The Value of Connection

Connected HandsAn important aspect of dependency is that it teaches us that relationship is the most important thing in the universe. Connection is really the deepest value in God’s heart.

He constructed everything, and He Himself exists, in terms of relationship: ‘God is love‘ (John 4:16). When you allow dependent feelings and stances in life, you begin to live life the way God intended it. Relationship is not only a means to an end; it is an end in itself.

Closeness to God and others is what life is all about. Life has meaning, fulfillment and purpose in relationship. Some people have never experienced relationship as a good thing in their lives. For example, you may see dependency as being weak and vulnerable, or have fears of abandonment. Or you may have been so disconnected that there appears to be no real value in connection. Where there is no hunger, it is hard to value dependency.

As you work through these difficulties, you can learn to experience closeness as something not only good for you, but as the ‘highest good’ experience and position that God provides for us. In addition, becoming close to God and others is one of the major factors enabling you to be able to give up things you are in bondage to, such as addictions, destructive feelings and poor relationships.

‘LOVE NEVER FAILS!’ (I Cor. 13:8)

Do you need help getting connected? Join us at one of our Weekend Workshops, you will laugh, learn, and by God’s grace  be transformed.

Confidence Restored

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world  you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.
JOHN 16:33 MSG

Are you a confident, faithful believer, or do you live under a cloud of uncertainty and doubt? As a Christian, you have many reasons to be confident. After all, God is in His heaven; Christ has risen; and you are the recipient of God’s grace. Despite these blessings, you may, from time to time, find yourself being tormented by stressful, destructive emotions—and you are certainly not alone.

During turbulent times like these, even the most faithful Christians are overcome by occasional bouts of fear and doubt. And you are no different. But even when you feel very distant from God, remember that God is never distant from you. When you sincerely seek His presence, He will touch your heart, calm your fears, and restore your confidence.

Bible hope is confidence in the future.   ~Warren Wiersbe

Feelings of confidence depend upon the type of thoughts you habitually occupy. Think defeat, and you are bound to be defeated.   ~Norman Vincent Peale

Jesus gives us the ultimate rest, the confidence we need, to escape the frustration and chaos of the world around us.   ~Billy Graham

Believe and do what God says. The life-changing consequences will be limitless, and the results will be confidence and peace of mind. ~Franklin Graham

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, You are my Savior and my Sustainer. I will be safe with You in heaven, and I am safe with You here on earth. Today, I will trust in Your promises, and I will be a confident, obedient, purposeful servant to Your Son.  Amen

Do You Have Them?

Using BHAG’s and SAG’s to Make Your Vision an Everyday Reality

What if you told people walking down the street that you had a BHAG? “A what?!” they say. “You know, big hairy-” and before you can finish the sentence you get smacked. So you try a different tactic. “Say, ma’am, did you know I’ve got SAG’s?” This time, you don’t just get smacked, the little old lady pulls out a couple of karate moves and leaves you panting on the sidewalk as she totters away.

No, a BHAG is not a new medical abbreviation for something nobody wants to know about. Nor is a SAG, despite its possible implications.

BHAG’s and SAG’s have a lot to do with your future, both the near future and the rest of your life. A BHAG is a “big hairy audacious goal” and a SAG is a “small attainable goal.” BHAG’s are more long term, visionary goals. They’re wild and crazy!

For example: “I want to stop particulate pollution world wide!” “I want to become the best salesperson in the company!” A father says, “I want to see all of my children reach graduate school if they want to! Or perhaps your church decides, “We want to see a large sub-Saharan African village clothed and fed!

SAG’s on the other hand, are the small steps that we can see easily to get to the medium and long-range goals. Using the above examples, maybe you work with the American Lung Association to make people aware of soot and pollutants that they breathe every day to start you towards your BHAG of eliminating particulates in the air.

Or, to become the best salesperson, you take an intensive course in sales and marketing. The father with the BHAG of seeing all of his children through graduate school might take his kids to meet various professionals. And the church with the vision for feeding a whole village might need to start with just gathering information.

SAG’s should be very practical and short term. You can put time limits or event limits on SAG’s to make sure things don’t become ambiguous or overwhelming. You might narrow your information gathering about poor African villages down to five sources or budget the money or time you spend on a basic sales course.

