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Spiritual tips for a happy 2014

A NEW Year always brings with it new hope, new dreams, new visions and a chance for new beginnings, particularly if the previous year was one where you might have experienced bereavement, made some poor decisions that impacted you negatively, or well thought through plans didn’t achieve the results you expected.

My first comment to you is embrace all that happened. Life experiences, particularly those that are painful or negative, will make you stronger if you process them properly. Furthermore, overcoming negative life experiences will make you better placed to provide encouragement and inspiration to others who you’ll meet on life’s journey, who are experiencing something similar.

And if you are keen to make sure that 2014 is God inspired, faith filled, action packed, fulfilling year - here are some tips on how to do so...

TRUST IN GOD – The Bible states that believers should: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:4-7). Believe that God has your life in His hands, that he has everything under control, and that He is with you through the good times and the bad, and working out everything for your good.

BE WORSHIPFUL - Submit yourself to God through times of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. Romans 12:1 says: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”

BE PRAYERFUL – God is always open to the prayers and cries of those who love and serve Him, so never underestimate the power of prayer. We are encouraged to be ‘pray and not faint’ (Luke 18:1) and that the prayers of the righteous are ‘powerful and effective’.

BE FORGIVING – There are people in this world who will hurt us, betray us and use us, and when they do so, if we are not careful, it’s easy to be filled with destructive feelings of bitterness and thoughts for revenge. The antidote to such attitudes is forgiveness as bitterness can inhibit us from being the person God has called us to be. And remember, if we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us.

IF YOU DON’T ASK YOU DON’T GET – Sometimes the opportunities we desire in order to take us to the next level will come when we ask the right people the right question. Wasn’t it Jesus who said “everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

TAKE RISKS – A faith filled life is a risk filled life. You can’t live a life of faith without taking risks and stepping into the unknown. Any great human endeavour, be it big or small, involves an element of risk, so whatever you feel inspired by God to do something, do it. It’s God’s way of saying ‘take that risk but I’m here to support you all the way and if I give you the vision, I will make the provision.’

EXPERIENCE IS A GREAT TEACHER – One thing to recognise is life is not a bed of roses, and that our life’s journey can also be littered with pain, discouragement, and injustice. However, sometimes life’s greatest lessons can come from our negative experiences, and when this happens, ask God how you can use your experience to be a blessing to someone else.

BE A CHRISTIAN – The greatest disservice you can do to God and yourself is say you’re a Christian but live a life that says the opposite. We serve a merciful God, so if you find yourself continually falling short of God’s demands for righteous living, ask him to help you – he’ll send you the help you need. And steer clear of the company and tempting situations.

LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH – Whatever purpose God put on this earth for, you need a healthy body to fulfill it so make sure you focus on maintaining optimum health by eating the right foods, exercising, and going to the doctors when you notice something wrong with your usual bodily functions. Your health is your wealth so look after it.

BE GLAD TO BE ALIVE – Life is a gift so make sure you value it and that you effectively utilise the time you have been given to fulfil your God given purposes for your life. This means you should avoid people, situations and activities that waste your time and take away your joy for life.

ENJOY GOD’S CREATION – There’s so much more to serving God than praying, fasting and attending church services. Do take time out to enjoy his creation – whether it’s having good times with other people, enjoying our beautiful world by travelling to different parts of the world, taking up a new hobby or just reading a book. Life is to be enjoyed so do so.

LOVE GOD AND YOURSELF – Jesus himself told us that the greatest commandment is to love God, ourselves and each other. Let this be the mantra that you live by – you do God, yourself and humanity a disservice if you don’t.

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