"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, May 6, 2022

THE KEY TO GENUINE HAPPINESS - Wisdom Wednesday in PROVERBS with pastor Sonny

by Sonny Islas                                                               

Today’s mini lesson/devotional is titled: THE KEY TO GENUINE HAPPINESS (Check out the FB Video here. Or on the SHINE BRIGHT YouTube Channel here).

Here’s a simple and secular definition of the word happy: "feeling or showing pleasure or contentment". 

 But the word happy in the Bible is always connected to being blessed, which then has a higher meaning in the sense that the biblical idea of happiness is always connected to the way in which we respond to God and the way in which God responds to us. Your happiness is then connected to the way you respond to God. We’ll look at this a little more in a minute.

 I recently read a headline from an article by ABC News that reads “Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years.” But why? Well, the root of this problem is easy to find  – the more godless America becomes the more unhappy Americans become.

Listen, if you surveyed 100 people, and asked them,
“What is the one thing that you want out of life?"
And the majority will most likely answer,
“I just want to be happy!”
This great desire to be happy is at the heart of everything we do. We do things that make us happy. We also do things that will supposedly make us happy.

How many times have you not heard people say that? “I just want to be happy!”

Many people say this when they’re on the brink of divorce (and they’ll say the same thing every other time, they are on the brink of divorce), they say this when they’re tempted to cheat on their spouse, when they're watching porn; they’ll say this when they’re sick and tired of their job and want to quit, when they’re intoxicated (I’ve had friends with a beer bottle in their hands or a joint in their mouths say, – “I just want to be happy” to which I reply, “Well, is that Budweiser or blunt really helping any?’’ 

Of course not – intoxication only numbs their unhappiness and at times magnifies their unhappiness. They say this when their discontented with the way God made them (Like Michael Jackson, Sammy Sosa and Lil’ Kim, who had “everything,” BUT the skin color they desired. Confusion and discontentment towards God’s design is the reason why transgendered people exist). 

Again, people say, “I just want to be happy” when their children are running wild, when finances are running low and even when things are going pretty well, relatively speaking. Even when they finally get the golden opportunity to be happy, they’re - not - happy.

Everyone intrinsically knows that we were created to be happy – we were not created to be miserable, discontented, depressed, anxious, or bitter. All that is the result of the fall of Adam into sin, resulting in the human race, living under this curse of sin (ROM 8:22). And the sad reality is that BECAUSE genuine happiness can only be attained in connection to God and His ways, most people would rather live miserable lives - than to connect with God!

Most people will not say it out loud, but they’ll say it in their hearts, “Well, if genuine happiness only comes from and through God – I don’t want it – I’ll pass."
So, they go, not on their merry way but on their miserable way.

I recently watched a portion of an interview with Eminem, and this was when he was “on top of the world.’’ Eminem was asked, “Are you happy?” To which Eminem replied, “No, I’m never happy, I’m never happy.” When I heard his response, I felt pity towards him. It was sad to hear, because what is available to us all is not enjoyed by us all. God created us all to be happy - BUT not apart from Him

You would think otherwise about Eminem, after all, he has it all, as far as the world sees it, right? He’s at the peak of his career, selling millions of records, filling stadiums - everything a boy could want, and in all that pomp – there was not one drop of genuine happiness.
This proves to us that genuine inner happiness (or a happy heart) is not found in high achievement, good looks, big bucks, intoxications, perversions, and fame or popularity.

So, that leaves us with the question: Then where is true happiness found and how can we get it? Well, I’m glad you asked!
To get the answer, let’s turn to the ultimate source of absolute truth – God’s Word.

Proverbs 16:20 says this,
He who heeds [carefully considers, searches out/follows/obeys] the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, HAPPY IS HE.”

The opposite of this verse is true, “If happy is the one who trusts in the LORD, then unhappy is the one who doesn’t trust in the LORD.” 

Why is the one who trusts in the LORD GOD genuinely happy?

