Friday, April 24, 2009

Nobody's listening. Part I

Well, after that overwhelming response to the last blog...none...I guess I'll move on.  While nobody's reading or giving a rat's behind what I'm writing, I'll press on and practice.  Maybe someone will stumble on this attempt at journalism and discover something emerging from behind that shiny chrome dome in the picture.  

I asked the huddling masses who have no clue I exist, to read Psalm 1:1 and comment.  Since it appears no one has done either, I guess it doesn't matter what I write.  So here goes.

Happiness seems to be one of the major goals of people today  We all want happiness of some kind.  It seems to be a major need.  The entire entertainment industry exists to fulfill some kind of need in all of us that will make us happy or pleased.  A lot of us want to be envied for something.  We need attention because there is a drive in us to be noticed.  Many of us want prosperity.  The whole "Prosperty Gospel" that has captured a huge portion of the pentecostal house of the church are giving us a "blab it and grab it" mentality that says "I deserve happiness or prosperity".  And we feel fortunate if we are noticed and blessed with abundance.  

So the theme behind all entertainment, marketing, even the news media goes out of it's way to provide us with that "something" that will fit our needs, whatever they may be, and make a buck while they're at it.  But is that how to find happiness.  I mean, is happiness found in a society that chooses to ignore the existence of a God?  

Psalm 1:1 says Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked (NIV)  Now don't get hung up on the term wicked.  That is simply the way of saying someone who has chosen to eliminate God as a part of daily living.  So, the psalmist is singing to us, (yes, he sings... these Psalms were meant to me sung) 
and he tells us happiness comes from a source other than a society that puts no value or ignores God.

Maybe first I should define what he means by happiness.  The New Living Translation translates happiness as joy.  Many translations use the word, blessed.  The Amplified offers several choices including prosperous.  Put all of the translations together and you come up with a general overall meaning of an inner joy or happiness that brings immense satisfaction and contentment.

So the Psalmist says this happiness is not found in the advice, counsel, suggestions, hints, negative input from sources that exclude the possibility of God, much less a personal God.  And when you read this verse you notice a steady progression from a superficial level of unbelief to absolute rejection of God.  I'll get into that in later blogs.  

But for now, consider.  What influences you most?  What and who are those people who shape your world view?  Who do you listen to in the media?  Does your outlook reflect a conservative view because that is who you gravitate to in your listening habits.  Or, do you find yourself going to the other extreme and adopting countering views of the left?  I'm not say either is right or wrong.  But what I am saying is, whether they are right left, up or down, if God is not a part of the equation in their thinking, then the Psalmist is saying, you can't find any level of happiness in ideology.

Nor can you find happiness in entertainment if that is something you are involved in.  Again, the entertainment may be wholesome and fun and totally engaging.  And there may be a level of happiness in it.  But the psalmist is saying, if my lifestyle, my dress, my sexual habits, my tastes are determined by an entertainment industry that does not even faintly consider a living God in it's mix, then true happiness cannot be found there.  Again, I'm not saying the industry is bad.  I've got friend and relatives in the industry.
What I am saying is, if the word view is one where God is eliminated from consideration, then true long lasting happiness that carries us to eternity is not found there.  

So in this first level of influence, do you listen and take the advice of those who aren't interested in God and leave him out of the equation?  Or do you follow the Psalmists advice and include God and listen to his advice given through the Psalmist to go to the source.  In this case, he says the source is the law.  Vs. 2 says happiness is in the law, the teachings, the guidelines of God.  Now in the New Testament, Jesus the radical comes along and says, he's the fulfillment, the completion of the law.  All the law and it's requirements are wrapped up in him.  

In Christ, the new law is Love God, Love People, Serve the World.  That is where happiness lies.  Jesus Christ.  So listen to him and his instructions and let him show you how to live in a world that ignores him.  He's a good teacher and is God.  The world ignored him too and killed him.  But death didn't end the story.  In his resurrection he killed death.  So that by his life, in his power, I can find true meaning and purpose.  Now that makes me happy.  

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