February 29, 2024

Weekly Update on Feb. 29, 2024

Please join us on Sunday, March 3 at 11:00 a.m. for our weekly worship service.   Reverend Alan Saunders is giving the message.  Please bring a dish to share for potluck lunch.  Feel free to join Anne Nilson at noon for a 7-minute prayer in the Cheon Shim Won (prayer room). 
Sunday school: Bible study - Solomon built temple

President Demian Dunkley is traveling to 10 cities to speak about Second Rebirth Experience and Spiritual Cleansing and Awakening.  He will be in Capitol Family Church from March 8 - 10 and he will also speak in Atlanta.

Samuel Mundula is leading Yoga Night at the church on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m.  Bring a yoga mat if you have one.

TFC is having movie night on Saturday, March 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  We will be watching WONKA.  Popcorn, snacks and beverages will be served. 

Pray for NC pastors and youth leaders who are attending the SR2 Pastor's Retreat in Puerto Rico on March 1 and 2: Reverend Alan Saunders, Bob Huneycutt, Pastor Watanabe, Syun Hasabe and Ben Pongo.   

Dr. Achille is teaching an online advanced DP course every Monday for 12 weeks, starting January 8 from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. "Living The Divine Principle" teaches application of DP in daily life, and how to prepare for the Blessing.   

Statewide ACLC outreach meetings are the first and third Mondays at 7:00 p.m. The next meeting is March 4. Here is the link to join the meeting.

Please join us for Morning Devotion from Monday to Friday at 6:00 a.m.
Here is the link.

We will join Dr. Achille and Capitol Family Church on the weekend.
Here is the link.  Passcode: 2027

Please feel free at any time to use the Cheon Shim Won (Prayer Room) at TFC to pray or meditate.  

The Adulterous Woman - Morning Devotion on Feb. 29, 2024

The Adulterous Woman

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger: When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her:" John 8:3-7

You know the story in the Bible where Jesus spoke to the people who almost stoned the woman who had committed adultery. Do you know on whose side God stood? God stood on the side of the sinful woman. Jesus felt toward her as he would feel toward his own sister or his own aunt. To Jesus, all women were related to him as sisters, mothers, or aunts. This spirit, this ideology was what God wanted Jesus to bring to this world so that everyone could live in the center. God did not intend to have Jesus be a pastor or religious leader who only spoke in glowing terms from a big pulpit. The true religious leader is crying out to the multitudes of people who are miserably defeated in this world.

Men Are Destined to Go the Road of Restoration

March 14, 1965

Jesus and the Adulterous Woman

This story took place near the temple in Jerusalem, where Jesus had been preaching (John 8:2).

·    John 8: 3 – 11 tells the story of a woman in despair.

·    She is about to be killed in a brutal and violent way for her sin of adultery.

·    The men who brought the woman before Jesus were going to kill her, but they also were trying to test Jesus.

·    At first, Jesus did not seem to be paying attention to all the furor. He was drawing figures in the sand or dirt.

·    Finally, he spoke. He said simply, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).

·    It made the men pause and think.

·    After a few minutes, they all went away, stricken in their consciences.

·    John 10: 9-11 says, “They went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’  She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.’”

·    Like the story of the Good Samaritan, this is a story of compassion for someone who was, as Father put it in the speech we just read, “miserably defeated in this world.”

·    There was once a great preacher named Henry Ward Beecher.  Beecher said this about compassion: “Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.”

·    Jesus says it to us today: “Let the one who has no sin be the first to throw a stone.”

·    As Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

·    We all need compassion.

·     As we extend mercy and forgiveness so we shall be shown mercy and forgiveness.
(Matthew 6:14 – 15)

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

February 27, 2024

The Good Samaritan - Morning Devotion on Feb. 26, 2024

The Good Samaritan

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave then to the innkeeper: 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Luke 10:30-37

Which people are most likely to go to heaven -- those who are at the top of human society, such as the rulers and people in power, or those at the bottom, who are at the lowest rung of society? Which group is more likely to go to heaven, the first or the second? Do you like the bottom of society? You have to go through the bottom of hell in order to reach heaven.

