While I was sitting there, I realized how blessed I am and how privileged I am, and we are, you know, once a week we gather together. We are here every Sunday. What a blessed time it is, it’s better than any concert, it’s better than even a blue jays game to me. Just being in touch with the holy spirit, being on your own, thinking about where my life is going and things like that. That is just wonderful kind of system that we have in life. Once a week we gather together and make this a rhythm of your life. Just once a week we come together and then for an hour we get that kind of time, quality time with ourselves, with friends and with family. I think you do deserve that. Today I’d like to say that life is wonderful. I dare to claim that life is wonderful because when you look around us, not always can we say that life is wonderful. We see tragedy, many people dying, many people experiencing tremendous hardships, suffering and difficulties, especially down south because of the storm and so many people lost their homes and family members and they’re in deep sadness and sorrow. The hundreds of people were killed because of the storm. We need to pray for them, but in spite of all that, I dare to claim that life is wonderful. I believe that life is wonderful, too short maybe, but it is wonderful and that’s what God wants our life to be. He wants to make our life wonderful and he wants us to enjoy that wonderful life. We want it, and God wants it, but strangely and ironically, we don’t always experience that life is wonderful.
There are people who hurt us so we don’t want to see them. There are problems that have no solutions, so we don’t want to face those problems. We don’t always find life exciting. Sometimes life can be dull, boring, and monotonous, in some extreme cases some people even question why do I continue my life? They question seriously about their life, “Why do I need to continue my life?” They suffer so much, to many of us and to many of them life seems like an endless chain of one misery after another. We easily forget that life is good and life is wonderful. You know, the biggest problem, especially for me, is that we often forget that life is wonderful. When we hear the sermon. Yeah, life’s good. Life’s wonderful. But as soon as you enter into your life, you experience challenges and difficulties that you easily forget that life is wonderful. We’re so forgetful. I’m so forgetful and we are also forgetful. You know, about being forgetful. One of the elders in the KSM, you know, a costco toothbrush, when you first buy them, they’re clearly red and blue. You can see that, but after you use two or three and the color is kind of blurry, is it red or blue? It’s not quite clear. Is that for men is that for a woman? So this elder, after using the toothbrush the first two times, they get confused, which toothbrush is theirs right? So one day they said, okay, we’ll wrap the thread around it, right? So this is mine. And the one without the thread is yours. After a while they forgot who’s one is threaded.
Lead Your Heart
I mean, as you get older forgetfulness becomes a symptom and that is also my problem too. But we forget so easily that life is good. But let us remember that life is good. Life is good because God is good. Not because our circumstances are good. Life is good because God is good. Our Sunday school students always say this, God is good all the time, all the time. God is good. They recite that every morning, every Sunday morning. Why don’t we do that together today? Okay. I’ll say God is good, “all the time,” all the time, “God is good”. Yeah, life is good because God is good. We have to constantly remind ourselves that life is short but worth living. You know, our life is shaped by our thoughts. The things that you think all the time, shape who you are, affect your mood and affect who you are. That’s why Saint Paul said this, “finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there’s anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” All these good things, think about it all the time as you think about them, you will be influenced by your thoughts all the time. If you’re thinking about gloomy things, negative things, miserable things all the time, then you become miserable, you become negative and you become very unhappy. Your thoughts, you need to discipline to think about honorable things rather than gloomy and negative things. Because we are shaped by what we think. It is God’s will that we live a wonderful life. Last week we talked about the specific will of God, but the general will of God is this, in today’s passage. “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, for you.” Don’t just do it. This is the will of God for all of you, we need to constantly remember, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances.
That’s what good life looks like. Just because you have a good time that doesn’t make your life a good life, just because you have lots of money and a good career and honorable whatever. Just because you have that, that doesn’t mean that doesn’t make your life good life. Good life is very simple: rejoice always, being joyful, being prayerful and be thankful, anybody can do it. You don’t need a university degree to do that. You don’t need millions of dollars to do that. Being joyful, being prayerful, being thankful, that’s what a good life looks like and that is the will of God. Every one of us deserves to have a good life and good life looks like this. Doesn’t matter what circumstances you may be in. You can always be joyful. You can always be prayerful. You can always be thankful, but even in good circumstances, you can always complain.
You can always be dark. You can always be negative, so we have to choose. Do you want to live a good life or do you want to live a not so good life? I hope that all of you live a good life. Always every moment, being joyful, being prayerful, and be thankful, being thankful, and I’d like to say a few things about each one very briefly. What does being joyful do in our lives. Being joyful, it defeats the darkness of life. That’s what being joyful does. When you rejoice, it defeats the darkness of life. Don’t let your gloomy circumstances take away joy from you. If you don’t have joy, life is not worth living. Why live when you don’t have joy, so don’t let your gloomy circumstances take away joy from you being joyful to me, means being full of life. That’s what being joyful is. When you’re full of life, you’re joyful. When you’re joyful, you’re full of life and this is what Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and let the one who believes in me drink, as the scripture has said out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” From their heart, rivers of living water will flow, that’s being full of life. From your heart, living water will flow. I mean of course Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will give you full of life and when you have full of life, then your life becomes joyful. And I learned the secret. You know when I tend to be gloomy, I say to myself, be joyful. I remind myself, be joyful. Sometimes I even commend me, be joyful, and then soon I realized I changed my perspective and joy flows out of my heart and I realize it’s not just me. Some writers say this, “Why are you cast down? Oh my soul,” he’s talking to himself. He’s kind of. He’s not within himself, he separated himself from himself and then tells him, why are you cast down? Oh my soul. And why are you disquieted within me? He is commending, he is rebuking himself. When he becomes gloomy and dark, he comes out and rebukes himself. I think there’s wisdom in that. There’s wisdom in that, instead of just letting your heart influence you, you direct your heart where to go. You are the rider that controls the horse. Don’t let the horse go everywhere it wants to go. You are the rider, you direct where to go with your heart with your horse. So same thing with your heart, you have to do that. You have to direct where to go. In every situation, simply remind yourself to be joyful.
