Happiness or Joy- Which Would You Choose?

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Have you heard about the “Happiness Revolution”? It’s a hot topic, for sure! Just browse any book store and you’ll see countless shelves filled with the topic of happiness, how to attain it, attract it, keep it and develop it. There are even television shows about happiness. Just Google “happiness” and see what you find. I did as I was thinking about writing this post today. Happiness is  apparently on everyone’s mind. So what does the Bible say about happiness? Here’s one passage on blessedness, which to my understanding would mean happiness.

Psalm 1:1-2 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take  or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,  and who meditates on his law day and night.

Here, we’re told some of the things to avoid doing and some things we should do that will make us blessed or happy.

  • not walking in the counsel of the ungodly.
  • not standing in the path of sinners.
  • not sitting in the seat of the scornful.
  • delighting in the law of the Lord.
  • meditating on God’s law day and night.

Here’s a scripture on joy

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Psalm 34:51386581_51264205

Experiencing joy is different from happiness. Joy is an internal feeling that isn’t based on any external happening.  In other words, you may be experiencing a difficult situation such as; financial pressure, physical ailments or grief, yet you have joy because  joy is an internal feeling and not related to the outer happenings or circumstances that you may find yourself in. If given the choice between joy or happiness, joy wins hands down. Trials will come, but joy will see you through.

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What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” ~ A. W. Tozer

Clearing The Way To Know God’s Will

1341750_91353374Being in God’s will is a very popular topic of study for a lot of Christians. We all want to be where God wants us to be don’t we? I know  I wrestled with the will issue a lot as a new Christian. I remember struggling internally over different situations, not knowing which course to choose, fearful that I would somehow miss God’s will. Part of my problem was, I’d made so many wrong choices when I was living apart from God, that I felt unsure of myself.  Myself is the key word here.  I was depending more  on myself than on God to lead me. I had to learn to trust that God would guide me and that I didn’t need to depend on myself, to choose the right course of action. Nowadays when I’m praying about a situation or decision, I’ve come to know that God will indeed guide me. The main thing I need to do is, not jump back into the seat of authority. I hope these guide lines help you to hear God more clearly.

  1. Pray that you can discern what the Holy Spirit is telling you..
  2. Ask for God to reveal anything within your spirit that may lead you astray. (Example: sin, selfish gain or greed)
  3. Check to see if the situation is addressed in scripture.
  4. Test the answer against God’s word. It shouldn’t contradict.
  5. Seek out godly advice. Is the person you’re going to for advice consistently following and living a life for Christ?
  6. Ask for prayer
  7.  Make sure you are at peace. You may feel slightly nervous if God is asking you to step into something different, but peace will over-ride any nervousness you may have.

Sometimes it takes a while before you get an answer. The best thing to do it that situation is wait. 

A great bible study that I highly recommend is Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God, by Henry Blackaby.

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What I Love About Being A Christian

accredited to svillenMileyThe world sometimes sees Christians as being confined to a set of rules and regulations and having a “must not” mentality. Those assumptions lead them to believe that we don’t get to have fun, when in reality we are more free and able to enjoy life than someone gripped in a sinful life style and burdened with guilt and a broken relationship with God. So, I decided to write a short post on all the things that I love about being a Christian. As far as not having fun, I have to laugh at that, because I’ve had more fun in the last 18 years than I’d had up until that time.

  1. An Open Relationship With God (Heb 10:19,20)
  2. God  Is My Father – Which makes me His child yippee! (1 John 3:1,2)
  3. Having A Big Family – I have lots of brothers & sisters in the household of God. And they are my friends.
  4. Eternal Life – Need I say more? (John 11:25,26)
  5. I’m Forgiven -Each day, His mercies are new. I have a fresh slate! Not that I freely dirty it up, but until I am made perfect, and in His likeness,  I will continue to slip up and sin. Hopefully less and less. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
  6. God’s power – His power sustains me. I don’t have to struggle through life alone.
  7. Spiritual Discernment – If I listen and am familiar with Gods voice, I can have divine guidance.
  8. I’m Never alone- God will never leave me as an orphan. What a comfort! (Hebrews 13:5)

So those are just a tip of the iceberg of things I love about being a Christian. Why are you a happy Christian? Let me know. I would love to hear from you! 1167121_53548347

How To Dress For Success in Three Short Steps

564883_98126365Remember the best-selling book, “How To Dress For Success”? I do! I read that book before I was interviewed for a job that was a leap from one career path into another. I got the job! Great book! Months later, after being hired, the manager that hired me said “I was really impressed when I interviewed you.” I added,  “What was it that impressed you?” She mentioned a few things, that for humility’s sake I don’t need to share, then added, “You were dressed for the job!” She even asked If I’d read “How To Dress For Success”. Yep, my navy blue two piece business suit, and up swept hair helped to get me that job. Appearances are important. You don’t have to look far to see that. Unfortunately, sometimes they are too important. What about a person’s character, work ethics and likability? So how can you be a success in the world we live in? And what does it have to do about being a Christian? Isn’t this a Christian blog? Yes, it is! And we still need to be careful about how we dress in our Christian walk, don’t we? And don’t we want to be successful for the benefit of the Kingdom of God? Of course we do. After all, we are proclaiming His name to others and His Lordship to those around us. So dressing appropriately is important  Here are there things to keep in mind

