¡°LIVE HAPPILY EVER-AFTER¡± By Pastor YAU
Phil 4:4-9; Prov.
1) Good wishes from writers: Many story books, particularly in romance ones, will end with good wishes to the characters with such words: They live happily ever-after. Words like these leave readers with some sweet feeling in the heart and a trace of smile on the face. Who doesn¡¯t want to have a life that lives happily ever-after? The main reason these words were so frequently used to end stories is life mostly don¡¯t measured to such level of emotional satisfaction. Both writers and readers want to see life lived that way, both for the characters in stories and in real life.
2) Good words from a king: ¡°A cheerful heart is good medicine; but a crushed spirit dries the bones.¡± (Proverbs 17:22) These are words of King Solomon written thousands of years ago. Today, medical research verifies the value of this saying: a cheerful heart is helpful in keeping good health; but a sad or negative spirit hurts the body and slows down healing process. Many common health problems such as sleepless night, indigestion, poor blood circulation, hyper tension and irregular heartbeats and many others have to do with emotional condition of the person. People who have chronic emotional problems have higher chances of getting sick and their recovery time will be longer than others.
SEVEN SYMPTOMS OF A SAD FEELING: Listed below is some of the symptoms many of the sad-spirited have in common.
1) Anxious or worry: fear of the future
2) Doubt on self worth or ability to handle life duties.
3) Angry toward self, others and environment.
4) Feeling helpless and hopeless, live in a ¡°confinement.¡±
5) Jealous on others and a feeling of unfair.
6) Depressed: Constantly heavy-hearted and feeling sick.
7) Lazy and unmotivated. Lost interest in people and work.
Psychologists identified ¡°emotional patterns¡± in people¡¯s mindset. Two different persons facing the same situation have different responses. It is your outlook of life that determines your response. Most of us can do little what comes to our life, but all of us can do something on how we may respond. The choice is ours.
SEVEN BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES ON
1) Cheer is your choice: ¡°Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!¡± (4:4) Paul used the word ¡°rejoice¡± in command case, it means it is a must, not an option. You must be joyful in the Lord regardless of your life situation. You cannot depend on any things else to be cheerful, but in the Lord.
2) Expect moderation in life: ¡°Let your moderation be known to all people, the Lord is near.¡± (4:5) ¡°Moderation¡± also means grace and humble. Moderation is about our life expectation. Many get upset in life because they want to live ¡°above¡± all others. Grace and humble is our attitude to others. This step puts us on the level with most people: we don¡¯t want and are not above others.
3) Trusting God¡¯s provision: ¡°Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be known to God.¡± (4:6)Many people can¡¯t be happy in life because they worry about their daily needs. God promised us he knows the best we need and will give us the best he knows. (Matt ; 6:31-33)
4) Enjoy the peace of God: ¡°And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.¡± (4:7) When face with life situation that is beyond our control or ability, leave it to God to handle it. God knows what it takes to protect you, provide for you, so, you will have perfect peace of mind in him.
5) Replace all in your heart: ¡°Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, what-ever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good reputation, if there be any virtue, and if any praise, think on these things.¡± (4:8)When your heart is filled with these wonderful virtues, there is no room for anxiety, worry or sad spirit.
6) Learn from good examples: ¡°Things you have learned, received, heard and seen in me, do. And the God of peace shall be with you.¡± (4:9) Make friends with those who are cheerful, positive, optimistic and upbeat. Build that desire to learn form them to improve your spiritual quality so you will be able to advance to higher level of joyful life.
7) Power of good judgment: ¡°For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and sound judgment.¡± (2 Timothy 1:7) Too often, we use what we see in this world or in others to handle life fearful situation and we easily loose heart. But God wants us to use what he has given us: power to conquer fear, love of God to lift us up, and good judgment on choosing positive, confident and hope because all these are God¡¯s gifts.
1) It benefits your health: A cheerful heart brings you better feeling, healthier body, clearer mind and sweeter sleep. It brings you more energy and positive attitude to everything around you.
2) It improves relationships: A cheerful heart brings more sunshine and warmth to people around you. It helps to draw others closer to you, so you have more friends and never feel lonely.
3) It creates positive attitude: A cheerful heart sees the positive side of people and things. It helps you see the bright side of a problem. It stimulates your power of deliberation and determination that leads you closer to success.
4) It makes you more thankful: A cheerful heart directs you to be more thankful to God and people for things they give you or do for you. So, you are less incline to complain but more thankful. It helps you focus on the blessings instead of the misfortunes.
5) It increases your productivity: A cheerful heart energize you to become eager to participate in service to God and others, more willing to give than to receive, easier to make friends, more able to solve problems instead of being a problem to others.
1) Trust your day to the Lord: ¡°God¡¯s love and compassion never fails. They are new every morning.¡± (Lamentation 3:22-23) Have faith in God that he will lead your way and supply you strength for the day.
2) Start with purpose and passion: ¡°I forgetting what is behind and strain forward, press on toward the goal to win the prize.¡± (Phil. 3:13-14) Setting out to accomplish something meaningful and important, things that make you feel good.
3) Aiming to be better person: ¡°If anyone who is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.¡± (2 Corinth. 5:17) Stop some bad habits like watch late night TV and lazy to get up in the morning. Don¡¯t be late to school or work. Get rid of indecent thoughts or reading material or TV programs.
4) Finish your share of duties: ¡°I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.¡± (2 Tim 4:7) Things you need to do today, don¡¯t drag it till tomorrow. Finish your duties with honor and feel the pride of accomplishment.
5) Do something good to others: ¡°Each of you should look not just your own interest but also the interest of others.¡± (Phil 2:4) Find time to make a call, write a card, send an email to someone you know is in need of love, care and support. Express gratitude for things others had done for you. Volunteer at some needy places or people. Don¡¯t just care about your needs.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH:
1) Joyful life glorifies God: Some well meaning Christians believe that being followers of the Lord is a journey of suffering and the Bible has much to say about it. But the Bible also has much to say about the joy of following Jesus. The joy Jesus gives us is more than circumstantial, it is the inner joy beyond and above what our circumstance may offer us. Being followers of Christ is more than being martyrs for the faith. We are the light of the world and our life should shine through the darkness of the world to draw others to know Christ.
2) The real source of joy: When Paul commanded his readers to ¡°rejoice in the Lord,¡± he set a stage for us to be joyful: in the Lord, the only foundation to cheer or joy. Jesus told us: ¡°In me you have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I had overcome the world.¡± (John 16:33) Jesus calls us to get connected with him all the time, because ¡°apart from me you can do nothing.¡± (John 15:5) So, if you are serious about living a joyful life as a follower of Christ, there is a sure way to do that: ¡°bide in Him and Him in you.¡±