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Activated November 2012

Praise and Thanksgiving - November 2012

Why is an attitude of thankfulness and praise to God important to our personal success and happiness? Answers suggested in the following articles may surprise you.
 

01-11-2012
Good Job!
Good Job!

When asked what it means to praise God, my four-year-old grandson Logan explained, “It’s when we tell God, ‘Good job!’” I chuckled when I heard that, but it got me thinking. Why are we told time and again in the Bible to praise God, to tell Him “Good job”? He deserves it, of course, because He certainly did a good job when He created us and our infinitely complex universe, and moment by moment He does a good job at holding it all together.

He deserves our praise and thanks for a job well done, that much is clear, but sometimes...

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01-11-2012
A Love Note from God
A Love Note from God

My back ached from sitting so long in the small metal seat of the bus, and my face flushed from the blazing sun that beat on me through the open window. The bus jostled as it followed the dusty road through a half-deserted section of town, where drab, dilapidated houses and fields overgrown with weeds seemed to be a reflection of my life. The last few weeks had been especially stressful as some friends and I struggled to make progress on a new community volunteer project. We had been having more setbacks than successes, and that, coupled with personal problems,...

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01-11-2012
The Road to Happiness
The Road to Happiness

Regardless of whatever else we may be looking for in life, we all have one aspiration in common: we all want to be happy.

Happiness is different things to different people, of course, but some seem to think that it is as simple as having a good time. As children, we all do that. We think that happiness means doing as we please, having lots of fun and not much work. Eventually, after getting into plenty of mischief and suffering many stomachaches, most of us learn that happiness does not come from grabbing everything we want—that happiness is not the product...

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01-11-2012
Attitude Is a Decision
Attitude Is a Decision

Does our attitude toward life determine our level of happiness? I became convinced that it does while volunteering with survivors of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated parts of Chile in February 2010. Our team met many courageous and remarkably optimistic people who were finding ways to make the best of their horrible situations.

On our first trip to the area, we met a woman who had owned a hair salon. The tidal waves had swept through her shop, leaving total devastation in their wake. When she had dug through the mud where her business had been, she found only...

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01-11-2012
Good Lord!
Good Lord!

Sometimes I’m amazed at how dense I can be! I’ve been reading the Bible regularly for the past 40 years, but it was only yesterday that something so elementary struck me that I wondered where my head had been the past four decades.

I’ve been bothered recently by what a raw deal God usually gets. In many of the books I’ve read and the television shows and movies I’ve watched, it seems that whenever God comes up, He is portrayed as hard and unyielding, even mean. I was getting tired of this portrayal because it simply doesn’t match up with the...

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01-11-2012
Praise in a Cage
Praise in a Cage

When my nephew moved to another city, I reluctantly agreed to care for his songbird until he could get resettled. I had never had a bird in my house, much less a Green-winged Saltador, more commonly called trinca-ferro (iron-cruncher) because of its high-pitched song.

My children and I were in the habit of starting each day with a short devotional reading, and we usually began by singing a song or two. From the first day the bird was with us, he would join in the singing with his vibrant “djew, tjew, tjew, tjew.” This went on for weeks. He would sing...

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01-11-2012
What If?
What If?

Kika was six years old, with beautiful blue eyes and a smile that could melt the iciest heart. Kika liked stuffed kittens and ice cream and blowing bubbles. She was learning her alphabet and how to count backwards from ten. But Kika had never taken a step in her life.

She was paralyzed from the waist down, having been born with a condition called spina bifida. She had a tiny wheelchair in which she raced around the house, and there was a larger one parked under the staircase for her to grow into.

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01-11-2012
Thanksgiving Thoughts
Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is primarily a North American holiday, celebrated in the U.S. in November and Canada in October, but it would be nice if the whole world would designate a day to reflect on and thank God for His goodness. Our Creator has bestowed so many gifts on humankind. He gave us the gift of life and a marvel-filled world to spend it in, replete with an endless variety of beauty and beautiful experiences. As the Bible says, God has made everything beautiful for its own time and purpose.1

He has given us the love of family and friends, and every joy...

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01-11-2012
A Praise for the Day

Lord, I lift my heart, mind, and spirit to You in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. You are the giver of all good things, and You are all good things to me.

You are my Creator, my Father, the source of life and strength. You cause the sun to rise, the light to shine, the night to come. You hold me in Your arms. You console me in my sadness. You warm me with Your love. You shield me and protect me and provide for me.

All peace, contentment, and blessings come from Your hand. I praise and honor and thank You. Amen. 

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01-11-2012
I Am Thanksgiving
I Am Thanksgiving

A rather odd thought popped into my head last Thanksgiving Eve, out of the blue: “I am thanksgiving.” I think the Thanksgiving holiday is great! What’s not to love about a day centered on a bright spot in history, gratefulness, family, and good food? Then again, I also love Christmas, for mostly the same reasons, but I would never say “I am Christmas.”

I went for a run on Thanksgiving morning and, amid the gold and red autumn leaves that adorned the trees along my way, reviewed the year to that point. It would come to a close soon, and although...

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01-11-2012
Acting Upbeat When Feeling Down
Acting Upbeat When Feeling Down

Question: I’ve been happier than ever since finding Jesus, but I still have problems and sometimes get quite 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: It is not being hypocritical to put on a happy face even when you don’t feel happy. It’s a sign of inner strength and maturity. It shows you realize that whatever is dragging you down at the moment is relatively small in the grand scope of things, and...

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01-11-2012
Happiness, Relaxation, and Enjoying Life
Happiness, Relaxation, and Enjoying Life

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
—Jesus, Matthew 11:28–30

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01-11-2012
5 Ways to Relax
5 Ways to Relax

Every morning I wake up and board an express train leaving from fast track station. As I speed along life’s rails, I stare out the window and think. Where has the time gone? How did my children manage to grow up so quickly? Now it’s happening with my grandchildren. I catch my reflection in the window and wonder where all that gray hair came from. It seems like only yesterday…

In today’s ever-changing and expanding world, it’s hard to take the focus off of what is happening to us externally, the pressures of life on the fast track. But it’s through...

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01-11-2012
Wonder and Appreciation
Wonder and Appreciation

Imagine a small child with a birthday or Christmas present. Excitedly, the child tears off the wrapping paper to discover what’s inside. Eyes widen and a shriek of joy is heard as the new toy is revealed. Perhaps she hugs her new golden-haired doll, or he starts pushing his toy truck across the room.

That’s a simple picture of the sense of wonder and appreciation we read in the Psalms:

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01-11-2012
Happiness as Constant as the Sun
Happiness as Constant as the Sun

Happiness of the spirit is far above happiness of the flesh, for happiness of the spirit is something that will always be there for you, even through the loneliest nights and the darkest times.

Happiness of the flesh is fleeting; it comes and goes with your circumstances and surroundings, with the things you see and feel and experience physically. But happiness of the spirit comes from knowing that I am your Savior and that I love and watch over you; those truths never change.

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