If you are or have been 100% committed to the Lord for any length of time it didn’t take long for you to notice that your perspectives change even to things that have long been a significant part of your daily life. You no longer desire to participate in certain events haled by the world and its glitter. You find your mind involved in a different form of evaluation and things you used to enjoy seem different and not nearly as important to you as they once were. Even friends look at you differently and some pull away as they view you as a religious nut and to them you are not as much fun as you used to be. Over time they will drift out of your life and the number of friends will continue to dwindle until one day you notice contact with you have pretty much dissipated. It will seem that no one really understands and those closest to you may criticize your actions or demeanor and indicate in no uncertain terms their disgust with you. Things will happen to you that are not of your own making that causes strife and hurt, and you will be blamed for things you did not do. I used to ask, where did that come from? I would think about some of these occurrences and think that the thing that happened is so diametrically opposed to what I actually believe or would do, that it’s ridiculous. Don’t they know me better than that? I can’t even stand hitting a bird on the highway let alone intentionally hurting a person especially one in my inner circle. Have you ever wanted something and then get it, only to think, what was the big deal about this? This I believe is not unique to me and I would submit it’s more in keeping with human nature in us all. Innate in us all, is unsettledness caused by an inner knowing there is more and the emphasis is often directed to things, or people, or jobs, or wealth, or notice, or happiness, or appearance, or you name it. Sometimes there is agitation or a stirring within and we become very antsy wondering what’s bothering us so we get busy, go the mall, clean a closet, go somewhere, I’ve just got to get out of the house. Soon, this passes, and the routine once more takes over and we go on, still in the same mode but familiar with its parameters and limitations. For some this may go on all their lives for others they may come to the question, “is this all there is”? If God should call you, would you notice? What if agitation was the Lord Himself moving you out of your comfort zone, stirring you out of your slumber to bring you closer to Him? It’s sort of like noise in silence. Happiness is defined as: 1. the quality or state of being happy 2. Good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy. Our Lord too defines happiness, in Proverbs 3 13-18 we find: Happy is the man that finds wisdom and the man that understands. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retained her. So what is the bottom line here? Is God real or not? Are his promises trustworthy and true or abstract, vague and not for everyone? This becomes the ultimate choice. After all, the Bible was written thousands of years ago, it is said to be the inerrant word of God. How do we really know that? Sure there are writers, websites and a host of other ways we can find someone giving us 15 reasons why the Bible is true, but does that make it true to you? Why did the Apostles live so long ago, aren’t we in need of such teachers today? Why so many interpretations of the Bible, can’t anyone get it? Why do so many so-called Christians sit around and talk of this pastor or that church in negative fashion as though only the pious agree with you? What if the whole thing is a sham and those that choose not to believe are better off than those that do? 1 Cor: 15-19, now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, and then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If, in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable”. There you have it; If Paul provides such discourse then a thought such as this had to have entered his mind and been considered by him to voice it. Again, I point out, that if the Bible is not the Inspired Word of God, then the preceding statement of Paul is nil and void As we have stated, faith is the substance (A particular kind of matter with uniform properties: “a waxy substance”) of things hoped for, the evidence (The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid) of things not yet seen. From this it is seen that if the measure of faith was not given we could not believe. In addition, we are told that without faith we cannot please God. Therefore, there is a required ingredient to believe in God and His word and the lack of it can cause rebuke from the mouth of our Lord, “O ye of little faith”. So we press forward not yet seeing what we may become and sometimes that may mean being way out there – off shore, believing we have a life jacket even if it is not apparent. That is exactly where I feel I am at times. In fact, I have called it “wa wa land” and no, that is not the sound of me crying, although, that has been known to occur in my life as well. Do I know what is coming next? No, but I trust Him to bring me through without my clothes being singed. Who was that in the fire with Daniel and the boys? And what is it about that fire? Does it have anything to do with purging and burning of the chaff? Neil Diamond once wrote a song with the words “Pride is the chief cause in the decline of the number of husbands and wives” I am thinking that line could be changed to say that pride is the chief cause in the decline of the number of those who could if they would. Pride must be removed from me and you and humility comes with pain to the flesh. Even now, at this writing I am being stripped of so-called “self-esteem” and at times it strikes me as embarrassing and shameful, and in some cases, a sense of loss. I reckon myself to be heading to the place of an inanimate object lying prostrate on the ground and if I am not careful in the ground. Not my will but His will be done. It seems as though I am getting pretty heavy here so I am glad to know that “that joy cometh in the morning”, if I endure to the end. It has been said that the Lord will never give us more than we can endure and He knows and controls the parameters of the buffeting we experience. I love the Lord and there are times I walk around my place talking to Him about my situations and muffled complaints as though he were a friend, a physical presence and to the casual observer it could be said that this guy Rob has finally flipped out, he talks to himself as though someone was there. Maybe there is, just maybe there is. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”. Ephesians 3:13-19.