Message: “Love Lifted Me" on Aug. 29, 2021
Where does the joy of living come from? I sometimes find myself wondering.
In my case, I think about it when I feel a little stuck, or empty in myself rather than being in a state of joy. When do you feel joy in your life?
We might say joy has the same meaning happiness.
When we think of things as "deserving" we do not feel gratitude. Without a sense of gratitude, there is no joy. There is a children's hymn, "Count Your Blessings", and I believe that when we remember to be thankful, we are one step closer to happiness.
Right now, the Paralympics are being held.
One of the female athletes said something to this effect. "I want to do my best for the smiles on people's faces when they watch my games.” That's it! I couldn't help but clap my hands.
The spirit of the Paralympics is described in some places as follows:
1. Courage: the mental strength to face negative emotions and overcome them.
2. Strong Will: the ability to push the limits and not give up, even in the face of difficulties.
3. Inspiration: The ability to inspire and motivate others.
4. Fairness: The ability to recognize diversity and realize that everyone can start from the same starting line if they are creative and inventive.
It makes me feel sorry when I see athletes who only pursue the color of the medal.
I often see that they cry and apologize to their sponsors and supporters for their frustration when they don't get it.
They may have the old-fashioned "indomitable spirit" of using their frustration as a springboard to motivate themselves for the next round, but will their tears of frustration and regret by attacking themselves bring them a sense of accomplishment and gratitude for the people who have supported them? I hope that the life will be more meaningful than just a "win or lose" approach to competition.
Let me preface this by saying, let's go back to the Bible.
There were very few people around Jesus who were so-called healthy, economically, and socially affluent. People with various disabilities came to him hoping that he would somehow help them. So how did Jesus treat people, meet their needs, and give them hope and happiness in life? If you've ever read the Bible or listened to a message, you know how Jesus met their needs. I'm not going to go into the specifics today, but I'd like to summarize what Jesus is like in three points.
Jesus watches over us.
And after Jesus saw them, there was always a chance. Jesus looks at us, takes a deep look at us, and knows our various situations and needs.
And not only that, but Jesus has wonderful plans for us.
I believe that Jesus gave them strength and the chance to be cared for by people who understand us, to be able to affirm and to have the hope to live.
It never changes with time.
Jesus builds relationships and touches us.
We can see that it is not just Jesus who performed miracles and healed the sick.
Of course, not all people who were healed followed Jesus, but I believe that they were able to enter into a life of gratitude, because they knew the meaning of hardship and blessings of Jesus, not only at the time of healing but throughout their lives, from their painful past to afterward.
Jesus took the place of our sins.
In reality, the punishment for sins and inequities should have been borne by us humans, and we should have paid for it. But Jesus took our place and took the punishment we should have taken on the cross, and He accomplished the reconciliation between God and man!
This is what we Christians believe.
We are living in the very reality of these trends. Even in the midst of unchanging situations, we can live anew each day as we are lifted up by the love of God.