Are You Enjoying Life?

In the melody of our life, the music is separated here and there by rests.   – John Ruskin

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In music, as in life, a rest or a pause is a part of the making of the music. There are times when we must take a deliberate pause from the activities of life and the rapid pursuit of our dreams in order to rest and be still.

 

Recently, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii with his work. I must admit, at first I felt guilty for enjoying such a beautiful respite. As I sat by the pool reading one of Chip Ingram’s books, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, I came to chapter 8 entitled, “Enjoy Great Moments.” In this chapter, Chip expressed the importance of balance and the beauty of enjoying life. He wrote, “If heaviness is always the tone of your life, you’ll be out of balance, and a lot of other areas of your life will be negatively affected.”

 

He went on to say, “Here’s a question many Christians will never ask you: Are you enjoying your life? Are you deeply satisfied, drinking in rich experiences with people, places, and circumstances God is providentially surrounding you with?”

 

How kind our God is to allow me to read those very words as I took a rest from the rush of daily life and ministry. I needed a fresh reminder that it is not only good, but necessary to embrace the respite God provides in our lives. Yes, He leads us beside peaceful streams as our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23).

 

This week, I want to encourage you in two ways:

  1. Be deliberate about times of rest in your life. Don’t be afraid of the pauses, rather embrace them and allow yourself to enjoy them.
  2. Rejoice in the Lord. No matter what your circumstances, you can take joy in the fact that your Heavenly Father is with you and cares for you. He never changes. Take joy in Him and the love He has for you. The joy of the Lord is your strength.

 

Chip reminds us, “Being happy and finding satisfaction in life are gifts from God.” Don’t wait to enjoy life, embrace the blessings and great moments God gives you each and every day.

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New Thinking for the New Year

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Why is it that we stay in the same rut, thinking the same thoughts and yet expecting different results? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Every January 1st offers the opportunity to make new plans and take positive steps forward in our life, and it begins with our thinking. As we determine to make improvements in our life, let’s begin with a fresh start and a positive perspective.

Every year, I like to think of a new motto, a key Bible verse and one word to focus on for the next twelve months. Here are mine:

Motto: Live Clean in 2017!  In every area of my life, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally, I want to clean out the old negative habits and form good healthy new habits.

Key Bible Verse: Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity.”

My Word for the Year: Strength

Along with these inspirational objectives, I also like to ask myself a few questions as I think through specific goals. Here are three questions to consider for the new year:

  1. How do I want to improve from last year?
  2. Who do I want to get to know better this year?
  3. In what ways can I reach out and be a blessing to others?

Three simple questions that can guide your thinking for the new year. I hope it is a wonderful 2017 for you as you step out of the old and bring in the new.

 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

  • The Apostle Paul

Faithful and True

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Know therefore that the LORD your God is God;

 he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations

of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Deuteronomy 7:9

 

Faithful, and loyal; our Lord God keeps his promises to His people throughout the generations. He can be trusted. Perhaps you have felt the pain of a disloyal friend or unfaithful spouse or back-stabbing co-worker. The pain can run deep when you feel as though you have been betrayed. Our hearts long for someone we can believe in, someone we can trust, and someone who will be faithful through thick or thin.  The Lord your God is that faithful One.  We can place our lives into His hands for He will never abandon us or leave us. We are His beloved and His faithfulness is sure.

He is the ultimate promise-keeper. He loves you. He does not promise a perfect life or that your pathway will be challenge-free, but He does promise to be with you and be your strength through those rough times.  As His beloved followers, He will never leave us or forsake us. Take a moment right now to thank Him for His great faithfulness and dwell on His faithful love throughout the day today.

This is an excerpt from Karol’s devotional Pursuing God in the Quiet Places.   On sale this month for $5! Perfect for holiday giving or stocking stuffers.

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Look for the Possibilities

Great opportunities come to all, but many do not know they have met them. The only preparation to take advantage of them is simple fidelity to watch what each day brings.  Albert E. Dunning

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It seems a bit ironic that a visually impaired woman would encourage others to have focus and vision. Helen Keller didn’t let her challenges keep her from looking at the possibilities in her own life. Born in 1880, Helen became both blind and deaf at nineteen months of age due to a childhood illness, yet she was the first blind and deaf woman to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree and authored a dozen books and numerous other writings. In her book We Bereaved she wrote, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

Where are you looking? Have you allowed your eyes to zoom in on the frustrations that are right in front of you, making them seem larger than life? Or are you looking at the bigger broader picture – the picture that includes possibilities and hope? There are always possibilities around the corner, but we need to be looking for them instead of dwelling on what we don’t have. I like to say that the “B” in Plan B stands for beautiful. Often we think our Plan A was the perfect plan and that Plan B is second rate. Have you ever considered that Plan B is God’s Plan A and He can do a great work despite our disappointments and even our mistakes?

It may be difficult to conceive in your mind that anything good could come from hurt, pain and loss whether it is a physical, financial or a family tragedy in your life. We must be honest and grieve through the sadness that life brings. We don’t want to ignore our disappointment and hurt in our heart, but we also don’t want to close our mind’s eye to the redemption God can bring in the toughest of situations.  It may take time and perseverance. Plan B may be difficult, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. Perhaps the “B” in Plan B means “Be patient.” Allow God to do His work in His way, and do not despair for there is always hope.

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