30 Days to Happiness: Z is for ZIP-IT!

delightfulbibleWhoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.Proverbs 15:1

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.Psalm 34:13

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Proverbs 17:28

For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. I Peter 3:10

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21

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30 Days to Happiness: X is for Examine

XOne day as I meditated on the word “examine” I reiterated all of the things I had done that day. I suppose I was hoping God would be impressed as I examined myself and found that I had accomplished so much. However instead of the “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” that I was hoping to hear, I heard,”What was your heart doing today?” I had no answer for that, and I still ponder what would be the answer He is looking for. I am sure it has a great deal to do with love. It is much wiser to ask God to examine us, and it is even wiser to listen to His voice of love as He then guides us in the way everlasting.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    try me and know my thoughts.
 See if there be any wicked way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139-1The following is taken from, “He Searched Me and This Is What He Found Today,”  based on Psalm 139: 1-6 as I allowed the Lord to bring me out of the muck back into a place of right standing with Him.

 So Lord, I see what you mean. You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit  down and when I rise up. You know my thoughts. You understand my path and when I lie down. You know what I’m doing and thinking all of the time. You know what I’m going to do and say even before I say or do it. You have hedged me behind and before and laid your hand upon me. That’s to keep me safe and give me peace. This is so wonderful I can’t even describe it. Even though you know my thoughts, motives, and actions, you are still willing to look out for me and lay your hand upon me. This is truly incredible to me! Please forgive me for my wrong thinking, my negativity and jealousy. I know my hope is in You. Peace and joy come rushing in again like fresh water cleansing me. Thank you. I look up and see Your face, and I am encouraged. Let the joy flow from me, and let Your love and wisdom flow from me, I pray. In Jesus name, Amen.

When He examines your heart today, what will He find? Tune in to the Voice of Love, and hear what He will say to you!

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30 Days to Happiness: W is for Win!

  • WWhen you cross something off your “To Do” list, you win.
  • When you are friendly to someone doing you a service, you win.
  • When you find something you lost, you win.
  • When you remember something you forgot, you win.
  • When you do something out of your comfort zone, you win.
  • When you are bombarded with negative thinking, and you change your thinking, you win.
  • When someone gives you a hard time, but you are kind anyway, you win.
  • When you learn something new, you win.
  • When you make a new friend, you win.
  • winningWhen you count your blessings, you win
  • When you are on time, you win.
  • When you say you are sorry, you win.
  • When you forgive, you win.
  • When you do something for someone else, you win.
  • When you do something in spite of a fear, you win.
  • When you overcome a fear, you win.
  • When you get to “Z” on your “A to Z Challenge,” you win!

Don’t you love winning? Can you add anything to my “Win List?” Remind yourself daily that you ARE a WINNER!

 

 

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30 Days to Happiness: V is for Visit

VPaying someone a visit at their home is almost a lost art here in America. I am an avid reader of Christian fiction, and I often notice all of the visiting that goes on there. We just don’t seem to do that in real life. The last time I invited someone over to our house, and I am woefully ashamed to admit it, was for Jay’s birthday in July. It was so wonderful to have dear friends over, but we haven’t done it again since then.

As I set my goal for the year to “visit,” I had in mind a particular lady that I admire. I have a goal to invite her to lunch early in the year, and Larry and I have set a goal to have a meal with another couple that we love. Why is this so difficult? I do not have the answers, yet, although I suspect it has to do with time, energy, and motivation. Time slips away so quickly and our intentions to “visit” could pass just as quickly into another year. We miss so much, so many opportunities, to deepen relationships when we do not make time to visit. Are we being robbed of the Jesus in others, and are we missing opportunities to let Him visit others through us. We need to come together and get with others as often as possible. It may be uncomfortable, and in may be inconvenient, but it will no doubt be invaluable in becoming the person God wants us to be.

Try This:  Call someone, plan a visit. Yo might also like to picture Jesus visiting you. Would you clean up your house or your heart? When he got there, what would you talk about?

When was the last time you invited someone to your home, or were invited to another home? Please share in the comments. Happy visiting!

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30 Days to Happiness: U is for Understanding

This article was first published under the title, “The Other Side of the Die.” It  depicts what “understanding” means to me. We often focus only on how we see something, and we seek out new  and more powerful ways to convince others that our point of view is the one and only correct one. When we realize that we are seeing only “one side of the dice,” it opens the door for us to see and understand how things look from someone else’s perspective. At our house now, we often remind each other, that “it’s just another side of the dice.”

