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Kings 4:20 Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea
in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.
Kings 10:8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand
continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
happiness a choice or does it result from favorable conditions in our
lives? Is happiness the purpose of life? These are questions I have
asked myself because it feels good to be happy. Often we are happiest
when those we are close to are happy.
tells us that sometimes happiness is a choice. In Philippians 4:11, he
says, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” So he had decided to
be content which I assume means he decided to be happy in every
situation and circumstance that the Lord allowed in his life.
happiness is a condition. That was the situation with the people of
Israel in the above passages after Solomon was established on the throne
of Israel. The nation was at peace after many years of war. The people
were at rest after many years of traveling and then of fighting. They
were free from the tyranny of foreign rulers. They had a wise king. They
had it made!
of us make decisions that we assume will make us happy. However, I am
convinced that if we make right decisions we will end up being happy;
but that if we make decisions based on our desire to be happy, we may
end up very unhappy. I was recently asked if I was happy because of a
major decision that I had made with regard to my service for the Lord. I
have to admit that I wouldn’t have made the decision that I did if
happiness had been the motivator. However, I can honestly say today that
I am happy I made the decision even though I am not serving the Lord in
the way that I once thought that I would be serving Him.
people reject God’s salvation because they think their friends and
family will be unhappy with them if they truly trust the Lord. They
think that will make them unhappy. However, I can assure you that the
person who is happy is the person who has settled accounts with God and
who knows that he has been righteously forgiven by God..
people pick their churches based on what will make them happy. They want
the right circle of friends and they want the right programs. These
things are all good unless the church is not faithful to the Word of
God. We should pick our churches based on what pleases God and not us,
and then when we realize that we have pleased God, we will be happy.
of the happiest days in our lives is the day when we are born again or
saved. Passing from death unto life should make anyone happy and that is
just what happens when we believe that God sent His son to die in our
place (John 5:24). Before we are saved, we are not physically dead but
we are dead in trespasses and sins. Faith quickens us or gives us
spiritual life. (See Ephesians 2: 1-8). When a person trusts the Lord, I
like to sing:
day! Happy day! When Jesus washed my sins away.
taught me how to watch and pray and live rejoicing every day.
day, Happy day! When Jesus washed my sins away!
happiness that comes when we are first saved is the result of making
right decisions. We obviously decided that eternity was more important
than time, and that God was more important than friends and family. We
decided that the Word of God could be trusted which enabled us to trust
in the Lord. However, our happiness after we are saved is also a
condition because now we are prepared for eternity and we have a wise
King. We have it made! If you have never experienced this kind of
happiness, it would be good to make it the purpose of your life.
for the week of June 4, 2006
14:1 Let not your heart be troubled (or agitated): ye believe in God,
believe also in me (or possibly, have faith in God, have faith also in
10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art
careful and troubled (or disturbed) about many things:
the United States today we live in one of the best countries at one of
the best times in history. The average person has more wealth and a
better home than many who were considered rich in other periods of
history. However, many people seem agitated and disturbed and in many
cases, they really don’t know why.
disciples were disturbed in John 14 because the Lord was telling them
things they couldn’t accept. He was giving them a last personal
message and was preparing them for His crucifixion after having kept the
Passover and eating the Lord’s Supper with them. But the disciples
didn’t want the Lord to die, they wanted Him to reign. Because things
weren’t working out the way they wanted, they were agitated. And the
Lord’s message was trust me and you won’t be troubled.
was disturbed in Luke 10 because she was working when she should have
been listening. She wanted help being a good hostess; and Mary, her
sister, was sitting at the Lord’s feet listening to Him. She was
acting like what He had to say was important instead of helping her
sister serve. Mary wanted to be with Him. Martha wanted to do for Him.
Obviously, both woman loved the Lord. Both were trying to express it in
their own way. But the Lord said that what Mary was doing was better
than what Martha was doing. He would rather have us enjoying Him and His
presence than having us disturbed because we have taken on serving
responsibilities that rob us of our personal fellowship time with Him.
times we are disturbed because we know we are not right with God. This
is called the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Most people I
know that have come to know the Lord as their Savior can point to a time
when they were “troubled”. David could say, “The sorrows of death
compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble
and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech
thee, deliver my soul (Psalm 116:3-4).” We know that sin often causes
us to be troubled and it is the Lord who gives us peace or rest with
regard to that trouble. That is why His invitation is to come to Him if
we are burdened and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).
why are we so troubled, today? Most of us are concerned about the future
and what it holds for our children. The Lord says, trust me and “let
not your heart be troubled.” We wonder how we are going to pay our
bills particularly if we get sick. Again, the Lord says, trust me and
“let not your heart be troubled.” Some of us are working for the
Lord when we should be listening to the Lord and enjoying His presence.
Some of us are not right with God and we need to come to Him to get the
rest that only He can give when we trust Him as the One who bore our
sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).
of us may need Prozac or some other medication because of the way we are
made. I don’t think that should disturb us. We take Tylenol or Bayer
aspirin for headaches. We take insulin for diabetes. Some of us need
medication to balance the chemicals in our brains that cause us
depression. But we all need to believe in or trust the Lord if we are
going to have the kind of peace that we really need to get through this
life. We need to know that our futures are secure, that there is a home
prepared for us in heaven and that the Lord is going to come again to
take us to be with Him. Trusting the Lord helps us get up in the morning
saying, “Good morning, Lord!,” instead of getting up saying, “Good
Lord, morning!” and wondering how we are going to get through another
for the week of June 11, 2006
22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto
them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in
remembrance of me.
of the most precious things we can do for the Lord is to participate in
a communion service where the Lord is memorialized by our eating bread
and drinking some wine. Some people think that this can be done
individually and that the communion or participation is with the Lord
alone. However, in the Bible, this is always done in a congregational
setting. While Paul makes it clear that this should not be an actual
meal, it is a symbolic meal that we eat together (see 1 Corinthians
have different ideas as to what the value of this symbolic meal is. Many
think that the bread either becomes or is the actual body of the Lord,
and that the wine either becomes or is the actual blood of the Lord.
Others see the bread as symbolic of the Lord’s body and the cup as
symbolic of the Lord’s blood. I have pondered this issue and feel that
there is a good lesson in Bible interpretation here.
often say that we read the Bible literally. However, that means that we
understand any symbolism in the way that the writer intended. The Bible
has a lot of poetic language. It uses similes (the man is like a lion)
and it uses metaphors (the man is a lion). We can usually tell whether
language is poetic by the context. So when we say that we read the Bible
literally, we are really saying that we read the Bible trying to
understand the literal message of the language which may in fact be
we look at the context of the Lord’s statement, “This is my body,”
it could be argued that the bread is actually His body. That would make
the bread sacred in some way and it would have value beyond just being a
symbolic way of remembering the Lord. However, in the context, with the
Lord sitting there in His body, it seems more reasonable that the bread
symbolizes His body. Otherwise He would have had two bodies at the Last
Supper. Then the bread does not become sacred in the sense that it puts
away sin or makes us more holy than we were before we took it. There are
some who think that we cannot be saved apart from taking communion. They
believe that the bread and wine actually forgive sins. But the Bible
makes it clear that we are forgiven because of the value of the actual
blood of Christ when we believe in the Lord Himself who died to save us
(See Acts 13:38-39). Ceremony cannot save us, only faith in Christ can
save us. But the saved have ceremonies that express their worship after
they are saved.
feel that John 6 requires us to literally eat the flesh and drink the
blood of the Lord to be saved. They feel that taking the communion bread
and wine does that if the bread and wine become the body and blood of
the Lord. However, the communion service is not mentioned in John 6
starting at verse 47. The statement that is being explained is the
statement that believing on the Lord gives us everlasting life. The Lord
being bread is compared to the miracle of manna in the wilderness and
not to the bread at the Lord’s Supper. So again, context would seem to
indicate that we eat the Lord’s body and drink His blood when we trust
in Him. That makes Him a part of us in a spiritual sense.
personally feel the need to be at the Lord’s table partaking of the
Lord’s supper as often as possible. I feel that should be a priority
in our lives. A wise old preacher told me that he never knew if he held
his meetings where the Lord wanted him to hold them or if he visited the
people that the Lord wanted him to visit. But he said, “ I know I am
in the will of the Lord when I am at His table remembering Him.” He
knew that the bread and wine did not save but that they were for the
saved. He knew that apart from this simple symbolic meal, we would lose
our focus on the Lord and begin to focus on ourselves. We need to
understand that this remembrance meal is important, but we also need to
understand that it doesn’t save.
for the week of June 18, 2006
4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived
that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took
knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
cannot spend time in the presence of the Lord Jesus without it being
obvious. Spending time in His presence will provide knowledge that the
schools of this world cannot give. It will make you bold when you share
the Gospel. Others will notice.
disciples had spent time with the Lord during His earthly ministry. That
they knew Him as well as His teaching and mission was obvious. They were
common men who had an uncommon understanding of spiritual issues and an
uncommon ability to prove that they were preaching the very Word of God
through the miracles that they performed. They undoubtedly had an air of
authority about them that the religious leaders could not deny and
certainly did not understand since they had not been with the Lord
Moses spent time in the presence of the preincarnate Lord in the old
testament, it caused his face to shine.(Exodus 34:30). When the two
disciples on the way to Emmaus met the Lord, it caused them spiritual
heart burn. When the disciples saw the Lord in the upper room, it caused
them to be glad. When John saw the Lord on the Isle of Patmos, he fell
at his feet as dead. Psalm 116:11 tells us that in His presence is
fullness of joy.
suppose one of the most intimate ways to spend time with the Lord is in
prayer. In Acts 10:9, Peter was praying while waiting for dinner when he
fell into a trance. He was told not to call what God had cleansed
unclean. As a result Peter was willing to preach the Gospel to a Roman
soldier that the Jews considered unclean.
believe that spending time with the Lord increases our IQ’s, makes us
happy, gives direction to our lives and. in general, makes people wonder
what is different about us. Some will think we have been drinking too
much wine, while others will think we have become fanatics. All who do
not know this experience will wonder what makes us tick. Some will be in
awe of us and some will think we have lost our sense. But everyone will
notice that something is different when we spend time with the Lord
Jesus. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys this experience who could be
cannot follow the Lord like the twelve did since the Lord is now in
heaven. But we can spend time with Him in prayer, and we can spend time
with Him reading His Word. We can spend time with Him in congregational
meetings where He is honored and His Word is preached and we pray
together. One of those meetings should involve the Lord’s Supper where
we remember Him and commune with Him. Being with the Lord Jesus is a
privilege of the saved, since the unsaved are separated from Him by sin.
God calls them dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). No matter
how much a person might want to know the presence of the Lord, this sin
issue has to be dealt with before communion with the Lord can be
enjoyed. However, faith in the Lord Jesus provides forgiveness of sins
(Acts 13:38), a home in heaven, peace with God and a new life in Christ.
Once we have this new life, we should have a new desire to spend time in
the presence of the Lord. Before we were saved, we tended to avoid “religious
things” and “religious people” because the presence of the Lord
made us uncomfortable. After we are saved we will want to spend time
with the Lord Jesus, and there is no doubt that those who know us will
for the week of June 25, 2006