Monday, November 30, 2020

Is There Any Hope?

 Monday, November 30, 2020

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Is There Any Hope?

It is the Advent season again. Advent season is all about the anticipation and the waiting for the coming of Christ.  Every year, it seems the world is more and more absent of hope, but this year our world, believers and unbelievers alike, need hope more than anything else.

What is it that makes you feel hopeful? I believe all of us are hoping for much this year. We are hoping that COVID will go away. We are hoping that no one we love will get it and have devastating and lasting affects from it. We are hoping that 2021 will not be worse, but hopefully better!  We are hoping for world peace. Sometimes for me, I feel hope when I think I have solved my problems, but then I realize that I cannot and hope is gone. If we look to ourselves, we see our failures and unworthiness, so trying to find hope in our own power will always be a dead end. Looking for hope in the only place real hope can be found, in Jesus Christ, is the only way. 

Christmas, and especially the true meaning of Christmas, can quickly be eclipsed by our circumstances any year, but especially a year like this one. Our circumstances can steal our hope faster than anything, and nothing has been normal about any of our circumstances this year. No matter what we know in our hearts and minds, the weight of circumstances can snuff the hope right out of our lives. 

When we look around us- online, on T.V., on social media - we see only false hope. People you don't even know and who don't care about you at all will promise you the moon, if you sign up - and pay - for their products or program. False hope in something or someone other than the One who can truly change your life will lead to disappointment.  (I know there are some good products and programs that change people's lives, but there are many scams out there as well) If your soul is sick and despair is eating you up, spending more money on things that won't heal you spiritually is a waste. As Christians, we know that Jesus Christ is the only hope that can overcome this world and any circumstances of living in this world. If we look to this world, we find the lies of false hope, and expectations we can never meet. When we look to Christ, we see the only hope there is for any of us.  Jesus came and brought Hope for all.  He brought hope to a world wrought with disease, violence, unrest and turmoil, uncertainty; and most of all, He brought the hope of salvation from our sin.  He took upon Himself all our unrighteousness so that we may become righteous and He died the death we deserve. 

There is hope. There is hope for the lowliest sinner that has never darkened the door of church, and the sinner that sits in the pew every week and is at Bible study on Wednesday. There is hope for (as Jackie Hill Perry would say...) the Saints and Aints. There is hope on the darkest days and in the most painful corners of life. There is always hope, no matter how hopeless it all looks, because Jesus loves us all and died for each and every one of us. When we experience this hope it is our job to spread it to everyone so that they too can know the freedom found in hope of Jesus Christ. 

As the scripture above says He became flesh and dwelt among us,... and He is full of grace and truth.  This grace and truth is where hope is found. His grace is for all of us and His truth is not false like the truth we find in all the wrong places. His truth is real, life-giving, hope-bringing truthHe brought hope for all in forgiveness, mercy and eternal life that can only be found in Him. 

This week, as you reflect on the season of Advent, remember the grace, truth, and hope that the Baby in the manger brought. Share that hope with someone you know who needs the freedom that is only found in hope in Jesus Christ. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Lara Cook

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Jesus Is _______ Part 1


Jesus Is _____
Ephesians 6:18

The shepherds that watched over their flocks by night in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth were not men who were revered or esteemed highly by the society in which they lived. However, it is through their involvement in the birth of Christ that we can understand the hope that Jesus brought into the world the night He was born.

      I.     There is Hope in Christ Because No One is Too 

·  Many people consider themselves not worthy enough 
for God. 

·  What makes us acceptable to God is not our behavior but the free gift of salvation that comes through Jesus. 

    II.     There is Hope in Christ Because 
All Are Invited to Come and Experience Him. 

·  The Shepherds were given an invitation to go and 
see for themselves. 

·  The invitation given to the shepherds is still given to us today.

   III.     There is Hope in Christ Because He Changes Everyone Who Comes to Him

·  The shepherds were changed because they experienced Jesus.

·  We become changed people when we experience Jesus.

