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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
PHILIPPIANS 4:8 NIV
John was ninety-two years old and blind, but he was just as sharp as could be when his wife, Eleanor, went to the Lord. He didn’t feel he should live alone, so John decided to move into a nice seniors’ home. On the morning of the move, he was up and fully dressed by 8:00 a.m. As always, the elderly gentleman looked impeccable, with his hair perfectly combed and his face neatly clean-shaven.
A cab picked him up and took him to the seniors’ home. John arrived early, as was his habit, and waited several minutes before a young aide, Miranda, came to show him to his new room. As John maneuvered his walker through the hallways, Miranda described his room in great detail. She said sunlight came in through a big window, and there was a comfortable couch, and a nice desk area.
Right in the middle of her description, John interrupted her and said, “I love it. I love it. I love it.”
Miranda laughed and said, “Sir, we’re not there yet. You haven’t seen it. Hold on just a minute, and I’ll show it to you.”
John said, “No, you don’t have to show it to me. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged. It depends on how my mind is arranged. Happiness is something you decide ahead of time.”
As wise old John understood, happiness is a choice. When you wake up in the morning, you can choose what kind of day you want to have. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.
Father, today I choose to be happy. I choose to dwell on things that are good, true, pure, and lovely. Fill me with your peace as I keep my mind on You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Make the most of whatever comes your way, and be looking for God’s hand of blessing to carry you into the abundant life He has planned for you!
It is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.
ECCLESIASTES 5:19 NLT
According to the authors of the Declaration of Independence, our Creator gave each of us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Even British prime minister David Cameron recognized this recently when he proposed polling all residents each year to measure their GWB—General Well-Being.
“Well-being can’t be measured by money or traded in markets,” he said. “It’s about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture, and, above all, the strength of our relationships.”
A researcher in Australia found that life goals and choices have as much or more impact on happiness than our body chemistry or genetic makeup. Another study found that half of our happiness is determined by factors other than biology. Ten percent is connected to “life circumstances,” and the other 40 percent is dependent on our life decisions.
It’s not what happens to you or what you have or don’t have that is important; it’s how your mind is arranged and the choices you make. When our daughter, Alexandra, was just a little baby and I’d get her out of her crib in the morning, she’d be so excited to hear me coming, she’d start jumping up and down. She’d give me a great big full-body hug with her arm and legs, and then a big kiss.
Why was she so excited? She was just happy for the dawning of a new day. Alexandra was excited to be alive to have another day to enjoy. That’s the excitement God has placed inside every one of us. We should never forget how to celebrate each day. But so often as we get older, we let the challenges of life push us down and sadden our spirits.
We have to realize every day is a gift from God. Once this day is gone, we can never retrieve it. If we make the mistake of being negative, discouraged, grumpy, or sour, we’ve wasted the day. Some people squander year after year, being unhappy because somebody is not treating them right, or because they are not getting their way, or because their plans are not working out as quickly as they would like. I’ve made up my mind to not waste any more days. I’m celebrating each as a gift from God.
Father, thank You for this day that You have made; I choose to rejoice and be glad in it. Help me to see Your hand of blessing at work. Help me to see value in each person I encounter, and help me to see Your love in every situation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Make up your mind to enjoy this day, to have a blessed, prosperous, victorious year. You may have some setbacks and your circumstances may change, but don’t let that change your mind. Keep it set on happiness.
Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually [always].
1 THESSALONIANS 5:16 AMP
I’ve found that most of the time we have what we need to be happy. We just don’t have the right perspective. For instance, you may not be happy with the job you have right now. But if you lost that job and went months without any income, you probably would be very happy to win it back.
You see? You had what you needed to be happy. You just didn’t realize it. I know people who are perfectly healthy, but they’re never really happy. There’s always something bothering them. They want a bigger house or a better job. But if they were to lose their health and then regain it, I’m sure they would be thrilled. They have what they need to be happy.
I hear women complain and complain about their husbands and men complain and complain about their wives: He or she is “just too much of this” or “not enough of that.” But if their spouses were suddenly gone and they were lonely month after month, if they didn’t have anybody to talk to, if they had nobody to eat dinner with, they might be happy just to get back their “old goats,” I mean, their husbands or wives.
Keep your life in the right perspective. Every one of us has something even right now to be happy about: our health, our jobs, our families, or an opportunity.
