This past Mother’s Day weekend was probably one of the hardest Mother’s Days I’ve ever had to endure as I watched the tears fall from my mother’s face.  My siblings and I were on program to sing for the dinner held at the church, and my brother, because of a heated debate about having to “pay to sing,” left the engagement before it even started.  My mother, in a mad scramble, tried to get him to come back, but that attempt failed, and as the program began, my mother sat in her seat, tears rolling from her eyes as if someone had stabbed her in the chest.  I thought she was crying because she missed her grandmother, and it made it difficult a little bit to sing “A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men watching her bawl. However, we managed (my sister and I) to get through the song without a hiccup, and the program rolled on.  It was later that I found out that my mother was crying because she felt as if neither my brother nor myself wanted to really be there to spend time with her, despite the fact that this Mother’s Day Dinner was a church-sponsored event, AND my mother is the “Pastor’s Wife,” making her the undeclared mother to everyone in the church.  My heart sank to the center of the Earth, and I’ve had a hard time bringing it back to the surface, because for the first time, my mother, as strong, calculated, and nearly emotion-less as she is with me, demonstrated vulnerability and weakness as it relates to our relationship to her IN THE CHURCH, and it has been bothering my heart ever since.

As a P.K. (Pastor’s Kid), I’ve had to learn how to give my emotions a backseat when my mother and father are in the “roles” of Pastor and Wife at the church.  I’m usually the last person to get a hug from my mom, or to be able to talk to her about what I’m going through, or to get an encouraging word from her, or even to say hi, not because she doesn’t want to, but most of the time, she can’t.  She’s helping others get through their issues, giving out hugs after service to every single person who has lined up just to say “hi” and “I love you.”  She’s going to the hospitals at 2 AM to pray for others, and rallying people together for meetings and prayer and such.  And as she is doing all these things, I’m usually just sitting in the background, hoping to get the chance to be like everyone else and say hi not to the “First Lady” or to the “Pastor’s Wife,” but to MY MOTHER.  As a result, I’ve learned to shut my emotions toward my mother down while at church or during church functions so that in case I don’t get the chance to speak to my mother on Sunday, or on Wednesday, or on any other day at church, I don’t get crushed.  After all, I still get to see her on other days and speak, laugh, have a good time, and all that mushy stuff.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten used to it and learned to enjoy the time I do get to have with her, and to allow others to enjoy the time they have with her, for she’ll always be my mother no matter what.

So whem my sister told me what my mother said about the dinner, I found myself rethinking my position as a son and a P.K. at while at the church, because I truly had gotten past looking at my mother as my mother at church to make room for others to be with my mom as the “First Lady.”  I never looked at church being another opportunity to “hang out” with my mama because it never dawned on me that possibly, my mama sees church as a way to hang out with me.  I never imagined that maybe being at church, going to church activities, fellowshipping with the saints, and praying together could be my mom’s way of spending time with me, my wife, and my kid.  It bothered my spirit because it almost felt like a double edged sword cutting me both ways.  When I shut down and treat church functions as church functions, being emotionless as I can be so that my feelings don’t get hurt when I can’t be a son and my mother can’t be my mother, I get gut-checked because my mother wants to spend time with me; but when I want my mother to be my mother at church, I get gut-checked because she’s being a mother to about 2-300 people and does not have time for me.

Being a P.K. is hard sometimes.  But I am grateful to God that I do have a mother that I can sing to, and say hi to, and hug every now and then, and talk to, and hang out with.  Regardless of the occasion, make the time to be there for the ones you love, as I swallowed my pride and stayed at the dinner and kicked it with my mama for a little while.  We never know when we have seen our loved ones for the last time, so make each moment count.  Even as a P.K., I’m still a son, my Pastor is still my dad, and his Wife is still my mama.  And as long as time allows, I’ll love them with all I have in me, and I’ll wait my turn to be a son while the Pastor and Wife tends to the needs of the people, knowing that at the end of the day, we will always return to each other as family.

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When doing a research paper, or thinking of a new invention, or developing a new concept, or even writing a new message, it is customary for us, in the age of plagarism, to see if someone has done what we’re attempting to do, or to draw inspiration from what someone has already accomplished, or to gain insight on how not to do something a certain way.  We look for precedents, archetypes, examples, past histories, and anything else by which  we can gain the knowledge we seek to do what we want to do, because it is easier to take on something new when we have a guide to follow, a path to trail from.  We see it happening all the time, in technology (the iPad gets upgraded every 6 months it seems now), in music (autotune took over the music industry and hasn’t looked back since), in fashion (when did the 80’s and 90’s make a huge comeback?), and in social trends (how often do we know our friends’ business nowadays #twitter).  It is an inescapable fact that we look to the past to create in the present in an attempt to matter in the future, sometimes to our benefit, other times to our detriment, but nevertheless a necessary part of life.

