Kirk Franklin warns of misconception that God exists to ‘make us happy’

Franklin is spot on with this and here is my op-ed why.

First, in order to understand this, we need to reverse the question, and ask why do I exist? Biblically God created man for His own glory, and man, therefore, exists, his purpose is solely to Glorify God. I have repeatedly said and will continue to do so until I am dust, it is never about us and always about God. The moment we emphasize anything above God, we sin in idol worship.

Secondly “Happy” is a relative term, biblically God wants us to be happy; but as noted above, not by putting our desires above Him. True happiness for a True Chrisitan comes from one place only, and we find it in 1 John 1:1-4. Here v.1-3, John, the Beloved Apostle, makes the claim of being an eye witness to Jesus, His deity, Word of life, his fellowship, from the Greek koinōnia, with Jesus, and like-minded believers. Then in v.4, John makes a profound statement, saying I have told you (written) this, that your joy [happiness] may be full! True happiness [joy] for a believer comes with sharing salvation with Christ and like-minded Christians.


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Amid the re-release of his hit 1998 song “Lean on Me,” gospel singer and winner of 16 Grammy awards Kirk Franklin said that it is a “misconception” to believe that God exists for the sole purpose of trying to make humans happy…

SOURCE: Kirk Franklin warns of misconception that God exists to ‘make us happy’

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/13/2021

FOOD, MEAT, NOURISHMENT

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JOHN 4

This is a very long Chapter packed with lots of great biblical insight. According to Matthew Henry, it can be broken down as follows: 

Christ’s departure into Galilee. (1-3) His discourse with the Samaritan woman. (4-26) The effects of Christ’s conversation with the woman of Samaria. (27-42) Christ heals the nobleman’s son. (43-54)

Our text v.34 comes from the third section when the woman has gone off to tell her town folks about Jesus and He and the disciples are conversingOne of the disciples asks v.33 “Has anyone brought Him something to eat?”  It is then Jesus states out text. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me… 

But what can HE possibly mean by saying it? Food is meant to refresh, reenergized the body. From a spiritual standpoint, the Word of God is our daily Bread of Life.  Yet Jesus is referring to neither of these. 

In one of the most profound statements in the New Testament Jesus says I am fulfilled, nourished, complete by doing the Will of God.  C.H. Spurgeon said;  “The man of the world thinks that, if he could have his own way, he would be perfectly happy, and his dream of happiness in this state or in the next is comprised in this, that his own wishes will be gratified, his own longings fulfilled, his own desires granted to him. This is all a mistake. A man will never be happy in this way.” 

Jesus knew the only way to be whole in this life was to do God’s will.  Have you surrendered to His will for your life today? 

Today’s Prayer

LORD God, all-powerful and merciful creator of the universe, I pray you will grant me the wisdom and knowledge to live in your will and do the work you have prepared for me each and every day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Devotional thought for Today – 02/17/2021

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LUKE 24

Here in the final chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we find three main subjects:

The Resurrection of Christ v.1-12

The appearances of Christ v.13-49

The Ascension of Christ v.50-53

Our text today comes from the final section. Contained herein are also three (3) topics or subjects I would like to looks at this morning. They are Worshipped, Joy and Blessing

Matthew Poole comments on this section as follows: 

Ver. 52,53. We never before read of any act of adoration which the disciples performed to Christ. Their faith was now come to the highest pitch. They did no longer look upon him only as one sent of God, a great Prophet, nor only as the Son of David, the promised Messiah; in the mean time not rightly taking the notion of the Messiah, but looking upon him as one who should be a temporal saviour, and deliverer of his people; they now believe him to be the eternal Son of God, being so manifested by his resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven before their eyes. According to his commandment, they return to Jerusalem, full of joy:

What is it that these (the chosen disciples) who had just been blessed v.50 the risen Savior come away with?  I think the best word I can use to describe it is zeal.  Matthew Poole said  it was Their faith was now come to the highest pitch.  Here they are with a fresh infusion of life from Christ’s blessing and off they go Worshipping Christ,  full of Joy and praising and Blessing. They were excited, pumped up, and ready to conquer the world. 

I often wonder how often we forget that great day of our infusion, the day of our blessing from Christ when He made us whole? Redeemed us from eternal damnation and made us more than conquerors in him. How much of that initial Zeal has gone from us? 

