Happiness

What you think about yourself ,your world and other people is more important to your happiness than the circumstances of your life.
”The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven out of Hell or a Hell out of Heaven “ John Milton – Paradise Lost.
I am gleaning from a book entitled The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky a scientific approach to getting the life that you want. She states that 40 percent of your life in regards to happiness is within your power to change by exercising certain activities. Over the next few weeks I want to take a look at them in light of the Bible. She obtained her findings scientifically. I am convinced that if it is true you can find the principle in the Word. God’s Word is ultimate Reality. So if it is real it is in the Word.

Happiness Activity No 1: Expressing Gratitude:

Gratitude is defined as “A felt sense of wonder, thankfulness and a appreciation for life . The practice of gratitude involves a focus on the present moment, on appreciating your life as it is today and what made it so.

Eight Ways that Gratitude Boosts Happiness:
1. Grateful things promotes the savoring of positive life experiences. By relishing and taking pleasure in some of the gifts of your life, you will be able to extract the maximum possible satisfaction from your current circumstances. Appreciate the good you have right now this moment will never occur again.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

2. Expressing gratitude builds worth and self esteem. When you begin to realize how much people have done for you or how much you have accomplished you feel more confident. As a pastor I get up every Sunday morning to meet with folks that I want to see come into the blessing of all that the Lord has done for them. Being thankful for what He has done makes us realize just to what great lengths He has gone to to makes us His. We are the object of His Love.
Eph 3:14 ¶ For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

3. Gratitude helps us cope with stress and trauma . Focusing on what is good which is God in our lives defeats the fear that tries to grip us in adversity. The natural reaction to trauma or adversity is to think of all the bad things that can happen. Negative experiences spring to mind. By delibertly givng thanks our hope that we developed from past victorys floods our minds and give us something to use our faith on.

1Sa 17:36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”
Rom 5:1 ¶ Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

4. The Expression of Gratitude promotes righteous living. Grateful people are more likely to help others. They are aware of how much others have helped them by kindness and feel compelled to reciprocate and are less likely to be fixated on material things.

2Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

5. Gratitude helps build and strengthen relationships. When you are aware of the value of your family and friends you will treat them better and deepen the relationship. I have found in my own marriage if things begin to get rough with strife coming in that if I take a few moments to appreciate the good things that are in my life because of my wife gratitude rises in my heart and strife is out the door.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
6. Gratitude tends to inhibit comparisons with others. When you focus on what you do have you are less likely to envy others and compare your lives.

2 cor 10:12 ¶ For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.

PHP 1:15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will;
16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;
17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

7. Gratitude helps us thwart hedonic adaptation ( the tendency of humans to rapidly take for granted any new circumstance or experience. In other words what thrilled us yesterday bores us today. The person who so greatly effected our lives a year ago we now through familiarity despise.

Rom 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

It is important to express gratitude. Practice gratitude by writing down what you are grateful for. Count your blessings. If you are in a negative mindset this can be difficult but find one thing at a time in which you are fortunate. Create a Gratitude Journal in which you constantly list things for which you are grateful.
Write a letter of gratitude to someone who has effected your life in a positive manner. Express gratitude directly to another. By phone letter just do it. Tell your spouse or parent something you appreciate about them. Everyone loves to be acknowledged as to their contributions to life. Your gratitude blesses them and causes you to realize their importance in your life. Express gratitude you will be happy you did.

