Category Archives: Christian living

Pursuing Happiness

What makes you happy?  When are you feeling your best? Fortune Cookies and Friendship

We live in a world that looks for happiness. Even the Founding Fathers of the United States include the pursuit of happiness as one of mankind’s inalienable rights. (Note that to pursue happiness is a right, not happiness.) According to these men, this right is from our Creator. Maybe that is why I hear many people defending their lifestyle and worship style choices by saying “God wants me to be happy.” Does He? Does God want me to be happy?

I did a quick search of the English Standard Version via E-Sword for the phrase “be happy.”  The search yielded only one reference, “When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.” (Deuteronomy 24:5) There is not much there stating that God wants you and me to be happy, instead this verse tells us about the importance of focusing on our marriages.

Just for the sake of comparison, I searched the phrase “be holy.”  The search yielded 156 verses with a combination of those words and 32 matches for the exact phrase. Consider this selection as an example of the results, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16).

Maybe, Apparently, Obviously God wants us to be holy.

With all that said, let me share with you a small piece of wisdom about holiness: When I am pursuing holiness, I find much happiness.  Holiness is key to happiness.  If you want to be happy then:

  • Trust God“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psa 23:4
  • Be content with God’s blessings, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”  1Ti 6:6-8.
  • Live in the moment with God, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Mat 6:34.
  • Set a goal of holiness, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Col 3:1-2.

Be Holy to be Happy, walk in the steps of the Lord.  “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” Jer 10:23.

– Scott

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Funny?!?

From deep  in the files comes this type writer copy of a poem of unknown origin (I did make some updates for inflation and current culture):

  • Funny how twenty dollars looks so big when we take it to church; But so small when we take it to the storeWooden_file_cabinet
  • Funny how long a 60 minutes is when we are at worship; But how short when watching a game, on the computer, or out with friends.
  • Funny how laborious it is to read a chapter in the Bible; But how easy it is to read 200 pages of a best selling novel.
  • Funny how we cannot think of anything to say when we pray; But do not have any difficulty gossiping about others.
  • Funny how we believe everything on social media; But question God’s Word, the Bible.
  • Funny how we thrill at overtime at a football or basketball game; But complain when worship extends a few minutes.
  • Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks to fit a church event into our schedule; But have no problem adjusting for other social events at the last minute.
  • Funny how people scramble to get a front row seat at a concert; But scramble for the back row in worship.
  • Funny, isn’t it? Or is it really funny at all?

– Scott

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Birthdays: They Seem to Come Every Year

I recently had another birthday and that makes me older that many and younger than others. I am old enough that this summer my high school graduating class will

Let's look into this . . .

Let’s look into this . . .

hold our 30 Year Reunion. Time truly does fly by.  Sometimes I feel like the psalmist, “I have been young, and now I am old . . .” (Psa 37:25).  But my years provide me with advantages of experiences and those experiences brought about lessons. Lessons not only from my own experiences but also the experiences of others. Lessons I learned and want to take time to share with you.

  1. I cannot make someone love me. All I can do is try to be someone who is not difficult to love.
  2. What we have in life is not as important as who we have in your life.
  3. We are each responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
  4. Heroes are those that do what has to be done, without regard for how they feel or the consequences.
  5. Trust builds through the years, but a single second or two can destroy trust.
  6. A few minutes of mistaken actions can provide a lifetime of heartache.
  7. We are each in control of our own attitude. We can choose our attitude!
  8. No matter how good a friend is, we are going to hurt each other on occasions.  Forgiveness is essential to life-long friendships (and marriages).
  9. Along those lines, forgiving others is often easier than forgiving myself.
  10. Maturity has more to do with attitude, dependability, and being responsible for your life than how many candles were on my last cake.

– Scott

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Losing Power

My '01 Frontier

It happened this morning. Yes, this morning as I was driving to the study.  I was on the highway not one-half mile from my house. I was approaching the only traffic light in my town.  I decided to turn to the right and check the post office, so I reached down to take the key off my key ring.

Carefully, while still looking at the road and checking to see that the light does not change, I put on my turn indicator and reach to my keys that are in the ignition. I used my thumb nail to separate the key ring and begin turning it to remove the key ring from the ignition key. I wanted to leave the truck running so the cab would warm up while I was in the Post Office. As I manipulated the key ring, all the warning lights on the dash board lit up and the engine became eerily quiet. I had turned off the engine! No power steering, no power assisted brakes, but at least Creedence Clearwater Revival was still playing over the speakers.

I had no power from the engine to transport me to my destination. I was still headed in the right direction, but without a driving force, I was losing momentum. I was slowing down. My forward progress would eventually stop. Not a moment to panic, I had to think. I shifted to neutral and restarted the engine, put the transmission back into drive, and turned toward the Post Office.

As I continued my commute, I thought more about my little incident. a couple of things came to mind. 1) don’t try to remove a key while you are driving. 2) This might make a good story for The Morning Drive to talk about dependence upon God.

Paul says:

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19)

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

The Hebrew writer says:

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

There is a direction my life should go. A direction that leads me to my home in heaven. But I do not have the power on my own to get there.  But when I put my life in God’s hand through obedience to the good news of salvation through Christ Jesus the Lord, God’s Grace empowers me to live a fruitful Spirit filled life (Gal 5:22-23).

– Scott

BTW, my PO Box was empty this morning. I did all that for nothing!

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Take off Your Hat and Stay

(An edited and expanded version of a post from September 2011.)

A well-to-do family hired a maid to keep the house and laundry clean. All the first day the new maid wore her hat, the family thought that in the excitement of a new job and wanting to get right to work she had simply forgotten to take off her hat. This habit of keeping her hat on continued into the following week. Curiosity finally overcame the lady of the house and she asked the maid why she always wore her hat when she worked. “Well,” replied the maid, “I want to be ready to quit any time you say something that hurts my feelings.”

My weemee

The story is ridiculous, the maid needs some help. Yet I wonder, “How many Christians keep their hats on?” How many of us wear our feelings on our shoulders waiting for an excuse to leave the church? Many times when church leaders talk with those who no longer attends worship, those choosing not to attend say they do so because someone said something offensive to them.  I talked with someone a number of years ago, who left because someone insulted her choice of dress. Yes, what that other person said was offensive and out of line, but we should not let people get in the way of our relationship to God.

I wonder what hope we would have if Jesus had quit because His feelings were hurt? People mocked Him. Religious leaders taunted Him. His disciples and even His family doubted Him. The Sanhedrin falsely accused Him. Roman soldiers slapped Him and spit in His face. The Jews called His teachings into question and that is just the beginning.. Yet He persisted in the mission before Him enduring the shame and suffering (Heb 12:2ff).

When many people quit following Jesus because what He said offended them, he turned to the disciples and asked, “Will you go away also?” Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of life.” (Jn 6:67-68).

Where could we go if we leave Christ? Where else is there salvation? What is more important to me? My feelings or my soul? Are you still wearing your hat? Take it off and get to work!

-Scott

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Fellows in the Same Ship

Fellowship.  Churches use this term on a regular basis. But what is fellowship? Here are some answers:

The building where I obeyed the gospel.

The building where I obeyed the gospel.

  • Fellowship is finger-foods on Sunday evenings.
  • It is greeting each other when we meet.
  • It is greeting visitors guest at our assemblies and events.
  • It is church sports teams.
  • It is lunch or super with Christian friends.
  • It is welcoming newcomers in our homes.
  • It is prayer breakfast and ladies’ Bible class.
  • It is Vacation Bible School.
  • It is Men’s Retreat, Fall Festival, and Spring Fling.
  • It is mission trips to stateside and foreign mission points.
  • It is visiting the sick, shut-in, or bereaving.
  • It is special events at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • It is bridal teas and baby showers.
  • It is house warmings and gift baskets.
  • It is work days at the building or camp.
  • It is disaster relief.
  • It is cleaning the yard or home of elderly members.
  • Fellowship is loving one another, accepting one another, encouraging one another – continuously – as we anticipate our Lord’s return and our eternal fellowship with Him and one another.

1 Peter 4:8-10, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”

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The Others

20111024-082456.jpgNo not the movie, I still have nightmares. I am speaking of the others, as in, those around you.  Think about the other people you contact, connect with, and cross paths with each day. Think especially about your brothers and sisters in Christ.

The more I study God’s Word and reflect on His message, I become more and more convinced that being a Christians means that I am “Other Person Centered.”

There are some negatives associated with this focus.  There are things we are to NOT do to each other. I will share those today and the next blog with look at some of the things awe are supposed to do for the others.

  1. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. (Romans 14:13)
  2. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Galatians 5:15)
  3. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (Colossians 3:9
  4. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. (James 4:11)
  5. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. (James 5:9)

These are the negatives, but there are WAY more positives . . . but that is tomorrow.

– Scott

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