HAPPINESS is the common response to "what do you most want in this life?" Everyone wants to be happy, to be surprised with gifts, to vacation in paradise, to giggle and laugh with friends, to receive recognition from our family, loved one, and our peers. To gain happiness we seek education, a mate, a new car, losing weight, robust health, a home of our own. Happiness seems elusive as we find our degree is not sufficient, our mate dies, the shine of our car fades, our figure changes, our health deteriorates and our home decreased in value. Often happiness evaporates like rain dries up and we struggle during dry seasons to regain the energy for a new search. GOOD NEWS is found in God's Word, in Philippians, written by Paul while he was in prison. It is a letter of love and affection with an emphasis on the deep JOY only found inside a follower, a believer in Jesus Christ,
who is connected and directed by the indwelt Holy Spirit! In contrast to fading happiness stands everlasting JOY! Joy is quiet, it flows through our veins, it is ever present, unchanged by circumstances outside of ourselves. Joy comes with the confident assurance of God's love, the truth of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit in us, and for us! The apostle Paul had abundant wealth, prestige as a Pharisee, followed by extreme poverty, ridicule, mockery and imprisonment. With all of his energy focused on knowing Christ, Paul was content in prison, as his inner sanctuary was undisturbed by his outside circumstance. Paul wrote "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my JOY complete by being like minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross." THE TRUE JOY IN SERVING as written in Phillipians 2 - Being a servant for God, in the field, like Jesus --- "Then He (Jesus) said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Luke 10:2.