“the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
Posts Tagged ‘Happy Home’
Happy Life and Work wishes everyone God’s best this new year. My prayer is that your heart will be open to what God has in store for you in life and at work. I hope this passage and the short two minute video will encourage you to allow God to work in and through your life in 2011.
“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:16-19)
Are you someone who normally finds it difficult to be happy in life and at work? Is it worse for you around Christmas and the holidays? If so, I am sorry, and I hope a favorite passage of mine will help.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Proverbs 15:13 says it this way: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit”
You may read this and say “duh…I get it, but first you have to have a “cheerful heart”. You’re right, but many times we don’t have a cheerful heart because we chose not to. We chose to think about and dwell on the very things that get us and keep us down. The pity party begins and before we know it we are in the pit and can’t find our way out.
This leads me to another one of my favorite passages…
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
This great passage tells us how to get out of the pit and stay out; how to create and maintain a “cheerful heart”. God does not want us to sad, discouraged, depressed, or downcast…even when we are faced with trials, challenges and times of uncertainty. Quite the contrary, look at what he says we should do during these times: turn toward him (did you notice it says “The Lord is near”), seek him, rejoice, stay calm, pray and give thanks, present our requests to him, think positively, and do what is right. And, do you see what he promises us when we put our faith in him and trust him in our circumstances:
- “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- “the God of peace will be with you.”
I don’t know about you, but I think it is very comforting to know that the God of the universe loves me, and wants to walk with me through tough, painful, unhappy situations and give me a peace that “transcends all understanding”!
The question is, how will we respond to our Heavenly Father? Here’s how I beleive we should respond; starting this Christmas and continuing beyond, let’s all follow God’s prescription for a cheerful heart, after all, it is good medicine. If we do this, I believe we will be happier in life and at work.
A very happy, merry and meaningful Christmas to you all; God’s peace!
I want to use the greatest story ever told, the Christmas story, the story of the birth of Jesus, to illustrate how anyone who is fearful, lonely, or desperate can find real hope, comfort, peace, healing, joy and satisfaction in life.
Can you imagine being Mary? If there was ever anyone who had reason to be fearful, lonely and desperate, it was Mary. Think about it; she found herself in the middle of some very tough circumstances she did not plan on (unplanned pregnancy), she was very young, very poor, and she was unwed. She was truly an outcast, wanted and loved only by Joeseph (and he himself was unsure about sticking around); from Maty’s perspective, the future looked very bleak and dark. Luke 1:29 tells us that she was “greatly troubled”.
But, everything changed for Mary, didn’t it? Why did things change for Mary? This is what is important for us to understand.
Things changed for Mary when God sent the angel Gabriel to visit her. Gabriel “went to her and said, “Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” He then comforted her and set her at ease when he compassionatley said, ”Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God.”
Gabriel then went on to explain to her that she was going to be the mother of Jesus, ”the Son of the Most High”. At this point Mary was still uncertain about all this. Although Gabriel had her attention and she was pleased to hear that, even in her condition and circumstances, God valued and favored her, she knew she was a virgin, and in her human understanding she wasn’t quite ready to believe what she was hearing.
So she did what any of us would do, she asked Gabriel “How will this be?”. Gabriel responded by saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” He also told her that “nothing is impossible with God.”
It was then that it happened; Mary made the decsion to submit to God’s plan for her life. She boldly says to Gabriel, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” Mary responded to the love and power of God. She repsonded to the “gift” that was the miracle of Christmas; the one miracle that all other miracles flow from. Mary decided to unwrap the gift of God for her Christams. Mary beleived and trusted God in the midst of what seemed like an impossible set of circumstances. She trusted God to move her from uncertainty and darkness to life and light, and boy did God deliver. Look what Mary says about God her savior:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49)
So, the questions for us this Christmas are:
- Will we decide to open the gift of God for our Christmas? How will we respond to God?
- What are we trusting God for…what miracle do we need?
- Will we trust him to move us from a future of uncertainty and darkness to a future of life and light, a future of real hope, peace, healing, joy and happiness in life and at work.
Let me know what you decide, and God bless you and your family this Christmas!
(The following was inspired and taken from a message Craig Parker, my wonderful pastor at Bridgeway Community Church in Fishers, IN. delivered on 9-19-10.)
If you are married, or have been in a relationship, you know that there are times when it seems that the very person you love dearly, and who you believe dearly loves you, seems like your biggest and worst enemy. But is that really the truth, or are we being deceived into thinking that by a very powerful, scheming enemy who would like nothing more than to take us out and prevent us from enjoying a loving and intimate relationship.
