Commentary, Featured, John McReynolds - Posted by john on Saturday, August 7, 2010 11:40 - 4 Comments 4,509 views
Basics 15 – The Happiness of God
BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINE
Lesson Fifteen: The Happiness of God
God is happy. His happiness is an intrinsic part of who He is. He was happy in eternity past, He is happy now, and He will be happy for all eternity. There never was a time when He was not happy. His happiness, like all of His other attributes, is infinite and absolute. It is not subject to fluctuation. It can neither increase nor decrease. God did not attain His happiness, nor can He ever lose it. It is an integral part of His being and has been so from eternity past. Because God is absolute, infinite, and eternal, His happiness is absolute, infinite, and eternal. God does not depend on anything external to Himself as a source of happiness. He does not even need to do anything to keep His happiness. God’s happiness has no need of sustenance or maintenance. He is the God of perfect, absolute, and infinite well-being…
It is different for us humans. Obviously, as finite beings our happiness and well-being is subject to change. External and internal influences can dramatically change our sense of well-being. Our happiness must be maintained—at least in part—by some external source. And, being fallen creatures, slaves to sin, prone to evil, and living in a fallen, cursed world, our happiness and well-being is drastically impacted. If you think about it, human circumstances for the majority of people living on this planet are generally so negative that we would all be driven to the pit of blackest despair if it were not for one vital ingredient in our lives—hope.
BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINE
The Happiness of God
by John McReynolds
Before we begin our study let’s spend a few moments in silent prayer, utilizing the principle of confession of sin if we need to regain fellowship with God, and otherwise preparing our hearts for the study of the Word of God. Let us pray:
We’re grateful, Heavenly Father for another opportunity in grace to feast on your marvelous Word. We pray that the Holy Spirit will take these doctrines and make them a source of blessing and growth in our lives, that we might achieve one of the chief benefits of spiritual maturity—sharing the happiness of God—and by this show a lost and dying world the blessings that are available only in Christ, for we ask it in His name—amen.
The Frustrating Search for Happiness
When I began this study I had intended it to be about the Divine attribute of Love. The more I got into it, however, the more I realized that when I had dealt with God’s essence in earlier lessons I had completely overlooked one of God’s chief perfections—happiness. As I considered this and researched what the Bible has to say on the subject, I realized that we needed to devote at least an entire lesson on God’s Happiness—and how His happiness relates to us.
The chief goal in the life of any person is to find happiness. This concept was embodied in our own Declaration of Independence: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Whether a person is blessed to be born in a country where personal freedom and prosperity are the normal state of its citizens, or privation and oppression are their lot, every person’s ultimate, foundational goal is personal happiness.
This is no less true of God. All things He does He does to please Himself. Obviously with God, being happy is utterly simple: He has infinite abilities and resources by which He could achieve and maintain happiness—if He even needed to. But as we will see shortly, God’s happiness does not depend on anything external to Himself—His happiness is completely self-contained. It is not so for us. Being fallen men, for us the pursuit of happiness is no simple thing—it requires much effort, and success is by no means assured. For us happiness requires external sources which we usually cannot control. For most if not all people, personal happiness remains a frustratingly elusive goal.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
In 1943 psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his famous hierarchy of human needs. He broke down what he perceived as human needs into five different categories, each more basic that the next. This is depicted in the well-known pyramid illustration to the right. At the bottom of the pyramid was purely physical needs, air, water food, sleep and so on. Then it moved on to environmental needs—those things that would insure safety and security. The next level dealt with fulfillment of emotional needs—love, and a sense of belonging to family or community. Then the hierarchy moved on to psychological needs—self-esteem, confidence, the respect of others, a sense of personal achievement, and so on.
The apex of Maslow’s pyramid dealt with the so-called needs of self-actualization. These were the urges to discover and fulfill one’s potentials in life—to “be all you can be” to borrow a phrase from the US Army’s recruiting campaign. In Maslow’s theory a person who has attained the maximum in this category would become a secure, mature, well-balanced individual, characterized by a high degree of personal morality, creativity, and spontaneity; skilled at problem solving—a non-prejudicial person at peace with the world around him.