As previously suggested in the last post, God’s “Words” don’t stop at the Bible.  God gives His people fresh Words all the time, Words that are relevant to the times and situations we face today, whether they are a shadow of what has happened in the past, or if they are brand new situations never discussed in the Bible.  God’s Word can be found in music, in literature, in the arts, in mathematics and science, technology, fashion, and so on.  God is inspiring people all the time to do amazing things, things that our forefathers and ancestors never dreamed of, and God’s people are being blessed all the time as a result of these inspirations, these new Words that God imparts on His people at His discretion.  So, if God is inspiring His people with new Words all the time, and we in the faith know “trees” by the “fruit they bear,” what, then is the Bible, and what purpose does it serve?

God revealed something to me that, again, made sense before, but after understanding that God’s Word is His Word, I now see His Word as something more.  My grandmother used to (and sometimes still does) tell me that when we don’t know what to do, we have to go back to the old way and walk therein (Jeremiah 6:16), which to her meant that we have to keep doing things the way we used to, ways that satisfy our personal desires and logical ways of thinking, instead of looking to someone who transcends desire and sense.  She used to say that the new ways that people are going into cannot be of God because these new ways of worship, praise, devotion, and relating to God are not her ways, and are not the old ways.  There’s no way that the “New Way” can be of God when Scripture tells us to go the “Old Way.”

But what my grandmother, as well as other Sectarians who believe that their way of worship is the ONLY way to worship and therefore denounce anyone who worships God differently, fail to realize is that yes, we are to walk in the Old Way, but the Old Way is NOT a methodology of worship, it is NOT a style of preaching and teaching, it is NOT brand of Christianity that we pick up off the shelf and conform ourselves to.  The Old Way is, and only is, Jesus Himself.

When we stop and think about how God operates, we must consider that He is all knowing AND all present, which means that He already knows what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen, AND that he exists everywhere, every time, at the same time.  The same God that exists in 1964 is the same God that exists in 2012, the same Spirit He used to inspire Christians to establish denominations which could meet the needs of the people’s souls in the past is the same Spirit He uses to inspire Christians today to establish blogs and TV ministries to reach millions and edify their souls.  So the Bible, then, acts as the foundation, the precedent, by which we establish God’s work here on planet Earth, as the Bible, in God’s masterful planning, lays the foundation of how Jesus is the mark that we press toward, the Archetype by which we draw inspiration from, the Precedent that we look back to and understand where we are going, the Old Landmark that our forefathers sang about us going back to.  God crafted His Word to show us just how much we need Jesus in our lives to do what we do day to day, for Jesus was there in the Beginning, and He is still here today.  He lived, died, and lives now, all the while demonstrating to His people what it means to love unconditionally and to obey God dutifully.  And His brothers and sisters who lived in this world after His Ascension continued to talk, teach, and preach about Him and how He, not some methodology, is the Mark by which we are to live by.  Without the Bible, we can never fully understand what Jesus did for us, and how the same power He weilds is the same power we weild to do the things that God allows us to do.

That is why the Bible is the Word of God, for it shows us what we are supposed to look back to for inspiration, motivation, encouragement, and confirmation.  We need God’s Word to link to what God has placed in our Spirits (which is the Spirit of God dwelling in us, the same Spirit that dwells in Jesus, that dwells in time and beyond time) so that we know that we are walking in the Path God has ordained us to walk on.  The Word confirms our steps in God, so that despite the obstacles that come with what we are doing in Him, we can know beyond doubt that we are doing exactly what God has commanded us to do.

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First of all, I believe in the Bible and all it stands for.  I believe in everything written in it and through it, for it is the very thing that allows me to know about God and how to be a Christian, especially in these perilous times.  So this writing is not an indictment against my faith, or a questioning of the validity of God’s work.  Rather, this is the first of a two-part explanation as to why Jesus is the foundation of faith, and how God’s Word ties into that fact.  Without this question answered, I cannot comprehend how Jesus is indeed the foundation.

