Enjoy Life

I’ve been reading a book called, “Wide Awake” by Erwin Raphael McManus, and wanted to share my notes from Chapter 7.

God designed us to enjoy life; He created us for pleasure. God created us so He could enjoy us and we could enjoy Him, and we could enjoy life. God created us in the perfect environment for pleasure, enjoyment, and desire. This is the story of creation. This is our beginning. God created the world for our enjoyment. We took the fun out of it.

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there He placed the man He had created. And the Lord God planted all sorts of trees in the garden – beautiful trees that produced delicious fruit.

God’s idea was to put us in a beautiful place filled with delicious fruit and gorgeous surroundings. The world was designed to inspire the human spirit. We would wake up and want to shout at the top of our lungs how good life is. It really was a pleasure to be here.

We were created to take care of the world. We don’t live in paradise anymore. Now we have to bring paradise to where we live. You are physiologically and psychologically designed to enjoy life. God designed you to experience pleasure.

If you can see colors, taste flavors, and smell aromas, you have the capacity by God’s design to actually enjoy those pleasures.

Religion focuses on the suppression of desires, the elimination of desires, the denial of desires. But God redirects our desires from destructive outlets to creative ones. Religion is an attempt to control people by controlling their desire and passions rather than awakening and unleashing them.

Scriptures teach that knowing and loving God awakens all your God-given desires and passions. David wrote, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). You were designed to desire and to enjoy.

God made you to enjoy life. He’s not trying to stop you from enjoying life, He’s trying to help you find the joy for which you were created.

The only way you are going to stop being pulled around by destructive desires and passions is to allow God to awaken those passions and desires that will bring your life to wholeness and health, and make you fully alive. You are supposed to enjoy life. It’s a command. The word Eden means pleasure. God puts them in the garden of pleasure.

Maybe we need to stop living in the dark and get in the light. Jesus said “I am the light of the world”(John 8:12). Maybe we need to get into the light and allow him to infuse some enjoyment into our lives even on the darkest of days.

This was just a gentle reminder to me that God wants me to enjoy my life. It reminds me of what David wrote in Psalm 45, “I write my life with my tongue.” “My years are delightful, pleasant, and sweet”(Job 36:11). I can create a life of joy even in the midst of turbulent circumstances. I can meditate on Him, His word, and His love for me. I can – on purpose – create memorable times with my family and friends. So, go ahead, write your life with your tongue. Smile at your future. Know that God will never leave you or forsake you. Breathe in, breathe out, Life is good!

Blessings,

Joni

BELIEVE

As I was watching Polar Express over the holidays with my family, a scene stood out to me like never before. It’s the scene after they were at the North Pole and Santa finally came out to get in his sleigh. A bell fell from the reindeer as they were jumping in excitement for Santa. The bell landed at the feet of the little boy who was the main character. He picked up the bell and shook it only to be disappointed that no sound came from the bell. He closed his eyes and shook it again and started saying “I believe”, “I believe”. He had been doubting that Santa existed. As soon as he closed his eyes and said, “I believe”, the bell gave its jingle.

This scene prompted my thinking on how so many times we doubt that our lives can improve and get better. Our thinking says, “it’s never happened in the past so what makes me think it will happen this year.” This thought forces itself on me a lot. Several scriptures came to mind – “Lord, I believe”, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24), “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27), “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).  Our job is to never quit. No matter how loud the circumstances scream at us… our response is to scream back, “I believe, help my unbelief!” Listen to the worship song with the link below. Be encouraged!

“I Lift My Hands”- Chris Tomlin

Be Blessed,

Joni

Love Anyway

Here is your encouragement for the day. I need it today, so maybe you do too.

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered

LOVE THEM ANYWAY

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

DO GOOD ANYWAY

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.

SUCCEED ANYWAY

The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow.

DO GOOD ANYWAY

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY

Big people with even bigger ideas will be shot down by small people with even smaller minds.

THINK BIG ANYWAY

People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs.

BE THE UNDERDOG ANYWAY

What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight.

BUILD ANYWAY

People really need help but may attack you if you help them.

HELP THEM ANYWAY

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.

GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY

– Kent Keith

Keep giving, keep loving, keep building. Don’t let disappointment stop you in your tracks.

Blessings,

Joni

Words To Live By – Leave a Legacy

My last child is graduating and we are giving him a private party this Saturday, and I wanted to give him some words of advice for his future. I thought I would pass it along to whoever is listening out there. It is a good reminder for myself as well.

My son has a knack of collecting quotes. He found some quotes from Alice in Wonderland, so I planned my speech around the quotes he shared with me a few days ago.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. (Langston Hughes Pg109 Life strategies for teens)

One thing is certain. In a land where there are no musicians; in a land where there are no storytellers, teachers, and poets; in a land where there are no men and women of vision and leadership; in a land where there are no legends, saints, and champions; in a land where there are no dreamers – the people of that land will most certainly perish. But you and I, we are the music makers; we are the storytellers, teachers, and poets; we are the men and women of vision and leadership; we are the legends, the saints, and the champions; and we are the dreamers of the dreams. (The Rhythm of Life, Matthew Kelly)

Whatever your dream is, make it happen. Have courage. Start today. (Matthew Kelly)

I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

 Benjamin Franklin asked himself everyday – What good shall I do today, and in the evening he asked, What good have I done today?

