happiness or joy?


Most of us would agree with this. Choose happiness. well, yeah. happiness is bien. God wants us to be happy, obviously. umm…maybe not.

My pastor raised an interesting point: what if God doesn’t want us to be happy…but joyful?

Happiness is external; joy is internal.

Happiness is based on chance; joy is based on choice.

Happiness is based on circumstance; joy is based on Christ.

– Pastor Gord (:

God doesn’t desire happiness for us because happiness is simply an emotion. It does not last, it can be stolen by the smallest things, and can quickly turn to sadness. Then you’re happy again…sad…then happy…you get the idea. If the Christian life was about being happy, many Christians would live unsatisfied lives. Imagine you were being persecuted harshly by the government, and a fellow Christian walked up to you, offered a big smile and said, “Be happy!!”, chances are you’d feel like punching them.

But if you are a Christian and are joyful, there is so much more! Joy overcomes the constant up-and-down of happy, sad, happy, sad emotions.

But joy alone is about as useful as happiness. Your joy needs to come from the Lord; otherwise it is of no worth.

Having the joy of the Lord is what separates us from the false joy of idols of other religions. From the temporary pleasure of watching Hollywood movies, Saturday night talk-shows. From music, sports…pretty much anything in this world (including shopping).

Bottom line: nothing and no one can give us joy except for the Father.

God’s joy will always bring you happiness, but happiness will not always bring joy — in fact, it very rarely will.

So what exactly is joy? Joy is a perspective that comes from knowing God is in control, no matter what.

I love 1 Peter 1:8 – 9:

…you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

In Philippians 1:9 – 11, Paul writes,

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.

Paul didn’t pray that they would be happy, he prayed that they would love each other more and more so that they might serve God better — which comes with joy.

Joy is not a quick-and-easy emotion like happiness. It takes time to cultivate a true joy in God, and there’s no way we can do it on our own. We need to recognize that God is joyful. If God is truly in us, we will allow His joy to shine through us for the world to see. Releasing your problems to the Lord takes the worry and negativity out of our lives and allows us to experience His joy more completely. Who can be joyful when a cloud is hanging over their head all the time? Most importantly, though: remain close to Jesus. Getting to know God will deepen your relationship with Him and help you learn more about Him. Ask Him to use you to shine His joy to everyone.

Joy is the evidence of God in your life.

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years to treasure


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about teenagers. I go to school and see so many teens wasting their time, it seems, heartbroken over a lost “love,” coming up with ways to get back at those who hurt them, trying to keep up their marks and all the while working to afford post-secondary education…and their iphones.

I look around, and I don’t see teens going that deep; focusing on what really matters. Girls are too obsessed trying to get guys’ attention but be secure in who they are, while guys are too obsessed with x-box. COD. Halo. Whatever.

It’s sad, really.

Have you ever thought what it’ll feel like to be thirty years old and look back on your teen years and go, “Wow. I did nothing…I wish I had done so much more while I had the chance. Before life got really crazy. Before I had 50 million responsibilities”? Not many people have. I’m not saying you should take a step back and know you’ll live to regret your life; I’m saying that you should use these years to your advantage.

I often say to my mom, “Teenage years are often harder than a lot of adults think.” What I mean is this: sure, the problems of the average youth may seem trivial to adults since they’ve already gone through them and faced bigger things, but it’s when you’re trying to get into college/university, trying to decide what to do with your life, getting your first part-time job, getting your driver’s license, and all the while juggling sports and social life…it’s a time full of firsts. And probably one of the biggest periods of “firsts” in your life.

This stage of your life will make you what you are as an adult. It’s when you shape and mold your character. It’s when you choose your friends. When you seriously begin to follow God with an adult-like faith (no longer a child-like faith).

I see the teen years as a prime time to serve God in big ways. God sets before us tons of opportunities to give glory to Him. Often, though we don’t recognize them. We sit back and go to youth, church, maybe join a small-group Bible study. But when it comes down to practical things, we don’t do much.

Although the teen years are busy, they are critical for serving God. They are the years which make you into the adult you will one day be. It’s so important to spend these years closely following God. Reading the Bible, becoming involved in youth activities at church, and focusing on God instead of the latest celebrity magazines are all ways to deepen your relationship with Him.

Ask God to use you to do big things for Him. He may not give you much at first, but as you honor Him with little things, He will give you bigger and bigger things for you to do for Him.

But above all, everything (everything) must be for His glory. Never for your own glory. Don’t go on a missions trip so others will see what a good Christian you are, etc. Ask yourself: if I was the only person on this earth and God was in heaven, and no one else saw me do this but God and I, would I still want to do it? This is a good way to check if you’re doing things for His glory or your own.

These years are the time in your life when you’ll have the most time and maybe the most money to do things like go on a missions trip. Don’t waste it on things that won’t matter in two years. Instead, invest your time and energy into things that will last you an eternity. Things you can stand in front of God for one day and say, “I took this time on earth You gave me and used it for Your glory, not my ‘down time.’ ”

Glorify Him always, and He will bless you and keep you and you will be rewarded.

pure love: part 1


What is love?

The dictionary defines love as follows: “Love is unselfish, loyal, and the benevolent concern for others.

What is infatuation? “To inspire with intense, or short-lived, passion.

short-lived.

Check out 1 Corinthians 13:4 (the first verse of the famous Love Chapter):

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

patient, kind.

Do you believe the saying “Love is blind” is a true statement?

It’s not a true statement. No where in the Bible does it say that love is blind. In fact, it says the opposite. Love is patient, kind, generous, protecting, trusting, polite, caring…not blind. But lust — and infatuation — are blind.

(Now for the sake of grammatical correct-ness, I will do the whole love vs. infatuation as an allegory; that is, “love” and “infatuation” are people ^_^ )

Love vs. Infatuation

Love is patient; Infatuation is impatient.

When a boy has liked you for a long time and has been kind to you, he loves you; Infatuation is short-lived and may use a threat, like “if you really love me…”.

Love is generous, towards you and others; Infatuation is selfish.

Love protects you, he because it cares for you; Infatuation leaves you to your own defenses because he only cares for himself.

Love still stands even if there is no physical attraction; Infatuation consists of physical attraction.

Actions of Love

Watch how a boy reacts to pressure. If he’s angry, etc. under pressure, he doesn’t love.

Generosity shows character. It shows character because it shows that he is not thinking only of himself. And observe not only is he generous to you, but to others?

Love is also an act of will. When a guy says he loves you after the first date, they don’t really love you. How can they? They don’t really know you. They don’t know what you’re really like, if they really get along with you.

  • 1 John 3:16

Crockpots, Microwaves and Chicken

Girls are like crockpots because they like to think things through, slowly, before making a decision. Boys are like microwaves because they make quick decisions, on-the-fly.

And, as a girl in my youth group so classically stated, “…but chicken tastes better in a crockpot!” 😉

Nothing (almost) is more attractive to a girl than to watch a guy worshipping God!

Other Resources

Love and Respect by Emersons

http://issuu.com/setapartgirl/

For Young Women Only by Lisa A. Rice

I hope you’ve learned a lot and enjoyed reading Pure Love: Part 1!

Next week we’ll be talking about…

…a lot of stuff. 🙂

…the true love quiz

…who we are

…and more; I just don’t know all the categories 🙂

Keep checking back!

pure love (the mushy kind)


So just to clarify…this post is about pure love, between a man and a woman — the kind of love that is pure in God’s eyes.

My youth group is doing a series on this kind of love.

Not the typical marriage- _  _  _ -and-dating talk, but love…something so often avoided by youth groups.

However it’s just the girls group doing it, so it’s all from the girls’ point of view!

Moving on…

This week, I’ll talk about:

…why girls are like crockpots & boys are like microwaves

…how you know when a guy really loves you

…what types of things that show character in a guy

…the difference between love and infatuation

…and a lot more!

You can learn from this stuff whether you’re dating or not, and it’s stuff that will stay with you for a lifetime. Our girls’ youth leader had bought us small journals to write notes in, etc. She encourages us to keep them forever so we can go back and look in them.

I’ll be writing a post (about) once a week…so keep checking back for my blog series on love!

Different Devotions


 A lot of people know they should do devotions. But a lot of people don’t. Why? Some people don’t desire to learn more about our Maker. Some people find them just plain…boring. So how do we solve this problem?

