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Suzy loves chocolate chip cookies.  They make her happy.  She asks her mom for one. happy y evil Her mom tells her she may have one after dinner.  Suzy sneaks some before dinner and eats them.  They make her happy, but she has done an evil thing.  Romans 1:29-32 says she should die.

Adolf Hitler hated Jews.  It made him happy to have them killed.  He had millions of them put to death.  He was an evil man.

All people desire to be happy.  No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I hope I have a terrible bad day and end up sad and miserable.”  No, people hope to have a good day where everything goes as planned, and perhaps some great unexpected things happen and they end the day with a big smile on their face.

There is some part of the brain that is constantly making decisions about what will make me the happiest or what will cause me the least amount of pain or discomfort, be it emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually.  Everything I plan, every decision I make is ultimately based on what I perceive will make me happiest.

God made us and knows what will make us ultimately happy.  That is why he gave us the Bible, to tell us what kind of choices we should make to be happy and avoid pain.  This life on earth is short compared to eternity.  Ultimate happiness is going to heaven and living in God’s immediate presence.  Ultimate pain is hell.  Got it?  Heaven good.  Hell bad.  Heaven joy.  Hell pain.

So it is in our best interest to make decisions that will make us happy both in this life and in the life to come.  Reading the Bible and listening to people who know the Bible will go a long way toward this end.  It will help us make decisions that lead to long term happiness and goodness, rather than short term happiness and long term evil and pain.

devil and wishes

C.S. Lewis quote

 

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I am thinking of a father and his soon to be 10 year old daughter.  He loves her very much and wants to give her the best birthday balloonsbirthday party ever.  He has been planning  it for months, considering every detail so that it will be a beautiful affair, to be remembered always.  It is to be a surprise party, so when the  day arrives, mom takes the little princess out to have her hair done and nails painted and a special dress purchased.  Meanwhile, the doting father is hanging miles of party streamers, inflating dozens of balloons, and placing hundreds of flowers all over the living room and kitchen.  On the dining room table sits a beautifully decorated cake, filled with icing flowers of all colors and 10 candles.  Loading down the kitchen counters is an array of catered food, the likes of which few people have ever seen, along with plenty of chips, and five kinds of pizza.  The  fridge is filled with soda and the freezer with ice cream.  On a nearby shelf sits the gifts the father has chosen for his daughter’s special day.  An i-phone, a Kindle tablet, a Blu-Ray player, and a 32”  Sony LED TV, all wrapped up, waiting for his darling daughter to unwrap.  He can almost hear her cries of delight and joy.

Her classmates, friends and family members, all decked out in their party best, begin arriving for the celebration at 1:3happy-birthday-cake-wallpaper-225x300 p.m. for the 2 p.m. scheduled big surprise.  At eight minutes past 2:00, the birthday girl and her mom walk through the front door and a thunderous cry of “SURPRISE – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” erupts.  The young girl is blown away, overwhelmed by the decorations and love from family and friends.  Music starts up from the live band out on the back patio and the party goes into high gear

The birthday girl rushes to her room to  put on her new dress.  Coming out of her room she runs into a 12 year old boy that she has a crush on.  She is thrilled to see him at her party.  He is looking at a red button on the hallway wall.  He wishes her a happy birthday, and then asks her about the button.  She tells him her house has a fire sprinkler system, and if there is  ever a fire, all you have to do is to push the red button and the sprinkler system will go on.  He tells her that sounds cool.  He tells her that sounds like fun; just like playing in the sprinklers outside on a hot day.  He tells her that she should push it; that it would be a great big joke on everyone and that everybody would laugh and dance around in the shower.  She tells him that her dad said no one should ever push the red button unless there was a real fire emergency.  He bets her that her dad would think this was a special exception, and that he would laugh and laugh and pick her up and dance around the room in the falling water, just like in the movies.  She says that she will go and ask her dad first.  He tells her that that would ruin the surprise.  He gave you a big surprise party, and now it’s your turn to surprise him.

She thinks about it for a few seconds.  She looks at the older boy with a bit of doubt in her eyes.  He looks at her pleadingly.  She looks at the red button and imagines what fun everyone will have in the  water shower.  She also thinks about what her dad has told her.  She thinks and thinks.  The boy says he’s getting a bit bored, and just remembered there  was  something he needed to do  at home.  He turns to go, and she pushes the  red button.

Water gushes down on everyone and everything.  It is all ruined.  No one is dancing around in the water.  No one is laughing .  At first, all the guests look panicked – they look for a  fire.  They hurriedly make their way out to the front lawn or back patio.  The party streamers turn soggy and drop from the ceiling onto party clothes and new carpet, which become stained. Frosting and cake slowly disintegrate.  The pizza is inedible    Some balloons drop and pop, adding to the chaos.  Expensive electronic gadgets are flooded with water and become worthless.  Firetrucks arrive and fire fighters rush into the house.   All the  people hoping for a happy, beautiful party go home upset.  It was definitely one to  remember.

The father is beside himself.  He doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry; yell or die.  The good, loving father truly wanted the best for his child.  The best decorations; best food; best presents.  Now it was all ruined.  Now it was all  ugly and bad; all because of a lie.  All because of disobedience and distrust.  All that’s left are regrets and remorse.

This story makes me think of our Heavenly Father.  One time He prepared a great party for His children.  It was a garden garden_of_eden_by_amosha-d3ijz4tparty.  The garden was filled with the most beautiful flowers and plants ever seen.  The variety of trees filled with good fruit was beyond description. All kinds of incredibly, beautiful animals roamed about freely. He  invited His children to go in, and then yelled “Surprise!”  His two children were overwhelmed with joy and the great. good, beautiful experience that they had.  In the midst of their happy celebration, the Father walked them over to a tree.  The name of  this  tree is “Knowledge of Good and Evil.”  There are hundreds of beautiful trees in this garden, loaded with juicy, tasty fruit that will dazzle your taste buds and energize your bodies.  I  want you to enjoy all of them.  But this tree, “Knowledge of Good and Evil” you must never eat of.  You should never even touch it.  In fact, just to be on the safe side, you should never even come to  this  part of the garden.  The reason is, is, that the day you eat from it you will die.

I looked up the Hebrew words and definitions for “good” and  “evil”.

Good is tobe:

good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well): – beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, fair , fine, glad, good deed, graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, like (best), loving, merry,  most pleasant,  pleasure, precious, prosperity,  sweet, wealth, welfare, (be) well ([-favoured]).

Evil is rah, raw-aw’

 bad or (as noun) evil (naturally or morally). This includes the second (feminine) form; as adjective or noun: – adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, + displease (-ure), distress, evil, + exceedingly,  great, grief , harm, heavy, hurt (-ful), ill (favoured),  mischief, (-vous), misery,  noisome,  sad (-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked (-ly, -ness, one), worse (-st) wretchedness, wrong. 

Without eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and  evil, they had all the good, beautiful, fair, bountiful, cheerful, joyful,loving, pleasurable, merry life that they could  ever want.  Unfortunately they disobeyed God.  They believed the lies of the Evil One.  They touched the tree and ate the fruit of the tree of  the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Banished from the Garden, their right relationship with God dead, thus their spirits dead, they suffer daily with the curse and punishment of God and experience the  bad, evil, adversity, affliction, calamity, displeasure, distress, misery, noisome, hurtful, sorrowful, trouble, and wretchedness that most people in this world experience on a daily basis.  They gave up all the good, and began to experience all the evil, the day they believed a lie.

Yet, some beauty, goodness and truth have survived.  G.K. Chesterton gives us the image of a shipwreck and survivors living on a deserted island, in his book Orthodoxy.  The survivors cherish the things that have washed up on shore from the lost ship.  In the same way, after Adam and Eve made a shipwreck of humanity, God has left us remnants of the beautiful, good party.  His love.  His true Word.  His grace and mercy.  Things to cherish.

So we cling to beauty, goodness and truth for the basis of our happiness and joy in God.  Daily, ugliness, evil and lies intrude into our lives, and often we have to battle to hang onto the good and beautiful and true.  We seek to share the truth, the beauty, the good with a hurting world.  We want to share our treasured remnants of the crash with those around us who have given up on having a good, beautiful life full of truth.

The Father has planned another party, bigger and better  and more beautiful than the first.  It’s called Heaven, or The New Jerusalem.  Our invitations are found in the Bible.  Have you RSVP’ed?

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Every component of our faith (worship, liturgy, creeds, theology, fellowship, spiritual formation, religious education, etc.), though in itself is valid and valuable, must lead to  good works, good lives, good creativity, and goodness to help our world get back on the road to being truly and wholly good again, the way God created it to be.  Brian McLaren in a Generous Othodoxy.

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Next blog – Purple Litter