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By Better Days Global, Apr 12 2018 10:37AM



In this age of goals, dreams and aspirations, it is no secret that troubles come along the way. For some it may seem that they come more often than success or achievement. In these moments, it is difficult to see the light in the tunnel, and this causes many to lose hope and the spark they once had. The constant pursuit of something that is in the world, but not in your life can become draining, and the yearning it creates for a shift is deep, powerful but often painful.



We have thoughts of doubt, which are tied to desperation of a big break, a change, and a next level. This quest and desire for a breakthrough isn’t a bad thing, however, can become dangerous if the things we seek are limited by faulty interpretations of what the shift is. It is easy to subscribe to the notion that success, security and wellness are things, which are dependent on external and tangible acquisitions. These beliefs are driven by how these blessings are often portrayed, but limited by our perspective and attachments to our own domino effect scenarios. We adopt the viewpoints that if we do this, this and then this, we will get to this level, or achieve this thing that will lead to this opportunity, which will lead to this person seeing us, and then we will arrive, or we think if we get this amount of money, we can do this thing, and go to this place, which will make us happy.






I’m here today to tell you that anything that is outside of you is limited to its existence, without longevity and subject to change. If all of your dreams and goals are dependent on the current of the external world, and the array of variables that can exist, your shift and next level will always be limited but larger than you. However, when you set your mind in a higher place and submit to the reality that God has blessed you abundantly, you will soon see that your shift is not outside of you, rather inside of you. You’ll come to understand and utilise the powerful reality that anything that can fit inside of your mind is smaller than you.






I came to this realisation one year in Paris, standing beneath the Eifel Tower. It was my first time visiting Paris and I was amazed at the size of the Tower. It was much larger than I had previously thought. So big that I struggled to properly frame its full form in my camera lens. As I tried my best to fit it in, it then dawned upon me that the camera lens I had attached wasn’t the correct lens to use from the perspective I were standing, and I had to settle for a mental image. I immediately was mind-blown as something so small triggered such a deep and profound revelation within me: If it can fit inside of my mind, it’s smaller than me. This day changed my perspective of what everything meant to me, large problems began to shrink, my vision expanded and I for the first time saw the unlimited nature and abilities of my own mind. It is a universe within itself, created by God which contains unlimited blessings.



Once I had this reality grasped, nothing seemed to big, too far away, or too out of reach, as I now knew that my big break, shift and next level was a mindset. My advice to you today is to stop looking around you for what is already within you. The internal drives the external. Go beyond your understanding and all that you’ve experienced. God has so much more for you to see, and it is way bigger than any promotion, amount of money, or perspective of reality that you or I could draw up from our viewpoint of the world.



You are your shift.



This is not how your story ends;



Written By Steve Whyte




By Better Days Global, Mar 28 2018 09:49AM


You don’t have to look too far to see someone selling the ‘secrets to success’, or feeling as if you’re lacking in life because you don’t have what they are selling. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that success is a place that you get to, or that it’s by getting a certain amount of something, whether fame, money or to the top of the ladder. You have been bombarded with a plethora of images throughout your life that tells you that success is what you do, rather than who you are. For this reason we spend our lives doing and not being,



Over the year my views on success have changed dramatically. I went from wanting it all, to being content with what I have. I realised that external things like money, impact, popularity and respect come as a by-product of doing what is in your heart. No amount of money, status or credibility will substitute for a heart that deprived of substance and joy. If you do not enjoy what you do, the results and rewards will be tarnished. This doesn’t mean that you cannot be successful in the little things. When you switch you frequency of happiness from results, to process, you’ll be able to resonate with small successes along the way. Sure, it is good to have long-term goals, but, if all of your self love, joy and appreciation are tied to the fulfilment of those goals, you’ll miss out on many successes right in front of you along the way.






When I were younger I wrote a lot of goals, and I thought that success was in achieving them. Once I achieved them I still felt unaccomplished. This taught me a very important lesson. We never arrive. The finish line is always moving and therefore, we run not one race, but many races along the way. Now I am focused on one race at a time, ensuring I’m prepared, focused and appreciative for each stride I take. This starts when I first wake up in the morning. I pray and give thanks for the new air in my lungs: success number 1, I appreciate life: success number 2 and I ensure that I keep that energy of gratitude within all of my actions to follow. This type of success impacts family, friends, business and self.


By paying closer attention to the detail of life, we become human beings and not human doings. We open ourselves up to the joys that God has placed in our lives, and we are receptive to the obvious things we previously overlooked. This type of awareness brings about a change in how we interpret the things that happen within our lives, and wisdom is deposited within our spirits. We feel a sense of purpose behind our actions not matter how small, we connect with likeminded individuals who were waiting for you to wake up and tap into divinity, and we see success in failure, disappointment and misfortune.






I don’t know what success means to you today, as that is personal, but I do know that God has a purpose for you life. I encourage you to be still, pray, meditate, and tune into His realm. Seek and you will find. Do not just subscribe to the tangible and limited perspectives of success forced down your throat.


The truth about success is: it’s not seen, its felt.


This is not how your story ends;

By Better Days Global, Mar 17 2018 12:37PM


Allow me to get straight to the point. You can set as many clear and concise goals you so choose. You can write them in attractive notebooks and fancy them up with highlighters for that added extra. But unless you’re clear as to what will motivate you to actually make those goals happen. You will not move forward. End of story. I read so many personal development books that tell you that one of the key ways to become successful in whatever your chosen field may be is to be decisive and clear in your goals and your overall objective. Of course, this is in many ways accurate, but behind this has to be the intention to be committed to lifting these goals off of the page, and this can only happen if you are completely aware of what will drive you and empower you to make them happen, no matter what, regardless of the sacrifice.





Let me give you an example. I’m driven by the act of proving people wrong. You may think this is toxic or not the best way to get yourself up in the morning. However, I beg to differ. I have spent my entire life breaking conventions and the apparent status quo. I was the product of a single teenaged parent who gave birth to me at 17. Apparently or statistically, I too was supposed to follow a similar path. Well I didn’t, go figure. I guess I just wasn’t keen on being a stat, perhaps I wanted to put two pretty manicured fingers up at the establishment because it gave me a buzz and fed the desire I now hold within me to continually challenge the naysayers and walk to the beat of my own drum. This way of being has seen me well because believe me, there have been more than enough instances in my life where I had every reason to give up, throw down the gauntlet, and call it quits. After all, I had exhausted every option I had given to me and I really didn’t see the point. However, that passing moment was just that, a moment because I reminded myself of all the individuals who would want me to give up and just go back to living unsatisfied and below my own expectations.





Once again, imagining how much this would make others happy helped me to push negativity aside and get back on my path. So now I hope you get it. I established early on what would drive and motivate me to not give up and to keep chasing my goals, no matter the setback and now I encourage you to be clear in your understanding of what you turn to, to get back up and back into this race we call life.



The best way to establish this is to write down all the things that excite and empower you. It may be exercising, it may be listening to music, or reading a motivational book. Or, it could be writing down all the things you’re grateful for and revisiting the list to remind yourself of your blessings. Whatever it is, seek it and be clear in it. Once you’re able to do this, you can then commit yourself to your goals and working wholeheartedly towards making them a reality.



In-spire LS | www.in-spirelsmagazine.co.uk





By Better Days Global, Mar 10 2018 11:44AM


In a year where women from all around the world have be standing in solidarity, fighting the injustices, sexual misconduct, and discrimination, you don’t have to look too far to feel a shift in culture, tradition and what has been deemed acceptable for many years. From the Oscars, to Oprah, to Twitter timelines, #MeToo has echoed throughout the proximity of this world, as women march and take a stand to no longer be held to silence. Talks of equal pay, equal opportunity and equal rights have sparked debates, changed working environments and caused discomfort for those who are comfortable with the way that things have always been.



In the middle of this storm of change where is the church?





