Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness - Part 7


I think it feels pretty good to achieve something.
That feeling that you have completed ‘it’.
Or conquered ‘it’.
Or even done ‘it’ against a lot of odds...

Achievement is an ingredient in the happiness recipe.

This time last year I was training hard for my very first cycling road race. Everything was new for me.
The clothes, the time needed, the feeling of zipping around most days on 2 wheels.
I remember the lead up well because it had some
challenges to it that I didn’t plan for. From weather issues slowing me down to injury, it was certainly a learning
experience!

On race day it was all on…
I started a little slow, wondering just how to pace
myself. Eventually I get into a group and a rhythm and never looked back.

I finished that race not first in my age group or anything super amazing like that...but I did finish.
I had achieved something.
Whether that achievement was that special to anyone else didn’t matter that much.
I knew I had done it.

For weeks afterwards, whenever I went past where the race finished, I couldn’t help but smile.
When ever I thought about, I smiled.
Even today, nearly a year on, I can still smile about it.

Achievement will equal some happiness for you.

So here is an idea…
If you don’t have a goal that will be a slight challenge, something new that could stretch you...why not ask God for an idea on what it could be?

That was last year...this year I have some new goals so I can achieve some new things...so I can get a new smile on my face.

Something to think about…

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness - Part 6


This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise...but having the ability to wait seems to affect happiness.

Our world has learnt or should have learnt that lesson already.
All the credit options worldwide and unnatural expectations have certainly hurt a lot of people and cut down on the happiness factor in many lives.
Now we have story after story of people extended too far or losing everything. Again no happiness there.
I remember the advertising telling us to not wait. To strike now and be happy.
We were told that we 'deserve it' right now!

In fact this generation seems to have lost the ability or even desire to wait.
We can’t wait to own a new phone when it comes out. So we borrow.
We can’t wait to have sex. So we try as soon as we can.
We can’t wait to have the best house. So we try way too hard to have it.
I can be pretty impatient myself at times...

There are a lot of very good reasons for waiting.
Waiting builds character and appreciation.
Waiting builds value in what we are waiting for.
Godly waiting tends to lead to something better than what can be grabbed right now...

The Bible says that Abraham received what he was promised after a time of waiting (Hebrews 6:15).
Yes he made some mistakes and got impatient, but he still waited. And it was worth the wait.
The Bible also says that creation itself is waiting (Romans 8:19).

Here’s some good advice to finish with...
“...maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.” Hosea 12:6 niv

Like the promise goes...

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 nkjv

Something to think about...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness - Part 5


To be honest I woke up this morning not very happy.
It is supposed to be my day off but I woke up early.
My head was full of things I had to do today, tomorrow, and the next...plus others that when I think about them now, I didn’t even need to think about them.

So I grabbed my iPod, chucked some worship vibes on and headed into the garden. Yes the garden.
Not to eat worms...but to get busy doing them up a bit.

As I pulled out weed number 287 I reviewed my week, month etc and realised I was trying to do far too much.
I had put so much pressure on myself to achieve more than I can really achieve without hurting myself.
I decided what I needed to do was realign some goals, drop something else for another year.
Even though I was little weird about some of it, it did feel a lot better!

The Bible gives us plenty of advice.
One of those advice gems is this statement.

Watch your life and doctrine closely 1 Timothy 4:16 niv

I think Christians in general if they are going to look at their life, tend to look at the doctrine part not the life part.
They wonder if they are learning the right things. Wonder if they are they are being taught the right things.
But what about doing the right things with the one life you have been given?

For me to find some happiness today I did just that. I looked seriously at my life. The life that I am living right now.
I found I had to make some adjustments.

Do you need to do the same today?

Something to think about...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness - Part 4


I think having the right sort of people in your life can make a difference to your level of happiness.

You can never underestimate this!

If you have ever been in a time of life without much friendship ( I know I have ), then those feelings of loneliness certainly strip any chance of happiness away.
Maybe you know of what it is like to have friends that while maybe are fun to be around, sometimes seem to suck the life out you or get you to do things you know you shouldn’t.
And maybe you have friends, but if you are honest no real friendship or depth of relationship. They would be friends but not who you could trust or ever rely upon.

I personally think that God has ordained friendships that will bring out the best in you...and you will in turn will bring out the best of in them back.
This criteria and the style of friendship might seem a little different to what you are possibly used to?

Godly friendships are ones that are considered and thought about before just racing into...

Proverbs 12:26
The righteous choose their friends carefully

Godly friendships determine to never let it each other down with gossip and slander...

Proverbs 17:9
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Godly friends are for the tough times not just the good...
Those times help ‘prove out’ who the real friends are!

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Godly friends are willing to tell you the things you need to hear, not just what you want to hear...

Proverbs 27:6
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Proverbs 27:9
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

So to wrap this thought all up nice and simply...
Have the right friends in your life.
Get rid of the wrong ones.
Be a friend and accept the friend.

That will go a long way to improving your chances of being happy.

Something to think about...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness - Part 3


I think most people would say that pressure affects their happiness.
This simple equation goes that if you have increasing pressure, then that would equal a corresponding lose in happiness.
The more of one, the less of the other.
So we all run around in life trying on some level to get rid of pressure. Because we ultimately believe removing it will make us happy.

Let’s now look at it another way...
If you removed pressure from the water supply, would you like the result?
If you removed pressure from you hot water cylinder, how would you feel?

You see, pressure is not the enemy...it is the management of it that defines its enemy status.
Management of pressure means things work the best. And when things work the best, that can equal some happiness for us.

With that now in mind, think of times in your life where you were under some pressure.
Now split those memories up into when it was out of control and when it was under some control.
I would bet you a good flat white that the later was when you felt happy.
I have done the same challenge today and can think of plenty of times where while under controlled pressure, I had an awesome time! Whether it was working with a group on an important project. To doing something crazy for the first time. They hold fond memories for me.
Controlled pressure means something is actually happening in our lives.
Uncontrolled pressure just means everything feels out of control.
No pressure at all could mean you don’t have a pulse???

So the key to all this...
One word.

Boundaries.

To be a happiness sort of person you need boundaries.
Can I take that now a step further?
If you have ‘godly’ boundaries you will be even more better off.

Something to think about...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness - Part 2


Here’s another short sharp hint on how to find happiness...

Do Good.

Sounds pretty obvious doesn’t it.
But just because it is obvious doesn’t make it always easy or the first thing people chose to do.

Making sure you are doing the right things with your life will make you happy.
Maybe you are struggling to not do the wrong thing?
Whatever it is, don’t give up...give in instead.
What I mean by that is don’t give up of being healed. Instead I recommend you give in to Jesus.

I have a list of things that were a problem for me and made me feel unhappy before I met Jesus.
Giving my life completely (not just partly) and doing the right things set me free.
It is way more than a good idea. It works. I am know that personally and I am convinced of it.

Doing the wrong thing can feel good for a moment, but in the end costs us most of the time.
Doing the right thing can cost for a moment, but in the end returns you so much more.

Flicking through some pictures of hot naked chicks might feel good for a moment, but will leave you cold and unfulfilled.
Drinking just that little bit too much to get some buzz might feel good for a moment, but worshiping at the porcelain throne afterwards really puts a dampener on that choice.
Going that little bit too far with your boyfriend or girlfriend is nice for a moment, but wrestling with guilt takes away from that moment.

Doing good opens you up to something God so desperately wants to give you.
His peace.
It is so good that sometimes He refers to it as perfect! That is a big statement.
Doing good and of course having a clear conscience...will go a long way to helping you find happiness.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pursuit of Happiness - Part 1

So here we go.
Been making a list for the last couple of days of things that influence our happiness.
Going to go through them in no particular order...

Here is one - CLEAR CONSCIENCE

Nothing seems to steal any chance of happiness than a guilty conscience.
That feeling where you know you have something to feel guilty about.

When I was 8 my parents returned from an overseas trip that lasted some months.
They traveled right around the world including a country called Italy.
From wherever they went they brought home little souvenirs of the journey including money.
As an 8 year old I was fascinated by the 10,000 lira note they showed us. To me I could not understand that it was worth only a few dollars in New Zealand currency. I believed it was worth $10,000. More money than I had ever imagined.
One day I was showing it off to some kids and ended up wrestling with it...you can imagine what happens next!
Yes, we ripped it!!!
I was so upset. I thought I had ripped and destroyed $10,000 dollars.
So I hid the money and tried to pretend it never happened.

That night I could not sleep. My mum kept asking me what was wrong, but I could bring myself to tell her.
In fact many years went by before I did anything about my crime.
I lived with this horrible feeling in my gut for so long. Before I knew it was called a conscience.
Eventually I confessed and found out how silly I had been.
But I learnt a valuable lesson...to listen to my
conscience and not to pretend it is not there. Otherwise I just hurt myself.

Check out some scriptures on this thing...

Hebrews 10:22 niv
let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 9:14 niv
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Here is some great advice...

Acts 3:19 niv
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

If you have a guilty conscience that is robbing you of happiness...you can do a couple of things.
One, sort it sort. Confess. Restore. Fix. Whatever you can do to make things right.
Two, come to God and let him finish the work to your conscience.

Something to think about...



Locky's Pursuit of Happiness - Series Introduction


There has been a lot of talk recently about this thing called Happiness.
Discussion about what it is and how much you have or don’t have of it. Discussion based around all sorts of belief systems and even agendas.

If you asked the Waterboy—Bobby Boucher (very corny movie) what it is, he would say this…
“Mamma says Happiness is from magic rays of Sunshine that come down when ya feelin blue.”

When I look through dictionaries and other reference material I see the word and their expressed meanings.
But one thing seems to stand out.
No one ever says happiness is a goal that once attended is guaranteed to last without end. Nor do they say that happiness is a right of all adults.

I don’t think that I need to tell you what happy feels like.
You already know.
I bet there have been many moments in your life, where if you thought about it, that you truly felt happy.
Even if it was for a moment...
Maybe it was a birthday? Honeymoon? Buying your first home or first car. Maybe you feel happiness right now reading my thoughts? Or maybe it is something you recognize that you haven’t felt for some time now?

That reality is that life continues on whether we feel in a  state of happiness or not.
The minutes on a clock keep moving forward.
The sun continues its journey across the sky.

This is what I think…
Actually I can’t tell you what I think in one simple thought. I have realized that it will take a series of them to share my ideas on happiness.

So here is my plan to help explain happiness.
I am going to share something on it most days in my blog lockymcneill.blogpsot.com
Can I encourage you to come check it out regularly?
Let’s learn something together.
Let’s find out how to find true happiness when it is there for us.

Never forget that God does have a great plan for yours and my life, and it does include periods of happiness.
There is more to life. A ‘bigger’ way to live!

Something to think about…and to keep coming back for...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lies + Money

I read this yesterday…

“Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
The Bible | Proverbs 30:7-9 NIV

Stop and read this for a moment.

I mean it.

Because even though this person wrote this prayer, wish, request, whatever you want to call it a long time ago...

I believe we can all relate to it in our world today.

Are you like me and sick of all the lies?
What happened to someone’s ‘word being their bond’?
Why is it seemingly ok to lie if it gets you something you want? Or it ultimately makes you happy?

I have lost track of all the lies I have been told over the last few years.
I can actually handle it sometimes from people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, but really struggle when my so called brother or sister does it.
Tell it to me straight. I like that. I can respect that.
It is less damaging than the alternative.

What about the 2nd part of this statement?

We are told all the time that money will make us happy.
And you already knew that it doesn’t fix everything.

So please don’t sell your soul just to get some more.

Pretty challenging I know for my simple thought this week...but you are worth it, to share it!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Remind-er

Yesterday I went for a ride.
That ride led me past a building.
Seeing that building reminded me about something.
Something I had promised to do, but had forgotten.

You and I need reminders in our lives. Otherwise we tend to forget about the potentially important things in life.
Without reminders about God, we can soon find ourselves forgetting about Him even...

You might not agree with me right now because you haven’t forgotten who God is to you.
But trust me in this. You are no different from every other person who has ever lived.
Without ‘God’ reminders in your life, one day you will wake up and you may well have forgotten.

I don’t think God created all the festivals He did like Passover just because He is into religious festivals.
I think He did that for those people because they acted as a reminder. They brought God’s people back to a certain place.
A certain focus.
It reminded them of who God was and what He is like.

You and I now have some other things that help us:

Being with your brothers and sisters as the Church, whether it be on a Sunday or at some sort of small group.

Taking time to pray and meditate on God’s Word.

Sharing in things like communion.

Actually that is a good one!
Jesus said this about this special reminder:
He (Jesus) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 NIV

This week, can I encourage you to have some reminders?
Be with God’s people when and where ever you can.
Take time out to pray and read.
Remind yourself again and again of who He is to you.
Remind yourself of what He has called you for.

That way...you will never forget!

Something to think about…

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Prepare

My kids start school again for a brand new year tomorrow.
That is not that unusual as many kids around our country are or have already done the same this week.
But what is interesting, is that you can’t just turn up on the first day. You are actually need to prepare first.

For us that has meant spending money and time getting all the required stationary together.
Then my wife spent hours and hours covering books with film to help them go the distance.
I took my oldest to the uniform shop to get some new shirts for his first year of Intermediate School.
The youngest needed a new bag after destroying last years while trying to turn it into a mobile compost bin...that is another story for another time…

With school and life you need to prepare.

When I was in the Boy Scouts they told us again and again that we needed to ‘Be Prepared’.
I love doing sport events like cycle races, again it seems to work best when you prepare for them.

While I am the first to admit that life sometimes throws a curve ball that is hard to prepare for, you can still prepare for those times.

2 Timothy 4:2 says for us to...
...be prepared in season and out of season...

How do you do that?

Well there are lots of ways, but they all come from the same start position.
It all starts from this person called Jesus.
You can prepare for anything this year by making Jesus your foundation. Making Him your rock.
Hope is cool...it is an anchor for many of us through many seasons. But my hope is built on a Jesus foundation, not just on the word itself.

1 Corinthians 2:9 says...
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”
— the things God has prepared for those who love him—

God has prepared for you.
He has taken the time to organize and prepare for your 2012.
How about taking some time to really prepare for your new year?
Build your foundation with Jesus.
Commit to being part of the God’s people, the Church.

That’s what I am doing...why don’t you join me?

Something to think about…
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