I know this couple who constantly complained about their house. It was too small and too far out in the country. It was a source of frustration year after year. But when the economy went down, unfortunately their income went down as well, and they came very close to losing that house. Just before the bank foreclosed on it, they were able to refinance so they could keep their home.
Do you know now they think that house is the greatest thing in the world? They show it off like it’s brand-new. What happened? They changed their perspective.
Father, You alone are my source of contentment. Thank You for blessing me with everything I need in this life. Fill me with Your joy and satisfaction as I give thanks and praise to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
I’ve found there are very few things in life that we have to do. “I’ve got to pay my taxes.” No, really, you get to pay your taxes. The fact that you have taxes due means that you’ve made money. That tells me God blessed you with opportunity.
We walk by faith, not by sight.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:7 NKJV
I read about these two men who’d been bricklayers for more than thirty years. They were working on a huge skyscraper downtown. One man was always negative, discouraged, constantly complaining, and dreaded going to work. The other man was just the opposite. He was excited to show up each day and had an attitude of faith and enthusiasm about life.
One day a friend came by the job site and asked them separately what they were doing. The first said, “Aw, we’re just laying brick. We’ve been doing this for thirty years. It’s so boring. One brick on top of the other.”
Then the friend asked the second bricklayer. He just lit up. “Why, we’re building a magnificent skyscraper,” he said. “This structure is going to stand tall for generations to come. I’m just so excited that I could be a part of it.”
Each bricklayer’s happiness or lack of it was based on their perspective. You can be laying a brick or you can be building a beautiful skyscraper. The choice is up to you. You can go to work each day and just punch in on the clock and dread being there and do as little as possible. Or you can show up with enthusiasm and give it your best, knowing that you’re making the world a better place.
Father, today I lift up my eyes to You. Show me Your ways; give me your higher perspective. Help me to take the limits off my life so I can walk with You in joy and victory each and every day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
I’ve found we create much of our own unhappiness. We see what’s wrong rather than what’s right. We look at what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. We don’t celebrate each day and appreciate the gift that God has given us.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.
JAMES 1:2 ESV
How long are we supposed to be glad-hearted? How long are we supposed to have a smile on our faces? As long as people treat us right? As long as we feel okay? As long as the economy is up?
No, the Scripture says, “Be glad-hearted continually [always]” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 AMP, emphasis added). That means in the good times and in the tough times, when it’s sunny and when it’s raining.
When dark clouds are over your head and you feel like life is depressing and gloomy, always remember that right above those dark clouds the sun is shining. You may not be able to see the sun in your life right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not up there. It’s just blocked by the dark clouds. The good news is, the clouds are temporary. The clouds will not last forever. The sun will shine in your life once again.
In the meantime, keep your joy. Be glad-hearted continually. Don’t let a few clouds darken your life. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. That means we all face disappointments, unfair situations, tests, trials, and temptation. But know this: Right past the test is promotion. On the other side of every difficulty is increase. If you go through adversity with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, on the other side there will be a reward.
But so often in the tough times we become discouraged. “I’m down today because business is slow.” “I’m upset because I got a bad medical report.” Or, “I’m worried about this legal situation.”
Human nature tends to turn negative in difficult times. But the Scripture tells us to do just the opposite. James 1:2 tells us we should still be joyful in trying times. That doesn’t seem to make sense to some people. “You mean we’re supposed to be joyful and glad-hearted in the middle of tough times?” they ask. Yes, that’s right, because when you lose your joy, you lose your strength.
You need your strength more than ever in the difficult times, and your strength is dependent on your joy. When you’re facing a financial crisis, dealing with an illness, going through a breakup in a relationship, or raising a rebellious child, you need your strength. If you go through those challenges feeling negative, bitter, and discouraged, you will not have the vitality to stand strong and fight the good fight of faith.
You can keep your joy by knowing that on the other side of each test is promotion. On the other side of every setback is opportunity. On the other side of every offense is growth.
Father, today no matter what circumstances I face, I choose to count it all joy. I trust that You are with me, You are for me, and You are working behind the scenes to lead me into victory in every area of my life! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Just keep reminding yourself, Even though this is hard, even though I don’t understand it, even though it’s not fair, I’ll keep a good attitude and stay full of joy, knowing that this is not setting me back. It is setting me up for God to bring me through in an even better position.
Provide for those who grieve… a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.
