The Pursuit of Happiness or Contentment?

Screenshot (621)

My Musings – Can one be Godly without being content?  Or, content (really content) without being Godly?  I cannot imagine the first, and find it hard to imagine the second.  Paul measured his contentment by being satisfied with the bare necessities of life, food and clothing.  Apparently he modeled his contentment after the Master (who owned no place to lay His head), as he did not even list a place to stay as a requirement.

Why would Paul be content with Godliness?  Food, clothing, possessions – we’ll leave this world with none of these.  Godliness, character, fruits of the Spirit – they’ll come along for the ride.  These are treasures to “lay up” for ourselves.  Treasures in “clay jars.

My Advice – What are you working for?  Will it bring contentment?  Or once you have it will you find yourself asking “is that all there is?”  Don’t become addicted to “things,” that only leave you craving your next “fix.”  Pursue the only way to Godliness with content – a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Elephant In The Room

Screenshot (611)

My Musings – “People primarily respond not to what we do but how we’re being.  It’s not that we do the wrong thing necessarily, but that we do what we do – maybe even if it is the ‘right’ thing – the wrong way.” (Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute).

My great fear for the Church today is that a lot of us spend a lot of time and energy “doing” Christianity, while failing to “be” Christ-like.  We pride ourselves with saying, supporting and doing the right things (the modern-day equivalent of a tenth of our mint, dill and cumin), but neglect to be those things (the all-time equivalent of, “justice, mercy and sacrifice“).  In the process, we are well on our way to alienating an entire generation from “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  Given the appropriate “salt and light” there are many who would love to “be” like Christ, but are afraid of “doing” like “Christians.”  But unfortunately, the “salt” in many of us leaves a bad taste, and the “light” shining from us artificial and not a true reflection of its Source.

My Advice – There is nothing wrong with saying, supporting and doing the right things.  But we must practice these without neglecting “justice, mercy and sacrifice.”  Otherwise, we are merely a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”  Distracting noise and “fake news” in a world searching for the truth.  Woe to us, the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge.

Don’t just do, be.  People still might not acknowledge the truth, but what they are rejecting will be plain.

Walking or Stumbling

Screenshot (556)

My Musings – The righteous (those cleansed by the blood of Christ) walk in the ways of the Lord because their spiritual eyes were opened by their faith in Christ. He is the light of the world, and through Him the righteous can see the way of the Lord illuminated before them.

The rebellious stumble over the ways of the Lord because, though they have eyes to see, they do not see.  They are spiritually blind.  To them, the Gospel is a stumbling-block.

My Advice – If you have not already done so, open your eyes to the truth of the Gospel.  He is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him].” John 14:6, NIV 1984)

 

No Authority Except

Screenshot (482)

Romans 13:1-2 – “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  (NIV 1984)

Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

George Washington – “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.”

Abraham Lincoln – “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

John F. Kennedy – “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

Ronald Reagan – “America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”

My Musings – Our country is not perfect.  These men, who rose to become its leaders, were not without their flaws.  But I would like to think that our nation was established and has been favored by God because of its ideals and the shared sentiments of men like these and the citizens they led.  My hope is that it would grow even stronger in these convictions.  My fear is that they are rapidly crumbling.

My Advice – Acknowledge God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror Images

Screenshot (295)Screenshot (464)

2 Timothy 1:2-6, 13To Joel, my dear son. I thank God as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandparents and in your mother and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  (NIV 1978, A personalized paraphrase)

My Musings – Most of my musings over the past couple of years have come from a book of daily devotions that I wrote for my son when he graduated from college.  He had spent the better part of his life getting “educated,” and I guess I wanted one last shot at offering my advice before he launched off on his own, putting his education to work.  The above “personalized” verses from 2 Timothy was my last entry in the book, and my last musing from that book.

Originally entitled “A Father’s Devotions,” I have for some time now been referring to them as “A Dad’s Devotions.”  I also added a subtitle, “Reflections from God’s Word.”  Why the “subtle” change?  I think the following sums up my thoughts.

Dad & Father – “The main difference between a father and a dad is that father is biological; however, a dad’s relationship is emotional. Fathering is an act of nature, while, being a dad is all about nurture. It is much easier to become a father, many even do it unintentionally; however, it is much harder to commit to becoming a dad.(http://www.differencebetween.info)

I am Joel’s father. I grew at being Joel’s dad, or at least I like to think so.  Nature and nurture.

Devotions – 1) Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person [as in a dad for his son], activity, or cause.  2) An act of prayer or private worship.

I loved the dual-meaning of the word and how it played into my writings to him.

Reflections – 1) A thought, idea, opinion formed, or a remark made as a result of meditation. 2) An effect produced by an influence [as in a dad on his son]. 3) The production of an image by or as if by a mirror.

I wanted to provide Joel with some thoughts, ideas and opinions to meditate upon, while in the process doing my best to be a positive influence.  Not to make him a mirror-image of me, but to allow him to grow in likeness to his Savior.

Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Listen to your father, who gave you life [your dad who gave you nurturing]. (Proverbs 23:19, 22, NIV 1978)

My AdviceJoel believed my musings were worth sharing on my blog.  I hope you have liked and been inspired by a few.  Inspired to grow closer in relationship with our Abba (an Aramaic term for father suggesting familial intimacy – dad?) Father, by becoming more like His Son Jesus Christ, through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV 1978).

How are you doing?  Are reflections in mirror as close as they appear?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything That Is Needed

2 Peter 1:3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We go through life thinking “if only we had this or that” we would have everything we need. Often, we get it and find that we “need” more, not realizing that as children of God we had all that we needed all along. (NIV 1978)

My Advice – Long before you went to college, you had everything that you needed for life. Just because you now have knowledge through a formal education, do not think that your need for increased knowledge of Him has been superseded or diminished.

While We Wait

Titus 2:11-12For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Some would say that grace gives us the freedom to live our lives in any way we see fit, whether worldly or Godly, because we are no longer under the law. Yes, we are no longer under the law, but God’s grace not only saves us (where the law could not), it teaches us to live Godly lives and say no to behavior that the law condemns (which the law could not).

My Advice – Allow God’s grace to not only save you (which it has) but to lead you to consistently live a Godly life. With God’s grace, you can “just say no” to temptation.