The Good Ol’ Days

I recently heard a cover to a song published some years ago by a mother-daughter duo named “The Judds”, the song called “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ol’ Days)”. The song says exactly that: “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ol’ Days”. I thought for a very long time that I was maybe born 20 years too late. I longed for the simpler times where there was no technology except for NASA and when I thought people were happier. I listened closely to that song and realized I was completely wrong. God knew what He was doing bringing me here at His time and on His terms.

I grew up in a meager environment where I wore hand-me-down clothing, carried brown-bag lunches to school and never enjoyed that “new car smell”. Half of our back yard was vegetable garden and we ALL worked in it to put away for winter, when times would be leaner. But we were never hungry and my parents worked hard, my father sometimes working two jobs, so we would have money to buy school supplies and me, my corrective shoes.

As I moved on in life, I married and my wife and I were able to have quite the extravagant lifestyle. However, I discovered that, for Christians, sometimes having more is not a good thing and God will take it away. We had a lovely 1800 sq. ft. chalet style home on a wooded lot with a huge deck, a 20′ by 40′ in-ground pool a 30 foot camper and a boat docked at a nearby lake. We lost all of this, in part, due to my carelessness. I once owned what I call a fancy SUV which I had to give up for a small economical car I could afford to feed. I have moved 3 times in the last 2 years, each time to a smaller and more basic house (the last 2 renting).

The apostle Paul wrote: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-12) I too have learned to be content in my surroundings. As God provides for us, we should also be content with what He has provided.

Many of us look to these days as being close to the end of the world, sinful with corruption, prostitution, thievery, deception and nearly complete chaos. I tell you, read your Bibles and you will find that all of these sinful ways existed back to Sodom and Gomorrah and even before Noah. This is why God destroyed mankind in the great flood. In “The Revelation”, we learn that the earth will again be destroyed but this time by fire. Jesus described the end of the age in Matthew 24. I tell you that we are all in the right place and at the right time – God’s time.

It has been difficult for many to accept these times. I am ashamed that I too have participated in some of the arguments and outright rage happening on Facebook and other Internet websites. There is no need for this behavior. If you don’t like what someone is saying you can unfollow or unfriend them, then you won’t be witness to anything else they say. As I have started doing this I have become much more tolerant of Facebook folk. If you don’t like what is in the news, political philosophy or violence on network television, use the OFF switch.  Nobody can force his ideals on others, others must accept ideals from one another. That’s a freedom neither enjoyed nor tolerated by many other nations.

This is a fallen world. The good ol’ days are in the past. We need to recognize the signs of our generations. While past generations may have enjoyed what would have appeared to be an easy-going life, every generation has had it’s sins, transgressions and tribulations. Live your life in righteousness as instructed by God’s Word. Let the other guys fight it out amongst themselves. We will all leave this world behind us one day. Make sure you travel in the right direction, in the path of Jesus, our Savior.

Happiness Part 2

I received only a few responses to my last post regarding the “feel good” doctrine, however I received absolutely no negative responses. This makes me feel like most of you disagree in the greatest sense of the word and won’t post a negative reply. So, let me expand on this.

Many want to be happy and I stated that nowhere in the Bible does it say you are to be happy. Many are familiar with Psalm 37:4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” and many others of God’s promises like it.  The connotation here is that if I love the Lord He will give me all that I ask. Nothing could be further from the truth. The point here is that if you love Jesus in the correct manner, what God has for you WILL BECOME the desires of your heart and that you will experience great peace and joy. Additionally, none of these desires will be earthly.

So what’s the “correct manner”? Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Christ died on the cross to pay our sin debt, but He wants us to die with Him. You have to leave your worldly self behind, let it die so that the Spirit can come alive in you and His light can shine out from you for others to see.

Christ preached the following:

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Then Jesus said to his disciples,Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:35)

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24)

Do you see a pattern? We must die to ourselves so that we can live in Christ, doing the good works He shows us and then we will be content in our circumstances. This is what it means to be “born again”.  It’s a re-birth of our lives in Love.  We must live in Love. What is Love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)  We should no longer experience any of these negative feelings if we are believers.

If we can die to our earthly selves, let the Spirit shine in us and then live with the Love the Spirit gives us, we WILL be content in all our circumstances. And if your circumstances should deliver you into difficulty, then all the more reason to celebrate:
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

Happiness Part 1

The “feel good” doctrine is taking a foothold in our society. There are a great many people who feel like they will get whatever they want just by praying for it. They take “ask and it shall be given” completely out of context.(isolating scriptural “text” is a “con” [context]) If you believe you can get everything you want just by asking God in prayer you are going to be terribly disappointed. This is false doctrine and those teaching it are false prophets! If you got everything you asked for and were happy every day of your life, you would be useless to God, because your focus would be on your earthly life instead of on Him. God has a plan and purpose for your life and the only supplication He will grant are those which fall into that plan and purpose – and then only in His timing, which is perfect for you, whether you think so or not.

You say “but God wants me to be happy, right?” I challenge any person who reads this to show me where in God’s Word it states He wants us to be happy. On the contrary.  The Old Testament is stuffed full of stories of people living through difficult circumstances.  The New Testament is LOADED with scripture speaking of our trials. Perhaps of highest importance are James 1:2-4 and Philippians 4:12-13. The secret, as Paul said, is to be content in our circumstances, good AND bad. For those suffering bad circumstances, we are to serve them as best we can. (James 2:14-26) If you are under trials and you have God living inside you, He will always provide a way out of a possible sinful situation – but you need to be willing to take up that option.

God will constantly keep us under trials so that our faith can be strengthened and our Christian resolve can grow. Don’t expect to be happy in this life. Don’t even expect to be happy in marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:27-40) Store up heavenly treasures and not those of this life. Embrace the trials of life and use godly wisdom to pass them, for passing builds faith but failing also has it’s own righteousness, through God, as it creates wisdom. So be not sorriful for your failures, for if we fail in the name of Jesus, righteousness will be your favor. (James 1:4-7)