Tag Archives: Opportunities

In every difficulty, see opportunities


“A negative mind sees the difficulties in every opportunity.
A positive mind sees the chances in every difficulty. ”
Luang Phi Ruben Visalo

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie > In elke moeilijkheid kansen zien

Last Thing on My Mind

Last Thing on My Mind (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Summer holiday time to knock and ask, and time to share

In the daily Bible readings our chapter in Matthew today unfolds to reveal powerful personal lessons – principles we must live by, though in the chapters of the first book of Samuel we also see that it was not always easy for the preferred one of God, David! He also was victim of human jealousy [v.8-12].

In these summer-months we do have time to examine ourselves and the situation we are living in at the moment. We can check if we kept to Jesus his sayings or if when we had certain needs or wanted to receive knowledge if we did ask like Jesus advices us. Often when we are at work we do not have time enough for God’s Word. It might not always be easy to have us every day to pick up the Bible and to read in it and to take time enough to let our thoughts wonder over the Biblical text. Now when the Summer holiday comes to us we have no excuse. Now we should have enough opportunity to read in the Bible but also to talk to others bout different things, including the Word of God.

Summer time often gives us opportunities to come at other places, where nobody might know us, where we do not have to fear talking about our faith and to show others how we love God.

We can ask God to help us to get insight ourself but also to give us strength and opportunities to give others insight in His infallible Word. We might be assured when we dare to ask Jehovah God will provide, when our heart is in the right place with Him.

“·Ask [Keep asking], and ·God will give [L it will be given; C the passive verb implies God as subject] to you. ·Search [Seek; Keep seeking], and you will find. ·Knock [Keep knocking], and the door will open for you. ·Yes, [L For; Because] everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who ·searches [seeks] will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.

“If your children ask for bread, which of you would give them a stone? 10 Or [L which of you] if your ·children ask [or son asks] for a fish, would you give them a snake? {Matthew 7:7-10 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

When we long to have knowledge in the Holy Scriptures God is not going to withhold it. He is not going to detain us and leave us without Biblical knowledge if we really want to have such knowledge. Though in such circumstance God wants us to open our mind and when we encounter matters which we have learned at school or in the past in our religious environment, but which are based on human doctrines, God wants us to choose for the Biblical doctrines and to put those human and false teachings aside. We have to show to God that we are willing to learn what He wants to say to us and what the Bible puts openly in front of us, words black on white and no misty myths of the world.

For many it may not be easy to put away all such false human teachings, but that is what God requires, not to be of the world but to belong to the world of God.

Knowledge will be given to you when you are prepared to seek honestly and with the will to learn Godly Truth. When you open your mind, ask God to help you, He will provide and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you.

Keep Pursuing What You Need From God. He Will Give You Good Things

“Be asking, and it will be given to you; be seeking, and you will find; be knocking, and it will be opened to you. For everyone asking receives; and the one seeking finds; and to the one knocking, it will be opened. Or what person is there from-among you whom his son will ask-for bread— he will not give him a stone[a], will he? 10 Or indeed he will ask-for a fish— he will not give him a snake[b], will he?

  1. Matthew 7:9That is, something useless.
  2. Matthew 7:10That is, something harmful. {Matthew 7:7-10Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)}

For everyone, also you, who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds. So you only have to be prepared to be willing to find and to ask God to help you find it. But you too should help others to find it. So what you have uncovered may not only be your secret. Even when we will realize our failure to see the Biblical truth because we wanted to hold fast so much to denominational teachings, noticing it so late in our life, we better accept it that it is better late in life than never, to come to the Biblical truth.

Out of compassion and love for the other, we should try to let others know the Word of God and show them what is really written in it. One of the tasks given by Jesus was to go out and preach. When we do understand what the Nazarene man Jesus has really done, we should tell others of this incredible act of self-renunciation. We should tell others about his self-sacrifice and how he is not the God we should worship but the Way to God, the Only One True God of gods Whom is the Only One to be worshipped and praised above all.

Jesus expects everyone who hears these words of him to do them!

24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and is doing them will be-like a wise[a] man who built his house upon the bed-rock.

  1. Matthew 7:24Or, prudent, sensible. {Matthew 7:24Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)}

Let us be wise in the Lord and show the world how we want to be partakers of the Body of Christ and follow the same God as Jesus had. In the knowledge that the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, we should be aware that though salvation is given to all the world also shall have to see that those who find that entrance to the Kingdom of God shall be just a few. We should know and let others know that wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss.

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. [L Because] The gate is wide and the road is ·wide [broad; spacious; or easy] that leads to ·hell [L destruction; ruin], and many people enter through that gate. 14 But the gate is small and the road is ·narrow [or difficult; hard] that leads to true life. ·Only a few people [And there are few who] find that road. {Matthew 7:13-14Expanded Bible (EXB)}

For those few we have to invest our free time and do what Jesus expects from us, making sure that we are not a foolish person in his eyes, because he shall watch us and in the end days shall judge over us. Let us listen to Jesus his words:

Matthew 7:25-29Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)

25 And the rain came down, and the rivers[a] came, and the winds blew— and they fell against that house. And it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the bed-rock. 26 And everyone hearing these words of Mine and not doing them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. 27 And the rain came down, and the rivers came, and the winds blew— and they struck-against that house. And it fell, and the falling[b] of it was great”.

The Works of The King: Divine Power In Action28 And it came about that when Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astounded[c] at His teaching. 29 For He was teaching them as One having authority, and not as their scribes.