All goals are attainable, at least in theory, but “attainable” in the SAG sense means a goal that you can see or touch. Stopping air pollution or feeding a whole village does not feel very attainable right now from where I stand but the SAG’s under these goals are. BHAG’s give direction to SAG’s and give them purpose: SAG’s under-gird BHAG’s and give them structure.

[box type="info"]Proverbs 13:4 says that “The soul of the lazy man desires and has nothing but the soul of the diligent will be made rich.” [/box]

Desire is important but it cannot get you to your goals alone. Diligence is one of the main cogs in the big wheel of reaching desire.

Looking up to check your direction and progress is very important and often people get lost when they forget to check. Perhaps you’ve heard of the airline pilot who says to his passengers after several hours of flight: “I have good news and bad news: We’re making good time, but we don’t know where we’re going.”

If you are being unaware, if you are enjoying the getting there too much or if you are going too fast you may end up in the wrong place.

So, if you know your BHAG’s, see what your SAG’s are, and are diligent with your SAG’s, making sure you look up frequently to check your direction and progress, you should be seeing results in all of your goals whether they are BHAGs or SAG’s.

Passionate Without Apology

Excerpted from the book More Jesus, Less Religion by Steve Arterburn

If Jesus attended your church this Sunday, would he be shunned, criticized, or quietly avoided because of his open displays of emotion? Would you and I feel, well, a little uncomfortable maybe a tad embarrassed in the presence of such strong, spontaneous expressions of anger at the temple money-changers or grief over the spiritual condition of Jerusalem?

In many churches, I think there is a good chance he would be shamed or taken to task for such conduct.

  • “Get a grip on yourself, Jesus.”
  • “Are you saved, Jesus?  Christians ought to be the happiest people on earth.”
  • “Come on, Jesus where is your faith?”
  • “Don’t you know that Scripture says to rejoice always?”
  • “Give it to God, Jesus.”
  • “Remember, Jesus, all things work together for good.”

Can’t you just hear such comments being made? The Son of God himself would likely be criticized for not “snapping out of it” or “having enough faith.”

The truth is, of course, Jesus had perfect faith and was absolutely sinless. Yet he allowed himself to experience the heights and depths of human emotion. He knew the mountaintops of great joy and the blackest chasms of depression and sorrow. He did not suppress his anger, choke off his tears, or mask his depression. And he did not fear to speak forth the deepest longings of his heart.

He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).  He was (and is) passionate without apology.

Our Passionate God

Throughout Scripture, God is revealed to be a passionate God. Some of us may not be comfortable with that.  Others might seek to explain it away: “It’s just a Hebrew, cultural thing.” But our discomfort doesn’t alter the facts one iota.

In the Old Testament we see glimpses of a God who possesses deep wells of passion. Through the prophet Jeremiah, he declares, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (31:3).

In the book of Hosea, he agonizes over the fate of rebellious Israel.  You can almost catch a sob in his voice: “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled” (Hosea 11:8).

That word ‘kindled’ comes from a Hebrew root that can mean, “to shrivel with heat.” What a picture! This is no cool, dispassionate deity calmly observing the struggles of his children from the comfort of some easy chair among the clouds.

Can you hear the groan of a heartbroken parent when God says of Israel, “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations, a people who continually provoke me to my very face” (Isaiah 65:2-3)?

Our Passionate Forebears

The psalmists inherited their heavenly Father’s strong passions. In fact, Psalms is a veritable textbook of emotional expression. Try telling David he should be more reserved! He wrote: “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes” (Psalm 6:6-7). At another low point in his life, David penned these words: “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning I am forgotten by [my friends] as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery” (31:9-10, 12).

At other times, this hymnbook of Israel is filled with raucous cymbal clashing, horn blasting, and mighty shouts of overflowing joy. A little excessive, you say? A little undignified, you protest? But what are we going to do with it? This sort of emotion flows through the pages of Scripture like a fast-running steam.

The Emotions of a Perfect Man

When Christ walked the earth, he expressed his emotions freely and without shame. It’s too bad so few of us choose to follow his example.

The Christian must recognize that Christ did not deny, suppress, or stuff his feelings; he embraced them. As he walked on earth, he revealed his love, anger, sorrow, and many other emotions. Beyond any question, he felt the depths of emotion.