Dearest Uncle Richard and Church Family,

I pray this finds you all well and keeping warm! It has been cold here, but nothing compared to ya’ll’s snow……………….(actually today it warmed up to about 78 degrees surprising us into short sleeves!)
I just finished fixing Frank a big bowl of Chicken soup. And just that. Plain old chicken boiled in water with an onion. Man, I’d forgotten how good a base just some simple chicken caldo makes!
Although we had unseasonably warm weather today, we came home at 4pm , from the beach rather cold. Cold, but praising the Lord!!
As you know, last week we attended to a family who suddenly lost their 17 year old son, brother, uncle, cousin to a car accident. Actually the young man was hit by a car here in Maneadero in the early afternoon. No one was drunk or sleepy, really it appears not to be anyone’s fault, however two families wee, in an instant, destroyed. The elderly gentleman who hit Marcos apparently wandered around the accident site, mumbling to himself and asking who’s dog he had hit. The elderly fellow was obviously in the throes of dementia or Alzhiemer’s or something. Sadly, he had no insurance and was arrested on-site, taken to jail to await the judges a valuation of the life he had inadvertently taken………………..so sad. Our last word was that he was still in jail waiting for his family to collect $60,000 DOLLARS, which is what he must pay under Napoleonic law here, to “make up for the life he took.”
But back to our day here. We returned at about 4 pm COLD FROM THE BEACH. From the service or funeral for the young man that was killed last week, 8 persons committed their lives to the Kingship of Jesus Christ and showed up to be BAPTIZED in water today! What a victorious time we had today. It seemed ever the more sweet as it followed upon the heels of the death of such a young person which is so difficult to take and understand. Even more difficult to attempt to explain. However at the service , Pastor Frank spoke of the promise bodily Resurrection and of how anyone could be SURE to partake in that wonderful thing. He even went into the importance of water baptsim at the memorial. At the time my innards screamed- and of course I thought in my tired flesh, “He is going TOO far! Too much at one time!” How wrong I was, a one by one and two by two, persons who had attended the service have showed up at the Church Building this week , all asking for baptism!!
Praise Jesus! These were people totally unknown to us before the accident, people who basically just walked in off the street looking for life in a situation where it seemed that death was reigning.
We have also returned to feeding an average of 51 people this week for our daily lunch. On top of that I do about 15 breakfasts every morning. We are thanking Yahweh for providing the extra funding to keep that feeding program going, a few weeks we really didn’t know if it would continue or not. The feeding ministry alone costs about $650-700 dollars a WEEK……………… it works out to a couple of dollars per meal served. It is a lot of money and a lot of work. BUT in this week as I have repeatedly watched new families walk up to 2 miles to eat their only meal for the day, then after eating I very often watch as they surreptitiously tuck their scraps and leftovers into a coat pocket lined in preparation with a plastic bag. I realize it is worth it, physically and spiritually as when people come to us hungry they NEVER EVER go away with just a pat on the back and and a “God Bless You , Brother.” We see and live the feeding program as we do the preaching of the Gospel and the Drinking Water Ministries, EXTENSIONS OF THE KINGDOM OF THE LIVING RULING KING, Yahweh’s Son JESUS CHRIST.
In a time where dead religion runs rampant thru Mexico and the world it is important to us that we walk the talk and SHOW the lost what Jesus would do for them.
It is not a focus on works for us, (because we know that the Lord will care for His people no matter what they DO…………………….. but it is a work of GRATITUDE. We are so thankful for a;ll that the Lord has done in our lives , that we can’t see living any other life but one that shows the LOVE of Jesus in our very being………………………..Yahweh has been so Good as to call us out of darkness into His marvelous light! And you all at Harvest of Faith, over the years have been so good as to keep us in prayer and to bless us with your finances, enabling us to bless these precious people!
As we enter a New Year, we just wanted to say thank you and to let you all know how dear in our hearts that we hold you…………………
Much love and many many blessings as we enter this New and Prosperous Year,
In Jesus’ Name,
Detra and Francisco

No More Sin Consciousness by Stephen R. Crosby
The scope of the change from the Old to the New Covenant era has been debated since the first days of the church-even before Jew/Gentile and legalism issues. The apostles had the unenviable task of trying to simultaneously claim continuity and discontinuity with the Old Covenant Scriptures. They had to wrestle with: “How, and to what degree have things changed?” It wasn’t an easy job then. It’s not an easy job now, and to this day, has never been fully resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. My personal conviction (which I hope is agreeable to many) is that the Calvary-Act (i) is the great interpretive filter for all Scripture. However, this hopefully amenable premise does not eliminate debate on various issues.

