Thoughts on Happiness

Thoughts on Happiness

 

Have you ever struggled with how to be happy? Who hasn’t? It’s one of the deepest pursuits of life. I seem to find I obtain happiness through constantly striving to be and do more. When I consider this struggle, I think I am misguided. I feel like the “struggle” should be more about the feelings I attain through my day which occur through my tasks and interactions. I have often believed that I have to have a purpose to be happy. We all do. However, living a purposeful life and making meaning out of each hour of the day requires constructive (as opposed to destructive thoughts) which leads to our happiness on this earth. Since thoughts originate from feelings, it is imperative to look at what we do with the feelings which come and go through the day. If we have the contentment, joy, and happiness (which I feel to be synonymous), we will live more giving lives which what Jesus asks us to do in Matthew 28: 19 and that is to make disciples and build His kingdom. Isn’t being happy, then, a principled obligation to our fellow man?

 

So with this said, I would like to look at some lessons I have learned about the whole “Happiness” concept.  It is important to differentiate between what is happiness and what is pleasure. Happiness is like love. It cannot be defined in a dictionary. Pleasure can be, however. Pleasure is short term, spikes of excitement which can come and go throughout the day. Many people seek pleasure only to find that it is futile and short-lived. In fact, many become addicted to the “feeling.” If we are guided by our “feelings” then  we are in for major disappointment since feelings change as fast as the moment of the day. It has been said there are 20,000 moments in the day, ergo, it would be quite tiresome to let our feelings rule our moments. So perhaps happiness has to come from a habit of mind, and not a habit of feeling. This is to say, the use of our minds and intelligences is essential to achieving happiness.

 

Does it sound strange to say,” I am in pursuit of happiness?” Did God ever say that we are to be happy and that we are put on this earth to be happy?” I would surmise that that it is not our ‘purpose’ per se, but it is an obligation to be happy because this is what occurs when our focus is on God and His glorious gifts he gave to us undeserving souls. He did not have to pursue us to create a relationship with us, but The WORD exemplifies a tremendous love story between God and His human creation. He chose to save us and build in an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him through the sacrifice of His son (He paid the sin price for all of us). That seems the first step to finding happiness: GRATITUDE. In that way, I do think God would like us to be happy. It is difficult to be unhappy if we are full of gratitude for our existence, no matter what our circumstances. I mean, we as humans, are forgiven! We are being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that one may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks. (Col 1:11)

 

Joy is discussed often in the Bible. Joy and contentment are great synonyms for happiness. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24). How is this possible when human nature is to always be satisfied? Human nature is working constantly against us and this is  the greatest obstacle to finding happiness. This is  probably one of the primary reasons we need to have a relationship with God. He gives us the ABILITY and POWER (through the Holy Spirit) to battle our human nature. (“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” ) -John 3:5-7. It is not possible “by” ourselves to be happy although it has to come to us not from outside forces, but from the power of God “within” us. “But now I (Jesus) come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they (Us) may have My (Jesus) joy made full in themselves. (John 17:13).

This verse corroborates the point of not being able to seek it from another person or “event.” It must be sought from OUR work, not someone else’s work upon us.

So how can this be? Circumstances constantly change and life is hard. What happens to us when we fall victim to our feelings? If our feelings become thoughts, then we must have discipline to overcome the natural tendency to become deeply troubled. “And bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) This means it is a discipline or HABIT of the mind to extinguish a negative thought (which erupts from a negative feeling). It is not our hearts for which we can trust because our feelings are misleading. If we don’t do this, our thoughts potential become bad decision and sinful behavior. This IS part of the plan of God which again makes it a biblical concept, that we may not sin. In that case, happiness, being part of our disciplined mind’s activity, must be sought in order avoid sinful activities. The genesis of this has to come from an attitude which must be adopted.

This is why I argue for gratitude. Imagine, if we walk around with an attitude of gratitude? We avoid these pitfalls which inevitably steal and rip apart our joy and happiness.

The first one is the comparison game. Most of the comparisons we make are based on false assumptions of others. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “If only I looked like that” of “She has the perfect life” or “They have no problems.” The list is endless. It is totally in our imaginations because virtually all people put on some sort of mask when they are around others. If all people do this, then it is inevitable that others will make assumptions based on those masks. This is why it is so key to have intimate relationships with others. First, it enables you to talk out your misguided thought which then can become quenched once you realize we all have similar issues. Also, it allows us to become more real which in turn makes people want to be around us. No one likes to be around someone who is perfect and has no faults. It’s not reality!

