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WHAT EVERY SINNER AND BELIEVER SHOULD KNOW
The Guide to Daily Happiness
By LUNGA M. PHEWA
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 Lunga M. Phewa
All rights reserved.
I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learnt this secret, so that anywhere, at anytime I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.
Now, this is one of those subjects we mostly claim to understand and have adapted to until the troubles of the earth and worries of this life breaks into our homes and invade our lives, only then we are pushed to the limit and exposed to whether we are content or less enduring.
Paul understood what being satisfied really meant. It means being happy with the amount you have presently. It means being joyful and gladly putting to good use what you have and not worrying about what you don't have.
The Bible tells a story of a wealthy man named Job. He had everything going for him. God blessed him for his good works. He had plenty of food, livestock, a number of servants as well as children. But when trials came to shake him off his comfort zone, like every one of us, he was then pushed to the limit of deciding which was now best to do—either blame God for his loss or remain faithful and content.
Surprisingly, after all his sufferings and troubles, the death of his children, servants, and loss of stock, and when his wife confronted him for not wanting to curse God, this is what he said,
"You are talking nonsense! When God sends us something good we welcome it. How then, can we complain when he sends us trouble?" (Job 2:10).
We learn a great lesson from this story, a lesson worth treasuring for every day of our existence.
Complaining is good for nothing; it only causes quarrels and division. And we only complain when we refuse to accept a painful situation or a loss of that which we really loved and adored.
It's true there are things we can never replace. Things like children, parents, etc.
But losing such things doesn't spell eternal pain or everlasting misery—no! You can still be happy and still pursue and settle for a good and fulfilled life, provided, however, you are content and satisfied with what you still have remaining. You can't be left with nothing.
Being satisfied doesn't mean overlooking a problem or a painful situation. It doesn't mean allowing anything to harm you or cause you pain.
And it certainly doesn't mean accepting everything as a meant-to-be loss or a minor incident. Rather, it is more of a channeled mind-set, an attitude of forgiving those who hurt you, and a skill of wearing a smile even though your life is all tumbling upside down.
To be happy every day doesn't have to be a mountain-climbing task. You simply need to remain faithful to yourself about what you believe in and why you believe in whatever that is.
Trust yourself, love yourself, and accept yourself for who you are and what you have.
It's a fact. You can't choose how to be born, when to be born, or where to be born. Accept your family for who they are; accept and respect your surroundings where you are.
Talk about dreaming and fantasizing. It's good to have dreams—an expensive car, a fancy house, and expensive clothes. But until you have those things, keep on accepting and being satisfied with where you are now, and the joy and happiness you have now will later give you the rewards of a lifetime of blessings.
Remember, being happy every day doesn't have to mean being perfect or hope for others to not hurt and disappoint you.
Jesus, in his love and wisdom, gave us the greatest secret to enjoying each day with peace of mind and happiness. He said, "Do not worry about tomorrow, it will have enough worries of its own (simply enjoy today to the fullest)."
You must accept waking up to an empty bread bin or approaching winter days with an empty wardrobe. Nobody has everything, but we all have that strength of putting a smile on our faces even when days are dark.
Think about it, what change does it bring to cry at a funeral? Or how will it help to not cry at all?
These are two different actions with similar results. The dead don't come back to life.
So instead of crying and regretting how it went wrong, simply find out what went wrong, work out a way to fix it, and accept what's already damaged and move on to making the next one perfect.
Again, there are things you can't change, but it's possible you can change. You must accept that there are things that just won't change, but if possible, let them change you.
For example: One would lament, "If only I had a job, then I wouldn't be sitting at home while my wife goes to work."
Then another would say, "If only we had shelter, then my kids wouldn't be dying of colds and flu from the rain and frost of the street."
Now notice, the moment he begins to think about a job, he destroys the joy he had of waking up to a place he calls a home.
It's simple. The moment you begin to focus on what you need but don't have, eventually your entire mood faces and points to that dark and faraway place where you wish to be but don't have the means yet. Now it's then that you forget to thank God for what you already have.
