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But you have made me very happy, happier than they are, even with all their grain and new wine. Psalm 4:7(NCV)

With 2012 now upon us many look back over the past year and reminisce about the highlights and the challenges; our victories and our failures; those things we can take pride in and those that bring shame and remorse; events and people that make us happy and those that still conjure up feelings of anger and hate.

Nearly all of us are looking to the horizon and wonder how the economic and political climate will affect our lives. Some are battling the pain of physical illness or relational distress.

So where is the ‘happy’ in ‘Happy New Year’? How much would you give today in order to assure yourself that 2012 will indeed be a ‘happy’ new year? No doubt you’d say, “Well, I’d give all I had for that assurance! But no one can promise that.”

To a certain point, of course, you would be correct. There are no guarantees in life. But because of the grace offered to us by Jesus Christ there are guarantees we can take to the bank, so to speak.

Psalm four is referred to as an evening song. It was a song that was often sung at the end of the day. A song that, in a sense would lead the singer to reflect back over the past day. He would reflect on the good and the bad events as well the joyful and the stressful ones.

Verse 7 is the climax of the song. The Psalmist comes to the conclusion that he is happier with what God has given him than anyone around him who is blessed with the most prosperous life.

How can he make such a statement? First of all he is reminded of the source of true joy and happiness. That source is God, through Jesus Christ. The prosperity of the world is empty and fleeting. But, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He isn’t changed by circumstances, political upheaval, natural disaster or physical adversity. He alone is the source of our happiness.

Secondly, the Psalmist reminds himself (and us) that the joy God gives is for today. He doesn’t say ‘You will’ or ‘You did in the past’. He states plainly, You ‘have’. Present tense. For today, not tomorrow or some point in the future.

Thirdly, and this may be the most important, the Psalmist reminds us of the location or the seat of our hope and joy. Again, contrary to human wisdom, we are reminded that true joy, happiness and hope comes from within. It’s in our hearts. You can take my home. You can take my health. You can take my career and my financial stability. But you can’t take what’s inside me.

Lastly, our hope and joy is superior to anything the world can offer either through ‘new religious experiences, political change or social action. Think of it! The best that the world can offer us is like scraps from the table of God. There is nothing on earth that compares to what God has given us through Jesus Christ.

The Grace, mercy and forgiveness we have through him is better than having all the latest toys, the biggest house on the block, the best grades or the corner office. All that is fleeting and temporal. But the hope we have will last for the new year and for all eternity.

The joy of the world can make us look happy, but the joy of the Lord affects the heart.

Thomas Watson once said, “There is as much difference between heavenly comforts and earthly, as between a banquet that is eaten, and one that is painted on the wall.”

PRAYER: Lord God, as we enter into this New Year there are rumblings on the political and economic fronts. We don’t know what natural disasters await us. Thank you for the hope we have in you through Jesus Christ. Empower me with your Spirit to live according that hope. Let me live in such a way that others will be encouraged along the way by the hope they see in me. Amen.

You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. Psalm 4:7

Every year it’s the same thing. People all over the world will gather together to cheer in another year of great, new hopes and expectations. They talk about the new opportunities before them, about how great everything will be, and, for a few moments anyway, forget the pain, the agony and the turmoil that surrounds all of us.

The unfortunate reality is that January 2 or shortly afterwards, reality returns. The credit card bills come in from the Christmas overspending, the health concerns worsen, relationships fail us and the political and economic turmoil goes on. Wouldn’t it be nice if ‘Happy New Year’ were a statement of promise and absolute truth and not a flippant statement of hope in the midst of despair?

Each one of us can have a Happy New Year. That may seem like a bold statement but happiness isn’t about what goes on around us. Happiness is based on what we put our hope on. If we put our hope in material things, or relationships, or religion or even physical health we are destined for disappointment and failure. Anything that is earthly based will fail to bring us true happiness because by its nature it is destined to deteriorate.

The Psalmist compares his happiness to the happiness of those around them. During the time this Psalm was written ‘grain and new wine abounding’ represented everything one could possible ask for in the physical realm. It was a statement that represented the most successful and prosperous things that could happen in the world.

True happiness finds its source on the inside of each of us, not in the fickle, external circumstances that surround us. As Christ-followers we can have peace in the midst of turmoil, wealth in the midst of financial despair, freedom in the midst of addictions because our peace, wealth and freedom come from our faith in Jesus Christ.

Think about it for a moment. As a Christ-follower what is the absolute worst thing that can happen to you? The person without Christ may say relational or financial or physical disaster or even death. But for the Christ-follower none of that really has a lasting impact. The ‘worst that can happen’ for most people (death) is the best that can happen for us because in the death of our physical bodies we get to be united with Jesus in heaven.

The guarantee of a ‘Happy New Year’ comes only when we put our complete faith in Jesus Christ and resolve to grow in relationship to Him. Everything we see, everything will fail, change or go away. Jesus never will. Have a Happy New Year in Jesus!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I thank you for the promise you have given me that you are with me in every situation. I confess that in my humanness I seek happiness measure success by what I can hold in my hand or see with my eyes. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to base my happiness on you alone and not people, religion or things. I praise you for your love and power to bring true inner happiness to me through your forgiveness and your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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