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Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Pleasure Book.

Recently, the oldest woman in Sctland (or, perhaps that was the UK!) was interviewed by a television reporter. At 108 years of age, she is a sprightly character, who is probably great fun to be with!  As is almost obligatory in such situations, she was asked for the secret of her long life.  Her answer was that she loves porridge, and has done all of her life.  As a fellow porridge-lover, I took great encouragement from that, especially as, if the Lord permits, I am happy to live to be 120!  Well, as I often say, it was good enough for Moses, so it would be good enough for me!

Of course, there is much more to life than simple longevity!  The quality of one's life is also important.  I read, recently, of an elderly lady who, in spite of having experienced (and continuing to experience) many troubles, was always cheerful and serene.  She, too, was asked about her secret.  Her answer had nothing to do with her regular diet.  Instead, she informed her questioner that, for many years, she had kept what she called a "Pleasure Book".  Every evening, she wrote in it something pleasant that had happened to her that day!  Sometimes, she had an enjoyable walk; perhaps someone has come to visit her; new flowers might have opened up in her little garden; or it may simply have been the fresh smell of the earth that comes after a shower of rain.  Every day, there had been some new happiness to record.

Many of us could do with following that particular lady's example.  If we actually look for something to cheer us, and make us glad, we never have to search for long, or travel far.  If we were to keep a "Pleasure Book", its pages would, undoubtedly, quickly be filled with a record of many delightful, and satisfying, experiences - whatever our situation, and circumstances.  How much better, too, to review good and positive things, than to dwell on that which only discourages, and depresses, us!

Of course, for the disciple of Jesus, who knows "... that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28), even the difficulties may be counted as blessings, as "... we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us." (Rom. 5:3-5).

The hymnwriter gave us those words, familiar to many:

"Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."  ( John­son Oat­man, Jr.)

Look at the brighter side of life.  Keep a "Pleasure Book".  I suspect that you will soon agree that there is always something for which to be thankful - and you may even thank "... the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (II Cor. 1:3-4).

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