  1. Matthew 7:25 That is, rivers of flood waters.
  2. Matthew 7:27 Or, collapse, downfall.
  3. Matthew 7:28 Or, overwhelmed, amazed, astonished.

{Matthew 7:25-29Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT)}

When having found Jesus his words and having gone deeper into them, finding the Words of his heavenly Father, we should build our own life on them and create the foundation for ways for others also to come closer to God.

There are many ways – travel in our world has never been more readily possible, but whether nearby or further afield, we must, as we read two days ago in Matthew 5,

16 In the same way let your light shine ·before others [for people to see], so that they will see ·the good things you do [L your good deeds/works] and will ·praise [glorify; give honor to] your Father in heaven. {Matthew 5:16 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

Take some time this holiday to have some work done for Jesus and his God that they and the world may see your good works and glorify your Father in the heavens.

Let us also make sure that we tell others what is in the Word of God and have us honestly trying to have our faith in God shine as a strong light before others, so that on that day when Jesus returns we do not have to be ashamed and do not have to say like many who will say to him

… Lord, did we not prophesy (preach) in your name…?”

Having Jesus to look at them and responding that they have to depart from him because he does not want to know of them.

22 On ·the last day [judgment day; L that day] many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, ·we spoke for you [L Did we not prophesy in your name…?], and ·through you we forced out demons [L cast out demons in your name…?] and did many ·miracles [L mighty works in your name…?].’ {Matthew 7:22 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

We do not have to show extra-ordinary things to others, not doing miracles. We only have to honestly tell them what we believe and show them what the Bible says.

These days when we might have more free time, let us make sure that we take some free time for God and to show our love for God to others.In the knowledge that “many are called, but few are chosen” let us belong to those “few” that will hear the words we read today in Isaiah 62,

Isaiah 62:11-12 Expanded Bible (EXB)

11 The Lord ·is speaking [announces]
    to ·all the faraway lands [L the end of the earth]:
“·Tell the people of Jerusalem [L Say to the daughter of Zion; Zech. 9:9],
    ‘Look, your Savior is coming.
He is bringing ·your reward to you [L his reward with him];
    ·he is bringing his payment [his recompense/reward is] with him.’”
12 ·His people [L They] will be called the Holy People,
    the ·Saved People [Redeemed] of the Lord,
and Jerusalem will be called ·the City God Wants [L Sought After],
    the City ·God Has Not Rejected [or Not Abandoned; Deserted]. {Isaiah 62:11-12 Expanded Bible (EXB)}

If you knew how much God loves you, you would be happy to receive and share His love with others and would be pleased to have others also coming to know Him and His great Love.

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Preceding articles

Summer holiday

May we have doubts

Facing our existence every day

What Are You Seeking?

High time to go out telling the world about Jesus

7 Ways To Become A Better Christian

What Should I Preach ?

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Crisis man needed in this world

Refusing to Be Silent

Go Ye!

To proclaim the day of vengeance

Proclaiming: a task given to Christians

Go! Proclaim! Testify!

Scriptures and Thoughts about: Proclaim

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Additional reading

  1. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  2. God let my compassionate affection be tolerant and kind
  3. Do You Expect God’s Answer
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  5. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #18 Fulfilment
  6. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  7. We should use the Bible every day
  8. Bible in the first place #2/3
  9. Loving the Word
  10. Necessity of a revelation of creation 8 By no means unintelligible or mysterious to people
  11. Necessity of a revelation of creation 11 Believing and obeying the gospel of the Kingdom of God
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  13. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  14. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  15. Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still
  16. Obtain favour from Yahweh
  17. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  18. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  19. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  20. Going deep into cultures to reach lost people
  21. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  22. How do I know if I’m called to ministry?
  23. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  24. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  25. Oratory Style
  26. What Should I Preach ?
  27. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. Here for a cause, anointed with a message the world needs to hear
  2. Motives behind Criticism are often more Important to deal With then the Criticism itself.
  3. Special Sundays!~Matthew 7:7~
  4. Which Story Do You Want To Live?
  5. Share Jesus
  6. Are you judging people by what they look like?
  7. Do to others…
  8. There is a wolf nipping at your soul
  9. “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.” ~Jesus
  10. Matthew 9 – Stepping forth in courage
  11. Matthew 11 – Praise and trust
  12. Matthew 14 – Prayer, Faith & Action
  13. By His Grace
  14. The Journey of Love and Commitment 
  15. Strengthen Yourself In Your God
  16. “Following Jesus” (Matthew 4:18-22 sermon)
  17. “What We Have Seen … We Proclaim”
  18. “Reaching, Teaching, Caring: Following the Footsteps of Jesus” (Matthew 4:23 sermon)
  19. A Day in the Park
  20. The Goodness of God
  21. Count Your Blessings
  22. The call to serve
  23. See you next time
  24. Christianity is a Learned Experience
  25. Biblical Application
  26. Biblical Revelation Knowledge On Spiritual Warfare
  27. The Gospel of The Kingdom
  28. Do We Really Know God?
  29. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: The Contrasts
  30. Awaken
  31. 8. Doors and Destinations
  32. Meditation – Choices
  33. The Path of Love
  34. Life’s Narrow and Wide Gates
  35. Love, Entering the Narrow Gate.
  36. The Narrow Way
  37. Religious Theology – The wide gate!
  38. Shifting Sand
  39. Exodus 10, Job 28, Luke 13, 1 Corinthians 14
  40. How to choose between the wide and the narrow
  41. The Narrow Gate
  42. against the stream
  43. Taking responsibility – the narrow gate that leads to life
  44. How to choose between the wide and the narrow:part 3
  45. Difficult is the Way that Leads to Life
  46. Those Who Find It Are Few.
  47. Guard My Feet Lord ~
  48. Two Gates
  49. The Narrow Gate
  50. The Protestant – Catholic divide – The Narrow and the Wide Gates
  51. The Crumb That Turns Stale With Time
  52. Only dead fish swim with the stream
  53. The narrow gate and the postmillennial hope
  54. The Grand Reception
  55. Lord, will only few people be saved?

