In the course of our lives as followers of Jesus, there are always ways to minister to others, either occasionally or regularly. The common denominator in each such activity or scenario is that the goal is to convey love and kindness.
Happiness is made up of many things: it is a smile of a child, the golden glows of a sunrise, the warm hug of a loved one, health after sickness. But such happiness is also transitory: a child does not always smile, the sunrise may be overshadowed with dark clouds, a loved one may leave, sickness may not pass. There is another happiness, that is deeper and everlasting, and that is the happiness that comes into your soul when you realise the depth, breadth, and height of God’s love for you, a love embodied in His Son, Jesus.
Before you begin, put on a strong stain-proof apron to protect against the drips of bitterness and the sourness of life. In a bowl of resilient material, able to withstand blows, falls, and chipping, mix the following ingredients:
It’s not surprising that the Bible has inspired countless artists; the text is full of vivid pictures. Take this passage, for instance: “You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!”1 As true today as it was two millennia ago, we can easily visualize what the prophet Haggai was talking about: job dissatisfaction, the struggle to make ends meet, vain attempts to keep up with the dictates of fashion, the declining value of money.
Advertisements generally portray more than the item on sale. An ad for a plastic inflatable pool might show a happy family having a great time splashing in the water. But if you get the pool, will you get a happy family too?
“I need money—lots of money!” My friend sighed deeply, stirring his coffee at our kitchen table.
“Why?” I asked him a little surprised. My friend wasn’t poor and seemed to have all he needed to be reasonably happy.
In their 1960’s hit “Can’t Buy Me Love,” the Beatles capitalized on a simple, well-worn truth. They could just as well have sung, “Can’t buy me truth” or “happiness” or “peace of mind.” Those things weren’t for sale either, and they’re still not. While this is a simple truth, it’s not an easy one to live.
God recognizes our material needs, and His Word contains plenty of promises of supply, even in abundance.1 But Jesus also warned that a vain pursuit of wealth can be a stumbling block to a Christian life.2 Human nature also makes it difficult for us to correctly assess our needs. As Benjamin Franklin observed, “The more [money] a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.”
A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance.
The world is like a mirror: Frown at it, and it frowns at you; smile at it and it smiles too.
Peter was awestruck. Along with James and John, he’d trudged up the mountain following Jesus, when suddenly “[Jesus’] face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” The spectacle was soon even more amazing: Moses and Elijah—dead for many centuries—appeared and started talking with Jesus.1