·  THREE WORDS: WonderTreasurePraise

Friday, November 27, 2020

Give Thanks


 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff of North Side Baptist Church

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Give Thanks

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Happy Thanksgiving from the staff of North Side Baptist Church

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Thoughts

 Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!  Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.  Psalms 100:1-2  

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The Principles of Thanksgiving 

Taking a quick look about it might be easy to see the world as becoming ungrateful and in a bad mood all the time.  Words like please and thank you seem to be heard less and less. However, it is not just the world at large that has become about you and I? Is thanksgiving a holiday thing or a principle thing in our lives? 

The psalmist speaks of the principles of thanksgiving.  Principles are eternal and therefore they never change with the culture or circumstances we might happen to find ourselves in.  Regardless, God’s principles are to rule our voice and conduct before Him and others. 

Joyfully Thankful ... Make a joyful shout

To make a joyful shout is more than hollering or screaming.  The emphasis is on what we are shouting about. The psalmist is speaking of making an open air confession of God’s goodness and grace.  In fact the Hebrew word means "an extension of the hand."  It is as if the psalmist is saying to cup the hand to the mouth and speak out loud a very joyful confession to the Lord.  It could also reflect the lifting of the hands in praise to God.  A joyful shout can bring a joyful spirit.

Serving Thankful ... Serve the Lord with gladness

When our lives are governed by a joyful heart that speaks words of thanksgiving to the Lord, our lives will naturally (or better yet "supernaturally") fall in line to become servants filled with glad works.  Worshipful service is the natural response of the heart and life of a believer filled with God’s love.  

Come Thankful ... Come before His presence with singing

As the called of God we are to come into His presence with our hearts filled with the joy and gladness of knowing Him.  We are to come singing with joyful voices of praise and thanksgiving... 

speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, Ephesians 5:19


Those who are fearful to sing out loud because of the judgment of others need to consider what God thinks about their silence.  The beauty of the voice of praise is not the notes but the heart that lifts the song to heaven. If we live ego centered or self centered lives we will never become principled centered people who understands the realm of thanksgiving. The next time you sing in worship, be sure your heart is involved.

Shouting, serving and singing out of a heart of thankfulness brings joy to the heart of the Father.  The key is that, whatever we do, we do it from a heart turned toward Him.


Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 

giving thanks through Him to God the Father.  Colossians 3:17

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Turning Lament Into A Powerful Weapon Against Satan

Tuesday, November 24. 2020

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.  But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:3-6

At times it can feel like God does not hear our cries at all, but the truth is that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and wants to know what breaks our heart. He invites us to come to Him and lay every burden at His feet, offering us His peace and rest in return. Pain, grief, and sorrow can completely overwhelm us if we are not careful. When we do not intentionally turn our burndens into praise and thanksgiving to Him, they can turn into discontent and bitterness. The devil loves nothing more than for God’s people to become bitter in their despair, and turn away from Him. 

Lamenting to God

Pouring out our hearts to God is trusting Him with the most tender parts. This offering of sorrow to God is lamnenting. Lamenting to God is not complaining. It is prayer to God, telling Him about our pain and trusting Him with it all. Lamenting has some distinct elements:

Lamenting turns our focus back to God - When we lament to God, we take our pain to the exact place it belongs. Sometimes pain makes us want to run from God, from anyone who wants to talk to us about God, or anything that reminds us of Him. It may be hopelessness, or anger against Him, or just the natural response to pain - turning inward. When we go to God, we find comfort and peace we can rest in, as we see things through a heavenly perspective. 

Lamenting allows us to tell God our hurts and ask Him questions - When we lament to God, we can genuinely lay it all out - hurts, things we don’t understand, and we can ask Him hard questions - like Why? We may not ever know the answer to every question we have for Him, but we can honestly bring all we doh’t understand to Him.

Lamenting strengthens our trust and faith in God - When we trust God enough to open our hearts to Him in lament, our faith is strengthened. Trust and faith bring hope to our hurting hearts - hope in the only true source of hope we have. He is soverign over every tiny detail in our lives. As we pour everhything out to God, we are reminded of His love for us, His promises to us, and His faithfulness in the past. This is where lamenting turns into praise. 

Praise is both thanksgiving for the past and trust for the future even 

when poured out in pain.  -       Van Houser

Praise and thansgiving are a weapon against the enemy. He wants us to be buried under the weight of our burdens and despair, but even in the midst of the hardest circumstances we can give praise and thanksgiving to our soverign God. This praise and thanksgiving turns our sorrow into the strongest weapon against satan - faith in the promises of God. 

Go to your heavenly Father with your sorrows. Tell Him everything, give Him your frustrations,  and ask Him all the questions. He is ready and waiting to exchange your pain for His love and care. Turn it into praise and thanksgiving for all He is, all He has done, and all He will do in the future. 

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, 
the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.   
Hebrews 13:15 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Be Thankful In Spite of Everything

 Monday, November 23. 2020

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 

Luke 22:19


Thanksgiving Joy

In Luke 22:19 Jesus shows us the way to give thanks.  He is about to be crucified and He knows it – not the circumstances most would feel thankful for, yet He was thankful for the grace and glory that was to result form the cross.  And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.  The Greek word for “thanks” in this verse is eucharisteo.  

Ann Voskamp explains this word beautifully:

The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.


When we give God thanks for the gifts He gives, He gives another gift back to us – joy. When we can be grateful and joyful in every circumstance, we see things differently. Our perspective changes. Thanksgiving is not just a day, it is a way of life. That means that we don’t have to wait for things to change or get better or search endlessly for some elusive fairy tale called joy.  It is here and now, in every circumstance, when we can give thanksgiving to God.   


A heart of gratitude will be a content heart.  Pain, gratitude, and contentment can actually co-exist even though it may not be our favorite trio of feelings.  Being thankful in all things certainly doesn’t mean we are thankful for the circumstances we are in. It means that – in spite of the circumstances we are thankful because we know and understand who God is.  Ann Voskamp also said Thanksgiving is the one thing God asks to be done in everything and always…He knows what precedes the miracle.  In every circumstance God is at work for some purpose.  It may simply be for us to learn to be thankful in everything.  Or it may be that this circumstance you are in right now is a tiny piece of the miracle He has ahead in your life.  Until we can be thankful in each circumstance – or piece of the miracle - we cannot see the next piece. Every little piece makes the whole and its all important. 


Help your children to understand this life-giving principle.  All we have, we have because of Him and we need to model gratitude to God for everything, and in every circumstance.  We are our children’s first perception of God.  We need to show our kids an attitude of gratitude in good times and bad. 


This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, and this year has been hard for all of us, worse for some than others.  Now more than ever we need to remember to be thankful in spite of the circumstances we might find ourselves in, because we know and understand who God is. At times like this, one of two things happen. We either feel thankfulness greatly, or we fail to see what we can be thankful for in the midst of the rubble around us. Sometimes the deeper we have to reach to find thankfulness, the greater the lesson we learn and the stronger the joy we feel.  

This week I urge you to remember these three words, grace, thanksgiving, and joy.  EucharisteoJesus is the only way we are able to give thanksgiving at all times and in all circumstances. Thanksgiving to Him will bring us the joy we so desperately need.  


Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this 
is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Language of Discontent Part 2

 The Language of Discontent Part 2

Philippians 2:14-16

It is quite obvious that the circumstances of our world today offer opportunity for individuals to have conversations about how difficult things are.  For the Christian, complaining is personally destructive, spiritually debilitating and only serves to make our witness to the world more difficult.    

Three types of complainers found in scripture:  

I.    Boo Birds Exodus 15:23-24   

·    This is the attitude of Second Guessers.

II.  Chronic Complainers Exodus 16:2

·    Complaining is a demonstration of a heart of ingratitude.

·    We speak our world into existence.

·    We change our world by changing our speech.

·    Children are receptors and reflectors.

·    Complaint is a confession of defeat, not faith.

III.  Authority Rebels  Numbers 16:2-3

•   Spiritual pride was the downfall of these.

Lamenting and Thanksgiving

·    The sharing of a burden to God shows trust in Him as the One who can change our condition.

Lament is a Form of Praise

·    Praise is both thanksgiving for the past and trust for the future, even when poured out in pain

Lament is Proof of a Relationship

·    A lament is the intimate sharing of trouble and pain with a caring Father. 

·    What good does it do for God to speak until we are ready to listen and trust Him?

Lament is a Prayer for God to Act

·    Prayer is not passive but a call for action from an omnipotent and compassionate God.

·    Prayer is a part of the action of God to meet our needs through His Spirit in us.

