We need three positive emotions to balance out every negative one according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, Professor of Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill. As a Pastor and Life Coach, I can’t help but believe that many people are living with a deficit. The good news is we don’t have to be stuck that way. We can “choose” good feelings.
I remember this principle coming home to me in a very real way when I traveled out to the remote village of Kakamega Kenya. When my friends and I got off the bus from Nairobi, we were greeted by enthusiastic children and adults. As two of us were white, we got special attention. Many of these children had never seen a white person before and were amazed as they looked at our skin. Continue reading “Happy Thanksgiving!”
Everybody wants a blessing! I don’t know of anyone who goes to a minister, or a witch for that matter, and says, “Please curse me.” Everybody I know is looking for a blessing not a curse – including me.
The problem is that when we become discouraged or depressed, it is easy to get caught up in behaviors and attitudes that lead to curses instead of the blessings that we desperately seek. When we want, and need, a blessing the most is the very time that we are most likely to head in the other direction and end up in the middle of a full-fledged curse. Continue reading “Nahushtan: When Blessings Turn Into a Curse”
Last time, we looked at three blockers that keep us from living happy successful lives. If you have not yet read part 1 or would like a review, you can find it here.
Today we look at four more ways that the gratitude we should experience in our lives gets stopped by our thoughts, words, emotions and actions.
Continue reading “Thanksgiving Can Change Your Life – Part 2”
Sometime around the first century BC, Cicero the Roman Consul is credited with saying, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Nearly five centuries later, Saint Ambrose would add, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” As old as these quotes are, the art of thanksgiving is still much older. We see the practice all the way back in the very first book of the Bible.
A quick scan of scripture will quickly reveal the importance of thanksgiving to God, but like almost everything, what is important to Him is also very beneficial to us. Studies have shown that grateful people feel better about life, are more energetic, more successful, healthier, more generous, better thinkers, have better relationships and much more.
Most of us intuitively or experientially know that being thankful makes us better people, so why is it sometimes so difficult to put on an attitude of gratitude? If we listen closely, we will probably hear ourselves saying things to ourselves and others that is counter-productive to a heart of thanksgiving. Over the next two blogs, I will unveil seven blockers that turn what should be a thankful heart into a grumbling one.
Continue reading “Thanksgiving Can Change Your Life – Part 1”
As hurricane Matthew edged its way up the eastern seaboard, my family and I were at relative ease. Life was fairly routine. Sure, we had secured loose furniture and the like, but we really weren’t predicting much more than an average NC thunderstorm. Although earlier reports had predicted a hard hit on Wilmington and the surrounding area, the latest forecasts had the storm moving back out to sea with a possible loop back toward Florida. A friend of mine from the Sunshine State, with deep ties to North Carolina, said confidently, “It looks like it’s going to miss you.”
As time and the howling winds would inevitably disclose, the storm had other plans. As I type by candlelight using the precious energy stored in my MacBook battery – on our third day without electricity – I am reminded that life is anything but predictable. People have lost their lives. Our little community is almost completely surrounded by flooding and washed out roads. Two major Interstates have sections that are closed. Trees, shingles, siding and other objects litter our streets and yards, and folks line up for blocks in both directions to get a little gas for their car or generator. It’s after 7:30 PM and the curfew is now in full effect.
I am also reminded, however, that drastic and immediate changes to our normal day-to-day patterns can help us re-evaluate our priorities and set new courses. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned in the storm.
Continue reading “Lessons Learned in a Storm”
With iPhones, iPads, 4K TV’s, Entertainment on Demand, Air Conditioning, International Cuisine and so much more, one might reasonably think that we would be the happiest generation ever. We work less, have easier lives and are exposed to more self-help resources than anyone could have imagined just a few short years ago.
My friends in Kenya – you know the land of hakuna matata (”No Worries”) – have a very hard time contemplating why ANY American would ever feel sad or depressed. The truth, however, is far different. Our generation has possibly more cases of depression, suicide and stress than any before.
Continue reading “Diagnosing Unhappiness”
I know it feels good sometime to throw ourselves a little pity party. The biggest problem for me is hardly anyone shows up, and the ones that do, don’t usually stay long.
As prone as we may be at times to focus on the negatives, it really is bad for us all the way around. Gratitude on the other hand, not only helps us to win friends and influence people it also helps us in every other area of life. Studies have shown that people who thought about, and wrote down, what they were grateful for benefited in numerous ways including:
Continue reading “Another Reason To Be Grateful”
What does Old Testament animal sacrifice have to do with us today? Did God really demand it? Why?
In today’s high-tech culture and high-tech churches, the world of our spiritual ancestors often appears barbaric and uninformed. If we are not careful it is easy to judge them through the lens of our modern world-view. When we do, we completely miss the significance of their worship. Continue reading “The Smell of Burnt Flesh”
Wouldn’t you love to meet someone who has the power and influence to radically change your life for the better? Have you ever hoped to be discovered and move toward the life of your dreams? The Bible lays out some principles you need to follow before that is likely to happen.
One of the most noted men in the Bible, and indeed in history, left his homeland and headed to a place he had never been. Although things weren’t always easy, he worked hard and trusted God. Eventually Abraham was wealthy, and was given children – in his old age – who could enjoy the fruit of his labor. His son Isaac was designated to carry the family name and the greatest blessings of God, but there was a problem. Continue reading “Do You Need Favor?”
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever… Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.” Psalm 107:1,31 (NLT)
In his hard-hitting book, “Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks,” Paul Vitz recounts the story of young mother who was shocked one day when her Son came home from school and shared what he had learned. Apparently, his teacher taught the students that Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians. Being a Christian woman who firmly believed in the holy day, she called the Principle to enlighten him. She was even more confused when the Principle told her that the American origin of giving thanks to God was only her opinion and that teachers could only teach what is in the books they are given. So much for scholarship! Continue reading “Thank – The Native Americans???”