VIDEO Happiness

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Psalm 103:1

Everyone has a different idea of happiness. The inspirational speaker and writer Dale Carnegie once wrote: “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” But the Bible teaches that happiness comes from being happy with who God is.

  • Deuteronomy 33:29 says, “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help.”
  • Psalm 144:15 says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!”
  • Psalm 146:5 says, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help.”
  • Proverbs 16:20 says, “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.”

Whose definition of happiness are you going to follow—Dale’s or God’s? God has made us with great gifts, He has cleansed us with the blood of Christ, and He wants to use us. He doesn’t want us being unhappy with ourselves, but all true happiness comes—not from ourselves—but from Him.

Those who look to Him are radiant.

We are called to a settled happiness in the Lord whose joy is our strength. Amy Carmichael


Psalm 103 • Bless the Lord, O My Soul

God Our Rescuer

I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered. Ezekiel 34:12

In the open sea, a rescuer positioned her kayak to assist panicked swimmers competing in a triathlon. “Don’t grab the middle of the boat!” she called to swimmers, knowing such a move would capsize her craft. Instead, she directed weary swimmers to the bow, or front, of the kayak. There they could grab a loop, allowing the safety kayaker to help rescue them.

Whenever life or people threaten to pull us under, as believers in Jesus, we know we have a Rescuer. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep . . . . I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered” (Ezekiel 34:11–12).

This was the prophet Ezekiel’s assurance to God’s people when they were in exile. Their leaders had neglected and exploited them, plundering their lives and caring “for themselves rather than for [God’s] flock” (v. 8). As a result, the people “were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them” (v. 6).

But “I will rescue my flock,” declared the Lord (v. 10), and His promise still holds.

What do we need to do? Hold fast to almighty God and His promises. “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them,” He says (v. 11). That’s a saving promise worth holding tightly.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

When you feel panicked, what’s your typical reaction? What problem can you release today as you reach instead for God?

Our rescuing God, when life makes me panic, encourage me to turn from the rolling waves and always reach for You.

Doing God’s Work In God’s Way

Zechariah 4:1-7

In 538 B.C. the Israelites returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. However, they encountered many adversaries who tried to prevent them from succeeding (Ezra 4:1-5). Discouragement set in, and eventually they were forced to stop working. God told their leader, Zerubbabel, how to proceed: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). We would be wise to follow that counsel.

Like the Israelites, we may be under pressure and unsure how to keep going. When we encounter obstacles, our tendency is to figure out the solution for ourselves, but this attitude isn’t right. Having an independent spirit may be prevalent and admired today, but it’s not how the Bible tells us to live. Instead, we are to be characterized by dependence on the Holy Spirit—giving up control and letting Him direct our actions will result in doing God’s work His way. Our life won’t be free of trouble, but we’ll experience many victories through the Lord.

When we’re depending upon the Holy Spirit, here’s what becomes evident: Without God, we would fail, and our constant companions would be worry and distress. But with Him, we receive true wisdom and divine power. Then, peace and joy accompany us—even amidst hardship (Gal. 5:22-23).

How the Earth Can bt Filled

“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

The very first command given to Adam and Eve was “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). This might seem to imply there had been a previous population (so-called “pre-adamites”), but the word “replenish” (Hebrew male) means simply “fill.” Actually, in the King James Old Testament, it is translated by the Old English word “replenish” only seven times, whereas it is translated “fill,” “filled,” or “full” some 250 times. The precise meaning is “fill.”

Even today, with our so-called “population explosion,” the earth is far from being filled with people. One thinks of our vast deserts and inaccessible mountain ranges, plus the frozen wastes of Antarctica, for example. It may, however, once have been filled in the much more habitable world before the Flood, but it also was “filled with violence through them” (Genesis 6:11, 13). This, in fact, was the very reason God sent the great Flood to “destroy them with the earth.”

The time is coming, however, as seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s prophetic vision as interpreted by Daniel the prophet, when a great stone—representing the future kingdom of God—will have “filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35). Then the great doxology of the psalmist will be reality: “And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen” (Psalm 72:19).

The prophet Isaiah also spoke of this time: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). The later prophet Habakkuk in our text beautifully echoed these words of Isaiah. HMM

Believe in the Right Things

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

—John 8:23-24

 

Because the heart of the Christian life is admittedly faith in a person, Jesus Christ the Lord, it has been relatively easy for some to press this truth out of all proportion and teach that faith in the Person of Christ is all that matters. Who Jesus is matters not, who His Father was, whether Jesus is God or man or both, whether or not He accepted the superstitions and errors of His time as true, whether He actually rose again after His passion or was only thought to have done so by His devoted followers—these things are not important, say the no-creed advocates. What is vital is that we believe on Him and try to follow His teachings.

What is overlooked here is that the conflict of Christ with the Pharisees was over the question of who He was. His claim to be God stirred the Pharisees to fury. He could have cooled the fire of their anger by backing away from His claim to equality with God, but He refused to do it. And He further taught that faith in Him embraced a belief that He is very God, and that apart from this there could be no salvation for anyone….

To believe on Christ savingly means to believe the right things about Christ. There is no escaping this.   TIC022

Don’t let me ever back down from this vital truth of Who You are. Amen.

 

God Always Acts Like Himself

Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.

—Psalm 99:9

 

God always acts like Himself wherever He may be and whatever He may be doing. When God became flesh and dwelt among us He did not cease to act as He had been acting from eternity. “He veiled His deity but He did not void it.” The ancient name dimmed down to spare the helpless eyes of mortal men, but as much as was seen was true fire.

Christ restrained His powers but He did not violate His holiness. In whatsoever He did He was holy, harmless, separate from sinners and higher than the highest heaven.

Just as in eternity God acted like Himself and when incarnated in human flesh still continued in all His conduct to be true to His holiness, so does He when He enters the nature of a believing man. This is the method by which He makes the redeemed man holy. OGM063-064

We can only become holy through the holiness of

God. CTBC, Vol. 1/200

 

Choose Wisely

Joshua 24:14-16

To be or not to be—those are the parameters. Even people who do not know any other Shakespeare quotations probably recognize this contemporary version of “To be, or not to be, that is the question” from Hamlet as he is deciding whether to live or die.

Simple choices are often the easiest to make, and the most profound. They can be evaluated, measured and decided quickly. When we have options galore, we have difficulty making up our minds. When I was a kid growing up in The Salvation Army, we always had a black car since that was the only color permitted. Now deciding the color of the car is as difficult as choosing the car itself.

We make simple choices each day: go or stay, up or down, in or out, yes or no, right or wrong.

There are times when simple either/or choices become more complex. When it comes to the big decisions—life or death, and most important of all, heaven or hell—the rewards or consequences of those choices are staggering. You have to decide one way or the other.

Joshua asked an either/or question of the rebellious, complaining, disobedient people of his day. They had often forgotten the Lord’s provision and blessing while traveling from bondage in Egypt to freedom in their new homeland in Canaan. Joshua assembled the people and challenged them, saying, “Fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness… but if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).

To be or not to be—to be in Christ or not to be in Christ, to be forgiven or not to be forgiven, to serve the Lord or not to serve the Lord—those are the parameters. When it comes to accepting God’s way for your life and your eternal future, it is the most important decision you will ever make.

A. Kenneth Wilson, The War Cry