ISAIAH 61:3 NIV
When you put on the garment of praise, that spirit of heaviness has to go. Sometimes you won’t feel like doing it. You won’t feel like having a good attitude. You won’t feel like being grateful. That’s why God said to offer up the sacrifice of praise. God knew it would not always be easy. You will have to dig your heels in and say, “God, I don’t feel like doing this. It doesn’t look like it’s ever going to work out. I’m tired, lonely, discouraged. But God, I know You’re still on the throne. I know You are good and You are good all the time, so I choose to give You praise. I choose to give You thanks anyway.”
When you offer up that sacrifice of praise, supernatural things begin to happen. Scripture tells us the story of the apostle Paul and his companion Silas. They were imprisoned for sharing their faith. They had been unjustly beaten earlier in the day. What were they doing at midnight in their jail cell? Complaining? Having a pity party? Saying, “God, it’s not fair. Where were You today?”
No, they were singing praises and giving thanks to God. They were saying, in effect, “God, we know You’re bigger than our problems. We know You’re still in control. You are able to get us out of here.” Sure enough, at midnight there was a great earthquake. The prison doors flew open. The chains fell off, and Paul and Silas walked out as free men.
What started it? They offered up the sacrifice of praise.
Really, anyone can have a good attitude when everything is going well. We can all celebrate and be grateful when we’re on the mountaintop, but where are the people who give God praise even as the bottom falls out? Where are the people who rise up each morning and prepare for victory and increase in spite of all the news reports predicting doom and gloom? Where are the people who say, “God, I still praise You even though the medical report wasn’t good”?
I believe you are one of those people. I believe you are of great faith. Your roots go down deep. You could be complaining. You could be discouraged. You could have a chip on your shoulder, but instead you just keep giving God praise. You’ve got that smile on your face. You’re doing the right thing even though the wrong thing is happening.
That’s why I can tell you with confidence that you are coming into greater victories. Enlarge your vision. Take the limits off God. You have not seen your best days. God has victories in your future that will amaze you. He will show up and show out in unusual ways. You may be in a tough time right now, but remember this: The enemy always fights you the hardest when he knows God has something great in store for you.
Father, today I take off heaviness, frustration, and despair and I choose to put on the garment of praise. I thank You that You are here with me now, inhabiting my praises and driving out every enemy. I will bless Your name continually as I stand and see the victory You have in store. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
You are closest to your victory when it is the darkest. That is the enemy’s final stand. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t start complaining. Just keep offering up that sacrifice of praise.
Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good; for His mercy and kindness and steadfast love endure forever!
JEREMIAH 33:11 AMP
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah wrote, “[There shall be heard again] the voice of joy and the voice of gladness,… the voices of those who sing as they bring sacrifices of thanksgiving into the house of the Lord… [God] will cause the captivity of the land to be reversed and return to be as it was at first” (Jeremiah 33:11 AMP). I particularly love two words in that verse; reversed and return. God is saying when you stay full of joy, when you learn to offer up the sacrifice of praise, God will turn things in your favor. He will reverse negative situations. He will return, or restore, what’s been stolen.
But notice that restoration doesn’t come from complaining, being negative, or being sour. Restoration takes place when you have the voice of gladness, the voice of joy. That means you get up in the morning with a song in your heart. You go out each day with a smile on your face. Things may not always go your way, but you don’t become discouraged. You shake it off and count it all joy.
When you live that way, you might as well get ready. God will be reversing and restoring. He will reverse finances that have been down. He will reverse a struggling business. He will reverse a legal situation in your favor. He will reverse a health issue to heal you.
Not only that, God will restore what should have been yours. He will restore the years you lost because somebody did you wrong. He will restore a relationship that’s on the rocks. Restoration will occur because you have the voice of joy, the voice of gladness, and you keep offering up that sacrifice of praise.
Learn to count it all joy. Don’t be determined never to have problems. Be determined to stay full of joy in the midst of your problems. Arrange your mind in the right direction.
And no matter what comes your way, don’t lose your joy. Learn to offer up that sacrifice of praise. If you keep the voice of gladness, the voice of joy, you cannot stay down and defeated.
Father, thank You for Your promise of restoration in my life. Thank You for reversing destruction and destroying lack. I receive, by faith, renewed hopes and dreams as I choose to be glad in You always! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
God has promised He will reverse and restore. Not only that, because you have joy, you will find the strength to outlast every attack, to overcome every obstacle, to defeat every enemy.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
JOHN 14:27 NIV
Jesus said that we should not let our hearts be troubled or afraid. Notice it’s a choice we have to make. He didn’t say, “I will make sure your circumstances are perfect. That way you can be happy.”
