I have always been a major fan of authors Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Recently, my cousin from Texas told me about this new church opening at the Compaq Center in Houston. I began following the build-up to the event and shared the info with my mother. One day she told me one of the police officers with whom she works was reading Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen, the minister of this new church. I got the book from the library and it is wonderful. Generally, I am apprehensive of books written by ministers as they tend to delve too much of their own doctrine, which is fine, but not for me. Joel Osteen, like Peale and Schuller, has a remarkable way of presenting these life enriching thoughts. Here is an outline of what Osteen has to say:

Enlarge your vision:
* Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God’s best
* Envision your own success
* You must receive it in your mind and heart before you can receive it

Raise your level of expectancy:
* Program your mind for success
* Break out of your self-imposed prison
* Find somewhere you can dream

God has more in store:
* What you will receive is directly connected to how you believe
* Break curses

Break barriers of the past:
* Clear the battles of the mind
* Each day is a new day
* Get some fire in your spirit
* Let God open doors
* Don’t let anything keep you down

Develop a healthy self image:
* You will never rise above the image you have of yourself in your mind
* Change your self image
* Don’t focus on weaknesses

Understand your values:
* Learn to be happy with your self

Become what you believe:
* We receive what we believe
* What you believe has much greater impact on your life than what anybody else believes
* Dare to believe for greater things

Develop a prosperous mind-set:
* Learn to appreciate differences
* Be the best that you can be, then you can feel good about yourself

Choose the right thoughts:
* Constantly think about what you are thinking
* Set your mind on higher things
* When you think positive, excellent thoughts, you will be propelled toward greatness
* If you transform your mind you will transform your life
* God believes in you

Reprogram your mental computer:
* You are programmed for victory

Power in your words:
* What you say in the midst of your difficulties will have a great impact on how long you stay in those situations
* Stop talking about how big your mountains are to God, and start talking to your mountains about how big your God is
* Guard what you say

Speak life changing words:
* avoiding negative talk is not enough… you must get on the offense

Let go of emotional wounds:
* Make the most of what you have
* Change the channel – just like the remote for your television set
* Get up and get moving

Don’t let bitterness take root:
* Forgive to be free
* Forgiveness is a choice, but is not an option

Defeat disappointments:
* You can’t unscramble eggs
* Don’t become trapped in the past

Find strength through adversity:
* Even when we are sitting down on the outside, we must see ourselves as standing on the inside
* Keep on standing firm

Trust God’s timing:
* God often works the most when we see it and feel it the least

Trials have a purpose:
* It’s in the tough times of life that we find out what we’re really made of
* The trial is a test of your faith, character and endurance

Keep your heart of compassion open

Choose to be happy – it is a choice:
* Happiness is a decision you make, not an emotion you feel
* Don’t worry about the things you cannot change

Live with enthusiasm – don’t go through the motions in life – have enthusiasm!