Happiness by the Creator’s Design
Many are aware of the fact that God tells us 365 times in Scripture not to fear, one reminder for each day of the year. But did you know that God’s Word tells us six times more than this to be happy, have joy, smile, and be glad?
At the 16th annual Messianic Women’s retreat, we focused in on these Scriptures through our theme “Happiness by the Creator’s Design.” This joy-filled weekend was led by Miriam Nadler, head of Women’s Ministries at Word of Messiah, and Natalia Fomin of Hope of Israel Congregation’s Sisterhood ministry.
Natalia opened the retreat with a message on “Our Creator’s case for happiness.” She explained how the Hebrew word, ashrei, normally understood as “blessed” is best translated as “happy.” We saw this in Psalm 1: “How happy is the man (or woman!) who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” True happiness is a result of our walk with Yeshua, a state of being that is given as we are forgiven by Him and declared righteous. This kind of happiness reflects our Creator, for after all, we serve a happy God! (Matt. 25:23, John 15:11)
Miriam continued with this theme as she spoke on Psalm 32, which begins with “How happy is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!” Like David, as we acknowledge our sin and confess it before the Lord, we can find deep happiness in the freedom of God’s forgiveness.
Through our small groups, we dove further into these topics and their specific application for our lives. We also had a chance to respond to the Lord in worship through many different avenues: with music led by Miriam Nadler, Laurie Liss, Jenny Grant, Carol Barton, Emily Fomin, and Serena Liss, with Israeli dance led by Debbie Bateman, and with art led by Elaine DeBroq.
There was also space built in for fellowship through time around the campfire, morning devotions, shared testimonies, Saturday evening havdala, talent night, and time outside in beautiful Blowing Rock, NC. Through all this, we were refreshed and encouraged, reminded that we are on this journey of joy together.
Miriam wrapped up the weekend with a final message on “Being happy according to Yeshua,” walking us through Matthew 5. Our happiness in Messiah comes as we humble ourselves before Him (5:3,5), bring our sorrows and needs to Him (5:4), hunger and thirst for righteousness in Him (5:6), are cleansed by His atonement (7-8), dwell in peace with others (9), and persevere through trials and persecution (10-12). We left the retreat armed with tools to begin each new day seeking not after the world’s version of happiness, but inspired to find true happiness in our “happy and blessed place” (God’s Word) as beloved daughters of the King of Kings.
Here are some thoughts on the weekend from several of the ladies who attended:
“It was a bubbling well-spring-of-joy filled retreat, which will continue to ripple out in blessing, laughter, and true happiness from Him in the lives of every lady there!”
There was “fantastic godly teaching and ministry from an awesome group of ladies who love the Lord with all their heart!”
“This retreat covered areas that I have never known. Some of us gathered and continued discussing what we had learned. I am blessed. Thank you!”
“What a wonderful retreat! It is the BEST event I attend all year and I count it all as a huge privilege to participate”