The Other Side of the Die

That’s right. “die”. . .singular of dice. We can say dice for singular or plural, kind of like deer and deer, but to get your attention, I decided to title this article, “The Other Side of the dice8Die.”  While I am randomly discussing weird words, I have a question for you. When you are alone in the kitchen, do you reach for the thyme and quietly say “thime” or do you really, even in the privacy of your own home, actually say “time.” I was just wondering because it is very difficult for me to say “time” for “thyme” and makes no sense at all and that is the whole point of “The Other Side of the Die.” Let me explain. When I am looking at one side of a die, let’s say I see a one; someone across from me will be seeing a six (as in one says “time” and another says “thime.”) Two other friends are going to see the two and the five. Every one of us sees things from our very own point of view, based on our personality, our experiences, and our beliefs.

When we can accept this, it opens up a whole new interesting world. We can look at ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes and have an understanding of how someone else might view the world. There are those who truly enjoy seeing weird speckle-faced aliens boarding dice6spaceships and trying to take over the minds of the crew and condemn them to spinning endlessly in space never to return home again. The same person might view a fun, light-hearteddice7 detective show like Monk as uninteresting, if not annoying. Once you realize that it’s just the other side of the die, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make one good and one bad, or one right and one wrong. It makes life interesting.

In another scenario, we may have someone who loves Christian rock music while another dice10prefers contemporary music. There are even those who prefer science fiction over historical Christian fiction. Tamera Alexander, you didn’t hear it from me. These differences can be an open door for conversation and greater understanding. It can  be fascinating to find out what is going on in someone’s else’s world.  You might also find it intriguing  to find  out how other people view politics and religion, if you can learn to view it from “the other side of the dice.” We can learn not to react or overreact when someone is  blatantly opposed to our way of thinking. Consider it the same as you would a different preference for chocolate over vanilla ice-cream or a preference for cheese pizza over supreme. Why anyone would prefer vanilla over chocolate, I have no idea, but I am willing to open the door of understanding to find out.

Exploring different viewpoints is a healthy alternative to thinking that you and only you are right in all things. Learning to respect  the differences in others is like giving vivid colors to an otherwise drab one-sided way of looking at life. Differences are simply a springboard for digging deeper, for asking questions and finding out more about those you love and those you meet.

Sir Isaac NewtonThere are many sides to every strongly held belief, yet, let us not be mistaken in the fact that there is Absolute Truth. Just as there are laws that govern the universe like the law of gravity, inertia, and the law of lift, there is also Absolute Truth. . .absolute right and wrong.   It is important to have a firm foundation on which to stand as we develop our way of looking at the universe. Thank God that He is unchangeable. His laws are right and true and His plan of salvation through His Son is sure! Standing on our firm foundation, we are free to accept and understand others even when their views are diametrically opposed to our own.

Whether it be differences in our entertainment preferences, our music, our political viewsdice1 or our understanding of Scripture, we can open doors of communication by asking questions, being respectful, calm, and kind and simply having fun by looking at something in a new way. Turn the die around, look at each side. Know that each and every person is important to our Creator, Look more deeply at what makes them who they are. “Time or thime,” it really doesn’t matter. It’s all in how you throw the dice.

 

 

T Is For Trust: Please Don’t Let Me Fall

Please Don’t Let Me Fall!

Choose someone in the world that you “trust.” Ask them to catch you as you totally fall back into their arms. This is a team-building exercise often used in group encounters to encourage trusting others. Don’t you just want to say to the person who is supposedly behind you, “Please, don’t let me fall.”

Since they are human, there is ever the possibility that they could be distracted by trust1something and step away at just the moment you are “trusting them” as you fall back. It is also remotely possible that they could, heaven forbid, decide to see what actually happens if they step back and watch you fall. Your life and health are in their hands. So you say, “Please, don’t let me fall.”

I daily have the opportunity to fall back, trusting  God to catch me, but sometimes something holds me back from fully trusting Him. I deal with worry and trying to figure out solutions to my own problems. This can cause me to be frustrated or even frightened when things don’t go my way.

trust1_2I found a quote online that answered the question, “What is trust?” Here is the answer: “Trust is believing that the person you are in a relationship with means good for you.” That statement bolted through my consciousness. I realized that at the heart of my “trust issue” was the fact that I was not sure that God meant good for me. I was afraid He would let me fall.

This led me to the next question. Does God ever cause destruction, pain and failure? No, He does not.  At the first sign of trouble, He sweeps in to bring every ounce of good and benefit and blessing out of anything that comes our way. It doesn’t matter if it comes to us through our own mistakes, consequences of our actions, life, or the enemy of our soul. He is there. He will not let us fall.  A loving  parent can’t, and really shouldn’t, stop every unpleasant thing from happening to their child, yet they are always available and rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, and restore. They can be trusted. Just like this, God is always there to rush in to help, love, advise, comfort, restore, strengthen, and guide, through it all. By doing this He brings forth treasures we could never have had otherwise. Yes, He can be trusted.

trust2Taking it a step higher, by staying close, close, close to Him, we will avoid many of the troubles that would have come our way had we trekked out on our own course. Yes, I can trust Him. He wants my good, He alone knows how to lead me to fulfill His Plan for me. Without a doubt, as I walk and talk with Him throughout the day, He loves and leads, guides and encourages. He can be trusted. He will not let me fall!

