ENCOURAGEMENT 28 JANUARY 2019 Good News • South Florida Edition Finding Happiness Dr. Norman Wise Living Water Counseling “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?’” (Matthew 16:24-26 NLT). What is happiness? Is happiness an intense feeling of pleasurable satisfaction? Is happiness dependent on the circumstances of my life? Is happiness a short and fleeting feeling that I quickly lose? Is happiness like a drug that I find myself doing anything to get? Is happiness cut off from my regular life and just known for moments in a life that is largely empty? Is happiness found by focusing on myself, my needs and my feelings? Is happiness being popular, powerful, and prosperous for me, myself, and I? Or is happiness… • A quiet settled tone of a harmonious life? • A deep satisfaction coming from within, regardless of the circumstances? • A very solid foundation that is a stable part of my daily life? • A reality that is empowering and gives me freedom to act? • A health of soul that is integrated into every moment and activity in which my entire personality is revealing sanity, stability and spirituality? Is true happiness achieved by self-denying apprenticeship to the Messiah Jesus and is it heroically living a life as part of a divine plan to trample the evil, darkness, lies and abuse under the feet of Jesus and replace them with good- ness, truth, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and beauty? I always seek happiness. Which definition do I believe in? What type of happiness am I seeking? “According to theancients, happiness isa lifewell lived, a lifeof virtueand character, a life thatmanifests wisdom, kindnessandgoodness. For them, the lifeof happiness – the life to dream and fantasize about, to hunger and seek after, to imitate and practice – is a life of virtue and character. At its core, such a life in- cludes a very deep sense of well-being.” (pg 25; Lost VirtueofHappiness;Discovering theDisciplinesof the Good Life by J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler) Prayer: LORD, I live in a society in which per- sonal pleasure is KING and the ultimate value of life. I am tempted on every side to place my needs and wants on the throne of my life and live for those alone. Lord, lead me not into temptation and deliver me from this evil. Lord, put in me a hunger and thirst for righteousness that is more than a Sun- day morning inspiration; one that does not mutate into self-righteousness, self-sat- isfaction, pride and religious abuse of others. Allow me to in a real and legitimate way seek first your righteousness and kingdom as the passion of my life because of a real passion for YOU because of YOUR infinite wild passion for me. Let me see YOU more clearly, that I may love YOU more dearly, and follow YOU more nearly! Havemercy onme. Lord, I believe! Helpmy unbelief. Dr. NormanWise is the Executive Director of LivingWater Christian Counseling and host of “Ask the Counselor” onGraceNetRadio.com. LivingWater can be reached at 954-726-2303.