Smile until your face gets stuck like that

Smile until your face gets stuck like that.

Happiness isn’t a place. It’s a mindset. A mind trained for happiness is much more powerful than a happy place.

I find much more humor in me and in my own behaviors, than I do in jokes, comedians, or other people’s follies.

Cheerfulness overcomes fearfulness.

When your mood’s in a free fall, hope’s the parachute that can give you a safe landing.

Bad mood,
Inner feud,
Feeling rude
And unglued,
Tells me I need
A better attitude.

Moodiness and happiness rarely kiss. When life feels amiss, don’t let it steal your bliss.

We live in a world where wounds mend, hurts heal, and life does get better.

Attempt a smile-a-thon. Simile 26.2 times as fast as you can. (If you finish, you’re a champion!)

Pondering, reasoning, inner experience, and conscience are often overlooked as tools for learning to be encouraged.

Make your heart safe for happiness. Be careful not to let troublesome thoughts drive out joy before it can take root.

Your brain is wondrous. You can learn to use it to create much more inner joy and delight than you realize.

To compassionately converse with someone, listen with genuine concern, and try to see from their perspective, is beautiful!

I’ve discovered that continually focusing on what’s positive, helps me identify as happy (and prevents identity theft).

As a human, you’ve been given a wondrous gift of identity–you’re made in the image of God.

If you let what is wonderful wander out of your awareness, you’ll be left focusing on problems and pain.

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The Sunday Christian audience is failing

To know the teachings of Christ, without the life of Christ thriving in and through you, is incomplete Christianity. The Sunday Christian audience isn’t getting the job done. There’s not much power in being religious spectators.

There’s no place for forcing or coercing in Christianity. We’re supposed to be led by the Spirit. Christians sit together every week to hear a sermon, yet too often remain spiritually isolated from one another.

The Bible says that the children of God are led by the Spirit. If you’re a child of God, how is the Spirit leading you?

Sermons are sales talks for Christianity. Once you begin to regularly use something in your daily life, you no longer need someone to talk you into

A worldwide group of Christ-followers is seeking an international government that is out of the world’s systems. It’s called: the kingdom of God.

Jesus didn’t come to religiously institutionalize you, but to open your spiritual eyes. The human heart has the ability to pick up a supernatural signal, come alive, and get online with the living Jesus.

Because Jesus is alive and present in each of His followers, He doesn’t need a chain of command, but wants to lead each follower individually.

My goal’s not to be a conservative or a liberal Christian. I want the living Jesus to conserve my soul and to liberate me from self-focus.

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The human race is a large group

I’m a member of the largest group of people on the planet–the human race.

Nobody is less human than any other person. Being human is qualitative, not quantitative.

If humans sought to be responsible as much as we seek to be free, we’d solve most of the world’s problems. Our human ability to misunderstand each other is huge.

Most of the world’s problems come from humans being bad. If we’d all obey our conscience, many problems would begin to disappear. The human race has lots of problems and one of the worst ones is mistreating each other.

You can count on people to tell stories, but not to always tell the truth. When we accept a lie, our mind gives us a big alibi to help us justify contradicting the facts.

No one has fully experienced the spectrum of consciousness that is available to human beings. We can always be more aware.

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People connections–heart-to-heart

Nobody’s all bad.
Nobody’s all good.
What a mixture
Is personhood!

Be a good surprise today. Be kind to someone who doesn’t expect kindness from you.

There’s no logical reason not to give every person you encounter a warm, friendly greeting. Be logical!

Everyone has some sadness. You’ll never meet a person who couldn’t use a little kindness and encouragement.

Relationships improve when we spend more time communicating heart-to heart and less time pontificating.

Life goes better when people help each other with words and actions, instead of hurting each other with them.

True human connection shifts conversation from the mind to the heart.

To experience life from a different perspective, you don’t need a change in geography–a change in your heart is more effective.

Persistent kindness connects people heart-to-heart. Continual suspicion separates people.

If you’ve never learned to interact with people without experiencing argument and conflict, it’s not too late.

When Jesus said, “Love your enemies,” He didn’t mean to refuse to patiently listen to people you disagree with.

When you obey Jesus and “love your enemies” by connecting heart-to-heart, you see that they’re a lot like you.

