Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Appreciating life everyday will make a big difference

If stress and worry and hurry have you feeling tired, depressed and sad, you're not alone. In these over-scheduled times, it sometimes seems that it would take a life-threatening event to get you off the merry-go-round and back in a place where you can really appreciate life. There's no need to wait for the bomb to drop. You can start appreciating life right now when you take these steps.

Difficulty: Steps

Step One
Write in a journal about what you're grateful for. List at least five things that you feel gratitude for each day. Some days might pose more of a struggle than others; but there's always something to appreciate, whether it's a roof over your head or the beautiful sunrise.

Step Two
Laugh each and every day. Laugh at the comedic and the ridiculous. Laugh at your kid's corny jokes or how the dog keeps chasing his tail. Spend time with people who like to laugh and you'll find that laughter's contagious. And it just feels good!

Step Three
Spend time with children. Whether playing with your two-year-old niece or watching kids play in the park, you're bound to learn something about enjoying life—a field in which kids are the experts. Why do you need to worry about impressing others when the simple act of playing in the sand feels so good?

Step Four
Think positively to make a difference. Beginning the day with negative thinking colors your entire day. You expect and get the worst. But re-frame your thinking with a positive thought, and you'll be surprised how much better life is.

Step Five
Notice the wonder of nature. Whether watching a rainbow or listening to the rain, you'll put yourself in a position to experience the miraculous in the ordinary. Stroll around the block and breathe in the fresh air to put your worries in perspective.

Step Six
Slow down. With all evidence to the contrary, life is not a race. Take time each day to slow down and smell the roses, figuratively and literally. Eat slowly enough to savor each bite. Stop and listen to a song on the radio instead of letting it go by as background. Slowing your life gives you time to appreciate it.

Step Seven
Help others. Helping someone really sets off a feel-good chain reaction. See the effects of the simple act of helping, and you'll realize that you really do make a difference in the world.

Tips & Warnings
Find time every day just to appreciate the fact that you are alive.
Make time for yourself. Do something each day just for you because you're worth it.
Practice affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements repeated often until they remain in our subconscious.
Hug someone. Physical contact makes everything better.
While minor depression is helped by taking action to appreciate life, sometimes depression is more serious and needs professional help. Don't delay. You can feel better.

The Way Home To Happiness is through God

Here are the key elements by which we become reconciled to the Father. Each is vitally important. Any, if absent, could keep our new relationship from being complete.Our condition: First, we must understand that we are separated from God. The chasm dividing us is both wide and deep. We inherited a fatal defect at birth. As a result, we have lived our lives independently from him. The Bible emphasizes this stark reality: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If we can’t come to grips with the fact that sin separates us from God, we’ll never come home spiritually, for there is no need for a savior. God’s remedy: Second, we need to be very clear in understanding who Jesus is and what he has done for us, in order that we might confidently place our faith in him. He bridged the chasm separating us from God. In the apostle John’s words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).Jesus was not just a good man, a great teacher, an inspired prophet. He came to earth as the Son of God. He was born to a virgin. He led a sinless life. He died. He was buried. He rose again on the third day. He ascended into heaven where he became both Lord and Christ. Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf satisfied God’s requirement – complete provision for our sin. This Jesus, and he alone, is qualified to be the remedy for my sin and yours.Our response – to repent and believe.Personal repentance is vital in the transformation process. Repentance literally means “a change of mind.” It is to say to the Father, “I want to turn toward you and away from the life I’ve lived independently from you. I am sorry for who I’ve been and what I have done and I want to permanently change. I receive your forgiveness for my sins.”Many at this point experience a remarkable “washing” from a lifetime’s accumulation of all that can degrade a person’s soul and spirit. Whether or not we sense God’s forgiveness, if we repent, we can be very certain that we’re forgiven. Our confidence is based on God’s promise to us, not how we feel. We come into a personal relationship with the Lord when we make life’s greatest decision – the turning point referred to earlier. It is to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the One who died for our sins, who was buried and was raised from the dead – and to receive him as our Savior and Lord. When we believe in this way, we become God’s children. This is emphatically promised in John’s gospel: “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your savior? If you would, you can pray a prayer like this:“Jesus, I need you. I repent for the life I’ve lived apart from you. Thank you for dying on the cross to take the penalty for my sins. I believe you are God’s Son and I now receive you as my Savior and Lord. I commit my life to follow you.”

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