Living in the Highest Historical Age

April 9, 1989

Evil is self-centeredness. The person who makes himself the center of everything is an evil person. What is good? A good person exists solely for the sake of others. A good man is always trying to give of himself to make others happy, trying to bring benefit to them.

I want you to know that there is a universal law and principle created by God that declares that anyone who builds his life on absolute love and the absolute ideal of service to others will have the rest of creation respond to him as his object. This is a universal law that no one can bend. It is true simply because God is such a person. God exists in that ideology and it is God's own way of life. God controls this world through the philosophy of giving himself for the sake of others.

Our Family in Light of the Dispensation, Part II

March 6, 1977

Jesus went beyond the limited concept of law when he lived love; he went beyond the concept of race because he wanted to belong to the world. He also went beyond his own religion, transcending the detailed tenets of Jewish law because he was faithful to broader principles. He loved not only the Jews but also even the enemies of his people, as well as the rest of the world. Jesus could even embrace the people who crucified him.

If Jesus lived in today's America, would he advocate segregation of white and black people? White people may feel most comfortable with their own kind because they can digest that situation, but God would warn them that as long as they had to follow their Christian ideals by failing to accommodate black people and bring unity, then white people themselves risk their own survival.

The Way of Prosperity and Defeat

March 11, 1979

Our homeland is the earth as God originally intended it to be -- a place where parents, siblings, and children who did not commit the Fall would live together. This was to be a place where black people, yellow people, and white people could live together in harmony. Who is the parent of all these different races? There is only one parent. The God who is with us wherever we go in the universe is the Father of humankind. Thus, it would be a mistake for anyone to think that white people, black people, or yellow people are the masters of America. God is the master of America.

Differences in skin color are nothing more than the result of our ancestors having had to adapt to different climates and environments in different parts of the globe. In areas with large amounts of snowfall, we find mainly white people living. In places such as Africa where the rays of the sun are particularly bright, we find mainly black people. Fundamentally, though, people are the same. The color of our blood is the same. Our flesh and bones look the same. We all have the capacity to love. Thus, there should be no discrimination based on race.

The Cosmos Is Our Hometown and Our Fatherland

February 2, 2000

Jesus said, "Love your enemies" -- but Jesus also said, "Love your neighbor." Who is a Christian's nearest neighbor? Certainly, it is another Christian. But are they doing it? Do Catholics love Mormons? Do Jehovah's Witnesses love Methodists? It doesn't matter who calls us heretics, whoever practices this principle of loving one's enemy is closer to God and is the true orthodox Christian. That is my belief. Love can unite. If Christians practice true love, then Christians can unite among themselves, and Christians can unite all the religions of the world.

Jesus' Standard of Goodness

January 1985

February 26, 2024

Sunday Service on February 25, 2024

Triangle Family Church Sunday Service on February 25, 2024

Musical Offering

Sermon - The existence of evil and its role in destroying goodness

The sermon emphasizes the importance of discerning between good and evil, and finding the good within ourselves and others.

Key Insights

  • The sermon highlights the two errors people can make regarding the existence of devils: disbelieving in their existence or having an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. This emphasizes the importance of a balanced understanding of evil.
  • Evil is portrayed as being incredibly subtle and often easier to see in others than in oneself. The sermon encourages seeking help from others to discern where evil exists and where the good can be found within one's own story.
  • The sermon suggests that evil's ultimate goal is to get individuals to believe that their natural desires and gifts are bad, leading them to reject the good within themselves. Recognizing the goodness in our fallen nature is crucial for a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.
  • The sermon emphasizes the importance of discernment and the need to continually evaluate what is truly good and what is truly evil. It encourages individuals to strive towards seeing themselves and others as God sees them, with compassion and grace.
  • The personal story shared in the sermon highlights the importance of finding the good even in the midst of embarrassing or low moments. It showcases how the goodness of others can help individuals overcome their own struggles and find relief from shame and self-contempt.
  • The sermon acknowledges that discerning between good and evil can be challenging, as evil often twists its way into goodness. It warns against colluding with evil by solely focusing on the good or entirely dismissing its presence.
  • The sermon invites parents and spouses to look beyond the negative aspects of their children and partners and find the good within them. It emphasizes that seeing and acknowledging this goodness is essential for building stronger relationships and understanding the true nature of individuals.

