Getting angry is a fact of life because no two people throughout the world agrees on everything. How you respond when you’re angry can set the tone for the rest of your life. Often when we’re angry we say things we wish we hadn’t so give yourself a little time when you’re upset before approaching whoever upset you.
Keep in mind that words written in anger cannot be taken back. If you write someone a letter or send them an email when you’re angry you can’t take those words back and they may be read over and over again. In almost every case it’s better to talk to the individual in person. Tell them how their actions affected you. It’s important to stay away from attacking the person’s character; focus instead on what the person did.
Before addressing someone who upset you, think back to a time when you may have upset someone by something you said or did. Maybe you didn’t mean to do it, but it happened. Did you ask for their forgiveness? Keep in mind that not one of us are perfect so don’t let your anger get in the way of having great relationships in your life. When you sense yourself getting angry ask God for calmness in dealing with the situation. See God’s words below and notice that he says be quick to listen and slow to speak. Wouldn’t that be a great way of not escalating an argument!
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry; for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (James 1: 19-20)
It’s an absolute fact about life, people who are successful understand the power of positive thinking. They know that things aren’t always going to be perfect they just choose to focus on the positive. The key word here is“choose.” Study after study reveals that people who choose to focus on the positive instead of complaining about all the bad things going on around them are healthier and happier. The benefits of positive thinking are tremendous; this is why a couple of thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul wrote the following to the Philippians:
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is praiseworthy think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
If you want great direction for your life it can be found in God’s word. Whether you need insight into money matters or problems you’re experiencing with a friend or family member, the Bible has the answers. If you aren’t too familiar about what God’s word says, then ask a Christian friend for advice. Another great way to get direction for life is to go to God in prayer. All you have to do is let God know that you need help. He will answer you in the quiet of your mind. That phrase from years ago - “Let your conscience be your guide”- is great advice when you are tuned in to God through prayer (see section on prayer). You don’t need to worry about not having all the answers for your life…God has you covered!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
God never promised us that we wouldn’t go through difficult situations; as a matter of fact he said that bad things could and would happen to us. There is a great book called: “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” The book explains that God doesn’t go around causing bad things to happen but he is there to help us get through the bad times when they do happen.
God also promises that our problems will never be too much for us to bear. His great reminder to us in difficult times is that whatever we’re going through, it will soon pass. It’s sometimes difficult for us to see past our present situation and to realize that things will get better.
Another comforting fact that God reminds us of during difficult times is that our physical lives are only temporary; we’re all just passing through. The time we spend on Earth is nothing compared to the time that we will spend with God in eternity. So don’t worry when difficult times arrive just remember God’s promise to us that we’re all just passing through this world, on our way to a beautiful spiritual existence with Him - an existence filled with joy and love beyond anything that we can imagine.
Also remember the following about the comfort which God gives us: he wants us to pass it on. Who else could do a better job of ministering to other people than someone who has gone through the same grief that they had? This is a great example of something good coming out of a bad situation.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)
Life can be tough, however as Christians though, we don’t need to worry about what comes our way. We might be limited in what we can do but take heart – our God can do anything! We can walk with confidence knowing the following:
"In all these things we are made more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38)
If you want to be happy in life you must be content with what you have. Some people think that being rich and famous can make you happy. If this were the case then why are there more psychiatrists per person in Hollywood than anywhere else? If celebrities have such a great life how come so many of them get divorced?
Count your blessings and appreciate what you have. No matter where you are on life’s journey you will always find those who are better off than you and those who are worse off than you. So appreciate where you are right now; your happiness depends on it. This is what God’s word says about being content:
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13: 5)
None of us likes to be criticized/corrected when we do something wrong; but it is crucial towards our personal and professional development. No one is perfect. When you are criticized, even if the other person isn’t completely correct, just realize that we all have room for improvement. Also, if you are the one who needs to correct someone else, remember to treat that person with respect. God encourages us to rebuke in love.
Don’t humiliate the other person by correcting him or her in public, but instead take the individual aside and explain what he or she is doing wrong and how to do it correctly. The bottom line is to correct the person exactly as you would like to be corrected. This is what the Bible has to say:
"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." (Proverbs 12:15)
Some people are embarrassed to talk about depression but it affects people from all walks of life. Severe cases of depression should be handled by a professional (i.e. counselor, physician, etc.); but there are many people who experience temporary bouts of depression. As mentioned in the section on comfort and grief there’s no getting away from bad situations.
