How to be happy 102

1) Do not be a KJ (kill-joy). Don’t be a Mr. Grumpy or Mr. Greedy.
2) Throw away JK (joy-killers). What are they?

Anger:
Many things in life upset us: when there is injustice, when our employees make a mistake, when our children disobey us, when we are wronged. It is alright to be angry – the thing is ‘Do not let the sun go down on our anger.’ Eph 4:26
1) Do not dwell too much on the issues that upset you.
2) Move on.

Antidote to Anger:
In the end, it is about forgiveness. Forgiving is not about condoning the mistake or denying the offence. Forgiveness is giving the offender the opportunity to do better next time. And even when he did not ask for forgiveness, forgiving frees the offended from being in bondage of bitterness.

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It is impossible to be angry and happy at the same time, right?

Anxiety (a.k.a. worry)
We often worry about many things as well: job securities; family relationships. Will our children do well in school, in their careers, in their marriage? Will our test results be favourable? Will the helpers stay long? Will my husband stay faithful to me… and on and on goes the list. All our worries are about what’s to come – and how often we waste lots of angst and energy worrying about things that never happen. The Bible tells us not to worry about what to eat, what to wear – not to worry about tomorrow. I know it is easier said than done.

Antidote to Anxiety…
Think back to the past. When I worry about whether my maids will stay long or leaving soon or when I am about to panic about having no help at home, I look back to the times when God provided for me. It might not always be according to what I wanted – but He always helped me through each challenge.

In the end, worry is a trust issue. Do I trust God enough to let God be God and let go? Letting go = worry free = happy. Try it!

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Happy, not grumpy

How to be happy… stop complaining.. rise and shine!

Philippians 2

14 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.

To grumble is to complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way.

Why do people grumble?

They see fault in everything. They focus on the bad. They fail to see the good. They see the glass half empty instead of being thankful for it half full. They take things for granted. They complain for what they do not have and forget what they have.

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They do things grudgingly – half-heartedly. They argue: exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.

They quarrel, disagree, squabble, bicker, fight, and dispute about anything and everything – even the trivial and petty.

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To be happy, do everything without grumbling and arguing.

How? Keywords to learn are blameless, pure, children of God

Is it not ironical that people who are grumblers or grumpy are often the ones not so perfect themselves? They complain about other people yet they fail to see how they are. If we do things without complaining, we learn to examine ourselves – are we blameless? Do we seek to be pure? Do we remember that we are children of God? What kind of people are the children of God? Are they grouchy, grumpy complainers? To be blameless is to be without fault. Instead of finding fault, we are to be faultless.

To be pure is to be free of contamination. As children of God we are to be clean, clear, sparkling in a ‘warped’ and crooked generation.  We are to be in the world but not ‘of’ the world. We are to stand out and be differentiated from the world. We are to not only be different but ‘make’ a difference. What is the effect of not grumbling, arguing, and being blameless, pure.

We will shine – we will stand out like stars in the dark world. We are to be salt and light.

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To be beacons of goodness in the world we need to hold on to God’s Word. Read the Bible and walk the talk. The bible is our manual for happy living… it teaches us how not to complain – to be grateful, to be contented. It teaches us how not to argue – to be peace loving, to be humble, to think of others better than ourselves. The Bible shows us how to be blameless and pure. It assures us that as children of God we are empowered to shine like stars in the dark world. God’s Word is our guide to live victoriously in joy in this warped and crooked generation.

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Being happy even though…

 

 

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“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of
your life.” 
-Proverbs 4:23

So true… A thankful heart makes a happy heart. Today I am thankful
for my oncologists. I am happy that EVEN THOUGH I have to take cancer meds, I had a kind oncologist who looked after me for the first 5 years and a 2nd wise and equally kind oncologist for the past 4 years.

To have a kind and capable doctor is a blessing. It is added bonus when there is rapport between doctor and patient. I learned so many things from my oncologist. I am grateful that EVEN THOUGH my meds have side effects, there are remedies
to make up for them. I am glad that EVEN THOUGH I have osteopenia, it is not that serious. It encourages me that doing weight exercises help to strengthen my bones. It’s inspiring to know that “people who do regularly exercises age slower.” After the visit, I feel happy. Thank you Lord EVEN THOUGH our bodies are wasting
away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting
away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians
4:16

All things work out… Good and bad

I am a PWD: Person with Disability. Perks? Priority lane in movies, airports, payment counters, 20% discount for movies, , parking, food in restaurants n meds, n P65 weekly discount in groceries. it’s advanced Senior benefits 6 years ahead of my time. For me, the biggest perk is to be ahead n avoid long queues esp when time is of essence like urgent call of nature.. I go in the PWD toilet without feeling guilty. 😜

With all the benefits that come with the PWD, would I volunteer to break a leg just to get the card? Of course not! It’s difficult to depend on another person to just go pee, much less to wake your own kid in the middle of the nite to do so. It took me almost a year before I could go downstairs without tightness in my ankle. And the months of therapy that go with it. Even now, i feel needles running thru my right leg when it’s being rubbed where the plate n screws are. As I have no intention to have another surgery to remove them, I am a PWD for life.