February 22, 2024

Weekly Update on Feb. 22, 2024

TFC will have a non-traditional service on Sunday, February 25 at 11:00 a.m.  We'll start with some icebreakers to find out more about each other.  Lunch is served at 11:30.  TFC is providing the main dish and you can bring a side dish or dessert.  Gene Huneycutt will give a brief message and Benjy and Hitoe will perform a song.  This is a family-friendly service.  Please invite our young families.  

Please join Carol Anne Nilson every Sunday at noon, after Sunday service, for a 7-minute prayer in the Cheon Shim Won (Prayer Room) 

Dr. Achille is teaching an online advanced DP course every Monday for 12 weeks, starting January 8 from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. "Living The Divine Principle" teaches application of DP in daily life, and how to prepare for the Blessing.   

Statewide ACLC outreach meetings are the first and third Mondays at 7:00 p.m. The next meeting is March 4. Here is the link to join the meeting.

Please join us for Morning Devotion from Monday to Friday at 6:00 a.m.
Here is the link.

We will join Dr. Achille and Capitol Family Church on the weekend.
Here is the link.  Passcode: 2027

Please feel free at any time to use the Cheon Shim Won (Prayer Room) at TFC to pray or meditate.  

The Prodigal Son - Morning Devotion on Feb. 22, 2024

The Prodigal Son

Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father: 'Father give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living

When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him...'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'

Luke 15:11-32

God wants to have his day of victory, and once he has it, he will never release it. God has suffered so much that on that one day his joy will be endless; on that day God will become crazy! Then he can forget all his past suffering. Think of being loved by that crazy God in that precious moment. Lovers today try to show their love by hugging and kissing, but that cannot be compared to God's elation when he has his one day of victory. When his own children achieve that goal and bring comfort and liberation to God, he will be crazy in joy and the world will be crazy in joy.

Jesus' parable of the prodigal son demonstrates this. There was a son who wanted to take his inheritance and leave home. He went far away and squandered everything he had and became so destitute that he had to feed pigs to survive. Finally with a repentant heart he decided to return home. His father had compassion and ran to embrace him. His elder brother, however, condemned him and complained at their father's generosity, but the father's joy at his son's return had no limit. If even a prodigal son was welcomed that much by his father, how much more will God welcome you, not as a prodigal son but as a loyal, faithful son who has given his life for the restoration of God's kingdom? When on the day of homecoming you walk to God's throne, how much more will God welcome you? My only desire is to see God feeling that joyful.

God's Day

January 1, 1978

Who could receive the love of God, who had been patient for 4,000 years to give his infinite love? There was no one but Jesus. Jesus knew this, and he could be grateful for the love of God even when he felt lonely.

Then where was there a person of character who understood that God had been sad for 4,000 years and that he had been patiently fighting Satan during that time? Again, it was Jesus alone. Thus, Jesus, who had to walk the path of heaven's principles on behalf of God's patience, carrying the hope of God, who wished that he could lead humans the right way, was sunk in grief.

Therefore, you should also feel God's loyal heart as Jesus did. Thus, you should realize that you should not remain in the position of the prodigal son, but come to represent the full value of God's principles as the ideals of creation. We should take after Jesus, who felt the love, patience, and loyalty of God. He understood that he was found through God's 4,000 years of toil and patience and that he was the hope of God. We should inherit his love, loyalty, and patience.

Jesus' True Heart for God

August 4, 1957

[Among you] there should never be racial discrimination. White people find that it is hard to throw away their old habit of discriminating against blacks, even after the Blessing. But if you do not correct that quickly enough, you will surely go to hell in spirit world. You will perish. That sense of belittling another and feeling superior to them is like a cancerous growth within your spirit. We see in the Bible the story of the prodigal son. He comes back and repents and receives all the blessings of the father. So his position becomes even better than the elder brother. That elder brother was saying, "My younger brother was a bad person but I was good. Why did you give all the blessing to him?"