Modesty should be priority when picking out our clothes. Especially for ladies. I don’t adhere to stringent guidelines off wearing dresses down to your ankles and turtlenecks up to your ears or type of thing. We don’t have to dress in sackcloth to be appropriate. Just tasteful, attractive clothing. 

Secondly, attitude. I realized that your attitude manifests from who you are and it’s not really something you can take on and pull off. Our attitude good or bad eventually comes out as far as that goes. But, you really can control it until God works in you to change it. This takes prayer, study of God’s work and time. Something God is still working on in me. However, you should be checking your attitude to see where you need to make adjustments. Are you loving, kind, full of patience  Do you treat others the way you would want to be treated, or do you fly off the handle or stick your foot in your mouth? I’ve done that before and it doesn’t taste very good! A good read from Galatians 5:22-23 & Matthew 7:12

Lastly, remember to put on your armor- Eph 6:10-17 (NIV) …Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. That is your spiritual armor. We are to dress completely so that we can fight the enemy that wants to blow our testimony of how great God is. How God is so great that He can make us a loving person that’s been transformed by Holy hand and given a new identity in this world. How else will be win others to Christ? So let’s all remember these three steps. With the acronym AAA

  1. Appropriate Clothing
  2. Attitude Adjustment
  3. Armor of God

Weekly Photo Challenge “Growth”

With this weeks photo challenge being on growth, I couldn’t help but think of the changes that happened as my babies became toddlers, then teens and eventually my oldest son reaching adulthood. Time goes fast and any parent with a teen will probably heartily agree with me. Time waits for no Man, Women or Child. It just keeps ticking on and on. I dug up an old picture of my youngest son who is now a teenager showing a glimpse of potty training time. Of course he mastered it! Not long after that it was time to get rid of Mr. Binky!

Next getting rid of the “Binky”

Yes we all eventually move on from our baby stages into adulthood. At least we should. As Christians we should be in a continual state of growth as well. We should be off our bottles of milk and eating meat. As much as I get teary eyed about the times when my kids where younger I wouldn’t want them to remain stuck in a particular growth stage. It wouldn’t be best for them. It would be wrong! God want us to grow too. Grow as Christians, grow in our faith. 1 Corinthians 3:21 says ” I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready,”. And Hebrews 5:12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

It’s pretty clear! We are to grow up! When we do, God is delighted in our progress just like any good parent would be.

La La La La La La La….Ready to Record Your First CD?

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So you’re ready to record your first cd!  What an exciting time! Maybe you’ve been dreaming of this for a long time, and finally the time is here.  You have the opportunity and finances to pursue music ministry in a whole … Continue reading

Fear Friend Or Foe??

Fear ye Fear ye??  Fear is a complex emotion.  It is our friend , but mostly our enemy.  Fear has been experienced by humans throughout history.  Without getting into debate about when the origin of life started…well, I’ll just say I’m a Creationist.  I believe God created us, and we did not evolve, and that the beginning of history corresponds to the Bible. I will say that fear has probably evolved since life first started in the Garden of Eden.  That which we fear  has changed from the times of our “Hunter Gatherer” beginnings. Mostly what we humans feared were things like being attacked by a wild beast, such as a bear, wolf or probably another human.  We all know that murder isn’t something new as Cain murdered his brother Abel in Genesis. We as humans have always experienced what they call the “Fight or Flight” response to fear.  Basically this is when our nervous system tells us to get going and fast!  Danger is imminent. The experience of fear isn’t a new thing, but it has changed. Or I should say grown in types. Yes there is the original fear, If you’re in the woods and a big bear is chasing you, or someone points a gun at you. Your going to experience this “Fight or Flight” feeling.  That’s the healthy kind of fear we have.  It gives us  energy, helps us run, and protect ourselves.  I’m going to talk some about the unhealthy fear that we all have experienced from time to time.  For some it is a daily thing and they live with what is called a “Fee-Floating Fear“.  I really feel for people experiencing this as their bodies react as if under attack for unknown reasons. If  a person perceives something as threatening or dangerous their bodies go into this “Fight or Flight” response. I have experienced fear and anxiety before, although not the free-floating type. That is why I decided to blog this.  I’ve had to overcome fear & anxiety in regards to particular things in my own life.  I have had to deal with fear of performing, and for the most part God has delivered me from this a few years ago.  I’m sure you’ve heard people say or maybe have seen surveys that people fear public speaking more than death.  They are probably not exaggerating.  There are so many different phobias & fears now that they have several books about all of them…just check out Amazon. I just did out of curiosity.. There’s fear of spiders, dying, the dark, heights, being alone.  People are just filled with fear. This includes Christians and non-Christians alike. These fears really do limit you.  The physical reactions in your body can include, breathlessness, rapid heat rate, clammy palms – it goes on and on.