Lament is a Path to Thanksgiving

·    Lament is not our final prayer. It is a prayer in the meantime.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Encourage Each Other

 Friday, November 20. 2020

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

Encourage Each Other

In the verses 24 and 25 of the passage above, we are persuaded to encourage other Christians. “And let us consider how to stimulate (spur) one another to love and good deeds.”  Verse 24 begins“let us consider one another…”.It means “to observe attentively, or understand, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.” In short, we are to focus on encouraging one another.  It is not to be accidental but intentional.  I like how The Message goes: “Let’s see how inventive we can be…” Let us think of creative ways of encouraging others.

The emphasis is upon getting to know one another in our community of faith.  There results a creative interchange that leads to provocative stimulation of both love and good works.  When a person is known for all he or she is, with all the wrinkles and foibles, and yet is loved, trust is engendered and creative risking becomes a possibility.  We can say, “So what if I fail at a good attempt? I will be loved. I am confident of that. He or she knows me and still loves me; I can attempt my idea.” This then makes possible one of the goals of the Christian life—good works (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14–18).  Such good works do not always come naturally or automatically.  Our exhorter encourages his readers to both love and good works.

Verse 24 continues, “let us consider how we may spur one another on…” To spur means “to stir up, provoke, stimulate or incite someone to do something.”  In other words, to create a thirst.  A thirst for what?  “toward love and good deeds.”  That’s how we measure encouragement.  It is not a fuzzy feeling.  If someone became a more loving person or a better person, then we really encouraged him or her. 

Church can be a great place to get caught up on the latest football games, golf scores, family news, health concerns, or just to visit with friends. A cup of coffee together, a warm handshake, a friendly pat on the back are all part of the social interaction we need as human beings.  All of this is good, but New Testament fellowship goes much deeper than merely socializing when we get together at church.  It takes place when we consider how we can lift up, build up, and brighten up our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Christian fellowship takes place when we offer encouragement to our friends, pray for them, and confess our sins and weaknesses to one another.  These are the elements that make fellowship genuine.  What about our church?  Are we merely socializing?  Or are we practicing true Christian fellowship?  Christian fellowship builds us up and binds us together.

Now we've all heard SOMEONE COMPLAIN that the people in a certain church aren't friendly, or that they seem to be lacking in love.  Although such criticisms may be true, the one doing the complaining is often a part of the problem.  To feel the love and. friendliness of an assembly of believers, we may need to pour a little of our own love in first.  It was God's love toward us that prompted our love in return.  This principle also works in our relationship with other Christians. Try it!

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:15

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Holding On For Dear Life

 Thursday, November 19, 2020

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

Fighting discouragement has been a real battle this year with everything that has happened. When a person is discouraged, sin can deceive and harden his heart to the point that it becomes sinful and unbelieving, leading the person to turn his back on God. Someone wrote, “People live by encouragement. Without it they die. Slowly... Sadly... Bitterly.”

Holding On For Dear Life
Hebrews 10:23 
says. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;”  We must never loosen our grip on what we believe. The Confession of Jesus Christ is the confession that any and all need to make if they would have eternal hope. Do you lack hope and expectancy? If so, you need to make a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ.

Profess publically that you believe Jesus is God’s Son; that He died on the Cross for your sin; that He received the punishment we deserved and purchased our pardon from sin and hell by His shed blood; that He rose again conquering sin, death and the grave, and that He ascended back into Heaven and that He is coming again for His own.

Cynical voices try to erode our faith. Materialistic voices get us too busy for God. The events of life seem to conspire to shake our faith. But we who confess Christ are to persevere in and by giving a constant confession (3:14).

Perseverance in confessing Christ is the evidence that we have received the promise of God.  It is believingwhat you are confessing.  It is putting your money where your mouth is so to speak.  If our hope is based on the unfailing promise of God, we should confess it confidently and boldly. Then we should believe it, cling to it and our actions should show it. Has God ever failed us?  Is God not faithful to His people and to His promises for all who draw near in faith?

“Let us hold fast the confession.” The Greek verb translated “hold fast” has the sense of holding firm, securing or tightening down our confession of hope. This we must do without wavering. The base meaning of this Greek word means “to lean, to slope, or to be off-balance”. We must not go off-balance or become unleveled as does a faulty foundation. 