The Responsibility of Authority of the Unification Family

March 1, 1992

The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Within You - Morning Devotion on Feb. 21, 2024

The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Within You

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'there it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

Luke 17:20-21

Where is God within us? God lies within the mind of the mind. How deep is that mind of the mind? Where is heaven? Wherever God is, there is the kingdom of heaven. If God is in the mind of mind, then we know what Jesus meant when he said that the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. More clearly, we can say that the kingdom lies within the mind of the mind, or the center of the mind.

Let Us Set the Record

October 12, 1980

Are you able to see or touch your conscience? Are you able to touch and see God? We cannot touch or see Him, so where is He? Up in the air some place? The earth itself is rotating, so heaven up here may become heaven down below tomorrow in terms of space. If we look at the planet earth from far way, people at the bottom are standing upside down. For Chinese people, heaven is America because they are standing in China. In reality, heaven describes the state of holiness, the highest and most glorious place. Where is heaven then? Where does God dwell? In the conscience.

God is the root of love, life, lineage, and conscience. Therefore, I come to the conclusion that God dwells in the innermost depth of your conscience. If you pray really seriously and reach a state of real spirituality you will be able to communicate with God directly. In this state when you say, "God, where are you?" Heavenly Father will respond from the center of your being, "I am here. Why do you call me?"

Find Your True Self

November 23, 1994

Your conscience was born from your vertical [heavenly] parents, your body from your horizontal [earthly] parents. Therefore, your conscience is the closest mind to heaven within yourself. When your vertical and horizontal self unite, then you create a perfect man.

Victorious True Parents

January 28, 1993

February 20, 2024

Ethics of the Kingdom - Morning Devotion on Feb. 20, 2024

Ethics of the Kingdom

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for l am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30

The Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

Matthew 13:31-32

If Judaism had united with Jesus, world Christianity would not have come into being. Instead, a Jesus-centered nation of Israel would have begun. It would have grown in stature, influencing the Cain-type nation of the Roman Empire. It would not have been a Christian country, but would have been Jesus' own country. It would have formed the kingdom of Jesus, rather than forming the religion known as Christianity. If that had happened, the country would have inherited the kingship and would have inherited the world. It would have grown and expanded to the point where today it would be one nation encompassing the world. Other countries would have inherited perfectly the tradition of that kingdom of Jesus. It would have become like a big tree with many different branches. Jesus' country would have been the trunk and each nation of the world would have been another branch, connecting to one trunk and one root. The leaves of that tree would have been individual men and women.

That huge, gigantic tree would have been one nation of God. The flowers and blossoms that bloomed would have been of one root, one tree. Even if you took the smallest leaf, it would contain all the elements of the huge trunk. The root, trunk, each branch, and every little leaf would all contain the same elements. It would have been full of the spirit of the kingdom. The spirit of the root, spirit of the trunk -- everything would have been contained within this tiny leaf, which means each individual.

The 38th Anniversary of the Unification Church
May 1st, 1992

If the Jews had become one with Jesus, they could have overcome the great Roman Empire within 40 years. Jesus could have become literally the King of kings and could have ruled the world with truth and love. With this great hope and great providence, Jesus came. But he could not disclose his innermost intention to his countrymen. Jesus had come with the purpose of uniting the spiritual and physical worlds, and establishing the kingdom of heaven both spiritually and physically.

February 20, 1965

Jesus Rebukes Peter - Morning Devotion on Feb. 19, 2024

Jesus Rebukes Peter

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he should go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and that he should be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never; Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus turned and said to Peter "Get behind me, Satan! Thou are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Matthew 16:21-23

God instructed Jesus to alter his mission. Peter's reaction to this news was to reply, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." Do you know what Jesus said to him? He said, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men." In general, Christians, including theologians and ministers, interpreted this thusly: "Look, even Peter was scolded by God. Why? Because Peter was in a position to oppose the crucifixion, which was the will of God." This is their interpretation: the crucifixion was a predestined course of Jesus. But people do not know that this was after God informed Jesus of his altered mission toward the crucifixion. This is why Jesus now pursued this altered course and Simon Peter did not know the true heart of God.

