The Surest Way to Be Happy

There are times when you’re going to be happy, and there are times when you’re not. You can’t always be happy. We live a life of the flesh. We’re vulnerable to sin.

When sin entered the world, our feelings of happiness became inconsistent. Sometimes we know it and other times we crave it. We crave it from the moment we’re born! It’s okay to want happiness and it’s okay to pursue it. And you know what? We have help.

We can remember to take God with us. Everywhere we go!

Complete happiness is found in intimacy with the Father. You’ll feel complete happiness when you are sitting at His throne and He smiles on you. That’s completion. That’s perfect happiness. That’s the warmth and joy you crave.

You will feel great! You will have peace and joy! No more anger. No more inconsistency. You’ll be on an even keel and all the storms will be over. Nothing left but calm.

I am sure that people who walk through life without Jesus will find happiness, but I don’t think it’s as great as the happiness that comes from intimacy with God. Now that I know the happiness and joy that comes from our King, I have to have it!

But I lose Him. We all do. Just remember that as often as you lose Jesus, you will find Him again. This is not a bad thing. It’s actually awesome. There’s nothing like the joy you feel when you find Jesus in different places on your walk through life. You’re like a kid whose Dad or Mom has just come home.

When I come home, my sons see me and they run straight for me. “There you are, Daddy!” They run and jump in my arms because they’re so glad I’m home. Man, I love the smiles on their faces when they run and jump in my arms! They say, “I’m so glad to see you!” I truly think they are happy when they do that.

I think that’s the feeling we have each time we find God. We have that feeling of, “There you are, Daddy! I’m so happy to see you!” You know? We have that same feeling of joy.

I don’t stay home all the time. I come home and I leave again. And I come home again, and I leave, and then I come home. When you’re a follower of Jesus, you’re going to lose Him the same way during your journey in life.

My sons lose me because I go to work, but we lose Jesus because of our flesh. We just get distracted. He doesn’t necessarily want us to lose Him, but it’s going to happen. It’s always going to happen until He comes again.

Even if He doesn’t go anywhere we’re going to lose Him. Even if He’s always there we’re going to lose Him. The irony is that we lose our greatest source of happiness, God, because we’re trying to find happiness! We think, “Well, this car will make me happy.” Or this outfit, or this new athletic gear, or this new book. This will make me happy!

Jesus says, “No, stick with me! You’ll be happy!” “Yeah,” we say, “but there’s this thing that I need. It will make me even happier.” And Jesus says, “Well, it won’t. It will bring you temporary happiness. You’re right about that. And that’s why I want you to have it.

“But just remember, that’s not it. If you forget about me, if you forget about intimacy with me and devotional time with me, if you forget to bring me along with you, if you forget to understand that we still need to talk and dialogue, you’ll lose me.”

I really think that’s what He says!  So that means the surest way to be happy is this: don’t forget Jesus.

See you Monday.

Sing for Joy!

(Note: I know some of you may have already read this through my Twitter feed, but I’m republishing it for my blog’s subscribers. You are important to me. Thank you for reading!)

Families all over the world have Christmas traditions. For many Christians, it’s the only time they go to church, unless they also go on Easter.

We go to Christmas Eve services, light candles, and sing carols. We sing “Mary Did You Know” and “Joy to the World,” and we have manger scenes. It’s all good. It’s part of the spiritual message and part of church history. It’s real.

But I’m still moved to ask, why do we do all this? For example, why do we have manger scenes? Is a manger scene just something you put in your yard or on your stage when you do your Christmas Eve production? Or do you really think about what it means?

Do we really understand the message?

We’re singing “Joy to the World,” but why are we joyful? That Jesus came and died?

Well, that’s part of the gospel, but there’s more to it than that. Jesus wasn’t born just to die. He was born to bring us good news! The gospel started with His birth on December 25th — if that’s the actual date — and we’re still living it. Living in the gospel’s truth! That’s the joy that the world needs to know.

When I sit and carefully examine the Christian life of discipleship, I see the Christmas message in a whole new light. The birth of Christ was a significant moment in history. It was the day that God’s redemption began its transformation of everything in creation. Christmas day — the day the Good News was born into the world — is the day that God started discipling people. Christmas day is the day our new life began.

At last, we can fully understand the concept of life — in all its glory!

This understanding is pure joy! We proclaim “Joy to the World,” because now we understand why we have life. We don’t live to judge or be judged. We live to love and be loved!