Being prayerful defeats worries and anxieties. Being joyful defeats the darkness, being prayerful, defeats, worries and anxieties. This is what Saint Paul said, “do not worry about anything but in everything, by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving, let your request be known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. When you pray, the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds. You know, I realized that worries and anxiety that they look like water, in a building when there is a little opening, the water seeps in or it goes in, you don’t know where the water goes after it goes in. It just goes all over the place. So once you have the water, you have a problem. My condo upstairs, it’s leaking water, and one day I came to my room and it was kind of warped right. Maybe my vision is getting warped or blurry, whatever. Why is this happening? I mean all of the sudden, I thought it was myself. And then one day my wife came in. How come your floor is worked? Really? Yeah. So I’m not the problem. And then I realized that water was leaking from the upstairs and came down. We don’t know where it went. And then it affected my floor. It affected my kitchen area and, and all that. Now we have to change the floor and oh my goodness, just thinking about it gives me a headache, but it’s worries and anxieties like that. Once you go in there, once you have a opening in your heart and it goes in and you don’t know where it goes, as soon as you realize that you’re filled with worries and anxieties. If you don’t seal yourself, if you don’t guard your heart than worries and anxieties will easily come in and did you notice that worries and anxieties is endless. One worry brings another worry and that brings another worry. And then all day you can worry, you will never get bored because it’s endless. The worries and anxieties are endless. Being prayerful defeats worries and anxieties. When you worry about something, don’t sit down and worry. Turn it into a prayer topic. Present your request to God. Simple. So whenever I have worry, I always pray. I stop, “Lord, I’ll leave it up to you. This is a problem that I have right now. I worry about that, but I leave it up to you. I know that you will take care of it. You said, let your request be known. I’m making my request known to you,” and then soon you have peace of God, life is too big to control. Don’t try to control it. Just leave your request to God. God will control it, God will take care of it, so worries and anxiety can be defeated by your prayerfulness. Sometimes you can’t fall asleep at night because you worry so much. Are you stressed out? Your life is full of stress, and then you get your health gets affected. Learn how to pray. Prayer is a powerful tool. Learn how to pray. Just simply leave your request to God and God will help you in a way that you will never know and that’s I think a better way than trying to control your life.
And third, being thankful. What does that defeat being? Thankful defeats, complaints and anger. When you complain, more and more, you complain, it becomes anger, so when you are thankful, that defeats complaints and anger, so why don’t we just go over the first thing there? When you rejoice, what does that defeat, darkness. Second, when you pray, what do you defeat, worries and anxieties, and third, when you’re thankful, what do you defeat complaints and anger right? Yeah, so when you’re thankful, it defeats complaints and anger. You know, being a complainer is such a wimpy thing to be. You know who complains usually weak people complain. Big people don’t complain. What do they do? They think about solution. Weak wimpy people, they always complain, “Oh, this is wrong. I don’t like this. I don’t like that.” Big people “Ok if I don’t like it, I’ll do something about it.” They will find a solution. They think about solution rather than just complaining about their life and their situations. If you’re not careful, you can easily be consumed by complaints and anger. So many people are angry about life. They are so angry. I don’t know what they are so angry about. They’re angry about everything. They complain about everything in life. The best remedy is to be thankful. Learn to be thankful, it is not an automatic thing. Thankfulness is not an automatic thing. It’s not a natural thing to do. For many of us, it is something that you have to learn, to be thankful. Once at a retreat I talked about having a notebook on Thanksgiving, every day, write down nine items that you’re thankful for, you’re life will change. Every day nine things that you are thankful for write down. Your perspective will change. I realized that my heart, if I just leave it, it has a tendency to go down into the darkness. This is strange, I don’t know why it does that? If I just leave it, don’t control it just goes down and down and down, deep into darkness. So the songwriter is right. Sometimes you have to command yourself, “stop it” you have to tell your heart, “stop going there.” So instead of letting the heart go down. You have to direct your heart to be joyful, to be thankful, and to be prayerful. If you catch yourself complaining all the time, I hope that you do something about it very fast. Otherwise it becomes a habit. You may think your logical and you’re right in complaining. You may be right. You may be logical and you may be right to complain, but if you keep it up, you’re not going to be a very happy person. Do you want to always be right? Do you have to always be right and be an unhappy person or do you want to be always thankful and be a bigger person? You decide. What does it prove at the end of the day that you’re right, but you’re unhappy or you be thankful and become a bigger person. You decide, which one is more logical, which is better, which is wiser. I rather choose the latter. I don’t need to prove that I’m right all the time. I’d rather be thankful and become a bigger person rather than being right and an unhappy person.
Being dark and heavy, always constantly worrying and being anxious and complaining all the time and being angry, these three things are poisons. Pillars that destroy your soul, kill your soul, take away your happiness. These three things. You have to defeat these three things with these new three things that is being joyful, being prayerful, and be thankful by doing these three things, we have to defeat all these negative things that take away joy and happiness from your life. My friends, life is wonderful. I dare to claim the life is wonderful. Enjoy it. Enjoy it. That’s what life is all about.