Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Want love, happiness, contentment, prosperity? Read this and it's yours.

Hello again - I'm so happy you've returned to A Good Bible Study! I look forward to this new chapter in our growth together in the Word of God. Let's pray:

Dear Lord, how can I thank You enough for giving us Your love letter to all people? Each time our eyes fall on Your pages, give us insight that only Your Holy Spirit can provide. Help us to be great in Your eyes, instead of seeking to be great in our own, and in the eyes of one another. Help us to lead, no matter what our roles in life. We know You are placing people in our path every day that seek our guidance or follow our example. Help us to seek You first, as we lead others. In the name of Jesus, amen.

We've have talked a lot in the past weeks about being intentional in our thoughts, about choosing to take our minds off thoughts that lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction in our lives, and instead focus on the thoughts of God. Read Philippians 4-10 now and write it down. In fact, if you have not already begun one, start a prayer or bible verse journal to record the thoughts you have in this study, what you learn about yourself, and what verses or "aha" insights God gives you through our time together.

You will get exactly out of this time, what you intend to, and what you give to yourself in study and honest reflection.

"Finally brethren, whatever things are ______, whatever things are ______, whatever things are ______, whatever things are _________, whatever things are ___________, whatever things are of good __________, if there is any _________ and if there is anything ____________,- meditate on these things." NKJV

We can learn a lot from the letters Paul wrote to the new believers in the first 60 or so years after Christ's time on Earth.

Paul instructs us to think on things that lead to positive and helpful actions, instead of dwelling on thoughts that lead to despair, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, rage, or confusion. We have a decision to make each time we entertain thoughts and that is, "Do I want to go there?"

Our thoughts are leading us to a destination and only we decide to get on that train, or not. John C. Maxwell says that our life today is a reflection of yesterday's thoughts.

Henry Ford said that whether we think we can, or we can't, we are right. Another way of saying that is "Be careful what you set your heart on, for surely you will get it." The problem is, after all the time and effort getting "it," do you still want it at the cost you paid?

What do you want?

Now consider this, do you want those _____'s, or do you think having them will give you something else, something deeper?

What do you really want?

What will you want at the end of your life as you look back? What will have really made the difference?

Read Proverbs 23:7 and write down what you learn.

As a person thinks in their _____ so are they. Your heart could be called the seat of your unconscious opinions, your intentions, your underlying motives.

Without the influence of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are innately selfish and self-centered. We get our heads turned by every pretty bauble, because we don't realize that we think the baubles will give us our true, underlying desires.

What do you think that is? The very basic craving we all have? Think on that, and it will change everything.

The problem with these "things" that seem so important to gain, is that as soon as we get them, the moment passes and we must set our sights on a new goal to reach that will give us the next "final" happiness. So, the struggle we all face is how to move from being momentarily happy with achievement, possessions, attainment, and success that lasts only for the day, or the hour, and move into recognizing our desire for something only God can give.

How many times have you said, "If only  . . . " or "I can't wait till ...."

Imagine for a moment that death has come, and you stand face to face with Jesus. Imagine looking at his wounds, knowing full well that He paid that price for you, as if you are the only person on the planet, as if you are the only one He loves?

Read Revelations 4:9-11

The elders were in that position and yet they, given those crowns by God Himself, willingly cast them down at the feet of Jesus, recognizing His love, sacrifice, and greatness as so much more than their own.

What did these elders do to earn such glorious crowns in the first place? My Nelson study bible identifies these elders as leaders, ruling authorities. God honors and crowns those who lead, as long as they lead well.

That's what we are here to learn: the leadership qualities that God values.

I know we all seek to prosper, to do well in life, to live well and enjoy all that God has provided in this life. We all want to seek those things that give us earthly pleasure first, and secondarily turn our minds to God. After all, we live here and now and heaven is a long time away, we hope.

The irony of it is, is that here and now is the temporary place, and heaven our eternal dwelling, if we follow Jesus and accept Him as God's only Son, and the source of our salvation.

Read Matthew 6:25-34, and Luke 12:22-31 and pay close attention to the final verse. Don't miss out on the blessing of opening His Word and seeing it for your own eyes. God's Word is alive in a way you can't understand without opening the physical book and letting the words hit the back of your eyes and the center of your soul.

Let's pray on this and come back tomorrow for what comes next:

Father, I love You, I want You, and clearly, I need You! Whatever You want for me, I want it too. You are the only path to everyday-in the tips of my toes-no matter how crazy the rest of the world gets-happiness and I want it! Show me Your ways, and give me a heart to learn. In the name of Jesus, amen.

Love, Karen

Photo by Paul Losevsky, courtesy of

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