What’s the Cost of Happiness, P2

Happy2The Cost of Happiness, part 2.

Inflation numbers are out on covetousness and the news isn’t good.

This is all about us and our neighbors.  We are not to covet what our neighbors have and all people are our neighbors.  We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Can you hear it, “OUR NEIGHBORS”, “OUR NEIGHBORS”, it is that of “our neighbors” that we are to leave alone because it is theirs.  It is the things of our neighbors we are not to lust after.  To covet means to lust for, so do not covet what God has given to your neighbors.

Our Lord warns us with a parable about a rich man who was very foolish. He was trying to pile up the wealth to stay ahead of the Jones’ but what he didn’t know was that his life was to end that very night and he was focusing on the wrong thing.  From Luke 12:16-21: “The ground of a certain man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

So that covers it: Covetousness makes us treasure up for ourselves things on earth for which we will have no need. Then we don’t lay up any treasure in heaven toward God. Covetousness deceives us regarding our values. We place more emphasis on ‘things’ and miss the blessings of living for Christ and for others (our neighbors).

What about happiness?  There is no other real source of happiness but God; and he is able abundantly, and willing to impart consolation to his people.  As it says in 2 Corinthians 1:3, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” 

Happiness, joy and satisfaction depend on what we do and how we respond to things around us and what life dishes our way. The truth is that it is not possible for human relationships or material items to fulfill all of one’s needs. There is only one source of fulfillment and satisfaction which is a relationship with Jesus, God’s Son, the Anointed One. He is and has all that we will ever need.

Don’t let the “keep up with the Jones’ mentality of our culture distract you from the source of true happiness. “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, Philippians 4:12-13

Happiness comes as we put our focus on the Lord. ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength”, Deuteronomy 6:5.

God is the source for all good things.  Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness”, 1 Timothy 6:6-11. 

It is good to have enough to keep ourselves out of poverty.  And prosperity is a desirable thing.  We cannot give without having something to give and I believe that the more we give the more we receive.  It is balance we need.  Do not lose focus on where the true wealth comes from.

Happiness does not come by gratifying our own desires but by bringing gratification to the Lord and fulfilling his desires. And as the Lord’s requirements are met, our needs will be taken care of, just like He promised in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

God Bless you,

“The Tubthumper”

Are we a Bunch of Losers, Part 5

church29So what is a healthy New Testament Church anyway?

A New Testament church is a church in which God is present through His Spirit, and in which He is powerfully at work to glorify Himself by manifestations of His power and grace. A New Testament church is a church where the fruits of the Spirit are as evident as the manifestations of His power. That is the kind of church we desire to be. We as individuals are “THE CHURCH”.  Remember that it is ‘THE BODY’ of believers.  The saints!  Therefore, we as individuals are to strive to be full of the Spirit, exhibiting the fruit of the spirit and glorifying God by manifestation of His power and grace in our lives.  We are to be different!

A healthy church is one that is founded upon the person and work of Jesus Christ and His infallible Word, the Bible. The first three chapters of the Book of Ephesians deal with essential Bible doctrines. Paul’s appeal to these saints to live godly lives in the last three chapters is rooted in the sound doctrine of chapters 1-3. I don’t have room to address that here but please go and read it for yourselves.

You will also notice that the subject matter of the last half of Ephesians has to do with relationships, primarily relationships in the church. In the first half of chapter four, Paul makes his appeal for unity and growth. Then, in the last half of this fourth chapter, Paul shows how faith in Christ requires a radical change in the way the believer relates to others. Relationships were an important part of Paul’s teaching, and they should be important in our teaching and church life as well. I will point out again that relationships involve intimacy and closeness.  Those are two scary words in our society today.  We rather isolate ourselves and communicate by means of internet like I am now. We communicate through Facebook and email.  Personal contact is the last thing we want to do.  We have become a non- relational world.  Intimate and face to face communication is becoming extinct.  Love and the manifestation of love require action and it requires time.  If we are unwilling to invest the time to show others we love by indicating they exist by showing personal action to speak directly to them and acknowledge them we will always be perceived as unloving.  And the perception by others is everything.  We need to be clear that we have God’s love and we share it.

Let’s get back to the subject before I go off in another direction…

Looking back to the Bible in Acts we see the start of ‘The Church’.  The church that is described in Acts 2:41-47 is a Jewish church, worshipping as we would expect of a group of new Jewish converts. It is a church of very new believers, who exhibit the vital signs of new life in Christ. This is not a church that has “arrived;” it is a church that has a good start and is moving in the right direction.  It is a church that loves God and others. It is a Spirit-filled church that is moving toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission. But it is not a perfect church in any case.  It still has some growing to do and it will.

What does this church have to teach us, to teach our church?  We should always be troubled by the words of our Lord to the church at Ephesus as recorded in Revelation 2:1-7. The Church at Ephesus has “departed from their first love”.

I believe our text in Acts 2 greatly helps us discern the answer to these questions. To lose one’s ‘first love’ is to cease to love as you once did, at the beginning. Acts 2:41-47 describes the church’s first love, and thus it describes the deeds that one who has lost his first love must once again do. The early church in Jerusalem may not be the perfect pattern for all that we do as a church today, but it is an excellent example of a church that is marked by love.  It was an example of a church that has a love for God and love for others.

We should evaluate ourselves and we should evaluate our church of today.  Now when I say our church of today I am talking about the body of believers and the organized church as well.

We see in the book of revelation what Jesus does when he evaluates the church and what He expects.

Take an evaluative look at your local church and then do the same for your life because you are the church and then also think about God’s church in the bigger sense of things.  I mean globally.  Let’s take a look at what Jesus thought about the seven churches he evaluated. Let us evaluate where we are headed.

In the next two posts I will go over what Jesus saw regarding each of these churches and how he addresses them.  It would serve us well to see where we have fallen and how history can repeat itself.  We may want to take note as well to what happened to these churches as a result.

See you next time as we conclude with a walk through the first six books of The revelation of Jesus Christ. (Click Here for continuation)

Please have a Godly day today,

“The Tubthumper”