We have seen scandals over the years about men in leadership abusing their power, financial integrity, and sexual misconduct with young people and women. However, the discrimination hasn’t always been as obvious, and there has been a silent wave of marginalisation happening in the offices a few minutes walk away from where worship takes place. According to Faith Survey UK, 68% of Church-goers are women, yet they play the smallest roles and are in many cases expected to sit back and listen, but not do much. Women have been reduced to being caterers for churching events, and in many cases ushers if they are lucky. This isn’t the case in all churches, and there are prominent churches in the USA, such as Paula White Ministries in Florida, and Joyce Meyer Ministries etc. Notice these churches are named after the women preachers, which suggests they have not been given the opportunity to lead, rather had to fight for it.





From Florida we travel 4401 miles to The House of Lords (UK) on the 8th March 2018, on International Women’s Day, and we see The Sophia Network presenting their research “Minding The Gap”. According to Rev Vicky Thompson (chair) of The Sophia Network, and Pastor of The Farnhams & Hedgerley Community Church (FHCC), institutional sexism (53% of participants) was the main barrier to women in the church with regards to leadership. Also 62% of women have experienced some form of sexism.



Along with their presentation and report, The Sophia Network is now encouraging churches from all denominations to sign up to their ‘Minding The Gap Manifesto’, which is eight commitments to make the church a place of gender equality. The Sophia Network proclaims, ”Our wider aim is to encourage women and men to work together in equal partnership in a way that reflects the heart of God”. It is their hope and prayer that this Minding The Gap report will provide a useful tool to pave a way forward towards the full equality of men and women in the Church for the sake of the gospel. In a Prayer & Fasting meeting on 9th March 2018, Rev Vicky Thompson said, “It’s time for the Church body to be whole’.



The Church needs to be a place where women feel safe, valued and that they have a place, without discrimination, limitations and old laws overshadowing them. With projects like Minding The Gap, we are making huge strides, but there is still much work to be done.



To give your support to this very necessary cause and movement read, right click save and print the Minding The Gap Manifesto (below).



Take it to your Church and play your part.










For more info on the project and to download the full research report visit: mindingthegapuk.com



For more info on The Sophia Network visit: blog.sophianetwork.org.uk



..and for The Farnhams & Hedgerley Community Church: fhcc.org.uk




Written by Steve Whyte


CEO Better Days Global | 12x Author




By Better Days Global, Mar 9 2018 08:55AM




There is little dispute on the fact that, when your loved one suffers from drug or alcohol addiction, you want to help them like anything, but you don’t know how to do that. Whether it’s your spouse or your teenage child, you find it really difficult to help them recover from their addiction. Both drug and alcohol addictions are brain disorders which are characterised by excessive consumption of addictive substances despite their adverse health consequences. It means, even if a drug addict knows that drugs like cocaine, cannabis and barbiturates etc., can have severe consequences for their health, they can’t stop themselves from consuming these substances when they get that urge. Similarly, when you talk about an alcohol addict they also can’t control their drinking habits even after knowing that it’s very dangerous for their health.






So, if your son or daughter is suffering from drug addiction or alcohol addiction, here is how to handle them effectively.



Increase Your Knowledge About Drug & Alcohol Addiction



If you really want to help a family member who is either struggling with alcohol addiction or drug addiction, then it’s crucial for you to enhance your understanding of addiction. Read as many articles and blogs as you can on addiction. Try to figure out why is it difficult for an addict to change their addictive behaviour. Some people believe that addiction results because of stubbornness, and willingness. In addition to that, some people also believe that both alcohol and drug addictions result from weakness.



Since they do not have any idea that both drug and alcohol addictions result from changes in brain chemistry, they keep blaming their loved ones for their problem. Hence, if you really want to bring that much-needed change in your loved one’s life, enhance your knowledge about addiction.



Communicate Politely With The Addict



It is very important to communicate effectively with your loved one, especially if they are suffering from addiction. Remember, they need your support like anything, so being rude to them won’t help. While communicating with them, you need to show your concern towards their health. Until and unless you convince them that you really care about their well-being, they won’t listen to the advice given by you. In fact, they won’t even share their problems with you.



So, if you want to help them in their recovery, make sure that you talk politely with them about their addition.



Convince them to Follow An Effective Workout Routine



If your loved one’s fitness level has gone down to a great extent since the time they have started taking drugs or alcohol, then it’s better to ask them to follow a unique workout routine to improve their overall well-being. On top of that, exercise also plays a great role in improving the way their brain functions, so convince them to carry out effective exercises daily.



Take Your Loved One to a Reliable Rehab Centre



Seeking quality treatment at the right time plays an instrumental role in recovering from addiction. Find a good rehabilitation centre like CHARTER Harley Street, wherein the healthcare professionals can treat your loved one's problem through therapies. Behavioral therapies like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Family Behavior Therapy (FBT), and Motivational Enhancement Therapy are very helpful for treating addiction.



Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is extremely good for recovering from both drug and alcohol addiction. In this treatment method, the therapist works on developing coping skills of the patients, so that they can deal with any sort of negative behaviour. During the therapy sessions, the patients learn to recognise the impact of their problematic behaviour on their lives and overall wellbeing. In short, patients suffering from addiction understand the negative consequences of drug and alcohol on their lives, which eventually allow them to fight their addiction in the most effective way possible.



Similarly, Family Behavior Therapy aims at improving the quality of one's life by addressing problems like substance abuse, depression and family conflicts.



Ask Them To Eat Healthy Food



As parents, you should always try to inspire your son or daughter to eat healthy food to improve their fitness. And if they are suffering from addiction, it's very important for them to stay healthy to recover from their problem. So, make sure that they consume a diet that is full of fresh fruits and veggies. In addition to that, they should also consume milk regularly.



Spend More Time With Them



One of the best ways to help drug and alcohol addicts in their recovery process is to spend more time with them so that they can stay busy. You can play outdoor games with them, eat food together, and go for morning and evening walks. In this way, you can also observe their behaviour and track their recovery process. If they are happy and are able to enjoy their work, it means recovery process is progressing effectively. However, if they are unable to put their 100% in those activities, it means they are still very disturbed from within, and therefore, you need to enhance your efforts towards their recovery.






In addition to that, proper sleep is very important for every individual to enjoy a good life, so you must ensure that your loved one gets a good night's sleep.



Written by David Milsont






By Better Days Global, Mar 7 2018 11:06AM




There is a feature of a Woman that is underrated; “her hands”. They reach out to those outside of her home in service. No matter where you are right now, I want you to look down and examine your hands. Are they young or old? Soft or calloused? Sun spotted? Do your veins show? Do you think your hands are beautiful? Often your hands are one of the first places to show your age – they have worked hard serving your Husbands, children, and the needy. What a blessing it is to have two hands! Do not be discouraged as you toil day in and day out for loved ones within and outside your home. When you use your hands for God’s Glory, He is pleased. Look down and examine your hands, a second time. Do you have a new perspective? Do not judge the beauty of your hands by the outside – but rather by lives they have touched.




Man was made from the soil, Woman from bones. After God made man, He gave him the breath of life. But with Woman He didn’t because she was made with life already in her. The Man was seen to be alone until the Woman was created. The Woman was created with a womb; the divine ability to create and nurture life; ensuring the continuity of the human existence. God made you uniquely who you are on purpose! There is something very special about being a Woman. There is strength in your femininity, and you don’t need to exchange that strength to gain opportunity, acceptance, or promotion. There is more to you as a Woman than what meets the eye and you have a unique fingerprint, ability and a divine purpose. Don’t sell yourself cheap to any Man or let a boy of a Man abuse and disrespect you. You have the right to be loved, respected and appreciated.






You are more than the sex symbol the world has made you. You are more than the beautiful face or the sculptured body. You are far more than your clothes size or makeup collection. You have been created to be unique. Blessed is the Woman who knows her worth and the Man who never lets her forget it. The term submission is not to define a position of weakness or to highlight that your life must be that of perpetual servitude. But that the Man needs you as you need him. You are suitable, well adapted and complementary. There are strengths you possess that the Man would need and possibly depend on.



I must say that there are Men that will never live a fulfilled life in this world until they have located the unique fingerprint of a real Women.



