Joy is a Spiritual fruit, Happiness is a Choice

 

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

              

               Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  The thing I have experienced through my life is that when I am walking the closest in fellowship and relationship with the Lord is when I experience the greatest joy in life.  Since joy is a spiritual attribute and fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23, it only makes sense that as we walk in the Spirit and feed off of the fullness and goodness of God we are going to experience the joy and contentment of the Lord.  The thing about the joy of the Lord is that it isn’t dependent up the circumstances around us.  There can be great storms raging in our lives, but yet joy and peace can remain in our hearts when our eyes are fixed on Christ and upon the promises of His Word.  When we walk in the Spirit we see things and life from a God perspective.  If it pleases the Lord, it pleases us.  It is no longer about all of my needs and my wants being fulfilled.  This is where a lot of people confuse joy and happiness.  If happiness is reliant upon our feelings then it is going to be an elusive experience.  It will be here one minute and gone the next.  Why, because our feelings are up and down.  It rides the roller coaster of our emotions.  The feelings of happiness are circumstantial.  They are based again a lot on self: self-contentment, self-fulfillment, self-gratification, but not on self-control. 

               Here is an example many of us can relate with: Why do I have an unhappy marriage?  He or she doesn’t meet my needs.  They only think about themselves.  They don’t care if I am happy or fulfilled.  They don’t provide enough.  They don’t give enough.  They don’t do enough.  What is the central theme you hear in all of these phrases?  You don’t make me happy and what makes you happy for a short time is going to change to feelings of unhappiness and discontentment the moment your expectations aren’t met.  Happiness has to be a choice that you make that isn’t dependent upon what someone else does or doesn’t do.  I read this morning where marriages are more successful with people who go into marriage as already happy people rather than those who go into marriage looking for happiness.  Don’t put the responsibility for your happiness upon someone else.  That is your responsibility.  Otherwise you are always going to be disappointed and hurt.  People can never give you what only God can give you and that is joy and contentment. 

               Our verse today is so powerful because it is short but it says so much, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  It simply says we have made a decision that God is enough.  What ever He supplies and provides in my life is enough.  That may be much or that may be little, but as long as I have God that is enough.  The apostle Paul made the statement in Philippians 4:11-13, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Paul didn’t have his eyes on people to meet his needs.  Many of the churches didn’t help him financially or support him.  He could have gotten bitter or angry or upset with them, but he didn’t.  They weren’t his source and his supply, God was.  He had learned to be content with whatever God brought into his life because he had this revelation; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Who is your strength today?  Who is your supply?  Who is your joy and contentment?  Maybe anger, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness have come in to make you so miserable because you have been looking to others to meet your needs and they have disappointed you. Let us learn what Paul did, that the Lord is enough.  We can make the decision that we are going to be happy because God is enough rather in much or little, rather we are abased or abound, rather we are full or we are hungry.   In order to experience the fullness of joy in our salvation we must take our eyes off of us and let Christ become the focus of why we live.  We live to serve not to be served.  We live to give and not to take.  We live that in all things we may please Him who has given us life.  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”  Experience the joy of your salvation by walking in the Spirit and make the choice to be happy because of the One that resides within you.

