Finding Happiness – Part 2

happiness2In part 1 of “Finding Happiness,” we talked about how the conventional (worldly) approaches to happiness are falling far short of their promises. I provided four practices that lead to happiness. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read the first part or need a quick review, you can find it here:

Finding Happiness – Part 1

Today we will conclude with four more ways you can discover more happiness in your life. Here they are:

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Finding Happiness- Part 1

happiness1As we discussed in “Diagnosing Unhappiness,” people are more unhappy and unfulfilled than ever, despite all of the supposed reasons why that should not be the case. For students of the Word of God, this is not at all surprising.

Over and over again in the Bible we see what I like to call, the law of opposite actions. For example, Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) He also said, “…whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) Jesus also tells us to, bless those who curse us and to pray for those who spitefully use us. (Matthew 5:44)

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Why He Came

Merry ChristmasIt’s easy to lose track of the meaning of Christmas in the crazy times we live. Even folk like me – the most dyed-in-the-wool believers – can get caught up in things that distract us from a fitting focus.

If we aren’t careful, holiday controversies and the “War on Christmas” will get our dander up, and have us offended and in fighting mode, instead of the proper posture that reveals God’s great love to the world (Jn 3:16). Things like this can also shift our attention away from the grateful and joyful hearts that God wants for Christmas.

With a desire to bring my own heart into proper alignment, and a hope to help others, I have compiled nine reasons that Jesus came. I hope you find it impacting.

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The Non Sequitur Logic of Cheap Grace

cheapgraceIs modern religious teaching correct? Should we simply give up on the idea of holiness and pursue happiness without concern for consequences?

There is a message coming out of churches today that God’s Grace is all that matters. There are a lot of reasons for this message, but none are scriptural. In fact, for all the buzz about new revelation and understanding of the Bible, the truth is, it is not even new. Paul confronted this idea in his letters. He warned them that claiming salvation was not enough. They needed to live right. (Gal 5:18-21, Eph 4:17-19, 1 Co 9:27, 2 Co 12:21)

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Has God Changed?

GodChangedFrom pulpits to news shows they cry, “God has changed!” Okay, they don’t say it quite that way, but that is the bottom-line. Most people simply accept this at face value and move on, but is it true? Are the pundits on-track? Has God really changed?

The premise typically goes something like this, “God was a God of Judgment in the Old Testament and a God of Grace in the New Testament.” Though often repeated, it is simply not true. God is neither capricious nor single-minded. We were created in His image and we clearly understand that judgment and mercy are not antithetical concepts. There are times when justice demands judgment, and other times when mercy is right and proper.

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Is Repentance Passe’?

repentanceI recently read a well-worded article written by a pastor about why he didn’t preach repentance. He pontificated eloquently about how such sermons place our focus in the wrong place and how thoughts concerning our failures diminish God’s marvelous work of grace.

I don’t know if this particular reasoning is the consensus of everyone in the modern grace camp, but there certainly appears to be a large number of Pastors and teachers who are avoiding the topic of repentance. I understand how appealing it can be to take our eyes off our short-comings and focus instead on the wonderful mercy and grace of God. Indeed, we should all spend more time reflecting and demonstrating our thankfulness for what the old song calls, “grace that is greater than all our sins.”

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Let’s Pray!

letsprayBack in January I attended a prayer conference with leaders from multiple denominations. It was a powerful life-changing event. Unlike so many prayer meetings where most of the time is spent in teaching or even idle chit-chat we did something amazing – we prayed! We prayed individually, we prayed in small groups and we prayed together corporately.

We spent time in prayer asking forgiveness for our short-comings, we spent time praying for each other and we spent time asking God to prepare us for the days ahead. It was during this conference that I had the tremendous opportunity to see an early screening of the movie War Room and learned that it would be released in the fall.

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The Appalling New Threat

prayerIn the wake of the recent tragic deaths and injuries in Paris, Colorado, California and other locations, there appears to be a consensus building within a significant segment of the population. Public figures, news articles and blogs outline the outrageous behavior and call for a variety of solutions ranging from simply recognizing the activity as meaningless, to calling for an all-out cease and desist. So what is this alarming behavior that is of such great concern in these critical times? – Prayer! Continue reading “The Appalling New Threat”

Diagnosing Unhappiness

happinessWith iPhones, iPads, 4K TV’s, Entertainment on Demand, Air Conditioning, International Cuisine and so much more, one might reasonably think that we would be the happiest generation ever. We work less, have easier lives and are exposed to more self-help resources than anyone could have imagined just a few short years ago.

My friends in Kenya – you know the land of hakuna matata (”No Worries”) – have a very hard time contemplating why ANY American would ever feel sad or depressed. The truth, however, is far different. Our generation has possibly more cases of depression, suicide and stress than any before.

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