Excerpt taken from #TheLoveManual by Steve Whyte





By Better Days Global, Feb 27 2018 09:44PM


I have always looked for the best in people. So much that I chose from very young age to tune out scepticism, doubters and those who failed to believe. This on the surface may seem like a great quality to have, as many struggle with this very task. However, as the years went by, I started to notice that although it is good to look for the best in people, I shouldn’t live in a place of denial especially when it comes to my dreams and what people really think and feel about them.






Part of my growth has been in me identifying, and being aware of the destructive energies that have the power to corrupt and destroy my dream, by putting their shadowed hand into the soil of my vision. They come subtly, often disguised as advice, yet they carry deep and dark motives, and are attached with ruthless agendas. Sadly they often come from ‘Friends’ and ‘Family members, who fail to see our vision. Some cannot grasp who you have grown into, and others are jealous of your evolution. Their arrows of pessimism quench the soul out of your passions, dreams and advancements, oftentimes in attempt to hold you captive, hostage to your lower self. It is important to know that not everybody in your life is good for your dream. Not everyone in your circle is in your corner. You must identify the weeds who wait to choke your stem with aim to prevent you from bringing forth any fruit.






Awareness is only one stage. You must stay rooted in and out of season to ensure that you are strong enough to withstand the draining forces from outside and around you. Their masks cover up their shame as they aim to steal, kill and destroy your victory. Your hope, faith and commitment shouldn’t be an outside job, or be dependent on any external approval or acceptance. When God plants a vision within you, stay committed to it, pursue it with boldness and protect it from dream killers. I often say that if you don’t live from the praises of people, you wont die from the criticism of people, but what I may begin to add is that, not all praise is good and not all criticism is bad. You must be secure and sure enough in your vision to carry it out regardless of the results or the popularity of it. Do not be oblivious to the naysayers, do not ignore them; rather use it all as fuel and a spotlight on your belief. Do you need to believe more? Are you rooted deep enough? What adjustments need to be made? Am I forcing squares into my circle? These questions only lead to action. Action is the force that makes things happen.


Be of good courage, God is on your side, this is not how your story ends;


Written by Steve Whyte




By Better Days Global, Feb 15 2018 02:54PM



When I last wrote 'The One Constant in Mental Health', I was coming into a recovery phase in my journey with anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, since then, I have found myself struggling more than I ever have before. I still have my anxiety under control but the depression is consuming me in a way that it never has previously.


Just a few weeks after I was discharged from my CBT course and the Healthy Minds team, I woke up on a Monday morning feeling unwell. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something wasn’t right. Having attempted to get showered, dressed and have breakfast, I gave in and went back to bed. I stayed there for two days. On the Wednesday, I tried again but my head was pounding, I couldn’t concentrate, I felt so ill. I pushed myself and worked, probably a mistake. The rest of the week and into the weekend saw me trying to balance what I knew I needed for my mental health; going to the gym, running, eating healthily, not shutting people out, and what I needed physically; rest, time alone and convenience.


Fast forward two weeks, I still had the headache, I was still trying to maintain a balance. I had taken so many tablets, in attempts to relieve the pain, and tried so many other things, I had seen the doctor, I had listened to advice. I found myself signed off work. It felt like that week just kept throwing one thing after another at me, and the smallest (or biggest) thing would cause my eyes to well up. Sometimes I could hold the tears back, and sometimes it felt like I just couldn’t do anything to stop them.






Whilst I would like to say that in the last week I have improved dramatically, that isn’t the case. This is the worst I have ever been and I’m still struggling so very much. Each day is a battle. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve had to not care who sees me cry, because I can’t always control it.


Yet, in the midst of all of this, I know that God is still there. He is still so present in my life, even if right now it really doesn’t feel like it.


Some people will question how I can hold onto this. I’ll be honest, sometimes I really have no idea. But each morning I will read The Bible, because that is what I do. That is where I read the promises of God and can find His presence, even in the darkest of situations. You only need to read the story of Jesus dying on the cross to know that Jesus endured far more than I am, and you will see that God was still at work, still there, still God. I started this year being overcome by the obedience of the disciples, upping and leaving their families, their jobs, all to follow a man who just told them to ‘get up and follow me’. By apostles who were put in prison for proclaiming the name of Jesus but didn’t stop. For this reason, I will continue to be obedient. More recently, I have been focusing on the love, joy and peace that can be found in Christ. I have been focusing on the hope that I find in my Saviour. Whilst, I don’t always feel those things, I know that they are still there, still true. And they always will be. Some people might also question why I can believe in a God that would allow me to endure so much. This is harder for me to explain because I know that I have so many people praying for me and I too have prayed that this would be taken away. There are two things that I have held onto. The first is from The Bible. Romans 8 is my favourite chapter and it has my favourite verse, Romans 8:28,



‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’






I have held onto this verse so tightly for many years and I truly believe that God will use whatever happens for the glory of His name. This verse makes me think of sunrises and their beauty, but we can’t have those without the darkness of night. Or beautiful budding trees, unless they shed their leaves and withstand the bitterness of winter with nothing on their branches, they won’t flower. I trust that God is working behind the scenes and at some point, this will get better.



The second thing is a song. I love music and I listen to it all the time. A friend recently said, about me, ‘Kate lives her life through music’. This song is on a playlist I was listening to and I had never heard it until about a month ago. It’s called 'Even If' by MercyMe. This song has provided me with so much hope and comfort. I identify with these lyrics and it explains entirely how I feel as I am journeying through life right now.


For those of you who don’t understand the journey that people go on with mental health, please be patient, we can’t help what we’re feeling. For those of you don’t understand how I can trust in God, please don’t judge me, you don’t know the path I’m walking, and if you really knew God, you would understand.


People have told me how brave and strong I am to be able to speak out about my journey. Please believe me when I say that I really don’t feel brave, or strong. This is me being so vulnerable that it scares me. So many people are suffering in silence, and they needn’t. Another friend said recently, ‘we see vulnerability in others as a strength but in ourselves as a weakness’. That doesn’t add up. Vulnerability is vulnerability whoever it comes from. Being vulnerable is powerful, and I can assure you that once you’ve stepped out the first time, it’s not as bad as you think it might be (that doesn’t mean it’s not scary again though!).


Let us all live with patience and understanding, with an awareness of those around us. Let us stop being so quick to judge others when we haven’t walked in their shoes. Let us all become a little bit more vulnerable and let other people in, it helps. And ultimately let all of us hold onto hope that one day things will be better, and I believe that one day they will be. Remain hopeful, Romans 8:24-25 says this,

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.’





By Better Days Global, Feb 14 2018 08:48PM




Many children in school each year before Valentine’s Day bring in an empty shoebox. They cover those boxes with pink and red papers and heart shaped cut-outs, and then add their names in big, sparkly letters. When Valentine’s Day arrives, classmates drop cards into a slit cut out at the top of the box. When they get home, they count their cards to see how many friends they have — it is a childish way to measure their worth. But we as adults do the same.



These days, we don’t need shoebox Valentines for that, we have social media. Based on the number of likes, follows, retweets, and pins, we can tally up how many “friends” we have, still boiling things down to numbers. We keep record of how much we are loved based on how others treat us. Our relationships are based on quid pro quo — scratching backs and procuring favors. “What have you done for me lately?” is the theme song that defines too many relationships. We only give as much as someone else has given to us. We like to keep the scales balanced. Not only that, but our memories are long. We never lose track of what we are owed.




Real Love Cannot Be Measured



I once found a book on numbers for my kids to read. It listed the names of numbers higher than billions and trillions. Now when they want to exaggerate and say that something is so big, bigger than they can count, they say “googolplex.” Yet even a number that high is still quantifiable.