We all know that God’s Word, the Bible, was not written in one sitting.  It is a compilation of several (66) books, texts, and manuscripts written NOT by God Himself, but by regular joes like you and me, those who were divinely inspired by God to write these books about the faith, people of faith, tests and trials of faith, and the like.  These 66 manuscripts were compiled to become the Bible, the code of conduct and character for Christians old and new.

Because of this, this debate has been going on for generations (and I thank my sister in Christ mysterytopursue for bringing it to light again, for without God’s inspiration to get her to post it up, I never would have followed God’s heart on the matter):  is the Bible the Word of God, and how can it be the PERFECT word of God if it was written by IMPERFECT men?  With all the different translations that have come out since the manuscripts were written, how can we be sure that the word of God IS the Word of God and not the words of men?  And at first, I was on the fence about it, because honestly, I understand that God Himself did not write the Bible with His own hands.  He did not get a pen and pad and script the Bible.  It was, in fact, written by ordinary people.  So how can the Word of God be the ACTUAL Word of God?

So, rather than sit in my own wisdom, I relied on the wisdom of God to tell me what the answer to this is.  He showed me something that completely blew my mind and shook my faith to the core.  For me, this is life-changing, life-altering, and fundamentally restructuring, because after this, my outlook on faith changed forever.  God is the God of yesterday, today, and forevermore.  As a result, God is capable of orchestrating massive projects since the existence of time, that transcend time, for He is the only one who can exist in more than one place at one time, and in more than one time period at a time.  So if He is God, who has this capability to exist anywhere AND anytime, who else but God can get all these people to write about Him, people who have never met each other and never talked to teach other, and then have all these different manuscripts be scattered across the nations, only to be brought back together CENTURIES after all of them were ever written, and then be hand-picked to represent the fundamental building blocks of the Christian faith?!  Who else but God could inspire 30+ authors to write these testimonies about Him, so intricately that everything in it makes SPIRITUAL sense?  Who else but God could transcend time, thousands of years, ensuring that His Word remains in tact long enough to be canonized into one book?  God is the ONLY one who could orchestrate putting together a single manuscript over the course of thousands of years, the only one who has the power to divinely inspire everyone to write about Him in such a way that would touch the hearts of men and affect their spirits to say that these are the ones that represent Him; the only one who could even preserve the manuscripts long enough to make sure that they made it into the canonization, surviving wars, earthquakes, other disasters, and false translations.  That is how I know, and that is how my faith tells me, forces me in fact, to believe that this Bible, this Word of God, is in fact THE Word of God.

But I take it even a step further.  Even Jesus Himself quoted the Word of God on several occasions to defeat the enemy, as teaching tools, and as methods of confirmation of His Mission.  On many occasions, Jesus said, “It is written…,” and quoted Scripture, the Word of God, that came from His Daddy, and demons fled, Satan ran, and God’s purpose was fulfilled.  So if Jesus utilized the written words of men and called them the Word of God, how can the Bible be anything less than the Word of God.  Therefore, my answer is YES, the Bible is the Word of God.

So I believe that God’s Word is embedded in the Bible; it is the core of our existence, the reason I am a Christian.  It holds the keys to our faith.  We have to believe in the Bible as the Word of God, for only with it can we show ourselves approved, workmen who are not ashamed to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Yet, the issue that arises from this confirmation is:  is the Bible the ONLY Word of God?  Is it possible for God to give us new Words from Him?  Is the Bible the only Word that He has given us?  Are there any other Words other than The Bible that are from God Himself?  If God can inspire those men with what were fresh words at that time, can God do that for us now?  Can God continue to inspire us with fresh words that are His?  With all the books, songs, blogs, texts, and the like that come out, have come out, and continue to come out, can we honestly say that God’s Word began and ended in the Bible?  Is God not speaking to us and inspiring us to write and speak fresh words?

If this is the case, that God’s Words are being written every day, then what is the purpose of the Bible?  What is the purpose of the Bible if it was written so long ago, in a time period that definitely does not match up with the 21st century?  What is The Bible to us now?

Let us all go back to the Old Landmark.

To be continued.