He said, in effect, “The things upsetting you right now don’t have to upset you. The people aggravating you, even if they don’t change, don’t have to aggravate you.” If you’ll make adjustments and change your approach to life, you can be happy in spite of those circumstances.
I’m asking you today to stop allowing negative people and disappointments and inconveniences to steal your joy. You have to put your foot down and say, “This child gets on my nerves. I love him, but I’m going to rise above it. I won’t let this control me.” Or, “This grumpy boss jumps down my throat for no reason, but I’m not going to let him ruin any more of my days.” That’s what it means not to give away your power. You have to be determined to enjoy your life.
A woman once told me about her husband’s very obnoxious relative who repeatedly made cutting and demeaning remarks to her. Every time they were at family get-togethers, invariably this man would say something that offended her. She would become upset and it would ruin the whole trip. She reached a point where she didn’t want to even go to her husband’s family events. Finally, she told her husband, “You’ve got to do something about that man. He’s your relative.”
She was expecting the husband to say, “You’re right, honey. He shouldn’t talk to you like that. I’ll go in there and set him straight.” But the husband did just the opposite. He said, “Honey, I love you, but I cannot control him. He has every right to his opinion. He can say what he wants to, but you have every right to not be offended.”
At first she couldn’t understand why her husband wouldn’t really stick up for her. Time and time again she would feel upset. If her husband’s relative was in one room, she would go to another room. If the man was outside, she would make sure she stayed inside. Her whole focus was avoiding this man. Eventually, she grew weary of allowing him to have such an impact on her life. One day it was like a light turned on. She realized that no one took this man seriously and that she was giving away her power. She was allowing one person who had issues of his own to keep her from becoming the woman she was meant to be.
Father, thank You for perfect peace in my heart and mind no matter what is going on around me. Give me wisdom to know what things I can change, and the wisdom to know when You are changing me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
So many people today are looking for true, inner peace. They search through relationships, addictions, money, gadgets, and even religion to try to find something that will fill the void inside. But true peace isn’t found in anything this world has to offer; it can be found only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Only He can satisfy the longing in our souls and give us true, lasting peace.
It is an honor for a man to cease from strife and keep aloof from it, but every fool will quarrel.
PROVERBS 20:3 AMP
When you allow what someone says or does to upset you, you’re allowing that person to control you. When you say, “You make me so mad,” what you’re really doing is admitting that you’re giving away your power. As long as the person knows they can push this button and you’ll respond this way, and they can make this remark and you’ll get upset, and they know if they go outside, you’ll go inside—as long as you keep responding the same way—you are giving them exactly what they want.
People have the right to say what they want, to do what they want, as long as it’s legal. And we have the right not to be offended. We have the right to overlook it. But when we become upset and angry, we change. If somebody walks into a room and we grow tense, it’s because we’re putting too much importance on what that person thinks about us.
What a person says about you does not define who you are. His or her opinion of you does not determine your self-worth. Let that bounce off you like water off a duck’s back. This person has every right to an opinion, and you have every right to ignore it.
I’ve found that some people feel it’s their calling in life to point out what others are doing wrong. They’re constantly critical, always finding fault. There is nothing they would love more than to keep someone upset, and arguing, and always on the defensive.
Rise above that. You don’t need them to agree with you. You don’t have to win their approval. Let that go, and just be who God made you to be.
Even the great leader Moses had to deal with relatives who didn’t like the woman he’d chosen to marry because she was of a different nationality. They criticized Moses publicly, saying, “We don’t agree with this. We refuse to approve of this marriage.”
But deep down, Moses knew he was making the right decision. He didn’t argue with them. He didn’t become upset. He didn’t criticize them. He just kept his peace.
You don’t have to respond to every critic. You don’t have to prove yourself to them. Just stay on the high road and let God fight your battles for you. “The battle is the LORD’S… [He] will repay” (1 Samuel 17:47; Romans 12:19 NIV). Some who will cross your path simply don’t want peace with you. No matter what you say or do, they will not be won over. Even if you were to change, they would still find some reason to be critical. You have to accept the fact that no matter what you do, some people will never be at peace with you.
When Jesus sent His disciples out into certain homes, He told them to speak peace over each person in each house. And He said, in effect, “If they don’t receive it, then the peace you’re offering them will come back to you” (see Luke 10:5–6).