There’s no reason to withhold kindness from any human being. Jesus said: “Bless those who curse you.”

Sometimes encouragement doesn’t just happen. Sometimes you need to search for it.

The most complicated object in the universe is the human neck-top computer (brain). Too often we let it “sleep” thru out the day.

If we don’t learn to make room for the living Jesus in our daily life, the elephant in the room is that we’re trusting self more than Him.

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There is no “they”

Since no person is non-human, the human race is a great big “we.” There is no “they.”

If any humans are considered subhuman, it lowers the entire human race.

All history matters–even the parts you don’t want to know about.

Skin color doesn’t make people different. It just makes us look different.

Seeing a kind and cheerful smile can make my day, regardless of the color of the face.

Let’s all identify ourselves as more human and less a particular skin color. 

Empathy is perhaps the most underused ability of human beings.

I grew up as a little human child (like all the rest of the people on the planet).

Freedom of speech means that people should be free to talk about injustice in American history, without being accused of shaming.

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Thoughts about healing America’s racial divide

After 400 years of blacks being abused in America, it’s time for a more than superficial reckoning. God, Himself, expects more from a nation than merely sweeping injustice into the dust bin of history. 

The Civil Rights Movement compelled white America to change the laws that had been used to protect white supremacy through both legally enforced, black voter suppression and racial segregation. Open, public discrimination was outlawed as “hate speech.” Anti-black terrorism was prosecuted as “hate crimes.” Blacks were finally given the legal right to freely access public spaces and to vote. Affirmative Action and voter registration opened doors for many blacks and expanded the black middle class. These were great improvements over blatant racism and public lynching. However, the history and causes of anti-black racism weren’t widely and publicly addressed. Just the opposite. Attempts to talk about the history of America’s racial injustice were often ignored and even mocked. 

As a white man, my efforts to expose the racial injustice in our history and in the present day (on social media and in a book that I wrote) have been ignored (and even resisted) by many people I know. Much of white America seems to fear looking at the facts of history. I’ve been accused of trying to make whites feel guilty because I talk about slavery, Jim Crow, white terrorist groups, and lynching. But I don’t understand why whites who had nothing to do with those things would feel guilty about them. They are historical facts that sadden me, sometimes to the point of tears, but I don’t feel personally guilty for them. Discussing them doesn’t make me ashamed of being white (which I am through none of my own actions or choices).  

That history is crying out for America to openly examine the way blacks were treated in our past and in the present day. But even more than that, I believe God is calling for a bold and clear repudiation of our nation’s 400 years of degrading His image in black skin. What our nation has done to those it has labeled (because of their skin color) “the least of these.” it has done to Jesus. It’s time for America to renounce the “Curse of Ham” that was used by the abusers of black people in America as an attempt to justify their injustice with the Christian religion. That grievous twisting of the Bible used to declare people with black skin as inferior to people with white skin, though seldom publicly mentioned anymore, still haunts the psyche of our nation, which though legally integrated, continues to keep blacks and whites mostly socially and spiritually segregated. 

It’s good for whites to join in protests for black equality. But we need to do much more than that. We need to read about America’s history of racial injustice and let our heart be broken by it. We need to make close friendships across racial lines by asking black people what it’s like being black in America and listening closely to their pain, with a tender heart. We need to continually talk and write about equality. We need to demonstrate equality and respect in our daily lives through what I call “color-kindness.” (This especially applies to the whites, who like me, profess to be followers of Jesus Christ.)

Here’s a fact of history. The anti-black injustice in American history wasn’t caused by black people. They didn’t invent race-based slavery. They didn’t violently enforce color-segregation or anti-black terrorism. It’s time for more white people to overcome false feelings of guilt for things they didn’t do, and to help bring the fuller story of American history to light so that our nation can deal honestly with our past and be more effective at healing the present racial wounds in all our hearts.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on
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Anticipate congeniality — cordial people seldom feel tied up in knots

Be cordial, even when you’re not in one accord with people. That will help keep your heart getting tied up in angry knots.

What you anticipate is up to you. You can excitedly look forward to inspiring events, or dread fearful ones.

The anticipation of joy makes the present moment joyful. The anticipation of trouble for tomorrow, troubles today.

People’s attitudes and behaviors are influenced by how you expect them to act toward you. Expect congeniality.

