The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness…

The Pursuit of Peace and Happiness…

Seeking peace and happiness is a goal for each of us throughout our lives. The issue is, just where does peace and contentment come from and do I even recognize what lasting and real peace and happiness are. Our world around us pictures being at peace as sitting in our easy chair sipping on a cool beverage with no cares, worries, or aches and pains. But is that really what it is? Not surprisingly scripture records that real peace and happiness are very different than what our worlds’ offers. That is not surprising considering the god of this world today is not the One true God and Savior. That makes it vital that we look to our God for lasting and real peace. The god of this world for this moment in time is all about deception. And it starts with deceiving mankind about what it takes to be saved and then into setting priorities that do not line up with God’s priorities.

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not. lest the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

That verse explains a bunch. Listen to the following quote on finding peace.

If you seek happiness, you will never find it; it will always elude you, it will always escape you. You will think you have captured it, but suddenly it is gone. Chasing it is like trying to catch a bubble-the moment you catch it, it has vanished, broken in your hands, and there is nothing left. That’s the whole mistake, says the Bible. Never make happiness an end in itself. It is always an indirect result. It is always a by-product of something infinitely greater. To put it positively: Happiness, says the Bible, depends upon two things only. First: It depends on our relationship to God and His righteousness. Second: It depends upon what I am, not upon what is happening to me. That is the secret.

-Martyn Lloyd-Jones,

Wow, happiness first depends on my relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and then in what I am rather than what is happening to me. Think on that for awhile. If that is the case, and I agree it is, then what I have allowed my Savior to do with my life has made me who I am………….! What are you allowing Him to do in your life this morning? And just who are you in His eyes………..!

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Mat 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

I Thes 5:23, 24 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

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Hope for America…

Hope for America!

There is hope for America if …

II Chronicles 7:14 “And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

His people will need to start the revival…

How does your life stack up? It is sin to be conformed to this world’s standards and with sin comes separation from the power and blessings of Jesus!!! Being salt and light is not only not easy, but it is most often not accepted in our world.

2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

The word sin is not pleasant nor is it supposed to be. It also is not just for those in the past. Sin is as ugly today and as offensive to God today as it was with Adam and Eve. If the world or the majority of our world says that in the interest of human’s rights that sin is ok, do you then accept it? Challenging question, especially with the voting season upon us. Listen to what God says;

Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Let us join with the Holy Spirit in urging ourselves to…

Rom 12:1,2 “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, TO PRESENT YOUR BODIES a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and
perfect.”

The most immediate need for America is not a balanced budget or having my candidate be in office. There is a much greater need and urgency. As a believer my view and goals in life must be different then the world and country and state and city and neighborhood I live in. I do believe our nation is running to big trouble by the decisions our politicians are making but I believe our God is sovereign in the affairs of men and able to change and direct our times and events to meet His plans.

With that view my focus must be to know and love the Lord our God and be light and salt to a lost and dying world. This morning remember, serving the King of Kings may be the most meaningful thing you do in your life.

Check out the first Church in the book of Acts to see what their focus was.

With that in mind remember to ……

I Tim 2:1,2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in  authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

The Road of Life…

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

The Road of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him. But later on when I trusted Christ as my Savior, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I thought I knew the best way. It was rather boring, but predictable and it was the shortest distance between two points, or so I thought. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!

Even though it looked like madness, He gently said, “Pedal!” I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He smiled and was patient with me, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand. I gained love, peace, acceptance and joy; gifts to take on my journey, My Lord’s and mine. And we were off again.

He said, “Give the gifts away. They’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So, I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten, scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do it anymore, He just smiles and says… “Pedal.”

Luke 9:23 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

YOUR CROSS

Whatever your cross
Whatever your pain
There will always be sunshine.
After the rain

Protect your Marriage…

Gen. 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be
joined to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”

Protect your Marriage…

* Make sure you develop oneness in your marriage in all areas of the relationship:
* Do not have too many individualized activities. Going in the opposite directions too many days and evenings of the week can take its toll.
* Business associations for community involvement and church are important, but if your schedule is full with individual activities, your marriage relationship will suffer for lack of time together.
* Look for and schedule time for togetherness. If you don’t schedule time together, you probably won’t find much time to spend together. Other things, people and events will crowd into your schedule. When is the last time you? went on a ‘date’ with your spouse?
* Communicate regularly and meaningfully. Marriage combines two busy schedules, and the concerns of the family to produce a relationship that is challenged by the many directional pulls of an active life. You must continually work at communicating in order to maintain a close bond in the midst of busyness.
* Communicating takes time and commitment to really hear the other person. Talk to each other. As the Holy Spirit in James says learn to listen more than speak.
* Resolve differences that arise quickly. Intimacy is easier to destroy than it is to build. Never go to bed mad.
* Ignoring or pretending that differences don’t happen doesn’t resolve them. Give yourself time to grow together in oneness. Deal with your issues.
* Never communicate in a hurtful way. Ask yourself, do my words invite my spouse into my life, or do they push him/her away? If your words have not been full of grace lately, repent to the Lord and to your spouse.
* Never attack your spouse: always attack the issue that is at the root of the problem.
* Speak kindly. Listen long and loudly……..
* Be honest always. Deception never helps and it offends both God and your spouse; it hinders every relationship. Tell the truth in its entirety.
* Never nag. Once you have plainly said something to your spouse, and you know it’s been heard, leave it with your spouse and take it to the Lord.
* Encourage one another.
* Build the confidence of your spouse. When is the last time you complimented your spouse? Which is the same thing you desire.
* Never behave abusively or violently. Abusive behavior is damaging to the spirit and the soul, as well as to the body. The repercussions of abuse will also wound those around you. Get counseling immediately.
* Treat each other in love.
* Never allow yourself to be physically or mentally unfaithful. There is nothing that hurts a marriage more than emotional or literal infidelity.

*The most important one. MAKE JESUS THE HEAD OF YOUR LIFE AND YOUR MARRIAGE!

 

Yielding to the temporary illusion of excitement will never be worth the agony you will reap. Forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation can come, but the process can be scarring not only to you, but too many standing nearby.

Mark 10:9 “Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”

The 10 Commandments and Idol Worship…

Exodus 20:2a-6 “I am the Lord your God…

  • “You shall have no other gods before
  • “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
  • At the end of this challenge there is a quiz, be sure to take it!

The 10 Commandments and Idol Worship….

When you hear of someone worshipping an Idol you usually picture some statue with people praying to it and even making offerings to it. So when you are asked if you worship idols you immediately think that you are not in with those folks.  You see yourself as being good at least on the first two commandments of God to us having to do with idol worship. If we truly are keeping the first two then the other eight noted below should be easy. But if you are breaking the first two then the next eight are usually a product of that sin of idolatry. Look at them and you will see that if you are worshipping anything, person or statue and not worshipping God then breaking the other eight is easy.

  • “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.Six days you shall labor and do all your work,but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  • “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  • “You shall not murder.
  • “You shall not commit adultery.
  • “You shall not steal.
  • “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  • “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

So, the real question is whether idolatry is simply the worship of some statue or can it be the worship of other items or people including self. A preacher some 300 years ago gave the following list of 7 questions as a test to folks to see if they were worshipping idols. When you read it you will see that our nature or humanity is the same today as it was then so the test is as relevant today as it was then. Technology may change and do so rapidly but the human nature that Adan and Eve had is no different than what we have today. I have added the verses that help me on each question and hopefully you also.

  1. What are you most disappointed with right now?
    1. Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
  2. What do you sacrifice your time and money for?
    1. Mat 6:21 “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
  3. What do you worry about? What scares you?
    1. 2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
  4. Where do you go when you hurt?
    1. Mat 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
  5. What makes you mad? The following is an example of righteous anger…..
    1. Mark 11:15 “So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.”
  6. What brings you the most joy?
    1. Romans 14:17-19 “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
  7. Whose applause do you long for?
    1. 2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

 

So, how did you do on the quiz? And if you did not like some of your answers what are you going to do about it?

 

I John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

 

It’s never too late to change your worship patterns.