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When God Moved a Mountain

If better is possible, good is not enough

is the proverb of our guestwriter for today, Coco, who found herself at the brink of quitting the profession that she had chosen in her life.

I felt then that I cannot do anymore what I have been doing for just a short period of time. Honestly, I want to scream out lout and tell the world that my life sucks. My feet have been heavy to carry as I walk to school, and it has been a burden to enter every class. Each day has become a boring routine and all I wish that time was the end of every quarter or end of the school year. {The Perks of Being a Teacher}

She wrote four years back, when she was still reviewing for her licensure examination. {From Theories to Practice}

For the job that brings home a lot of extra work, nobody sees or thinks of a teacher having to do, often when giving more, the person being paid less, and having no respect as part of the compensation, it seems she was at that time a little-bit depressed or not satisfied, being not receiving what she had hoped for.

It took her two years after she passed graduation and stood the test of her board exam, when she started to understand the real meaning of the field that she had chosen.

Theories of learning, methods and strategies in teaching, styles in classroom management, types of assessment, and many other topics has become vividly clear to me when I encountered them in the classroom and applied them in my teaching. {From Theories to Practice}

Since 2014, she has recorded the books that she finished. In 2016, the year she made her life free from writing her thesis, but doing so actually imprisoned her with thicker things to accomplish, she was thrilled that she was able to finish 67 books, though her goal was to finish 60 books only, so going beyond her target made her stark happy. In fact, she finds she read many great books that year. {No Excuses}

my-reading-list-2016

January the 22nd she just finished one of her most favourite Christian books “Believe That You Can” by Jentezen Franklin.

The first time I read it, I decided to leave my job and try something different. Months later, I was in a different working environment, and I never regret that decision I made. The Lord gave a lot of breakthroughs since then.

In Many opportunities given by God you could already see how God is there to come to people. Even when they might think they are on their own or may have to undergo horrible experiences, there they could find the Mighty Hand of God.

Today’s guest-speaker also has that experience of the Most High having an eye onto her, even she has not assets like Abraham had. Also in these modern times God is prepared to be with His creatures and to favour those who are willing to give themselves in His Hand.

Coco actually almost lost hope with her sister when she failed her defence and she’s not graduating this March. Together with her mother she approached her sister. The mother doing the encouraging part and she the praying part. Finding out the good news that she passed, becoming  the happiest man alive that moment.

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Preceding article

Many opportunities given by God

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MY NAME IS COCO

Today, I just finished my most favorite Christian book Believe That You Can by Jentezen Franklin.

The first time I read it, I decided to leave my job and try something different. Months later, I was in a different working environment, and I never regret that decision I made. The Lord gave a lot of breakthroughs since then.

I can because the Lord can always move mountains. Although I am not Abraham, God favors me as much as He did with Abraham.

I actually almost lost hope with my sister when my mom broke the news that my sister told her that she failed her defense and she’s not graduating this March. Since then, I felt a pang in my heart and that was a heavy burden I’ve been carrying.

It was really devastating and disappointing, but when I gathered all my strength, I confronted her to fight for it…

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Your Future

Why is it so many people wait such a long time before daring to take the steps to change. Mostly they are too much under pressure of those around them.

We should dare to think and handle for ourselves and look for the right way to find the right path for life.

At certain points in the year, like when Spring has arrived it is not bad to think about it and to do a big clean-up.

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Take action now — today — + step into your future = not some far off time = right here, right now, in the very next moment => You are in the right place!

  • Don’t put off stepping into your future because you think you don’t have the time
  • don’t fall for the illusion that tomorrow or the next week or next month your schedule will clear + you’ll have plenty of time to pursue your dreams
  • this is the best time > Right now = moment = best time to step into your future. Do it; go for it!

Your homework = have schedule in one hand + your goals + dreams in your other hand

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When you wait for some one or something you should take care you wait for the right thing or for the right one.

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Preceding:

Get the lenses out to getting closer again

Happy First Day of Spring: Spring Cleaning!

Something Needs to Change!

The works we have to do according to James

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Additional reading:

  1. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  2. The longer you wait
  3. Tapping into God’s Strength by Waiting on Him

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Further readings:

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Yes I Can Pep Talks

Copyright 2014 SweetDoll Designs Copyright 2014 SweetDoll Designs

Take action now—today—and step into your future. Your future is not some far off time; it’s right here, right now, in the very next moment. You are in the right place!

Don’t put off stepping into your future because you think you don’t have the time. And don’t fall for the illusion that tomorrow or the next week or next month your schedule will clear and you’ll have plenty of time to pursue your dreams. You won’t. Something always pops up and interferes with your best-laid plans.

You do have time to step into your bright future right now, regardless of whether or not you think you do or whether or not this is the best time. Right now, this moment, is the best time to step into your future. Do it; go for it!