Today’s Prayer¹

Father, it is my lifelong desire to love You without hesitation, to never be lacking in zeal, and to keep my spiritual fervor as I serve You.  My desire is to fully devote myself to You and to always do what is good and right in Your sight bringing Glory to your name.  Help me to always be obedient to your commandments. Otherwise, my hearts will grow proud and we will forget my first love. Keep me your chosen path all the days of my life, keeping my spiritual zeal as I serve You. – Amen. 

¹ adapted from

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/06/2020

Joy Comes in the Morning" Psalm 30:5 Meaning & Promise

PSALM 30

Morning Joy

In this Psalm David has reason to celebrate and pens or recites this psalm that can be broken down as follows:

In Ps 30:1-3, David extols the Lord for delivering him. Ps 30:4-5 he invites the saints to unite with him in celebrating divine compassion. In Ps 30:6-7 he confesses the fault for which he was chastened, Ps 30:8-10 repeats the supplication which he offered, and concludes with commemorating his deliverance and vowing eternal praise. The Treasury of David by C.H. Spurgeon 

I wish to concentrate on one verse v.5, For His anger is but for a moment, [a]His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may endure for a night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning, and specifically the last phrase, joy comes in the morning.

I have long said, I have yet to meet anyone who truly (if they are really being honest) gets will tell you they like getting up angry, feeling bitter, hurt and resentful. In fact we know the bible tells us to never let the sun go down on our anger Ephesians 4:25-27.

I am convinced that true complete joy can only come from sincere fellowship 1 John 1:3-4 with the Triune God and like-minded believers. It begins however with renewing that right spirt of godly joy each morning. No matter the trails, troubles or cares of the previous day awake refreshed and renewed with the blessings of God and the knowledge that all is temporary. For the Greatest of all Joys awaits us!

“When in our Father’s happy land
We meet our own once more,
Then we shall scarcely understand
Why we have wept before.”
Mary B. M. Duncan, 1825-1865.

Abounding in Hope

Abounding in Hope

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

The seemingly sudden onset of the coronavirus pandemic has brought a time of trouble. The past few months have been difficult for many people in our country. Millions have lost jobs or suffered a reduced work volume and consequently face fearful financial uncertainty. And while the economy will no doubt rebound, it’s likely there’ll be turmoil for the tens of thousands of small businesses that won’t recover and must retool and refocus on other ventures. Small churches might not have the resources to maintain contact with their congregations under mandates to shelter in place or limit group gatherings, resulting in a trend for those members to participate in online worship with larger churches.

It’s not yet clear just how all of these restrictions will change our lives and social interaction with each other, but we who are privileged to be a part of the Lord’s Kingdom shouldn’t be anxious about the future. The Scriptures offer precious promises from God to His people that we can rest in during times like these…

CONTINUED AT: SOURCE

 

Imitators

They say Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! We also know the bible is full of warnings about pride. While I think it natural and normal for any parent to have some level of it when their child follows in their footsteps think for a moment of how God the Father feels when we imitate Christ Jesus His Son. 

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CONTEXT:

This is the Apostle Paul’s first epistle (letter to the church at Thessalonica, v.1 To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: in which he begins Chapter 1 by expounding upon the Faith of and giving thanks for the believers of the church there. v.2-5 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly[a] mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 

That brings us to our text for today so let us break it down: 

And you became imitators – Greek (mimētai), Strong’s Greek 3402: An imitator, follower; so one who follows the example or imitates the example set before them. Should you follow anyone’s example, every pastor? Read on my friend:

of us – Greek (hēmōn), 1st person plural, Strong’s Greek 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I. What is so significant about this is it is Paul writing someone who had direct contact with Christ. Who preaches by Grace Alone, by Faith Alone, By Scripture Alone, in Christ Alone to the Glory of God Alone. Such a person is the only example we should consider following. 

and of the Lord, – Greek (Kyriou) Strong’s Greek 2962: Lord, master, sir; the Lord. From kuros; supreme in authority, i.e. controller; by implication, Master. A lot of folks want to make or claim (you can’t do either on your own) Jesus as savior but refuse to have Him as Lord of their lives. If He is not you are not a Christian! You must imitate the risen Savior by making Him Lord and Master of ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE. 

