For me, August means all of those things and a few others. Fall muskies await (especially in Sept – Nov), but why not search for them now? A second root canal visit, followed by another visit for a crown. Honestly it’s the most relaxing hour of my week (it takes place this AM). I get to lie back in a chair, unmoving, not answering my phone, eyes closed, listening to the background ROAR of various drills (or are they tooth-sized jackhammers?).
Visits with family are upcoming. There is such joy (lingering, lasting, deep) in family, dotted with occasional bursts of happiness (temporary, fleeting) when connected and together.
Recent occasions for happiness in this neck of the woods:
- A good, soaking rain last week lessened local drought conditions.
- Sunrises and sunsets. Check out Tuesday’s Trinity Facebook and Instagram for a recent pic.
- Starbucks opened in town. Another place to spend half a day’s pay on a cup of something-or-other. Honestly, a temporary, fleeting, burst of happiness thing for many. How many coffee shops can this area support? Full confession: I do indulge from time to time…
- An 8-point buck has been making the rounds on our property. Males of the deer species are rare in town, and this guy acts like he owns the place. He might. The picture is from late Monday afternoon, before worship. I walked right up to the edge of the parking lot, while he stayed near the volleyball net on the playground. All the other does and fawns and the sandhill cranes (and a few crows, always, the crows) fled my approach. He just stared at me; actually gave me chills, as I had a momentary thought that he might charge me to show who’s boss. He never flinched. Our confrontation ended in a standoff and that picture. It was glorious, and momentary.
Moments of happiness are wonderful and appreciated. But true joy is better (deep, lasting, lingering, rooted in Jesus).
You have choices to make throughout each day, many of which contribute to momentary happiness or lasting joy in Jesus. From Sunday’s sermon: “To choose not to listen and learn, to minimize time spent in the Word, is to choose a difficult road. For example, to think of worship today as pretty much it for time with God this week rather than a mere beginning…is to choose a difficult road. You’re choosing to make life more difficult than it already is. When we chose to not attend worship and Bible study, when we choose not to spend time listening to the wisdom of God each day, we’re making a choice. We’re deciding to settle for less than the full life God wants us to have, spiritually speaking.
At the same time, we’re saying to Satan and the world, “OK, have at me. Come and get me.” How foolish. Satan doesn’t let up, the world doesn’t let up, your own sinful nature will never let up. Choose wisely. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if anything is excellent, and if anything is praiseworthy, think about these things. The things that you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: Keep doing these things. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8,9)
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Arm yourself for the challenges of each day with Jesus and his Word. Less time on the internet and Instagram and Facebook and ESPN and FoxNews and CNN. More time on GNN, the Good News Network of God’s Word.
Happiness or Joy? You know the difference.
God give you grace to choose wisely,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand