This was my manna this morning from John Piper....
"Our love affairs with sin are not just a matter of morality, but of joy. This is not just about faithfulness to God, but about finding our deepest, most satisfying fulfillment. Many people think following Jesus means surrendering their happiness. You can either enjoy a fun, passionate, and exciting life here for a short time or live a bland, boring, but safe life forever with God. That lie is a quiet, but violent concentration camp, fencing men and women in, keeping them away from God, and torturing them with lesser pleasures that only lead to a swift and yet never-ending death. If you want to be truly happy now, you want to be found with Jesus.
Experiencing the full life with Jesus, we say with David, 'You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound' (Psalm 4:7). We can be infinitely and enduringly more happy with Jesus than with anything or even everything in a world without him — even when that world is filled and overflowing with promotions and bonuses at work, on-demand television, all-you-can-eat sushi, grossly accessible pornography, always new and better technology, and countless other goods become gods.
God is not just a more morally or socially acceptable treasure, but he will satisfy you more than anyone or anything else. Christianity is not merely, or even mainly, about correcting your bad habits, but about satisfying and fulfilling you in the deepest way possible, and therefore making God look as great as he is. Our hearts were designed to enjoy a full and forever happiness, not the pitiful temporary pleasures for which we’re too prone to settle. Pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust are all woefully inadequate substitutes for the wonder, beauty, and affection of God. They will rob you, not ravish you. They will slaughter you, not save you. Looking to little, temporary gods for true and lasting happiness is a frantic and expensive treasure hunt for fool’s gold. You lose far more than you will ever find."
Tomorrow is March 8th - International Women's Day. Though we in the US don't really celebrate it - it is a huge, huge day overseas. Flowers are generously handed out with well wishes and women are really celebrated. But think of it with me, who hates women the most? Satan hates women the most. We see that a woman was the first target of the Devil in the Garden of Eden. Backwards religions in the world diminish, cover and shun them shamefully where they function practically as slaves in the home. Yet in sophisticated society they are abused as well by their elevation via culture and entertainment to be objects to stare at and satisfy creepy people's desires. Who really loves women the way they ought to be loved and valued honorably the way they desire to be loved? Who really recognizes their value and importance? The answer to that question can be found at the Resurrection Morning of Jesus. Who was the first person Jesus appeared to? No, not to His Disciples or the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb. But to a woman. Mary Madeline. Women's status in the middle east those day was not much different than it is today. Women could not even be witnesses in a court case - yet Jesus appears FIRST to a woman and calls her by name. Just the way He says her name causes her to recognize who He really was, that He was not just the gardener she mistaken him for at the beginning. She is the first witness of the resurrection and goes and calls Jesus's disciples to tell the wonderful news. It was a woman that God choose to bear His Son into the world. So as we celebrate International Woman's Day, let's remember God's honorable and virtuous heart for women. True love is honorable love that finds tremendous value in what it loves that is followed up by care and protection. That is what we wish for all of our wives, sisters, mothers and godly friends in the Lord tomorrow!
As with Job, God tests every relationship to prove its real content. When God searches "to and fro" for the "perfect heart" it is a loyal heart that God seeks. When He finds it in us, He entrusts us with a spiritual stewardship - a ministry - a relationship with God & people that goes deep & long in trials & temptation. Though we fail God will not fail us - hence we may say, God I am captivated by your unfailing loyalty thus I say "Lord I am your servant - your disciple, loyal to you and your people to the end"