It has been my church experience (36 years) that most Christians live in varying degrees of mixture of old and new creation beliefs and practices. The sweep of the change from the Old to the New era (pre to post-Pentecost) is neither well understood nor practiced. Most Christians understand our sins are forgiven in Christ. But that is Godward awareness. The mixture normally manifests in the daily mucking and grinding of practical living, what some call sanctification. Some sincerely teach that we are justified by grace, but after that, it is all up to our discipline to live the Christian life.

The Pauline grace of God in the New Covenant is so radical, that scrupulous moralists of his day accused Paul of excusing sin (Rom 6:1-2). That accusation still echoes today in those who want to resist the New Covenant message of undeserved, unmerited, unqualified, raw, grace, effective for both our justification and sanctification. They think that preaching a “grace message” promotes sloppy living and that diligent focusing on our sin, and mastery and overcoming of the same, is the way to please God and obtain his personal favor above others who are not as disciplined as, well . . . our wonderful selves!

Sin awareness and management through the disciplined application of biblical principles is not the new creation life we are promised in Jesus Christ. If we could manage our sin, we would not need a Redeemer. The old creation nature is very disciplined. This is especially true if there is some benefit or gain associated with the mastery of sin such as, esteem, respect, promotion, privilege, promise of leadership position, etc. Like a dancing dog in a circus, the old nature will flawlessly perform to biblical standard for the applause of a crowd. But when the applause stops . . . its still . . . a dog . . . the old nature.

Spiritual maturity is not defined by how well we apply biblical principles to suppress sin. The Scripture plainly tells us that trying to a live a life of commitment to principles is contrary to God’s will and designed to cause us to fail, go backward, be broken, snared, and taken in a trap. (ii) God had a rest and refreshing for Israel, bound up in His Person, relationship, and love, which they refused. So he taught them precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little, like a bunch of babies! It is not a compliment from heaven! Most of Christianity thinks “line upon line” is the “standard” to be desired and pursued!

Gordon Dalbey (iii) has a unique grasp on the depth of this significance:

Father God will not allow relationship to him to be reduced to a set of principles. Men who live by principles therefore cannot know God, for he is approached and known not by striving after righteousness, but only by confessing brokenness. A man cannot hide the fact that his rigid principles are not signs of integrity, but weapons to shield his own fearful weaknesses. The man who is always right is the most dangerous threat to God’s purposes in the world. It is the man of principle who is always the most ready to reject the gift of God and to hurt, even destroy others whom God has ordained for us to be in relationship, because of adherence to his principles. A person who lives by principles can only receive what he or she has earned through his/her careful adherence to those principles. (iv)

It’s a negotiated deal-Deuteronomy 28-We do our part, God does His. I have heard it taught that way. The only problem is, the terms of the New Covenant have only one party involved . . . Himself (Heb. 6:13-20). Part of the joy of being a participator in the new creation is to be free of a constant awareness of sin (Heb 10:2, 10:22)! Yes, I know this sounds too good to be true, and some are probably already shouting at me: “Yeah, but what about obedience?” I will get to that. The strength of sin is the law. (v) That is, all law living, not just Torah adherence, but striving to live by “laws” . . . Jew or Gentile law, even “good” biblical “laws.” Being “hard on sin” is actually empowering the same. You can bet that if a preacher is harping on a particular sin, that his/her own sin is lurking in the dark somewhere.

The essence of the old order was sin consciousness: God is holy, humanity is in debt to that holiness, Torah demands adherence, and a hope that sins might be forgiven for at least another year after the Day of Atonement. There was no assurance. Rather, through the repeated necessity of offerings, the worshiper was continually reminded of his or her sins. The whole point of the New Covenant is to accomplish something that the Old could never do: provide the believer no more conscience (awareness/self-indictment) of sin.

Instead of Torah as a center of consciousness and as a means of conviction of sin, we have been given the spirit of sonship in the Person of the Holy Spirit, who brings conviction of sin-in filial relationship with the Father, through Christ. The only sin believers should be “focused” on, is the sin the Spirit brings to light as we are in intimate dialog with the Father! Only as we sit on His metaphorical lap, hear His heart beat, and listen to the mercifully severe Voice of transforming love and power, are we to address matters of behavior. We are not called to self-energized, self-analyzed, self-managed, “sintrospection!”