Real love isn’t something you can measure. Tweet Share on Facebook



But real love isn’t something you can measure. The love God has for us is beyond numbers and can’t be tallied. When God promised to bless Abraham with countless children, he used the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore as a metaphor. These are things people simply cannot count. Paul described the love of Christ as surpassing knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). And the psalmist wrote, “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds” (Psalm 36:5). God’s love for us goes farther than even time itself, into the deep recesses of eternity past. It stretched all the way from forever, forward to the cross, and will continue into eternity future. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4–5). His love for us is a love that doesn’t hold back. His love gives everything, to the point of sacrificing his very own Son. At the cross, the perfect eternal love of the triune God was shown most vividly as the Son bore all our sins for us. This is unquantifiable, immeasurable love. God’s love for us is a love that doesn’t hold back. His love gives everything. Tweet Share on Facebook Unlike many human relationships, we can’t add to God’s love for us. We can’t do anything to make him “unfriend” us. His love for us is perfect and complete. It is not based on what we can do for him or what we have to offer. It can’t be that way simply because he has no needs that we could ever meet. His love originates in himself and not in anything we have done or will do. This unconditional love is the love he set on Israel and it is the same love he has for us. “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you” (Deuteronomy 7:7–8).







Our Love for Others



In our own flesh, our love for others would always be conditional and dependent on how others treat us. But because God has poured out his immeasurable, unquantifiable love for us through Christ, we have been changed. Our hearts of stone have been transformed to hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). We’ve been given the Spirit who now lives within us. As the Spirit works in us, making us more like Jesus, he enables us to love in a new and different way. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22). Through the work of the Spirit, we can give without expecting anything in return. We can be patient, kind, and compassionate. We can love as Jesus loves.


But there is an order to this love that we cannot forget. It originates with God. He is the beginning and source to our love. First John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” We cannot truly love apart from him. Only as we abide in God’s love can we extend his love to others.


Only as we abide in God’s love can we extend his love to others. Tweet Share on Facebook

So this Valentine’s Day, as the world keeps a tally of love, may we never forget that God’s love for us is greater than anything we can imagine. It is greater than googolplex and more than the stars in the sky. It is immeasurable, steadfast, and permanent. And that same amazing love has been given to us to extend it to others. May we give that love, without keeping score, knowing that God’s love for us keeps no record, because in Jesus, our debts have been marked: “paid in full.”





By Better Days Global, Jan 24 2018 07:46PM



Tell someone struggling with money worries, or trying to make the best of an unfulfilling relationship, that gratitude is the key to happiness and they will probably turn away in disgust. But gratitude does not mean pretending to be happy. Practising gratitude simply means cultivating a new perspective, one that may increase your joy and pleasure in life and is most powerful when we give thanks to God for life.



The Nature of Gratitude



Real gratitude: it means taking the time to enjoy what you already have.



In a paper on the subject, the psychologists Robert Emmons and Robin Stern describe gratitude in both a worldly and transcendent sense. In its worldy sense, it is the feeling we experience when someone performs a kind or thoughtful act, usually without us asking for or expecting it. For many, it is also a sign of depth, sensitivity, and good manners.



But gratitude can be understood in a more general or "transcendent" sense as well, as an antidote to the toxic delusion that we are entitled to be happy. Indeed, the American Declaration of Independence enshrines the right to "pursue" such happiness, implying that it is not only attainable but a right. Therapists often struggle to persuade clients that they are in fact entitled to nothing, that life isn't fair and that no one ever gets everything they want. These seem obvious points, but to many they are not. The British comedy series Peep Show, for example, includes a monstrous character who exhibits precisely this sort of thinking: a selfish, lazy, 30-something who even says at one point "why can't I have everything I want all the time...I mean, that's democracy, isn't it?" Obviously, the character is meant to be stupid as well as comical, but he does express a very common attitude.



Gratitude in its transcendent sense is an antidote to this. No doubt some will object and argue that this is just another way of saying "aim low," adding that unless you have big dreams and ambitions you will achieve nothing. But cultivating gratitude does not mean giving up your ambitions. It just means recognizing that the universe owes you nothing and that you should take the time to appreciate what you have. After all, when we roamed the African savannah two or three million years ago you'd be fortunate to reach your mid-30s!