That tells me if you do your best to be at peace with people—even if they won’t take your peace—the good news is that peace will just come back to you anyway. You’ll not only enjoy your peace, but you’ll be given their share as well. When you do the right thing when the wrong thing is happening, God sees it and He rewards it.
Father, search my heart and mind today. Help me to release offense so I can hold on to peace. Give me wisdom to know when to respond in love and when to hold my tongue so that I can honor You in everything I do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
You don’t have to have the approval of others in order to be approved by God. Your job is to be the person God made you to be, so overlook offenses and strife so you can live in peace and victory all the days of your life.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
MATTHEW 5:5 NKJV
Two friends walked into a corner store to buy a newspaper, and the store clerk treated them rudely. One of the friends, after paying, looked directly at the clerk with a grin and said, “I hope you have a great day today.”
As they were leaving his friend said, “Is that clerk always that rude?”
“Every single day,” the other said.
“Well, are you always that nice?”
“Every single day.”
This puzzled his friend, so he asked why.
“I’ve made up my mind that I’m not going to let one person ruin my day,” was the answer.
He had decided not to give control of his mood or attitude to anyone else. That store clerk had every right to be rude and obnoxious, but everyone he mistreated also had the right to keep being happy, kind, and friendly.
When you encounter people who are poisoned inside, don’t let it rub off on you. If you sink down to their level and you’re cold and rude back to them, you’ve allowed them to contaminate you. Rise above that. Be a part of the solution, not the problem. You overcome evil with good. If somebody is rude to you, just bless them, smile, and keep moving forward.
Jesus put it this way: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 NIV). When we hear the word meek, many times we think of someone who is weak, shy, and reserved, just a fearful little person. The image is that meek people can’t stand up for themselves and everyone runs over them. That’s not meek at all. Meekness is not weakness. It’s strength under control.
Meekness is like a wild stallion that has been tamed. The horse is still strong, still powerful, and has just as much speed as before he was tamed. The only difference is, now that strength is under control. You can walk up to the horse, pet him, lead him around, probably get on him and ride him. But don’t be fooled. He has the same power, the same tenacity; he’s just learned how to control it.
When you’re a meek person, you don’t go around trying to straighten everybody out. You don’t respond to every critic. People may be talking about you, but you don’t let it bother you.
You may have the power to straighten them out. You may feel like giving them a piece of your mind. Your emotions may tell you, Get in there. Pay them back. Get even. Instead, listen to what the apostle Paul told his protégé Timothy: “Be calm and cool and steady” (2 Timothy 4:5 AMP). He was saying, in other words, “Don’t give away your power. Keep your strength under control.”
Father, thank You for the blessing of meekness. I choose today to be a person of self-control. Help me to always be a part of the solution by sowing seeds of peace and love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Keep your strength under control. It’s not how proud you are, or how many people you straighten out, or how you can prove yourself. If you argue with a critic and try to prove yourself, all you’re doing is sinking to his or her level. Don’t fall into that trap. You are an eagle. You can rise above it.
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
3 JOHN 2 NKJV
Right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I was invited to a local television station to be interviewed on a news program. I had to be there early Monday morning around six thirty. I was already tired after our Sunday services and weekend events. The day was cold and raining, and still dark. I didn’t really feel like being on television, but I had made the commitment, so I was on my way.
They had told me beforehand to park right up front in this special lot reserved for the people on the program. And so when I arrived, I pulled in there. But when I parked my car, a woman security guard rushed at me like I had just committed a major crime. She was not friendly at all. In fact, she was downright rude.
“Sir, what do you think you are doing?” she said. “You cannot park here. This is reserved for our special guests.”
I wanted to say, Lady, you can’t get any more special than me.
I had to bite my tongue.
“Well, ma’am, I am on the program today, and they told me I could park here,” I explained.
Excerpted from Daily Readings from Every Day a Friday by Joel Osteen Copyright © 2012 by Joel Osteen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted July 15, 2013
I enjoyed each segment because they always seemed to be exactly the motivation or reassurance I needed at the exact moment I read any particular topic. This book will lift you up, give you comfort, give you direction, help you rise above the criticism of others and find God's purpose for your life. I loved it and highly recommend it.
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Posted November 17, 2013
I have been reading this book for over two weeks and it has helped me see things that I'm going through in a different perspective. I would recommend this book to anybody that wants to understand certain thing that they are going through in life. I also read this to my nine year old daughter, which has helped her understand some of the things we have discussed about school and bullying.
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Posted January 9, 2014
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