If you’re pleasant, friendly, and agreeable, most of the people you encounter will be as well. If you’re the opposite, look out!

Congeniality leads to positive interaction, kindness, friendship, and heart connection.

You can enjoy friendship with people even if you don’t agree with their beliefs or behaviors.

If you anticipate aggression from someone, you’ll, be closed and defensive; if kindness, you’ll be open hearted.

When I anticipate people being kind to me, they almost always are.

Anticipate congeniality–cordial people seldom feel tied up in knots.

If you try to understand people instead of trying to overpower them, your interactions will be better.

Following the living Jesus keeps me in excited anticipation of the amazing things He is going to do through out the day.

To congregate for a religious service, but not allow people to interactively participate, doesn’t give them much to anticipate.

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Cheer up with cheerfulness & playfulness

When you feel like there’s no way to cheer yourself up, do something kind to help someone else cheer up.

The best way to face the day is with a cheerful face.

Cheerfulness is a happiness multiplier that spreads joy and lights up people’s day.

The more cheerfulness that you give away, the more happiness you enjoy!

Cheerfulness consists of a warm heart, bright eyes, smiles, peace, and joy.

Joy will surprise you,
If you learn every day
How to appreciate
The gift of now.

Life lived with cheerfulness is more enjoyable than life lived without it.

When someone says that you’re too cheerful, that means they’re jealous of your joy.

A day without cheerfulness tends to get weary. Learn to be a little cheery and life wont’ be so dreary.

Sometimes cheerfulness requires determination.

If you want to be happy, choose and begin to daily implement a practical strategy for becoming more cheerful.

People need the freedom to be playfully spontaneous. Without it we tend to wither into lifeless agendas and passive programs.

Spontaneous, creative play offers experiential knowledge that mere lectures can’t achieve.

A playful attitude can help you learn to turn everyday situations into enjoyable and uplifting experiences.

Playfulness is the ability to be openly and actively cheerful about simple little things.

Much that we call creativity is simple playfulness–playing with words, ideas, numbers, thoughts, emotions, paint, music, etc.

Spontaneous playfulness is a stream of creativity that flows from deep within, that anyone can tap into.

If playfulness is a form of immaturity, then creativity is, too, because they’re basically the same thing.

Unprogrammed, spontaneous play can open up an inner flow of joy in both children and adults.

By viewing adult play as organized, serious, and even competitive, adults tend to miss out on the stress relief of harmless silliness.

Being playful isn’t just silly. A “play-cebo” (a little bit of playfulness) has many psychological benefits.

When Jesus said to be like a little child, I think He meant: openness, playfulness, innocence, cheerfulness, and humility.

If you watch small children, you’ll find playfulness. If you join in their fun, you’ll find playfulness inside yourself.

A little friendly playfulness (a “play-cebo”) can make any environment less stressful–even the US Congress.

I think that if American Congressional Republicans and Democrats would pair up and play rock paper scissors together, they could overcome their egos

When you find yourself whistling, cheerfulness is spontaneously flowing from within you. Don’t stop it!

People spend a lot of money to beautify their face, but cheerfulness does a better job, and it’s free!

Cheerfulness isn’t natural for me, but everyday I consciously choose to try to think and act with joy, no matter how I feel.

When you fell threatened by someone, responding cheerfully rather than fearfully will usually produce a better outcome.

Choose entertainment that inspires you to be cheerful, rather than that which merely distracts you from your life.

A bird’s chirp can cheer your up, but only if it’s noticed and appreciated.

Being high or inebriated is a poor substitute for heart-felt, genuine joy. 

You’re blessed.
Be hopeful;
Be cheerful;
Be grateful;
Be buoyant;
Be glad!

Cheerfulness or gloom?
Hope or fume?
The mindset I consume,
Will color my room.

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Don’t worry, be cheerful; here’s how . . .

Happiness can be remembered in the past and looked forward to in the future, but it’s made in the present moment. Be happy now.

Cheerfulness unexpressed, tends to wither away, but when shared with other people, it grows.

Life is wonderful when experienced with wholesome cheerfulness.

Heart-felt cheerfulness is amazing therapy.

To get water to flow out of the ground, sometimes you have to dig a well. It’s the same with getting cheerfulness to flow from your heart.

When people interact with kind cheerfulness, they experience heart-to-heart connection.