Copyright 2014 SweetDoll Designs Copyright 2014 SweetDoll Designs

Your homework: have your schedule in one…

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Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

 

“1  My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; but you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 NHEB)

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?” (James 2:6 NHEB)

“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9 NHEB)

“For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NHEB)

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14 NHEB)

“17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 18 Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is useless?

21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In like manner was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 NHEB)

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The Works (Faith No More album)

The Works (Faith No More album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Christadelphian Agora comments:

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).
“An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one oar the word ‘Faith’, and on the other oar the word ‘Works’. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced believer in Christ, and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, ‘I will show you.’ So saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to use the oar called Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again — this time the other way around, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works and wielding both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, ‘You see, that is the way it is in the believer’s life. Works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing’ ” (Maritta Terrell).

Peter Cresswell comments:

v.9 As a community (speaking generally) we are condemned by our inability to work out this maxim in our practical lives. There are those who genuinely are prepared to preach to anyone and accept anyone, but I think if we are honest, most of us are not happy with this teaching. A moment’s reflection on it today then will do no harm. Would we, for example, like Jesus in John 8:3-11, accept the repentance of the prostitute (which is seems this woman was) so readily? Lev.19:15

Peter Forbes  comments:

2:1-4 It is said that we form an impression about someone within a few minutes of seeing them. We have not had enough time to assess their character and yet we make decisions which may colour our view for the rest of our lives. It is really clear why God does not judge by outward appearance – 1Sam 16:7 – we should emulate His approach.

2:4 So we see that partiality which starts by looking on the outward appearance – see 2:2– is in reality judging the way others think.

2:4  Partiality is a consequence of being ‘double minded’ as mentioned in James 1:8

2:5 In speaking of ‘the poor of this world’ James echoes Paul’s comment about men of faith – Heb 11:37 . One cannot but wonder how we would have reacted to some of the men and women of faith if we had seen them in the street.

2:6 Continuing thoughts on our contribution for June 8th James asks his readers to think on the realities of their experience. The very ones that they would revere were the ones who were their persecutors!

2:6     ‘despised’ <818> is translated ‘shamefully’ Luke 20:11 and ‘dishonour’  John 8:49 showing that James is reproving the brethren for denigrating the ‘poor’.

2:9 That we should show ‘no respect of persons’ draws on the Law of Moses and is seen extensively in Scripture. Here are some occasions. Leviticus 19:15 Deuteronomy 1:17 16:19 2 Samuel 14:14 2 Chronicles 19:7 Proverbs 24:23 28:21 Romans 2:11 Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 1 Peter 1:17 No matter how one dresses up the prejudice against the poor and favour toward the well dressed it is a violation of the Divine law. Actually it manifests pride. We like to identify with the rich in this world rather than the poor.

2:11   James here clearly shows that there are no degrees of sin. Sin is sin. Agreed the consequences of some sins is greater than others insofar as our actions impact upon other men. However any sin violates God’s principles.

2:13 These words of James draw upon the teaching of Jesus in Matt 7:2

2:14-17  I suppose one could summarise what James is teaching here by saying “talk is cheap”.  It is ever so easy to talk about how we love and serve God. It is far harder to simply get on with doing that.

2:21-23  We notice that Abraham was “justified” in Gen 15:6. However it was many years later when he was willing to offer Isaac – Gen 22:9 – which demonstrated his faith. So, even though God saw Abraham’s faith no man could have seen the evidence of Abraham’s faith. But God knew in advance that Abraham had faith.

2:23    There are two earlier occasions when Abraham is called God’s friend – (#2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8)

2:23 How would you like to be called ‘the friend of God’? Such is the description of faithful Abraham – he believed that God would keep His word and so acted upon that knowledge. So we know the way to friendship with God.

2:23 There were quite a number of years between the statement in Gen 15:6 that Abraham believed God and his offering of Isaac. Faith is not a ‘flash in the pan’ activity.

2:25 The inclusion of Rahab as one who was justified by faith is a powerful testimony to the truth that observance of the law of Moses is not a pre requisite for pleasing God. A powerful lesson for Jews.

Michael Parry comments:

James exhorts against favouritism in our assembly.  Brothers and sisters should be treated equally in love and respect.  Do we naturally gravitate towards some and find it difficult to deal with others?  Of course we do.  But let us remember the example of Jesus.  Although He was drawn affectionately to John (John 19:26; 21:20), He still treated His betrayer Judas with love (Matt 5:44).

A point about verse 19:  there exist no such supernatural entities as devils (or demons).  What are being alluded to here are people possessed with demons (mental disorders).
There were demoniac people who recognized God and the Lord Jesus  (Mark 5:1-13, 16:9, Luke 4:40,41, 8:2).

Having scriptural knowledge, understanding, and faith means nothing unless it is translated into Godly action.

V.8 James is the only one to use the phrase royal law.  Loving one’s neighbour is the second part of the greatest law (Matt 22:37-39).  The first part concerns the love for God who is King over all – hence James’s royal reference.

V.12 James also talks of the law of liberty. No longer is anyone judged under the Law of Moses.  But, the moral commandments under the Law are carried forward and form part of the Commandments of Jesus.  It is expected that believers follow these commandments willingly.  Believers will be judged on their adherence to these laws.

John Wilson comments:

V.18 James introduces a third person into his explanation of faith and how it works by love. The third person is able to give a practical demonstration of his faith. James’ humility would not permit him to set himself forth as an ideal representative of a living faith. “I will show thee my faith by my works”  A practical demonstration of a motivating force that is greater than the individual himself, by which “he overcame the world”  (1John 5:4).