There is reason to hold firm even though the circumstances of life appear to be harming us. Even if things have become difficult and at the moment we feel there is little reason for keeping on, the One who made the promise “is faithful” and will not let us down. He does not count time in the short segments by which we count it; therefore, we should not let momentary discouragement cause us to turn away. 

Hang on; God is on His way with resources for endurance even though things might become even more difficult.  God uses the very process of enduring, to discipline and strengthen us to grow His rich fruit in our lives. The tragedies of today will become the triumphs of tomorrow. God is faithful, and He is faithful to His promises.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…Romans 8:28-29

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Loving Hard People

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6

Loving Hard People
What can you do if you are in the company of a constant complainer? It is very hard to be the light to someone who only wants darkness, and it is very hard to promote positivity to someone who doesn’t want to be positive. Negativity is working for them. Sometimes these hard-to-love people are part of our family, we are married to them, or we work with them, so we may not be able to just walk away and ignore them. Although it is a mistake to think we can fix people, because only God can do that, but God may have you in their life for a purpose. You may be the only positive thing in their life. That is certainly not to say that you should sacrifice yourself on the altar of trying to please someone who can never be pleased. It is to say that we should live every moment of our lives on mission for God and view every relationship we are in as an assignment from Him.

As we mentioned yesterday, if you have a child or a spouse that is constantly discontent, it is so exhausting to live in this perpetual state of tension. Living this way can cause a whole list of issues for the rest of the family such as anxiety, depression, addictions, sleep disturbances, not to mention the physical toll of a constant state of stress on your mind, body, and spirit. Complainers sometimes selfishly believe that no one is affected by their discontented attitude but them. We really have to guard ourselves and live in the spirit to not be oppressed in this situation. It is a constant state of prayer and trusting in God for strength and wisdom every day.

What Can I Do?
Realize that accepting an individual is foundational to ministry to them.  If doesn’t feel like you accept them, chances are that you are not going to be able to have an impact on their life.  Accepting a person – or loving a person – doesn’t mean you have to accept/love their behaviors or decisions.  I always think of this as loving them in Christ.  I personally translate this to mean a couple of different things:

·         I try to love them as Christ loves mewith mercy and grace.  This is the way I want to be loved by Christ and others.  Sometimes when I look on someone in judgement, I instantly see my own sins staring back at me. I consider that a gift from God – to remember how much mercy and grace He gives me and that I in turn should do the same for others.

·         I can ONLY love them with the strength of Christ.  In my humanness I cannot love like He loves us, but I can through Jesus Christ! 

These hard-to-love, never-satisfied people are like porcupines because if you get to close, you may get stuck.  We can ignore them by simply shutting them out of our life altogether, but this is not what the Lord has called us to do.  He expects us to show them love because if we won’t, then who will?  If God’s people will not be the hands and feet – and heart of Jesus, then no one will.  If we make them feel like lepers and outcasts, they will shut us out and God cannot work through us. It will only make them more bitter and discontented.

Set self aside, grow some patience and love the complainers in your life.  You don’t know what seeds you are planting or how God is touching their hearts.  He uses us to change people’s lives and we may not even be aware.  One of those hard to love people may just be one kind word away from this possibility - Can change a leper’s spots… And heal a heart of stone.

 Accept one another…Just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.   Romans 15:7

Lara Cook

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Contented Discontent

 Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16 

Contented Discontent
Are you, or do you know someone who is content in discontent? Sounds crazy, but that is exactly what some people are – happy right where they are, being discontent. They may not even realize it, and they may seem to want to change their circumstances, but they don’t want to do the work required. It is a fact that some people prefer to be affirmed in their discontent, rather than affirmed in the power and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Although it is a miserable prison, it is more comfortable than change. We would rather sit in our afflictions and complain about them rather than do what we need to do to move forward and heal.

Having a valid reason to be unhappy opens the door for those who feed discontent with their speech to greatly affect our individual peace.

Not only are we happy to sit in discontentment, we find others that will sit with us as well. Birds of a feather flock together and misery loves company… People who are discontent and complain, often recruit others for their cause. They are masters at leading us away from the sovereign provision of our Lord into the woeful complaining about our seemingly unsurmountable circumstances. Complaining is contagious. It is hard to catch ourselves and keep from joining in, and before we know it, we are agreeing with them.

