I heard a really good sermon this past Sunday morning. My wife and I were spending time with our daughters and son-in-law in Birmingham, AL for a combination of birthdays and Father’s Day celebrations. Both mine and my youngest daughter’s birthdays fall right around Father’s Day and so there is much to celebrate at this time each year. Ever since my children were potty trained, I mean born, I have loved spending as much time as possible with them. They bring me great joy!
Notice I asked above, “What brings you JOY?” I chose this word with purpose because there is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a feeling. It comes and goes. There are things that can make you happy for a while and then as they grow old or routine, they no longer elicit that emotion of happiness. Joy is a state of contentment and solitude, of a deep satisfaction with the state things around you. Joy is a state of mind that you can control, if you know what actually brings joy. GOD has, throughout history tried to share this with us, but repeatedly we seek our own sources of happiness, because we don’t even know that what we are looking for, searching for, is JOY.
I encourage you to take time to listen to this sermon: https://rccbirmingham.org/sermons-archive/lquetq10spwekgamivzwp463eptt2s
This sermon comes from the book of Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 (chapter 11 verse 7 through chapter 12 verse 14 of the English Standard Version of the Bible)*
Scripture – Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 (ESV)
7Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. 8So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity. 9Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. 10Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
1Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Fear God and Keep His Commandments. 9Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. 11The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
*There are many translations of the Bible. I like the ESV or English Standard Version but also will view the same verses in other translations to help me gain greater clarity into their true meaning. This is why I love Bible.Com and their phone app. It allows me to look up a verse and then choose translations on the fly to compare the verbiage.