First, what’s the point of doing devotions? To learn more about God. To learn

So I think it depends on how you learn the best. Are you a visual learner? Do you colour-code things and learn things by pictures and flow-charts? Are you more of a reading learner? Do you learn best by reading and writing out information?

If you are a visual learner, I would suggest something like colour-coding Bible verses. If it’s a verse about salvation, highlight it green. If it’s a blessing or promise, highlight it yellow. If it’s about the Holy Spirit, pink; etc. Another idea is to type up your favourite verses on business-card sized papers and decorate them. Tack them on your wall, bulletin board, mirror — anywhere you will see them. Read them over each time you see them; you’ll have them memorized in no time!

On the other hand, are you a “reading” learner? Read a chapter of the Bible for your devotions and write notes. Any verses that “jump out” at you, write them down and write why they stood out. Write how they can apply to your life. It’s a good idea to do this whether you are a visual or reading learner. It’s fun to go back in the future and read over verses you wrote down and how they helped you get through a rough spot in your life.

I usually do the second idea. Devotional guides aren’t a bad idea either; as long as you’re reading the Bible as well! I have used Our Daily Bread before — it’s free, takes only a minute to read, has a Bible passage to go with it and is written by different people.

Another book I’ve enjoyed a lot is Extreme Journey by Thomas Nelson Publishers. It’s a really good book. You read it as you read through your Bible. Not matter what your version is, etc., this book is great. It gives you background information, timelines, and even “interviews” with Biblical characters, which give you insight into how people thought and felt in different circumstances back then.

I thoroughly enjoyed it! It’s a really good book. I wasn’t able to find the actual author, so I just put down the publishers, which is what Amazon had as the author. 🙂

Check these resources out! They’re great — and only a few of the countless resources for you out there.

But whatever you do, nothing — and I mean nothing — is more important than spending time daily in God’s Word.

Emily

Our Joy


As we live our lives, where does our joy come from?

Does it come from shopping sprees or evenings at the theaters with our friends?

Or does it come from the “simple things” in life, like wildflowers growing in a green meadow, or the leaves turning colour?

What gives us joy? A walk through the park on a sunny day, or a stroll down a moonlit beach?

It’s important to find things that give us joy in our lives. But what kind of joy should we be seeking?

Are we seeking joy from the things that the world tells us will bring us happiness, or do we find our joy in God? Do we find our joy through a new wardrobe or time spent studying God’s Word and prayer?

It still astonishes me that we can find so much time for social time. We can hurry our homework in order to hang out with friends. Or rush through chores so that we can chat on Skype or Facebook.

Yet we never seem to have time for God’s Word. Never set aside time for prayer. When we finally tumble into bed after our busy, social, and work-filled day, we remember our devotions. “Oh right…I was supposed to read a chapter. Oops. Well, it’s too late now — and I doubt I would be able to keep my eyes open.” And with that thought, we slip into a peaceful sleep.

Have you ever thought how sad that makes God? The second you think, “I’m too tired tonight…” God thinks, “Again…brushed aside by others who cannot compare to me. Again, I’ve been set below friends and pleasure. Does she not know I can give her a joy greater than any she will find anywhere on the Earth?”

In today’s society, I think it’s shocking how God is one of our lowest priorities. Often, we would rather do even nothing and just sit on the couch, staring into space, than read His Word. Is that you today? If it is, you need to repent and put God back where He belongs in your life — first.

Emily

Through Trials


You know when we go through trials, our fellow Christians tell us to not give up on God?

To just cling to God in everything, no matter what happens?

And how we question God, asking “Why?”

It seems that when we go through trials, it’s all on our end — we think only with our perspective. How it’s affecting us, and our lives. Yet we are still told that no matter what, God will carry us through…He will keep us close to Him.

But have you ever thought about God’s perspective? He’s glad He got the opportunity to carry you through this trial. He’s glad He’s been able to hold you close to His heart. He’s glad you used this opportunity to learn more about Him and let Him carry you through it. He’s glad.

Have you ever thought of God that way? He wants to hold you close. To be there for you when times are tough. To let you get to know Him.

Why don’t you take some time to get close to God? To learn more about Him. Read some of His Word.

Blessings,

Emily