Thanksgiving day is only 1 week and a half away. Time goes too fast. Christmas comes right away and then end of the year. This year 2016 is over soon.
Let us look at thankful and joyful today. If you always having thankful and joyful heart for anything, then you will have a better life with many benefits. What are those benefits?
1. If you are thankful always it will bring happiness and good life.
Happiness we think comes from some conditions or thru good environment. When good environment surround you, then you become happy. If not, you are unhappy. Is that true? Not so. Happiness is not influenced by our environment, but something else. What is it? Let us look how we can become happy or happier.
“Indicate 1 thru 10; show me your pain level..” your doctor would ask you. “10 is the unbearable pain, and 1 is ok...”
How about your happiness level? 10 the highest, 1 the lowest.
What is yours? 4 or 5 or 6? anyone having 10?.. the happiest? When you pass 100 years old, you get 10 as the scientific record tells. But you don't have to wait until 100 y-o (may not make it that far). You can become very happy.
Some may be in the scale of “2” because the result of US presidential vote. That's a temporary situation.
We tend to think happiness is influenced by our environment. But actually it is not really so. Happiness is brought by how you perceive things. How you feel and how you take it as good thing or not. Happiness is the attitude of your mind. In other word, if you think you are happy, you actually become happy. If you think you are very very happy, you actually become very very happy.
Environment rarely affects your true happiness.
Apostle Paul wrote letters from prison...a letter to Philippians are one of them. At that time he was waiting for the execution...death sentence would be carried out any time. What did he say in the letter?
“Help me God, I don't want to die.” did Paul say that? Let us read it again.
In Philippians 4:4 Paul said,
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Paul used this word “Rejoice” 16 times in Philippians alone. As you can tell
Paul was rejoicing even in a dark and smelly prison..at the worst condition. He had joy in his heart. Not affected by the surroundings. Happiness or joy comes from your attitude...your heart. If you think you are joyful then you really become joyful.
Do you know Tomihiro Hoshino? He is a well-known painter and poet. He is also quadriplegic. Many years ago when he first started to work as a middle school PE teacher, he demonstrated high jump to his students. He was a very good athlete and gymnast. But this time he fell from head first. That one accident changed his whole life. Since that day he has not moved his arms, hands, legs, and the neck-down body. In a hospital he started to read the Bible given by his friend. To read the Bible his mother held the Bible and turned each page for him. In the darkest time of the life, Tomihiro accepted Jesus as his own savior and became Christian. Another big change in his life.
Later he learned to paint with his mouth; holding a brush with his lips and slowly moving it. (like Joni Earickson Tada). He paint more and wrote a poem in the space below. Those words are devoted to Lord Jesus.
His paintings and poems touched millions of people. He and his friends started have some exhibitions of his art. Later he had his own gallery. Several millions of people have visited the gallery so far. Visitors are touched, encouraged by his work and take home true joy. He married to a kind nurse and living happily together.
Tomihiro said to an interviewer, he is very happy and thank God for His provision. He is happier than before the accident. He has been sharing his love and joy. Although he can not move at all, he is full of joy in his heart. Happiness is not by his surroundings or his condition. Happiness is the attitude in your heart.
How about you? Are you happy, or not so happy? What is your scale of happiness, 2 or 3?, or 8 or 9?
2. Thankfulness and joyfulness bring better relationships.
Thankfulness and joyfulness bring better relationships, especially between husband and wife.
If you say to each other “thank you” more often. Something begins to change.
Men! Say thank you to your wives for a good dinner, or good house work, or anything you can think of. Buy flowers and tell her “Thank you, I love you.” Your relationship will change for better. You may get an extra dish for your dinner. Japanese men are not very good in saying thank you & I love you... a little word, thank you. I love you. Being a Japanese man, I need to force myself to say these words. If you haven't, please try to say them. For American men, it's no problem. For Italian man, too much...
Now wives! Complement your husband. They love to hear that...much more than you think they would. “Thank you for working everyday until late. You are a wonderful husband.” He may be shocked, if he did not faint.
Among the church family, thank each other, and rejoice one another. Then the church will be brighter, and more joyous.
