Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

It all started with Noah’s sons, this leaving business. After the ark, they spread out and started creating their own civilizations and communities. They were nomadic at first, searching for a fertile place to settle. Generations passed and eventually, Shem’s great, great, great (who knows) grandson, Terah, also had three significant sons: Abram, Nahor, and Hanan.

Genesis 11:31
Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

But after Terah lost his one son (and even then, fathers assumed their children would outlive them), he left the land of his development and headed toward Canaan with his other son, Abram (his wife, Sarai), and grandson, Lot. But they didn’t get far, finding some peace in the neighboring community that Haran had built.

So, perhaps Abram had already been primed for leaving, perhaps he was ready to hear the call to travel.

There are many reasons people leave home. As a teenager, I married young predominately to escape my home life. I was fleeing home. Others leave because they have overstayed their welcome. Sometimes people go far to distance themselves from family while others stay close. Some choose job over family or adventure.

Abram left home for a promise. Many times we are reminded that Abram left because God called him to come out and make a new community, a great nation. And that is true. But this was not the only reason. In 12:2-3, is a list of the reasons and although greatness is one of the carrots dangled before him, there is something even more precious: blessings.

There is nothing more powerful than the promise of blessings, both to receive them and to give them. A blessing is a gift, like grace, it does not need to be particularly merited. And one of the key elements of a blessing is that it brings happiness. That is its very nature. It’s a kindness.

And so God promised to bless Abram and even more, to make Abram a blessing to others. Wouldn’t you go too?

Oh Lord, bless me this day but even more, may I bless others because of the presence of the You within me.

I have struggled for years wondering what do I really want! From gurus to motivational speakers to “blab it and grab it” preachers, you have to know what you want before you can go after it.

And today, I see it in sharp relief: to bless others and to be blessed. To live in the cycle of blessings.

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What is joy? Do I know by experiencing it or is it merely a concept, a word that we Christians use carelessly and even assume it’s a given: we should be feeling joy or manifesting joy or understanding joy. Right?

Philippians 1:22a, 24-25
If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. . . . but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith . . .

After all, this is the season when we all say and sing, “joy to the world.” What does it mean? It’s a wish and a blessing, I understand that. But what does this kind of joy look like? Am I capable of recognizing joy? In myself? In others? In the world?

When will I know joy is here?

Some people define joy as “lasting happiness” or a “state of happiness.” Joy in this definition is pleasure then, and gaiety, delight or even satisfaction.

But Paul is talking about joy as something that can grow incrementally. Nehemiah [8:10] says “. . . the joy of the Lord is your strength” while Psalm 16:11 says “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,. . . .”

Joy and faith work together, as well as joy and strength. These are birthed through Christ as we accept that Spirit within. It’s part of becoming a follower of Christ and a believer. To believe in that Holy Spirit life within is to count on the outcomes. According to Paul, the process of growing joy, faith, and strength are part of the journey and we can count on it.

Our culture is constantly presenting alternatives to this kind of joy. Usually, it’s about the stuff. All the commercials show us: this car will make you happy, this flat screen television will give you hours of delight, these clothes will enhance your feelings of beauty and contentment. Even though we all know these feelings are fleeting, we get sucked into the message. This way is the “wide gate” {Matthew 7:13].

I want joy, true joy. I want it to grow inside me like a time lapse flower unfolding within me.

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