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30 Days to Happiness: S is for Send

Send me flowers. Send me your love. Send up prayers. Send cards. Send packages. Send Valentines. Send cookies. Send a thank-you note. It is so much fun to get things in the mail, especially if there is something in it. So send it!

packageMy grandmother always sent a birthday card with a dollar in it to every child, grandchild and in-law. She did this until she was well into her 80’s, and we always looked forward to getting Mammaw’s dolllar even when the monetary value of that dollar had plummeted. As I pondered what I would send, when “send” popped up as one of my “guide words” the first thing that came to mind was to send birthday cards to my family members. I have three precious nieces that I do not get to see more than once a year. Frankly, I wish I could have been more involved in their lives. I don’t know where the time goes, but it has slipped away. I love them dearly, and I am extremely proud of all three of them. I have an amazingly cute great-nephew and great-niece that I also love and do not see often enough. My plan is to send them birthday cards on time this year.  We have a rather small family compared to many, and I treasure each one, and sincerely hope they know that.  I have dear friends on my “send list” as well. These  friends are as much family as friends, and I can’t imagine our lives without them. Sending cards can be a valuable expression of thoughtfulness and love, especially if sent with prayers that they will carry a special touch from the Lord.

Reminders to myself:

  • Buy stamps.
  • Buy cards in advance.
  • Prepare cards early.
  • Mail 2-3 days before birthdate.
  • Send holiday cards to special people.
  • Send thank-you notes for each dinner invitation and any gifts received.
  • Always RSVP to invitations.

Fun ways to send packages: Here and more ideas for sending things, here.

Send some love today!

Have you received or sent something fun in the mail? What does it mean to you to get something personal instead of junk mail and bills? Motivate us to mail something!

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30 Days to Happiness: R is for Relax

Relax A book, a hot bath, a beach chair, a float for the pool, a pillow, blanket, sofa, a massage. . .Any one of these or a combination will beckon me, and I will obey and relax. My resume clearly shows that relaxing is a definite strength. I can usually put off any number of high priority tasks if either opportunity or  inspiration presents itself for me to relax.  I have one question for you, if  I am so good at relaxing, why do I  get intense so easily? The answer lies in the fact that I may be relaxing my body, but my mind is still on the job.

If we can learn to give our minds a rest along with our bodies, I believe  we will find a  deeper place of relaxation  where God can speak to us, refresh us, and bring about the best in us. It is going to require getting our mind, “our reasoner” to be quiet. When I am “relaxing” my mind is still rapidly chasing rabbit trails Thousands of thoughts continue to vy for my attention, pulling me away from the book I am reading, busily solving problems or making plans. That may be relaxation of the body, but it is not RELAXATION of the mind.

I would venture to say that our minds are the hardest working organ in our bodies. For example, the heart basically has one job to do, pump blood. The liver gets poisons out of our systems; the lungs take in air and release carbon dioxide; the stomach digests food. Read this list of what our brains do:

  •  “Controls the  body’s functions, such as walking, talking, swallowing, breathing, taste, smell, heart rate
  • Controls all our thinking functions, our emotions, how we behave and all our intellectual (cognitive) activities, such as how we attend to things, how we perceive and understand our world and its physical surroundings, how we learn and remember and so on.” (ABI Manual)

I don’t know about you, but my brain needs to RELAX!

I know that when I can get my “reasoner” to be quiet, I can better hear from God, I can be more creative, and I can receive inspiration from Him. This is great motivation to find techniques to quiet my mind and learn to really relax. I’ll be experimenting with this over the next few weeks, so if you have any tips, please feel free to share them.

Here’ s a method of relaxation suggested by Norman Vincent Peale’s in his book, The Power of Positive Thinking.

Lay with your palms up.

  • Begin with the toes, and think or say “My toes are relaxed.” Do this slowly without thinking too much about it.
  • Move up your body, doing this with every muscle part until you have covered all of the muscles of the face and the top of the head.
  • At this point you should be completely relaxed or asleep.

Another idea for entering into a deeper state of relaxation is to imagine you are on the 50th floor of an elevator. Count down as the elevator goes down opening out onto a beautiful beach or a peaceful scene. Your mind should be quieted now, and you can relax, thinking only of the Lord and the beautiful scene in your imagination.

A third method is to simply put on some relaxing music. You can find a number of sessions on Youtube. Just lie down, breathe deeply, and and totally relax.

If you have tips and methods for deep relaxation, please share. I really want to give my brain a rest!