 

The second one is IMAGES. Yes, comparing others is a form of image worship, but when we have it in our minds as to the expectation of what the “perfect” marriage is..or the “perfect” body..or the “Perfect” career”, we set ourselves up for failure. The only perfect person is Jesus. It is important to understand that hope is different than holding an idyllic image in our head. This is why being a follower of Christ, we know that this world brokenness and trouble does exist, but it won’t be “perfected” until we are glorified in Heaven and Jesus reigns supreme.

 

The third one is a “What is missing?” problem. Is it not so easy to focus on what is not there than to see what is? This is sabotages our happiness because there will ALWAYS be something missing. The “Most Important Thing” in our hearts changes like our feelings…constantly! Think about it. When you woke up this morning, you had your mind on the LATEST issue in your life. Two weeks later, you probably can’t even remember what that was but at the time it was MIT! With a grateful heart, we can deal with our issues but keeping a healthy perspective which says that it’s not as important as we may give it credit. Have you ever thought how much energy and time it takes for things to go RIGHT? Why don’t we celebrate those days. “Gosh, my body has not aches today!” or “My mom is alive and doing sell.” We maybe should look at what is “good” in our lives for a change instead of constantly seeking out what is not.

 

Finally, the opposite of gratitude is expectation. If we hold expectations or feel entitled constantly, it’s pretty impossible to be grateful. When we start to expect perfection from people, or when we feel certain things are “owed” to us, we basically lose control. That’s it and authority is handed over to others to make us happy. That means we are waiting on others (And GOD) to give us love, gifts…whatever.

 

Life is hard. It takes work. It takes discipline. But pursuing a habit of mind when feelings come along  (which breed misery), we can actually control those feelings to be extinguished and focus back on the reality. This reality has to be an attitude of gratitude. This is not easy as life throws us punches which seem unfair. However, with  a deep, personal, intimate relationship with God, (which has to stem from gratitude since (“He loved us so much that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall NOT perish but have eternal life”-John 3:16), we can actually take our feelings to God, ask for help in turning these feelings into constructive thoughts which lead to a closer relationship with Him. This does not mean a “Pollyanna” existence. It does mean acknowledging the feeling through the dilemma or issue, working through it with intimate friendships and with God, and creating a Habit Of Mind to remain content and happy through the storm.

 

Can you pass the SOUL EXAM?

Everyone loves to pass tests. But what’s the secret?

 

My life verse is Roman 8:28: “In all things, God works for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

This verse is thrown around like a loose scarf and many seem to forget the last half.

My dear friend, Pastor Bobby Brewer, spoke on this topic on Sunday, July 29th , and I thought I would reflect on some of his comments.

 

Have you ever been tested? I mean really tested to where you really thought this was a big joke and maybe there was a hidden camera to see if you were going to fall on your face? I go through them daily. Now, it’s important to realize that temptations are not from God, but are enticements used by Satan to disobey God. Temptations come daily, too, but those are put in our way to get us off track.

Tests, on the other hand, are circumstances that God allows into our lives to see if we are capable of moving from one level of spirituality to the next….or to reveal our maturity! They also are designed to show our true character.

Hmmm…if that is true, I can think of daily interactions which put me to the test.

 

Have you ever been in a casual conversation and all of a sudden the person to whom you are speaking starts to gossip or say something which is hurtful about something or someone? What do I do? Well, that is the “test.”

What about when I get a bill in the mail which I did not expect? Do I curse the situation and freak out? Do I call and yell at the company? How do I handle to conflict?

What about if at work, I do not get any credit for all the hard work I do and my partner, who did not do much, gets all the accolades? Or I get blamed for something which is not my fault? Do I seek revenge? Or do I understand that God is in control and this could be a test of my character.

 

This is where the rubber meets the road.

 

The verse which I live by, has some definite “fine print.” Does that part ever get discussed? Yes, all things do work out and are for His good (and ultimately for mine), HOWEVER, not if I don’t LOVE God. Well, heck, one can say, I love God! But, are you obeying Him!? John 14: 15 says if you love God, you’ll KEEP His commandments. I know one of his commandments is to love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s not to loving to gossip or to talk negatively to or about someone. I’m not LOVING God then, am I?

I need to treat people the way Jesus would (Mat 25:40)

 

So, in order to pass the test which come our way and truly trust in this verse, there are four keys, which Bobby so eloquently discussed.

The way I see it is that the moment I open my eyes in the  morning, I am under this exam. So let’s say I get to school and a student is rude to me. First, I need to see it from God’s perspective. How would He handle this and how can I glorify Him through this test and with other kids who don’t act becomingly.