 John Adams said to his children, “Do good and be good”.

Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

Screenwriter Leo Rosten said, “I think the purpose of life is to be useful, responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”

“Live with purpose, Live by priority, and Live for Productivity.”

 Long before you lead others, you must lead yourself.

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”

You may not know which road to take in life. Life is a revelation of self. It is also your chance to serve others and make a difference in this sometimes weary world.

Clarity comes from engagement not thought. Train yourself to bring passion to everything you do. Passion is contagious. Then you will find your passion as you try new things.

Gen 28 says, “I”ll stay with you, I’ll protect you wherever you go. I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you.

Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to get it.

“You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help other people get what they want.” (Zig Ziglar)

Our every action is an opportunity to carry the torch of hope to an often weary world. Each day is filled with an opportunity to make a difference. Make a difference. It is not that hard. Make a habit of making another person’s day. Every day. (Matthew Kelly)

Blessings,

Joni

 

 

During my study time this morning I ran across some notes that were a good reminder for me to practice in my life. Sometimes we let things slip and have to go back and start over. I thought I would share with you what I found this morning.

First up are notes from Robin Sharma’s book The Greatness Guide.

“People want to know you are real. That you are decent, kind, and trustworthy. They want to feel you and sense you. They want to know your passion. People do business with people they like and who make them feel good. We need to get masterful at the basics. Success is all about consistency around the fundamentals.”

“Discover your talents and then work like crazy to polish them. Know what you are really good at. Reflect on those abilities others admire in you. Think about those capabilities that just come easily for you – that flow effortlessly from you.”

“Your surroundings shape the way you feel. And the way you feel drives what you do.”

Now we hear from John Maxwell and his book 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

“When what motivates you lines up with what satisfies you, it is a powerful combination. One of the main keys to being successful and fulfilling your purpose is to understand your unique talents and to find the right arena in which to use them.”

“Discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.”

“The people with whom you habitually associate are called your “reference group” and they determine as much as 95% of your success or failure.”

I hope these notes challenged you like they did me this morning. I am choosing to follow through on my goals and dreams, and not let life just happen.

Make it a great day!

Joni

Here is another link to music I like to listen to when I study. I promised in my last blog that I would give you a link each blog post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FlsIaoBkGs

THE ROSE

Image

Compare the serene and simple splendor of a rose in bloom with the tensions and restlessness of your life. The rose has a gift that you lack; It is perfectly content to be itself. It has not been programmed from birth, as you have been, to be dissatisfied with itself, so it has not the slightest urge to be anything other than it is. That is why it possesses the artless grace and absence of inner conflict that among humans is only found in little children – Anthony DeMello

I found this quote after I planted my rose bush, so I thought I would share it with you. I have been learning how to spend time in the mornings being quiet and reflective. I like to surround myself with flowers, quiet music, and nature. I have gathered links of soothing music to help me get quiet in my mind. I will be sharing these links with you on these posts.

Here is the first of many:

Enjoy!

Joni

 

 

The Magic Is In Me!

I was reading today out of one of my favorite children’s books, The Secret Garden, and discovered a page that caused me to reflect on God’s Blessing. The following are quotes straight from the book in chapter twenty three, which caused me to ponder what The Blessing accomplishes in us.

Then something began pushing things up out of the soil and making things out of nothing. One day things weren’t there and another they were. (This principle is right out of Mark 4:26-28)

Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds. So it must be all around us. I am going to make the scientific experiment of trying to get some and put it in myself and make it push and draw me and make me strong. I don’t know how to do it but I think that if you keep thinking about it and calling it perhaps it will come. Perhaps that is the first baby way to get it.

Every morning and evening and as often in the daytime as I can remember I am going to say, Magic is in me. Magic is making me well.

I’ve heard Jem Fettleworth’s wife say over and over a thousand times – calling Jem a drunken brute. She used the wrong magic. If she’d used the right Magic and had said something nice perhaps he wouldn’t have got as drunk as a lord and perhaps he might have bought her a new bonnet.

Colin said, “I’m tired and I want to sit down.” “Eh”, said Dickon, thou musn’t begin by saying tha’rt tired. Tha’ might spoil the Magic.” “That’s true”, he said slowly, I must only think of the  Magic.

Then I will chant, he said. And he began, looking like a strange boy spirit. The sun is shining- the sun is shining. That is the Magic. The flowers are growing – the roots are stirring. That is the Magic. Being alive is the Magic – being strong is the Magic. The Magic is in me – the Magic is in me. It is in me – it is in me. Magic! Magic! Come and help.

He had made himself believe he was going to get well, which was really more than half the battle. And the thought which stimulated him more than any other was this imagining what his father would look like when he saw that he had a son who was as straight and strong as other fathers’ sons.

His experiment was quite practical and simple and there was nothing weird about it at all. Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes in his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.

Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.

There are so many scriptural principles in this passage, but I will only reflect on one, which is The Blessing. The Blessing is an empowerment to prosper in whatever we put our hands to. Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant He confirmed with your ancestors with an oath. (Deuteronomy 8:18)

I would change Colin’s experiment by saying, The Blessing is in me. The Blessing is making me well. Being alive is The Blessing – being strong is The Blessing. It is in me – it is in me. Blessing! Blessing! Come and help!

This really stirred me up today to realize His presence is in me, and on me, and with It is The Blessing!

Be Blessed With The Blessing,

Joni