AN ENDURING HAPPINESS

Often we hear that happiness comes from doing things our own way. That, however, is not true. That philosophy leads only to emptiness, anxiety, and heartache. Poet W.H. Auden observed people as they attempted to find an escape in pleasures. He wrote of such people : “Lost in a haunted wood, / Children afraid of the night / Who have never been happy or good.”

The psalmist David sings of the remedy for our fears and unhappiness. “I sought for the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.(PSALM 34:4). Happiness is doing things God’s way, a fact that can be verified every day. “Those who look to him are radiant,” writes David. Just try it and you’ll see. That’s what he means when he says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good”.

We say, “Seeing is believing.”That’s how we know things in this world. Show me proof and I’ll believe it. God puts it the other way around. Believing is seeing. “Taste and then you will see.”

Take the LORD at His word. Do the very next thing He is asking you to do and you will see. He will give you grace to do the right thing and more: He will give you Himself – the only source of goodness – and with it, enduring happiness.

HAPPINESS IS DOING THE RIGHT THING.

BABY FOOD

Have you ever tasted baby food ? It’s gross! But, as they don’t have teeth, babies don’t have much choice!

Some Christians are happy to just stick with spiritual baby food. They keep going over and over the simple truths of the Bible without ever looking to move beyond the basics of the gospel. By not sinking their teeth into deeper truths and more difficult Bible passages, they stop themselves growing closer to God, understanding Him better and getting a stronger sense of right and wrong. They may have been Christians for many years, but their spiritual life isn’t moving forward. They’re still babies.

As children grow up, they learn to eat solid food that gives them strength and energy. In the same way, Christians need to take on the responsibility to feed themselves on solid spiritual food. If we don’t, we’ll always stay spiritually weak.

You can roughly tell the age of people by how they look. But their spiritual age is shown by their growing love for God and in how they live day by day. Are you growing in your life with Jesus? Or are you still on spiritual baby food?

SOLID FOOD IS FOR THE MATURE, WHO BY CONSTANT USE HAVE TRAINED THEMSELVES TO DISTINGUISH GOOD FROM EVIL.

IF WE’RE NOT FEEDING OURSELVES WITH THE BIBLE, WE’LL ALWAYS FEEL HUNGRY.

SOURCE : OUR DAILY BREAD.

TAKING THE MEDICINE

Imagine being rushed to hospital where a doctor checks you over and tells you that you’re critically ill. He says you’ll die unless you have the right treatment. He then prescribes some medicines and says, “If you take this, I can tell you with total certainty that you will get well.”

Now, what would you do? Would you just lie there on your sickbed, knowing that the doctor had diagnosed your illness and given you the medicine to get better? No, that’s not enough. To live, you actually have to take the medicine!

It’s the same with Jesus. You may believe everything the Bible says about Him – that He died for your sins and came back to life. But if you never ‘take Him’ – that is, trust Him and His work on the cross for yourself – you will be just as lost as if you had openly rejected Him.

A relationship with Jesus, you see, is not a case of simply knowing certain facts about Him. It is personally accepting Him into your life, It is entrusting your future to Him forever. It is saying, “Save me, Lord Jesus. I believe that You can and will.” That’s ‘taking the medicine’-that’s receiving Jesus Christ for yourself! Have you done that? If not, why not?

EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED(ROMANS 10:13).

FAITH ISN’T JUST BELIEVING THAT JESUS CAN SAVE; IT’S ASKING HIM TO DO IT.

DAVID’S SELF CONTROL

The relationship between David and King Saul is one of the strangest and most explosive in the Bible. David rescued Saul a few times (as a harp player and as a soldier), he was the best friend of the king’s son and he had married the King’s daughter. Now, doesn’t it make us think that , he would be having a pretty good relationship with the king?

Not David. Saul was out to get him. Twice Saul tried to spear David while he was playing the harp for him. And later, Saul sent his soldiers after the young man to try to kill him. Yet look at what happened when the two finally bumped into each other and David had the chance to kill Saul. Instead of attacking him, David sneaked up and cut off a piece of his clothing. Afterwards, he felt guilty even for doing that. When they later met face to face, David told the King, “My hand will not touch you”. Saul saw that David had reacted to his attacks with kindness, and made him cry.

Sometimes we have to deal with people who want to bring us down and make our lives hard – or so we think. Maybe we are struggling with a teacher or classmate. Like David, let’s do what God wants – show patience and keep on being kind.

INSPIRED FROM : OUR DAILY BREAD

GOD CAN GIVE US THE STRENGTH TO BE KIND WHEN OTHERS ARE OUT TO GET US.

WHISPERS

Under the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is called the Whispering Gallery. I found the reason for its name online: “the name comes from the fact that a person who whispers facing the wall on one side can be clearly heard on the other, since the sound is carried perfectly around the vast curve of the dome.”

In other words, you and your friend could sit on opposite sides of the great cathedral and carry on a conversation without having to speak above a whisper.

While that might be an interesting fact to know about St. Paul’s Cathedral, it can also be a warning to us. What we say about others in secret can travel just as easily as whispers travel around that gallery. And not only can our gossip travel far and wide, but it often causes a lot of hurt along the way.

Perhaps this is why the Bible warns us about the way we speak. The book of proverbs tells us, “Too much talk leads to Sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut”

When we want to gossip and talk about others behind their backs, we are better off saying nothing at all. Our words could do a lot of damage, but our silence will stop gossip in its tracks.

GOSSIP ENDS AT A CLOSED MOUTH.

CREATE A LOVING COMMUNITY

In ancient times, a city with broken walls was a very bad thing. It meant that the people living there were totally helpless and unprotected. An enemy army could invade at anytime easily. That’s why the Jews rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. How? By working together, as we read in Nehemiah 3.

At first glance, Chapter 3 might seem to be a boring retelling of who did what in the work. But a closer look shows how the people worked together. Priests were working alongside rulers. Perfume-makers were helping as well as goldsmiths. There were some who lived in nearby towns and came to give a hand. Others made repairs opposite their houses. Shallum’s daughters, worked alongside with men, and other people repaired two sections, like the men of Tekoa.

Two things stand out from this chapter. Firstly, they all worked together for the same goal. Secondly, all of them are celebrated for simply being part of the work, not for how much or little they did compared to each other.

Today we see fighting families, difficult relationships, broken marriages and unhappy friends, But Jesus came to transform our lives. We can help to rebuild our neighbourhoods and classes by showing others they can find new life in Jesus. All of us have something to do. So let us work side by side and do our part – whether big or small – to create a loving community where people can find Jesus.

LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE JESUS KNOWN.

THE COST OF FIGHTING

YOU DESIRE BUT DO NOT HAVE, SO YOU KILL (JAMES. 4:2)

A TV programme on World War I said that it would take seven days to march all of Britain’s casualties from the war past London’s war monument, The Cenotaph. This shocking image would have set the mind of the viewers spinning. Wars always come at a huge cost. Sure, they cost money-but there’s no way to put a value on the amount of lives that are changed or ended because of them.

When Christians go to war with one another, the cost is also high. James wrote, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”. When we are busy thinking about ourselves and trying to get our own way, we end up fighting with our friends, family and churches. That in itself is a big cost as our relationships and friendships get damaged. But , it’s not the only cost.

When we fight with others, we quickly forget that the world is watching. The non-believers we know may well be building up a picture of who God is through how we live, act and speak. What will our fighting and arguing show them ?

Maybe that’s why James wrote slightly earlier in his letter: “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness”. If we want to show Jesus to those we know, we need to stop fighting and offer peace instead.

WHEN CHRIST FOLLOWERS LIVE IN PEACE, THE WORLD WILL MORE CLEARLY SEE JESUS IN THEM.

THE CROSS

MAY I NEVER BOAST EXCEPT IN THE CROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (GALATIANS 6:14)

Long before Jesus was born, the cross had been used as a means of torture and death. In 519 BC, for example, King Darius I of Persia crucified 3000 enemies in Babylon. This type of execution was later used by the Romans for non-citizens and slaves.

When Jesus Christ took on our sins as He was executed (1 PETER. 2:24), the cross took on a new meaning. There Jesus, “through his blood, shed on the cross”, made it possible for us to escape God’s judgement and become His own family (COL. 1:20-21).

Paul understood the importance of the cross. He had done many things that he could have been proud of (2 COR. 11:16-12:13). But in his letter to the Galatians he wrote, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. As we understand what Jesus did for us on the cross, we too will be amazed and humbled. Our small efforts are nothing; His work is everything!

Jesus invites all of us to come humbly to Him and trust Him. By believing that He died in our place on the cross, we receive God’s full forgiveness. Today, let’s praise Jesus for rescuing us!

THE CROSS OF CHRIST IS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN GOD AND US.

OUR OBEDIENCE TO GOD

A man named Refuge Rabindranath has been a youth worker in Sri Lanka for more than ten years. He often interacts with the youth late into the night- playing with them, listening to them, counselling and teaching them. He enjoys working with the young people, but it can be disheartening when promising students sometimes walk away from the faith. Some days he feels a bit like Simon Peter in Luke 5.

Simon had been working hard all night but caught no fish. He felt discouraged and tired. Yet when Jesus told him to “put out into deeper water, and let down the nets for a catch”, Simon replied, “Because you say so, I will let down the nets”.

Simon’s obedience is remarkable. As a seasoned fisherman, he knew that fish move to the bottom of the lake when the sun is up, and the dragnets they used could not go deep enough to catch those fish.

His willingness to trust Jesus was rewarded. Not only did Simon catch a large number of fish, he gained a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. He moved from calling Jesus “Master” to calling Him “Lord”. Indeed, “listening” often allows us to see the works of God firsthand and draw closer to Him.

Perhaps God is calling you to “let down your nets again.” May we reply to the Lord as Simon did: “Because You say so, I will.”

OUR OBEDIENCE TO GOD WILL GUIDE US THROUGH THE UNKNOWN AND DRAW US CLOSER TO HIM.

COMMON SENSE

One of the most frequent descriptions we hear applied to people is that they possess a great deal of “common sense.”

We all know in a vague way what we mean by “common sense.” Let us see what it is in some detail, for it is possible to acquire this admirable character trait. Common sense implies a receptive mind, one able to take in the details of a job that has to be done, and one that refuses to be side-tracked. It implies keen observation plus the ability to distinguish between what is essential and what is unessential.

This ability leads on to the thing that distinguishes the common-sense man from the mere visionary-the capacity to look ahead and make plans based on facts and reasoning from cause to effect. Observations welded to a good memory can hardly fail to produce a measure of common sense, even by themselves. Will-power, of course, enters largely into the creation of common sense. A trained and powerful will means the ability to persist, to control emotion, and to review impulses and decisions in the light of cold reason.

As important an element as any is the sympathetic interest in his fellows invariably possessed by the man of common sense. In no other way can the wide knowledge of human nature be acquired that enables one to tackle human problems in ” a common-sense way.”

Self-control is, the outstanding mark of the man of common sense. For it is the root of the calmness in an emergency that makes its possessor the envy and admiration of all.