All the things (and even people) that make us happy, fail us, and therefore our happiness is either disturbed or turned to unhappiness – to sorrow, to sadness, to gloom. Which then turns to complaining and bitterness and so on.

God on the other hand, never fails us. We fail Him, but He never fails us. The deep understanding of this reality produces a happy heart. “Whoever trusts in the (unfailing) LORD – happy is he!”

Without trust, reliance, or dependency upon God - good or bad circumstances get the upper hand on our emotions. Without trust in GOD, good or bad situations dictate our mood. BUT when one truly trusts that God is in full control of every situation, even when we find ourselves in the middle of a muddy trial, we can rest assured that God cares, that God knows best, that God is more than able, and that God is working all things together for our good – just as He has promised in 

And we know that all things [the good and the bad - even the ugly!] work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

When we place our confidence in God and not in ourselves, people, or stuff, we enjoy an inner sense of happiness.
Because this confidence says,
“I might be small and insignificant, my situation may be painful and uncomfortable BUT GOD is large and in charge!

The ones who trust in God – ultimately have happiness because they have God. They have His eyes and heart aimed at them. They enjoy His forgiveness, His provisions (even if at times they may seem insignificant), His mercy, His helping hand, His direction, His grace, His divine truth (found only in Scripture).

Listen, not as a way to brag, but as a way to point to God’s sure Word, I enjoy high levels of happiness most of the time. But this wasn’t always the case. I’m probably one of the happiest people in town – BUT it’s because I’ve placed my trust in the LORD! I trust Him with my life, my mind, my heart, my marriage, my ministry, my finances, my sons, my everything.

To trust in the LORD in everything is an act of obedience but it’s also connected to knowledge – the knowledge of who He is and that is found in the Bible. 

Lastly, happiness is the fruit of obedience. 
Again, Proverbs 16:20 says this,
He who heeds [carefully considers, searches out/follows/obeys] the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, HAPPY IS HE.

So if you want to enjoy inner genuine happiness, place your trust in God and obey His Word. He will touch your soul and fill your heart with joy!

Note from James: Joy is descriptive of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (GAL 5:22); this fruit is grown as a result of GOD's influence in our lives as we continue in (reading, studying, loving and obeying) the Word of GOD; a healthy prayer life and fellowship among godly believers are all integral to this fruit prospering and blessing others as well as ourselves. And the happiness resulting from that joy is lasting!

Unlike happiness as experienced in the world - which is dependent on 'happenings':
"I won the Power Ball! I got a new car! I just got married! I got that promotion at work!", this happiness is transitory and dependent on good things happening in our lives.
But then the IRS comes along and takes a huge chunk of your Power Ball winnings, and you lose the rest on a risky gamble that bottomed out. You crash your brand new car. A year after you get married, your spouse files for divorce. The company you earned that promotion with just went bankrupt. 
Now you're unhappy. Life is so very uncertain, with ups and downs - and some of those downs can be so devastating that they scar us for life, causing us to become bitter, even vengeful.

GOD is described as a ROCK (1 SAM 2:2; 2 SAM 22:32; PS 18:31; see also MATT 16:18; 1 COR 10:4), because He is solid, steadfast, faithful, unchanging and true to His Word that tells us what pastor Sonny just elaborated on regarding the key to genuine happiness: that which is based on GOD, our relationship between ourselves and our Creator and Redeemer.

A somewhat older expression:
"The more things change, the more JESUS stays the same!" This is where the security for our joy that brings happiness is established. Our joy in JESUS is independent of everything we can experience in this fallen world; it's independent and deeper than emotions that come and go.

At my father's and mother's funerals, I expressed a deep sense of sorrow - because I can no longer have a relationship with them, and I miss them - yet deeper down, I had that abiding joy - "quiet gladness" is how it's described in the Greek language of the Bible - that keeps me secure, because not only do I have eternal life in Christ - so do they!

AMEN, thank you pastor Sonny for those very encouraging words of wisdom from the Word of GOD!

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