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Many times we expect trials and tribulations to take place in massive waves, grand attacks, and huge obstacles, things that we can anticipate and prepare for.  But God has demonstrated, at least in my life, many times over that it’s not the big stuff that he’s concerned about as much as he is concerned about how I handle the little things, the seeming insignificant things.  I witnessed someone say to me one day that he had asked God to give him a mind to pray before he makes a hasty decision, and then when the opportunity presented itself out of the blue, he failed to see the God in the situation and do what he asked God to give him the opportunity to do.  Thereby, he missed it.  I, too, was presented with an opportunity to understand what it is like to experience peace when someone wants to be at war with me, something I struggle with all the time.  When the opportunity presented itself, rather than sticking to past solutions, which always failed, I tried something different.  I asked God, “What do you want me to do?”  And He showed me that arguing with someome who does not want to hear the truth is not going to produce any Godly results.  So say the facts, and call it a day, knowing that you did not open up a debate.  And doing so gave me the peace that I had wanted to experience, and it felt great.

What am I trying to say?  Most of the time, God does not test us with mega trials that we can prepare for days, weeks, months, or years in advance, like a final exam.  Rather, God tests us with POP QUIZZES, the ones that we have no idea are going to take place, but are a part of the faith curriculum, and count just as much as (if not more than) the exams themselves.  We never know when something is going to come to test the knowledge, wisdom, and faith that we possess.  We never know when our greatest nightmare suddenly comes to pass.  We never know when we’re gonna get cut off by somebody on the road.  We never know when one wrong word is going to spark a heated debate.  We never know when that customer is going to be p’d off because an order was wrong.  We never know when a loved one is going to pass away. We never know when someone is having a bad day.  We never know when miscommunication is going to cause problems.  We never know when God will decide to create a mini-situation that will make us lose our minds.  But we can delight in the fact that we do know that pop quizzes, in whatever form they show up, will, in fact, show up.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  1 Peter 4:12-13

And when they show up, they are to prove that the foundation that we have built our faith upon is a sure foundation.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. f anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.  1 Corinthians 3:9-15

Furthermore, if we pass the pop quizzes, God not only rewards us with blessings, but He also rewards us with more quizzes and tests, knowing that we can handle it, because we passed the quizzes of the past.

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord…. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance.’  Matthew 25:23, 29

So be as cunning as a fox, and be ever watchful when it comes to the pop quizzes of life.  We should study diligently to show ourselves approved, because we never know when God will pop a quiz upon us.  The danger of being unprepared is that when we are not ready for the quiz, and we have to rely on what we know to pass it, we run the risk of failing every single time because we are not ready.  Ironically, we asked for the quizzes in the first place by receiving salvation.  So we should make sure that we are ready at all times to pass whatever test comes our way, for if we know that they will show up at any given time, we must be prepared at all times, in hopes that we can pass every time.

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A while back,  I moderated a short-lived group on Facebook called “CrossQuest,” where I invited others to ask tough questions about God, faith, and everything in between.  One question I posed to the group was:

CrossQuestion: can you make love and/or have sex with a Gospel song playing in the background?

The responses I got from the question can be found here : http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/143497142342502/permalink/379619952063552/

And they ranged from people saying yes to people saying “heck to the naw.”  For it was impossible for some, maybe most to think about bumping and grinding to “Something About the Name Jesus.”  Here is the message God gave to me back then, and it still has some relevance today.

How often have we caught ourselves trying to rationalize or justify the things we do wrong? How often have we found ourselves doing things that we subconsciously know we shouldn’t be doing, yet found a way to make what we are doing make rational sense to ourselves? It would appear that as people, we know that there are things that God would be pleased with and things that He wouldn’t, so by socialization and rationalization, we decide that God can only be a part of our lives in particular chunks, whereas in other areas, He cannot or should not exist.

Take the issue of sex and Gospel music, for instance. We all have been taught that sex is a dirty thing, that having it is such a horrible, horrible thing to do outside of marriage, something that’s done behind closed doors, something that has to be kept in the dark, something that no one should know that we do (whether we’re married or not). We’ve gotten so good at keeping it a secret, in fact, that we feel that we should keep it a secret from God Himself, even though He knows everything we do anyway. So the thought of playing a smooth Gospel track in the background, grinding to a “Jesus Joint,” seems appalling, sacrilegious, demented, disgusting, and just plain wrong, EVEN THOUGH God sanctioned sex as something that married couples should have and enjoy. So, if sex is such a dirty thing outside of marriage, something that we shouldn’t do, why do we ignore the voice of God when we decide to do the wrong things?