 

  1. I need to acknowledge that God has interest in me and how I can use this for His glory. The day He’s laid out for me is for my best interest and how I react to rough situations is the test!
  2. Next, when I can’t trust His head, I need to trust His heart. I am reminded of Paul returning to Jerusalem in Acts 20: 22. He had no idea what he was about to enter, but He knew God had His back. Do I trust this when I enter the mission field every day in this neighborhood? Do I throw caution to the wind and trust His best? I might not “get it” at the moment, but God does. Trust… in the test…..

 

  1. Asking for help is hard when we’ve been programmed to be so “STRONG!.” I remember how Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, not to bug him, but to rely on GOD!! Maybe these tests are put in our way so we’ll throw up our hands and say, “HELP!” John 14: 6 tells us that HE sent us ANOTHER counselor! I don’t need me to counsel me, or the “phone call,” but the THRONE! THE HOLY SPIRIT! The PARAKLEET.

 

  1. Finally, I cannot quit. Perseverance leads to character development. “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-56). It ain’t easy! But it’s simple with Him with me. Shoot, it’s hard in the mine field daily! It’s hard to trust that all these tests are for His glory and for my spiritual maturity, but it’s true…like it or lump it!

 

What a glorious gift, these tribulations. Is that your attitude? All things do work together. That word is “WORK,” not hang around and play. Work means the work of my salvation is being pursued daily, by Him. If I have this heart and mind attitude, I can take anything. “Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ…NOTHING. “ (Romans 8: 35)

 

 

Thoughts on Psalm 1

                                    PSALM 1

 

  1. 1.     Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

  1. 2.     But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

 and on his law he meditates day and night.

  1. 3.     He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

           

  1. 4.     Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

  1. 5.     Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteousness.

 

  1. 6.     For the Lord watches over the way of the righteousness,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

 

I.               Introduction

 

Psalm I is an introduction to the rest of the Psalms. It has a general and basic subject matter as two subjects are touched upon. “Certainly it stands here as a faithful doorkeeper, confronting those who would be in the congregation of the righteous.”[1] The righteous shall receive blessings while the wicked shall receive misery.

It is a wisdom psalm and reminds the reader of the Book of Proverbs. Historically, the psalm was probably not for formal usage. It is more of a reflective type of poem. “It must be viewed as a literary and poetic composition, expressing with remarkable clarity the polarity of persons and their destinies.”[2] It may have been combined with Psalm 2 at one time and the overall impression is that it represents a latter stage of Old Testament religion. In this regard, it must have been written after the exile.

The structure of the Psalm is of two parts. Part one, which is verses 1-3, discusses the enticement of the godly life, while verses 4-6 depict the worthlessness and ultimate despair of a godless person and his choices.

 

II.             Exegesis

 

Verse 1 Analysis

“Blessed is the man..”

First, as one looks at the word “blessed”, it is noted that it is plural in Hebrew and literally means “Oh, the blessedness.” The Hebrew word for blessing is a^shr. One can paraphrase to mean, “Oh how happy is the one..” The description of the happy man is not addressed to only males. “Woman and children are included because, in the Israelite views, part of man’s true happiness is his family-a good wife and many children-and so his blessings are shared by the whole family.”[3]

This has been known to be beatitude because it promises blessings to those who live with faith and a relationship with God. The man who is blessed must avoid certain things. The description of the happy man in verse 1 includes 3 phrases and progress to an acme: 1. Three degrees of conduct (walk, stand, sit), 2. Three degrees of involvement (counsel, path, seat), and 3. Three degrees of evilness (wicked, sinners, scoffers). “On the other hand, the three clauses form a synonymous parallelism, and therefore the corresponding terms merely repeat the same thought in different words without any intentional grading of the godless and their actions.”[4]

“who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked”

“Counsel” in Hebrew  is u@s>h which means, “purpose or way of thinking.” The mental attitude that one has determines decisions that one makes. “Wicked” in Hebrew is r`sh`u which means to be loose or unstable. One who is wicked is controlled by his own desires and emotions rather than by those of God’s Word. The psalter describes the wicked here as the foes of God and the enemies of his people.

“nor stand in the path of sinners”

 

“Stand” in Hebrew means to stop and be firm. It refers to the development of habits and patterns. Being in the path makes one think that one is on a journey or direction to somewhere. “Sinners” miss the mark and deviate from what is true. Standing with sinners means that one shares their way of life. We are all sinners. However, the psalter is referring to deliberate sinners who have chosen this particular way of life.

            “nor sit in the seat of mockers.”

