Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Happiness That God Gives

Chuckle: Minister: "Do you know what's in the Bible?" Little Girl: "Yes, I think I know everything that's in it." Minister: "Please tell me." Little Girl: OK. There's a picture of my brother's girl friend, a ticket from the dry cleaners, one of my curls, and a pizza coupon."
Quote: “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” --Mary Wollstonecraft
"Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples (followers) came to him, and he began to teach them." (Matthew 5:1-2 NIV).
Often we try to manufacture our own joy by filling our lives with things and activities of no lasting value. If we want real joy, there is only one source -- our Lord himself. In his "Sermon on the Mount," found in chapters 5, 6, & 7 of Mathew, Jesus gives us some of the most profound and practical teachings in all the Bible on the important things in life and the way Christians should think and live. He suggests we should live in a state of supernatural happiness or joy. In chapter 5:1-12, Jesus gives us what are commonly called "The Beatitudes," which we will study in coming days. The word, "Beatitude" comes from Latin (Beatus) meaning complete or abundant happiness.
Jesus begins each Beatitude with, "Blessed are the . . . ." The word, "Blessed" means happiness as an indescribable divinely conferred joy. God wants each of us to have such a joy, but this joy does not come cheaply. It involves a radical restructuring of the heart and mind. It is obvious that Jesus wants us to be joyful people as his followers. But, his definition of "joy" may be completely different from our way of thinking. The kind of joy that Jesus talks about is not determined by life's circumstances, but, rather, it comes from God himself as we enjoy a deep and personal love relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
"If lasting happiness could be found in having material things and in being able to indulge ourselves in whatever we wanted, then most of us in America should be delirious with joy and happy beyond description. We should be producing books and poems that describe our state of unparalleled bliss. Our literature and art should rival that of the ancient Greeks and Romans and Renaissance craftsmen.
Instead we find those who have "things" trying to get more of them, for no apparent reason other than to have more. We find high rates of divorce, suicide, depression, child abuse, and other personal and social problems beyond description. We find housewives trading tranquilizer prescriptions. All this is surely proof that happiness is not found in the state of having all we want and being able to get more." –Illustrations for Biblical Preaching; Edited by Michael P. Green
Have you noticed that some people always have that contagious spirit of joy, even when they have little and their problems are the same as, or greater, than others? Even in the most severe tragedies of life, they smile, praise God, and give joy to others. Let the Lord bring true happiness into your life each day. "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24 NIV).
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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