Meaningful Life Under The Heavens (Guest Post)

Living a God-filled life is a life worth living.

Reposted from – https://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2019/06/24/meaningful-life-under-the-heavens-guest-post/

Centuries ago, a wise teacher conveyed his reflection on the meaning of life.  In his writings classified as wisdom literature, the Teacher said, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 NIV)  Yes, the time for birth is the beginning of a human being under the sky. But this isn’t an endless journey.  There is a time limit that no one can reject, namely the time to die.  Among these two phases, humans live a life full of color and dynamics.  Humans work, study, have fun, work, enjoy happiness, partying, prosperity, success, but in it there is also pain, loneliness, pain, poverty, destruction, and experiencing injustice.  All can come at any time, to anyone, whether they deserve it or not.  About all of that, the Teacher who was rich, powerful, and had the potential and opportunity to enjoy everything available in the world, gave his skeptical views: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.  “Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1: 2 NIV)  Then, about the various things that humans do throughout their lives under heavens, the Teacher concluded pessimistically that all these things are “chasing after the wind.”  What does that mean?

HEBEL, HEBEL, HEBEL

Hebel, a Hebrew word which in some copies translates as vanity, meaningless, futility, is a word that is repeated 37-38 times in Ecclesiastes.  Hebel, a word that means “through the breath, a breeze, a smoke, water vapor” is a very appropriate word to describe how short human life is.  Whether living for 30, 50, 60, 70, 90, or 100 years, all is like a single breath compared to limitless time, namely eternity, where every human being will go.

Hebel is the same word that is also used in Psalm 39: 4-6.  “Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am.  Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.  Selah.  Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they [b]busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches,  And does not know who will gather them.” (NKJV)

As with the Teacher, the Psalmist also viewed human life as “hebel”.  Very short, as a flash of shadow passed.  Contemplate … how briefly it can be finally be truly in vain if man only seeks satisfaction and the meaning of his life from what is transitory and temporary!  Then, what is the benefit of grandeur and pride under heaven, if in the end all things that are painstakingly pursued and maintained must be abandoned, and not contribute anything to eternity.  Up to this point, it is perfectly appropriate for the Teacher to describe it as vanity and chasing after the wind.  Then, how should humans go through life so that they aren’t trapped in a vortex of futility and a chasing after the wind?

CHRIST BE THE CENTER OF LIFE

The teacher doesn’t mean to say that human life is meaningless and useless, but that is what will happen if humans live their lives in their own way and do good things according to their own thoughts, without really seeking God.  Therefore, let’s return to the Teacher’s statement about the time for humans under heaven: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die.”  This statement shows that God has full power and sovereignty over everything, including determining the time of birth and death of everyone, without humans being able to choose for themselves.  However, between birth and death there is a period of time in which humans live their lives and in this life humans are given free will to determine their own choices, including those relating to relationships with God.

Praise God the Father, if at one moment we have made the decision to receive salvation in Jesus Christ.  It is grace that has transformed our status into a child of God and made a significant difference to our entire life.  When we accept Jesus Christ, at that time there is also a displacement of purpose in eternity, namely from death to life, from curse to blessing, from vanity to the divine vocation.  Faith in Christ is a step that immediately puts us on the path of grace which provides unlimited power and opens opportunities for us to do noble things that are eternal, according to God’s time and determination.

The power has been given by God, His help is available, but how the outcome depends on how we live our lives, whether we really make Christ the center of our lives or not.  Making Christ the center of our lives means making Christ the only foundation, source, goal and motivation, which controls all our thoughts, actions and attitudes in all aspects of life.  The sincerity of making Christ the center of our lives will be reflected in every choice of our response to everything that God has permitted to happen throughout our lives.  Whether we obey the desires of the flesh or the will of the Holy Spirit, obey our feelings or obey to do the word of God, continue to believe or be disappointed with God, and remain faithful to the end or leave God.  In the end, the choice for choice will determine the life we ​​live in, in vain or produce fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven.  Later, we must give accountability before God.

