By Tom Quiner

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The man who imagined “there’s no heaven” didn’t understand happiness.

That catchphrase invoked by John Lennon above, that happiness is the key to life, is backwards. Rather, LIFE is the key to happiness.

Life is a gift, after all, a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father. The essence of happiness is gratitude. This suggests that true happiness is only found in God. So I’m not sure John Lennon really understood life either.

His iconic song, “Imagine,” longs for no heaven and no religion. And yet it is religion, specifically Christ’s Church, that is the living, breathing embodiment of Christ on earth.

The Christian religion isn’t the enemy of happiness, it is its source.

The word “life” is all about giving. God gave each of us the gift of our life. We in turn give our life back to God by sharing our gifts with each other. It is this relentless giving of ourselves that produces such abundant fruit, which nourishes happiness in us.

Perhaps no fruit is more nourishing than charity, a giving of our time and talent to our families and our communities.

Look at it this way: takers in life are self-centered. They become blinded to the beauty glowing in others, because their gaze is inward. Their life becomes small. The less life in a person, the less happiness

Givers, on the other hand, are other-focused. They become dazzled by the beauty glowing in others. To givers, each person they meet presents them with an opportunity to become even happier by simply giving more of themselves. The life in them grows and they overflow with happiness.

Life is the key to happiness. Let us thank God for His priceless gift to each of us. Then let us go and share it with the world.

 

20 Comments

  1. Bob Vance on April 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I would argue that the core of Christianity is self-centered. Let me summarize what you have written:
    “I am a Christian – only I know the true meaning of life”
    “I am a Christian – only I know the true meaning of happiness”
    “I am a Christian – only I can know true morality”

    • Shawn Pavlik on April 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      You would be wrong. The core of Christianity is CHRIST-centered.

      John 14:6: “For I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, and no one shall come to the Father, but through me.”

      We are confident in our faith, because He IS the one true God. Now I understand that all religions believe that, but name another religion where the god sent his son to die for the sins of all mankind. Name another religion where all it takes to be a member and to get to heaven is to accept that sacrifice, and understand that He is our Savior.

      Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

      Without Christ’s sacrifice, NO ONE would be in heaven. Heaven is not something that is earned, but rather a gift that is given and freely accepted, or it is one that is refused.

      John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, so that whosoever shall believe in him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life.”

      • quinersdiner on April 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm

        Amen, brother!

      • Bob Vance on April 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        So your God would accept a serial killer into heavan if he accepts God on his deathbed, yet your God would send a man to burn in Hell for eternity even if he led a good and decent life but was Muslim or Hindu.

        Where did dead people go prior to Jesus?

        Of course, I could ask these questions to a hundred random Christians and would probably come up with close to a hundred unique responses.

      • Karen Quiner on April 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm

        Bob,
        You are awfully fixated on the whole “Burn in Hell” thing. I don’t recall anyone in any post or response using the “burn in Hell” phrase on this blog. It is a rare Christian who would say any single human being is going to burn in hell because we all know it is only by Gods grace that we ain’t -a- goin’ there since we are all sinners.

        That doesn’t mean we don’t think there is a hell and that some people will go there. (I might be pretty worried if I were Dr. Gosnell)

        But yes, we can get into heaven at the last minute by accepting God’s forgiveness and repenting. I highly doubt if it is as easy as that, I am guessing that there is likely a serious process of true repentance that we have to go through before we get there.

        And no, I don’t think anyone ever said a Hindu or Muslim who led a decent life is going straight to Hell. They will be clearly presented with the Truth at some point, even if it is at the end of their life, and they will accept it or not, but they will know it is the Truth, they will know that God is that Truth, and that Truth is the essence of Love. And they will have to say “no thanks, I don’t want it.”

        That goes for you also. At your last breath, you WILL see, and you will have to choose. You will be given countless opportunities to choose God between now and then and God will never give up on you. I don’t think you have to be evil to go to Hell though. I think you will know at some point that there is a God and at that point, thinking you are God, or as good as God, or that you don’t need Him, will keep you from living eternity with Him, which is the essence of Hell.

        At this point, you don’t know He exists, so there is a lot of hope for you Bob. 🙂

        P.S. You are seriously missing out Bob. You don’t know what you are missing!!! Find someone with an inner peace, joy, and goodness that you can see and feel from across a room and I guarantee you that that person will be a Christian.

    • concernedonlooker on April 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      “I am a Christian – all truth comes from God.”

      Seeking happiness for one gratifies one. Seeking happiness for others gratifies many.

      You should read the gospels Bob, being a Christian is all about serving others, not just one.

  2. Shawn Pavlik on April 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    This post is similar to what we talked about yesterday in our Adult Bible Fellowship class. Our teacher called it Contentment vs. Covetousness. If “things” are what make you happy, you will never truly be happy, because there is always the next greatest “thing” out there. Most of us do not make enough money to own all the “things” we covet, and even if we do, then we covet other things like our neighbor’s wives or girlfriends, etc. If instead, we put our happiness in God’s hands, and live our lives being obedient to him, we will find contentment, and eventually ultimate happiness.

    God not only gave us the gift of life; he gave us the gift of salvation. The gift of forgiveness. The gift of mercy and grace. All of these are much greater gifts than any materiel item or any desire of the flesh.

    We watched a video (sorry, I do not know the name) of a woman who married a man. She had been dating him for about 8 months, and he was in a terrible car accident, and was brain damaged. He can no longer speak very intelligibly or really take care of himself. But she married him anyway, as they had been planning. It was at one time the saddest and most joyful video I have see in a long time. Her faith and her contentment to be with the man she loves even though he is in such a state was remarkable.

    It is difficult to explain to non-believers. It’s a “God” thing. Once you’ve experienced it, I don’t think you’ll ever be the same.

    • quinersdiner on April 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks, Shawn, for so eloquently building on the theme.

  3. Bob Vance on April 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    The saying goes that God created man in his own image. I say man creates God in his image. God is seen differently to each person because ultimately God is how we view ourselves. You have a personal connection to God because he is just a reflection of you minus all the negatives you see in yourself.

    Just my thoughts…

    • Karen Quiner on April 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Man tries to create God in his image, but that is not who God is.

      • Bob Vance on April 15, 2013 at 4:40 pm

        You should have a topic “Who is God? Please be specific.” I think that would prove interesting if you could get people to respond and respond truthfully.

      • Karen Quiner on April 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

        If you think you know who God is, you better go back to the drawing board because God cannot be described or explained or put in a box that we can wrap our heads around..

        We know He is Love. We know He is Truth. We know that He has revealed Himself in Sacred scripture. We know that he came in the flesh in the person of Jesus.

        All Christians will say the above.

        But knowing Him is a lifelong process and as soon as you think you know it all, you are farther from the truth than you think.

        I know non-Christians have another view of how to find God, but I think they are in error. But if they are of good will and honest seekers, they will find Him.

        I don’t have any doubt that I have a very long way to go and that a lot of my perceptions of God will be challenged, but I stand by EVERYTHING in the second paragraph.

  4. Bob Vance on April 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Karen,

    I was never a believer in Hell. To me, Hell was the garbage dump outside Jerusalem where they threw your body into on “burn” days if they didn’t know what else to do with your remains.

    Regarding Dr. Gosnell, I assume even he can repent while in prison and secure his place in heaven, correct? Sounds like the perfect get out of jail free card. What if he has accepted Jesus already as his savior? What then?

    I am very happy with how my life has turned out. I don’t feel like I have “missed out” on anything. If I die tonight, I will die having no regrets and no worries.

    What if you die tonight only to find that the Jews really were God’s Chosen Ones, and it was never about the gentiles? Or perhaps Muslims or Hindu were right this whole time? Or maybe eating lobster really was the deal breaker. What if you are wrong?

    • Karen Quiner on April 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Saying “I accept Jesus as my savior” isn’t enough. You have to repent of your sins and allow yourself to be transformed by Him, which changes your behavior over time.

      On your deathbed, you can’t just wink and say, “oh yeah, I accept Jesus as my Savior” without serious repentance, and I am pretty sure that repentance isn’t necessarily easy.

      I am glad you are happy but I would suggest you don’t know what you are missing. But of course I can’t prove that. Happy is one thing. Joy and unshakeable peace are different. But of course I don’t know you so I can’t say anything about you.

      And the Jews were in fact the Chosen ones and somehow, in a way I don’t get, they still figure into the big plan.

      If the Hindus or the Muslins are right the whole time, God will show me that. I honestly want to know the truth. God is Truth and all Truth comes from Him. If you look, you will find God.

  5. xPraetorius on April 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Nice, lively exchange!

    I LIKE Bob! Years and year ago, I was there myself…I used to argue with Christians all the time. My best friend was an unabashed, out-in-the-open, joyous Christian, and I was PERFECTLY set on being the proud “skeptic” that I was.

    Without fail — WITHOUT FAIL! — my Christian friends responded to my constant probing arguments — as Tom and Karen do: they argued, discussed, locked horns with me in friendly, smiling, laughing patience. They were perfectly unflappable. While that was frustrating for me, I REALLY, admired the fact that I simply COULD NOT push them to irritability!

    I used all the same arguments that Bob uses: “Oh yeah?!? well, what about evil?!? And the Inquisition?!? And how about those who never even HEARD about Jesus?!? How ’bout THEM, huh?!? And, what about the adopted or natural children of gay people? And what about homosexual priests?!? And on and on and on and on and on…there was NOT an angle that I didn’t explore.

    Trust me.

    From Bob’s writing, it sounds as though he is one who has sought Christ as I did…kicking and screaming the whole way. Remember: those who are actively seeking Christ usually don’t know they are! I think Bob’s hovering on the brink, and I hope he will choose to contact Tom and Karen when that day comes.

    All the best,

    –x

    • Karen Quiner on April 15, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Praetori,

      What a lovely response!

      Bob, I am guessing from debating you in the past that that response from Praetori will irritate you a little. I even understand it. Certainty in others when you hold a different point of view can grate a bit at times.

      You have expressed that it is annoying when people are so sure of being right. But you are just as sure about your beliefs as I am mine.

      But think about this, there are certain things that are either true or not. Two opposite things cannot be true. To say otherwise is just mush. You say that Jesus is not the Son of God, I say that not only is He the Son of God, but He is God Himself. One of us is right and one of us is wrong. For us to be polite and say that we both have our own truth is hogwash. It is weak. It shows an unwillingness to stand up for what you believe.

      My desire to show you otherwise comes from the belief that I think that the stakes are high. You are missing something pretty important in my book.

      The problem comes in if I don’t respect you where you are. Or if I want to ridicule you, hurt you or worse, kill you for your beliefs. There are some religions that promote that and that is wrong. And I do admit that there are some Christians who haven’t gotten the memo about this. But Jesus does not teach disrespect or violence, so it isn’t true Christianity to behave like that.

      There are certain things I am absolutely certain of and would be willing to die defending. But I don’t claim to know all of the truth. I won’t know it all until I die. It is ignorant to say you know all of the truth or even that you think you have a handle on who God is. I just know where I have to go to learn more, even acknowledging that it will be a lifelong quest.

      I do respect you Bob. You are smart and interesting and you are a gentleman. We like having you come to the blog.

      • Shawn Pavlik on April 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        Not saying that this is true with Bob, but I believe for many, the rejection of God and His Word stems from a desire to have no one to answer to but themselves. Bob called Christians self-centered, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. CHRIST is our center. “Jesus, Take the Wheel” is the name of a country song, but it is also what needs to happen. Some say “God is my co-pilot”, I say “God, please be my pilot and navigator, and show me where I need to go.”

        • quinersdiner on April 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm

          Yes, excellent point. That’s why I made the connection of the Philadelphia massacre to the discussion.

        • quinersdiner on April 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm

          Amen, amen!

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