“To sit in the seat of the scoffers amounts to making light of God’s law which ought to be one’s delight; it also means identifying oneself with the thinking and planning of the godless.”[5] Sitting among these folk provides negative association and the person in turn becomes like his associates. “Scoffers” are mockers and ridiculers. They put down the things of God and his word. Scoffers are the most scandalous of sinners thus the farthest from repentance. The happiness of a man is not automatic, however. It is a direct consequence of his activities. “The righteous person avoids all the dimensions of the way of the wicked; therein lies the source of blessedness or happiness.”[6] This section leads to what the righteous shall do which is covered in verse 2.

Verse 1 Summary

In order to experience blessedness, one must avoid the wickeds’ advice,

sinners’ habits, and association with mockers.

Verse 2 Analysis

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord…”

The 3 negatives of verse 1 clear the way for what is valuable. The emphasis is on the “law of the Lord.” The study of God’s Word is to be the key purpose of one’s life in which one receives delight and gives thoughtful attention. “In the law of the Lord,” referring to the Torah, means instruction of which God gives mankind as a life guide. This law stands directly opposed to the ‘counsel of the wicked’ which implies that whatever one studies or thinks about, will frame his life. “This ‘law’, far from being a burden or an unbearable yoke, is the ‘delight’ of the godly man. Perhaps we should render ‘his delight..’ as ‘his concern ( or ‘preoccupation’) is with the law of the Lord’; this might give a slight better parallel to the following line.”[7]

“and on his law he meditates day and night.”

This leads to why the author talks of meditating day and night. “Meditates” literally means “to moan, speak, plan..” In this sense it could mean to study and apply to one’s life. “So this ‘meditation’ not merely an intellectual exercise but, above all, it is a study of the will of God for the purpose of doing it.”[8] Day and night is an idiom which means constantly and regularly. To be blessed and righteous, one must constantly study the Torah.

Verse 2 Summary

The blessed man delights himself in constant regular meditation of God’s Word.

Verse 3 Analysis

“He is like a tree..”

A tree is a simile for man. A tree may fade or die depending on it’s locale and it’s irrigation. As one pictures a watered, healthy tree, one sees 3 things: 1. A tree has deep roots and is sturdy (stability), 2. Substantial growth takes time, and 3. A tree bears fruit and shade.

“planted by streams of water..”

“Planted” actually means “transplanted” which means taking plants out of their environment and planting in another aiding growth, production, and stability. “This may imply that the happiness of the godly man is entirely due to God’s action”[9] The righteous man will be transformed from a barren condition to producing fruit from a rich root. Another theological point must be made about the tree and the stream of water. A person will be like this tree if he is constantly in the word (verse 2). The Word of God is constantly flowing and is never ending. We, too, will endure if we get watered by this stream daily and continually. “The state of blessedness or happiness is not a reward; rather, it is the result of a particular type of life. Just as a tree with a constant water supply naturally flourishes, so too the person who avoids evil and delights in Torah naturally prospers.”[10] It is the believer’s responsibility to respond to God’s provision (Torah) and plant himself regularly in the seat where he can receive water (life).

which yields its fruit in season…”

First root, then the fruit. The fruit is the blessings. The order here is important because if one roots himself in the Word (like the watered tree), he will bear fruit. “The phrase its fruit in its season emphasizes both the distinctiveness and the quiet growth of the product.”[11] The fruit is proof of the root where one is dwelling in truth and not error. “In season” means at the proper time or when opportunity knocks and without fail.

and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. ”

A picture of vitality is seen from this verse. A plant by water endures.  “The point of the metaphor is to stress the fruitfulness and vitality of life of the godly man, as well as its stability, rather than to provide a symbol of immortality.”[12]. The idea of the prosperity of man is somewhat of a summary statement for the first half of the psalm.  The life of the righteous man will in effect produce prosperity. Not in the financial sense, but rather in the spiritual sense (i.e. godly character.) The man of blessedness prospers first because he first seeks to operate in God’s will (for his will is for man to prosper.)

Verse 3 Summary

The blessed man is like a watered tree. He will bear much fruit since he is constantly in the Word hence prosperity follows.

Verse 4 Analysis

“Not so the wicked!..”

A continuation of verse 3 is seen here. The wicked shall not prosper like the blessed righteous. This word “wicked” is repeated 4 times in this psalm hence the psalter must be trying to describe the unrighteous with this key word. One may assume that not only are the wicked apart from God but are guilty of restless activity. They are out of touch with God. It is a contrast to verse 2. To illustrate,

the righteous, 1. Cling to God and 2. Love his word. Therefore he is stable and prospers. The wicked, on the other hand, 1. Forsakes God, and 2. Ignores the Word. Therefore he is judged.

They are like chaff..”