We are good at ignoring God when we want to, choosing to serve God only when it appeases us, when it is a benefit to us, when it makes us feel great and that our purpose is being served. But we also fully know how to shut that voice off, to ignore the voice of God when He is telling us to back out. Some people call it, “He’s not through with me yet.” Others call it, “The devil made me do it.” Some say, “Well, preachers do it, so why shouldn’t I?” Others say, “I simply do not care.” Atheists have proclaimed that, “The Bible has too many holes in it.” Saints have said, “Well, I know all I need to know.” Scientists believe, “I’ll believe it when I can see it.” And mere mortals have said, “I just want what I want, and I’m gonna do what I gotta do to get what I want.” Regardless of where some of us fit, all those excuses are our ways of trying to place what God has instilled in us (the Holy Spirit) and tried our very best to rationalize it, break it down to mere mortal understanding and justification so that we can continue doing what we want to do, even if it hurts us in the long run.

Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and that’s the bottom line. There are no ways around it, no loopholes to jump through. And the beauty of it is that God has given us a conscience that tells us what is right and wrong. But when we allow our mortal minds to try to circumvent what God has placed in us, we place ourselves in situations when we ignore God and, without even really knowing it, submit ourselves to Satan and his powers by speaking justification and rationalization, two of Satan’s most powerful messages here on Earth. When we know that we’re LIVING in sin, the only way we can get sleep at night is by justifying and rationalizing why we do what we do, and even though we know it’s wrong, if we can make sense of why we do it (and find other people who can make sense of it, too), then we don’t mind being bound by Satan and being his ambassadors, letting the world know, “It’s okay to have premarital sex, it’s okay to smoke a little dope, it’s okay to drink until we pass out, it’s okay that we lie, it’s okay that we gossip, it’s okay that we cheat, it’s okay that we steal, it’s okay that we sleep with people outside our marriage, it’s okay that we club-hop, it’s okay if we (fill in the blank). God’s not through with us yet.” And just like that, we go on doing what we do, because we simply turned God off.

The bigger issue we as a people face is this: how long will we live our lives based on the rationale of man before we realize that the rationale of man is not sufficient enough for us to live the fulfilled lives that God has promised we can live by serving Him? For too long, we have allowed Satan to keep us bound by speaking death over ourselves and enjoying the so-called benefits of living double standards. For too long, we have allowed ourselves to remain in states of defeat because someone told us that it’s okay if we succumb to our human nature. For too long, we have stayed in the background, watching the wrong thing take place in our own backyards and said nothing, not standing for what we believe in for fear of what may happen if we actually do speak up. For too long, we have lain our religions down so that we can do what we have to do, rather than keeping our Crosses in the ground and saying that God will fight our battles for us and rejoicing in that. For too long, we have allowed the temptations and enticements of this world to bring us to our knees, and rather than praying when we get there, we crash to the ground, and as we lay prostrate, rather than getting in the presence of God to pick us back up, we stay right where we are, settling for the rationalization of man than the divination of God because we are comfortable, right where we are.

Now is the time to rise up out of the mediocrity. Now is the time to stop settling for what man has to offer us and reaching for what God has already given us freely. Let’s stop pretending that we don’t hear the voice of God and stand on His Word. Let us hold one another up in love and truth and tell the devil, “No, not anymore.” Let us stop trying to use our mortal minds to understand the divinity and begin allowing the Spirit to guide us into the things we should do and should not do. And let us always remember, regardless of what we actually think in our minds sometimes, GOD IS ALWAYS WATCHING US.

I recently came out of a Sunday service feeling as though my soul had not been moved by anything put out during the service.  And it wasn’t the first time that I had felt that way, more like the 4th or 5th time straight.  The songs weren’t doing it, the prayers weren’t uplifting, and the message from the pastor seemed convoluted and all over the place, leaving me with more questions than answers, more doubt than inspiration.  I wondered to myself what’s really going on because service just did not feel the same way as it had in the past, and I do not like feeling as though I’m not getting filled when I go to church.

As I thought about the topic I wrote previously on in “What’s My Motivation,” I pondered if my worship was consistent, that I was in worship to God out of love and not out of habit or ritual, especially considering that things at my church have changed slightly, but not enough to say that the ritualism and traditionalism has shifted completely.  Still confused, God sent my brother and sister over to the crib to help me flesh this out.  And what God showed me humbled me so much that I wished I could take back everything I had thought about prior to the conversation we had, because I realized just how selfish I was.