When we marry we enter, mostly unknowingly, into the minefields; the minefields include the relational minefield, the financial minefield, the emotional minefield, the medical minefield, the vocational minefield, the parental minefield, and the the spiritual minefield. These are areas of life where issues, challenges, and differences can crop up and derail any relationship.
What happens is simple yet can be very destructive. The issue arises and statements, thoughts, and opinions are expressed and shared. The words we use are often based on feelings not facts, we assume the worst in the other person instead of the best, and before we know it we are fighting one another instead of the real enemy. Why…because the enemy whispers in our ear lies, and we begin to think things like he/she always does this and he/she will never change. Then we begin to reason, as though we are God, that we know why the other person does what they do. The next thing you know you and the someone you love are in a knock-down-drag-out fight and don’t even know why. And worse, you don’t know how to stop and fix it. Allow this to happen enough, and the relationship is in real serious trouble.
So who is the real enemy? And, just as important, who is our real friend and advocate?
The Bible is clear on both of these points. Satan is described as the enemy or the thief, while Jesus is described as our shepherd and our saviour. And on this topic John 10:10 provides us a very clear exhortation:
So how are we to respond so that we can save our marriages and the other relationships we have with those we love and care about.
First, understand that this is serious business and that the enemy is very powerful and cunning; you are up against a serious threat! His purpose is to destroy your marriage and relationships, send you into an emotional downward spiral, and steal any hope you have for peace and joy in your life.
Second, know, believe, and hold on to the fact that your spouse or other person is not the enemy. The enemy wants us to fight one another, not him. He knows that if we stand together, don’t buy into his lies, and ally against him with the weapons God provides us, he will be defeated.
Lastly, apply the wepons God has provided and instructs us to us in this “spiritual battle” against the enemy. In Ephesians 6:10-18, God calls us to:
“be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
So, the next time you find yourself in a battle with your spouse or someone you love and care for, stop and remember you can’t fight your way out of a spiritual battle…you must pray your way out…together. As we say amen at the end of our prayer(s), we are saying “we agree”! That is very powerful, and scares the enemy, as he knows he is powerless against those who stand together in the name of the Lord!
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
If my words of encouragement didn’t impact you, perhaps this musical video will help you and those you love go dancing in the minefields. My hope is that you will put on the full armor of God and battle the enemy together, because I know it will help you be happy in life and at work. God’s Peace…
Sometime being happy and content in life and at work is simply a matter of perspective. Growing up, and even after a I reached the age where I was considered a young man, when I would whine or complain about anything to do with my circumstances or feeling like I was being treated unfairly, my dad would remind me that “no matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone who has it worse.” My dad would then suggest I look around for one of those “someones” first to understand that I did not really have it nearly as bad as I thought I did, and second, to reach out and do something to help them. I can remember this having a great impact on my life, and today when I feel the most energized, the most alive, like God is giving me strength, the happiest in life or at work is when I am serving others.
Philippians 4:11-13 describes it this way…
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
I hope you will watch this video, think about Philippians 4:11-13, remember my dad’s words, and be compelled to be a blessing to someone else today and everyday. If you do this, I know you will be happy in life and at work!
I had lunch with someone I love today; a very special person who has been through a very difficult stretch of life over the last 18 months or so. She is a single mom. Her kids are 18, 12, and 8 years old. She and her three kids were all but abandoned by her ex-husband. He has continued to be engaged with her younger kids to some extent, but for some reason has chosen to remain very distant from her 18 year old son (I’ll call him Bobby). As you can imagine, this has affected Bobby greatly. He has experienced much pain and struggled to make sense of all that has happened in his life over the last two years. At a time when he expected and really needs his dad as a significant strong role model to finish raising him, affirming him as a young man, and releasing him as mighty man of God to be who God has purposed him to be, his dad has all but disowned him. Bobby, although he has experienced some victories and joy recently, has struggled to believe he is valued, to figure out his place in this world, to succeed in school, to stay out of trouble, and to see his future as anything but uncertain.
That mat have changed today! I beleive God has answered prayer and intervened for Bobby. He recently took a career assesment test and met with the career counselor for the results today. For the first time in a very long time, Bobby is beginning to beleive what the Bible tells us about about how God feels about all of us.
God tells us very clearly that we are his sons and daughters and that he loves all of us and has a good and perfect plan for our lives. He tells us that we have been fearfully and wonderfully made; knit perfectly in our mother’s womb! He tells that no matter what he will never leave us nor forsake us! God tells us that we are more than conquerors, and that all things are possible with him! He tells us that he knows every hair on our head! God has created us all, given us all life, you, me, and Bobby! he has a very special purpose for each of us, and has given us very different but wonderful gifts to use for this very special purpose.