The wicked are summarized briefly in the simile with chaff. Chaff is “fine, dry material, such as husks and other debris, that is separated from the seed in the process of threshing grain. In the Bible, chaff symbolizes worthless, evil, or wicked persons that are about to be destroyed.”[13] Chaff describes both man and his destiny. “They are thought of as having become worthless in themselves, and their life as empty and without permanence, as long as they continue their present way of life.”[14]

“that the wind blows away.”

Chaff will blow away just as the worthless man. He is rendered useless. The focus then moves to a future judgement.

Verse 4 Summary

The ungodly man shall not prosper, as he will be rendered useless and worthless.

Verse 5 Analysis

“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,”

This verse looks ahead to this future judgement. It elaborates on the wicked and therefore provides some answers. ‘The two lines of verse 5, in synonymous parallelism, reflect essentially the same thought, namely that the wicked hold no weight or influence in the important areas of human society.”[15] Judgement may be both the continual divine judgement and the end time judgement. The wicked hold no part in the resurrection because only the righteous will endure and remaining standing.

 

 

“nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.”

This is the parallel linked to the understanding of first part of verse 5. They both carry the same message.  The assembly is the worshipping community and later the new Messianic world.

Verse 5 Summary

As a result of God’s judgement, the unrighteous will be excluded from God’s eternal blessings which will be enjoyed by those who stand in relation to God.

Verse 6 Analysis

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,”

The word “watches” connotes the word “knows” which means more than informed. It’s in the protective sense-God’s care and love for man. It is the security of believers. The issue here is the basis of God’s judgement. The first half of this verse about the Lord watching over the Godly is antithetically parallel to the second half of the verse dealing with the way of the wicked perishing. “Way” makes one picture a path which is known by the Lord.

but the way of the wicked will perish.”

The way of the wicked is the “other path” which is fleshly and of man. “Perish” is used here as a road which comes to ruin. It is the road for the lost filled with hopelessness. “The doom of the wicked, as it is expressed in this psalm, is not primarily a punishment, any more than the happiness of the righteous is a reward. Each is presented as the natural outcome of a way of life which has been chosen.”[16]

Verse 6 Summary

The way of the wicked perishes but the Lord protects the righteous.

 

III.            Exegetical Outline

Exegetical Idea

 

Psalm 1 is about 2 ways of life- the righteous and the wicked. The key is the importance of God’s Word to life and the fruitfulness of the righteousness who delight in his Word. The way of the righteous produce everlasting life as opposed to the ways of the wicked which produce eternal doom.

Exegetical Outline

  1. The Godly man and his way of living (1:1-3)
    1. Negative things to avoid (1:1)

In order to experience blessedness, one must avoid wicked’s advice, sinners habits, and association with mockers

 

  1. Positive behavior- guide to blessedness (1:2)

The blessed man delights himself in constant, regular meditation of God’s Word

 

  1. Creation and motivation-consequences of blessings (1:3)

The blessed man is like watered tree. He will bear much fruit since he is constantly in the Word and will live a prosperous life as God wills.

 

  1. The Character and Destiny of the Wicked (1:4-6)

 

  1. What the wicked are like-instability (1:4)

 

The ungodly man shall not prosper as he will be rendered useless and worthless

  1. What the wicked cannot do-inability (1:5)

 

As a result of God’s judgement, the unrighteous will be excluded from God’s eternal blessings which will be enjoyed by those who stand with God.

  1. What the wicked will encounter- perishability (1:6)

 

The way of the wicked perishes but the Lord protects the righteous.

 

IV            .Homiletical Outline

Two Ways of Living-It’s A Choice

 

  1. First  choice- Live life in a godly way (1:1-3)

 

  1. Three things to avoid from the ungodly
    1. advice
    2. fellowship
    3. habits

 

  1. What is the key to a godly life as well as finding the meaning of life?
    1. finding enjoyment in God’s Word through

a. regular bible study

b. constant focus on God’s Laws and provisions

 

C.    The inevitable results of these positive behaviors
  1. fruitfulness
  2. endurance
  3. prosperity

 

  1. The Only Other Choice-The way of the wicked (1:4-6)

 

  1. What the unrighteous are like
    1. forsake God
    2. negative to God’s Word
    3. separate from the righteous
    4. worthless and useless

 

  1. What will happen to the wicked
    1. excluded from God’s eternal blessings (cast out)
    2. separated from the righteous in eternity

 

  1. God’s shield for the Godly and the lurking doom for the unrighteous
    1. The Lord will protect those who choose the first choice
    2. The damnation of the unrighteous is inevitable based on their choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Anderson, A.A. The New Century Bible Commentary. Psalms 1-72, Marshall,

Morgan, and Scott, 1972.

Craigie, Peter. Word Biblical Commentary, Psalms 1-50, 1983.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72; An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale Press,

1973.