Let's thank our staffs every week, audio personnel, Power point operator, MC-worship leader, chefs cooking home made food, board members, usher, greeter, and anyone serve the church. If you all thank each other ...this will be the ideal church.
When you are always thankful and joyful, your face brings good smile...and this is a good testimony itself. You don't have to say a word, but your smile will speak for you. So, thankful and joyful person is loved by others. And naturally draws many people around them.... “They look nice with good smile always.”
if you are not good speaker or show your thankful and joyful in your face that is your testimony.
Practical method to show thanful and joyful.
How can you express more of your thankfulness and joyfulness. A few methods available:
1. Acknowledge everything is from God.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
1 Corinthians 4:7
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Everything is from God; our daily food, place to live, weather, those beautiful sunny days in Minnesota. Our good health is also from God. As we acknowledge them, we should thank the Lord more.
2. Another method in order to thank and rejoice more.
Stop complaining. God showed me this today. I have been complaining and grumbling especially when I am tired.
St. Paul said, in Colossians 3:8
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Pastor Aaron Burgess carried out in practice at the church.
Since October last year, for 6 weeks, he was challenged not to complain at all. It was rather a difficult challenge. It was like a fasting..abstain from goodies... since our daily habit is to complain. At the beginning, he got withdrawal symptoms. Every time when complaints were about to come out, he changed it to praising word. After 6 long weeks, he himself changed, and also the church started to change. Everybody in the church became happier, joyful and thanking more. Remove complaints, then the whole church changes. This may be our challenge too. No complaining and Do thanking! A big challenge for me.
Dr. Dale Robbins says this, “before, I thought people complain because they have problems. But now I found the truth. They complain and that causes problems.” complains never improve situations. It creates frustration, break unity, give a chance to Satan to destroy your life.
Complains and grumbling make your life miserable. Oh, how terrible to say it and hear it myself!
Complains are the gigantic enemy of thanksgiving. Complaints and thanksgiving; these twos do not co-exist. You need to select one for yourself; Complaints or Thanksgiving?
Leave from complaining for 1 month. I will try it, too....rather hard, though.
If any complaining is about to come out, remember to praise, to sing praises instead.
It certainly changes our life style for good.
Shown in Philip 2:14-16
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
3. What can you do to rejoice more?
Train yourself everyday, to thank and rejoice.... you need a good training session saying those words.
Men are not born thankful. You are trained to do so. You may need more training. List up things you can be thankful for. And then read them aloud. How many different things can you write?
I am thankful for: my family, children, nice fall weather in MN, our neighbors, JFC website, face-book, you-tube, computer programs, TV, I-phone, your job, your boss (maybe not).
Let us praise the Lord, thank our Lord. Make this your habit. Ephesians 5:20
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our prayers are a long list of requests, aren't they? Not enough thanksgiving to our Lord. How are your prayers? More rejoicing? More thanksgiving? or More praising? How many minutes in your prayer thanking the Lord?, or rather, how many seconds?
Increase your habit of thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus... you need to give more time to praise, thanksgiving, and then, “Count your blessing. One by one.” ...as shown in Hymn.
To know how blessed you are in the view of the world standard: look at the followings.
If you have one Bible, then you are richly blessed … 1/3 of whole world, can not have the Bible.
In the morning, if you wake up healthily, you are richly blessed. 1 million people do not make it till the end of the week.
If you are not in danger of the wars, nor imprisonment, nor suffering from hunger.... you are more blessed than 500 million people in the world.
If you wear a cloth, something to eat, and sleep under a roof, you are more blessed than 70% of people in the world.
If you have a car, a house to live, and some saving in a bank, you are the richest... above 99% of the people in the world. You are a very very rich person and you are really blessed.
Are you satisfied with what you have? Are you contented with your own belongings? Or maybe you want more and more. More new toys, more new computers, better things, more and more...
Do you thank Lord for your life now? Do you believe everything is from God?
Let us exchange our complaints into thanksgiving and praises.
Thankfulness and rejoicing will give your life a great influence. Let us thank our Lord.