Blessings,

#kent

The Lord’s Friendship

John 15:14-15
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Jesus says there is a characteristic that goes along with friendship with Him and that is obedience. Our obedience to the Lord is something we all probably take much too lightly. We tend to go our merry way through life and regard lightly the many ways and places in our lives that we offend the Holy Spirit and regard lightly the Lord’s will and commandment for our lives. It becomes an unconscious act on our part, because we get caught up in our busyness and our lives. We fail to always keep the Lord constantly before us, so that our day, our thoughts, our actions and words are centered around and in Him. Jesus is more often our afterthought rather than our forethought. What the Lord is communicating to His disciples is that in order to be in that relationship as a friend of God, rather than just a servant of God, requires obedience and cognizance of His will and His ways in all that we do. Obedience on our part is an expression of our love and friendship with the Lord. We are communicating that we value Him above ourselves and the relationship we have with Him is of more value than our personal will and desires. Jesus speaks in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In this fourteenth chapter of John where Jesus is basically bidding farewell to His disciples before His Passion, He emphasizes this aspect of love, friendship and obedience quite strongly. “At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me (John 14:20-24).”
Most all of us want a closer and more intimate relationship with Christ. We want to hear His voice and experience His manifest presence in our lives. It is the consecration of desiring Him above all else that brings us to that place. Would we want to be or abide someplace where we were ignored, put aside, unappreciated and not valued? Yet, somehow we expect to experience the presence of the Lord when this is often the attitude of our hearts toward Him. If the Lord is to feel welcome in us and extend His tent over our lives, then we have need of a heart attitude that reflects true love, reverence, respect and obedience to Him. He needs to know that we are truly His and not our own. He will not usurp the will He has given us and we can certainly override His will for our lives. Most of us have learned that when we do this, we rob ourselves of God’s best for us. Is there anything really better than abiding with Him, experiencing His closeness and abiding in the heartbeat of God? That is the place we really realize the fullness of joy, contentment and purpose.
The Lord wants to be our friend. He wants to reveal Himself to us in a much more personal way. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.” Jesus wants to be that friend to us that is closer than a brother, but we must show ourselves friendly through our response and obedience to Him. Our obedience is the expression of love to our dearest Friend.

Blessings,
#kent

The Will and Do of His Good Pleasure

Philippians 2:13

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

You and I are a work in progress. How many times would we just like to give up and say, “it is no use, I’ll never change?” The Lord is encouraging us to do one thing, look to Him. It doesn’t matter what we see; it doesn’t matter what others say about us or to us. It doesn’t matter that satan is the accuser of the brethren and is forever parading our faults and shortcomings before us. God hasn’t called us to be the works of our own hands, “for it is God, which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure!” God not only wants too, but it is at work in your life in ways you don’t even see or know. What is that saying, “a watched pot never boils?” When we are looking at our lives we don’t often see the many obvious changes, but the Lord is working in us over the course of a lifetime. The more we are willing to submit these vessels to the will and do of His good pleasure the faster that work can be accomplished. The Lord is always steadfast and faithful; the problem is, we aren’t. We so often want to take these little rabbit trails that depart from His perfect will for us and get off doing our own thing rather than His. Yet He is faithful even in that to work in us and use the errors of our ways to correct us, teach us and instruct us in righteousness. So many times we are like our children, we can’t just take God’s Word about what is best for us, we have to do it our way and then endure the consequences of our stubbornness and disobedience.

God never loves us less or desires less for us. He has His perfect plan for our lives. Our greatest joy is to find the center of His will for us. When we are abiding in that place and find the center of His good pleasure we are fulfilled and content as well. It is like when we realize that it is in blessing others that we are blessed and that there is no greater joy than bringing joy and blessing to others. We can never be as content doing our own pleasure as we can be in fulfilling God’s good pleasure for us. This is true success in life. It doesn’t even matter what the outward surroundings are, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content (Philippians 4:11).” 1 Timothy 6:8 says, “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” It isn’t in the abundance of the things we possess that we ever find our contentment, that is only found in the center of God’s will. We have a concept in our Christian culture today that if we aren’t wealthy and prosperous we aren’t living the “blessed life.” How many of the apostles and prophets do you see in God’s Word living the “good life” by the world’s standards? If you are and that’s where God has you, that is great. There is nothing wrong with being blessed materially in this life, but that isn’t the essence and meaning of our lives. That essence and meaning for our lives is only found in the center of God’s will. That is where we find true riches. It may be in some stench filled hovel in India or in the kitchen of your home raising these crazy little kids. If you are in the will and do of God’s good pleasure then you are experiencing the riches of heaven.