Youngblood, Ronald F. Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, 1995



[1] Kidner, p, 47

[2] Craigie, p. 58

[3] Anderson, p. 58

[4] Anderson, p. 59

 

[5] Anderson, p. 59

[6] Craigie, p. 60

[7] Anderson, p. 60

[8] Ibid, p. 60

[9] Anderson, p. 60

[10] Craigie, p. 61

[11] Kidner, p. 48

[12] Anderson, p. 61

 

[13] Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, p. 254

[14] Anderson, p. 61

[15] Craigie, p. 61

 

[16] Craigie, p. 61

You can do it

As I neared the finish line, I wondered: Why is it so easy to gain speed near the end, yet my legs feel like steel mallets in the midst of the race?
I ran a 5K on Saturday with my buddy, Maria. She’s a precious 4th grader who I was paired with for Girls on the Run. This is a race sponsored by New Balance to encourage young girls to get moving.

 

It made me realize that in the middle of the journey, it gets hard. Life is a race, but much slower than a 5K, and at times, I can question why is it so hard? Yet, I fully understand that I must continue to run, even though my legs feel like steel mallets. Slowing down, or speeding up..it is not the problem. The problem is stopping and staying put.

 

I thank God every day for the ability to run, and the where-with-all to continue even when I can’t. He can.

Discovering Me

I haven’t been good to myself. Especially my body. I have reaped the consequences of too much on not enough. Becoming whole means not only taking care of the heart, but his temple as well.  What amazes me is how I got through all the schooling and work on only 1/2 brain power? I don’t think I fully realized I wasn’t feeding my brain.  The concept of eating right and taking care of the temple has been a misguided concept.  I am finally realizing that the body is the vehicle needed to do God’s work. Without this, I am ineffective.

 

I started a new workout regimen, and I think it’s pretty balanced. It feels good to not be a slave to the gym anymore. I want to find that “balance” in working out and staying fit. Doing a full body workout three times a week is much better than six! This way I can get outside and do more fun things.
I need to perfect my golf game! This is my next goal.

 

 

Who is the Holy Spirit

So then do not be foolish, but (35) understand what the will of the Lord is.

18   And (36) do not get drunk with wine, for that is (37) dissipation, but be (38) filled with the Spirit,

19   (39) speaking to one another in (40) psalms and (41) hymns and spiritual (42) songs, (43) singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

20   (44) always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to (45) God, even the Father;

(Eph 5:17-20)

 

When I went to TLC, Pastor Rene had a saying. “YBH”…Yes, but HOW?

An old gas boiler in house. Pilot light on all times, but boiler not always throwing off heat. Some have only got the pilot  light of HS in lives, but when filled with HS..can operate on all cylinders!
(Can you see the diff)…..WHO? (Discuss)

 

Before we can answer the question “How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?” we must know what the filling of the Spirit is. The filling of the Spirit = influence or control the Holy Spirit exercises over us when we yield ourselves to Him. The Spirit of God, who has given us new life and who has taken up residence within us, wants to fill our lives with His goodness and power. He wants us to let Him take control of our lives. Even so, He does not use His power as God to overwhelm us; rather, He fills us only as we submit to Him.

 

In this sense, then, being filled with the Spirit means that we have placed ourselves under His influence and control. We have yielded to Him, letting Him take over our lives.

 

We often speak of something that so fills a person’s mind that it strangely influences everything he thinks and does. For example, a person can be filled with:

 

 

anger

 

fear

 

jealousy

 

remorse

 

sorrow

 

pride

 

love

 

anxiety

 

 

The Bible itself uses the word “filled” in the same way (see Luke 6:11; Acts 5:17; 13:45).

 

To be filled with something, therefore, means to be under its control. This truth is stated clearly regarding the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” Paul used this analogy because a person who becomes intoxicated with alcohol places himself under its influence or control. Similarly, a Christian who submits to the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit puts himself under His influence or control. Both the person who consumes enough alcohol to become drunk and the Christian who yields to the Holy Spirit have placed themselves under the control of something or someone outside themselves.

 

On the Day of Pentecost, people who heard the apostles speak in languages they had never learned accused them of being drunk. Moreover, in the pagan ceremonies of Paul’s day, worshipers often got drunk to have a “religious experience.” The analogy, therefore, had some background in Paul’s thinking. And if you stop to think about it, a group of Spirit-filled Christians singing with great enthusiasm may have a superficial resemblance to a band of pagan worshipers, drunk with wine, singing praises to their gods.

 

A person who is

drunk with wine:

 

walks differently

 

talks differently

 

acts differently

 

thinks differently

 

feels differently

 

 

Alcohol’s control

results in

impaired judgment

A person who is

filled with the Spirit:

 

walks differently

 

talks differently

 

acts differently

 

thinks differently

 

feels differently

 

 

The Spirit’s control

results in

improved judgment

 

We are greatly influenced by whatever it is that “fills” us. If we are filled with anger, we will be influenced to such an extent that we will say and do things we may later regret. A person who is filled with anger against God may become so controlled by his hatred that he becomes irreverent, blasphemous, defiant, and rebellious toward everything.

 

To be filled with the Holy Spirit, then, is to be so influenced by, controlled by, or permeated by Him that we will reflect God’s moral character and be strengthened by His power. We will be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled–virtues that Paul referred to as “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22,23).

 

In Eph 5:18..Paul commands (only place it is commanded)

and every Christian–to be “filled with the Spirit” (5:18). This clause could be literally translated, “Let the Holy Spirit keep filling you,” or “Keep letting the Holy Spirit fill you.”

ANALOGY: Well, we know what it means to be filled with excitement or happiness. Excitement or happiness so permeates our thoughts and feelings that it dominates us. When a young woman first becomes engaged, she is often so excited and happy that it influences everything she does. (So too with the HS influencing your thoughts and feelings)

 

4 ways:
We must: (1) be Christ-centered, (2) be in the Word, (3) be submissive, and (4) be confident.

 

  1. CHRIST CENTERED
    1. Focal point of thoughts and decisions:
    2. (what does this look like) DISCUSS

 

  1. Be in the WORD
    1. Look at Eph 5:17..Be wise. Wisdom comes from the Word As noted earlier, Paul pointed out the close relationship between “knowing what the will of the Lord is” and being “filled with the Holy Spirit” when he wrote Ephesians 5:17,18.
    2. He made the same connection in Colossians 3:16, which says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

 

  1.  The last part of this verse is almost identical to Ephesians 5:19,20 where Paul described the characteristics of a Spirit-filled Christian. In other words, letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly is an essential in letting the Holy Spirit keep filling us.

 

  1. Be Submissive
    1. The third essential for a Spirit-filled life is to be submissive to God and His Word. Paul indicated this attitude of submission by the language he used when he wrote Ephesians 5:18. Translated literally, the latter part of this verse reads, “Keep letting the Holy Spirit fill you.” We must continuously allow the Holy Spirit to fill us. We can do this only when we possess a submissive attitude toward Him.
    2.  The analogy Paul used of being drunk with wine carries the idea of submission. Paul wrote, “And do not get drunk with wine . . . but keep letting the Holy Spirit fill you” (literal translation). A person who is drunk is under the influence of alcohol. If he is very drunk, he is under its control. A person who keeps letting the Holy Spirit fill him will consciously, continuously, and voluntarily place himself under God’s influence or control. No, he doesn’t lose self-control. In fact, he exercises far more self-control than a person who does not possess the Holy Spirit. When a Christian consciously, continuously, and voluntarily submits to God, he is freed from slavery to the sinful habits and drives that once controlled him.
    3. This attitude of submission is also present in Colossians 3:15–4:10, a passage that parallels Ephesians 5:18–6:9. When Paul told the believers in Colosse to place themselves under the rule of Christ’s peace, and to give the Word of Christ a dominant place in their lives (3:16), he was calling for a submissive attitude. You place yourself under God’s influence and control when you do these things. The result of letting the Holy Spirit keep filling you (Ephesians 5:18) and letting the peace of Christ and the Word of Christ have dominance in your life (Colossians 3:15,16) is the same: joy, mutual encouragement, praise, and gratitude.

 

  1. Be confident
    1. You’ve done your part. Don’t have a defeatist attitude
    2. Look at Romans 8 and memorize it! “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus . . . . For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:14).”
    3.  This walking “in the Spirit” occurs when we are filled with the Spirit. It includes the four essentials we’ve just looked at in a blend of divine and human activity to overcome sin.

 

  1. 5.     GOT EVIDENCE??? Yes in the book of ACTS, tongues did occur, but all understood each other
    1. Some people say that the way you can know you are filled with the Holy Spirit is to speak in tongues or to just “feel it.” “who doesn’t speak in tongues is not Spirit-filled.?
    2. When Paul described the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit, however, he didn’t mention tongues-speaking or a tingling feeling. But he did mention “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:19-21; cp. Colossians 3:16). He also listed nine fruit of the Spirit as evidence in Galatians 5:22,23.

 

  1. Four evidences:
    1. Joyful Fellowship (speaking to others in songs/hymns, encouragement..
    2. Heartfelt Praise. (v. 19)
    3. Abounding gratitude? Thanks for all things (Eph 5:20 )
    4. Reverent submission (v. 21..submitting to one another in the fear of God)
      1.                                                i.     Galatians..life of a spirit-filled person= 9 qualities (Gal 5:22)

 

  1. Myths
    1. We are commanded to be filled (some say it is not said)
    2. You need to seek a second blessing.” Followers of John Wesley, the Pentecostals, and the Charismatics believe that the filling of the Holy Spirit is a dramatic experience that takes place sometime after salvation. The Wesleyans prefer to speak of it as “entire sanctification,” viewing, it as a second work of grace in which the sin nature is removed and the Holy Spirit takes control. Pentecostals and Charismatics refer to it as a baptism of the Spirit, claiming that it is usually accompanied by speaking in tongues.

 

  1.  The problem with this view is that the New Testament never tells us to seek or anticipate a dramatic, post-salvation experience. We are justified the moment we believe (Romans 5:1). And we receive the new birth and the permanent, indwelling Spirit at the instant of salvation (1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Peter 1:22,23). True, we may have many wonderful experiences after salvation. And we may even have an encounter with the Lord that revolutionizes our way of life. But we have no biblical basis for expecting a second work of grace or a baptism of power that brings instant holiness. Rather, Paul called on us to “present [literally ‘keep presenting’] your bodies a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) and to “let the Holy Spirit keep filling you” (Ephesians 5:18)
  2. Baptism of the HS
    1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the act of the Holy Spirit by which He places a person into the church, the body of Christ. The first “baptism of the Holy Spirit” took place in the upper room at Pentecost when the church began (Acts 2:1-13). Today it occurs the moment a person receives Jesus Christ as his Savior. Referring to this time when every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the church, Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
    2. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was first announced by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). And the Lord Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit before He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:4,5). That promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, the  day the church was born (Acts 2:1-13,32,33). The disciples were baptized into the church in the upper room. When Peter preached later that day, some 3,000 people believed (Acts 2:41,42). Then we are told, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (2:47).
    3. The book of Acts records three additional mini-Pentecosts. They took place with three different groups: the Samaritan believers, whose religion and ancestry were part Jewish (Acts 8:14-25); the Gentile family of Cornelius (10:44-48); and 12 people who had believed in Christ and received John’s baptism but knew nothing about what had happened at Pentecost (19:1-7). When Peter saw that the Holy Spirit had come upon the Gentiles, He remembered the Spirit-baptism promised by Christ. He wrote:
      1.                                                i.     Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, “John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? (Acts 11:16,17).
    4. By giving visible signs in these three instances, the Holy Spirit confirmed the fact that Jesus Christ was building His church. These signs were given during the transition from the Jewish beginnings of the church to the full inclusion of the Gentiles. When the transition was over, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was no longer accompanied by visible signs. When a person trusts Christ today, he is placed into the church, the body of Christ, that very moment. Paul wrote:
      1.                                                i.     For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).
      2.                                               ii.     The words translated “we were all baptized” speak of an action that took place in one instant of time. The baptism of the Spirit takes place at the moment of salvation, is not repeated, and is not to be sought after salvation. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, therefore, is the placing of the believer into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation.

 

 

As you think through the whole topic of being filled with the Holy Spirit, you may wonder where you are spiritually. Answering the following questions honestly will help you evaluate your relationship to the Holy Spirit:

▪         I have submitted to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to lead me.

 

▪         I am learning from the Bible through regular reading, study, and meditation.

 

▪         I am relying on the Holy Spirit to help me overcome my sinful desires.

 

▪         I enjoy getting together with God’s people for fellowship, Bible study, and prayer.

 

▪         People who know me think of me as a happy, joyous Christian.

 

▪         When trouble comes, I am at peace in my innermost being.

 

▪         When I become aware of sin in my life, I immediately confess it and ask God to help me to gain the victory.

 

▪         I am gentle in my relationships with other people and patient with God.

 

▪         I can point to certain times when the Holy Spirit has given me the power to perform a certain task or carry a heavy burden.

 

▪              I am growing in self-control.

 

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0301/page8.html

 

 

Coti’s World

 

I adopted a NEWBORN COTON de TULEAR in August. He was born in MAY.

WHAT IS A COTON!!???

It is the French word for Cotton. The Coton is a bichon-type related to the French Bichons and the Italian Bolognese. It most likely arrived in Madagascar and was reintroduced to Europe and America in the last 20 years. Cotons were favored companion of the wealthy residents of Tulear, in southern Madagascar, where it continued to breed to type. The breed was recognized by the FCI in 1970. The Coton is the “Official Dog of Madagascar,” and a tri-color Coton was honored on a postage stamp in 1974.