Playfulness, silliness, and cheerfulness work together to produce joy, but pride often tries to stop them.

Cheerfulness depends much more on your attitude than it does on your circumstances.

Anger shuts down cheerfulness and drives away joy. You can’t, “Rejoice in the Lord, always,” if you keep animosity in your heart.

If you’re unhappy, you’re probably overlooking many reasons that you have to be happy. Try making a list of them.

Inner conflict hinders happiness; inner peace expedites it.

Happiness that depends on circumstances, chemicals, or carousing, is not the real deal.

My happiness is up to me. I must find a way to find contentment, fulfillment, and joy in my life.

Determined cheerfulness has a biblical goal: “Rejoice in the Lord, always.

Life’s more fun when lived cheerfully.

The living Jesus gives me cheerfulness, glee, and holy ecstasy. The Bible calls it: “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Cheerfully interacting with and trying to encourage someone, makes me happy.

If you choose to resist joy because you don’t want to be cheerful, at least don’t try to impose gloom on others.

It’s hard to find happiness if you don’t know what it is.

The risen Jesus frequently causes me to glide with gladness, like an eagle soaring over rough terrain.

Success without happiness is incomplete.

When you truly know God loves you, you won’t feel a need to look down on anybody.

No matter the square footage of a family’s house, without love it falls short of being
a home.

Happiness acrostic:


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Practical ways to overcome divisiveness

To help avoid conflict, talk about something you have in common with someone, before you disagree with them. Say “we” before you say “you.” Angry people defuse when you continually respond to them with friendliness.

When someone offends you with words, a long pause before you speak can help in two ways. 1) It gives you time to think, and 2) It confuses them.

The unwillingness to find a compromise keeps conflict and divisiveness alive. Angry words are often irrational, irrelevant, and insincere–a flood of negative emotion, rather than what a person really believes. It’s better to bow out of a conversation than to allow yourself to be rude and demeaning.

Rude people provoke retaliation. Then get angry when it comes back at them. To insult people is to intentionally provoke and/or escalate conflict. To mock someone is basically asking them to retaliate against you.

When you’ve been hurt by someone, meditate rather than retaliate. Fresh insight can help you win without a fight. Sometimes the best response to a person’s hostile words is to surprise them with kindness.

Seeing conflict as a competition makes it difficult to find a fair resolution. As long as your pride is more important to you than conflict resolution, you’ll be at odds with people. To de-escalate a conflict, avoid making accusations and/or demands.

If you want people to respond positively to what you have to say, try saying it politely. Making demands tends to increase hostility. Politely offering suggestions helps to de-escalate it. Being persistently polite is pragmatic. It motivates people to respond positively to you.

To convince someone of something, you need to see from his perspective; to antagonize someone, you don’t. Learn to be kind, even when you don’t like someone’s attitude or appearance. Refusing to listen to the pain that drives someone’s anger, extends conflict,

Try this simple, yet powerful response to hostile words. Kindly say, “It feels like you’re trying to provoke me.” To over-react to someone’s words is to allow yourself to be manipulated by them.

Reactive listening is selective. It only wants to hear what will justify an angry response. Blame blows up friendly conversations. Attacking someone’s character will greatly increase conflict. People tend to get angry if they feel like you won’t consider what they have to say.

When you don’t feel a need to be right, it’s much easier to avoid angry conversations. A powerful way to de-escalate an argument is to use self-deprecating humor.

If you try to win an argument by demeaning someone, he will probably retaliate and escalate the argument. Resorting to hostility and disrespect is the sign of a poor negotiator. Trying to intimidate people rather than negotiate with them, is the way to surround yourself with continual conflict.

It’s better to use information and negotiation to find solutions, than to use accusation and anger to stir up conflict. If we take the time to logically think through disagreement, it can reveal concealed ways to heal our divisions.

A courageous, sincere apology is a powerful tool for de-escalating conflict. Consistent kindness is capable of turning an foe into a friend.

Depending on how you handle it, disagreement can lead to either conflict or creative solutions. Conflict can be handled either in a defensive, emotional way, or a detached, rational way.

It usually takes more courage to listen to people than it does to argue with them–to learn from them rather than correct them.

Words can escalate or de-escalate disagreements. Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the unrestrained escalation of angry words.

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