Most people would agree that a person in this state could be characterized as happy indeed. But Abraham Maslow was a humanist. Like most humanists, Maslow did not believe that man was inherently sinful with a pronounced bent toward evil. He believed that mankind was good at its core and that all human progress was attainable through the proper understanding of human potential and application of human effort. Maslow did not recognize, much less accept, the notion of the Old Sin Nature (OSN) passed down to all mankind from Adam. But from a strictly human viewpoint, Maslow’s model was accurate: All of the striving motivated by Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs is aimed toward the fulfillment of one goal—happiness. But because of the reality of the OSN, and the fact that because of sin we live in a fallen, cursed world, when pursued only by human efforts and resources, as we stated earlier, human happiness remains a frustratingly elusive goal.
However, this is not the case with Divine Happiness—God is subject to none of the limitations and handicaps of human beings. God is happy. His happiness is an intrinsic part of who He is. He was happy in eternity past, He is happy now, and He will be happy for all eternity. There never was a time when He was not happy. His happiness, like all of His other perfections, is infinite and absolute. It is not subject to fluctuation. It can neither increase nor decrease. God did not attain His happiness, nor can He ever lose it. It is an integral part of His being and has been so from eternity past. Because God is absolute, infinite, and eternal, His happiness is absolute, infinite, and eternal. God does not depend on anything external to Himself as a source of happiness. He does not even need to do anything to keep His happiness. God’s happiness has no need of sustenance or maintenance. He is the God of perfect, absolute, and infinite well-being.
Why is God happy? He is the Sovereign Lord of the Universe that He created. He rules all of reality and there is no power in the universe that is not subject to Him. This makes Him happy. He is perfect Righteousness and perfect Justice—all of His standards are perfect and cannot be improved or diminished, and all of His judgments are perfect and based on perfect truth. This makes Him happy.
He is perfect Love. Because He is perfect He loves all that He is with infinite self-esteem, and the three members of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—love each other with this same infinite love. He loves His creation and holds it in such high regard that even after it was ruined through the sin of His creatures, He is pleased to redeem it and them. His Love in all of its infinite extent makes God happy. He is Eternal Life. It has pleased Him—made Him happy—to share this eternal life with His creatures.
God is Omniscient—all knowing; He is Omnipresent—simultaneously everywhere there is to be. Thus, He knows all things and has determined all their causes, effects, interactions, all of their paths from the First Cause—His Creative Decree in eternity past—to their certain destinies in eternity future, all of the choices of those of His created beings to whom He sovereignly granted volition, and the effects of those choices upon all things—and He is able to simultaneously perceive all of these, like threads winding through the vast pathways of time. He is Omnipotent—all powerful. He is able to individually take all of the immense complexity of those innumerable threads, and flawlessly weave them into the tapestry of His sovereign will, while at the same time never violating the free will He has sovereignly granted His creatures. All of this infinite ability and His perfect use of it makes Him happy.
God is Immutable. He is unchangeable in His essence. He cannot improve because He is perfect, and He cannot diminish or be diminished in any way. His immutable essence is the stability of all reality. This unchangeability assures the certain successful outcome of His plan for all of creation, and for all He has decreed concerning His creatures. This also absolutely cements the eternal security of those who have chosen to put their trust in His Son. What He has decreed concerning those He has redeemed He cannot rescind—eternal lives of infinite blessing as children of God and joint heirship of all things with Jesus Christ. Nor can those who have chosen to ignore His plea to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior ever hope to obtain mercy once they have rejected Him. God is immutable—the God of absolute stability and security—and this makes Him happy.
God is Veracity—He is absolute truth. He cannot lie. His essence defines truth and He decrees it as the basis for all reality. His sovereign judgments, His righteous standards, His perfect integrity—all are based on the absolute truth of His Being. He loves truth, and His infinite abilities and His perfect use of them bear witness to and reflect His truth. This perfect integration of all of the flawless facets of His character into the perfect, unchanging Oneness of His Person makes God very happy.