The Psalmist said, that in His light, we would see light. (vi) Our ability to even recognize sin is the direct result of His gift of light to us! Without His light, we will only see what we want to see! We do not possess the faculty necessary for sin inspection! We’re not capable of accurately assessing our own iniquities. Depending on our personality and temperament our self-analysis will result in either excusing ourselves into licentiousness (Oh, its not that bad) or accusing our selves into guilt (Woe is me, I am undone). Neither is appropriate for a new creation believer! There are only two verses in the entire NT that specifically tell us to examine ourselves. One is in the context of the Lord’s Table in 1 Corinthians 11:28, and the other is an exhortation to examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith, (2 Cor. 13:5), not examining our selves for sin deficiency. That’s it.

For believers, we are supposed to have experienced the joy of a sprinkled (washed) conscience, as well as a change in a center of consciousness. My awareness is no longer supposed to be sin-centric, or Torah-centric, but Christ-centric. That is, He in His Person and His work for me, in me, and through me, is the new center of my own self-awareness and understanding. Our faith is made practically effective, not by focusing on sin, but by the acknowledgment (vii) of every good thing in us, in Christ Jesus! (Phm. 6).

Only in the light of His Fatherly embrace should the issue of sin, behavior, or sanctification be even considered. Because there, at the throne of God, seated with Him, I find not only conviction and truth–but transforming grace, the teaching and empowering kind, that enables me to overcome, not through my own disciplines and determinations, but through receipt of the transforming power of a new life . . . the very life of Jesus, living His life through me, as a new creation.

I am crucified with Christ: never the less, I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20

But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace was bestowed upon me not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 1 Cor 15:10
_________________

i Birth, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification of our Lord, Spirit out-pouring, and Spirit indwelling.
ii Please read Isaiah 28 in its entirety and in context some time.
iii http://www.abbafather.com
iv The preceding paragraph was paraphrased and adapted from Sons of the Father, Gordon Dalbey, 1992.
v 1 Corinthians 15:56.
vi Psalm 36:9
vii Epignosis – experiential knowledge . .. . knowledge gained by participation in and with the object of one’s knowledge. This is fundamentally . . . relational.

http://www.drstevecrosby.wordpress.com
He is Risen.
He is Lord.

I rediscovered a word the Lord gave me last oct 2009. Since the Lord gave it to me and it is mine I give it to you.

You are about to enter a new season in your life.
Of doing what I command you and not what man desires.
Jezebel will not longer have dominion or influence over your life.
You have overcome by grace.
A new power and anointing of grace upon your life.
Wealth will come to you.
The wealth of My Spirit and My Word.
“Finances will come from Me “says the Lord
Fear Not oct 15 2009

About overcoming Jezebel or a controlling spirit.

1Pe 5:8 ¶ Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

They key is persistence in your faith. Consistently believe what God says about you not persistently believe the lies of Jez.
Be sober drunk people are over confident and open themselves up to people that have an agenda. Every time Jez has tripped me up I had become to loose around people that have a hidden agenda. They flatter you which makes you feel good and safe around them . Then they begin to be familiar with you. Then they jack you up. There are very few people you can actually be yourself with or open up to. I am especially vulnerable after ministry because I feel so good and free in God I am caught off guard that there are people coming to me with an agenda . The devil takes advantage of your times of victory to catch you off guard and attack.

Be of sober spirit and be alert
Be persistent in believing what God has said to you and about you
Be persistent in rejecting what the enemy says.