We all experience good times and bad times. When you’re depressed know that you are loved and that what you are going through will pass. God put us here to do the best we can with the circumstances we’re given and that’s why we should never compare ourselves to others. So take heart - more peaceful days are ahead as Jesus said:
"I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble but take heart because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
When you first open your eyes each morning say the verse listed below. It’s a great way for you to begin your day because it will provide you with tremendous encouragement. You don’t have to be constrained by your abilities. What is impossible for men is possible through God. If it’s for the right reason and if it’s God’s will -- anything is possible. If you’re confronted with a situation which seems impossible for you to overcome, remember this verse:
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
We all experience times when we’re afraid. It may be fear of losing a loved one or concern that you won’t have the money you need to pay an important bill. We get scared because we feel like we have no control over the situation. Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone; God is always with you and he will get you through difficult situations.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
Someone will say or do something that is going to hurt you – it’s inevitable. When this does happen what is our responsibility as Christians? Jesus said that we are to forgive other people. This is very difficult for most of us. When someone does something that hurts or upsets us the last thing we want to do is let go of the anger but as Christians it’s something we must do.
Keep in mind though that God also gave us a brain to use. If someone continues to hurt you in one way or another it’s okay to forgive the person for not being the Christian person that he or she should be, but that doesn’t mean you should stay in a situation where you’ll be hurt again. It’s best to avoid people who consistently show they have no respect for you or your feelings. But if someone is sincere about requesting your forgiveness, you should grant it.
It wouldn’t be right to ask God for forgiveness of your sins and then turn around and not forgive someone who has wronged you. One of the best parts about forgiving someone besides making God proud is that it’s good for you. Medical research has confirmed there are health benefits to not holding on to anger. People who don’t hold on to anger are healthier and happier than those that do. This is what the Bible tells us:
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
God is extremely clear when it comes to gossip -- don’t do it! As Christians, one of our primary goals is to lift others up. Negative talk about other people does not build up; it destroys. If gossiping was good and helpful, God would be all for it. That old saying “If you don’t have something good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all,” is great advice. This is what the Bible has to say about gossiping:
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)
It’s a natural desire in us all to want to do better for ourselves but the bottom line is that it shouldn’t consume us. If the pursuit of money compromises us in any way (i.e. having to cheat to get ahead, neglecting our friends and family, etc.), then we have crossed the line from “need” to “greed.” Money and fame are not the answers to happiness (see the section on contentment). The Bible is very clear when it comes to the pursuit of money:
"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36)
There’s a great country song with the lyrics: “You’ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.” Very wise words. Just as the section on reputation discusses, our word has to matter. If we can’t be trusted because we don’t always do what we say we’re going to do then what good are we? Our integrity or lack thereof will make or break our personal and professional relationships. Just like a ship has to have watertight integrity in order to stay afloat, our lives will sink if we don’t have strong integrity. Don’t ruin your reputation. Be known as a person who can be counted on to do whatever you say you’ll do. Not only is it the right way to live your life in order to have great relationships with others, even more importantly it glorifies God!
"The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." (Proverbs 10:9)
Jealousy negatively affects your health and happiness. Countless medical studies have shown that negative stress hormones are released when people are jealous and angry, making them more susceptible to physical illness. Another problem with jealousy is that it negatively affects your relationships with other people. You can’t have a successful relationship with someone you’re jealous of.
Maybe you’re jealous of a friend’s career or of his or her home. Unless you can let the jealousy go and be happy for your friend, your relationship will never work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, spouse, etc., jealousy can ruin your relationships. This is what God’s word has to say about wanting what others have:
"You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." (Deuteronomy 5:21)
You don’t have to be alone to feel lonely. When you really think about what loneliness is, it boils down to feeling like no one cares about you and that your life doesn’t matter. No matter what your situation is in life there is never any need to feel alone. Believe me you matter to God because he loves you beyond our understanding.
"Then you will call and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I." (Isaiah 58:9)
Being in love and being loved are the greatest needs of every human being. But what is love all about? If someone asked you to define love how would you do it? The Apostle Paul provided one of the greatest definitions of love ever written. As you read his words please consider your own relationships with friends and family; you might know this verse but are you living it.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)
Let's face it men are by far the most guilty when comes to lust. There’s a difference between looking at a woman and thinking the person is beautiful versus lusting after someone and wishing you could sleep with her. Remember what Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount; he made it very clear that if you're married and you lust after another woman it's adultery. Tough words to live by but God knows that having a good marriage just wouldn't happen if we lusted after other women. Although some people think its okay to look but don't touch; as Christians this couldn't be any further from the truth. The bottom line is that lusting after the opposite sex has no useful purpose and it can only lead to problems in our lives.