Isn’t that what makes Hebrews 4:15 such an encouraging passage? The writer reminds us “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” Jesus experienced everything that we do. Every emotion. Every temptation. The high highs, the low lows, and the flat in-betweens. His is One who understands what we feel experientially. Sometimes it’s frustrating trying to describe to a counselor or friend what’s going on in our heart when we’re not half sure what’s happening ourselves. But Jesus knows. He doesn’t have to guess or imagine. He knows.

If you found this article helpful, I encourage you to explore the book More Jesus, Less Religion.

What is Your Coping Mechanism: Dread or Hope?

Musee des Beaux Arts
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
–W.H. Auden, 1940

Limitations. That’s not a word that most of us like to consider. Especially if we are used to being an authority figure, someone in control, independent, pro-active and successful. Yet, sooner or later, we shall all bump into that wall in some form or another: a concrete barrier called health, a stone wall labeled children, a blockade brought on by misfortune, deceit, or crime. Over the years, most of us become conditioned to an electrically charged, invisible fence that marks the borders of our potentiality, and as long as we don’t dare get too close, we believe that we are safe, free, and empowered. Living in America , this is especially significant. It is in our DNA to see open vistas and unlimited horizons, even as we congregate in self-made corrals for safety. After all, if we don’t go to the edge, we are free to believe it does not exist and that there are no limits.

So what happens when, as clinicians or pastors, we meet the clients who are stuck at a roadblock that is just in front of an entrance ramp that could finally lead them down a new road towards a new beginning, and instead of staying on course, following the detours that could lead them in a new direction, they quit? Or worse, they don’t just give up and sit still on the side of the road. No. All too often, they choose to sit in the path of oncoming traffic, under the guise or delusion of hitchhiking? We get slammed. We run right into our limitations as therapists, and get pinned in by our own existential fear of seeing the other’s future unfold because we know all too well their history and life patterns: The battered wife who returns to her abusive husband; the addict who quits rehab, the suicidal person who ends treatment.

What else do we feel in those moments? Dread.

Dread is the inescapable awareness of an outcome that is beyond our own control to prevent yet is inevitable in its onslaught. It differs from horror in that horror stems from those events which are beyond belief—outside the realm of normal expectation. 9/11 was horrific. Watching the Challenger explode was horrific. Everything goes along normally until some cataclysmic or evil event happens. But dread is different. Dread is expected. Dread is when we know that something awful is about to happened, and we are helpless to stop it.

The ancient Greeks understood the power of dread. One can not avoid it in the plays of Sophocles. Oedipus is the anti-hero of the genre spawning children who, also, inherit his doomed fate. For the ancient audiences who gathered at daybreak, they would encounter dread and experience catharsis. If Kings, Queens, and Princesses could not be spared outcomes that they had no control over, then it was comforting, by comparison, for ordinary Spartans and Thebans to deal with their own small burdens. Dread was normalized in a world where faith was a belief in inescapable fate. For Oedipus, Creon, Jocasta, and, even, Antigone…their fate was pre-destined, and no attempt to outwit it, however well intentioned, could thwart it. For the audiences, fully aware of the tales in advance, knowing that the characters’ attempts to seize control of their lives would not work, they learned that dread is an inescapable emotion that must be accepted and acquiesced to. In other words, dread was the emotion that underscored their relationship between the Gods and man. Dread was the precursor emotion that led to accepting humanity’s limitations, and, thus, their own limitations, too.

How different it is for us, today! Especially for those who espouse a more Christian perspective, for the element of free will in relation to a higher being is an essential element in our approach to life. Nowhere can the comparisons be more on display than in the films of Hitchcock. Unlike Sophocles, Hitchcock’s characters are not larger than life Kings and Queens. They are us. The innkeeper, businessman, doctor, or mother. Ordinary people going about ordinary lives who stumble upon some truth that is about to lead to destruction. The genius of Hitchcock was that, although he, too, created characters who realized that they were helpless to change an inevitable, negative outcome, (e.g., The Man who Knew Too Much); nevertheless, he gave them the ability to act, or attempt to act, to thwart it. And, in true Hollywood style, it would work.

