Being content and happy pay rich dividends in our lives. If we have an attitude of looking on the bright side of life, there is a chance of good health. According to a report appeared on Daily Mirror regarding optimism and health, people who have high optimism may engage in a healthy lifestyle that minimizes health risks and increases health and well-being. Perhaps, when people have a positive outlook on life, they undertake actions more likely to produce good outcomes. Research team led by Dr Eric Kim of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston conducted a study on 70000 women about the positive effects of optimism. They found out that optimistic people a third less likely to die from conditions like cancer, heart diseases and stroke than more pessimistic people. Dr Eric Kim said, “While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference. Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges.”
Christians have one of the greatest optimistic teachings imparted by our Master. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6: 25-26). While the world’s optimism is totally depend on things on earth, a Christian’s optimism is completely relied on his faith in Jesus. Biblical optimism does not give much stress on earthly things. It can cope with any hard situations because it believes that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Randy Alcorn’s writing about Biblical Optimism is an eye opener. “If we build our lives on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ’s eternity-shaping redemptive work, we can be optimists. Why? Because even our most painful experience is but a temporary setback. Our pain and suffering may or may not be relieved in this life, but will certainly be relieved in the next. That is Christ’s promise—no more death, crying or pain; he will wipe away all our tears (Revelation 21:4). Indeed, any other foundation is sand, not rock. It will inevitably disappoint us.”
Jack Wellman in Patheos.com puts reasons for Christians to be optimistic. “Don’t we have every reason to be optimistic? We have had our sins forgiven (Colossians 1:14). We have had the righteousness of Christ imputed or accounted toward us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and we who have repented and trusted in Christ have eternal life (John 3:16). This means that when Christ returns, we won’t have to face the so-called second death (Revelation 20:14) and that gives believers every reason to have optimism about their future.”
“Christ said to His disciples, who would suffer much, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our optimism isn’t “health and wealth gospel” wishful thinking which claims that God will spare us from suffering here and now. Peter said, “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). Christ’s future glory, in which His children will participate, is the reason for our present rejoicing while suffering,” writes Randy Alcorn. Biblical optimism is much higher than the worldly optimism. It is rejoicing in sufferings and it helps us to trust in heavenly things, not the things on earth.
By Prakash P Koshy
- Resolve to prepare for His second coming
Earth quakes, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and war wreck havoc in many nations. Even the safest places are not free from such unpredictable catastrophes. Such events indicate that the coming of Lord is at hand. So it’s time to seek things that are above and live in hope of eternity. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2
- Resolve to fight sin.
Sin is easily accessible now than ever before. Human inventions, technology, mobility, communication facility and the new world order make sin viable, affordable, accessible and fashionable. The word of God does not change according to times and evolving technology. Recognize the aspects, people and situations that set off temptations and resultant sin. Keep away from such things. “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6: 20. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” Colossians 3: 5- 6
- Resolve to be grateful.
Be grateful to God for the wonderful life and the greatest gift, Jesus Christ. Also, be thankful for the innumerable blessings in our lives. Many people around the world are in pathetic situations because of war, calamities and famine. They may be near to us or on the other side of the globe. Think about them and do not worry about what we do not have. Praise God for spiritual and earthly blessings. A thankful attitude brightens up our own lives and lives around us. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3: 15
- Resolve to spend more time on Scriptures
It is a common resolution most Christians take and follow it during the initials days of the new year. But, later many ignore this resolution. If we are away from the word of God, we are closer to Satan. Though many will not accept this fact, it is true. Scripture is the light in our dark paths, a right indicator at crossroads, a solace in gloomy situations and a purifying factor in culture cauldron. Make reading and meditation of the Scripture a strict habit. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly….” Colossians 3: 16
- Resolve to know Jesus better
Paul has known Jesus Christ for thirty years and has experienced celestial visitations and visions. But still he wants to know Him more. We cannot compare our lives with Paul’s. He was the greatest warrior of the Lord, fighting till the last breath.. Paul was a truly passionate follower of Jesus Christ. If such a person wants to know Him better, where are we? “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Philippians 3:7-9.
- Resolve to allot time for prayer
Prayer is power, so less prayer means less power. It is a dominant spiritual tool. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18. Jesus Christ, son of God had shown us a great example that He spent a considerable time in prayer when He was on earth. The effectiveness of a prayer depends not on its length, but on its intensity. When we grow in Christ we will understand prayer is not about asking things, but it is a continuous communication between two closed persons.