Christmas in Heart

December 25, 1973

God gave two kinds of prophecies concerning the accomplishment of his will through Jesus. One foretold that Jesus would die due to the disbelief of the people. (Isaiah 53) Another foretold that the people would believe in and honor Jesus as the Messiah and help him to accomplish God's will in glory. (Isaiah 9)

Why did Jesus chastise Peter so harshly? In truth, when Jesus spoke these words, the disbelief of the chosen people had already frustrated Jesus efforts to complete the providence of salvation both physically and spiritually. By that time, Jesus had resolutely determined to accept the fate of the cross (Luke 9:31) as a condition of indemnity to open the way for the spiritual salvation of humankind. Peter's dissuasion could have hindered Jesus from paving the way for spiritual salvation through the cross. For this reason, Jesus rebuked him.

Exposition of the Divine Principle

Messiah 1.5-6

Sunday Service on February 18, 2024

Triangle Family Church Sunday Service on February 18, 2024

Musical Offering

Sermon - Gratitude changes our perspective and invites heavenly fortune.

Gratitude changes our perspective and invites heavenly fortune. The video script discusses the importance of gratitude in our lives, drawing inspiration from a Japanese folk tale and teachings from Buddha. It emphasizes the power of gratitude to transform our mindset and bring blessings.

Key Insights

  • Gratitude is an essential aspect of faith and can transform how we perceive the world. It is important to cultivate a grateful heart for all aspects of our lives, even in challenging situations.
  • The practice of gratitude can rewire our brains and bring positive changes to our overall well-being. It has the power to turn ordinary moments into blessings and joy.
  • The story of the "Straw Millionaire" teaches us the importance of faith, gratitude, and generosity. By staying committed to these values, we can attract heavenly fortune and abundance into our lives.
  • The concept of "arigato" in Japanese, meaning "thank you," reminds us of the miraculous nature of being born as a human being. It is a reminder to appreciate the preciousness of life and the world around us.
  • True Parents' birthday and anniversary of foundation day are significant events that call for gratitude and appreciation. The second generation can be thankful for their existence and the sacrifices made by True Parents for humankind.
  • Keeping a grateful heart towards True Parents and showing generosity and kindness to others can bring heavenly fortune and blessings into our lives. By living with gratitude, we can experience a fulfilling and abundant life.

Japanese translation

Good morning, everyone. I got a request to give a sermon last Monday. I didn't have much time to prepare. I decided to talk about a moral lesson from a Japanese folk tale called Straw Millionaire (わらしべ長者), which I had planned for Sunday school.

The moral lesson is that gratitude changes how we see the world and brings us heavenly fortune.

First, I want to share True Parents’ Words and a Bible verse on gratitude.

The reality of both the second generation and the first generation deeply concerns me as I see a lack of the most basic element of faith -- a heart of gratitude toward everything. Just as is mentioned in the Bible and the Divine Principle, a common person of faith first offers gratitude to Heaven. However, we have unconsciously strayed into a self-centered life of faith. (2013.07.05, Hawaii)

We must always start each day with a grateful heart. We are gradually aging. All people are very interested in health, but the most important thing about health is always living with a positive, happy, grateful heart. When we open our eyes in the morning, we should smile and shout out, "Today I am beginning a happy day!" It is said that if we do that, all diseases fall away, and endorphins are produced. Therefore, we become healthier and more efficient in our work. (2006.03.22, Japan, Tokyo)

If you can throw away your greed, envy, and jealousy, and live in gratitude, then every day would be the kingdom of heaven. (2016.07.07, Cheon Jeong Gung)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Some of the main points of the words are these.

A grateful heart for everything is the essential part of faith.

If we are grateful for our lives, then every day would be a kingdom of heaven.

It is God's will that we are thankful in every situation.

Straw Millionaire (わらしべ長者) is a Japanese folk tale about a poor young man who was grateful for little things and became wealthy.

The story goes as follows.