Whats the the point of my story? God does work all things out for my good..the PWD card is the least of them. All thru the journey, God gave sufficient grace to grow my faith. It’s like scaffold upon scaffold on a building construction.

Few months before I fell n broke my ankle, I was anxious for my mom’s failing health n maid issues: hers n mine. After mom died, I was near breakdown. I had less than 8 hrs sleep in a week. I imagined checking myself in a hospital for mental breakdown. I was anxious for my 92 year old dad. I went to consult a psychiatrist to ask for sleep aid to cure my mental anxiety. One night I prayed, Lord the meds are not working, I won’t take them, pls grant me sleep. The Lord was gracious, that night I slept so well I woke up a normal person. But then, it was on n off sleep problem. So I went to a 2nd psych. 3rd morning after that I had my fall. It shook me hard really hard coz it started me on the journey to cure my anxiety attacks.
Little by little, moment by moment, day by day, God showed me He’s in control, he loves me n he provides for me. He enabled me to accompany my father on his dialysis even as I was in my wheelchair. God provided for our daily needs.

The lessons of faith I learned through this period of my life could only be learned when I became a person with disability. Because a PWD is not self-sufficient, because he has limitations, he has to depend on another. I discovered that God sufficiently takes care of the PWD me… He allowed me to experience the consequences of my bad choices so I could learn how to trust and obey…to be grateful for moments of grace, not to take things for granted like the freedom n ability to walk, to relish in the opportunity to stand in church to worship n sing his praise, to remember to choose joy in spite of… To not forget the lessons of the PWD … a person with disability turned PWG…person with grace, person with gratitude, person with God by her side.. Person walking with God… Let me remember so help me God.

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A house that lasts

What is your dream house? When I was small, i so enjoyed going through the houses in Forbes park whenever we visited my si-peh (my dad’s elder brother- my 4th uncle). Houses with nice doors/windows/gardens etc.. Looking at houses inside and out has always been a fun thing for me to do. It didn’t matter that we didn’t live in a big house. In fact at one point in our life, my parents, my sister and I rented a tiny apartment we called home. Our kitchen and dining area by day was our bedroom by night. I was happy in that place. 

In the Old Testament, King David started as a shepherd boy who went on to conquer Goliath. For most of his life, he was a soldier – even when he became king, he often had to fight his enemies. As a soldier, he was rarely home. Then came a time of peace when he got to live in his palace.

After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” 2 Sam 7:1-2

Cedar is a good popular tree growing in Lebanon – quite sturdy for building houses coz it does not decay or is subject to worms. (ref. http://biblehub.com/topical/c/cedar.htm)

What touched me is that David remembered God when he was nicely and securely living at rest in his beautiful palace. He remembered that the ark of God (the symbol of God’s presence with Israel) was still in the tabernacle. So David wanted to build a house for God. He really loved God.

What did God say in response to his desire to build Him a house? “I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. (v.6) In all the years that I moved with you, have I ever asked your leaders to build me a house?”

God instead reminded David of all the things He had done in the past and the things he will do for David. (vv.8-10) Most important of which is: God will build for David a house that will last. God said He will establish David’s house by giving him a descendant to rule as king forever. v.13,16. It is not that God rejected David’s offer. God wanted David’s son to build His house.

The house that David offered and helped prepare for his son, Solomon to build was magnificent but it was eventually destroyed. The house that God gave to David is one that endures forever. From the house (lineage) of David came Mary – whom God appointed to bear His Son, Jesus. Jesus is king forevermore.

Today, we live in houses that decay and depreciate. Our houses get worn down, by pests, by the weather elements (sun, rain, wind, earthquakes, dust/rust): cabinet doors get unhinged, even the cornice on our bathroom ceiling fell off, termites destroyed our door posts and floor boards, etc. All sorts of problems come with our earthly houses. 

Only the one who dwells with God has an eternal home. As Moses wisely prayed: (Psalm 90)

1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

Where is your dwelling place, my friend? On what do you put your security in this world? God is waiting for you to come home – to know him and find true security in him. Make him your eternal home.

