September 18

John 7-8, Psalm 106

Happiness comes from the word happenstance and is based on our circumstances. True joy is independent of circumstances, instead it is a gift of the Holy Spirit offered by Jesus to those who put their trust in Him (Galatians 5:22). Happiness ends when the circumstances ends, joy never ends. Probably 10 pounds heavier on my last day of my vacation in Italy celebrating my 36th wedding anniversary, was amazing but now comes to an end. Every good vacation and meal comes to an end. Many people create a bucket list of things they want to do before they die. Every item on that list, if achieved, will also bring temporary happiness and will also end. Basing your life and hopes on anything other than Jesus will be basing it on a lie if one thinks it will give them lasting happiness. In today's reading Jesus talks about truth.

In John 8:31-32, Jesus says, "...If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He said previously in John 7:37-38, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." He says the same thing to the woman at the well in John 4:13-14, and tells her that what He offers never ends. Jesus wants everyone to know that everyone is a slave to something, everything else is basing your hope on a lie, only He offers truth and real hope. He goes on to say in John 8:34,36, "... Most assuredly , I say to you, whoever commits a sin is a slave of sin...Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." Paul discusses this topic in Romans 6:18, "And having been set free from sin, you become slaves of righteousness." He also says in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

Jesus' desire is to free us. His death on the cross freed us from the bondage of sin and death, but we have to accept that gift from Him. How does He free us, by accepting His truth. How do we know that truth, by abiding or living in His Word, and becoming His disciple. Every other option whether overt sin or seemingly good is temporary and is a lie if you believe it will never end and its effects won't end. Only Jesus offers you true joy which lasts into eternity. This is a level of joy that our current minds can't fully perceive. John says in his letter, 1 John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster