Why Do People Pretend Happiness?

“Worldly people pretend to the joy they have not; but godly people conceal the joy they have.” Matthew Henry*

Why do some unbelievers seem to be incredibly happy, while some believers seem to be incredibly sad? Matthew Henry’s explanation is that the unbelievers publicize pretend joy, whereas believers privatize real joy.

But why would anyone in the world pretend to be happy?

Popularity

Partly because happy people are popular people. Most people are sensible enough to run a mile from Mr Misery. Social pressure forces people to put a good face on, to pack up their troubles in their old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.

Read the rest of this post at HappyChristian.net.


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Top 10 Books on Guidance

Yesterday I posted 30 questions to ask when seeking guidance from God. If you want to take this topic further, here are my top ten books on guidance. (For the complete list of Top 10 Books in categories click here)

1. Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung

This is the easiest-to-read book on the list, ideal for young people or a young Christian. Covers all the bases in DeYoung’s usual punchy and engaging style.

2. Discovering God’s Will by Sinclair Ferguson

Another short book and a fairly easy read. I especially appreciated Ferguson’s seven simple yet searching questions in chapter 5. Both DeYoung’s and Ferguson’s books apply principles of guidance to work and marriage.

3. Step by Step: Divine Guidance for Ordinary Christians By James Petty

This is a more demanding read but is probably my favorite book on guidance. A couple of memorable graphics and tables to help work our God’s will, and an excellent end section on the seven steps of biblical decision-making. Will bring a lot of clarity and freedom to Christian consciences.

4. Decisions, Decisions: How (and How Not) to Make Them by Dave Swavely

This comes somewhere in between Ferguson’s book and Petty’s book in terms of length and readability. Neatly divided into “How Not To Make Decisions” and “How To Make Decisions.”

5. Can I Know God’s Will? by R. C. Sproul

This short treatment is in Dr. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series and is available for free on Kindle. Not so orderly as DeYoung and Ferguson’s similarly short books, but there are some beautiful gems of wisdom scattered throughout, and, again specific application to marriage and vocation.

6. Finding the Will of God by Bruce Waltke

Waltke compares common Christian methods for seeking guidance with pagan methods and finds them remarkably similar. He then calls Christians to pursue wisdom as a way of life rather than just for decisions in life and outlines God’s program of guidance in six steps. Good emphasis on the objective side of guidance without ruling out the subjective.

7. Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen

You might view this as an expanded version of Petty’s Step By Step. Not only longer but more scholarly too. A book to graduate to after reading DeYoung, Ferguson, and Petty.

8. God’s Will: Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions by J. I. Packer

Simple, straightforward, heart-warming. Suggests improvements to the Friesen and Petty models.

If you’ve got these eight books you hardly need any more on guidance, but just to complete the Top 10 I’d add:

9. The Christian’s Guide to Guidance: How to Make Biblical Decisions in Everyday Life by Jay Adams

10. Guidance and the Voice of God by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne

More Top 10 Books lists here.


8 Benefits Of Being A Happy Christian

“Happiness is good for you.” Jeremiah Burroughs

“Happiness is good for you?” Seems a bit of a no-brainer, doesn’t it. But Burroughs then gives eight reasons happiness is good for the Christian.

1. Happy Christians worship God as He ought to be worshipped. True worship is more than just outward form; it includes inward feelings, especially of delight. Worship and happiness go together.

2. Happy Christians make best use of the spiritual gifts God has given to them. God gives happy Christians more gifts and graces because the the lives of happy Christians are often a helpful influence on non-Christians.

Read the other six reasons at HappyChristian.net or on The Happy App.


The Happy App

Happy App 3Over the last few months I’ve been developing an App to accompany my book, The Happy Christian. Initially I got some quotes from specialist developers, but even the cheapest quote was running into many thousands and would have required me to charge a fee for the App in order to recoup costs.

After quite a bit of research and experimentation, I settled on Como.com, which is a sort of “DIY Apps For Dummies” service. Although the end result is quite basic, and there’s still a monthly cost for me, it’s low enough to let me offer The Happy App for free.

I hope you’ll take a look at it and consider downloading it to your phone or Tablet at either the Apple or Google store. Here’s what you’ll get on the three main tabs.

Happy App 1

The Happy Christian
On the first tab you’ll find the daily posts on Christian joy over at the Happy Christian blog. These are mainly meditations on Christian joy, together with quotes on happiness and links to other relevant articles. The aim is to provide a daily diet of Christian joy as an antidote to our gloomy world.

HeadHeartHand
The second tab pulls in the daily blog posts from HeadHeartHand, which means you can read my usual blog articles there without using your browser.

Happy App 2Video
On this tab you’ll find a Philippians 4:8 mix of videos. That’s an important verse in the book, and this is one of the ways I want to help readers build healthy and edifying media into their lives. This content is unique to the App and not available at either the HeadHeartHand or Happy Christian blog.

On the phone version of the tab you can choose videos from a YouTube stream or a Vimeo stream. For some reason, only the YouTube stream is showing on the iPad at the moment, but I hope we’ll get that fixed before long.

App Stores
You’ll notice on the Happy Christian website that there are only links to the Apple App store. That’s because Apple don’t allow Google Play Store links to appear on any of their Apps! However, it is available for Android in the Google App Store.

Hope it makes you happy!


Needing Guidance? 30 Questions To Ask

Given the dozens of books about guidance on the market, it’s obvious that knowing God’s will is a huge concern for most Christians. But how? How can we know God’s will for us? Here’s a selection of questions that might be used not only to help someone discover what God wants them to do, but also train them to make good decisions in the future as well.

1. What is your dilemma? What are your struggling with?

2. Is this something that God’s Word clearly prohibits or commands? Or is this a subject that requires wisdom and discernment in applying the general principles of God’s Word to a specific situation?

3. What general Scriptural principles or examples are relevant to this question?

4. How would you describe your general spiritual state or condition? Close to God, distant from God, or somewhere in between?

5. What is your overall motive and aim in your life?

6. Are there any areas of sin or folly in your life that may be hindering you from knowing and doing God’s will?

7. How have you made decisions before? How did they turn out? What did you learn from that?

8. On this issue, what have you done to find out God’s will already and what do you yet plan to do?

9. Have you ever tried using a fleece (Josh. 18:6, 8, 10)? Or casting lots? Or any other superstitious methods? 

10. What options are you considering and what are the pros and cons of each?

11. Is there any way of reducing the options?

12. Which option do you prefer and why?

13. Have you prioritized the factors that are influencing this decision?

14. Have you already made a decision in your heart?

15. What are you looking for that will help you to know what to do? 

16. Are you looking for particular feelings, or a voice from heaven, or some other indicator to guide you?

17. How often have you prayed about this and what are you praying for?

18. What motives and desires can you detect that are influencing your decision-making? 

19. What are you afraid of happening as a result of your decision?

20. Is there any fear of man or desire for someone’s favor that’s impacting you in this?

21. Who have you consulted and what did they say?

22. Are you completely willing to do God’s will whatever it may be?

23. What doors are you seeing that are opening or closing?

24. Which option will draw you closer to God and help you glorify God most?

25. Which option will best develop your gifts and talents?

26. How will this decision impact your family, your church, your employer, others in your life? What other consequences can you foresee?

27. How long have you been thinking and praying about this?

28. How soon do you have to make a decision?

29. Is there a command you can obey while you wait? Are you doing your duty today? Are you living in the light God has given you while you wait for Him to give you more?

30. What indicators of God’s providence have you discerned?

Any other questions that you would add?