Our world is filled with complainers – and there is nothing you can do to make them happy. There are some people who will never be happy – no matter what. If you know someone who has never been happy in any job they have ever had, the common denominator is them. No matter how good things get they still only see the bad - and they go to huge lengths to point it out to everyone around them. This leaks into every area of their life – their relationships, their family life, etc.

The constant negativity issuing forth from chronic complainers presents a huge challenge for those around them to remain positive in a negative world. It is also very taxing emotionally and even physically for those who are around them and somehow feel responsible for trying to make them happy. It won’t happen. But the physical and emotional toll of living with someone in constant strife and discontent is crushing, and unfortunately those who love these people will feel it the most.

There is a difference between those who have a momentary difference of opinion and voice it, or those who are sharing the pain they feel because of a life circumstance.  People need to talk, and it is not complaining if you are talking out and processing the issues you are up against. It is the constant state of oppression and heaviness of those who constantly complain and find a special identity and power in their right to criticize, disparage, nitpick or find some fault with anything and everything in their lives.

If you know someone like this, I encourage you to be a light as much as possible. Highlight the positive side of things and try to remind them of the good things in their life. Sow seeds of wisdom and love as much as possible and most of all, don’t let their negativity pull you down. And pray. Pray for them to be open to God’s goodness. It is up to them to choose, but we can do our part to spread the Light of the World to every negative person.

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Guide to Happiness

 Monday, November 16, 2020

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11

This is 2020. For most of us, we have had to figure out a whole new way of doing life. Even those of us who have been only slightly affected by COVID are having to do things differently now, and a lot of the things that made us happy before has been stripped away. If everything that you think brings you true happiness in your life were suddenly gone, what would you be looking at? Has this year left you feeling discontented? Seeking happiness in the Lord and the joy He gives is the only place that we can truly trust will be the same yesterday, today, and forever more. 

The Guide to Happiness 

Do you want to be happy?  Of course you do!  Blaise Pascal a 17th century philosopher said this concerning happiness. "All men seek happiness. This is without exception. This is the motive of every man, even of those who hang themselves."

The editors of Psychology Today once published a questionnaire designed to answer the questions: What is happiness? And how do we obtain it? They invited their readers to respond. One man, for example, when asked said, "I don't know. I filled out the questionnaire. I think I'm happy; please verify." 

Our founding fathers when writing the Declaration of Independence thought of happiness as a precious aspect of life as they wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  But can you find happiness by pursuing happiness? 

Happiness isn't found by pursing it; it is a by-product of pursuing God.

Circumstantial Happiness? 

A valid question is, "What makes you happy?"  Probably all of us are geared to answer the question with different answers.  Some might say happiness is greater financial stability as well as spendability!  Some would say "If Mom is happy, everyone is happy!" The point being, we all have an opinion of what can make us happy so we seek certain circumstances to create our happiness. 

But, check out this bit of wisdom...If happiness comes only through maintaining a sufficient flow of favorable circumstances, life will be pretty hard on most of us.  Even if we could determine our happiness by circumstances we would not be happy for long because we cannot control our circumstances.  So happiness pursued through circumstances will quickly become inconsistent.  If we pursue happiness from what this temporal world alone has to offer us, then life can be a profound disappointment.  

So what will make us happy? 

A big dog saw a little dog chasing its tail and asked, "Why are you chasing your tail so?" Said the puppy, "I have mastered philosophy; I have solved the problems of the universe which no dog before me has rightly solved; I have learned that the best thing for a dog is happiness, and that happiness is my tail. Therefore I am chasing it; and when I catch it, I shall have happiness." 
Said the old dog, "My son, I, too, have paid attention to the problems of the universe in my weak way, and I have formed some opinions. I, too, have judged that happiness is a fine thing for a dog, and that happiness is in my tail. But I have noticed that when I chase after it, it keeps running away from me, but when I go about my business, it comes after me."

Psalms 144:15b  Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! 

God's Word assures us that our happiness is found in our God.  Try to think about God and His goodness and see if His promise is true.  With these and other words from God's Word why would we not seek/pursue Him? 


For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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