The Antidote for Despair
It is different for us humans. Obviously, as finite beings our happiness and well-being is subject to change. External and internal influences can dramatically change our sense of well-being. Our happiness must be maintained—at least in part—by some external source. And, being fallen creatures, slaves to sin, prone to evil, and living in a fallen world, cursed by sin, our happiness and well-being is drastically impacted. If you think about it, human circumstances for the majority of people living on this planet are generally so negative that we would all be driven to the pit of blackest despair if it were not for one vital ingredient in our lives—hope.
The word “hope” can be verb or a noun. When used as a verb hope means to wish for something with some expectation of its fulfillment. When used as a noun it means a wish or desire accompanied by some expectation of its fulfillment. The Hebrews used the word tiqvâh [תּקוה—pronounced tik-VAW], and the Greeks used elpis [ἐλπίς—pronounced el-PES]. Both words had the meaning of a confident expectation of a desired outcome.
Strange as it may sound, God has no hope. God has no need for hope. When men hope, they have a reasonable expectation of the thing they hope for coming to pass, yet it is always accompanied by an understanding that it may not work out as they hope. It is that element of uncertainty that makes hope what it is. But with God there is no uncertainty. He sees the future as clearly as He sees the present and the past. He knows the beginning from the end. So God does not have hope, because He doesn’t need hope. Rom. 8:24—“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?”
Doubtless every human has experienced the loss of hope in some situation. Perhaps a financial reversal, or the life direction of a child, or a loved one’s lack of recovery from a serious medical condition resulting in permanent impairment or death. There are many things that can cause us to lose hope. But the Scriptures enjoin us not to put our hope and confidence in the things or the people of this world—not even in those who are nearest and dearest to us. Instead the Bible tells us to put our hope and trust in God: Psa. 42:5—“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence [Omnipresence].” Psa. 42:11; Psa. 43:5; Psa. 146:5; Jer. 14:22; Rom. 5:12—“… through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
Satan and his world system offer a false hope to mankind, but God offers true hope. Hoping in people or the things of this world means hope is misplaced, but hoping in God means hope is well placed. 1 Tim. 6:17—“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us [Omnipotence] with all things to enjoy.” After Germany had suffered a humiliating defeat in World War One most of the people of Germany ended up putting their hope in a demon-possessed, anti-Semitic, power mad dictator named Adolph Hitler. This resulted in the horrors of World War Two, the Holocaust in which six million Jews perished, and utter ruin for Germany. Hope in the world and hope in God are mutually exclusive—they do not coexist. Misplaced hope is the same as no hope at all. Job 18:3—“So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the godless will perish …”
God wants us to have hope, because He wants us to be happy. But we can only have hope—and happiness—if we put our hope in the One whose promises are true. Heb. 6:17-18—“In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose [Immutability], interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, [Veracity] we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”
True Happiness—the Gift of God
God has determined to share His happiness with mankind. He is the One in whom man finds true happiness—Psalm 43:4, “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.” God has a plan to share His happiness with those who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. When He imputes His own Righteousness to the believer at salvation (see Basics 14) He imputes the basis for man to share His happiness—Psalm 97:12, “Rejoice [be happy] in the Lord, you who are righteous [imputed Righteousness of God], and praise His holy name.”
About seventy years ago when Abraham Maslow first came up with his humanist view of how men could find happiness when he proposed his hierarchy of human needs, he believed it would result in happy, well-adjusted people, once those needs were progressively fulfilled. But in eternity past, before time even began, God came up with the perfect plan to share His happiness with redeemed man. And it pleased God—made Him happy—to reveal that plan to those he chose to bless with His happiness, through the pages of His Word. It is that way we hope (confidently expect) to summarize for the remainder of this lesson.