Even if you are in that place of discouragement where you are looking at your life as just a failure and waste then you are discounting and denying God’s great love and purpose for you. Sometimes we have to get off of our pity pots of self-doubt and failure and get our eyes on the Lord and not on ourselves. We all are cracked pots with weaknesses and failures, but we serve a mighty and perfect God that loves us never the less, in spite of those weaknesses and failures. Let it always be in our prayers that God will work “the will and do of His good pleasure in us” to the end that we might, in return, bring Him pleasure and blessing.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)”

Blessings,

kent

Life and Godliness

June 3, 2013

1 Timothy 6:6-12
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Life and Godliness

This scripture kind of flies in the face of all that we are taught in our present day society. It teaches us that it is all about education, working your way up, success and getting ahead. All of these can be good in the right balance, but in all of our pursuit of life’s “success” we often miss the most important and needful things, life and godliness. It takes a paradigm shift in our natural thinking to not be so earthly minded and material oriented that we rob our soul to satisfy our flesh. How many upon finally reaching their goals of success, wealth, fame and riches find that happiness, satisfaction, contentment and peace are not in the pot of gold they thought to find at the end of their rainbow?
We all need to work and support ourselves and families. That is a godly principle. In the process of that we often find ourselves getting out of balance, because the world and work place begins to demand more and more from us at the expense of robbing God, our family and even our own souls.
Many times this may be because we are trying to find our identity in our career rather than our relationship with Christ. What we are and how we are seen in world’s eyes supercedes who we are and our life’s purpose in Christ. Many of us have fallen in this snare and may be there right now.
This is not to condemn, but cause us to take an honest look at our true motives, affections and life’s pursuits. If we are not first and foremost focused on our identity in Christ and how He wants to live through us day by day, then we are missing our calling. We all have to be so careful that we don’t get caught up in the materialism of the world and society we live in, that we miss our higher and foremost calling. “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
If our basic needs are met, then let us pursue what God apprehended foremost for, Himself. Our primary function is the expression of His nature in and through our lives which grows out of an ever increasing relationship and intimacy with Him. The enemy will bring every distraction and temptation to rob us of that identity and purpose we all have in Christ Jesus.
Let us check our priorities today. Are we aligning our lives with this scripture? If not, what steps do we need to take to bring our lives back on course with our true identity and purpose?

Blessings,
kent

Jeremiah 31:25
For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.

Word from the Lord: Rest and Surrender

Lift up your head you who are weary and heavy laden. I am your rest, your comfort and your strength. Come and rest in My presence, commune and fellowship with Me. Worship me and be strengthened as My Life will flow back into you and well up within. Focus on Me, cease to allow your problems and challenges to consume all of your energy. I am your refuge. I am your strength. I am your wisdom, provision, power and deliverer.
I know it is often hard for you to open up your hand and release the control to me, but until you do, you will be continually frustrated and stressed about your circumstances. When you come to Me with open hands and open heart; sharing everything with Me and making me a partner in all that confronts you, then am I able to work on your behalf and bring about solutions and provisions that are far beyond your ability, power or wisdom without Me.
In My presence is fullness of joy. At My right hand are treasures for evermore. How long will you struggle and frustrate My better plans and purposes of you? I am not looking for what you can produce or how good you can be. I am looking for a life surrender to allow Me to live and show Myself strong in you.
When a child wants to help a parent with a project, left to their knowledge and abilities they will most likely make a mess of it. If the child is willing to submit to the guiding teaching hand of the parent then they are able to learn what they did not know and gain the experience they lacked in their immaturity. I am discipling you in My ways, if you will humble yourself and walk with Me, not ahead of Me. If you will wait and watch, you will learn. I am a faithful teacher, but My lessons take time and patience. They take faith, humility and the trust that I will do what I have said I will do.
Abraham got his Ishmael, because he and Sara ran ahead of Me, trying to produce in their own strength what I had promised them. Their efforts produced the works of the flesh and not of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Spirit as you allow the process of the Spirit to work in and through you. If you try and produce it in your strength it will only be a counterfeit and not bear the fruit that only I in you, can produce.
Many things want to distract you. Many things rob the higher things that I want to give you. It is a time to put you focus upon Me. Operate out of a place of practicing, living and operating in My presence. Turn your will, emotions and your mind continually back to me. Abide in a place of continual prayer, praise, worship and acknowledgement of My presence that is with you. Your highest is not in being self-sufficient, but in being God-sufficient. This is what it is to walk in the Spirit and by the Spirit, overcome the works of the flesh. When your identity is in Me then you become what I am. What you see me do, you do. What you hear me speak, you say.
Come now and rest yourself in My presence. Experience My joy, My peace and My direction in your life. There is no richer place in this earth than the center of My will and purpose for you because there, My kingdom has come and there My will is done in earth as it is in heaven.
If you want My best. If you seek My highest, then come and abide with Me in My presence. The world will pass away and all that is of the world. My kingdom is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. There you will find fullness, rest and contentment.
Come and abide in Me.