In other words, dread was the emotion that the audience felt long before the characters did, but as soon as the characters’ experienced their own self awareness of that dread manifesting, they did not give up. They did not accept fate. They did not acquiesce to destiny. In fact, right to the edge, they attempted to change the outcome, and they succeeded—not with superhuman intelligence or godlike effort but with sheer will power using simple, human touches: a high note, a melody, and a song.

This is catharsis with a twist of hope! This is a paradigm shift that says to humanity, yes, there are limitations, but if one perseveres and keeps struggling, one can change the outcome of one’s life—despite the odds of succeeding. In other words, fate is not a predestined fixed outcome by God; rather, it is a fluid, dynamic process that is determined by the choices each of us makes, even if it comes at the last possible moment.

Herein is the significance for us as clinicians with those clients who confound us. In the midst of experiencing our limitations as therapists, we can bring into it the awareness that the inevitable does not necessarily have to happen. That the dread we may be feeling may be averted at any moment—even if we never get to see it. We may like to think of ourselves as the director, but in reality, we are, merely, the audience to the dramas of our clients, and it is they who, as the actors in their own life stories, can change their roles at any moment to write a new and unexpected ending—or a whole new script! Limitations? Meet the new screenwriter, Free Will. The sequel is called Hope.

© copyright 2010 by Lucia Seyranyan. All rights reserved.

Your Stress Remedy: Meltdown or ??

When Jet Blue flight Attendant Steven Slater had a “meltdown,” grabbed two beers, deployed and slid down the airplane’s escape shoot, he struck a cord with many people nationwide. He was lauded as a hero on thousands of Facebook pages, and people on talk radio, as well, were all getting a good laugh. One commentator said if we all had an escape hatch, 80% of Americans would quit their job like that!

Yes, what he did was irresponsible…and not to be commended. Yet nevertheless, he gave Americans a chance to collectively lighten up a bit…and underscored the importance of dealing with stress before it reaches the boiling point.

Many people initially come to see me because of job stress…either from the work itself or because of the stresses of dealing with difficult people at the worksite..I tell them I don’t believe in stress…meaning stress needs to be dealt with in the beginning stages…before it becomes destructive. As an advocate of positive mental health, one of the things I emphasize is the need to lighten up. Humor is one of the best ways to do this. In the book The Psychology of Happiness by Arlene Matthews Uhl, pages 74 through 76, there are several quotes that give credibility of the effectiveness of laughter:

“When we laugh, we feel good. In fact, it is impossible to feel bad when we laugh. Even if we are in the midst of a highly stressful or sad time, laughter offers us an oasis. Research shows it can even help us recover from the extreme distress that accompanies life-changing losses…When a University of Tel Aviv researcher interviewed Holocaust survivors, humor was repeatedly mentioned as a mechanism for helping people to survive trauma. When a researcher at the university of California at Berkeley studied widows and widowers whose spouses had died six months before, he noted that those who had established the ability to laugh within weeks of their loved one’s passing displayed less stress and many more positive emotions two to four years later. Humor, it turns-out, is not only a unique human tool to facilitate survival, but also a mechanism to facilitate thriving and resilience. The more laughs we have in our life, the better able we are to handle whatever comes our way and the more we are able to take pleasure from each day…Laughter elevates natural mood-enhancing endorphins and releases the feel-good brain chemical dopamine. At the same time, laughter turns down our stress hormone spigot. Studies show it also significantly lowers the chemical cortisol, which is associated with negative stress…After exposure to humor, there is a general increase in our immune system activity.”

Scripture lists joy as the second fruit of the Spirit, and states: “a merry heart does good like medicine” …and Christ wanted His “joy to be full in them (us)”.

You can increase your joy and happiness…and lower your stress level…by learning to see the bright side, increasing your exposure to humorous videos, books, and magazines, sharing humor with fellow workers, surrounding yourself with lighthearted people, and most important praying for more of the joy of the Lord!

Other helpful hints to reduce stress are to get a good night’s sleep, have quality nutrition, participate in your favorite exercise daily, learn how to manage difficult people, have a daily dose of play (slide down the slide at a playground instead?) and take life one day at a time.

