‘Cause I’m Happy….’

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Happiness

The opposite to depression is happiness.
If a person is happy, they are not depressed.
However, happiness should not be confused with laughter.
The circus clown is often the saddest person in town.
Depressed comedians are proverbial.

Pr 14:13
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.

Depression has become epidemic.
WHO predict depression will be the most common major disease by 2020.

Wikipedia – The recent hit pop song “Happy” is a neo soul and funk song on which Pharrell Williams’ falsetto voice has been compared to Curtis Mayfield by critics. The song has been highly successful, peaking at number one in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and 19 other countries. It has sold over 5.6 million copies in the United States  and over 1.52 million copies in the United Kingdom, and has reached number one in the latter a record three separate occasions.

Happiness is popular because so many want it, and yet happiness remains so elusive.

Depression and Stress: Several studies have found that high levels of religious commitment correlate with lower levels of depression and stress. [David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health: What Does the Research Show? (Rockville, Md.: National Institute for Healthcare Research, 1992), 76-78
“Australian Psychologist”
Volume 34, Number 1
March 1999
Editor: Christine Lee
University of Newcastle
The World Health Organisation’s global burden of disease research indicates that unipolar major depression was the leading cause of disability worldwide in 1990. Furthermore, it predicts that, by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death and disability across the world. (Page 49)

The deepest happiness available to any of us is fellowship with Christ.
This communion brings a smile to our soul unobtainable anywhere else in the Universe.
This is being right with your creator, rather than wrong with Him and feeling separated from Him because of our offences against Him.
This joy is the joy of fellowship with Christ Himself.
This is the secret place of Psalm 91.
No-one can remove this or steal it away.
This happiness remains in spite of everything and anything.
It is the wine of fellowship with God Himself.
When we should be drowning in depression, we can be happy in an overcoming attitude because we are connected, fused with a supernatural fusion to Christ Himself the One who rose from the dead, overcoming all hell, hades, demons, sickness, sin and shame.

Dr Martin Seligman is the world’s leading authority on optimism and happiness. He wrote a ground breaking book – Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991) and followed that up with (amongst others) Authentic Happiness (Random House, 2002).

In Authentic Happiness (page 177 & 178) Seligman wrote this about the importance of optimism for achieving high performance:

‘The pessimist views bad events as pervasive, permanent and uncontrollable, while an optimist sees them as local, temporary and changeable. Pessimism is maladaptive in most endeavours: Pessimistic life agents sell less and drop out sooner than optimistic agents. Pessimistic undergraduates get lower grades, relative to their SAT scores and past academic record, than optimistic students. Pessimistic swimmers have more substandard times and bounce back from poor efforts worse than optimistic swimmers. Pessimistic pitchers and hitters do worse in close games than optimistic pitchers and hitters. Thus pessimists are losers on many fronts.’

Optimists are people magnets. People like to be in the company of an optimist. Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman’s research proves that optimistic leaders more easily retain talented people compared to leaders who more often display negative moods.

Optimism and associated good moods create positive feelings about work. Good moods have also been proven to greatly improve people’s speed in; understanding complex information, making effective decisions and thinking more creatively.

Optimism builds resilience. Pessimists as more likely to give up sooner or not to try at all, compared to optimists.

Nelson Mandela is often mentioned in surveys of inspiring leaders. To go through all that he did as a prisoner on Roden Island for over 20 years and come out a free man with no apparent diminishment of his belief in the basic good of all people, shows optimism at its most inspiring.

There are a number of roadblocks to happiness that all of us have to deal with if we want some joy in our lives.
I certainly don’t underestimate the power of depression in people’s minds and lives. I have faced and fought my own battles with depression, but also I have discovered how to minimise the impact of negative thoughts and emotions and how to promote positive emotions.
Positive feelings alone are not the root of happiness. If our character is right and our spirit clean, joyfulness is inevitable in our emotional life. To try and medicate our way out of depression and into good feelings doesn’t deal with the roots of the problem.

The truest and most accurate translation of the word ‘Blessed’ when Jesus is presenting the sermon on the mount, is ‘Happy’.
We have a problem with this because we think this is too light a word compared to the word blessed, which sounds so much more sacred.
However, Jesus came to bring us into happiness, not by waving a major wand, but through us being obedient to God.

Happy weekend friends & see you in church!

Ps. Phil has authoured 14 books, one of which is about HOPE.  A must read for anybody suffering with depression or feelings of hopelssness.  You can order a copy by clicking on the link above.

 

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

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1 Samuel 16:1

1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided myself a king among his sons.”

How long will you mourn for something God has moved on from. The Lord is far more ruthless than we are about moving on from what we have been attached to, and those things we are sentimental about.

When we mourn over things that God has moved on from we are not honoring Him. Jesus identified our condition of resistance to change;

Lk 5:39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

The quicker we can change gears and move on from the past the quicker we will be able to possess our future.

As long as we are pining for what was, we will not be able to celebrate what is, and be paralyzed from entering into what is to be. How long are we going to take to get over something that we have lost? How long to leave the past and move into a new future? Saul was old anointing. How long will we mourn for the old anointing, the old revival, how it used to be? This prevents us from possessing the new oil, the fresh anointing.

The prophet was to fill his horn with fresh oil, new oil, for a new leader, a new day.

God is never taken by surprise. He always has someone he has prepared, waiting in the wings.

Before David was born, God formed the future King in the womb for the destiny of ruling a nation and carrying the presence of God to His generation.

God provides for Himself. Our role is to simply recognize what he has prepared. Even though Saul was rejected he still reigned for many years to come, resisting the new move of God that was emerging.

