Musings on Christianity 3

Musings on Christianity 3

Doesn’t God Want Me  to be Happy?

Our great nation was founded on the belief that man has an inalienable right to pursue happiness. People come from other countries to pursue the vague concept of “The American Dream.” What is that dream?

For some it’s financial wealth. For others, The American Dream is a single family home with a white picket fence. Others think The American Dream is to become a successful business owner.

I don’t proclaim that any of these inherently wrong (though some make it Biblically challenging to truly seek salvation). However, all of those measurements of happiness are faulty in one specific way. They define happiness as something measured by things others pursue, and those resources are limited.

Bear with me as I attempt do articulate the fundamental flaw in the adea that “everyone has the right to be happy.”

If happiness is money, there is only so much money in the world. For you to have more, would require someone else to have less. This is because money is a resource. Our national debt skyrockets more and more every year because we continue to confuse credit and money, and they’re not. (Tangentially, credit is also a limited resource.) One may say with perhaps even an earnest heart that if we all just shared our money, we’d all have enough. I’m not economically wise enough to state if that’s possible, but here’s where that idea of everyone being “happy” starts to fall apart.  You see, I’m absolutely content in what I have. I have a home (through a mortgage).  Our family has two cars. My wife and I each have employment. So we must be happy right? Well, we are, but we’re still striving to obtain more. We’re looking for ways to reduce our expenses and increase our earnings. This is wise financial discipline really. But if one could ever have the vague idea of “enough,” they’d still seek more. That’s where the flaw becomes known. Happiness is a concept that belies the idea that one could have more or less. It’s definition is simply a state of being. Therefore, you either are, or you are not.   

It’s this simple argument that I make to assert that money can’t make you happy because the fact that we have any should then be enough, but we pursue more. This same logic applies to a business. Economics is pretty simple. I you want a business to be successful, some other business will eventually fail. If you sell breaks and become the best break business ever, every customer you earn is another customer a different break company loses.

That’s usually when someone says something to the effect of, “well of course money isn’t happiness.”  Ok. We’ll leave that topic and move to another.

Happiness is a person’s right to do and be who they want to be.

Let’s be blunt. If we as a society were required to let anyone pursue whatever they wanted, we’d have to let murderers kill whoever they wanted. Before you just shrug and say, “That’s not what I mean,” think. We either live in a society that demands those living in that society follow a set of rules or we don’t. And if we agree that rules (such as those against murder) are necessary, we then have to acknowledge that there are things that are wrong and things that are right

I hope that can put aside any argument that “People should be able to do whatever makes them happy.”

But what about those areas deemed more “gray” in the eyes of society. The Bible has quite a few lists of things that are wrong. There are things that are abominable in the eyes of God. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

We’ve already discussed the ten commandments, some of which clearly state things that should never be done.

1 Corinthians Chapter 6 gives a very plain list of sinful traits that ensure a person will never see the kingdom of God (unless that person repents and turns from said sins). 

The simple truth is there are things one shouldn’t do. What religion one follows and what nation they live in may alter the agreed-to  standards of right and wrong, but anyone who just takes a minute to think about what the meaning of the words “People should be able to do whatever makes them happy” really mean, they’d have to acknowledge that’s simply not true.

That’s when the prepositional phrase “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone” usually pops up. What is hurt?  Because there’s no way anyone could honestly mean “offend.” The way our nation is today, we demand quite a lot of people deny their offenses for the sake of letting people “pursue happiness.”  In fact, a person offended at another person’s “pursuit of happiness” is seen as the villain. Yet that same person is only pursuing happiness, and doesn’t it hurt to be unhappy?

This reveals that some consider happiness as the ability to do what he or she wants without anyone being bothered or bothering him about it. But that’s circular thinking. It lead right back to the top of this very post.

I’m not even going to try and articulate wright or wrong. If you’re Christian, read the above passages and see for yourself what God’s word declares as wrong. If you’re not Christian, surely you have an idea on what is wrong and what isn’t. I’m not going to convince you otherwise. The goal up to this point has been to show how impossible it is to have happiness if doing relies on others (or those others not mocking you) or resources. 

If you can at least agree that happiness can’t be attained by accumulating things or doing things (based on the information above), the next logical question has to be, “Where does happiness come from?”

Call it what you want: Joy, Pleasure, Happiness. I’m not going to get semantic in this. Whatever you want to call it, how do you get it?

The Christian answer is Jesus Christ. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

If we can’t articulate what happiness is, I submit to you an alternative. How would you like a life free of death, mourning, crying or pain? Even if I’d want more stuff, a guaranteed life free of that particular list of stuff sounds pretty good to me. Sign me up!

Does that mean a Christian doesn’t suffer those things? Of course we do! Those promises aren’t for the “current things” (this life), but only when those become the “former things” (the next life).

This reveals two things. 1) Nothing of this world is truly worth anything. Does that mean I’m going to stop saving money? No! But it does mean I won’t put the accumulation of wealth above following Christ.

The trouble arrises when the pleasures of the flesh blind us to the real source of happiness that is God. But anything of this world is finite. Money comes and go. Jobs come and go. Lovers come and go. Health comes and goes. Your body is born and then it decomposes. It’s all temporary.

So here’s where you have to make a decision. If you don’t believe in a God, live it up! I mean that. If the only happiness you’re ever going to attain is limited to what this world can offer during your lifetime, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)

But if you don’t believe in God, my heart breaks for you. If all you can have is what’s in this world, then I weep for you because there is absolutely no promise you’ll get anything. You have no real hope. Even in this great nation the only thing you’re offered is the right to pursue it.

I’d be devastated on behalf of anyone who pursues happiness his whole life never to obtain it, but I assert that’s exactly what will happen if one continues to measure happiness by wealth, lovers, job status, or a home. Because if these things gave happiness (a state of being happy) why wouldn’t you ever eventually find the need to stop pursuing? After all, if I want to find my keys and then I find them, I don’t keep looking for my keys do I? No, I have that which I sought.

So does God want you to be happy?

Consider the above source of happiness. If happiness is eternal life without death, mourning, crying or pain, then does God want everyone to be saved?

Yes. There are plenty of verses that say this.  1 Timothy 2:4 says it plainly.  God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Now, we aren’t going off on that tangent! You know the one. “Well, if God wants us to do it, he can just make us!”  I’ll discuss free will in a future chapter. For now, we have to stay on topic.

Yes, God wants you to be happy, but that happiness is found only in accepting Christ as your savior.

In the next chapter, we’ll discuss what happiness we can have on this earth, but if you agree that everything of this earth will eventually fade, we must then agree that we should seek eternal happiness, which only comes in the next life.

For our panel: Why doesn’t God want people to have things? How can one truly know that happiness comes from a life dedicated to pleasing God? What are the consequences for refusing to turn from sin because that sin “makes you happy”?

Sonnets For My Savior 49

Sonnets For My Savior 49

Why I Need Him

I can’t do enough on my own.
I dive into the mud every time You wash me.
There is nothing good in my flesh or bone.
This is why your sacrifice is the key.

Born into an imperfect body,
I could never claim or attain perfection.
However, the flawless grace You embody
is what gives me justification.

By myself, wrath is all I deserve.
By Your side, forgiveness is what I will receive.
I am alone, if my self is all I serve.
I gain life if in You I trust and believe.

His righteousness is the cloak I wear.
Alone, all of my deeds done without Christ wouldn’t receive a single care.

 


 

My Desperate Need

They pile up on me;
another comes even as I cast the first out.
I’m drowning in a filthy sea;
I can’t find any pure water in this drought.

Like skittering insects they crawl over my skin.
Sin seeps out of every pour.
I realize there is no way I can win.
For every sin I avoid, I commit a hundred more.

Indeed I do do everything I hate.
I fail to do that in which I would take delight.
My sin piles up on me, and I can’t bear the weight.
There is no part in me that is right.

Only Christ can take it all way,
which is why I seek him each and ever day.


 

The Distance

The sun is closer to the moon.
A flower’s petals are closer to the top of a tree.
Midnight is closer to noon
than your glory is to me.

A deep sea fish is closer to a vulture in flight.
The street is closer to the top of a tower
than my ability is to your might
or my strength is to your power.

Filthy rags are cleaner than I am
when compared to your holiness.
The worst criminal is more blameless than I am
when compared to your righteousness.

But you still sent Christ to die and pay my price
so that I might be saved and worship you in paradise.

 


 

Wonderful Gifts

A wife who loves and respects me.
Sons who listen to and obey me.
A roof to offer shelter to me.
Food and water to sustain me.

Family and friends who love me.
A job I enjoy through which, You provide for me.
Brothers and sisters in Christ who offer fellowship to me.
A church home to educate me.

Your Holy Word to feed me.
Your mighty power to protect me.
Your Grace to forgive me.
Your Glorious Son, who bled and died for me.

All these good gifts, You have given me,
but the greatest is the last, for it is what set my soul free.

 


 

My Safety

My sprit is secure, Lord, in your mighty hands.
My body is safe, Lord, for it is where you live.
Where others build on soft sands,
my home is built on the foundation you give.

You are my shelter, and with You, I am secure.
I fear nothing, for You are with me.
No matter what happens, I can be sure,
You will never leave or forsake me.

Creator of nature and man,
my trust is in Your sovereign plan.
The things I fear I can’t do, with You, I know I can.
You walk with me no matter how far my journey may span.

Whatever trials or threats come to me,
I can be brave, for You are my safety.

 


 

The Low Door

The door to Heaven is low.
One must crawl to enter.
To the humble one, God’s blessings flow.
The door won’t permit those who feel like the world’s center.

The haughty and prideful don’t understand.
They can’t compare to God’s righteousness.
They think they can earn inheritance of the land.
They are blinded by their foolishness.

Only God is truly good.
All fall short of His perfection.
None who would justify themselves to God could.
The only path to life everlasting is confession.

The high door leads to destruction.
But the humble who enter the low door will find salvation.

 


 

All I Need

I do not pretend I don’t desire more.
There is much I’d like to see.
But I have already received so much that I’ve asked for.
I don’t know how much happier I could be.

The Israelites were taken from Egypt and set free,
but they grumbled and complained so quickly after.
Their hardened hearts had a brief time of glee,
but they demanded and rebelled thereafter.

I pray that won’t be the course I take.
For I seek to remember what I’ve been given.
The LORD God filled my heart, which was empty with ache.
With him to provide, I need not be so driven.

Dear God protect me from a heart of greed.
Let me remember always that I already have all that I need.

Sonnets For My Savior 39

Sonnets For My Savior 39

The Only Way

It is Him.

There is no other way.

He has no alter ego or pseudonym.

Turning from Him only leads to dismay.

He is the only light.

There are no dimmer flames; His is the only one that exists.

Following Him is the only way that is right.

He is the only way in which salvation consists.

Only He paid the price.

Only He advocates for us.

We are only saved by His sacrifice.

To follow any other is treasonous.

There is only one who frees us,

and He is our Christ, Jesus.

 


 

The Mark of a Christian

A kind smile.

A generous gift.

One who walks the extra mile.

One whose values will never shift.

Providing for others

When they are in need.

Caring for one’s brothers

Rather than clinging to greed. 

Standing in truth.

Living in light.

Letting go the things of one’s youth.

Turning from wrong and doing what is right.

But the greatest trait of children from the Father above,

Is living a life with a heart full of love.

 


 

Holy Father

Holy Father,

There is no one above you.

Holy Father,

There is no one mightier than you.

You are merciful.

You are righteous.

You are wonderful.

You are glorious.

Holy Father,

You are life and light.

Holy Father,

In you are only goodness and right.

All glory be to Your name,

Our perfect, Father, whose grace washes away our shame.

 


 

His Glory

It would mean death to see His face,

for his glory is so great.

Oh! being wrapped in His grace

is such sweet, sweet state.

Moses stood in His presence,

and the mere reflection required a veil.

Oh! to have that pleasance!

Our God shall always prevail.

Gracious and merciful.

Slow to anger. Abounding in love and faithfulness.

Every action of His is purposeful.

He forgives the repentant when they transgress.

Let Him be worshiped in every territory,

for to God alone belongs the glory.

 


 

More

Too often I do what I do not want to do.

Too often I do what I hate.

But the Lord’s love for me is true.

His grace is more, and His mercy is grate.

My iniquities form a mountain I can’t climb.

My sins form chains I can’t break.

But the Lord lifts me time after time.

Any prison created, he can unmake.

My sins are countless.

His kindness is boundless.

My failings are limitless.

His love is endless.

My crimes are too great for any to ignore,

but my Lord’s forgiveness is so much more.

 


 

Endure

Endure, though you may lose everything.

Endure, though you may lose those you love.

Endure, though pain may bring its sting.

Endure, for God is watching from above.

Endure, though your heart may be filled with sadness.

Endure the trial with every breath.

Endure, when circumstances threaten to bring you to madness.

Endure, though you may be near death.

The sufferings of this present time

are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.

His presence is so sublime,

as to make all the earthly things we’ve lost rubbish to us.

Endure, even if it’s hard to understand what your suffering is for.

Endure, for what we have in Heaven will be worth even more.

 


 

Joy

Beware the difference between joy and feeling good.

A feeling passes and doesn’t endure.

Joy remains when no one thinks it should.

Joy isn’t cheaply earned; it’s real and pure.

Understand where joy comes from.

It doesn’t come from the things of the Earth.

All the things of world will fall away when time is done.

But joy can be ours if we believe in Christ’s birth.

He provides freedom.

He offers peace.

Service in His kingdom

ensures one a joy that will never cease.

The most pure joy doesn’t come from within.

The most pure form of joy comes only from Him.

Sonnets For My Savior 18

Sonnets For My Savior 18

With All Our Hearts

How does one praise a God so wonderful?

How do we show our gratefulness?

What voice can sing a song a fraction as powerful?

What deed can show an ounce of as much faithfulness?

What number of prayers compares to infinite blessings?

What amount of service compares to Jesus’s sacrifice?

What amount of money can pay for the joy He brings?

What can we give that compares with His gift of Paradise?

Our hearts overflow with the love that He’s given.

We can only hope our deeds bare any worthy fruit.

We were doomed unless we were forgiven,

for Christ has pulled our souls from disrepute.

So how do we thank him; how do we even start?

We simply praise him always and with all of our hearts.


 

Give Me Rest

We are weary and burdened;

let us come to you for rest.

We turn to you when we are frightened;

Hear us, Lord, and grant our request.

We’ve risen early and stayed up late in vain;

we pray grant us sleep.

In times of suffering, our hearts in pain,

we turn to you, our souls to keep.

Now, in peace we lie down and sleep.

You alone, make us dwell in safety.

Watch over us, Lord, your humble sheep,

We submit to your will in humility.

We release our ambitions; All selfish efforts we cease.

Instead we lay our burdens upon You in hopes of peace.


 

Never Let It Leave

The peace in my heart is more than I’ve ever known.

It fills me and makes me glad.

The Lord has made soft my heart of stone.

Now I see things as I never had.

You’ve made it so I can forgive others.

You’ve helped me be content in any situation.

You’ve provided for me the fellowship of brothers.

This wonderful feeling can only be the gift of salvation.

My heart’s desire is that this feeling never fades,

for I know the emptiness that was before.

Today your glorious grace pervades,

and I hope this joy grows more and more.

Let it stay in my heart forever.

Let it never leave me, no, not ever.


 

Full of the Spirit

When grace replaces the rage in my heart,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

When I begin a task I had been afraid to start,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

Your strength replaces my weakness.

Your grace covers my iniquity.

Your wisdom turns my cleverness to foolishness,

but trust in You turns my madness to sanity.

When I worry not for myself, but for Your will,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

When my heart might shatter, but instead remains still,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

When Your Sprit fills me,

anxiety falls away, and I give thanks, for you have made me free.


 

His Power

We exult in the all the Lord does,

for there is no one like Him.

He gave up His Son for those He loves,

so we glorify God in prayer and hymn.

He is the one God who can do all things.

No feat or thought is beyond his capability.

He created the rivers from which good water springs.

Through Him even the barren gain fertility.

No army can defeat Him.

No government can censor Him.

No power can defy Him.

No wicked can escape Him.

We pray to Him in any hour,

for no trial or need is beyond His power.


 

Him Crucified

There is nothing but Christ, and him Crucified.

This is where our Salvation rests.

Only in him does our faith reside.

Where we failed, he passed all the tests.

His perfection, for our iniquity.

His obedience, for our rebellion.

His strength, for our frailty.

Our life, from his resurrection.

Some may not understand.

They may count our wisdom as foolish.

But those who rely on their own strength can’t comprehend the might of God’s hand,

so they are blind to what His will can accomplish.

But our faith doesn’t rely on the wisdom of men.

Instead we hope in God’s power, Amen.


 

Patient

How patient is the Lord of all,

how slow to anger?

How long does He wait for us to hear his call,

for our devotion to Him, He is eager.

Still he waits and forgives over and over again.

His gave His Son so he might pass over our transgressions.

He endures the fickle hearts of men,

who even still refuse to offer their confessions.

Abounding is His steadfast love,

waiting for all to reach repentance.

Gracious is the Lord above,

Offering every man the opportunity for acceptance.

Do not let him wait anymore,

God is waiting, so what are you waiting for?