He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.
For this reason we have been comforted And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing.
“You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:3
The movie The Aviator portrays the fascinating life of Howard Hughes. In the 1930s and 40s, he wowed the public with his brilliant advances in aviation technology and became the wealthiest man in America. He seemed to have everything a man could want. Yet he was surprisingly miserable and plagued by several mental disorders later in life that rendered him a paranoid recluse until the day he died.
His life is a reminder that when it comes to happiness, money is not the answer. This news isn’t new. Most of us would agree that money is not a ticket to happiness—yet we act like we believe it is.
Things like the lure of a better investment or a cash windfall of some kind, or the feeling that if I only had enough to buy that desired product, pull our hearts toward living for cash. We are like wanderers who crawl across the desert of life from one material mirage to another and wonder why we don’t feel happy.
In Psalm 1:1-6, before the psalmist tells us where to find the kind of happiness that God offers, we are told where not to find it. Hanging out with ungodly friends, listening to the advice of self-help books and horoscopes, and conforming to the cultural input around us all lead down dead-end streets. One of those major dead ends is “get-rich-and-be-happy” street. Unfortunately, ungodly influence doesn’t come only from people “out there.” It has subtly seeped into our church conversations with Christian friends, and it occasionally can come from unlikely places such as pulpits and church publications. Think of how easily bad advice has polluted your thoughts, distracted your focus, and diminished your sense of happiness. If your pursuit in life is material success, remember, it didn’t work for Howard Hughes, and you can bet that it won’t work for you either.
Here’s a great alternative. The psalmist affirms that the truly blessed life finds its joy and satisfaction in living by the words and ways of God. There is no greater happiness than the sense of a clear conscience, the confidence of being loved and led by God, and the wealth of knowing that life is being lived in the safety of God’s law. Reject the bad advice that God’s rules are divine handcuffs and rejoice that his “commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3) but a source of blessedness and joy (Joshua 1:8).
Looking for true happiness? Delight in the law of the Lord and live by the principles of His Word!
A Father’s Love
From: Our Daily Journey
Soccer fans around the world are known for being passionate about their teams, but Boca Juniors, a team from Argentina, may have some of the most enthusiastic followers. Besides typical expressions of support like jerseys, colorful wigs, and face paint, entire stadiums of Boca Juniors fans will even go so far as to set off fireworks simultaneously in an amazing pyrotechnic display, all to communicate one simple fact: “We love our team!”
This “over-the-top” display of loyalty reminded me of the lavish way God the Father expressed His love during Jesus’ baptism. After Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River, the heavens opened up and the Spirit of God in the form of a dove descended and settled on Jesus (Matthew 3:16). This in itself would have been an amazing sign of God’s favor. But the Father wasn’t satisfied with this remarkable display. Like an earthly father who simply can’t contain his pride, He declared from the heavens, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy” (Matthew 3:17). The Father seemed to pull out all the stops to declare His passionate love.
This moment provides an important reminder of God’s character. It can be easy to slip into the perception that God is cold, distant, and judgmental. We may even view Him as surveying all of creation with His arms crossed, just waiting for us to slip up. But Matthew 3 reveals the true nature of our Father: He loves His children and affectionately displays His love in every way possible!
Even more amazing is the fact that because of the work of Jesus, believers are now part of God’s family (Romans 8:14). Our heavenly Father feels the same way about us as He does for His Son! (1 John 3:1).
We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.
We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.