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Saturday, May 5, 2012



(Series from Living a Happy Life In an Unhappy World) 
“If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.”  (John 13:17)
In Part One of this series we look at qualities that a person who is living a life of well-being demonstrates.  This included love, optimism, courage, freedom to choose, and good physical and mental health.  In Part Two we discussed “How to be an Optimist in a World of Pessimists”.  In this message we emphasized the importance of overcoming fear by believing that God can and wants to make your life a happy life.
In this message I would like to give you some practical ways of doing what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told us to do.  I would like to give you a few things He told us to do to be happy.
One of the central teachings of our Lord was this:  “By this shall all people know that you are my disciples, if you have love one towards another.” (John 13:35).  He said it was not just a suggestion, but a command.  “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).  Love is an action word not just a feeling or a mood.  Here are some ways to “love one another”.
  • One special quality of love that really matters is APPRECIATION.  This is simple, requires little time, and cost you nothing.  A word of kindness not only brings happiness to others, but in turn will increase your happiness because you have shown love in a meaningful way. It may be as simple as being with Christian brothers and sisters at church and telling them that you are glad to see them and spend some time with them.
  • Tell God how much you love Him by your actions of SERVICE TO OTHERS.  Every day we have the opportunity to do something good for someone without expecting something in return. Each of us has God-given talents and abilities we can use to make life better for others.
Another emphasis our Lord both taught and demonstrated was that of FORGIVENESS.  I know this is a difficult thing to do, but it is necessary for happiness.  Forgiveness is not about letting someone else get away with a past hurtful act against you, it is about you letting it go so God can give you happiness.  “If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15).
A memory is a memory is a memory - and there is no healthy way to erase it.  It is history and no one can go back and undo it.  You cannot simply talk a problem to death, but the Holy Spirit can teach you how to forgive.  You can rise above your anger by funneling your mental energy into your spirit and intellect.   They can create new meaning out of old memories.  Forgiveness will bless you with an inner security and give you an unexpected sense of personal power.  Our emotions should not be controlled by the actions of others.
Your painful memories, which may once have made you feel like a victim, battered and demeaned, can become your greatest motivators and your richest sources of wisdom.  Remember you have been forgiven many times for mean things you have done toward God.   You have sinned by sins of commission or by omission, but He has forgiven you.  “This is the covenant that I will make with them...says the Lord.  I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:15-16). 
We need to get the emotional power to forgive, and to stop torturing ourselves with the question: “Why Me?”. Everyone has losses in life.   Many people blame God for things He has nothing to do with.  When there is a great loss in your life through a death, or broken relationship, or loss of a job, God is not responsible.  Jesus said:  “Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).  If you have anger toward God, you need to ask for forgiveness for misdirecting your anger.  God can handle it, but if you continue to blame Him, you will cut your self off of the future blessings and happiness He wants to give you.  God does not to things to His children that are harmful or hurtful.
Another practical way of “Being Happy in an Unhappy World”, is by following the teaching and example of Christ about not worrying.  Our Lord said: “Let not your heart be troubled.” (John 14:1).  “Take no thought about tomorrow, for tomorrow shall take care of itself.” (Matthew 6:34).
One way to overcome worry and fear is gratitude or thanksgiving for what you have today.  When you begin to worry about tomorrow, think of the blessings you have today.  Not only think about them, but write them down.  “Count your many blessings and name them one by one, Count your many blessings and you will see what God has done.”  Take time to focus on things that are going well in your life instead of things you have no control over.  “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy Name, O Most High.” (Psalm 92:1).
You have the power to choose what you think about.  Keep in perspective the blessings you have and how little control you have over the actions and feelings of others.  You have the power to be happy by doing the things that our Lord has asked you to do.  The opposite of “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.”  (John 13:17), is that if you don’t do these things you will not be happy.  Doing things or not doing things is your choice, but our Lord wants you to be happy and blessed in this life time and the one to come in Heaven.
This is God’s will for your life now:  “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11).  You can be happy in an unhappy world and it is your choice.
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