ENJOY LIFE IN THE FEAR OF GOD

” Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 NIV)

Actually, this whole life journey is a preparation for an inevitable responsibility, which must be faced by each person, personally.  Later, there is no reason and defense for every sin and mistake, because God has given us a lifetime opportunity to repent, be changed and shaped by God.  Therefore we must truly live right before God, because all of our responses to God when we are still alive today greatly determine how and where we will be in eternity.  God has bestowed salvation, given the Holy Spirit as Helper and Comforter, and has given the word that becomes the guide and contains the promises we need.  We just have to always live in fear of God.  Not fear of His judgment, but fear of God because we love and respect God.  So, we will be able to see and respond to this life properly so that we can receive and enjoy what God has provided in our lives with satisfaction and gratitude.  Thus, our focus isn’t on the pleasures of this world, but on God who gives everything.  As the Teacher’s advice: “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5: 18-19 NIV)  

Life isn’t easy, maybe we have done wrong and failed many times, but as long as we wholeheartedly want to surrender ourselves to God, then God will help us rise again and again.  His love always forgives and His power certainly strengthens and enables us to live according to His purpose and plan, so that our lives and labors aren’t in vain.  Then later … when we stand face to face with God to account for our every act, we will look at the face of Jesus Christ without feeling accused, but with relief and gratitude because God has made our lives meaningful.  Amen.

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images ( pixabay.com ) edited with pixlr apps

When Anxiety or Doubt Fills Your Mind.

Believers should not experience anxiety, doubt or fear. They are not in our DNA.

~ Lisa Blair
HealthyPlace.org

To say life can be difficult is a misnomer, life is difficult. The world is turning at an accelerated pace. Our minds are trying to keep up and society has placed immeasurable weight upon us. We tend to wake up feeling the pressure of the day, already feeling overwhelmed, but that is not the destiny of believers. Paul wrote in Psalm 49:19, and I am reflecting upon two versions NIV and NLT,

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭94:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I am sharing both because one expresses ‘anxiety’ and the other ‘doubt’. God provided us with a exchange system, exchanging His joy, renewed hope, and cheer for your anxiety, doubt, and fear.

God did not give us the continence to be fearful, anxious or doubtful. These are not part of our DNA.

II Timothy 1:7 NKJV reports,

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

If God did not give us fear, He did not give us anxiety or doubt. They are the birth children of sin. Christ died on the Cross to free is of sin. We still possess our sin nature, but we are no longer bound by it. Anxiety and doubt are shackles we can remove through prayer.

When we wake up in the morning feeling anxious or doubtful, the first thing we must do, yes – must do, is to ask the Lord to forgive our weaknesses and ask for the strength to break free and replace the fear with His power, love and a sound mind. A sound mind is not weakened or conflicted by anxiety, doubt or fear. Believers should not experience anxiety, doubt, or fear they are not in our DNA, work to prove God right, not wrong, stand strong.

Visit youngchristianwarriors.com to read posts about shackles, fear, anxiety, living in the muck and mire, and more.

Be Still, Experience Silence

If we cannot silence our thoughts, we cannot hear God. He won’t compete for our attention.

~Lisa Blair

Our lives are busy, we run to and fro trying not to miss a step. Our minds race, we never experience being still. One of my earlier posts shared that we can either learn to be still or as I once told my employees and students, we can suffer mandatory volunteerism. God gave me multiple opportunities but I did not take Him seriously. I gave one excuse after another. Finally, like any good Father, He took command and placed me in time out. He centered me in a place to be still, retirement, and told me to be still and listen to His quiet, still, voice.

God cannot lead us if we don’t take time to listen and converse with Him. He cannot converse with us if our minds don’t shutdown and release the static. You know, this type of static.

Stillness is the platform for establishing our relationship with our Lord. The scripture Psalm 46:10 reads, ‘Be Still and know that I am God’. There it is plan and simple, yet, so difficult to comprehend in a world were silence no longer exists.

This poem shares the concept of silence and how impactful conversations with God are on our lives.

Kickstart A Conversation With God. YouVersion. Bible.com

Take time everyday for the next two weeks and learn to converse with God. Listen to what He has to say about your life and the steps that will lead you down your destiny pathway.  You will be renewed and no longer bound by self-talk, social media, and purposeless thoughts. You will experience love greater than you can imagine, peace greater that you thought possible, and a sense of who you are in Christ.

Video – Kickstart A Conversation With God. YouVersion. Bible.com

Video – YouTube.com, dalesnale, Nov. 2, 2012

Image – Google Images, faithhopelove1cor13

Mercy and Grace In That Order

There is an order that eventuates in receiving God’s mercy and grace. They are not interchangeable.

