Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happiness which Endures Tough Times

An old saying goes ‘There’s gold in them thar hills.’ Only trouble is you have to go and search for it.

It is a similar in regards to happiness. It isn’t found in the hills or valleys or in things although many can find enjoyment in such things. They can be likened to ‘fools gold’ for they look like the real thing but haven’t the value or lasting worth of real gold. Happiness is something that possesses the heart and mind. It proves its worth and lasting power in tough times.

Can people in Syria, Algeria, Hungary and any number of strife ridden countries know true and lasting happiness? If so, where can it be found? Strange though it may sound true and lasting happiness is founding a Person and His book. This person is Jesus Christ. His book is the Bible. The word we write as ‘happiness’ is translated ‘Blessed’ in this sacred book. In the closing letter called Revelation this term is used at least seven (7) times. That is strange when you think of it for the letter is one dealing with the future and warfare, judgement and conflict. Even the writer, John, when he penned this epistle was a prisoner of Caesar on the isle of Patmos. Yet he was happy! This is his opening words: ‘Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it; for the time is near.’ Revelation 1:3

The promise to the reader about experiencing happiness from this book is there for the receiving. Unfortunately, between the eye of the reader and the mind there can be many distractions or causes of ‘blindness.’

Happiness cannot be framed and put on the wall as a certificate of merit. To be blessed by God has its high moments of exhilaration and the quieter times of delight. Our defence against a loss of happiness is explained by John in: ‘… blessed are those who hear and keep what is written …’ It’s all in the word ‘keep’. In the NIV translation it says, ‘take it to heart’. The idea suggests a believer should be a watchman on a castle battlement keeping a lookout for enemy infiltration. Our telescope to spot danger is what is written. At the same time God’s word is a microscope. We turn it upon our soul’s attitudes and behaviour. Are we being true to what is written?

In Revelation John takes us through current and foretold events which threaten the happiness of God’s people. This explains why he joins happiness to keeping what is written. Revelation begins with the majesty of Christ and His ability to thrill the hearts of the faithful. Then it presents the judgements of Christ against all that corrupts, oppresses and denies godliness. The book concludes with the glories of Christ’s victory and the new heaven and earth. As we face uncertain times in a turbulent world, the Bible nourishes faith and strengthens hope. It also warns and informs us about coming events. As we read our understanding about God being in control grows. That’s happiness. From even a casual look around the globe there is more tears than laughter, more fear than cheer. How can any reasonable person experience the fruit of happiness which is peace, hope, love and a sense of eternal safety in the face of death? It comes from knowing that Jesus is Lord of your life and that nothing can separate you from Him. (Romans 8) Happiness is the confidence that Jesus Christ keeps His word and will share your trials and troubles and bring you ultimately into His presence. Happiness is the contentment which fills the heart knowing He has set aside a day when Justice will be meted out.

How can we be sure?

more about happiness as promised
by Christ
in my latest devotional.

Read the letter of Revelation and realise this has been given by the risen Lord Jesus to guard us, guide us and bless us. If we face life’s madness and people’s cruelties without Him and His word we have no foundation for happiness, now or in eternity. However st the end of the book promise’s ‘Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed (happy) is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.’ (Revelation 22:7)

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