Steven Slater’s dramatic exit can serve to remind us all to lighten up on the job. Bringing in lots of joy and laughter at work and at home can go a long way towards preventing personal distress, depression, and general malaise. And those around you will be encouraged and refreshed by your cheerful attitude. Remember: “The joy of the Lord is our strength!”

Forgiving

There are several words in the bible that people tend to cringe at when they hear them. Forgiveness is one of those words. It is a difficult concept to think about releasing someone who has hurt us. There are some drawbacks to holding onto hurts. These include, but are not limited to, giving our own sense of power away, physical ailments such as high blood pressure or headaches, the enemy can set up strongholds, and God will not forgive us (Mt. 6:14-15). There are also benefits to learning to forgive others and ourselves.

Jesus came to provide a way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins. So this seems to be pretty important to him. We want to be free from the weight of our regrets and mistakes and yet, we struggle with the idea of extending that same release to others. We either want justice or revenge. They should understand the pain they caused us. (MT 18:23-30)

The word ‘forgive’ is thrown around as if it is cheap and easy. What Jesus did on the cross to allow forgiveness to happen was not easy. He did not even want to do it, he said “Father if there is any other way, take this cup from me.” MT 26:39 But he made the hard choice and wants us to do the same. Notice, forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. If you wait until you feel like forgiving, it will never happen and you will be stuck carrying the burden forever.

Many people have a misperception that forgiveness is a one time action that “let’s perpetrators off the hook” We are not taught that forgiveness is a process. This process starts with identifying the wound. If we are not aware of what is hurting us, it is extremely difficult to seek healing for it. If you go to the doctor for a cut on your hand but show him your foot, he will have a hard time stitching up the cut and it will be unlikely to heal properly. It will possibly become infected and hurt worse.

Next we need to confess anything that has become sin in relation to the memory of the experience. This is where bitterness, anger, revenge, taking things into our own hands, and selfishness needs to be acknowledged. Wait a minute, are saying I have to let go of my feelings of being hurt? What about the other person? If I forgive them, they will get away with hurting me, why do I have to confess?

This is where one of the corrections to the forgiveness myth comes in. Forgiveness is not for “them”, it’s for you. If you confess your sin first, you are making space for the Holy Spirit to fill you and heal your hurt.

If you try to get back at the person who hurt you, that is the only discipline they will receive. If you choose to forgive them, God will say ‘Ok I’ll take it from here.’ His justice and correction are better than anything I could come up with, so I prefer leaving the discipline, or teaching, to him. After acknowledging the hurt and confessing your own sin, you are now ready to release the person into God’s care. Remember, it is for your freedom and health that you are forgiving them. Be specific. Say “I choose to forgive_______ (name of person) for_______ (what they did) in Jesus’ name. I release them in Jesus’ name” The first time is to break enemy strongholds and the second is so that it comes from the heart. (Mt 18:35)

Finally ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, seal you, and make you the person God designed you to be from the beginning. You are a treasure and you bring glory, honor, and pleasure to God when you forgive others. He sings over you. (Zeph 3:17)

Steps of Forgiveness

  • Acknowledge hurtful situation
  • Confess your sin
  • Choose to forgive and release the person who hurt or upset you
  • Ask Holy Spirit to fill you

Unforgiveness hurts a lot of people. It removes you from relationship with others, yourself, and with God. Making the choice to forgive those who have wronged you allows God to be bigger than the hurt. He wants to bring you healing and freedom. More than that, he wants you back in relationship with Him. There are many reasons to learn how to forgive. It is possible to gain freedom from the burdens you carry. Forgiving is the vehicle to remove the bricks from your backpack so you no longer have to lug them around with you. Your heavenly father wants to relieve the weight you carry as it is too heavy for you. There is hope.

The Art of Acceptance

Come to terms with God and be at peace;  in this way good will come to you.
JOB 22:21 HCSB

Sometimes, we must accept life on its terms, not our own. Life has a way of unfolding, not as we will, but as it will. And sometimes, there is precious little we can do to change things.

When events transpire that are beyond our control, we have a choice: we can either learn the art of acceptance, or we can make ourselves miserable as we struggle to change the unchangeable.

We must entrust the things we cannot change to God. Once we have done so, we can prayerfully and faithfully tackle the important work that He has placed before us: doing something about the things we can change . . . and doing it sooner rather than later.