The interesting thing is that although the Lord agreed to the people’s request for a king, albeit with warnings and reproaches that they had rejected Him, nevertheless here he now continues the new form of kingly government with a choice of his own rather than having enough proof He would now revert the nation back to the way it was, a theocracy. There is a definite warp and woof in the will of God, where our human desires, purposes, plans, failures and successes are woven into the divine and sovereign will.

This transfer of power to the new king, was not because the previous leader had died, as with Moses and Joshua, but because Saul had failed to do the will of God. Disobedience has a higher price than we can imagine. God’s choice of David was because he ‘would do all the will of God’

Acts 13:22 …‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.

See you in church

CREATION SHOUTS!

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Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

Before creation, the ‘invisible God’ was not clearly understood, but ‘since creation’, even before Jesus, God was not without a vivid, crystal clear witness to His character, in creation, in which He is understood, through all that has been made. From giraffes to bananas, from the smallest of ants with all their industry to the mighty humpback whales finding their ways to mating grounds, with all the engineering marvels of blood circulation in our body and the irrigation of the Earth, our breathing systems, the symbiosis of a thousand eco systems. The list is too long and breathtaking, altogether too marvelous to take it all in. I am speechless at the flight of a small finch. Not tens of billions of dollars could make one, let alone bring the personality of these creatures to life. And then man himself, with all the glory of his intelligence, his dance, songs, art and rhythms, discoveries, inventions and adventures. His own self aware ‘self’, which is no-one else’s, never was and never will be. We are all uniquely ourselves and conscious of that fact. Where did that ‘me’ come from?

We have been created!

Once we were not. Now we are. We did not make ourselves. Neither do personalities evolve. We either are or we are not, and all of us know, we are, we exist, regardless of how many feeble mind gymnastics we want to attempt to explain our being and creation some other way. God is there and He is here. This is the truth we desperately want to suppress, because if He is, then we are accountable, and responsible, and answerable for what we have done with what He has given us. But creation reveals a creator who loves, in the colors, the scents, the nutrition yet not purely utilitarian, but beautiful in taste, scent and feel. The rains, the sun, the oceans, the mountains, the sheer breathtaking pleasure of the beauty of it all is love. The pleasures of companionship and union with others, grace to breathe fresh air and to be able to think, deduct and decide, freely without constraint. We understand that God is

1. Powerful – to create all that is, calls for immense resources of ‘life’

2. Big – Earth’s oceans, mountains and lands with all it’s inhabitants are big enough. Then there’s an unending universe, with uncountable galaxies of solar systems with stars far larger than ours, and some planets with caves large enough to contain our entire solar system;

3. Generous – so many unneeded creations and creatures, so many varieties, colors, flavors, scents, textures, kinds and species;

4. Intelligent – Engineering, like gravity, evaporation, seed, inter-activities of each part, molecules and atoms, such immeasurably clever and un-discoverably brilliant designs;

5. Loving – The rain falls and the sun brings light and heat for life, the endless fruits, vegetables, trees, fish, bird, and sources of food for us with exquisite tastes reveal a caring, loving God desiring to make our lives exciting, interesting and beautiful.

The painfully lame excuse that because God doesn’t show Himself, we are therefore justified to not believe in Him fails outright, in light of all creation surrounding us every day.

See you in church

Phil

Little by Little

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Ex 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.

Great achievements rarely happen instantly or ‘overnight’. We grow into our greatest achievements little by little, sometimes the progress is barely visible. This is why we simply walk by faith, believing that what we are doing is having an effect and that eventually we will experience the results.

Even though the deserts of the Sahara are so vast, they are simply comprised of countless little grains of sand.

Isa 28:10

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,

Line upon line, line upon line,

Here a little, there a little.”

We grow gradually into our possession, our destiny. A child may, by inheritance ‘own’ the car and the house, but he is far from able to drive the car or manage the house. He grows into that by having one small job after another until, he has learned all the skills needed. God gives us our inheritance a little at a time, so that we are not suddenly handling responsibilities and situations beyond our wisdom, strength and capacity.

We also need to maintain what we have attained (Phil 3:16). The very skills to do this are won through the ‘little by little’ application of ourselves to the smaller jobs we have had. The Israelites needed to increase in numbers as well so they could outnumber their enemies and the beasts of the field (Deut 7:22)

On the negative side, we are tempted to justify sin to ourselves by it’s smallness, yet little by little the decay will rot away a person’s soul. More houses are destroyed by termites than by earthquakes. More fires are started by matches than by volcanoes. Conversely, little acts of righteousness, little, regular, consistent times of prayer, seemingly little attentions to the Word, eventually will build a magnificent life.

Every little bit counts. It may not seem like it at the time, but each step we take is taking us somewhere, and after a lifetime of steps we will reach certain destinations. The person who restrains themselves from eating foods that add weight, won’t see the result for a while, but eventually they start to see the difference, feel better about themselves and have a new eating habit. Conversely, if we think we can get away with eating small amounts of extra that we don’t need but just want, eventually it too will show. Some people will eat everything on the plate in front of them just because it’s there. Self impose a limit on yourself as to how much you will eat and stick with that. Our results in life are because of the cumulation of all the little things we do over time.

With our money, we can start by putting a little money away into an investment. Every little bit counts. If we don’t waste the money we have in our hand but save it, invest it, soon we will have more than we need. However, if we waste our money and spend all the little amounts on futile things, justifying to ourselves that it’s just ‘little’ spending, we will soon find we don’t even have the money that we do need.

This is living with control. When we’re out of control it shows in our lives.

Our budget is not what we have in our hands. Our budget is the amount of what we have in our hands that we have decided we can spend. For some people, whatever they have is what they spend. Self impose limits on yourself and only spend that amount.

Make these choices as lifestyles, not just something you’ll try for a week. We change our lives when we change our lives.

Bless you,

See you in church!