Bobby had an “aah ha moment” today, as he began to see and hear from God what his spiritual gifts are and how God can use him and those gifts to serve others and make a future for himself and the family he will have one day. Suddenly Bobby has hope and sees a certain future; God has made him a new creation, and Bobby can see that throughout this time of difficulty God has been right there, in fact, if you look real close, you can see the fingerprints of God all over Bobby.
I imagine that many of you are facing some of the very things Bobby has been facing and struggling with. My hope is that you will know that God loves you, created you with a wonderful purpose and the gifts to accomplish that purpose, and wants more than anything for you to discover what that purpose is and use it to serve others and him every day. I encourage and exhort you to turn to God in prayer, tell him you are tired struggling and striving to blaze your own trail and do what you think is best, tell him that you want to discover his perfect purpose for your life and use your special gifts to serve him, ask him to reveal that to you, allow him to put his fingerprints all over you! You might be surprised, and it might seem crazy, but please trust him and follow his direction…I know if you do you will be Happy in Life and at Work!
To help get you started and excited about knowing that You Were Meant To Be, I have included a great song by Steven Curtis Chapman titled “Meant to Be”. It was recorded specially for Veggie Tales, but is very applicable to all of us, regardless of age. Enjoy!
We all need to stop and smell the coffee more…don’t we? I would also submit that we all need to stop and make coffee for others. Watch this video; you will understand what I am saying…and it will help you become happy in life and at work!
One sure way to be happy in life and at work is show others kindness. It is amazing how much good it does us to show others kindness. I know we all are capable of this because we all do it some of the time, and when we do show another a genuine act of kindness , it always makes us feel all good and happy inside. The challenge for all of us, including me, is to be that kind, giving, caring, unselfish person all the time. I think the following words of encouragement can help me and you do that…
Chuck Swindoll writes:
In our pocket of society where, relatively speaking, pampered affluence is rampant, we are often at a loss to know what kind of gifts to buy our friends and loved ones on special occasions. For some people (especially those who “have everything”), the standard gift won’t cut it. Nothing in the shopping mall catches our fancy.
I have a suggestion. It may not seem that expensive or sound very novel, but believe me, it works every time. It’s one of those gifts that has great value but no price tag. It can’t be lost nor will it ever be forgotten. No problem with size, either. It fits all shapes, any age, and every personality. This ideal gift is . . . yourself. Don’t forget the unusual value of kindness. That’s right, give some of yourself away:
• Give an hour of your time to someone who needs you.
• Give a note of encouragement to someone feeling down.
• Give a hug of affirmation to someone in your family.
• Give some time to someone who is lonely.
• Give a meal to someone who is sick.
• Give a word of compassion to someone who has suffered a loss.
• Give a second chance to the fallen.
• Give a deed of thoughtfulness to someone who is often overlooked.
• Give a gentle response to the frustrated.
In the words of Ephesians 4:32, be kind. My sister Luci paraphrases this verse, “Just be nice.”
Covering all the one another commands of the Bible (and there’s a lot of them!) is the umbrella of kindness. Kindness braids mercy and grace, humility and gentleness all together. Kindness gives grace, requires humility, and asks that we think of others before ourselves.
Ever notice that kindness is most appreciated when life has gone sideways? When you’re having “one of those days,” kindness speaks that thoughtful word and draws you back like a lifeline.
Who should the world look to as a model of kindness but the body of Christ? Unfortunately, ask the man on the street how he would describe the Christians he knows and I dare say kind would not be his first or even his second response. I say we change that.
Kindness is something you and I can do today. A gentle response. Being the first to forgive. Giving the gift of time, compassion, and thoughtfulness. In ordinary ways, we can give ourselves away and, by doing so, model God’s agape love. Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4-”Love is kind.”
Look for ways today to give ordinary kindness, and you’ll find there’s nothing ordinary about it. And, you will be happy in life and at work!
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “The Gift for the Person Who Has Everything,” Insights (June 2001): 1-2. Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
If you are unhappy, lonely, feeling down, discouraged, depressed, or disillusioned, I encourage you to please read and meditate on these words…God breathed through the prophet Isaiah. If you will take the time to do so, you will begin to feel restored, refreshed, and recharged. Whatever has happened, or is happening in your life to cause you to lose hope, God wants to change that. he wants to fill you with his spirit, the Holy Spirit, the spirit of life, joy, and peace. He wants to rebuild, restore, and renew your life as only he can do, and then he wants you to rejoice and be happy in life and at work!
The Year of the LORD’s Favor – Isaiah 61
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in their inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.
8 “For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and iniquity.
In my faithfulness I will reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.