Monday, June 20, 2016

The Secret to Being Happy

If I told you I had the secret to being happy, there’s a good chance you would want to know it.  I just did a Google search on “secret to being happy” and got 122MM hits so apparently I’m not the only one wondering about this! The good news is we don’t have to go to Google looking for happiness, we can go to God.  In His word, we find in Philippians 4:11-13 the following from the Apostle Paul:

...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

Things to think about:

  • From a material perspective, we all live in relative “plenty” and are well fed, so why aren’t we content?
    • The Bible says it has to do with our perceived unmet needs and/or our felt inadequacies
  • What are sources of discontent for you?
    • relationships, money, material goods, your career, regrets, approval of others, your spiritual maturity, something else?
    • how do these things create stress in your life?
    • how do you tend to address or cope with your stress?
  • Our verse says “in any and every situation”.  What are you dealing with that isn’t covered by "any and every"?
  • So the “secret” is “through Him who gives me strength”
    • what are the barriers to letting Jesus be your source of strength?
    • How hard is it for you to say “I can’t”?
  • So how do we activate the power readily available to us?
    • 2 Corinthians 12:9 - But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.
    • Colossians 1:11 -  "being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience"
    • John 15:5 - “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
    • Hebrews 13:6 - So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid."
  • So there you have it, the secret to being happy!
    • May God grant us the grace and revelation to live in the peace that He has freely given to us.  May we not believe the lies that we need more or that we aren’t good enough. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Horses and Legs

The urge to strive and try harder can be unrelenting. We live in a performance-oriented culture and in the business world it is especially that way.  When the result is good, we might be tempted to take great pride in our cleverness, experience, hard work, etc. When the result is not what we (or someone else) expects it to be, we look for more resources and try harder.  While I think it is biblical to be diligent about whatever one puts his hand to (Colossians 3:23  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters), God is most definitely not pleased with our self-sufficiency (either accumulated resources or our own personal assets)

Psalm 147:10-11

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Things to think about:

  • Are you wrestling with a goal or objective that is not being attained in the way you or someone else would hope?
    • Is your tendency to double down or to give up?
  • Have you recently had a big “win” ?
    • did you reflect the glory back to God or bask in it yourself?
    • we all know the right answer but in your heart of hearts, how did you react?
  • In the Old World, armies won wars on the backs of strong horses
    • What are some things in our more modern world that might be classified as “the strength of the horse”
  • Another vital asset in winning a struggle was the physical strength of the warrior
    • What are some of your qualities that might be “the legs of the warrior”?
  • We can probably agree that neither the horse or the mighty warrior are bad in their own regard so why is God not take pleased or delighted in them?
  • We can even move beyond pursuits like work or other achievements to any challenge that requires resources
    • if we or a loved one fall ill, we want to go to the best doctor at the best hospital to get the best care.  Nothing wrong with that but can that turn into putting our faith in horses and men?
  • We looked a few weeks ago at Hebrews 13:5-6
    • “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence,“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
  • the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
    • Ultimately it comes down to who we are looking to for our security. If we look to ourselves and our stuff, God is not pleased.
    • When we Trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our understanding, He will make our paths straight.
  • What challenge are you going through that it’s time to turn over to Him?