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In today’s podcast, I talk with Luke and Kayte Abaffy. Luke is a videographer and writer. His book, The Truth: Reformation 2.0 is a lighthearted, hard-hitting apologetics resource written to equip Torah observant believers to understand and defend their faith using Scripture.
Katye Abaffy is a Certified Life Coach, who brings biblical wisdom, life-tested tools, and best friend enthusiasm to each client she serves, as she helps them do the things they’ve been meaning to do and become who they were meant to be.
Book blurb for The Truth, Reformation 2.0:
For 2,000 years, Christians taught that trying to keep the laws of the Old Testament is at worst, a blasphemous attempt to earn one’s salvation and at best, a misguided pursuit meant for Jewish people alone. Thanks to our fortunate involvement in the New Covenant, we don’t need to concern ourselves with now-symbolic food laws or the shadow-picture feasts of Leviticus 23 … or do we?
What if those laws are essential to the New Covenant and tied to the very purpose of life? What if they reveal more of Jesus’s example for us to follow? And what if the law of God is a perfect reflection of who He is, allowing us to know Him in a deeper way than ever before?
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My friend, Shonda Fischer, and I discuss Genesis chapters 2 and 3 on today’s podcast.
It’s a little different format than some of my other podcast episodes–more like a Bible study. So, if you can, grab your Bibles and join us as we dive into the story of God’s creation of Adam and Eve, and that naked, uh crafty serpent.
For the past eight weeks, we have been looking into the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. The other day, I read Psalm 32 and noticed it begins with the same wording as Matthew 5.
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Psalm 32:1-2 ESV
While looking for a commentary about these verses, I came across an article from “Working Preacher” called The Pursuit of Happiness.
The Hebrew word, ashre, translates into Blessed are. The Working Preacher described it as Happiness is… This is an interesting translation of the word. You can read it here.
What comes to mind when you hear happiness is?
I found these quotes during a quick online search:
Happiness is a warm puppy.
…having you in my life.
…being weird every now and then.
…the privilege of friendship.
…letting go of your worries.
… not out there, it’s in you.
What would you say happiness is? To me, happiness is laughing with my family.
The Bible is full of these Blessed are /Happiness is statements.
There are Beatitudes in Deuteronomy, Job, Jeremiah, Psalms, Revelation, and probably others.
Let’s look at a few other examples I found in the Bible, and my Happiness is interpretation below them.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
Jeremiah 17:7 ESV
Happiness is the man who trusts in the Lord…
Isn’t true happiness being able to fully trust in Someone? Knowing our Father will never lie, cheat, hurt, or disappoint us is a wonderful feeling. I was thinking the other day, if I truly believe God can not lie, then everything He has told me is truth. Everything He has promised He will do, because He has to–He. Can’t. Lie. Lying would go against His holy and perfect nature.
Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
Job 5:17 NIV
Happiness is getting corrected by God…
This isn’t exactly a quote we would make into a poster and paste on our wall, right? No one really likes correction or discipline. However, I would prefer the Lord correct or discipline, me now, in this life, rather than in eternity. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
In addition, Hebrews 12:11 tells us, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
A number of years ago, I developed a bad attitude with my pastor (Many others saw my poor attitude, as well). It didn’t seem to matter to him what I wanted to teach because he would either say he taught it or he was going to teach it. To me, it seemed as if he didn’t want me to teach at all.
One Sunday morning during worship, I grumbled to the Lord. I complained how my pastor wouldn’t let me teach or lead any groups. As a result, I felt useless and angry. Suddenly, I heard the Lord’s voice inside me, AND it was neither gentle nor caring. Sternly, He answered me, “Your pastor didn’t say ‘No,’ I DID!”
If I could have crawled under my seat, I would have. God made it clear I needed to quit grumbling about the pastor and accept his answer. This was the closest to having the Lord yell at me as I have ever gotten. I won’t forget it either. But God changed my relationship with my pastor for the better through this. I realized all the things I thought he was doing, he wasn’t. I publicly apologized for my bad attitude.
Godly discipline yields fruit–and happy children.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Ps. 34:8 ESV
Happiness is the man who takes refuge in the Lord…
A refuge is “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.”
I have a picture my mom took on my fifth birthday. I wore a little flowered dress with a bow in my hair sitting on my dad’s lap. That was my safe place.
My dad died almost thirty years ago. One day as I prayed, feeling lonely and a bit depressed, the Lord reminded me of that picture. He spoke to my heart and told me I sit on His lap in much of the same way I sat on my dad’s as a little girl. My Father sees me as His little girl and He holds me when I am happy or sad. The Lord protects me, comforts me, speaks to me and loves me. He is my refuge. The words the Lord spoke to me gave my heart peace, and also joy and happiness.
Here’s the last one for now…
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2 ESV
Happiness is not walking with the wicked, standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of scoffers, but delighting in the Law of the Lord…
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'” That’s certainly a good reason not to walk, stand, and sit with people who will corrupt us. How many people have you known who didn’t regret following others into trouble?
I looked up the word happiness online. As I read over the definitions given, I realized God, in His Word, gave us the true meaning of Happiness. It is not following Him in a half-hearted, on-again, off-again, when-it-is-convenient way.
What if true happiness is being poor in spirit, peacemakers, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, being meek, mourning over our sin, being merciful, getting persecuted, taking refuge in the Lord, getting corrected by God…
You get the picture.
We will never find true happiness by looking at the world around us. It comes from looking up.
It comes from gazing past ourselves to the One who is the meaning of happiness.
I watched my dog, Agape transform into a predator.
From my front window, I could see a herd of twelve deer, all does, walking up my long driveway. We have a six-foot-high fence and gate surrounding our five acres of property.
Our German shepherd guarded it. She saw them and at once went into hunter mode. Agape crouched, never taking her eyes off the deer while inching her way toward the herd. As she tore into a full sprint, they saw her and ran.
First, she separated them into two groups. The first group jumped over or went through the vertical PVC splines of our fence forcing them to expand to the circumference of their bodies.
She stayed with the second group, chasing them to the back of our property.
I followed window to window trying to keep up.
My dog drove the next group into two, and then separated a doe and her yearling, from the others. At this point, I ran to my garage to watch this match unfold.
The mother doe, who Agape separated from the yearling, came out of nowhere nearly knocking me over as she ran past me back to the front yard. The yearling ran along the opposite side of the driveway with my shepherd on her heels… uh, hooves.
We have a fifteen-foot-wide rock-lined creek across our front yard.
As I watched the yearling run towards it, I could see my dog getting excited as she anticipated the kill; the deer had nowhere to go.
Then, it happened.
In one graceful leap, the doeling sailed over the fifteen-foot cavern, catching up with her mother on the other side. My breath caught; it was a beautiful site.
But my sweet, defeated dog stood there, dumbfounded, staring at the creek and the deer on the other side. I called her. She came with her head bowed as she lost the will to chase the pair any longer.
What I Learned from this
First, watching this 100-pound dog go after twelve 100-200 pound deer, I wondered how different the outcome may have been if those deer stopped acting as prey and realized they outnumbered and out-weighed my dog.
They could have turned the tables on her and left her running to her doghouse with her tail between her legs.
Satan is our predator.
When Satan’s prowling turns into an all-out sprint against us, we can stand against him as the body of Christ. There is no need to scatter in fear.
Our joint weight and power in the Holy Spirit defeats Satan as we pray for one another in the name of Jesus.
Has there ever been a time in which you tried to fight a battle alone?
Read Ephesians 6:18.
We are stronger together!