Christmas is when it all started. Christmas is when it all happened. Two thousand years ago, or a little more than that, this good news came into the world. This man Jesus came down from heaven to walk this earth.

He walked with us. He answered all our questions and fulfilled all of our thoughts. Now we have a reason to live. Now we know why we live. Now we know how to bring joy. Now we know that we are are loved unconditionally. That frees us to do the same.

This is the joy we proclaim. So let’s sing “Joy to the World” this year, and let’s bring it! Let’s bring joy!

Merry Christmas!

Life Conceived by God

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole…You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. 1 Peter 1:3-5, 8-9

Believers in Christ find joy in Him. It’s a joy that cannot be matched. It is an inexpressible and glorious joy!

This doesn’t mean that all Christians have an easy life. You might not live in a nice home. You might not have tons of the money in the bank. You might not have the appearance of wealth. But appearances aren’t what matter here. This kind of joy, it lives inside of you. It’s indescribable. You’re happy!

You have a joy that you cannot explain because it’s beyond your understanding. It is ineffable. It is a joy that says, “I will trust in the Lord with all my heart. I will not lean on my own understanding. He will make my path straight.” You’re living a life conceived by God, and that’s why you can’t explain it. The joy you feel is Spirit-led.

Christianity can appear hard, to those looking in. And we know it can be a hard life to live. But for those who are living it, there is so much joy!

Think of Mother Teresa. She was sad at the end of her life, but I think that’s because she was grieving. There had to be a grieving process, given all the poverty she saw. But I think she felt fulfilled in what she was doing. I think she felt an internal joy because she responded to her calling. You cannot voluntarily go live in poverty and find joy, unless there is something deep within you that says, “This is right. This is where I feel alive.”

That’s the calling of God, and it cannot be matched, not by anything. Without God, no one could live and work in poverty the way Mother Teresa did. Without God, no one could sustain it for as long as she did. And without God, no one could have the kind of fulfillment she knew. Her calling brought her so much life! That’s the benefit of the Spirit-led lifestyle. It is a life conceived by God Himself. Think of it! That’s our life! Glorious, inexpressible joy!

See you Thursday.

Glorious Joy!

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole…You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. 1 Peter 1:3-5, 8-9

Believers in Christ find joy in Him. It’s a joy that cannot be matched. It is an inexpressible and glorious joy!

This doesn’t mean that all Christians have an easy life all the time. You might not live in the nicest home. You might not have tons of the money in the bank. You might not have the appearance of wealth. But appearances aren’t what matter here. This kind of joy lives inside of you. It’s indescribable. You’re happy!

You can’t explain your joy because it is beyond your understanding. It is a joy that says, “I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding, and He will make my path straight.” This is Spirit-led joy.

Mother-TeresaSometimes God can call you to a hard life. At least, I know it can appear hard to those looking in. But for those who are living in that life? There is joy!

Think of Mother Teresa. She was sad at the end of her life, but I think that’s because she was grieving. There had to be a grieving process, given all the poverty she saw. But I think she felt fulfilled in what she was doing. I think she felt an internal joy that not a lot of people find. You cannot voluntarily go live in poverty and find joy unless there is something internal calling you, something that says, “This is right. This is where I feel alive.”

That’s the calling of God, and it cannot be matched, not by anything. I don’t think anyone could go live and work in poverty the way Mother Teresa did without God. I don’t think anyone could sustain it for as long as she did, and have the kind of fulfillment she felt, without God. Her calling brought her so much life! That’s the benefit of the Spirit-led life, a life conceived by God Himself. That’s our life! (1 Peter 1:23)

See you Thursday.

Turning Failure into Freedom

How often have you felt like a failure? Sometimes we say, “Man, I’m failing as a Christian. I’m just not a very happy Christian. I should be, but I’m miserable.”

If I heard you say that, I would ask you to take a step back and look at how many times you’re living a legalistic life. You feel that you are not succeeding as a Christian, but how do you measure success? According to whose standards? Your standards? If you’re trying to succeed according to your standards, you’re right! You will feel like a failure. Continue reading

Inexpressible and Glorious Joy!

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole…You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. 1 Peter 1:3-5, 8-9

Believers in Christ find joy in Him. It’s a joy that cannot be matched. It is an inexpressible and glorious joy!

This doesn’t mean that all Christians have an easy life. You might not live in a nice home. You might not have tons of the money in the bank. You might not have the appearance of wealth. But appearances aren’t what matter here. This kind of joy, it lives inside of you. It’s indescribable. You’re happy! Continue reading