Posts Tagged 'joy'

Hope

JESUS SPEAKING

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I also go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know; and the way you know.” (John 14: 1-4)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus says, “let not your heart be troubled;” a clear reference to the anxiety, fear, and depression that can afflict the lives of those who have lost hope. The definition of hope is, the feeling of joy and optimism experienced in the present, as it relates to the anticipation of some future good. By simply contemplating the wonders of God’s coming kingdom, those who believe can feel joy even in the darkest moments. In this scripture, Jesus reiterates His promises; those who choose to follow Him will one day inherit a place in heaven; a permanent residence where they can walk in eternal fellowship with Him. Contemplating this faithful promise can eradicate the distress of any present suffering. Therefore, hope is at the very foundation of the gospel message; without it we are lost; but with it we can endure and overcome any challenges we might encounter.

As the story goes, a large school system once had a program to assist children who were sick in the hospitals with their school work. One day a teacher was asked to visit a particular child. She spoke with the child’s regular teacher who told her, “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in his class now. I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.” That afternoon, the hospital teacher went to see the boy. No one had told her that the child had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upon witnessing the boy’s injuries she was upset and began to stammer. “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” Having completed her session, she left; feeling as though she had accomplished very little. However, the next day a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” Believing she had committed some offense, the teacher began to apologize. “No, no,” replied the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment. It’s as though he’s decided to live.” Two weeks later the boy explained that, until the teacher had arrived, he had completely given up hope. Everything changed when he came to a simple realization which he expressed this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?”

The child in this illustration had been struggling because he had lost hope in the future. If we have lost our joy in the present, it is because we have taken our eyes off of the eternal life we have been promised in the future. We are therefore instructed by Jesus to look forward to our everlasting fellowship with Him in God’s kingdom. If we believe God, we can endure any trial or tribulation in this place. The Kingdom of Heaven is coming; and when that day arrives, we will fully know our Father. Never lose hope; never doubt in the promises of the Lord; and you to will experience “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.”

“Lord Heavenly Father, we trust You with our lives and believe in Your promises. Increase our faith, that no matter what circumstances we might encounter, we can experience the joy that accompanies our hope of eternal fellowship with You. May we continue to spread the gospel message to others; that they too might walk as Christians, from this day forward. May they receive salvation and be edified by Your unwavering promises. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

It’s Better to Give than to Receive

JESUS SPEAKING

     “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20: 35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     The word ‘blessed’ most commonly translates into the English word for ‘happiness.’  Those who live a ‘blessed’ life regularly experience joy, peace, and contentment.  Such a pleasant existence can only be achieved and maintained through daily acts of sacrificial service.  And yet, nearly all human beings are resoundingly selfish.  In an endeavor to acquire as many possessions as possible, some have become isolated, depressed, and discouraged. They aren’t aware that true happiness doesn’t come from selfish gratification; but instead, is the product of selfless giving.

     Michael Norton, a Harvard business professor, sought to discover a link between overall happiness and daily giving.  He conducted an experiment in which a small amount of money was given to a group of test subjects.  Half of the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves; the other half were told to spend the money on someone else.  When researchers contacted the subjects at the end of the day, they found that those who had spent the money on someone else reported feeling much happier than those who had selfishly squandered their’ allotted funds.  [Note:  In another study, Norton found that sales team productivity and relationship quality increased as salespeople were given money to spend on other team members.]

     Professor Norton had discovered that, although selfish gain seems appealing, it also lacks the power bring about lasting joy.  Genuine peace and contentment are the result of selflessness and sacrifice.  By serving and giving, we can demonstrate the generosity and love of Jesus Christ. May we never forget that happiness doesn’t originate from what we might receive, but rather, from what we are willing to give.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, shower us with your many blessings.  As we love and serve our fellows, may we be filled with happiness and joy.  May our selfish desires come to an end; that through us, countless lost souls might come to glorify Your Holy Name.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

The Key to Happiness

JESUS SPEAKING

       And it happened, as he spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breast which nursed you.”  But he said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and ‘keep it’ (do it)” (Luke Chapter 11: verse 27 – 28.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

       The word ‘blessed’ can most accurately be translated into our modern word for ‘happy.’  Those who are ‘blessed’ possess a genuine measure of peace, joy, and contentment.  In this scripture, Jesus emphasizes two essential steps, that when followed, lead to legitimate happiness.  First, an individual must become aware of God’s commandments and teachings.  Secondly, they must apply His doctrines in their lives and the lives of those around them.

       Concerning happiness, Americans are more depressed than ever.  From 1999 – 2014, the use of antidepressant medications increased by nearly 64%.  Approximately one in every ten individuals is currently taking some form of antidepressant.  Many however, are not suffering from chemical imbalances (although some might be); rather, they are unhappy because they either do not know God’s word, or they know it but refuse to apply it.  Those who are, at present, practicing serious sins, are consistently less happy than those who are not.  For instance, approximately 1.5% of women who are married report experiencing some form of depression; yet 5.1% of women living with a man before marriage report being depressed.  Further, those who engage in a homosexual lifestyle are more than 200% more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.   Additionally, men who watch pornography daily are 3.5 times more likely to experience severe depression than the general population.  Simply put, those who avoid sin are happier than those who do not.

       God lovingly gave mankind guidelines; and when they are followed, they lead to satisfaction and joy.  When His statutes are ignored, those who are disobedient can expect to experience emotional instability, depression, and fear.  The formula for achieving lasting happiness is uncomplicated; simply read God’s word daily and apply his teachings in every area of your life.  In so doing you will be blessed; you will avoid the misery of sin, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

       “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire genuine obedience.  May we read Your word daily and apply what we have learned in our lives.  May we act out Your commandments; may we love others; may we spread Your message; may we avoid sin, and in so doing, may we receive your eternal rewards.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you! 


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