pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


1 Comment

Joy

Reading: Psalm 40: 6-11

What is the source of true happiness?  Is it your spouse or your children?  Is it your house or your car?  Is it having enough in the bank or in your retirement account?  Is it your job or where you are planning to go on vacation?  The psalmist exudes joy as he writes of his relationship with God.  In verse ten we read, “I speak of your faithfulness and salvation”.  It is here, as well as in God’s love and truth, that we find joy that never fades.

It is common for mankind to seek pleasure, happiness, and security in the things of this world.  We pursue possessions, positions, and power – thinking “this” will finally make me happy.  But the next new car does not bring pleasure and happiness and security forever.  There will always be a newer fancier model or an older, more rare classic.  And soon we feel empty and unfulfilled sitting in our current car.  The same is true with positions – there is always a younger and better person eagerly working their way up the ladder, one day to take your title.  Same is true for power.  At some point another will be calling the shots, making your decisions, spending your money, and driving your fancy car.

The psalmist found a source of happiness and joy that is eternal.  It will never go away, it will never be replaced by a newer model or a bigger version, it can never be taken from you, and it always loves and accepts you just as you are.  The psalmist exudes joy and happiness because of and through his relationship with God.  When life is lived for God, then the things of this world lose their luster.  Yes, we still need food and shelter and income to provide for our basic needs, but these are just “things”.  God’s faithfulness and salvation are eternal and unchanging.  Verse eleven reads, “may your love and truth always protect me”.  God’s love and truth protect us from the desires of this world.  We find our worth and our hope reside in God’s love and truth.

This day and every day may we seek God’s faithfulness and salvation.  This day and every day may we desire to live in the promises of God: He is faithful, His love and truth lead to joy in this life and to everlasting life in the age to come.  God is our joy!  May we always share our joy.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Contentment

Reading: 1 Timothy 6: 6-11

Paul calls us to what really matters in this life and in the life to come.  He states in verse six, “godliness with contentment is great gain”.  When we live a godly life and are content with God’s blessings, then we do find much joy, peace, and happiness.  But it can be a struggle to live this way all the time.

Even though Paul reminds us in verse seven that we brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out of it, sometimes we sure act differently.  We eye the latest cell phone, tablet, or other gadget.  We see the newest model of our favorite car and think our 2015 version is getting a bit old.  We hear the Jones’s got a new boat and we think it sure would be nice to take the kids out tubing or fishing anytime.  Pretty soon it can be easy to not be so content.

Paul spells it out very clearly when he says, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”.  He does not say money is bad but that the LOVE of money in bad.  This love causes us to pursue much instead of God.  When we love something more than God, soon enough we “wander from the faith” and we find ourselves”pierced with many griefs”.  Money, possessions, status, … do not last.  When we chase after such things all we want is more, more, more.  Enough never comes.

“Flee from all of this!” is Paul’s advice.  Instead, Paul encourages us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  When we fill our lives with these things, contentment is not far away.  When we pursue these things we soon realize the depth of God’s care and love for us, each a child of God.  When we realize this, we trust in God that all of our needs will be met and that our lives will be richly blessed no matter how much or how little we have.  When we live pursuing God, we find true contentment.  May God be our all in all.


Leave a comment

Giving Self to God

Reading: Colossians 2: 6-19

We often try to fill our lives with so many things and activities that we think will bring us joy, happiness, contentment, peace.  We chase after things that appear to be just what we need to get us to that ‘place’ where we think all will be ‘good’.  As we pursue these things of the world we come to realize soon enough that they do not really satisfy.

In other seasons of life we fill our lives with so many things and activities that we do not seem to have time for Christ.  So many things simply consume our time and leave us exhausted and with little energy to pour into our relationship with Christ.  What little we have left that we do offer to Christ is a pittance of what it should be.  As we get completely run down we realize our need for Christ and our need to re-prioritize our lives.

In each day we have a finite amount of time and energy.  Christ needs to be the center of our lives if we are truly to find content and satisfied lives.  He is the big item that must first be given time and energy each day.  When Christ is our core and foundation, all else will fall into line, all else will be taken care of.  Our gift of our presence must be the first thing we give to Christ each day.  In this way we demonstrate our love for Him by giving Him our best and we also show our trust in Christ that all else will be cared for throughout the day.  Each day may be begin by dedicated ourselves to God, by giving Him the best moments of our day, and we will find the joy, happiness, contentment, peace we desire.


Leave a comment

God’s Law

The psalmist declares how wonderful is it is live according to God’s laws.  These perfect and trustworthy laws are more previous than gold for the psalmist.  How these two ideas run counter to our secular culture!  Society is nothing if not tolerant and tells us to live however makes us happy.  In society today, little is more important than wealth, so how could one possibly hold the law above accumulating wealth?