Be satisfied with the way you dress, at least your body is covered. Be content with the way you eat, at least you don't sleep hungry. Be satisfied with the way you were brought up, at least you weren't aborted. Be content whether your house is square or round, at least you have somewhere to call home. Be happy you woke up this morning; some never made it home last night.
Be content whether you have candles or lights; some will sleep in the dark tonight.
Maybe you're not used to being content. Maybe you have too many demands that require everyone to move at your command and too many desires that you would give anything to fulfill.
If that's the case then, what would you do when all those people are gone and you are left all alone?
When you have run out of everything, but your desires remain unfulfilled.
Too much of everything is a bad thing; now I know that for a fact.
And it doesn't have to be or, rather, it's not always the bigger things we do that end up making us slaves of every sort of desire. Things that stop us from being satisfied and content are simple:
(a) Peer pressure
This has been an ongoing topic for years about individuals who make excuses of their misbehaving a matter of other people's bad interests.
It is very difficult to remain content when you have a group of individuals that you're trying to please and keep up with every day. Sometimes you are driven to demand stuff you know your parents can't afford. Sometimes you are forced to overlook the misery your family is going through but want what you know they can't give.
The pressure you find from bad people may lead you to losing what is most precious to you. So instead of allowing such a pressure to control you and shape your future, pull away from such people because their minds are short and dull. They think more of what they want and forget what they have—what has been with them for all years past.
You, however, must learn to accept your family's situation as it is. If you have chicken for supper, that's good. If you have cabbage, even better; veggies are better than meat.
Make yourself happy every way possible. Never make room for complaints and comparisons. You are who you are, and you are what you are.
Why deny yourself? Make use of every right. You have a right to smile. It is your God-given right to be happy regardless of your situation or condition.
Let it please you to wake up in the morning. Be happy in your clothes. Be grateful for what you have to eat; others have nothing.
It is better to sleep hungry than to spend blood money. It is better to have a single loving parent than to have them both, but abusive.
You must understand, when you are content, it doesn't mean pretending everything is right and up to standard—no!
You must challenge every test, but be happy however the results turn out. Like Jesus said, getting worried about your everyday life would not guarantee you huge measures of joy tomorrow.
And one thing we never realize is that our failure to be content makes other people's lives much more difficult since they would consider even doing things they never intended in order to keep us happy.
Imagine demanding new shoes that cost about $200 when you know for certain your parents make less than that in three weeks.
It's not a bad thing to ask; that's what parents and teachers are there for. But it's good to be considerate when asking.
You can take chances, but accept whatever the outcome.
The problem is with people who don't accept certain conditions, people who always want things to go their way. You are no longer like that!
(b) Uncontrolled pride
There are many ways to define and describe pride. But let's focus on what's simple. I believe pride is a strong fence around a person's dignity that secures his rights and strengthens his character. But what if there are cases whereby one fails to keep his pride in its rightful level?
Now what does that mean? It's simple. It means being or trying to be extraspecial and considering yourself to be worth more than others. People like that find it very, very hard to be content when times at home or at work require them to.
They refuse to tone down on their high standards even when they can no longer afford it.
Now for such people, being satisfied is impossible. They always want what's new, and they always look down on what they themselves don't use. But what if life turns out so bad that, all of a sudden, they are now forced to step down and be mentioned among the common, the troubled, and the content?
So to be safe, never think too much of yourself as being more valuable than others because when troubles flood in and despair finds you and now you're forced to accept who you really are and what you really have, what a difficult thing that would be.
So you must remember, you can't cure the urge to desire. Plus, you can't not want or need anything.
You'll always need things. But in order to live a happy life, you must be grateful and you must be satisfied.
Remember, a good life with precious tomorrows starts with a smile today.
Be patient and wait for the Lord to act.
But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it, it will certainly take place.
And when they came together, he gave them this order, "do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised.
"Waiting is an art ... if you can wait two years, you can achieve something you couldn't achieve today however hard you worked, however much money you threw at it, however many times you banged your head against the wall."
Let's be honest. Nothing is as frustrating as having to wait or be put on hold. Sometimes a minute of waiting can feel like an hour.
But the truth is, you can get more done if you're patient than if you can't wait.
God was right. As always, there's a time for everything. There is time for peace, time for war, time for joy, and time for pain.
Being patient doesn't mean being slow. It means taking the passenger seat and letting God drive you to your destination. Being patient is never a fun thing to do, especially when you have overdue bills, various statements demanding payment, and having to watch an empty refrigerator building more ice instead of piling more food.
You must understand, waiting should be a deliberately developed mind-set specially formed to understanding the way of life and to tolerate situations you just can't help.
I could only imagine what you're going through right now. You're wondering, when is the year ending? It has already caused you much pain. You're wondering, when are the results coming? Did I pass? Am I through?
Be patient. Rushing your tomorrow might just rob you of today's joy.
I, for one, could admit that being patient is hard. But the question always remains—what's the rush for?
Look at our society, our youth whom we ought to be so proud about, they are dying young, mostly through impatience.
If you had waited till after marriage, then maybe you wouldn't have been a struggling single parent when the other partner had run off, denying responsibility.
If you had waited till the point you got a job, then maybe you would've been mighty successful. But instead, you chose to be impatient and rob your own future with the influence of your own misconducts.
And if you had been patient, patient enough to let God lead you to that right man or right woman and that right company—the kind you've always dreamed of—then definitely you would not have become an addict. An addict of drugs, an addict of sex, an addict of every indecency, and an addict of that which you can't cure right now. Because you were impatient, because you couldn't wait till after school, you couldn't wait till after work, till midnight, till grown, till wiser, till braver, till competent, till stronger, and till knowledgeable enough, now your entire days are spent and shared with gloom, regret, and sorrow, going back again and again and thinking, If only I had waited till the right time!
I know the problem is simple—we don't want to trust God. We actually refuse to believe there is a God! This is something we hear about, talk about, and at times sing about, but deny entirely.
And so we shape our own paths, follow them, and fall in the end, all because we are impatient.
Imagine a vehicle forcing its way into traffic, all for not waiting for the green signal. That's exactly what would happen if you don't wait on God to act—you will crash and die.
I grew up in an urban town—highly improved projects, others would say. I went to school like all the other children. Everything was good. We ate the same food, danced to the same songs, and dressed in our own stunning way. But then I noticed something. Some of my friends began disliking the way we lived. And that was still just in grade seven-standard five.
They began judging the way we dressed, the way we ate, and the way we let things be.
They quit waiting and gave in to crime, all in the name of fashion. They changed.
The brand came to mean more than school. The style came to be more valuable than friendship. They failed to be patient and let time lead them to their desired league.
It's not a mistake you are where you are now. God is working on your tomorrow. The best you can do is to be happy where you are; others are nowhere.
Be patient. Don't rush boyfriends and girlfriends; it's not a sin to not date.
Now, I look back at the life of my friends. They were popular, honored, praised for their swag and style. Girls admired them, and we looked up to them. We actually believed shoplifting to be something cool and something worth doing, but now I look back and compare both the times past and now.
I realized something. Because they couldn't wait till they finished school and get a job to live that life they'd desired, they were robbed of their childhood. Through impatience, they rose too quickly. They chose to skip childhood. They escaped the role of a child, of being disciplined, taught, groomed, nurtured, advised, and guided. They couldn't wait till old enough to make their own decisions about their lives.
Today I look at them. Not only do I see them grown, they've expired—they are decaying. They are dead but walking souls seeking in the face of the earth, searching for that room that would give them the happiness they had once forsaken. The happiness of being really loved, of being really adored, of being really cared for, and of being taught again, disciplined again, groomed again, guided again, and directed again.
Now they look back and realize just how foolish they were, replacing what was so much more important with that which could've waited.
The brand they chased after means not much today as they realize how unfair it all turned out to be. I mean, not all of us quit school for the sake of expensive clothing. We didn't disappoint our families by going against their will. And we did not get famous and praised as they were, but today we wear the same name tags and now even above what they could ever afford.
We waited for the right time. Not that we didn't want such a status as the one they had back in the day—oh, we surely did—however, we chose patience over pride.
We chose patience over fame.
We chose patience over insanity.
Excerpted from WHAT EVERY SINNER AND BELIEVER SHOULD KNOW by LUNGA M. PHEWA. Copyright © 2013 Lunga M. Phewa. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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