2:25 With the example of Rahab; along with that of Abraham (V.21,23), we would suggest is used by James to show the universality of the principle of faith that he was writing of. Abraham was the Father of all the Jews; Rahab was a Gentile who was converted. She was weak and sinful, but triumphed by faith. Not unlike what Paul wrote Gal 3:28.

2:26 Faith without works is like a corpse; there is a body, the substance of which is undeniable, but it is a dead body, and unless the breath of life enters into that body, it remains inactive and ineffective. Unless faith issues forth in a practical demonstration of a way of life which is pleasing God, it is a corpse without life, and incapable of imparting it.

Roger Turner comments:

v 5 First Principles>Kingdom of God>Gospel concerns God’s Kingdom
The Gospel preached by Jesus and the Apostles concerns the Kingdom of God.
2. Invitation for men to participate
Matt 25:34, Luke 12:32, 1Thess 2:12, James 2:5, 2Tim 4:1,8, 2Pet 1:10,11, Rev 2:26,27
For more about the Gospel concerning God’s Kingdom go to Matt 4:23 

Valerie Mello comments:

James 2:17

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

The apostle Paul defines faith as, “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith may be further defined as having a confident belief, value, or trustworthiness of a person, which does not necessarily rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This kind of faith requires development, and if we are not prepared to spend time in developing it, we shall not obtain the kind of faith that pleases God. The more we consider God’s actions in the past, and see His prophecies vindicated in the present, the more we come to learn to value Him, trust Him, and put our faith in Him concerning events not yet fulfilled, but promised by God.

This is a true story about a captain commanding a passenger ship who was sailing from Liverpool, England to New York. His family was on board with him. One night when everyone was sound asleep, a squall unexpectedly swept over the waters and tossed the ship violently, awakening the passengers. They were all scared, and the captain’s frightened eight-year old daughter asked, “What’s the matter?” Her mother explained that a sudden storm struck the ship. “Is father on deck?”  “Yes, father is on deck,” answered the mother. On hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into bed, and in a few moments was sound asleep. The winds still blew and the waves still rolled, but her fears were calmed because her father was at the helm! Our Heavenly Father is always at the helm! It is this kind of faith the Father is looking for in His children, and despite outward appearances, without this kind of faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6).

Wes Booker comments:

James 2:12,13.

What are some practical lessons and exhortations that we should try and practice in our lives in connection with what James is stating here – especially the last part of v. 13 – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

In thinking about a practical application of what James is exhorting us here, it’s important to keep in mind that within the pages of the Bible there are a number of very positive references to the idea of judgment. Though we might tend to immediately think of Christ’s words – “Judge not that you be not judged” (Mat. 7:1), there are a number of times where the flip side of the concept is there in such words as “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24) and Paul’s words concerning the ongoing fornication in the Corinthian ecclesia – “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you” ((1 Cor. 5:12,13).

In the example that James uses following up his statement about mercy triumphing over judgment (v. 13) – in James 2:14-17 he gives the example of a brother or sister without clothes and daily food and what should be done by the ecclesia in that situation. What he doesn’t state is the reason for them to be in such a destitute situation. Was it due to things beyond their control? Or did they do certain things that brought this dire condition on themselves? Were they able-bodied and in a position to seek employment and get themselves out of this situation without having to come to the ecclesia for help? Whatever their situation was, James states categorically that the attitude that wishes them well without providing for their physical needs is an example of faith without works being dead. So the #1 priority of the ecclesia is to provide help when they have it within their power to do so. And, of course, the same should be true for individual believers in Christ.

The person or ecclesia who has it within its power to help and chooses to not do so really needs to have a really good Scriptural reason for not helping. And if there’s ever a question as to the rightness of a course of action, then the weight should fall on the side of mercy. And so with the seesaw effect, mercy comes up as judgment goes down. I remember reading years ago in one of bro. Islip Collyer’s books – I can’t remember which one it was – what he had to say on this subject. And it was so powerful that it really stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing here –

When a tough-to-decide situation comes up ecclesially where both sides – the severe and the lenient (merciful) – both have positive things that can be said for deciding in that particular way, I, for one, will always choose the side of mercy for this one simple reason. I know that on that great day of judgment, I will need all the mercy my Lord can muster on my behalf. So how can I go the other way? If I’m going to err, it is going to be on the side of mercy.

Robert Prins comments:

Illogical Really

When James spoke about people showing faith through the things that they did, he gave two examples. One of them was Abraham as he was about to sacrifice Isaac, and the other was Rahab, as she hid the spies and sent them off in a different direction.

Neither of these actions were really common-sense logical. After all, if you had been promised that your son was to be your heir, and the door to a multitude of descendants, it would seem stupid to kill him! And in the case of Rahab, when approached by people who were planning to flatten her city, it doesn’t seem right to hide and protect them.

But, both Abraham and Rahab had their eyes on something bigger and better when they acted in faith. Abraham was so sure God’s promises would be fulfilled, that he obeyed anyway. And Rahab was so sure of God’s strength, and that God was good to those who were good to Israel, that she put her own life in peril from the authorities in Jericho to put her trust in God.

What faith opportunities do we have in our lives? What about the opportunities to let God take vengeance rather than ourselves? What about forgiving others and trusting God for the rest? Or giving money or possessions away when asked? Or speaking out about our faith in God at an appropriate time?

Faith is seen in what we do. Let’s make sure God sees it in our lives.

Rob de Jongh comments

The bird resting on the patio

From v14 to v26 James explains how faith without works is dead. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, so perhaps an analogy may help.