The beginning of Psalm 19 speaks of how the sun encompasses all with its light.  The same is true of God’s laws.  Although many will try to hide from His law, it surrounds them like the sun.  No one can really hide because in the end there will be a consequence for this choice.  So as people living under this perfect law, it is our call and command to show others the joy and peace and contentment we find in God’s ways.

In following God’s law we find life that is truly life.  His ways bring wisdom, enlighten our path, and gives joy to our heart.  The law also protects us from our human nature within.  It leads us away from living for our human desires and helps us to find contentment and peace in what God blessed us with from out of His goodness.  His ways allow us to live good, orderly, happy lives.

To live according to God’s laws and as He intended us to live is harder than living by the world’s ways.  It is a hard choice to make in today’s culture.  The culture says that getting more and more and more is the path to the good life.  But we know where that path ends up.  There is a more perfect way – the way of God.  May we live by God’s ways this day and every day so that we find true peace, joy, and contentment in this earthly life and in the eternal life that is to come.

Scripture reference: Psalm 19: 7-14


Leave a comment

Happiness – God’s Gift

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  When God created the world He knew there would be both love and hate, planting and uprooting, peace and war, and so on.  The existence of good and evil, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow,… was necessary for free will to be a part of our world.  If all was only good we would not really be choosing to love and obey God.  Yet God’s intent is still for good – for good in our lives and for good in the world.  In the end, God’s goodness and love will reign.  As we come to our end, we can enter His glory and experience nothing but good in heaven.  As this world comes to and end, there will be a restoration of all things and God will once again dwell among humanity.

“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in his toil – this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 12-13)  God desires for us to also be the good in the world.  We are to go forth and to bring the love of Christ with us to all that we meet in the world.  When we do good in the world, when we live following Christ’s example, then we are able to find true happiness.  This is one of God’s gifts to us.

God’s gift to us is also to find satisfaction in our toil.  Our efforts, our job, our work is meant to bring us joy.  God’s intent is for me to love my job and to serve Him with all I can as I work.  In others areas of toil, I must do the same.  In shoveling the driveway or serving the meal at the mission I can experience and encounter God in nature or in the faces of those I serve.  God is all around me.  God is all around everyone.  Thanks be to God for His presence in our lives and for these gifts that He brings.

Scripture reference: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-13


Leave a comment

Sing His Song!

Sometimes I get a tune or song stuck in my head.  It plays over and over and over.  If someone mentions or, worse yet, hums a bit of some songs, they get stuck.  There is much joy and happiness in music, so ‘stuck’ may be a bad choice of words.

In today’s reading from the Song of Songs the author speaks of their lover coming to visit.  The winter is over and spring is bounding out all around.  New life can be found all over the place and he beckons her to join him in enjoying it.  Visions of new shoots of green poking up through the earth as birds sing songs carried off on a warm breeze fill my mind.  It is a time that makes the heart smile.

The relationships between lovers also parallels our relationship with God.  Each morning God calls out to us, sings to us, at the start of each new day.  Like an expectant child lying in bed awaiting Christmas morning or a fiance about to pop the question, God cannot wait to welcome us to a brand new day.  The actual time or season of the year does not really matter – God is anxious for us to begin a new day with Him.  It is God’s desire that each new day is full of His presence.

2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is come!”  Each day is a new day as we walk with our Lord.  His mercies are made new every morning as God offers us His love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness each new day.

God calls us to be in song with Him each day as well.  He invites us to sing the songs of love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness each day.  May this song of God become so stuck in our hearts and souls that it springs forth from us each day, all day!

Scripture reference: Songs of Songs 2: 8-13


1 Comment

Spilling Out

As we draw near to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ, our sense of hope and joy builds.  As we rest into the knowledge of God’s promises fulfilled through this holy birth, our sense of peace and love grows.  Advent is a season where we live close to God and look toward God’s future blessings.

The covenant relationship that we have with God allows us to live in His blessings.  We seek to be content and happy in our lives.  It is through the confidence in God as provider and in our attitude as thankful recipients of these blessings that we find true contentment and happiness.  Knowing that we are loved and cared for by God makes such a difference in life.

In this holy season God wants to meet all of our needs – physical, spiritual, and emotional.  As our thanks and praises to our creator who blesses us so richly grows, it spills out of our lives and into the lives of those around us.  As we spread the joy, hope, love, and peace, others are in turn blessed as well.

Scripture reference: Isaiah 61: 8-11