We look all over trying to have a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. We seek out delight in this world, but again and again we come up short. Temporary pleasures fade away. As we reach out for joy, we grasp glimpses of happiness that always fall short, unless we get to the source of joy itself.
The Psalmist got it! He understood that the source of our joy is God. Without God, you don’t have joy. You have something that might feel good for a while, might make you happy for a moment, but it passes. Circumstances and situations do not take away true joy, because through all the highs and lows of life, God is still present and you find your contentment in life in Him. Every time you depend upon something for joy, you will see it pass by at some point. People, feelings, situations—these things continue to change.
Today, praise the Lord, the source of joy. Ask Him to help you build your life upon His foundation. Let Him move freely in your life. Put your hope in Him. The fruit of joy will grow stronger in your life, and this with be contagious. Praise Him! He is the source of all your joy!
“There I will go to the altar of God, to God–the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!” – Psalm 43:4-5 [NLT]
One of the most known psalms is Psalm 23. Even people who have never read the Bible have likely seen a passage from this psalm somewhere. When we read the first verse, it declares that the Lord is our shepherd. Then it says, “I have all that I need.” If the Lord is your Shepherd, you do have all that you need.
This is something that we all struggle with because we confuse wants and needs. We take on avoidable debt because of this confusion. We live in discontentment because of this confusion. As the Psalmist continues, he notes that the Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures. I love this visual. If you know anything about sheep, you know that they will not just lay down. The sheep need to be without fear to lie down. The sheep need to be without annoying parasites to lie down. The sheep need to be free of hunger to lie down. Here the Psalmist is declaring that the Lord is our Shepherd and with Him we have all that we need. As His sheep, we are able to lie down because we have all that we need, because we are without fear, because we are at peace, because we are fed and satisfied.
Are you content today? Do you recognize that you have all that you need—that with Jesus alone you are satisfied? This is a struggle for many people. We see people around us. We think we need more. We see a lack in an area of our lives and we think we are suffering. Remember, God has provided all that we need. If you don’t have it, you don’t need it. Remember, if you have Jesus, you have ALL that you need. With Him alone comes satisfaction. May He be your everything!
“The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” – Psalm 23:1 [NLT]
The Bible talks a lot about the dangers of money. Money isn’t a bad thing. The problem is that money can corrupt. Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:7 that, “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (NIV). Even so, many people are not content to have the food and clothing Paul mentions in the next verse. People want more. And that desire to always have more keeps man from being content with the blessings of God.
In verse 6, Paul says “godliness with contentment is great gain” (ESV). Great gain. To be content with godliness is great gain. Yet, there is a warning here. Paul notes that many people want to be rich. The desire causes them to fall into temptation. They want more. They desire more. This results in entrapment by “foolish and harmful desires.”
God knows our needs and He sees to it that we have whatever we need to continue forward with what He has called us to do in life. When we take our focus off of His plan for our life, and we try to be like the Jones family next door, we plunge into ruin and destruction. We spend our life trying to live like someone else and we miss what God wanted for us. We focus on getting more, on building an earthly kingdom, instead of fixing our eyes on the Kingdom. Don’t take the plunge. Thank God for His blessings!
“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” – 1 Timothy 6:9 [NLT]
Does God want you to be happy? That is a question we could spend a lot of time considering. Does God want YOU to be happy? We often hear people say God wants you to be happy. But when you look at the Bible and try to find this idea of God wanting His children to be happy, there is a disconnect. Why? The issue is in the word “happy.” The word is talking about an emotion, a temporary emotion.
Being happy is something that happens for a moment, sometimes shorter or longer than others. This is a small thing. It is great to be happy. I love being happy. But it does not take much time before the emotions change. God wants us to have joy. This is different. This is better than being happy. We get so fixated on our thinking and we cannot understand the bigger, greater thoughts of God. But we can see in His Word that He speaks of this joy we can have—this joy that is greater than a happiness that comes and goes based on circumstances.
Joy is something we can only experience through Jesus Christ. We read in 1 Peter that this is a “glorious, inexpressible joy.” We also know that this joy is something that no one can take from us (John 16:22). It is not based on circumstances. It is not something that changes; it remains. Isaiah 35:15 speaks of the glory of Zion, and the everlasting joy which will crown our heads. Today, rather than seeking out temporary happiness, instead, reach out for He Who offers us inexpressible joy, peace beyond understanding, and everlasting love. Why settle for happiness?
“You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” – 1 Peter 1:8 [NLT]
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” – John 16:22 [NLT]
All is well. Shalom. That is what we read in 2 Kings 4 twice—both times from the Shunammite’s mouth. The prophet Elisha passed by her home often and the Shunammite wanted to make a room for him. What an awesome gesture to make a room for the man of God. If only we each made room like that for God in our lives.
The Shunammite was blessed by God with a son but one day while the son was with his father, he fell ill and died. The Shunammite woman had her son carried to the bed of the man of God. He was laid on the bed and she left. As she saddled the donkey, she was asked why she was headed to Elisha on this day. She said, “ALL IS WELL.” When she came upon Gehazi, she again said, “ALL IS WELL,” before she fell at Elisha’s feet.
All is well. Shalom. The word means completeness or peace. What a great thought—peace! But how can one have peace when their son lay dead?!? How can a person say, “All is well” when it doesn’t appear that everything is okay? This woman was without a son for so very long and now her prized son was dead. All is well. Shalom. Why? Because she had her eyes fixed on God and she allowed Him to move into her house and into her life. Her circumstances might have been painful, but all was well. She loved and feared the God of the impossible. He moved into her home—and he moved in her life. So too He can in yours. As the hymnist Horatio Spafford wrote, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”
“And he said, ‘Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.’ She said, ‘All is well’ … Run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’ And she answered, ‘All is well.’” – 2 Kings 4:23, 26 [ESV]
Circumstances change. Situations are not always the same. There are moments in life when you may be “on top of the world.” There are also moments when you are at your lowest point. But in any circumstance, in any situation, at any point in life, you can be content. It does not matter where you are at or who you are with or your circumstances. Paul said that he was content in any situation.
I know people who are never happy. They can only list the negatives in their life, yet if I examine their situation I find many blessings I could list. For some reason or another, some people feel dissatisfied, unhappy, broken, or lacking. For me it is hard to understand. I have grown to understand this same contentment as Paul mentions. Life is really different when you can be content in all situations.
Today I challenge you to look around and thank God for your blessings. Did you have at least one meal today? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have a job? Do you have family? Think of what you have—look at the blessings around you. When you focus on them and thank God for them, you aren’t living with your eyes fixed on your lack. If you can look at the situations that come your way in a positive light, you’ll discover this contentment that is only possible through Christ.
“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.” – Philippians 4:12 [NIV]