Saturday, January 9, 2016

Our Compelling Quest for Happiness

"Happy is {she} who puts {her} trust in the Lord!"(Proverbs 16:20)

I bought a new book just the other day. It's a book I have wanted to read from the moment I had decided that my "word for 2016" was going to be Happiness.

Randy Alcorn is an author and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. His ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity. He is also a New York Times best-selling author of almost fifty books.

So far, the book has been pretty basic. The preface and first chapter have described that, over the years, philosophers and religious sources have agreed that All Men Seek Happiness 

Augustine: “Every man, whatsoever his condition, desires to be happy.”
     “There is no man who does not desire this, and each one desires it with such earnestness that he prefers it to all other things; whoever, in fact, desires other things, desires them for this end alone.” 
Pascal: “All men seek happiness. This is without exception.”
                “It is as natural as the reasonable creature to desire to be happy, as it is for the fire to burn.” (pg. 5-6)

If this desire is deeply planted in our hearts, Who planted it?

"The feverish pursuit of happiness in our culture might lead us to believe it’s a passing fad, equivalent of bell-bottoms or Beanie Babies. Not so. The desire for happiness isn’t, as many misrepresent it, the child of modern self-obsession. The thirst for happiness is deeply embedded both in God’s Word and in every human culture."(pg. 3)

The thing is, even though every human being seeks happiness, we often get it wrong - even Christians do. This can not only be hurtful for ourselves, but damaging to God's testimony of His love and goodness to others around us.

“Seeking happiness is a given – a universal constant. It’s present in every person of every age, era, and circumstances. So, it’s entirely unrealistic and counterproductive for Christians to tell people that they shouldn’t  be happy.”   (Pg. 6)

"Sadly, too often our message to the world becomes a false gospel that lays upon people an impossible burden, as in “to be a Christian, you must give up wanting to be happy and instead choose to be holy.”

"Oh wretched lot of man when he has lost that for which he was made...he has lost the blessedness{happiness}for which he was made{that comes from knowing God}, and has found the misery for which he was NOT made!" ~ Anselm of Canterbury(1033-1109)
The truth is, God wants us to seek real happiness in Him. This compelling desire for genuine happiness, while at times painful, is in reality God's grace to us! Longing for the happiness we once knew(in the Garden of Eden), we can be drawn toward true happiness in Christ!

I have a feeling that I'm going to learn a lot about the real definition of happiness, starting with this book. Happiness is not a bad or selfish thing for all - believers included - to have. In fact, I'm learning that God may actually want us all to be happy in our lives here on earth!! Wow!! What a concept! 
I want to also do my best each week to share the blessings and gifts that God gives me in my life, whether it be one blessing or many blessings. I have done this over the years, off and on, but have struggled to pick this practice back up again. 
#1773 - beautiful color - flower bouquet given to me by my hubby - on a dreary, overcast day.

#1774 - A loving, supportive, and compassionate husband.

#1775 - The moving of the Holy Spirit in my heart to become even more diligent in prayer.

#1776 - A new dimple-faced, great-nephew at our Christmas table this year.

#1777 - Family time together, after a long, challenging year.

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  1. Ann,
    Randy Alcorn often has wisdom so thanks for sharing your word and his words with us. My word for the year is "Joy"...blessings to you :-)

    1. I agree, Dolly! He has already gained my respect for his wise words and Biblical teaching. It's funny that you chose "Joy". Alcorn will be explaining in a future chapter (I cheated and read each of the chapter titles), that in looking at definitions, Joy and happiness are really the same thing. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Ann, thank you for sharing this great post, Love! I've never read anything by Randy Alcorn, but I'm going to check him out. GOD bless you, beautiful friend! :-)

    1. This is the first book of his that I have/am reading, but so far, I'm pleased with his writing. Thanks for stopping by and my you have a beautiful week!!

  3. Happiness can sometimes feel elusive, can't it? However, when we look for it in God rather than our circumstances, it is so much easier to attain! I like to say, "Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances, but, joy happens in spite of them!" Wishing you a very happy 2016 - filled with MUCH joy!

    Blessings, Joan

  4. I love your gratitude list! I need to look up the book on Happiness! It sounds like a great read!


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