Building a Spiritual House
We are going to present this plan in the form of a blueprint of a structure, similar to Maslow’s pyramid. We call this structure we have illustrated in the graphic to the right the Spiritual House of the Soul. It functions in the very real spiritual realm analogous to the way a physical house functions. It provides shelter and protection for those that dwell in it. It is a place where we can retreat from the storms of life and fellowship with our spiritual family—and I’m talking primarily about God here—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—not just other believers. It is a spiritual dwelling that God expects us to build—He supplies all the materials and the energy and wherewithal to do the job—even the opportunities to build it. We just need to do it.
Now, as you have probably guessed all the different parts of this structure we have illustrated have a specific meaning. We’re going to cover the significance of each of these components in order as though we were building it. But first, if you have your Bible I’d like you to turn to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 7, verse 24. When you get there please read verses 24-27:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
To truly understand what Jesus is talking about here we would need to study all of chapters 5, 6 and 7, but we just don’t have the space, so I’ll just content myself with a brief summary statement. This is Jesus’ first major teaching to the crowds that had begun to follow Him at the beginning of His ministry.
In chapter 5 He delivers the famous Beatitudes. Then for the rest of that chapter and the next two chapters after that He just dispenses a tremendous amount of Bible doctrine—Biblical truth after Biblical truth. He teaches about the Laws of the Kingdom; how to deal with others; mental attitude sins; the law of love; hypocrisy; prayer. He deals with accumulating spiritual wealth instead of worldly goods; He covers worrying; judging; guarding spiritual treasure; the Golden Rule; how to recognize false teachers. So it’s in the context of all of this tremendous teaching that He makes his statement in verses 24-27. When Jesus says “these words of mine,” He’s referring to everything He’s been teaching in chapters 5-7. But since the Bible is the mind of Christ—1 Cor 2:16—we can say that, by extension, this also refers to the whole realm of Bible doctrine. The main idea I want us to see is the analogy of the two houses—the one built on the rock and the one built on sand. In this sermon He delivered to the crowds, Jesus is referring to this concept of the Spiritual House of the Soul.
The Foundation—Filling of the Holy Spirit
So let’s begin looking at the components of our Spiritual House. You can see that in this illustration we have the foundation of the house—the FHS—anchored firmly in the bedrock—Salvation by Faith Alone in Christ Alone. Without salvation there is no power of God available. Salvation is the absolute requirement—and it is only available through the Person of Jesus Chirst. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”—Acts 4:12 (KJV).
Once a person is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ he has permanently secure eternal salvation. He has the Filling of the Holy Spirit (FHS) available at all times. We have studied in earlier lessons how to regain and maintain the FHS by confession of sin (1 John 1:9) so I won’t get into it here (see Basics 01 in my blog if you need to review this).
Notice in our illustration that the Filling of the Spirit forms the foundation of our Spiritual House. We will begin building floors onto our house, but without the strong foundation of the FHS these floors will have no stability. Also, I’m sure you have noticed the two pillars extending through the foundation. These pillars represent the Word of God. They provide stability and support for the rest of the floors of the Spiritual House. Now this is not just the Word inside the pages of the Bible gathering dust on your bookshelf. This is the Word of God taken into your mind, believed, and applied in your life. This is how the Word of God becomes “alive and powerful”—Heb. 4:12. Again, these are concepts we have covered in previous lessons (see Basics 07 to review them).
One last feature of this illustration: notice the sand beneath the foundation. This represents the works of the flesh which proceed from man’s sinful nature. God’s plan totally excludes any efforts of man in building the Spiritual House—this is why the pillars of the foundation extend all the way down to the Bedrock of Salvation. Man’s works are completely rejected by God in salvation: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”—Eph. 2:8-9.
