Celebrate Life

 

 

Ecclesiastes 9:4

For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.

celebrate1

As long as you are alive, you have hope for the future. No matter your circumstances, God’s grace abounds everywhere. Nothing is hidden from Him; nothing escapes Him, nothing limits Him. He created you to live life to the fullest; to experience His love, and fulfill your potential.

Our challenge most often is to get out of the way. We think our plans and solutions are the best ones not realizing there just may be a better way. Our pride and insecurity often prevent us from yielding ourselves to His instructions. We falsely believe no one knows us better than ourselves. What we fail to realize so often is how blind and ignorant the self so easily becomes. We all need a mentor; someone who has gone before us and can show us how it is done.

Life is for the living, not for the dead. As long as we are alive, we can celebrate the life given to us by our Creator. We may not enjoy our current situation and circumstances may temporarily be in stink mode, but we have hope in a Savior – His name is Jesus.

He lived life to the fullest. He introduced us to His Father. He taught us the reality of life in His Kingdom. He intervenes for us. He shares His life with us. He gives us purpose and meaning to celebrate life the way our Creator initially designed the world to be.

Yes, there will be disappointments. Yes, expectations fail. Yes, circumstances change. But through everything, the Triune God cares for you and wants you to share in their life. As we lean on Him, His character, divine nature, and attributes rubs unto you. You become more of a “little Christ.” The joy & peace He instills in you begins to uncontrollably overflow unto others. Your love for others is more fully expressed in your desire to help them succeed. Life becomes more than just about survival. Life becomes a celebration of what God has done, is doing, and will yet do.

Always remember, as long as you are alive, you have hope for the future because God’s Love is greater than anything this world throws your way!   This is our reason for celebrating life each and everyday.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

ENJOYMENT WITH PURPOSE

<!–[endif]–>

truth 7

Someone asked me this question other day; “isn’t enjoying life in Christ just being narcistic?” I had to smile and then refrain from going into a one hour sermon on the blessings of life in Christ. However, I could understand his/her dilemma. In our culture today, which is very probably more self-absorbent than our forefathers, being joyous is sometimes associated with having everything we want, when we want it, and how we want it. However, life in Christ is just the opposite when compared to the up-side down world we live in.

Enjoyment is learning to live with God in the center of everything we do. It is enjoying His creation and realizing the purpose behind it. It is being a faithful steward. It is realizing that God created everything in this world to be enjoyed and shared with others. He inspired Solomon to write that what is enjoyable for humanity is to experience gladness with the basic routines of life that includes eating, drinking, and working. The one who finds a good mate likewise receives a gift from God. That everything made under the sun was created for mankind’s enjoyment. The problem of course is the sinful nature that leads us to rebel against God’s ways. Because of sin and its effect upon a broken world, much of what God created for good becomes perverted and harmful against oneself and others.

Now we are not condoning harming others for our joy.  Real joy harms no one. Real joy uplifts the spirit and inspires everyone around. Real joy reminds us that God is good, loving, and full of radiant life himself. That He created everything to share with us. That everything He made was very good and for our good. Joy is one of the attributes of the Spirit. As the Spirit lives in us, His character, attitude, and divine nature rubs off against us, and like a contagious virus that fights against bacteria, His Spirit influences and impacts us along the way.

My apology for those who I may have offended by enjoying the life God has made for me.  My prayer is that our Triune God may likewise create a new heart in you so that your joy may likewise be full.

Enjoying Life in Christ,

Dr. Mike

WHAT KIND OF LIFE DO YOU REALLY WANT?

A Short Essay on the Book of Ecclesiastes

meaning 4

What is Life all about? Does Life make sense to you?  If someone asked you, how would you respond? Someone once asked me if I could only preach from one book from the Bible to today’s generation, which book would it be?  John? Matthew? Romans? Revelation? Genesis?  Would you believe-Ecclesiastes? Why?  Because it is written to self-centered, independent happiness seekers who believe they have life figured out in a simple formula and they are not going to miss out on anything.  Sound familiar?  Does that sound like someone you may know?

Let me ask again…What is Life all about?  Think about it…

One day you are born into a world and into a family that you didn’t ask for.  They raised you as they chose. You go to school, public, private, or even home-schooled – five years of grade school, 3 years of middle school, 4 years of high school, than you have the honor of graduating and deciding what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life.  You may enter a trade school, or a local college, or leave home to a major university – and their spend another 4 more years preparing you for your life’s work.  You graduate and decide to pursue graduate studies, possibly even post-graduate work.  All to prepare you for your life’s work. meaning 21

Meanwhile, you meet a person of the opposite sex that you enjoy hanging around with – you become involved and begin dating more seriously; meanwhile you find a job in the career field you have chosen.  You’re excited that someone is going to pay you that kind of money to do what you want to do…you buy yourself a new car, you buy yourself that low down-payment, fixer-up house that you always wanted; and you even start paying off your student loans.  You marry, you have children -1.8 per the national average. You fix up your house for the additional members.  You expand it up and over.  You build yourself that 3 car garage with the attached tool shed where you like to disappear on weekends.  You work, you run around town watching your 1.8 kids sporting activities.  You watch your kids graduate from high school and move on to college; your company is bought out and your job is eliminated; you sell your dream house and move into a smaller, easier to maintain unit.

You retire, your children get married and occasionally stop by with the grand-kids so you can spoil them.  Your body begins to lose hair as it changes color; you have put on more weight around the mid-section. Your not as quick as you use to be and your hearing and eyes play tricks on you.  One day you find yourself sick, you visit the doctors and he tells you that you have the dreaded C – cancer.  You have a short time to live.  You begin to ask yourself, what has my life been all about?  You die and though you request to be cremated, your mate always stated to you that funerals are for the living and therefore gave you a large open casket funeral where everyone who you haven’t seen in the last twenty years stop by to offer their words of sadness to your late spouse. What is life all about?

As a seventeen year old in my senior year of high school that question impacted my mind for months.  It’s how God led me to begin investigating life’s meaning and purpose in my own life.  It led me to discussion with all the people who are suppose to know – priests, teachers, nuns, philosophers, authors, and eventually to the Bible itself. I would strike up discussions with anyone who wanted to discuss the subject.  Eventually, people would turn away from me because they themselves didn’t have the answers and didn’t want to deal with the questions.

meaning 10

In fact, the very first book that I read from the Bible was the Book of Ecclesiastes – how’s that for a questioning 17 year old?  “All is vanity and blowing after wind” is what the book reads in its beginning refrain.  How would you feel being 17 years old and you read from the Bible that All is vanity?  How would you respond?

Since then though I have made it an annual tradition to read the book at least once per year simply to keep my feet on solid ground at how to deal with reality.  This past year I took a class on the Old Testament  and it has opened my mind to a deeper appreciation on the message the author wanted to convey to his universal audience.

Since the Book of Ecclesiastes is in the Old Testament, most people believe it was written to the Jewish people of its time.  However, there are many theologians today who now agree that it was written to a larger universal audience because of its style, structure, and what is not included within the message.  Today, we would call it an evangelical sermon.

What is the book about?  What does the book have to do with answering the question, what is life all about?  Many who have read it are confused on its message.

Is the author really a pessimist?  Does he only views the worst side of things; finds no comfort in God, and sees no hope for man’s happiness?  Isn’t the ever-recurring theme, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” a cynical view of life?

Yes the author affirms that death is better than life; that man’s labor, aim, and ambition ends in disappointment; that the pursuit of wisdom, wealth, and pleasure is unsatisfying.  However, these verses do not represent the teaching of the book; they only occur as a passing observation in the course of his investigation. His pessimism is only a gray cloud covering the sunshine until the proper time.

When he speaks in negative tones of life’s circumstances, he desires to call attention to the weaknesses of reality. Our mistake is to think that we can secure happiness by our own efforts and deny the involvement of a higher power.  Whereas the author repeatedly states that mankind cannot achieve enjoyment except by the gift of God.

The author speaks of “vanity,” not with bitterness or scorn, but as a stated fact. This is the result of his advanced study of men, nature, and life’s circumstances. From such feelings he finds refuge by contrasting this with another fact, which he holds just as strong, namely, that the whole universe is made and is governed by a God of justice, goodness, and power; and the good things in life come from Him.

meaning 14

The mood of Ecclesiastes is one of delight, with prospects of living and enjoying all the goods of life – once man has come to fear God and keep His commandments. It is a book written to celebrate “joy” and God’s “good” creation. The author recommends joy and rejoicing because life is a gift from God.

What is the message of the Book of Ecclesiastes?  Simply this…

               Apart from the Creator God, Life is Empty, Futile, and Meaningless – But God’s Gift is Joy, Contentment, and Fulfillment.

He repeatedly states that there is nothing to gain from this planet apart from God – “under the sun” is how the author states it 28 times.

The simple routine functions of life are meant to be enjoyed as a gift from God.  God has already ordained that we enjoy what we eat, drink, the work we do, the mate we marry, the companions we live life with, and what we wear. 12 times God is said to ‘give’.  Seven times man is said to have a joyful ‘portion’ from God

Let’s read the authors conclusion of his message:

Eccl 12:13-14 NLT

“Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person.  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”

Or to put it in today’s vocabulary (my translation):

            “Believe God; Be at awe of Him; Remember. God is God, we are not.

            Walk with Him, Come to Know Him – Let His character rub off on you.

            Be Accountable to Him; He will bless & yes, discipline you; because He loves you and wants what is best for you.  He will give you the gift of joy, contentment, and fulfillment.”

Jesus Christ stated it more clearly for his disciples today: Matt 6:33 “Seek first the Kingdom of God & His Righteousness…

Seeking the Kingdom of God requires following its King, Jesus Christ.  It means being a disciple of His.  A lifestyle of Kingdom living…..His Righteousness is accepting Jesus Christ’s redeeming life, death, and resurrection as imputing His righteousness in our lives.  When God sees us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus.  As we walk in His presence, develop a lifestyle as His disciple, and allow Him to teach us in His Word through the Holy Spirit, our character, attitude, and life will become transformed like His.

The Preacher lived approximately 1000 years before Christ – He explained it as he saw it.  His conclusion:

Apart from the Creator God, Life is Empty, Futile, and Meaningless –

                          But God’s Gift is Joy, Contentment, and Fulfillment.

Jesus 7If you really want a life full of Joy, Contentment, and Fulfillment, and you have tried everything that this world has to offer – only to discover what Solomon did – how empty, futile, and meaningless it really is, than maybe its time to do business with Jesus….

This is the message of the Book of Ecclesiastes. How does that agree with your theology?

By Dr. Mike