The Way to Joy

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A life surrendered to the King is the pathway to joy.  Instead of constantly grasping and keeping for ourselves, we get to partner with the King and experience the overflowing elation of extending ourselves to be a blessing to others.

Those who constantly focus on themselves often live lives of frustration and depression because, let’s face it, not everyone else’s world revolves around them.  They are only happy when they are the center of attention.  They quickly become unhappy when the limelight  focuses on someone else.

On the other hand, those who make the King their focus can rejoice in Him even in the most depressing circumstances.  They live in the light of His love and care even when everything around them looks very dark.  Likewise, those who serve the King by serving others discover the joy filled satisfaction that comes from making the lives of others better.  They tend to forget about themselves as they look to what the Lord is doing in the lives of those around them.  This outward focus tends to chase away depression.

Demos Shakarian, founder of the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship International, used to say, “The happiest people on earth are those who find the will of God and do it.”  That’s true.  Living in the Reign is anything but dreary and depressing.

M

The Ultimate Foolishness

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Recently, my day took an unexpected turn right at the start.  I hadn’t connected with the Lord yet, but I figured I could attend to these other matters and connect with Him once I was through.  After all, it was just a few quick errands:  drop off something here, pick up something there, you know the drill.  What’s the big deal, right?

So I did my running around and finally settled back into my office chair a couple of hours later.  That’s when the question came.

“Where were you a couple of hours ago?”

Oh boy…

The Lord doesn’t ask us questions because He doesn’t know the answer.  He asks to see if we will humble ourselves and admit the truth.  I knew exactly where I was.  I was running around thinking I could handle these few things on my own without any help from Him.

It was then that this statement hit me with resounding clarity.

“The ultimate foolishness in life is thinking we can live for even a moment without the Lord.”

The Master stated that the key to a successful Christian life was daily abiding in Him (John 15:5).  And while we may mentally assent to this, we often find ourselves running back to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and deciding for ourselves what is right or wrong, good or bad, what we can or can’t handle, etc.  It is that human tendency within us to live independent of God that can only be relegated to death by daily submitting to the King.  Brining ourselves under the rule of the King opens the door for the Ultimate Life to be lived in and through ours.

Needless to say, I had some repenting to do.  I didn’t only repent for this time.  I also repented for all the times I had forged ahead into “whatever” without giving the Lord a second thought.  Through it all I was once again brought back to the reality that true life can only be experienced by living in the Reign.

M

To Study or to Obey?

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“Humanly speaking, we could understand and interpret the Sermon on the Mount in a thousand different ways.  Jesus knows only one possibility:  simple surrender and obedience, not interpreting it or applying it, but doing and obeying it.  That is the only way to hear his word.  He does not mean that it is to be discussed as an ideal; he really means us to get on with it.”

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer [1]

Powerful words.  Words to meditate on.  Words that will help us learn to live in the Reign.

M

[1] Quoted in the opening of Salt and Light by Eberhard Arnold (e-book).  Farmington, Plough Publishing House, 2007.