Last summer we were on holiday in a cottage that had large glazed patio doors leading to a patio outside where the children watched birds hopping around. One day we came back from a trip out and our little boy said,

“Mummy. Why isn’t that bird moving?”.

We suspected the bird had flown into the glass and either stunned or killed itself, but we didn’t tell the child.

“Maybe it’s resting”,

we said, while earnestly hoping that the bird was going to get up at any moment and fly away.

Here was a small child who knew nothing about death, yet he recognised from the inaction of the bird that something was wrong. Later in the day when the children were elsewhere we took the bird and buried it beneath some overgrown bushes in the garden. As grown ups we knew that if it didn’t move for a half hour, it was probably dead. It was still a bird — recognisable even by a child, but what good was that? So it is with us. Any or all of us may be called a believer, confessing that God is one (v19), but if there is no action based on faith, it’s likely that faith isn’t alive in us:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

But what can we do if we suspect this is so with us? The first step is to pray to God, confessing our lack of faith and asking for help. If we want to be alive, seek for it, and ask, we will have our faith revived, as promised in Luke 11:9-13.

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Preceding articles:

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

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Additional reading

  1. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  2. The sin of partiality
  3. The Greatest of These is Love
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  6. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice

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Further related articles

  1. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  2. Partiality In The Church
  3. Christian Prejudice: Finding Answers to a Shameful Problem
  4. Human Rights Are Not “Common Sense” – They Are Christianity
  5. Is Jesus Partial? Colossians 3 verse 11
  6. “What is Christianity about?” by Michael and Susanne
  7. Today’s life is full of fakeness..
  8. The James Series: Surprisingly Equal
  9. 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B
  10. Micah 2: Soap in studying the Bible
  11. Favoritism Forbidden
  12. Are We Partial?
  13. Friendship and partiality
  14. My Journey to Racial Reconciliation
  15. Can Faith Save You? Sermon by Keith, 6.14.15, Pentecost 3
  16. How To Beat The Competition?
  17. Facing Our Prejudices
  18. James: Favoritism
  19. The Book of James Chapter 2:1-9,12-13 (NKJV)
  20. 2:9 – But if you show partiality, you commit sin
  21. 2:13. For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.
  22. “Sunday Best”
  23. Partiality and The Law
  24. No Partiality
  25. What does the Bible say about partiality By…
  26. Mercy the missing piece
  27. Living Life Partially Impartial
  28. unjust justice
  29. How can you say God is not partial?
  30. Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 8th February 2015
  31. February 2 – Walking the Line
  32. Show No Favouritism. Show Mercy.
  33. Reflective Paragraphs Week 11 – James
  34. Losing Integrity Over Identity
  35. The imported and the favoured workers
  36. Playing Favourites in the Church. A Reflection on James 2:1-17
  37. Healing wilful deafness
  38. Daily Digest: Playing Favourites
  39. Disease favouritism
  40. Diminished
  41. Not Of This World
  42. How Important is Belief?
  43. Substance and Evidence
  44. Religious Literacy
  45. Bible-In-A-Year Day 33: Leviticus 16-18
  46. Death-Defying Faith.

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Find Inspiration and Follow Your Dreams

When a person has found him or herself and can say “I am” than he or she can start the next step, looking for what the “I am” would like to be, would like to become. When there are the dreams than the “I am” should come to realise that those dreams only can be made working when the “I am” is prepared to go into them and to do something positive with them. Then after the knowledge of “I am” has to come the power of the will to say “I can”.

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To remember:

  • Inspiration = icing on a cake => to give an idea, a thought, a wish or a dream
  • idea, a thought, a wish or a dream =  added element to make reality
  • add inspiration + focus to it
  • opportunities > out there
  • possibilities = endless
  • the sky is the limit
  • self-doubt and negativity => gets in the way of those moments of creativity from blossoming into something wonderful
  • Everyone > capability of doing great things
  • >> Focus, drive and determination mixed in with knowledge, inspiration and potential => make a person unstoppable in their individual quest.
  • all have potential
  • Remind yourself > reason why set out on mission
  • ==> take positive action everyday
  • Have patience
  • allow natural progression
  • Your goals and dreams = definite possibilities and they are there to be acted upon and nurtured -> Never lose sight of that.
  • always work towards your dreams
  • set goals + know where you are heading
  • crucial to stay positive and search out only those that will offer encouragement and positive and constructive advice
  • stay on your own path to achieve what it is you are after
  • Never give up on your dream even though the road gets bumpy from time to time along the way.
  • Be excited + Be dedicated to the follow-through process.
  • put forth the effort
  • Believe in yourself, find inspiration and enjoy the experience of following your dream. = key to success in life

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Additional reading:

Determine the drive

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  • Believe In Yourself (timemanagementhelpfulhints.wordpress.com)
    Believe in yourself no matter what other people think. We should all decide that we can do, be and have whatever we want in this world and the only person who can get you there is You!
  • Believe In Yourself (timetocreateabetterlife.wordpress.com)
    Have realistic expectations of what you can achieve and then aim a little higher. We can always achieve more than we think we can.
    Listen to feedback, and remember, some people will try to tear you down while others will provide golden tips to support you on your journey.
  • Do you have faith? (sherwinsampson.wordpress.com)
    Faith is you setting dreams and goals for yourself, hoping and believing in it with all that you are. Taking action and doing whatever must be done, as if those dreams actually exist. Set your goals high enough to scare you, that way when you achieve them-you by default have raised the bar in your life. And when all of life goes rye, you have trust because your faith is in God.
  • Fight for what is good (dailytwocents.com)

    Fight for what is good, by loving the weak and incurable in society. The problems of the world shall be solved when we love each other, see the next person as a friend, work hard to make those around us happy.

    Fight for what is good, by holding high all the great virtues of life. Love, patience, kindness and the rest. For there are no laws against these.

  • Start working on your dreams now! (newera.com.na)
    As a young person going through life with struggles but you still have faith and hope that one day something will change, you don’t give up on anything that you started no matter how hard things may turn out to be. I consider you as a worrier, a gladiator who is fighting an economical war, a gladiator who believes in him/herself.  Your heart is the most important tool you have. It is not your experience, knowledge, or skills. It is your heart that matters most of all. Don’t allow just everyone to have access to it. It’s your heart that creates an idea and you live on it. Guard your heart with all your might because everything you create comes from it. “What’s your purpose?” Ask yourself this question.  Answering it will change your life instantly. It’s hard to know where you’re going unless you know who you are. To create your life roadmap, first identify and prioritise your values. Doing so will give clarity on what you need in life as opposed to what you simply want. Believe in yourself and give up on things that you know you cannot control and put your focus on what you know you can be able to control. If we cannot risk achieving our dreams, than we go back to our ordinary lives.
  • Disowning Your Helplessness…Can You? (empowerexcellencewithjan.wordpress.com)
    When you believe your dream / When you believe in yourself / When you decide your dream is possible…
  • Bruce Wilkinson – The Dream Giver – Live the Dream ! (inspiringvideo.wordpress.com)
    “All our dreams can come true…if we have the desire (burning) courage, passion, persistence and patience* to pursue them…long enough.”
  • Believe In Yourself (lifestylerefocus.wordpress.com)
  • Ralph Lauren Interview to Air in China (wwd2.wwd.com)
  • Stutts takes oath of office ahead of recount (wiat.com)

The Life Arts Institute

inspirationInspiration is the icing on a cake. It is all it takes to give an idea, a thought, a wish or a dream that added element to make it a reality and to see that creation of yours develop into something wonderful. How many times has a thought crossed your mind and a feeling of excitement along with it?

If you take your dream, your thought, that moment in time, then add inspiration and focus to it, can you imagine what may lie ahead? The opportunities are out there and the possibilities are endless. Think big, be creative. Don’t ever think your idea is not good enough! With proper guidelines and development, the sky is the limit.

What gets in the way of those moments of creativity from blossoming into something wonderful, are the feelings of self-doubt and negativity. Everyone on this earth is a unique individual, endowed with many…

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Benefits of Positive Thinking

How often do we hear ‘it is all in the mind‘? In a certain way we should find the truth in it that we ourselves do have a lot in our own hands by adjusting our own mind and making the right choices.

Everything in life for ourselves depend how we look at it ourselves and how we want to tackle it ourselves.

Once born and being in this world we have to face many challenges. When growing up we come to understand those opportunities in front of us demand us to make the choice either to be in this world but not part of it, or to prefer to do like most of the human beings and to be taken by the mainstream, putting aside the own personality to be part of the masses.
The majority does not want to see many things, but the positive person does not have close his eyes for the bad things that happen. Those can be challenged with a positive outlook. Instead of avoiding or ignoring the bad things, we should involve ourselves making the most of potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing ourself and our abilities in a positive light. We should stimulate others also to put on the right glasses,which colour this world as a rainbow, with many various colours and brightnesses.

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To take in mind:
  • give yourself and the other adequate credit for successful outcomes, when good things happen
  • do not blame outside forces for bad outcomes, but be realistic and knowing that not always one person has to be blamed and that everything can overcome
  • blaming yourself for events outside of your control makes no sense
  • do not take unfortunate events as a persistent part of your life
  • try to see the positiveness in everything
  • belief in yourself
  • belief and trust those around you
  • always stay realistic
  • always keep moving forward
  • do not stay with your thought in the past
  • put the bad things behind you
Remember:
  1. Positive Thinkers Cope Better With Stress
  2. Optimism Can Improve Your Immunity
  3. Positive Thinking Is Good for Your Health
  4. It Can Make You More Resilient

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  • Pump Up Your Happiness by Strength-Training Your Emotions (psychologytoday.com)
    Frustrated because you can’t get what you want? Has someone turned you down for a date, a work request, or just a favor? It can get pretty annoying if not breakdown-worthy for you to be blocked from one of your goals, either large or small. Fortunately, by applying these evidence-based tools of emotional strength training, you can turn down your stress meter and make the best out of bad situations.

    The cornerstone of emotional strength training is cognitive therapy, in which clients seeking to overcome depression, anxiety, or problems in relationships build mental toughness by recognizing their triggers and then turning off the switch that would normally lead them to meltdown. However, it’s not necessary to have a diagnosable condition in order to apply its basic principles to improve your own ability to tolerate life’s many annoyances and dilemmas.

  • Swimming in a Rainbow (socialbridge.wordpress.com)
    I thought of the inspirational words of Christy Brown, so full of hope, that my mother used to quote and often sent to me when she knew I was troubled about something:

    And there are rainbows

    There are and there always will be rainbows.  Be sure you appreciate them!

  • Emotional resilience: it’s the armour you need for modern life (telegraph.co.uk)
    Zen-like poses and deep breathing are no longer relics of the New Age. Instead, they’re being practised by today’s business leaders, celebrities and politicians.
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    “Emotional resilience” is more hard-hitting than many of the other methods promising to keep us cool, calm and collected. Originally developed to help victims of natural disasters and massacres cope with catastrophe, it’s reached our shores and is slowly infiltrating offices, schools and communities.
  • Optimist Or Pessimist? Brain Scans Show Positive And Negative People Really Do Think Differently (medicaldaily.com)
    Some optimists will believe anything they hear, read or see as long as it goes along with their positive viewpoints on life. Granted this is probably a bit of an extreme, but it is feasible that an optimist can be taken advantage of because they wish to believe in the good they choose to see in everyone. This can lead to trouble if the optimist finds themselves in the wrong situation where their unwavering positivity meets with inevitable negativity that does exist in the world.
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    While the optimist generally believes in the positive and favorable aspects of life, the realist will sometimes disagree taking the stance that we live in an unpredictable world that can be as bad as it is good. While the optimist realizes that there are situations, people, and incidents that are by definition bad, they tend to focus on what positive elements can be taken from those incidents. The realist will usually acknowledge (and accept) those positive elements but they will also focus on why bad things happen, i.e. – there are bad people in the world/stuff happens/life isn’t perfect, etc.
    “It’s the first time we’ve been able to find a brain marker that really distinguishes negative thinkers from positive thinkers,” Dr. Jason Moser, lead author and a researcher at Michigan State University, said in press release.

    The new study, which is published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, sought to investigate the difference between positive and negative brains by asking 71 female volunteers to put a positive “spin” on graphic images. For example, participants would be shown an image of a man holding a knife to a woman’s throat and asked to assign a better outcome, such as the woman breaking free and escaping. Moser and colleagues also conducted individual interviews to determine whether subjects were more likely to be positive or negative in everyday life.

    By monitoring each subject’s brain profile throughout the experiment, the team discovered that negative participants displayed much more activity compared to those with an overall positive attitude. “The worriers actually showed a paradoxical backfiring effect in their brains when asked to decrease their negative emotions,” Moser said. “This suggests they have a really hard time putting a positive spin on difficult situations and actually make their negative emotions worse even when they are asked to think positively.”

  • How Optimism Can Be Learned (psychologytoday.com)
    Optimism, it turns out, isn’t just defined as the tendency to expect things to turn out better than probability predicts, nor is pessimism defined only as the tendency to expect things to turn out more poorly. Both terms are also used to describe the way we think about the causes of adversity, pessimism in particular being defined as the tendency to think about them in a way that makes us feel powerless. A pessimistic self-explanatory style, then, describes the tendency to attribute the causes of adversity to forces that are internal (“This is all my fault”), universal (“This affects absolutely everything”), and immutable (“This isn’t changeable”).
  • The Successful Optimist (entrepreneur.com)
    Optimists make more money and are more loyal.
    The optimist with high reality testing is a gold mine.
    Pessimists are more accurate about reality than optimists.
    There is nothing wrong with being a pessimist.
    Pessimists are more likely to become depressed than their optimistic counterparts.
    Optimists keep moving forward because they believe there are options.
  • Optimism, Pessimism, and Realism (hayeskaufman.wordpress.com)
    While the optimist generally believes in the positive and favorable aspects of life, the realist will sometimes disagree taking the stance that we live in an unpredictable world that can be as bad as it is good. While the optimist realizes that there are situations, people, and incidents that are by definition bad, they tend to focus on what positive elements can be taken from those incidents. The realist will usually acknowledge (and accept) those positive elements but they will also focus on why bad things happen, i.e. – there are bad people in the world/stuff happens/life isn’t perfect, etc.
  • An easy way to change how you think (the1bigthing.com)
    In the past 15 years Psychologists have turned their attention to what makes us happy in life. The research is loud and clear, your thinking has a huge impact on this. This post looks at what the research shows is ‘good’ thinking, what is not and shows an easy way to change how you think.
  • Learned optimism personal_transformation3 (slideshare.net)
  • Which one is better: Optimist or pessimist? (umsenglish2011.wordpress.com)
    Human personality traits can be inherited and learned. Nativists believe personality traits are inherited and empiricists believe personality traits are experienced.
    Both nativists and empiricists still argue whether personality traitsare inherited or experienced.
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    Being optimists are also taught in religion. For instance Islam, of course, our religion taught us to be optimists.
    As moslems, we are also taught that being positive can have big impact on our body and longevity.
    It has being said that positive thinking is not only broader our future but also prolong our lifespan. It is self-evident that being positive is not only for our health and well-being but also for our achievement in life.

    Finally, what should we choose? Either way could be disappointed depends on yourself.
    Then, I recommend you to be an optimist person because some researches, even our religion,
    have shown that being positive can reduce stress, increased immune system, prolong your life,
    and above all the very quality of your life.

Motivation & Inspiration

You have probably had someone tell you to “look on the bright side” or to “see the cup as half full.” Chances are good that the people who make these comments are positive thinkers. Researchers are finding more and more evidence pointing to the many benefits of optimism and positive thinking.Image

Such findings suggest that not only are positive thinkers healthier and less stressed, they also have greater overall well-being. Even if positive thinking does not come naturally to you, there are plenty of great reasons to start cultivating affirmative thoughts and minimizing negative self-talk.

Positive Thinkers Cope Better With Stress

When faced with stressful situations, positive thinkers cope more effectively than pessimists. In one study, researchers found that when optimists encounter a disappointment (such as not getting a job or promotion) they are more likely to focus on things they can do to resolve the situation. Rather than…

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