- Resolve to consider others’ needs
We live in a world where brands revolve around ‘I’. And people believe nothing is wrong in selfish motives and selfish gains. Be different. Take a decision to offer small help to others. Sometimes a smile can bring cheers on others’ faces. Separate a portion of our materials, wealth and time for others and the unfortunate. We may not spend our entire life in serving others, but we can make others happy by offering timely help in their distress. Instead of focusing on our lives and its troubles look around and be aware of the needs of others. “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:4
By Prakash P Koshy
“A man with leprosy come to Him and begged Him on his knees, ‘If You are willing, you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing ‘, He said. ‘Be clean ’. Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. ” (Mark 1 : 40-42)
Jesus spoke with clarity and sincerity.
Because He was the Truth. the words He spoke were acceptable to the openminded hearer. Only His enemies tried to twist their meaning. Jesus acted decisively. On numerous occasions, He was confronted with emergency Situations. Many times He was called upon to deal instantly with complex cases. He did so without hesitation.
His handling of His itinerary gave Him the confidence of His disciples. His leadership was evidenced in many eventful ways.
He was sure, and wanted the disciples to be sure. Peter said to Jesus, “We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6 : 69). And Jesus, in His High priestly prayer was able to pray, “They knew with certainty that I came from you… ” (John l7 :8;
After Jesus had gone back to heaven. Peter was put in prison and the Lord let him: “Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent His angel and rescued me. ’” (Acts 12 : 11).
Doubt causes wavering, but certainty emboldens, strengthens and reassures.
His words were plain and they were sure.
They would for even more endure.
Of hesitancy there was none,
The Saviour spoke and it was done.
How many times He said, ‘I will’,
And to the sea said, ‘Peace be still’.
So positive His tendency,
The Saviour spoke with certainty.
His promises He will fulfill,
He has the power to instill
His life to ev’ryone who will
Let Him come in. the heart to fill
A true Christian knows that he was saved only by grace. He knows he was chosen by God. He’s certain it was not his own inclination towards God or his own will which led him to salvation. He knows it was God who produced in him the new birth, faith, and repentance (Ephesians 1: 3-7; 2: 8-9 and Acts 11:18). This kind of Christian pursues holiness because he knows that without it, no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12: 14). He wants to live differently because the Holy Spirit leads him to hate the sin he loved and to love the God he hated.
A false Christian doesn’t feel this way at all. He loves sin and enjoys it. Seeking holiness seems to him an unnecessary burden. He argues that he doesn’t live by works, but by grace. He doesn’t understand that “faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” (James 2:14-17). It seems boring to him to read the Bible, pray, and have fellowship with God and His holy people. He seldom shares the Gospel because he doesn’t love God or his neighbor. A false believer goes through the motions of Christianity instead of delighting in them, but he does them once in a while because he thinks that’s what he’s supposed to do to look like a child of God.
False believers affirm they have been saved by grace and live by faith, but deny the importance of sanctification. As a result, they end living by works, forcing themselves to do what they hate in order to gain heaven.
Holiness brings joy to real Christians, but it’s a heavy burden for those who are not…
“I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great spoil. I hate and despise falsehood, but I love Your law.” (Psalms 119: 162-163)
Meditation by Dinora Garza
We all have experienced temptation in our lives before we fall into sin, we know it when we feel it. Temptation must come before any act of sin can manifest in our lives. But have you ever considered the fact that temptation must come before the sins of worry or fear? Satan interjects a “what if” thought and we let it take hold, completely forgetting God’s continual good advice against it.
Recently God helped me to realize that satans temptation towards worry and fear are the most prevalent temptations to sin in my life. Satan constantly tempts me with thoughts that can lead to the sins of fear and worry. These can then lead to anger, depression, lashing out at others, addiction and so on.
Understanding fear and worry are sins and that temptation must come first, are the keys to defeating fear and worry. The next time a fearful thought comes to mind, realize it is a temptation from satan to lead you into the sins of fear and worry.
Begin to recognize the temptation when it comes and just say “NO” to the temptation. Refuse the thought and believe. I trust God and I will not give into this worthless temptation any longer.
Once we refuse to let our hearts be troubled or afraid, God’s peace that surpasses all understanding will be ours in abundance.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
Make a daily commitment to not let your heart be troubled or afraid. As soon as you feel the temptation for your heart to be troubled, simply say “heart do not be troubled or afraid”. Doing this consistently will let you walk in God’s incredible peace that surpasses all understanding.
Meditation by Michael Edwards