The Smile Cycle

July 2008 | Published in Spiritual Exercises

For many years, David Berg and his wife, Maria, took vigorous walks for their daily exercise. At one point, they kept crossing paths with a certain older man. They eventually learned that he was a bachelor and that his name was Feliciano, meaning “happy.” He seemed anything but happy, though. “He had the grumpiest look you ever saw,” Berg later recalled. “He was always well dressed in a nice suit, and he seemed to be an important man in town, but he would walk along with his hands folded behind his back, staring at the ground. Whenever Maria or I tried to catch his eye and smile at him, he quickly looked the other way. We wanted so much to turn his frown into a smile that we made that our secret project. It took two years, but finally he smiled back at us. From that day on, Feliciano’s countenance and whole manner changed.”

A Cupful of Joy

April 2008 | Published in Spiritual Exercises

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Joy and praise—thankfulness to God for His goodness—are connected. When you take time to thank God for your blessings, your problems and concerns fade into the background. Concentrating on the good things God has brought into your life puts you in a positive frame of mind. Do that for a while, and you’ll find that you’re happier than before. Keep it up, and your happiness will grow. With this joy in your heart, you won’t be so easily pulled down by problems or worries; you will be encouraged and strengthened in spirit.

Enjoy Life’s Journey by Traveling at God’s Speed

April 2008 | Published in Bible Studies

God has given us a clear plan for living right.

Deuteronomy 10:12: "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”

Proverbs 30:7–8: Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me.

Happiness in Humility

November 2006 | Published in Personal Growth

Pride is one of those character traits that can work for us or against us, depending on which kind of pride we have. In the positive sense, pride is a sign of healthy self-esteem, which is important to our overall happiness. It’s good when we can take pride in a job well done, for example. It also inspires us to keep going in the right direction when others tell us they are proud of us for our good qualities or some good we have done. In the negative sense, pride is an often unjustified or exaggerated feeling of superiority. That kind of pride is arguably the cause of most of our problems.

The Mirror

October 2006 | Published in Self Worth

I woke up one morning to a perfect day, the kind that begged me to run outside and smell the fresh dew on the grass and soak up the splendor of the early morning rays. But this day I barely glanced out the window. I ignored the image of perfection and headed straight to the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw.

Hallelujah for Happiness!

March 2006 | Published in Gratitude

In some Christian denominations, as well as in some other religions, the more the devotees suffer and the sadder they are, the more religious they are considered to be.  But for the born-again Christian, it’s supposed to be just the opposite! One measure of Christians’ spirituality or religiosity is whether they’re truly happy, both inwardly and outwardly.

Happiness and Joy

March 2006 | Published in Bible Studies

True happiness is a gift from God.

Ecclesiastes 2:26: For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight.

Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Joy Shining Through

March 2006 | Published in Gratitude

Question: I’ve been happier than ever since finding Jesus, but my life still isn’t perfect and sometimes it gets me down. My friends try to cheer me up and tell me to “put on my happy face,” but how can I smile and look happy when I really don’t feel that way? Wouldn’t that be hypocritical?

Answer: No, if you have received Jesus into your heart it is not being hypocritical to put on a happy face even when you’re sad, because it’s His happiness that you’re showing others through your joyful countenance. You’re not being hypocritical, but to the contrary you’re being a wonderful example of Jesus shining through you. That happy face isn’t yours but His—the beauty of Jesus as seen in you. “Not I, but Christ who lives within me” (Galatians 2:20).

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