1 Thessalonians 5:17 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved, entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

How do you deal with stress in a world that seems to thrive on it?

The American way is to work harder and longer so that you can purchase more stuff. The accumulation of personal belongings seems to have the opposite effect than it was intended to bring. The image presented is the more you have, the happier you’ll be.

Are the advertisements that promote fulfillment a hedonistic endeavor to acquire happiness like some false portrayal that is intended to drive its subscribers into patterns that can never bring satisfaction?

The longer I live, the more I realize that every joy I have in life, is amplified by my relationship with Christ. If I spend time with my family, it is the Spirit of unity in Christ that draws us together. If I enjoy my home, it is because the Lord has blessed it. If I spend time alone in contemplation and prayer, it is the presence of the Lord that gives me hope and empowers my solitude. Whether it is relationships or all that constitutes life, everything is made better in Christ.

The Joy of the Lord

Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Are we supposed to neglect the simple pleasures in life for fear that they will overcome us? Many have been entrapped by overindulging in the things that bring some measure of satisfaction but the way they are captured isn’t by the means, they are controlled by the end of what they partake.

Contentment is to be happy or satisfied with what you have. It is when we think we need more to be happy is when the control begins to occur.

1 Timothy 6:9 “Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.”

They say riches come through determination and hard work. When they don’t come through traditional means, we question whether it’s just because I’m not trying hard enough or I need to look elsewhere. The continued striving after an objective that is portrayed as bringing joy and happiness can cause someone to make decisions that are foolish. People often look to faster means of gaining “happiness” like playing the lottery or gambling, some resort to patterns that neglect those who are important in their lives, while others simply steal and rob others to fast track an agenda that God said He would do in His time.

Whether it is money, status, food, or any other basic necessities of life, they all promise fulfillment while the irony of it is when they become the focus of life, they lead you to death.

There used to be a reality show on T.V. that followed lottery winners. The show was like watching a disaster slowly unfold before your eyes. The fear of people wanting their money gripped many from the start, they would hire attorney’s to manage their identity, hide their locations, or have to deal with lawsuits that would occur when others found out about their sudden fortune. Some would buy all of these toys and then just grow fat and stare out the window as they sat idle. Many lost the cohesiveness of family as the money tore them apart, and few were left better off than where they were before they had won.

These docudramas unfold before everyone’s eyes and yet people still run out and buy tickets when the jackpot gets to some absurd number, thinking they will be different than everyone else.

Proverbs 23:4 “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to restrain yourself.”

Where does joy come from?

If joy is readily available to all who would receive it, why aren’t more people seeking after it? Can it be that difficult to acquire?

Psalm 30:5 “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Attaining joy is not like winning the lottery. I’ve heard it been said that your more likely to be struck by lightning that to win some huge jackpot. People strive and strive for the things of this world, thinking they will bring peace, then they wonder at the end……what went wrong?

True tranquility comes from the Lord.

Storms come up on the horizon and gather with a fierce darkness that forces us to duck and cover. We grow fearful with uncertainty. We don’t know what these storms will do or the how they will affect us so we worry and fret.

We have a light that shines in the darkness, a beacon showing us the way. The Lord our God is Lord over the storms, if He commands them to be still….they must obey. Our Savior allows these storms to occur for a purpose, He has a reason for them. If we will just take our eyes off the storms of life and place them onto Him, we will see a steadfast strength that causes fear to diminish and joy to arise.

Psalm 107:29-30 “He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.”

Where is the haven of the Lord? Where is that place where we reside safe within His harbor? The protection and safety of God can be found anywhere! You could be standing in the midst of a hurricane and know that His hand is upon you…you will not be moved.

Our Haven

The Kingdom of God is here. It was established long ago and for those who are citizens of this kingdom, the King reigns over them.

What are some of the attributes of God that gives us courage?

Strong— He has no equal.

Powerful— even the mountains bow down before Him

Authority— the winds obey Him.

Just— His law was fulfilled by His own hand, we have been set free by Him.

“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.”

2 samuel 22:3

Where is the heart that is tranquil?

It is found in the one who had placed their hope in Christ alone.

Learn to keep your eyes on Him and off this world and you will find that He will give you rest. Rest from anxiety—-rest from doubt—–rest from striving.

Jesus will be your peace—-if you will only look to Him.

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