While eternal salvation is the context in Ephesians 2, the principle of grace is also extended to the Christian life. The word “saved” is sozo [σώζω – pronounced SO-dzo] in the Greek, and it does mean “save”, but it also means “deliver”, “protect”, “heal”, and “preserve”. This refers to God delivering man from slavery to the sin nature which is the source of all our works of the flesh. Just as God rejects man’s works at the point of eternal salvation, He rejects energy of the flesh deeds in living the Christian life as well. We are not to try to “help” God with our works of the flesh—rather we are to allow God to direct us in our activities, since He knows exactly what He wants us to do in life. This is why the Apostle Paul goes on to say in verse 10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
God’s plan is for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”—2 Pet. 3:18. To do this we are to consistently, daily take in the Word of God, the Bible, which is declared to be the “mind of Christ” in 1 Cor 2:16. When we consistently take in the Word, over time our thinking becomes like that of Jesus. In fact this is what the Apostle Paul commanded in Phil. 2:5—“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus …”
The first thing we notice as this process occurs is that our thinking becomes objective—we no longer base decisions on the impulsive instability of emotionalism. This objective thinking becomes the first floor of our spiritual house. Now whenever we encounter the various trials of life, we are able to bring to bear objective thinking based on the Word, instead of hitting the panic button and getting all stressed out about the situation. We are able to use problem solving techniques given in the Word to allow us to stabilize ourselves in whatever adversity has confronted us. We are able to think logically with objectivity and apply specific Bible doctrines we have learned. We have given examples of using these problem solving techniques when we presented the Faith-Logic technique in Basics 07.
Floor two of our Spiritual House is genuine humility. Genuine humility develops in the believer who stays consistent in the Word of God. He develops a balanced view of himself based on the rational objectivity of biblical truth, and it results in true humility as the believer begins to understand who God truly is, and who he or she truly is. It is what renders believers teachable. The only path to happiness and fulfillment in life is through the consistent perception and application of spiritual truth, and humility on the part of the believer is an absolute requirement. You can’t properly orient to life if you think you’re the center of the universe.
God designed spiritual truth in the Church Age to be learned primarily under the God-delegated authority of the local pastor-teacher (PT). Of course, in our day He has made available many supplemental sources for Biblical truth—especially needed in our spiritually anemic western culture. These include books, pamphlets, audio recordings, the internet, and so on. But where God has provided a local pastor teaching His Word, that is His primary provision for the spiritual edification of local believers.
And God has designed His word to be received in humility. Only the humble believer can properly orient to the authority of the PT. Failure to orient to this authority blocks the perception of truth and shuts down the function of the Grace System of Comprehension, which is perception and application (see Basics 07 – Perception and Application).
The third floor of the Spiritual House of the Soul is personal love for God. As we have seen earlier the Bible is the mind of Christ—the very mind of God. As we learn what is in the mind of God we cannot help but develop a deep and abiding love for Him. As we begin to fathom Who He is and then begin to comprehend what He has done to personally redeem each of us from our fallen condition we begin to fulfill the Scripture, “We love him, because he first loved us …”—1 John 4:19.
Standing upon a foundation of genuine humility, the believer develops a gratitude for Divine provisions. A steadily increasing spiritual understanding of who Jesus Christ really is causes this gratitude to deepen into a personal love for Him. As perception and application is consistently pursued in the Grace System of Comprehension (GSC), this love matures into an ever-increasing occupation with Christ.
The subject of Christian love encompasses far more than we can possibly go over in this lesson. The next lesson in the series Understanding God, will go into more depth than we can right now. Even then we will barely scratch the surface. The most dedicated, consistent Christians will spend a lifetime delving the riches of Biblical love, and when they are finally face to face with our Lord, they will find that there is still an eternity more to learn.
Floor four is impersonal love toward other people plus a Relaxed Mental Attitude (RMA) toward the various circumstances of life. Notice that love toward other people is built with personal love for God as its foundation. There is no way that you will ever develop proper Christian love for others until you have begun to develop a true and abiding Love for God.
Now why in the world are we referring to love toward man as impersonal? Well, as I mentioned earlier, we will be dealing in more detail with the subject of love in the next lesson. But suffice it to say right now that categorically, love toward our fellow man must be impersonal. We are finite creatures—we cannot develop personal love relationships with every person we meet. As we will see next time, personal love relationships depend on virtue residing in the person being loved. Not everyone has adequate virtue in them to merit a love relationship with another—in fact, often you have to look pretty hard to find something loveable about some people! But as I said, we’ll get into that more deeply next time.