 

Heb 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Directions for Living Your Life…

All of us need improvement in our lives. Check out the following to see which will piece of advice best meets your needs.

James 1:2,3 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is
like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself,

goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. “

Directions for Living Your Life…

  1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
    2. Memorize your favorite verse(s) of scripture.
    3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want. Check things out with scripture and run from those that do not line up with God’s word.
    4. When you say, “I love you”, mean it.
    5. When you say, “I’m sorry”, look the person in the eye and also mean it.
    6. Believe in Jesus and be a part of His work on this earth before He returns a 2nd time.
    7. Believe in love God’s way.
    8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams.
    9. Love deeply and passionately and do it unconditionally as God does.
    10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling. Not even fighting may be the best solution. Listen much more than talking.
    11. Don’t judge people by their relatives or your values. Or by what you perceive their motives to be. If scripture does clearly ID that it is wrong, maybe you are the one with the log in your eye.
    12. Talk slowly. Listen long…………..
    13. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and
    ask, “Why do you want to know?” or simply be silent. Lying is never ok.
    14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risks.
    15. Call your Mom (and your dad) today. Oh, don’t forget the Grandparents, now that I am one! And maybe twice a day for them, they need it!
    16. Remember as you look into the mirror that Jesus will always love you.
    17. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
    18. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.
    19. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
    20. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. And do not be afraid to say you were wrong.
    21. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
    22. Marry the one you love to talk to and is a friend. As you get older,
    the conversational skills will be as important as any other.
    23. Spend much time alone with God so He can direct your path and do it first thing in the morning.
    24. REMEMBER, God’s values do not change over time. His absolutes are for eternity. Only the wisdom of this world changes.
    25. Silence is frequently the best answer.
    26. Read more books and watch less TV. Especially read The Book that God has authored, the Bible.
    27. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll get to enjoy it a second time.
    28. Trust in God and lean not upon your own understanding.
    29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
    30. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past. Don’t go to bed angry.
    31. Don’t read between the lines it almost always is wrong.
    32. Share your faith. It’s a way to achieve immortality and help someone else to do the same.
    33. Be gentle with all.
    34. Pray from the heart and not with repetition. There’s immeasurable power in it.
    35. Never interrupt.
    36. Mind your own business.
    37. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
    38. If you make a lot of money, put it to use as God intends by helping
    others while you are on this earth. Make sure God gets the first fruits and not the last or leftovers.
    39. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes exactly the way God has planned it.
    40. Learn the rules, then keep them. The rules are written in the Book (Bible).
    41. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
    42. Judge your success by what you willingly gave up in order to get it.
    43. Remember that your character is how the world judges you.
    44. Remember that what you did with the knowledge of Jesus as your
    Savior is how God the Father will judge you. John 3:3, 14:6

Now how do you look in the mirror?

James 1:5,6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

Do you consider yourself a Strong CHRISTian…

Do you consider yourself a Strong CHRISTian

Do you consider yourself a strong CHRISTian this morning? First and foremost is the fact that if you are a Christian you cannot be strong without His strength (Phil 4:13). Real Christian strength acts in a way that our flesh never would. It acts like the following young men did when confronted with evil. Having that strength does require faith.

Without faith it is impossible to please God!! Three young believers were required to bow down and worship a god other than their God. Remember a worldly or fleshly god that controls your life can be anything taking God’s rightful place in your life. They can be money, sex, self or again anything you focus and worship more than God. Let’s see how they responded and how God protected them when their faith won out.

Dan 3:16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we
serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out
of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we
are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

When you live by faith you never walk alone!

Dan 3:23-25 “But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded
and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, was it not three men we cast
bound into the midst of the fire? They replied to the king, certainly O king.
He said, Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire
without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”

Walking by faith will touch the unsaved world around you!

Dan 3:28 “Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.”

Remember the fleshly god of money, hobbies, people, health, sex, etc. only seek to serve your flesh or yourself. They become gods in my life when they become my primary goal and focus. These young men had One focus, and it was not on their own personal well-being. Anything that takes your number One priority in place of Jesus being number One in your life leads to spiritual bankruptcy.

So how is your strength this morning or should I say from where does your strength come from this morning?