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Activated July 2014

Finding Joy - July 2014

Even on a day when there doesn’t seem to be much to smile about, joy is just around the corner. Can you find it?
 

01-07-2014
Pursuing Happiness
Pursuing Happiness

“Do you want to be happy?” The splash on a magazine cover caught my eye and made me chuckle. Surely everyone wants to be happy; and you’d think that after millennia of philosophers and theologians tackling the problem—not to mention the self-help books and articles published every year on the topic—we’d have figured out the formula!

So how easy is it to be happy?

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01-07-2014
The Tea Lesson
The Tea Lesson

One thing that I enjoyed about the years I spent in Japan is how adept the Japanese are at turning everyday activities into art forms. Such routine tasks as making tea, arranging flowers, gardening, and raking rocks have been transformed into cultural and spiritual experiences. I admire how they hold on to and appreciate the beauty of the simple tasks of life.

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01-07-2014
Unexpected
Unexpected

Our jeep bumped along the rugged trail that was going to take us to the main road and back home to Nairobi, after a successful humanitarian aid project in a distant rural area of Kenya. My thoughts were already traveling to the busy week ahead. The next project was around the corner and needed to be planned and organized, and there seemed to be too few hours in the day to get it all done.

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01-07-2014
Smile!
Smile!

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance.
—Proverbs 15:13

*

The world is like a mirror: Frown at it, and it frowns at you; smile at it and it smiles too.
—Author unknown

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01-07-2014
The Love of Colors
The Love of Colors

One of the first presents I remember receiving was a small set of tempera paints. Later came a set of oil paints, a tripod, and some canvas. I remember my first “masterpiece,” painted when I was 11 and on summer vacation in the mountains. It took me days, and the result was nothing amazing, but the sense of accomplishment was immense.

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01-07-2014
Finding “IT”
Finding “IT”

Nehemiah said it was the source of true strength.The psalmist David found it in God’s presence and offered it back to Him as a love gift.2 Jeremiah found it in God’s Word.3 King Solomon said it was one of God’s rewards for right living.4 Jesus promised it to His followers and said it came through believing and doing what He said.5

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01-07-2014
A Heart Full of Joy
A Heart Full of Joy

The joy God can give you enables you to be happy even if things aren’t perfect in your earthly situation, because it reaches beyond that. God promises that things will turn out all right in the future, and that He has strength available for you in the present.

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01-07-2014
I Love Life!
I Love Life!

The walls of my bedroom are brightening with a new day’s sun. I rub my eyes, stretch, and yawn, allowing my thoughts to travel far on memory lane. Through the twists and turns of my life, I’ve made what I like to think is a discovery—though surely many others have long found this secret. I have discovered what makes a person happy and how I can be happy too.

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01-07-2014
Looking Forward to Monday
Looking Forward to Monday

Successful Icelanders were quoted in a recent newspaper article giving answers to the same set of questions. One response to the question “Do you have any life advice for the readers?” got my attention: “On Sunday, always look forward to the working week.”

That’s easier said than done! I thought.

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01-07-2014
Gratitude Therapy
Gratitude Therapy

The winter had been an exceptionally long one in the Balkan Peninsula. How we had been waiting for spring to come! Finally, the beautiful flowers sprang up, the trees budded and then burst forth with new life, and the birds sang their praises that winter had ended once again.

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01-07-2014
The Smile Game
The Smile Game

When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to play the Smile Game. Whenever we were out and about, running errands with our mom, going to the supermarket, or waiting at the stoplight, we’d have a little competition to see who could find the most smiles amongst the people passing by.

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01-07-2014
Live the Moment
Live the Moment

Peter was awestruck. Along with James and John, he’d trudged up the mountain following Jesus, when suddenly “[Jesus’] face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” The spectacle was soon even more amazing: Moses and Elijah—dead for many centuries—appeared and started talking with Jesus.1

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01-07-2014
Today Is Going to Be a Good Day
Today Is Going to Be a Good Day

Every day is filled with things to praise Me for. Some are obvious, others are veiled; some are spectacular, others are disguised as common occurrences or even problems. Yet everything that comes your way is meant to be received with praise and thanksgiving. As the apostle Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God.”1

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01-07-2014
Blasting the Blues
Blasting the Blues

I was in a bad mood recently, and it wasn’t easy to pull out of it. I’m not a hugely emotional person; I don’t usually have trouble motivating myself to get moving, but this time I was having a rough go of it. In the midst of this, a friend of a friend won a Mercedes-Benz through some kind of lottery!

First thought: I was happy. So these things do happen to people within my somewhat extended world! Second thought: Where’s my Mercedes-Benz?

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