for you received the word – Greek (dexamenoi) Strong’s Greek 1209: To take, receive, accept, welcome. Middle voice of a primary verb; to receive. You cannot pick and choose what parts of God’s Holy Word you will follow or imitate it is ALL OR NOTHING. 

in much affliction, – Greek (thlipsei) Strong’s Greek 2347: Persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation. From thlibo; pressure. Life can be hard, full of trails and turmoil but better to have welcomed the Gospel and become imitators of Christ having eternal assurance and…

with the joy of the Holy Spirit, – Greek (charas) Strong’s Greek 5479:  Joy, gladness, a source of joy. From chairo; cheerfulness, i.e. Calm delight. How would you rather go through tough times with no hope or with a source of joy that cannot be defined? The Holy Spirit indwells 1 Corinthians 3:16 and is our source of joy and comfort in times of trouble (the Beatles got it wrong all those years ago). 

CONCLUSION:

Christians are to live their lives as examples to the rest of the world.  That is not always easy to do, there will be trying times both on a large scale (pandemics, disasters, etc.) and more personal level (loss of jobs, sickness, etc.). Yet like the Thessalonians, we can both receive the Word in our afflictions and do so with the joy of the Holy Spirit  that we may share it with others by our example. 

What is the Joy of the Lord?

Image result for NEH. 8:10

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. Nehemiah 8:9-12 (ESV)

Some background for those of you who do not know the Book of Nehemiah. It is one of my favorites, as it epitomizes this ministries goals of restoration for individuals. 

Briefly Nehemiah is a trusted servant in the courts of the Persian King. He hears of the squalor conditions of Jerusalem and petitions the king to go and restore it. He is met with resistance once there from the local ruling class but eventually succeeds in restoring the city walls.

We pick up the story here where for the first time the Law was read to the people (Nehemiah 8:1-8). The people hearing and clearing understanding the Law, apparently react (v.9) with mourning and tears, both for their sins of rebellion against God and one would imagine all the hardships they had been through.

Nehemiah and Ezra the Priest tell them this is not a time to morn, do not be grieved, a lesson for all of us. Our Christian lives will be (and should be if we are active for the Kingdom) filled with times of turmoil we have a choice mourn and grieve our situation or as Nehemiah and Ezra tell the people of Jerusalem do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. In other words we can lean on, count on and depend on the strength of our Lord to get us through those difficult times. 

There are (hopefully) some obvious differences between the nation of Israel in the time of Nehemiah and Born Again Believers today. The Israelite’s had gotten themselves into their situation by consent and blatant disobedience to God’s Law whereas a true Christian does not blatantly live in disobedience to God’s Law. . The result was exile from their homeland for all but a remnant. What is in common however is the response to knowledge that our Lord is the great provider of strength for our daily walk in life, Nehemiah tells the people and us to (v.12) make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. 

If you understand that the Lord is our strength then you also understand that He is also our Joy. 

 

Where Else Does the Bible Talk about the Lord’s Strength?

  • “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29
  • “The way of the LORD is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked.” Proverbs 10:29
  • “The LORD gives his people strength. He is a safe fortress for his anointed king.” Psalm 28:8
  • “The LORD is my light and my salvation- so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” Psalm 27:1
  • “God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.” 2Samuel 22:33
  • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
  • “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, to that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

 

Afterwards!

Far to many times in my life I have failed to yield thinking I am right never admitting fault never accepting correction (discipline, training, chastening). God, however says that this is normal and rewards those who joyfully yield.

I like how the Amplified Version puts Hebrews 12:11

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose].

June 5, 2019 by Steve Rebus

Afterwards!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 

How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. There is no calm more deep than that which follows a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain? Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers.

After killing the lion–we eat the honey;
after climbing the Hill Difficulty–we sit down in the arbor to rest;
after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life.

Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them “afterwards.” It is peace, sweet, deep peace–which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls.

See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are “afterwards” good things–harsh ploughings–yielding joyful harvests. Even now . . .
he grows rich by his losses,
he rises by his falls,
he lives by dying, and
he becomes full by being emptied.

If, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life–what shall be the full vintage of joy “afterwards” in Heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the world’s days–what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun–what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon–how sweetly will he sing in Heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires–how will he extol Him before the eternal throne! If evil is good to him now–what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then?

Oh, blessed “afterwards!” Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present cross–for the crown which comes afterwards?

via Afterwards!