God revealed to us that when I’m in a period of stagnation (where nothing good nor bad is happening, and worship to God APPEARS futile), it is not an opportunity to go searching for the next big FIX, that next big HIGH, or that next big, dare I say it, SPIRITUAL ORGASM in which I feel so alive in God.  Because when I go in search of a fix, I’m saying to God that my relationship with Him is not good enough or satisfying enough to wait on Him to move in my life and give me what I need and desire when the time is appropriate.  Every time I’ve hit a period of stagnation, I’ve always tried to cut and run to the next church, or the next choir, or the next thing, in search of a spiritual high that I should be able to have despite where I am, especially in a period of stagnation, where I have the opportunity to store up praises and thanksgiving to God in preparation for the eventual trial or trials to come.

But more importantly, while I’m in a period of stagnation, God revealed to me that OTHERS are in periods of spiritual highs, ah-ha’s, and inspiration all around me.  And as I considered this, I realized that while I wasn’t necessarily feeling the message or the worship service every now and then, other people in the church WERE.  They got the message they were supposed to receive, they got the miracle they needed from a song that was sung, and they got the inspiration they needed to move forward in God and in life.  So although the message wasn’t for me, or the song wasn’t for me, someone in the service got the message.  Someone got the inspiration from the songs and the prayers.  And because we are ONE BODY (1 Corinthians 12), when one person rejoices, all should rejoice.  Because we are ONE BODY, when one is inspired, all should be inspired.  Because we are ONE BODY, when one feels the move of the spirit, all should feel moved by the spirit, if nothing more than just because that person, who is part of the Body of Christ, felt the spirit.

I realized that I have been so selfish, saying that God must have not been in this place, or God is trying to shift and people aren’t getting it, or that change needs to happen or people need to get out of the way.  I realized that instead of having a selfish attitude, I need to be there to rejoice with those who are where they are in God, for that is the sign of spiritual maturity:  the ability to recognize where I am in God and where others are in God, and not judge them for where they are, but instead encourage us all to build upon where we are in God together.  Furthermore, I need to be patient enough to wait on others to see what God has shown me so that we can worship on the same level together, if that is God’s will.  Until then, I must be willing to worship with others, even when I can’t feel what they are feeling.  For as my siblings said to me, “It might just not be my Sunday to feel it.  It doesn’t mean I won’t feel moved the next Sunday.”

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Matthew 6 talks about how my happiness lies in the treasures I store.  If I store treasures on earth, then my happiness is contingent on maintaining temporary things, things that are not built to last.  Is that the kind of happiness I want?  If I spend my time chasing after temporary things, I will never be happy.  Rather, I will be caught up in the pursuit of happiness, a pursuit that cannot be achieved by obtaining material wealth.  What has happened is that I have taken on the world’s mantra that I should achieve the American dream, and expect God to make me happy by giving me that dream.  But when my dreams are not realized, I are no longer happy with myself or our God because my happiness was based on OBTAINING STUFF.  God is looking for a people who are happy with obtaining Him and His spiritual blessings, which are not meant to satisfy the flesh, but are meant to satisfy the spirit, a transcendence of wealth from the natural to the supernatural.  This intangible happiness can only be accessed through faith, for it is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

That’s why I can’t allow myself to be swept away by a world that changes its mind about what constitutes as happiness every 15 seconds.  If my happiness was based on having the latest gadget, I would be sad every 3 months because every day, new phones, iPads, watches, computers, and other STUFF come out, and it’s impossible to keep up.  By the time I can afford the iPad 1, here comes the iPad 7.  Get a flip phone, now phones come in watches.  I cannot let what others dictate as happiness become my definition of happiness, for if I do that, I will never be happy.

But then take it a step further.  I can’t even base happiness on what I think happiness should be.  Even if I don’t prescribe to the norms of society, if I base my happiness on what makes ME happy, I set myself up to be disappointed because those things will not last nor will come to pass the way I expect them to.  Because my will is not God’s will (in the literal, two separate entities sense), it is not guaranteed that my desires, even if Godly, will turn out the way I expect them to.  And if my happiness is contingent on my desires coming to pass as I expect them to, I only end up sad, depressed, angry, and bitter because things did not go my way.  That’s not the kind of happiness I want, for if that’s the kind of happiness I pursue, then I have given POWER over to things, saying to these things or people, “I give you the authority to dictate whether I am happy or not.”  I submit my pleasure button to things, not to God who gives me dominion over things.  I’d rather submit to God and enjoy life in Him regardless of whether I obtain things, than to submit to things and be miserable when those things pass away.