The 5th floor is the penthouse of the SHS, described as true happiness, or joy. The word most often translated joy in the New Testament is the Greek word chara [χαρά—pronounced cha-RA]. The definition of this word is cheerfulness or calm happiness. This is the happiness of complete well-being. Although it is accompanied by the emotions of happiness and joy, it is not based on these emotions, nor is it dependent on them. This is true happiness that is completely independent of circumstances and is completely dependent on divine virtue. This divine virtue of chara is found both in the members of the Godhead, and it is developed in the soul of the believer by continuous and function of the GSC, and development of all the other virtues represented by the first four floors of the SHS.
Every believer who is consistently receiving, believing, and applying the Word of God is going to progressively develop chara—happiness—to an extent that is dependent on how quickly he is growing into spiritual maturity. Sharing God’s happiness can begin to be the experience of the new believer and continue on through the maturing process, but the degree and the consistence of the happiness depends on the level and the progress of spiritual maturity. And, of course, that is dependent on how long and how consistent he has been in the Word. The new believer who has barely learned the basic skills of the Christian life, who has just begun to understand the importance of genuine humility, and who has just started to take in the Word, will have less capacity for happiness than a more advanced, mature believer.
But as capacity develops via the Grace System of Comprehension the believer will gradually begin simultaneously to develop personal love for God, impersonal love for mankind, capacity to endure the inevitable hardships and difficulties of life, and ultimately as a seasoned, tested, mature born-again believer, develop capacity for true happiness. This is the point in the believer’s life when he becomes what we call an echo-zone believer.
The term echo-zone believer comes from the Greek word echo [ἔχω – pronounced ECH-o], which means to have and to hold. This refers to the blessings of grace that the mature believer “has and holds” and that characterizes his life. These are blessings that God preordained specifically for the mature believer, and are permanently imputed during his earthly lifetime to the believer who has attained this status of an echo-zone believer. It should be the goal of every born-again child of God to attain echo-zone status in this life. And the only way that will happen—as we have said over and over, and as we will continue to say over and over—is by following the procedure God has given us for growth to spiritual maturity:
Stay filled with the Holy Spirit by avoiding temptation and turning away from sin.
When you fail to remain free of sin and you lose the Filling of the Holy Spirit (FHS), regain the FHS by claiming the promise of 1 John 1:9 and confess your sin directly to God the Father so that He will forgive your sin and restore the FHS.
Consistently—daily—spend time in God’s Word the Bible. Take every opportunity to listen to the proclamation of the Word in the assembly of the local church. If that is not available, or you need to supplement those teachings, take advantage of the many resources available on the radio or internet or directly from the many ministries God has raised up to hear or read the teaching of the Word. If you stay filled with the Spirit, He will guide you to godly churches and ministries and He will teach you the truth—and only the truth—of what is being presented.
Believe the truth the Holy Spirit reveals to you from the Word.
And lastly, apply these truths to the situations that God allows in your life. Remember, you will be tested by life’s circumstances. God allows temptations and tests to promote your spiritual growth, but He never tests you beyond what you are able to endure. “No temptation [test] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tested] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [testing] will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”—1 Cor 10:13.
God is infinitely, absolutely, supremely happy. He wants to share this happiness with His children, and so He has laid before us the perfect way to acquire His very own happiness. All we have to do is pick it up.
We praise You and thank You, Heavenly Father, that you have sovereignly allowed us to share Your happiness. You have designed the perfect spiritual house, Father, to shelter us from the storms of life, within which we can grow and develop the capacity to become all You intended us to be, and to fulfill the very reason You left us here on earth—blessed Children of God here to be a blessing to a lost and dying world. Bless now the spiritual precepts presented in this message—cause them to be a blessing to all who receive them, for we ask it in Christ’s name, with thanksgiving, amen.
To the reader: If you have read this lesson, I would greatly appreciate any feedback, questions, or comments you have. Getting feedback from my readers is very helpful and encouraging to me. I promise to respond to all legitimate questions or comments as appropriate. But please, do keep your questions and comments appropriate and constructive.
Thank you very much.
In His Service,