Can you summon the courage and the wisdom to accept life on its own terms? If so, you’ll most certainly be rewarded for your good judgment.

Surrender to the Lord is not a tremendous sacrifice, not an agonizing performance. It is the most sensible thing you can do.   ~Corrie Ten Boom

He does not need to transplant us into a different field. He transforms the very things that were before our greatest hindrances, into the chief and most blessed means of our growth. No difficulties in your case can baffle Him. Put yourself absolutely into His hands, and let Him have His own way with you.   ~Elisabeth Elliot

How changed our lives would be if we could only fly through the days on wings of surrender and trust! ~Hannah Whitall Smith

Ultimately things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.   ~Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, the events of this world unfold according to a plan that I cannot fully understand. But You understand. Help me to trust You, Lord, even when I am grieving. Help me to trust You even when I am confused. Today, in whatever circumstances I find myself, let me trust Your will and accept Your love . . . completely. Amen

The development of PATIENCE

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8

The practice of counseling, with its desired outcome of deliverance, often neglects to address the need for us to wait and allow God to prepare the way. The ability to be patient relies on our understanding of God’s call to wait or denying our need to react or intervene. It is often forgotten in times of crisis as the pain of the sum experience often leads to the desire to quickly remove the source of our suffering. However, it is often through pain and the required patience to allow God to work through our pain that provides an opportunity for Spiritual growth.

Solomon, utilizing his God given wisdom to promote moral principles in the book of Ecclesiastes, touches on the importance of developing patience. It is here in chapter 7 verse 8 that we find two key components to cultivate the patience that is often required for Spiritual growth to occur.

  1. Submission to God’s will. God’s will and not our own fleshly desires is one key to increasing patience. Solomon writes that the end is better than the beginning and because we often can’t see His finished work we tend to intervene or react. This prevents God from orchestrating His perfect will for our lives and causes us to miss out on His desire for us to grow in the Spirit.
  2. Humility. Solomon writes that it is in pride that patience is lost. Humbling ourselves to allow God to work can make us feel very vulnerable. However, in our defenseless state is where God often works to promote His will for our life.

One example of patience can be found in 1 Samuel 24 where David is found in the Wilderness of En Gedi. Saul is pursuing David and there comes a point where Saul is attending to his needs and David has an opportunity to kill Saul. However, David refuses to touch him, and instead just cuts off the corner of Saul’s robe. David’s decision to be patient during this time shows his submission to God’s will. We see in verse 12 where David explains to Saul, “May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.” David chose to submit to God’s will and not his or even those of his men.

Second, David showed humility in his wisdom to allow God’s purposes to be worked out. I am sure that he would have liked to help God out and in the process start his true reign sooner. David’s pride could have led him to seek personal justice, but instead he humbled himself to allow God to work.

Thank God for the lesson of patience. A desire for God’s will found in the humility and sacrifice of our own fleshly desires. As Solomon reminds us, it leads to a better end.

Something to think about on our journey toward haven.

Cheerfulness 101

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast.
PROVERBS 15:15 NCV

Cheerfulness is a wonderful antidote to stress. And, as believers who have been saved by a risen Christ, why shouldn’t we be cheerful? The answer, of course, is that we have every reason to honor our Savior with joy in our hearts, smiles on our faces, and words of celebration on our lips.

Christ promises us lives of abundance and joy if we accept His love and His grace. Yet sometimes, even the most righteous among us are beset by fits of ill temper and frustration. During these moments, we may not feel like turning our thoughts and prayers to Christ, but that’s precisely what we should do. When we do so, we simply can’t stay grumpy for long.

Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts of religion—love, adoration, praise, and every union with our God. ~St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.   ~St. Francis of Assisi

God is good, and heaven is forever. And if those two facts don’t cheer you up, nothing will.    ~Marie T. Freeman

Be assured, my dear friend, that it is no joy to God in seeing you with a dreary countenance.   ~C. H. Spurgeonp

When we bring sunshine into the lives of others, we’re warmed by it ourselves. When we spill a little happiness, it splashes on us.   ~Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, You have given me so many reasons to be happy, and I want to be a cheerful Christian. Today and every day, I will do my best to share my happiness with my family and my friends. Amen

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries