Summary: God wants us to experience an abundant, blessed, happy life. The Psalmist gives us direction on how we can be open to God’s blessings in our lives and be like trees planted by water.

Psalms 1:1-6 “Blessed by God”INTRODUCTIONThe Bible often talks about joy and happiness. Jesus talks about being happy, or blessed, in the Sermon on the Mount. One of the fruits of the Spirit that Paul lists in his letter to the Galatians is “joy.” Psalms, like this psalm, talk about being blessed, happy and joyful. From all of the times that happiness and joy is mentioned in the Bible, it is clear that God is concerned with the quality of our lives here, on earth. God wants us to be joyful and happy. God fully understands that there will be difficult times in our lives, and they are beneficial enough for us that he will not shield us from them, but God still wants the tenor of our lives to be one of joy and happiness.The question is, “How can we feel blessed and be happy?” Joy and happiness do not just happen; then need to be nurtured and cultivated.EVIL INFLUENCESThe Psalmist warns us and challenges us to separate ourselves from evil influences. We are to stay away from the counsel of the wicked, the way of sinners and the seat of scoffers. This is difficult advice to follow, because we are surrounded by influences that seek to separate us from God.We are all aware of the bad influences of peer pressure that our children and teens may be exposed to. We are sometimes blind to the forces that affect us and our walk with God.• Peer pressure and social contacts can adversely influence us, especially if we decide to “go with the flow” instead of standing up for what we believe to be true and right.• Madison Avenue—advertising sends the wrong message, often telling us that in order to be of worth, or to be liked we need to purchase some product or thing.• Public opinion often goes against the teachings of Jesus. They frequently foster injustice and prejudice.We cannot separate ourselves completely from these messages and pressures that seek to separate us from God. As the Scripture says, however, “We are to be in the world, but not of the world.” Perhaps the question that we must ask ourselves is, “Are we seeking to be people of influence, or to be influenced?”CENTRAL DELIGHTThe people who are blessed, observes the Psalmist, are those whose delight is in the Lord. Delight means that the Lord is the focus of their attention, the center of their activities, and that they spend a significant amount of time nurturing their relationship with God.The picture that we have of the person who is blessed is one where the Lord is at the center of their lives—the hub and the other parts of their lives are like spokes radiating from that hub. This is different than the picture of life that we often work with where we have little cubes or compartments. Our faith is one compartment. Our work is another compartment, and our family yet another. We move from one compartment to another but the compartments themselves do not necessarily interact or are connected. When we live with compartments rather than a spoke and hub, we come up with a balancing act or juggling, trying to keep the compartments balanced. With the hub and spokes, everything centers on the truth that we are disciples of Jesus Christ and servants of God.Weekly worship, personal devotions, prayer and meditation all help us keep focused on God and delighting in God.LIVE BY THE WATERAs Christians we have been transplanted by the water—the living water of God.Near the water, we develop deep roots that enable us to weather the storms of life and to sustain health and wholeness. We grow and develop to be all that we can be—all that the Lord intended for us to be.Beside the water, we are fruitful. We have joy knowing that we are doing what we were meant to be doing. We are bearing fruit—impacting lives—for the kingdom of God.CONCLUSIONThe sole purpose of our faith and our relationship with God is not to transport us to heaven when we die, but to transform our lives today.Part of the transformation that the Holy Spirit accomplishes in our lives is to bring us abundances, happiness and joy.Amen

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