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February 24, 2015Leadership

20 Truths from The Happy Christian by David Murray

Christians are called to live joyful, purposeful lives.
20 Truths from The Happy Christian by David Murray

1. Remember: we are what we think. If our minds constantly feed on all this negativity, our moods will inevitably darken, taking everything else—our words, actions, health, relationships, and so forth—down with them into the abyss. We become what we think. (xv)

2. The church has not always been successful in communicating the Bible’s uplifting and inspiring message. Overinfluenced by our culture, we have drifted into such a default normality of negativity that anyone calling for a more biblical balance is often viewed with grave suspicion. (xxiii)

The church has not always been successful in communicating the Bible’s uplifting and inspiring message.

3. On the other hand, if we starve ourselves of mental junk and replace it with what is true, admirable, right, pure, beautiful, and attractive, peace will stand as a sentinel all around our feelings and thoughts, creating an impregnable fortress of calm and tranquility. The “peace of God” and the “God of peace will be with you. (27)

4. Lord Palmerstone, a nineteenth-century British politician, recognized the incredible power of thoughts when he said, “Opinions are stronger than armies. Opinions, if they are founded in truth and justice, will, in the end, prevail against the bayonets of infantry, against the fire of artillery. (28)

5. Even Christians find it hard to escape the tendency to turn from the light and to be attracted to the darkness. It’s partly because there is often more darkness around than light. That simply demands even greater effort to think and talk about faithful marriages, godly young people, generous philanthropists, and honest politicians. (32)

6. The gospel makes no sense and has no power for people who are not taught the doctrine of sin and experience conviction of sin. (37)

7. We don’t want to linger there any longer than we have to. Some preachers, teachers, and parents love to dwell in the smoke and fire of Mount Sinai more than the love and grace of Mount Calvary. (37)

8. Although every preacher must both woo and warn, the most regular note should be of wooing more than warning, more of the carrot than the stick, more of the beauty of holiness than the ugliness of sin, more of drawing Christ than highlighting the danger of the Devil, more of the attraction of heaven than the fear of hell. (38)

9. It’s difficult to believe “It is finished” because it contradicts the most basic rule of life in this world: Work = Reward. From our earliest days to our latest days, this law governs everything. Do = Dollars. You work; you get rewarded. You don’t work; you don’t get paid. (50)

10. Here’s another survey question for you: What is the Bible all about? Most popular answer: “To help us live better lives.” In other words, it is all about me. I am the main subject of the Bible. I hate to disillusion you—no, actually I’m glad to—but the Bible is all about God. He is the subject, the object, and every other grammatical term in between. (54)

11. That’s why we need to constantly study salvation. End-times prophecy, ways to combat cults, church history, biblical languages, ethics, practical Christian living, and so forth, have their places, but they must never displace salvation as our favorite topic of study. (55)

12. Our consciences tell us that we have done wrong and we deserve to be punished by God. Sometimes the tone is condemning, sometimes mocking, sometimes lamenting, but always painful. There’s only one silencer, and that’s faith in Jesus’ Done. (59)

13. As the person who has been forgiven most loves most,13 ask the Lord to show you how much you have been forgiven. The more you appreciate the depth, length, breadth, and height of God’s forgiveness, the more you will love Him. (74)

14. We, too, can squeeze maximum happiness out of each happy event or experience by looking forward to it, enjoying it in the moment, communicating our enjoyment of it to others, and deliberately remembering it in the future. (87)

15. Christian hope is a realistic expectation of and joyful longing for future good and glory based on the reliable Word of God. (92)

16. When I counsel depressed people and their caregivers, one of the first things I do is try to give them hope. By definition, depression is a sense of hopelessness; things cannot and will not get better. That’s why I want to give them the hope that in the vast majority of cases, they will get better, there is a way out, and there are things that they can do to help themselves in their felt helplessness. That hope itself is a huge step toward healing. (970

Worship need not be confined to our private devotions and our corporate worship.

17. Worship need not be confined to our private devotions and our corporate worship. Yes, these are the times when we should expect to see the character of the Lord and bow before Him with joyful and reverent praise. We can see traces of the Lord’s character in all of His creation, however, especially in the apex of His creation, humanity. (110)

18. This entitlement mentality destroys initiative, independence, inventiveness, resourcefulness, motivation, the fear of consequences, and the link between cause and effect. It promotes indulgence, jealousy, conceit, laziness, and self-centeredness. It creates bad winners and bad losers. (140)

19. The fullest and best kind of forgiveness is when our attacker or abuser confesses his sin, asks for forgiveness, and we are enabled to do so from the heart, just as God for Christ’s sake did for us. This kind of reconciliation is one of the greatest joys for any Christian to experience. It is so liberating, so refreshing, so exquisite. (155)

20. Biblical diversity is a positive, not a negative. It is an addition, not a subtraction. It is an advantage, not a disadvantage. It is an essential element of a positive faith. It makes for happy Christians. Unless we embrace it, every encounter with diversity will be a negative, a threat, an enemy. It is not going away in our hyperconnected and hypermobile world; it is only increasing. (215)

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20 Truths from The Happy Christian by David Murray