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The Good Life

When life is going well and everything a bed of roses for you, how do you feel? Happy? Contented? Fulfilled? A sense of accomplishment? Pride? Where do all these good things come from? Ever thought about it? From the works of your hands? From the passion in your heart? From determination and hard work?

In Deuteronomy, Moses encouraged the people to remember God’s goodness in leading them out of Egypt – from slavery into the Promised Land. He told them to remember to obey God’s commandments and warned them against going astray from God. There would be blessings for obedience and disasters and consequences for rebellion. (Deut.7)

Deut. 8:11-17 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.

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Deut. 9:4 “Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. 5 It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people.

All good things come from God – they are ours by His grace and mercy. Nothing I have is given because I deserve it… not because of my good character, not because I serve God, not because of my righteousness. When I have eaten and am satisfied, when I have a good place to live, when my material resources multiplied, when my talents/skills/accomplishments in life are appreciated and applauded, when life is good, when I am enjoying the fruit of my labor, when I am reaping what my hands have worked for… let me beware of my heart becoming proud and forgetting that the Lord has led me to this place of abundance.

Let me remember how he led me out of slavery from my fears, and my weaknesses. Let me not forget how he forgave my mistakes and disobedience again and again. I need to look back and remember where I came from. I must not forget his grace leading me through the valley of the shadow of death – when I had cancer and went through radiation. I must recall the times when his mercy sustain me as we deal with health and relationship challenges in our family.

When life is good, let me beware of pride… My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth. Let me proclaim instead Thy power and the strength of Thy hand made me this wealth and this good life!  Let me not forget and remember always: The good life comes from the good Lord – the maker of all good things. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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The Joy of the Poor

How are you today? That’s the usual greeting I get when I go into shops here down under. It’s a good public relations strategy to greet customers this way. It shows that you notice their presence. Tourism is built on the principle of presence and value of presence.

One morning when I was in El Nido, Palawan, a couple from South Africa said: The Philippines is the best place in all of the vacations we had. How and why? Because of the hospitality of the Filipino people. The Filipinos are the most valuable asset of the country! Nowhere else in the world can u find a more hospitable people giving the kind of service that they give. Wow! What a compliment! Mabuhay ang Filipino!

I had the same thought. These good-natured people with their warm smile and ready hands are God’s gift to the Philippines. Yet, it is also sad we often complain of graft and corruption – what a hopeless situation we have in the government. How come?

I wonder could it be that the nearer man is to nature and works of God, the better he behaves? They are happier with their simple lifestyle – riding on their bangkas, cruising around the seas, swimming with the fishes, with the sun shining on them and the wind blowing in their faces – how rich they are in God’s wondrous creations! Does it matter that their clothing’s are not the latest fashion or branded? A rubber slipper is just as comfortable. To be together with their families and friends from their barangays – to roam in the midst of nature – between mountains, riding on the waves, feeling the breezy sprays of the seawater on their faces, feasting on the green forests atop mountains and soft/cottony clouds amidst the blue skies… how much does it cost them? a few hours ride and few hundred pesos of the bangka rental to b shared by so many people or maybe even the bangka is free – they need to put gas in them.

When I was in Myanmar, I noticed that the Burmese people are courteous. They are sincere and warm in their effort to help the tourists. Their simple lifestyle of working with their hands is enough to live on. Their doors are without locks. When they go on vacation to other places, they leave their homes in the care of their neighbours. They do not need to lock up. The guides told us that it is quite safe to be a tourist in their country. A friend asked about their prisons. The guide said their prisons are for political prisoners. 😥

Back to the Filipinos… Each time I go to the provinces for vacation, it warms my heart to experience the Filipino hospitality. They smile their greeting. They are happy when you thank them or compliment their food. They even reply with thank you to your thank you. They offer ways and means to make your stay comfortable – even before you ask for them.

Whereas the American culture emphasises tipping and gratuity, the Filipino culture encourages the bayanihan spirit even in tipping. They suggest that all tokens of appreciation be given to a common fund to be shared by all.

Now why do I feel proud to be Filipino among these people? Why do I feel frustration and hopelessness with those in high places of power and wealth? And I am reminded of the Biblical wisdom that the love of money is the root of all evils.c2abb3ce4905b84650579175d3c4dc87--than-you-html

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Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Poor in spirit means lowly and humble in heart – depending on the God of abundance to supply all their needs.

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Poor in spirit is about contentment and gratitude for what is given and what one has. It is free from ambitious striving and greed – for position or power or achievements.

Happiness is to be close to nature and to be embraced by the God of nature – to rejoice in service of others… to enjoy the handiworks of God.. to smile in deep gratitude for the breath of life… Today let me remember to live truly and simply in peaceful contentment with a thankful heart for what God gives to me.