Gratitude and Modern Life



Human beings are very good at noticing the bad things in life. Indeed, most people have worked, or even lived, with someone who constantly drew attention to the rain, the heat, the traffic etc. Of course, the news does much the same (indeed, it would be more accurate to describe it as "the bad news," given that that is what it largely consists of). Some explain this through evolutionary psychology. To put it crudely, those who sat admiring the clouds and feeling grateful to be alive would have fared poorly. Those who focussed on the practical and paid attention to potential threats (a rival tribe's plan to attack or a leopard prowling the neighboring valley etc) would have survived longer.



In a consumer society, gratitude and contentment are also bad for business. It is in the interests of those who employ workers and make and sell the TVs, clothes, computers, cars, and jewellery, to keep people restless and dissatisfied. If everyone was grateful for what they had, they wouldn't strive for more – and striving for more keeps the economy ticking over; it motivates people to work hard and then spend their cash on shiny new goods. The German philosopher Herbert Marcuse wrote an interesting book on this subject titled One Dimensional Man: the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, in which he argued that developed nations create "false needs" via mass media and advertising, resulting in "one-dimensional" personalities.



And this sense of discontent is exacerbated by social media, with its endless images of old school friends standing before a new house or car. Thus, our jealousy, and the fear of being left behind, which have always existed of course, can now be inflamed as you lie in bed at night flicking through your iPhone. After all, it is difficult to feel gratitude when the girl who bullied you in High School puts up photos of her new sports car or beachfront home on Facebook, while here you are struggling to pay the rent on your rotten little apartment!






Strengthening Relationships


Gratitude has numerous benefits, not least in relationships. First, a distinction needs to be made between gratitude in the abstract or "transcendent" sense and gratitude in its less healthy, slavish sense. Many people, especially those with poor self-esteem, consider themselves lucky to be with their partner. Because of this, they adopt a passive, docile attitude: eager to please, quick to give way in arguments, and so on. When friends or loved ones comment on this and urge them to stand up for themselves, they reply "yes, but I'm just grateful to have her. I'm so lucky – she is out of my league." Unfortunately, this kind of gratitude is a huge turnoff.



The gratitude that strengthens relationships does not involve meekly accepting everything your partner does. However, those who approach the world with a sense of gratitude, who are simply grateful to be alive, are easier to live with. Since gratitude lifts you out of yourself, it also makes you less self-centred and less narcissistic. And such people are also quick to forgive. More generally, they exude a sense of lightness and joy. If you have ever met a cancer survivor, you may understand what is meant by that. Such people often find all their old ambitions and resentments melt away and that they are just grateful to exist.






Wonder and Joy



Happiness is gratitude doubled by wonder. Many long-term meditators, for example, speak of such gratitude. And this may be in part because meditation shifts one's consciousness. In day to day life, most people spend an enormous amount of time lost in thought, usually about the past or the future. Meditation teaches you to detach yourself from these thoughts, to become a witness to them, to observe them as if from the outside.



It is this thought that keeps us trapped in time. And people tend not to look backward or forward with gratitude but with regret and fear. Instead, the meditator seeks to live in what the Buddhists call an "Eternal Now." Those who experiment with mind-expanding drugs, for example, try to induce this state artificially. Aldous Huxley even wrote of the "tears of gratitude" experienced when a drug like mescaline shatters the identification with thought and returns people to the present. When this happens, life here and now suddenly appears charged with meaning and significance and is experienced with a new intensity, wonder, and joy.



Practising Gratitude



You could start by compiling a gratitude list. Write down all the things you have to be grateful for, no matter how trivial or mundane they seem. And be as specific as possible. Next to each item, include the reason for your gratitude. You could even try compiling such lists at the end of each day. So, for example, you could note that the train arrived on time or that you managed to get a seat by the window. And note the gratitude you feel towards others for their simple acts of kindness. The more you do this, the more it becomes a habit. If you find it truly helpful, you could even start a gratitude blog or ask others to join you on a social media account.



Above all, be sincere. Few people are quite so irritating as those addicted to New Age therapy, who spend their time inanely grinning and trying to convince themselves that they feel happy when they do not. And remember, you have more choice in how you feel that you realize. You can choose to approach life in any way you like. A sense of gratitude would be a good place to start.