The poor young man asked Buddha for help to get out of poverty. Buddha said he should go west with the first thing he picks up from the ground. He tripped as he left the temple and took a piece of straw. As he traveled, he helped people and his item changed from a piece of straw to oranges, silks, horse, and finally rice fields and house.

Let us watch a short video of the story. I hope the young audience will enjoy it.

What led the young poor man to his wealth? What lessons can we learn from this story? I have 3 ideas in mind.

  • Faith in Buddha
  • Gratitude
  • Generous and helpful to others

The first thing he picked up from the ground was a piece of straw. We think it is small, insignificant and of no value.

However, he kept faith in Buddha, who told him that the first thing would bring fortune.

He might have grumbled about how a piece of straw would help him and quit. But he stayed loyal to the word from Buddha and proceeded with a piece of straw and thankfulness.

According to Oxford Languages, Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

We can easily feel gratitude when things go our way, or our desires are met.

It is hard to feel gratitude in all situations, especially unfavorable ones.

Is it possible to be thankful even when things are not going well or when we don't get what we want?

Someone says, "Gratitude is a strong human emotion and can change how we see the world."

One proverb says, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

The Mindfulness Awareness Research Center of UCLA states that gratitude changes neural structures in the brain. It is possible to rewire our brains to feel gratitude in all situations.

One secret to feel gratitude in all situations can be found in the word “Arigato”.

As you know, “Arigato” is thank you in Japanese.

Arigato originated from Arigatai, which means a miraculous occurrence.

Buddha teaches that being born as a human being is a miracle. I would like to share a story Budda told to his disciple to explain how being born as a human being is a miracle. 

The story is called “Blind Turtle and Floating Tree”.

It goes as follows.

There is a blind turtle at the bottom of a great ocean. Once every hundred years the turtle rises to the surface to catch its breath.

There is a tree that floats in the ocean, and it has a hole in its center.  Would this turtle, which rises to the surface once in a hundred years, ever stick its head through the hole in the floating tree?  Budda’s disciple answered, "This is very unlikely and unimaginable”. Buddha said, "Everyone would think that it is impossible. But it is not impossible at all. Being born as a human being is even harder than this example. So being born as a human being is very valuable and a miracle.

Our planet earth is also a miracle.

Do you know what “Habitable Zone” means? It is a term in astronomy.

The habitable zone (also known as the “Goldilocks zone”) is the region around a star where conditions are suitable for liquid water to exist on a planet’s surface.

Of the 1,780 confirmed planets beyond our solar system, as many as 16 are in their star’s habitable zone, where conditions are neither too hot nor too cold to support life. Size also matters: A planet that’s too small can’t maintain an atmosphere; one that’s too large will have a crushing atmosphere.

The earth was placed in the Habitable Zone.

Life would not have emerged if earth was a little nearer to the sun or farther from the sun.

Life would not have emerged if earth was a little larger or smaller.

The story “Straw Millionaire” also shows how being generous and helpful to others is important to bring us heavenly fortune.

The story makes me think of a term Ichigo ichie. The meaning is once-in-a-lifetime encounter.

It's off the subject, but the subtitle of the movie “Forrest Gump” in Japan is Ichigo ichie.

The origin of "ichigo ichie" is a Japanese tea ceremony. It means that in a tea ceremony, the host and the guest should be aware that the event is a unique encounter that will never happen again. Both parties are encouraged to be sincere to each other, value the moment and opportunity, and offer the best service.

We are commemorating True Parents’ Birthday and the anniversary of “Foundation Day”. Encounter with True Parents is the first-time event in human history and will never happen again. This is a time for us to appreciate True Parents and each other blessed by True Parents.

First generation members experienced life-changing moments with True Parents. It is easier for them to be thankful to True Parents. I understand that some second generation members do not understand who True Parents are. That is OK. Even first generation members are still discovering who True Parents truly are.

There is one thing that the second generation can be thankful to True Parents for.

What is it? Second generation, you would not be born without True Parents. True Parents are like the ancestors of the second generation and following generations.

If we keep gratitude to True Parents and be generous and helpful to others, heavenly fortune will surely come to us.