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30 Days to Happiness: Q is for Questions

QIn November, 1999, a friend and I went to a women’s retreat at a church in Fort Mill, South Carolina. We had never been to anything like this, but we signed up for a “prophetic word session.” We were quite unsure of what to expect, but we were together, and we knew nothing bad could happen to us. We knew we would be able to discern the truth of what we were told through scripture and through our spirit and our counsel with each other.

There were three ladies across from us, and they took our hands and prayed for the Holy Spirit to show them something to encourage us. What you are about to read is what  a woman named Sue told me. They were kind enough to give us a tape of the session, and I later transcribed this into my  journal. She could not have depicted me more clearly than what she said about me being inquisitive. Her words of encouragement or rather His words of encouragement through her have blessed me over the years. Last night I went to sleep thinking about what I would write for my “Q is for Questions,” and this came back to me as I was sleeping or waking or somewhere in between. I hope you will be encouraged as well to keep asking your questions.

Sharon, I just keep seeing this child in class that would always raise their hand and say “why”, always asking questions. “Why does this work?””Why does that not work?””How can the stars hang in the sky?” You’re very inquisitive, and that goes over into your spiritual life. You’re always asking the Father “Why?” “How does this work?” Sometimes you feel like you can’t get enough answers to all your questions, but the Lords says He will answer every one of them in His way and in His time, but He will answer them and don’t stop asking because he enjoys you asking Him.

Do you have unanswered questions? Share them if you like. I won’t answer them, though I might give a thought about them, but I will pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the answers you seek. Remember He enjoys your questions.

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30 Days to Happiness: P is for Prosperity

PBiblical Prosperity:

  • Ruth gleans in the field and there is more for her to glean each day. She marries Boaz, the owner of the field. Ruth 2
  • Joseph was thrown in a pit, but becomes second in command of Egypt and ends up providing for the family who threw him in the pit. Genesis 37-50
  • Isaac plants crops in the land and the same year reaps a hundredfold. Genesis 26:12
  • Jesus has Peter get a coin out of a fish’s mouth. Matthew 17:27
  • Jesus feeds 5000 people with a basket of loaves and fishes. John 6
  • Jesus turns water to wine. John 2:1-11

When we moved to Myrtle Beach in 2006, we literally stepped out in faith. We really didn’t have the money to make it work. We had said “we only need two jobs and a house to make this happen.” We came with only one job and a three story townhouse we rented on the beach. I walked the beach and prayed while Larry worked.  I felt that God had told me He would give me a job that I would love, and I thanked him for that in prayer. Thirty days after we arrived I started work at a job I loved, and I continue to enjoy and prosper in it.

As I walked the beach, I meditated on scripture like John 15:7, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” I also let these thoughts roll over and over in my mind until they flowed like a river:

  • Provision, Increase, Abundance
  • Every bill is paid on time, and we have plenty for everything we need.
  • Abundance
  • Favor, increase, success, abundance

Later I continued to embrace these thoughts and would consciously think them hundreds of times a day, sometimes even making tally marks to count off by tens. Even now when I think these words, it gives me a sense of comfort and joy. I don’t understand the workings of the mind and spirit, but I believe God has made a way for us to develop our faith by creating pathways, belief systems in our brain. When our thoughts (which should reflect our desires) are  sufficiently established as beliefs, God then brings  into reality those things we believe. Scripture says it this way,

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

We have increased our income every year. We are not wealthy, yet, but we have everything we need, and God continues to bless us. Once I heard the Lord say, “Will you do good with my money?” He wants to bless those who “will do good with His money.” It is good to remember that it is His money.

You don’t necessarily have to develop your faith the way I did with thinking the scripture and thoughts hundreds of times. Picturing abundance and prosperity or simply accepting it as true can build your faith as well. The key is to believe and not doubt.  Just be watchful that you are not thinking lack because the thoughts you think are surely going to become what you believe, and that is exactly what you will receive. I like to use repetition because it builds a barrier against negative thoughts. As long as I am busy with positive thoughts and scripture, there is no time or room for negative thoughts to come in.

My final words of encouragement for you on this tonight are to not be afraid of prosperity. Don’t be afraid to ask for it, pray for it, think about it, and expect it. As long as you “will do good with His money and remember it is His money” you have nothing to fear. He wants to bless you just as He blessed Ruth, Joseph, Isaac and countless others. Your good heartedness at not wanting to be selfish or materialistic can actually be a deception of the enemy to keep you from being blessed. The enemy does not want you to be blessed. You can be quite sure of that.Get into agreement with what God wants for you. He delights in blessing you, and according to 3 John 2, He wants you to prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.Remember, He loves you!

What are your thoughts on prosperity? Were you born into a prosperous family? Can you share any advice on how one might prosper? Any important principles you have learned along your way?

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