Joy vs Happiness

Today is Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Last day of August, 44 days until Galveston!

Quote of the Day

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer

Word of the Day

Feckful – Powerful, effective, efficient, vigorous. (The opposite of feckless?)

Today is Trail Mix Day. Seriously, it was the best of the three options I had. Trail Mix is so dubbed for its qualities as a good snack when hiking a trail. Full of nuts and dried fruit, it’s an excellent source of energy.

Not a lot to write about this morning. The Rangers managed to pull out a win over the Mariners in the bottom of the ninth inning, winning 8-7. This keeps them 8.5 games up on the second place Astros, and puts the Mariners 10.5 out, in third place. The Red Sox, meanwhile, lost a close one to the Rays. Fortunately, the Boo Jays lost, so the Sox stay 2 games back. Unfortunately, the Boo Jays lost to the Orioles, which brought the O’s within a game of the Sox. I keep saying . . . It’s going to be an exciting September in the AL East. And as much as I hate to say it, those pesky Yankees aren’t out of the picture, yet. They are only 6.5 games out of first, and only 3.5 out in the wild card chase.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.
Psalm 107:33-38

There are no guarantees in life, as many of us have already figured out. The rivers can dry up, and the deserts can become springs of water. The world is neither a “guarantee of happiness nor a condemnation to despair.” It is not the ground whereon we walk that provides our trust, but, rather, our God, who is faithful and constant. He “provides a sure, unchanging base on which to live.”

“Great god, I will neither divinize this earth you have given nor abhor it; not turn the river into a god; not turn the desert into a demon. I will enjoy your largesse in the pleasant places and obey your will in the difficult straits, as you direct and enable me in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Largesse means, “generous bestowal of gifts.”

(From My Utmost For His Highest)

My Joy . . . Your Joy

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11

What was this joy of which Jesus spoke? “The joy of Jesus was the absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice of Himself to His Father, the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do. ‘I delight to do Thy will.'” This is the joy that Jesus prays for us. It has nothing to do with happiness.

We spend a lot of time in our society worrying over health. We fret over “external happenings.” But these are not what is important. In fact, Chambers even goes so far to say that our joy should not be “in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had.” We work so hard thinking through our circumstances that we very well might miss this. Did not Jesus warn us that the cares of the world could choke out God’s word?

Our testimonies are full of telling people what God has done for us. This is only the beginning. We need to get past this idea of telling people what God has done for us and get to the point where we are telling people who Jesus is! What is the Gospel that Jesus preached? “The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).

“Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water.” We need to stop being so self-conscious and be more God-conscious, finding that life hidden in God. Think of the people in your life who have blessed you the most. They were, most likely , completely unconscious of how God was working through them.

Father, I want this life. I desperately want this life. I spend way too much time worrying over external circumstances. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I spend a lot of time being concerned about my health. May your Spirit guide me to a place where my life is all about Jesus and the Gospel, living in and proclaiming that the kingdom is at hand. Help me step into the easy yoke of Jesus Christ and live my life full of joy, yet somehow completely unconscious of the work that you are doing in me.

Come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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