Blessings,
kent

Be Content

November 16, 2012

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Be Content

The Lord was showing me something in the weather that pertains to our lives. We often think we want more of what we don’t have. With covetousness, the more we have the more that we want. Wealth and earthly provision is like the elements that come down from the heaven. When the earth is thirsty and dry, it needs rain. Often the best rain is a slow soaking rain that gives the earth time to absorb and take it in. If we need rain and get a huge down pour, we get more than we needed and it causes as much or more destruction than we had in our lack.
God brings the rain that we need in His season and His ways. Sometimes it might seem scarce and have long stretches in between, but as sure as He is God, it will come. Should we think that God cares any less for our earthen vessels? We see similar seasons in our lives; times of abundance and sometimes lack. The earth doesn’t fret over whether it will rain or not, but it learns to adapt to the season and the state that is in. The earth has yet to not have a seed time and harvest. Genesis 8:22 says, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” …
God has never intended that we should be consumed with the love of money, wealth, power or fame. Our truest state of contentment is when we are walking in faith and trust in Him. That is not dictated by our bank account, our promotion or lack of it, our popularity or position or any other circumstance. Even Job makes the statement as tribulation rains down upon him, “shall I receive good at the hand of God and not evil?” Jesus says that God rains on the just and the unjust alike. We are a heavenly people waking and living in an earthly state. While in this state we are subject to the laws and the state of affairs that happen in our natural world.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus was an overcomer. He overcame His natural circumstances by His faith and obedience to the Father. Likewise, He has told us that we also are overcomers and you can’t be an overcomer unless you have something to overcome. We might visualize overcoming as emptying hospitals of the sick, raising the dead, bringing great deliverance and saving the nations. You may think, “I am not overcomer because I have so many trials, problems, sicknesses or bills that I may question if God even still remembers me.” The truth is, that is exactly what you are if you are keeping your eyes upon Jesus and continuing to walk in faith and trust in Him. Sure you are not seeing great miracle in and through your life. In fact, your physical state may be testifying against God being in your life, but before an overcomer can manifest into the fruitfulness and fullness of the seed within them, they first must be as the seed that is hidden in the ground and dies. You are the caterpillar that has ceased to devour and partake of this earth. You entered into your cocoon stage where you are hidden and dormant. As far as the outside world is concerned, you might as well be dead. But wait……….
You not dead, you are in a state of transformation, changing from the earthly to the heavenly state of being. There may well be no fanfare or outward evidence. When, in due season, you emerge from that difficult state of faith and obedience in the face of multiple difficulties, you shall spread your wings and fly, whether in this world or that to come. You will no longer be bound to earth but when you touch earth it will be for the purpose of perpetuating and cross-pollinating the life of God in Christ Jesus. When Job emerged from his season of tribulation, through his faithfulness, he came into a double portion of all of the greatness and riches that he had before.
Let us not set our affections upon the things of this world, for they are soon to perish and pass away. Let us, with diligence and faithfulness, pursue Christ, which is our life, our peace and our power to overcome in this world.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” — God

Blessings,
kent

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