"For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2: 16-17)
People lie for a variety of reasons (ex. to get something, to avoid getting in trouble, etc.). You don’t have to tell a lie to be deceitful. For example, have you ever kept silent allowing the other person to think something was true when it really wasn’t? The bottom line is that God does not like for us to mislead other people due to selfish reasons. I say selfish on purpose. I believe it is okay to lie to someone when it's for their benefit. For example if someone asks you if you like the food she cooked, even if you didn't, it's better to make that person feel good. Keep in mind this is only my opinion.
"The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful." (Proverbs 12:22)
The why behind what we do is extremely important. Doing something to help someone else is good but ask yourself why you helped this person. If you did it with no strings attached then you did a good deed. If you helped someone in order to get something in return, then that isn’t a good deed it’s a transaction. God knows our heart. He knows when we do things with good intentions and when we don’t, regardless of what other people may believe about our motives. The bottom line is we should do all good things for the glory of God.
"All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord." (Proverbs 16:2)
Being patient can be challenging at times (also see section on anger). We often find ourselves frustrated that things or people aren’t moving along as quickly as we would like. God is very clear about wanting us to be patient. Impatience is a sign of disrespect towards God and shows our lack of faith and trust in Him. To get results we need to do what we humanly can in any situation and then allow God to handle the outcome according to his timeframe. When we try to control things over which we have no control, it causes us to lose patience and become frustrated. We need to remember that God is in control.
Another reason God doesn’t want us to lose patience is because it negatively affects our relationships with others. When we are patient in dealing with other people we demonstrate respect and appreciation towards them. This is what the Bible has to say about patience:
"Whoever is patient demonstrates great understanding." (Proverbs 14:29)
Planning is a necessary tool in achieving goals. There are many verses and stories in the Bible that emphasize the importance of making plans rather than going through life haphazardly. But the Bible is very clear that to create a successful plan we should seek wisdom and guidance from the Bible, from prayer, and from other strong Christians.
"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." (Proverbs 16:3)
Jesus was the ultimate example of having a great prayer life. Even though he traveled with his twelve disciples and other followers he always made time to go to his Father in prayer and seek his wisdom and guidance. Jesus kept an open dialogue going with his Father. What a blessing it is that we too have the same opportunity to go to our Lord in prayer.
Some people pray in the morning while others pray before bed but the best way to pray is just like Jesus did -- talk to God throughout the day. Prayer should be an open dialogue so when something pops into our minds we can talk about it as soon as it happens. God doesn’t care about formality; he just wants to hear from us. The best part is you can talk to God about anything. It doesn’t matter whether you’re excited about something good that is happening or afraid about something that might be headed your way, God is there for you. He not only listens, he answers prayers as well.
"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:22)
There are a number of reasons why we shouldn’t be prideful. This isn’t about a mild case of being proud of your accomplishments it’s about people who think they’re better than others. People who take a lot of pride in themselves are less likely to be humble and dependent upon their Father in heaven. God wants us to depend on him. How would you feel if your children didn’t need you? We honor God when we ask for his help.
Pride negatively affects our relationships as well. People don’t like to be around arrogant people. One of our purposes in being on earth is to minister to others. It pleases God to see us help people in need. It also pleases Him to see us lift someone else’s spirits through positive talk. It’s difficult to bond with other people and minister to them if they are turned off by our prideful spirit. This is what the Bible has to say about pride:
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2)
God wants us to glorify him in everything we do by loving and respecting him. The question is how do we do it? First of all, we show respect when we go to him in prayer. Recognizing our shortcomings and inability to do everything on our own we turn to him for answers, and in that way we honor God.
He wants to be needed just as every parent does. One of our primary purposes in being on this earth is to help people in need. We don’t have to go far to find people who need help. Even if it’s just a word of encouragement at work or offering to mow an elderly lady’s yard, there’s always something we can do to make a positive difference in other people’s lives.
