Spirituality

Making Sense of God, Money and Happiness

We tend to think that money brings happiness (who wouldn’t be happy to be offered a million pounds or dollars?). Yet there is something about the achieving of financial wealth that does not ultimately satisfy. Rather than listening to me, here are some quotes from five wealthy men of history that powerfully illustrate this: John D. Rockerfeller: “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.” W.H. Vanderbilt: “The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.” John Jacob Astor:
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The Surprising Connection Between God, Money and Happiness

The combination of God, money and happiness may not at first glance seem to go together, but it surprising and intriguing how they are linked. In fact it is quite remarkable how much the Bible has to say about money. The following statistics illustrate this in a dramatic way. There are approximately 500 verse in the Bible on prayer and another 500 on faith. However, when it comes to money and possessions there are a staggering 2,350 verses! Apparently 15% of Jesus’ words are on money and possession – that
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4 Lessons we learn from Christmas

Christmas Day is arguably one of the most celebrated days in the history of the world. What is its signifcance and why is it so widely celebrated? When we think about Christmas one of my favourite verses is from 2 Corinthians 8:9. This is how it is translated from the original Greek in the New International Version: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich.” The Message
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Why I struggle with religion

That may come as something of a surprise to you, but yes I do struggle with religion. When I say that I am not referring to any one religion in  particular, but with the entire premise behind religious thinking. It appears to me that whatever our religious background or professed faith or even lack of any faith, there is the same premise at the back of our minds. What is that premise?
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Wise, foolish, evil? What kind of person are you?

As we reflect on the Law of the Inner Circle with regard to the people around us, it does beg the question as to what kind of person am I when I am around others? So as you read this post it is important to reflect on your own attitude and reactions to others as well as the behaviour of those around you. Categorising people may seem unduly harsh – especially if there is no self-reflection. However, what is also very apparent from both experience as well as all the
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5 Key Relationships You Must Invest In

So how do I cultivate a network of healthy relationships around me to sustain me for the long haul? In many ways that takes a life time to answer! However, its helpful to look at some principles and guidelines to steer us in the right direction. For me that has meant cultivating the following 5 types of relationships in the following order:
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Why do I need to cultivate a network of healthy relationships around me?

We have been creating a case for the importance of having the right balance of support and accountability in our lives. We are fundamentally relational beings and thrive best when we are in relationships of trust and encouragement. That is what will sustain us over a lifetime. (See the previous posts Who Are You Allowing To Get Close To You? along with What Kinds of People Are Drawn To You? and The Power of Human Connection.) Of course we all have our own share of difficult relationships and people we
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Moving from disappointment to joy

As we discuss that elusive search for joy that goes on in our lives, we have looked at the cultural myths that get in the way of us finding the joy we deep down long for. Tim Keller describes these as ‘naive primary strategies’.(See previous post). They are naive in that they are both too simplistic and because they have to do with things that have to go right in our lives for us to be happy. In traditional cultures it is about having the right spouse or family or career;
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The lies we tell ourselves about joy

Our hearts are hungry for joy. We think it is our circumstances that need changing, but joy goes well beyond our circumstances as this powerful and joy-filled video illustrates: As children we looked to all sorts of things for joy fulfilment. I gave some examples from my own life in the previous post. The other huge area where this expresses itself is with romantic love. For me as a teenager growing up in an all boys school in England that was a huge subject to deal with. And it still
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The search for joy

You and I are hungry for joy. The 4 minute video below about Nick Vujicic we introduced in the last post illustrates how there is a form of happiness that is independent of our circumstances. Nick in this video has certainly experienced it. There is a deep desire in our hearts for joy. At the same time there is also in our hearts a deep lack of joy that creates an intense internal longing. As C.S. Lewis says, “There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious.”
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Why is joy more important than happiness?

I don’t think it is a matter of semantics. We have looked at the importance of a happy disposition in life, but we also need to make a distinction between happiness and joy. What is the distinction? The following 4 minute video of  Nick Vujicic who was born with no arms and legs is incredibly joyful: Nick is able to show an incredible amount of happiness in spite of his apparent limitations because he has joy. That joy empowers him, as he says on the video “to be thankful, to
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Why Gratitude can be so Powerful

We have been looking at the importance of gratitude as a key to overall happiness in life (see previous post). We have also pointed out how psychologists have estimated that life circumstances only account for about 10% of a person’s overall level of happiness (see the happiness formula at Why I Am Working at Becoming a Happier Person). According to psychologists, 90% of your overall level of happiness has to do with who you are and what you do. Intuitively we know life will always have its ups and downs and
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The importance of gratitude in becoming a genuinely happier person

For much of my life I have been a ‘glass half-empty’ negative kind of person. I am not proud of that. Given a choice I will tend to find my mind drifting towards the worst case scenario. When they were younger some of my children gave me the nickname “Pudleglum”.  Puddleglum is a fictional character from C.S. Lewis’ children’s novel, “The Silver Chair”. He is caricature of pessimissim and a bastion of gloomy fortitude.  (see post What Are The Forms of Major Depressive Disorder? and my own personal struggle with
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9 reasons why you could be feeling down. Particularly #4

We all have times when we feel down or deflated. For a clinical diagnosis of depression, doctors consider nine specific symptoms. Major depression is diagnosed from persistent low mood and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities along with at least four of the other symptoms for at least two weeks. (See Is The Rate of Depression Actually Increasing or Not?) But whether depression is classified as major, moderate or minor, as far as the individual is concerned its all major. Rather like all minor surgery if it is
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Rick Warren and the secret anguish of Major Depressive Disorder

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of one of the largest churches in the United States with an attendance of approximately 20,000 every week. He is also the author of The Purpose Driven Life book which has sold over 30 million copies. In 2005 Time magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2006 Newsweek called him “One of the 15 People who make America Great.” For someone with such outer success he has attracted both great appreciation and great antagonism. However, Rick and
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    This information is for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be personal medical advice. Please ask your physician about any health guidelines seen in this blog, as everyone is different in his or her medical needs.