Jesus tells us many times in scripture, “Fear not for I am with thee“. God wants to release us from the bondage of fear. This is the unhealthy type of fear that holds you back from living the abundant life  you have in Christ. Scripture tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Fear keeps you confined or limited. God wants you to be free of these chains.  Living in fear is like living with chains and that is bondage.  Jesus says He wants us to be free of that yoke.  He tells us “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 (NLV). As Christians, Satan wants to keep us bound in fear.  He does that by telling us we’re not good enough, or that we don’t have the skills to do something, we can’t handle a situation.  He works by infiltrating our minds with negative thoughts.  Jesus calls the devil “The Father of Lies”(John 8:44). Satan is crafty and since God owns your soul, if you’ve accepted Him as Lord and Savior,  Satan will work to try to make you an ineffectual Christian. C.S. Lewis‘s book “The ScrewTape Letters” is a great read about how the devil works with his host of demons to plot against a Christian man.  I have read this book and have also read it in a lighter  comic book version  which was very enlightening.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve had to overcome fear, especially when I first started out singing as a soloist at church.  Can you believe that I have had thoughts such as,”What will other people think about me? I’ll  make a fool of myself!  I’m not good enough!  I’ve never done a solo before so why start now! I’m too old for this… It goes on and on.  As I type it out now it sounds ridiculous.  Maybe I’m crazy to fess up to some of these private thoughts that I’ve had in the past, but I can’t help but think that just maybe someone out there in cyber space needs to know that they’re not the only ones dealing with these defeating, self-limiting thoughts that  come from feelings of fear and lies from the Devil himself.  Don’t get me wrong, you do have to know that God is calling you to do something.  We’ve all watched American Idol probably once or twice.  Clearly some people are under the illusion that they can sing. The Devil can set up illusions in our minds as well ,so this takes discernment and prayer. Pray for confirmation from the Lord and others in your church.  You don’t have to be the next best thing to sliced bread in the area that you need to step out into, but if God has truly called you to do it you should.  I say I’ve overcome these type of thoughts and fears, because God has done and continues to do a renewing work on my mind. Scripture tells us ” Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:12). Okay, I’ll admit this, I don’t want to sound contradictory, but sometimes those thoughts crop up again and I chalk it up to the fact that Satan still tries to play mind games with me. It doesn’t last long though, because I’ve been filled with Gods truth and this is what spiritual warfare is all about. It takes time for God to conform our minds and it’s only through His word and the Holy Spirit that it can happen.  We can’t do it ourselves.  Also, it’s a life long learning.  We are forever the student of the Lord. It will continue until we are with Him in Heaven.  Real victory started for me when I began to step out in “Faith” and kept doing it, consistently, little by little. Through those small acts of obedience God has proven that He was and is with me! I’ve learned to trust Him. Breaking through the walls of fear keeps my faith muscles activated.  God is pleased and He is Faithful to me! With whatever God is calling you to do, music related or not just realize this. You may not be the best, but you’re probably not the worst at whatever the task is. Besides God wants people to serve Him that don’t think they can do it all on their own. When we lean on His power, strength and help, God is glorified, and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, It was Him enabling us, because we in ourselves are weak.  Replace the self-defeating thought such as, I’m a nobody and an unknown with nothing to offer, with the empowering truth that you are a child of God!  You are a Son and I am Daughter of the King of Kings!  How great is that!  “Tell yourself, I’m not scared, nervous or anxious, but I’m excited!  I get to do this for the Lord”.  Every time you press through the wall of fear, God meets you on the other side. He just wants you to act in Faith and Trust Him with all your heart, soul and mind. Courage is not feeling fearless, it is acting despite fear! So I guess I’m a courageous girl.  I hope this encourages you to step out in whatever God is laying on your heart to do.  Take it one day at a time and God will make a way.  The song I recorded titled “I Know How To Fly” really spoke to me and that was why I wanted to title the CD with that title.  The lyrics made me think about how I’ve had things to overcome, times of doubt & fear, yet God was with me and helped me to rise above! He brought me through! Don’t let Satan rob you of the abundant life and your service to our Lord.  We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.  He gives victory and it’s already been won.  God never tells us that we won’t have scary or hard times, or even that life is fair, but He tells us we’re not alone.  I don’t know about you, but for me that’s pure comfort.