God also has a specific purpose for your life based upon the skills/talents that he has given you. You can find out what that purpose is through prayer and through using the programs (Living Your Strengths), available at Church for identifying your strengths and how they can be utilized to minister to those around you. Ask God to very clearly let you know where he needs you and then be willing to follow through. This is what the Bible says about our primary purpose in life:
"To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul , with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)
Having successful relationships with others (ex. co-workers, family, friends, spouse, etc.) should be relatively easy considering that God gave us very specific instructions for how to have great relationships. It’s the golden rule which has been around for thousands of years: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you!” If you want to have good friends, then be a good friend. If you want to have a great spouse, then be a great spouse. If we would keep the golden rule in mind throughout our entire day, we would be much better off. It's that simple. If you want to have fantastic relationships in your life, remember what God’s word has to say:
"So in everything you do, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12)
Your reputation will make or break so many critical areas in your life. People want to have relationships (personal and professional) with people they can trust. The character that we develop (of which our parents are a big part) and our walk with Christ, will provide the foundation for our success. So be careful; protect your reputation because it will directly affect your happiness and success. The
Bible has great words of wisdom when it comes to your reputation:
"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." (Proverbs 22:1)
Sometimes we get so busy with life that we forget to live. Even God rested on the seventh day after he created the heavens and the earth. Having a healthy mind and body is a critical component in the formula for happiness and success. Most studies indicate that adults need about eight hours sleep each night. These studies also show that you can’t make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping in on the weekends. So don’t wear your busy schedule like a badge of honor. Instead, realize that adequate rest is just as critical as the air we breathe. The Bible has this to say about where we can find rest:
"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
As humans we are tempted in a variety of ways. Temptation is at its core all about greed and selfishness. We are tempted to buy nice cars and homes in order to impress other people. We are tempted to have cosmetic surgery so that we will be more attractive and popular. We are tempted to lie at work in order to make ourselves look better. Being tempted is not a sin but giving in to temptation is. Think about how many families have been ruined by extramarital affairs.
It’s never worth giving in to temptation. One of the best ways of dealing with temptation is to think through the pros and cons of giving in to it. For example having an affair, is the time spent with the other person worth the stress of keeping it hidden and is possibly ending your marriage and having your children affected for the rest of their lives worth the risks? Do you know of anyone who has been caught at doing this that thought it was a great experience? Why in the world do millions of people accept the risk.
The good news for us is that God knows we’re tempted everyday in a variety of ways and he is looking out for us. He's seen it all so there's no need to feel embarrassed what we really do when we give in to temptation is disappoint God. Our hearts should be heavy/sad when this happens because it demonstrates sincerity. This is what God’s word has to say about temptation:
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Take a look at a one-dollar bill and you will see the phrase: “In God We Trust.” These are very wise words. We need to realize that when we put our faith and trust in others, or ourselves, we can very easily be let down. Humans (even with good intentions) fail, but God doesn’t. God will never let us down. We are to walk by faith and isn't faith and trust pretty much interchangeable. We trust what Jesus told us that there is a heaven and he's waiting on us. We trust that his dying on the cross created a new covenant for us to live by. One last thing, isn't it easier to love people who you trust? So if you want to experience more love in your life be the person people can trust...do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it and trust will automatically take care of itself.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
Jesus spent much of his ministry talking about the importance of doing a great job at work. According to his teachings it's shameful to be lazy and unproductive. It seems as though many people miss this very important aspect of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus wants us to give our employers the best we have to offer. Even if we don’t like where we work or we’re looking for another job, we need to serve to the best of our ability every day wherever we are. The best way to stay focused on doing a great job no matter what environment you’re in, is to realize that you’re giving it your all because God wants you to. When we give God the credit for our ability to work hard and do it with a positive attitude, we glorify him. When people see these traits in us and know were Christians we let our light shine for the glory of God. Use this verse from the Bible to inspire you at work:
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, for you know the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does." (Ephesians 5: 7-8)
How much of our lives do we spend worrying about things that never actually happen? According to research, 93% of the things we worry about never occur. What a waste of time! Life is too precious to spend our time worrying. The fact of the matter is most of the things we worry about we have no control over any way. All that time worrying could be spent thinking about all the ways we’re blessed. Having plenty of food to eat, a roof over our heads, and a safe place to live are all blessings many people don’t have. The bottom line is that we always have something to be thankful for. So don’t waste another moment of your precious time on Earth worrying about things you can’t control. Mark Twain once said: "I've been through some terrible things in my life some of which actually happened. I couldn't of said it better. This is what Jesus had to say about worrying:
"Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes." (Luke 12: 22-34)