Dear Ones,

Wow. Even after many years of living sheerly by faith in Yahweh’s provision I am always left breathless when I find that He has come through yet again. He is truly Our Faithful One much deserving of all praise and honor.
We seem to be at that stage in owning a vehicle when it seems that everything breaks down and so the truck will be going to the shop yet again…………
Today I had to go into Ensenada and so made that long bumpy ride down the mountain headed for the grocery store. In the parking lot I ran into a doctor I know. She has treated me for my bladder problems ever since we arrived here in Mexico. She treated me in times when I was in such excruciating and horrible pain that I even contemplated taking my own life. Pain can be a powerful motivator and it is something that I have really struggled with since I was about 12 years old. That was the year I had the first surgery on my bladder and itt was the beginning of a long and very frustrating journey to get relief from such excruciating pain. I would suffer for months on end and then sometimes it would seem I had recieved healing, and then for apparently no reason this would come back. Sometimes the remission of pain would follow some surgery or experimental procedure they tried on me , but then always it would return. They tried all kinds of stuff. Tried stretching by bladder with instilations of huge amounts of water, made me undergo instillations of foul substances like silver nitrate and DMSO…..in general was just very very miserable. I remember at one time, in the midst of a really bad fit of pain asking the Lord (and not in a nice way) “WHY? Why God do I have to suffer like this?” I said it with a bad attitude and I even said it out loud, in front of Francisco. I remember he was appalled at my irreverence, and when the pain finally subsided I was so ashamed of myself. At the same time I didn’t get an answer from the Lord and that silence has frustrated me a lot. I just have never understood why I suffer with this problem, if maybe I did something to bring it on, or my fail is just too weak………It was just a question that no one seemed to answer.
In talking with this Doctor today, I learned that she had recently been in for a very minor surgical procedure herself and that while in the hospital she got a staph infection which she almost died from. the infection did so much damage that to make a long story short she now has to use a colostomy bag and no longer has control over her bodily functions. She is only 43. Then she told me that last month her 21 year old daughter had committed suicide.
Geez. I was shocked into silence. it was one of those social moments where you just cannot say the correct thing. No platitude from me would console her. I hugged her though and as I did she said to me, “I know that God brought you here today because I’ve been wanting to THANK you.” I really could not see why she would want to thank me as I haven’t done a thing for her. She proceeded to thank me for telling her about the Lord years ago,(she converted from Catholicism several years back) and for maintaining a testimony of Him even in the midst of the infirmity I suffered. She said that if she had not known the Lord before all of this happened in her life that she could not have made it through and she was so grateful that I had been able to lead her to Jesus.
I went away from her with a lot to think about. For one thing I finally got that answer from the Lord. Maybe this seems simple, but I can now see that if I had never suffered I would never had seen this doctor and would never have had an opportunity to be a witness of the Lord even under duress. Now this doesnt totally explain the whys and wherefores but it does make me understand why we should be able to rejoice like Paul, in every circumstances the picture is very big and we can never see the whole thing but we can be sure that the Lord does.
Meeting was great yesterday. We celebrated Ernesto’s sister’s bday (15th) with good Oaxacan food & cake. The fellowship was great really. I so appreciate these people who seemto find such pleasure in the simplest things in life. They are different in that they are humble and quiet andI have come to a place in knowing them where a lot of words aren’t necessary but we can just be happy in each other’s presence without even a need for much conversation or explanation. I find my self actually feeling rested after spending time with them and you know that is unusual for me. I believe I have found my place, or at least am learning to be content in my place!
The plans for taking Mario South to see the surgeon are final and we will definitely be going down with Shebly’s. This is a great burden lifted, praise the Lord. Please remember to keep him and Dr Eames in prayer though as the day swiftly approaches.
So many many thanks to everyone who has given to our support. The ministry continues to thrive and is making a place as the one Church ewhere the indian people here can go to recieve teaching, food, medical help and LOVE.Our Church is the place where many Indian families come first when they get off the buses from the South because they know that we won’t just pat them on the shoulder and say “Hey Brother, go and be blessed.” They have heard that we will actually feed them and clothe them and advocate for them where necessary and I believe this is a good expression of the Kingdom of Jesus!
However, without your support of us, we could not do it. We recognize your generosity and your sacrifice and keep you lifted up in prayer that the Lord bless you in abundance!

Much love,
Sister detra and Bro Francisco
Baja California N. \Mexico