and spend time with your families.  For others it might be to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.  Some of you might need to get your muscle tone in your legs back in shape from laying around so much while you’ve been laid up with worry and anxiety.  Others might be able to leave their homes and shop, but with some difficulty.  Some may be able to work at a job outside of their home and actually do pretty good, but there is still that underlying feeling of ever present danger lurking just under the surface.  Still others may have conquered panic attacks and are now experiencing a more normal life, but every once in awhile a curve is thrown their way and they wind up yielding to the temptation to worry.

There is so much today that we could worry about besides our struggles with panic disorder.  Just look at the world around us, listen to the news, and it can fill us will all kinds of fears and concerns.  So, we not only have to learn how to conquer anxiety to overcome panic attacks but we must also learn how to conquer anxiety in general.

I can remember going to a  church service where the pastor preached on the subject of anxiety.  My ears almost flapped as they tried to take in everything he said so I could learn how to overcome panic attacks.  But, he never went that far. He only talked about anxiety in general as it effected their daily life.  I was disappointed!  I figured that message was not met for me!  The pastor had missed it!

As I look back, I realize that message was  for me!  What I didn’t realize then was if I could learn how to conquer anxiety and fear in normal daily living I could learn to conquer it over panic attacks.  You do it the same way! In fact, if I had learned to conquer daily anxiety before I began having true panic attacks I would never had developed them.  I believe they could have been avoided.  My dad used to say, “Too quick old, too late smart.”

But, you see, in my case I learned how to worry when I was a youngster and thought it was a normal way of life.  Then, when it got out of control in my twenties I had true panic attacks.  That all happened before I became a Christian.  That is important to note. Then, after I  became a Christian no one talked to me about these things.  It took me years to get better because I had to learn on my own through a daily Bible study and then apply the Word to my life by faith.  I finally got there with the Lord’s help.  I finally became free from panic attacks!  I finally got my life back!  I’m forever grateful to God, my precious Heavenly Father who in His infinite mercy looked down upon me with favor.  Thank you God!

Now, remember, believers, we are not of this world. Yes, we live in the world but we don’t belong here.

Php 3:20 NASB For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

Therefore, we don’t have to live like the world, and we don’t have to think like the world.  I’d  like to ask you to do this little exercise:  The next time you are around people who aren’t believers, just listen to what they talk about.  Take note of the tone of their conversation.  Do they talk about things they worry about?  Do they worry?  Just listen and see.  I’ll bet most of the conversations are about things they are very concerned about, and how they are going to solve them.  They have to figure it all out.  They do not have God to do it for them.  So, they fuss and fume over everything.  Oh, you might hear some laughter mixed in, but what is really going on? A lot of people seem happy on the outside while they are miserable on the inside. Have you ever known someone like that?   Also, take note of how much they gossip.  What do they talk about?  

Those kinds of people can pull us down.  It is so easy to join in and not realize it.  I have to really watch this myself. 

Thank God we are not in that group of humanity any more.  We can rise above our problems because God is working them all out.  We have to realize who is in charge now.  God is and He will help us through anything that comes our way.  As John MacArthur has said, “Worry assumes that God doesn’t care, doesn’t know, or doesn’t have the resources to help us.”  That is like a slap in the face to God.  It’s as though we don’t trust Him and don’t believe His Word. 

1Pe 5:7 NASB casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

God really does care for us and will take care of us.  He is God our provider and our counselor.  We don’t have to worry!  Let’s stop living like the world.

Read Full Post »

           Our Cardinal Friend

                      100_0102

 

Proverbs 4:20-27 (NIV)

My son pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to the those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.
  Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
  Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil. 

 

There is a wealth of good health in this portion of scripture.  This is advice given to a young man, but it can be applied to any one of us.  First he tells his son to really pay attention and remember what he is about to say as it is very important.  We should do the same. He says to keep these words in our hearts.  The wisdom of these Words make a man’s whole body healthy.  They are life to him. 

When the Bible speaks of the heart it is speaking of the center of the human spirit, from which springs forth our emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage and actions.  If we store up good things in our hearts, our words and actions will flow forth with good things.

He says, “above all else,” or most important…guard your heart, because our life springs forth from it.  The heart “is the wellspring of life.”  All these things flow out of it as an overflowing water well springs forth water.

Then he tells us some things we need to do to achieve this good health. 

1. We need to watch how we talk.  How we talk reflects what we’ve been thinking about.  It also shows what is at our core.  Christians are not to talk trash as the world does.  It is very interesting, but if you listen closely while someone talks you can pretty much discover their relationship to God.

Matthew 12:34 “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

2. We need to be careful what we look at.  Are the movies we watch honorable to the Lord?  What about the T.V. programs we watch?  Would we be comfortable if the Lord Jesus Christ was sitting right there with us? There are many examples such as magazines, Internet, and even watching other people that we can include here. 

3. We need to take heed to where we walk.  We are not to swerve to the left or to the right in order to keep us from walking into evil behavior.  Are you mindful of where you hang out and if it is pleasing to God?  Sometimes we need to avoid certain places and friends so that we won’t be tempted.

4. We need to watch our thoughts also.  Our minds are fragile and we must protect them.  Are you aware of what you think about most of the time? 

(Philippians 4:8)  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

These are the things we should be thinking about.  You can examine your thoughts against the above scripture.  If they are out of line you can pray and ask the Lord to bring your thoughts where they should be.

Attaining to these things is not automatic or even easy.  But, If you make a serious effort the Lord will help you and then you too can have a healthy and happy life.

 

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: