Proverbs 3:18 (NLT)
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.
God wants me to be happy. I woke up with this thought this morning. He intends for me to have a joy-full life. No really, He does. Encircled by circumstances that may cause one to think that He does not see to look at us favorably, I know deep in my heart and mind that He is working diligently to turn all the details of my life (even the last three years) into something great. He works out the details (good and bad) for my benefit. (Romans 8:28) The Lord perfects that which concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) I love those promises. I have seen them come to pass more so now in the midst of this journey than ever before. How does one become convinced that God is for them? How do you know that He wants to make us happy rather than continued to punish us for our offense? These seem like simple questions to answer when things are going well. The Favor of God is a wonderful thing. But when life is not so gracious, how do we know that God is still pouring out His Grace? This morning it is well beyond dawn. It is dark outside and everything is quite but I know that in a couple of hours the sun will rise up in the sky and Saturday will spring to life all around me. I have no idea what today holds though I know my plans for the day. My confident hope is in the Lord. It remains there. When everything in our life fell apart on that dreadful day almost three years ago when the doctor told us holding back his own tears that our son had cancer, I lost it. Right then and there, the façade of control carefully created by structure and routine fell apart. But God had already built the safety net that would catch me and lift me up again. So, yes, I am happy.
Proverbs 8:22-31 (NLT)
“The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!”
Time began long before the Bible was ever written and its commentary began. It obviously goes on beyond the Book of Revelation. The complex being who is our God is far more than our simple human minds can ever fully conceive. The things that God does in my own life along tend to blow my mind. So the Word of God is all about that which concerns me. It is my guidebook to the life that God intended for me to have. I did not grow up in church but rather wandered in and out of it. When I was very young, my parents divorced. It was my visits to my grandmother’s class when I would go to Mrs. Strock’s second grade Sunday school class. In my mid-teens, my parents felt the Lord tugging at their heart to come closer so we began attending church once again. That’s when I began to truly discover God’s Love for me, but still struggled with the Word of God. I could understand its diction but not process its divinity. I walked away from the Lord to enter my own wilderness for many years. It was when I finally stumbled across my husband and we united with the intent to be married and know God more that it finally hit me that Jesus had been there all along. I wanted to know Him more. I just didn’t know how. When I surrendered my whole life to Jesus Christ, we faithfully attended church, cleaned up our life, started tithing among other things to demonstrate our faithfulness to God. We became youth leaders. I volunteered at the church when our children were in school. Even though I studied each week to teach those kids the Word of God, I did not hunger for it as I do now. Five years ago, God laid it on my heart to begin blogging my daily encounters with God. I believe now that He was preparing me for the road that was ahead. The Lord knew I needed Him to be the foundation of my life so that I would not just survive this ordeal but thrive in the midst of it. He was right.
I do not remember ever seeing this passage at least understanding it in this context before. But I am so glad that I am reading it now. God made Jesus first. Before anything existed, He made His Son. God created everything through His Son. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He wrapped His Word also known as His Son in flesh so that the Word would come to life for us and humanity could visibly see God’s Love for them. Jesus was not a quick fix but God’s Master Plan to save us from our sin so we could live a happy life. God had the foreknowledge that we would fall victim to sin and that such things as sickness and disease would become its byproduct. Before this world was created, God provided for that moment. The Lord says in this passage, “how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!” Even before Jesus came to this world, went to the Cross, overcame hell, and ascended to Heaven, He found joy in you and I. Think about that. Knowing the price that He would pay for us to have life, Jesus rejoiced in our creation. (Mind blown yet again but such love!)
Proverbs 8:32-35 (NLT)
And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.
The character of Jesus Christ does not allow us to know Him and remain ignorant of His Word. The more that I discovered that the written book of God’s Instruction was ultimately for my benefit, I became interested. Those who know what the Lord is after, His True Intentions, will make every effort to know the Word to find His Favor. Wisdom leads us to the Favor of God. Those who follow my ways are joy full. Such people do not need their situation to change for happiness and contentment to find them because they know it is coming. Confidence in God is strengthened through our faith in Jesus Christ who is the Word of God. The more we know the Word the more we know Jesus. The more that we know Him the more we want the Word. They are the same thing – you cannot have one without the other. It would be like wanting my head and giving away my body. I cannot exist in such a form. When we follow His Way, we have joy. When we listen to His Word, we have peace. When we do what it says, we find His Favor. When we live in anticipation of His Return, we find life. Oh yes, I am happy today and you can be too.
Proverbs 15:13-16 (NLT)
A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Better to have little, with fear for the LORD, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.
Are you hungry for knowledge of God today? Hunger is produced by one’s physical need for food in a natural sense. Spiritual hunger is developed by those who taste and see that the Lord is good and decide that He is a daily requirement. When we whet our appetite for the things of God by meeting Him at His Table each day to feast on His Goodness, Grace, Mercy and Love all outlined in His Word – we begin to see what He is doing in our life and take hold of the fact that just because things don’t seem to be going the way that “I” think they should go, doesn’t mean that God is not faithful or uncaring but intent on making me happy! Each morning I spend about two hours with God. I have a full-time job and family not to mention the other added responsibilities with our son and his healing process. I have a home to take care of and daily duties just like everyone else. I go to the gym four or five times a week and even have time here and there to do other things that I want to do. When people ask me where I find the time to study and write, I tell them the truth. I get up two hours early each day. I cannot tell you how many people respond that won’t work for them because quote “I need my sleep.” I didn’t begin getting up two hours early each day – I used to get up thirty minutes early and think it was killing me. That is until I got in the Word on a consistent basis and it came to life in me. My Spirit has taken the Word of God working it all through my life until it became a safety net and trampoline for me. On the days I am crushed and brokenhearted, it catches me in mid decent. His Love catches me and lifts me up in His Word because it tells me what is coming. I gain insight into God’s Plan. He speaks to me through His Word. I am happy! Even in the midst of sorrow and many of them, I always have joy and peace that God is with me and working it all out. I found such truth in His Word. I need Jesus Christ more than I need sleep. Trust me – you do too! It is most definitely better to have little (sleep) with respect for the Lord than to have a long slumber to wake up tired and cold. The more I know Him the more I want of Him. He has given me a happy heart.
John 14:27-29 (NLT)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.”
Are you happy? Do you have joy and peace today? The Lord left it for you. He said, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart!” Contentment is found in the knowledge of God and His Word – Jesus Christ. If you don’t understand this statement, I was right there with you for many, many years. I can tell you how to make my family’s favorite dish. I can show you all the ingredients. I can carefully write down each step to its creation and completion. But if you don’t make it that way – it will not turn out the same. There are many tired and weary Christians who have missed a key ingredient in producing God’s Promises in their life. They do not prosper in the Favor of God so they doubt Him when they are to blame. God gave us the Word. His Name is Jesus Christ but like any other unopened and unused gift – He is no good to you if you don’t have enough faith in Him to believe that He is worth having, knowing and using in your life. God wrote a love story and gave it to us. When that didn’t work, He wrapped in flesh so that we could see, feel and touch it. We killed Him. But God’s Unconditional and Unfailing Love did not stop there. If we will believe in Jesus Christ, we will be saved. If we choose to know Him, we can have everything God promised us from the very beginning before sin became a factor. Choosing to follow Him allows us to walk in according to God’s Purpose and Plan for our life which is always good! Such a way leads to everlasting joy and overwhelming peace so much so that I cannot help but be happy in every circumstance that I face. Are you happy? God wants you to be.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT)
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.