Skip to main content

Table Talk--Happiness Melts, Joy Remains.

Join us at our kitchen table...
And lest you think we have perfect attention spans and poetic conversations flowing at our house, insert a myriad of these comments during this conversation, "Sit right in your seat; your hair is in the syrup, don't kick your sister, please ask without whining, etc." 

The kids ran to breakfast singing a new chorus, "Jesus is my ice cream sundae!"I laughed at their enthusiasm and questioned the origin of this new song.

"It's Pookie Tiger. We got it at church. She says Jesus is like ice cream because ice cream makes her happy, and that Jesus also makes her happy and makes her feel good."

I laughed and said, "I don't think I agree with Pookie Tiger's theology, but I'm so glad that Jesus makes you happy."

Big sis crumpled her brow, "Whatta ya mean you don't agree?"

I explained, "Well a lot of people leave the church, and turn their back on God because they expect God to make them happy all the time, and when things are not happy, they leave Him behind. Jesus certainly can make us feel good, but did you know that Jesus doesn't promise us that we will always be happy? He says He gives us joy. Do you know the difference between those 2 words?"

Three little heads shook.

"Well, think about it for a minute, and let's look them up too."

Little sis said, "Happy feelings can change."
I nodded.

Bubba with his 4-year-old insight added, "After you are happy, then you are always sad."

"Aww why is that Bubba?"

With a pitiful mope, "Because you always have to leave the fun place."

"Ahh yes, like DisneyWorld? It's really fun and happy, but it doesn't last forever?"
With his bottom lip turned out, he nodded.

"Aww ok, well let's not be sad about it right now, please," I smiled at his adorableness.

Dictionary retrieved, I read:
Happy: adjective; delighted, pleased, or glad. Happiness = noun, a feeling of pleasure.
Joy: noun; great happiness or pleasure, the emotion of great delight.

Walking by, getting ready for the day, Karl piped in the conversation, "That's not accurate."

Big sis, "Whatta ya mean that's not accurate?!"

"What daddy means is that as people have used the word 'joy' differently over the years, it's meaning has changed. Let's look in the Bible dictionary to find out."

Little sis, "Why a Bible dictionary?"

"Well, the Bible was written a long time ago in Hebrew and Greek. In order for us to read it in English, people had to pick the closest English word that had the same meaning. When the Bible was translated, the word joy meant something else. Here it is: "It is a quality, not an emotion, grounded upon God himself and derived from him. In Hebrew and Greek it is most commonly used as a verb, not a noun, which implies that it's an outward expression, and is a consistent mark of believers because it anticipates being with Christ for ever in the kingdom of heaven."

I said, "Wow, it's a verb, not a noun! We just learned the difference between noun and verbs. What's the difference?" They rattled off their CC English Grammar memory work. A verb asserts action.


I said, "This makes sense now how God's Word instructs us to be joyful always. It's something we do. How can we 'outwardly express' joy even if something makes us sad?"

Three little heads shook. And frowned. They did not understand, nor like, how these two things could exist simultaneously.

"If happiness is a feeling, and feelings change, then there is no hope in happiness. But joy is based on anticipating--that means looking forward to--being with Jesus forever in Heaven. And listen to what Jesus gives us that lasts forever: [I read Ephesians 1:11-14] Hope, salvation, the Holy Spirit, and a guarantee of His promise. He says this is our inheritance. 'Inheritance' means what you get passed down to you when someone dies. Who died so that we would get these good things?"

Three little voices whispered, "Jesus."

"That's right. Jesus died so you could have hope, salvation, and the Holy Spirit. And because Jesus didn't stay dead, because He beat death, we have a guarantee that His promise never fails. It's like He's telling us, 'I know that sometimes you will be unhappy, sometimes things will make you cry, but remember, one day you will be with me where there are no more tears.'"

Three little faces smiled.

Three little heads bowed in prayer and thanked Jesus for dying on the cross.

And Bubba thanked Him for blueberry waffles.

Popular posts from this blog

An Avenue of Opportunity

This summer marks our 12th year of raising support. In other words, we raise all the money that funds our ministry, our income, our health benefits, our social security taxes; i.e. everything. I was casually chatting with a friend over lunch yesterday (casually because we were sitting on damp beach blankets while our kids picnicked in swimsuits in the backyard) about how God has changed my view of this task of support-raising over the years.
When we began fresh out of college, the idea of support-raising seemed daunting, but faith-stretching. And I worried what people would think of us. Would they think we are beggars?

We focused on "God, will you meet our needs?"
"Yes, I will; in my time," answered the Almighty.

He slowly led us to compassionate individuals, many of whom we had never met, and we had the privilege of experiencing His provision through the compassion of His people.

The abundance of His provision has ebbed and flowed over the years--needs always met, …

Top 10 Reasons Why People Don't Read the Bible

I've spent 15+ years in ministry, and I've noticed a problem:
people who say they believe the Bible haven't actually read it, and people who don't believe the Bible don't want to read it. My response to both groups is this: YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Why? Because the Bible is the best proven source for life-changing joy and peace. And since it's misquoted and misrepresented all the time, you need to actually read it yourself in order to know if you do/don't agree with it or do/don't want to read it.

When I mention this, it usually surfaces at least one of these 10 barriers that prevent folks from completing it. Do you relate to any of these?

10 Reasons Most People Don't Read the Bible, Refuted 1. I'm not religious. The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Jesus has been hailed by secular sources as the most influential person to ever walk on the earth. Most people, even those who don't worship God, agree that Jesus was a good person with a …

Free Lock Screens to Renew Your Mind and Purpose

5 years ago I created the acronym WHY as a way of pausing before using my smartphone. I've shared with audiences both live and digital how important it is to be intentional with technology.

Here are 5 free lock screens from my most recent student conference--Big Break.

You can read more perspective on this topic in an article I wrote for Cru Winter Conference.