~ Lisa Blair
66B989EE-4821-4F02-AAD9-1CC50C779B77
The Inseparability of Grace and Mercy –
hebrews4.org

God gives us His grace. His mercy is how He provides our request for help. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary (pp. 341) puts it this way:

Mercy is the act of God. Grace describes God’s attitude toward the lawbreaker and the rebel; mercy is His attitude toward those who are in distress.

God’s purpose for extending His grace and mercy upon us is to provide a means of salvation. God’s grace must always precede mercy. Only the forgiven can be blessed with God’s mercy.

Mercy is through the everlasting covenant God made with David, particularly pardoning mercy, and mercies that are refreshed everyday. We must approach God boldly without any fear or doubt. Mercy is ours each day. When in prayer, remind God of the covenant and ask for daily mercies. Mercy is like a daily vitamin, your body must be replenished each day, just as your being is through daily mercies.

The commentary from Barnes Notes, BibleHub.com, reads, “we may obtain mercy – this is what comes first. We need pardon – as the first thing when we come to God. We are guilty and self-condemned – our first cry should be for mercy.” Those who understand their need for forgiveness are best prepared to obtain God’s favor.

Finding grace, is finding favor, “strength, help, counsel, direction, support, for the various duties and trials of life. Even when pardoned, we need grace to keep us from sin and to aid us in the day of temptation..”

As Christians, we have the privilege of boldly coming before the throne, “we are sinful and need mercy; we are feeble, and need grace to help us. There is not a day of our lives in which we do not need pardon; not an hour in which we do not need grace.”

Easy way to remember – There is an order that eventuates in receiving God’s mercy and grace. They are not interchangeable.

Mercy is for past sins; grace for future work, trials, and resistance to temptation. (Vincent’s Word Studies, biblehub.com)

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The Trinity

God is a Trinity. There is only one God, but in the unity, there are three eternal, distinct yet equal beings.

~ C.C. RYRIE
Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible. 1984
Suzy Haynes, American Railway Travels. 2019

“He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
‭‭John‬ ‭1:2-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

St.Andrews Episcopal Church, Amarillo, Tx

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are always with us. In the beginning He, Jesus, was with God, long before they created the earth and all there is in it. Long before Christ came to earth to free us of our sins and demonstrate our walk. Long before God breathed life into us. Long before we came out of our mother’s womb. In Him, Jesus Christ was and is life and the light of men. This light shines down on us and because Christ was crucified, bore our sins, rose, and returned to heaven on the third day leaving His spirit to dwell in each of us; his light dwells in us, not just around us. The Holy Spirit completes the Trinity and as a result believer’s have been delivered from sin and its consequences through Salvation.

So go forth this day in the light. Be the bellwether of good cheer. Be kind, thoughtful, trustworthy, honest, respectful and in control. Do not allow the woes of the day affect you and beat you down. Speak to all things saying, “this is the day the Lord has made, I am glad and will rejoice in it.” Psalms 118:24 (paraphrased)

In closing, I want to impress that it is important to teach our children what the scriptures mean and how they impact their lives day-to-day. It is never to early to begin digesting the Word and applying it to our lives. Those who spend time teaching their children the Word are preparing Young Christian Warriors to become mature adults sharing the light in an uncertain world.

Praise be our Lord.

Your Calling Is Holy

We were called before the universe was spoken into being. We were created by God and called to be His people. Our calling is a Holy Calling.

~ Lisa Blair

“who had saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,” II Timothy 1:9 NKJV

That is right, we have been called with a Holy calling, one that was made before the beginning of time. God envisioned this world and all in it before He created time before He created the universe. As children, many of us wrote stories about cosmos and its inhabitants, envisioning them to manifest our reality. We were enthralled by our own imaginations, but think, God created all that exists from His thoughts and being God, brought it in into being. Every minute detail manifested to become atoms, that became trees, land, water, nature, us. And, in doing so, He called us, giving us life and a desire to know Him better through His grace. To redeem us from the sin that destroyed Eden and His relationship with Adam and Eve who sinned against Him and stripped us, leaving us in a state of sin. We were called through His purpose to share that God sent His Son, Christ Jesus to save us from our sin nature and spread the Good News of our salvation. It is His gift of grace, not of our own doing.

GOD’S GIFT OF GRACE THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON, CHRIST JESUS

GOD’S INVISIBLE QUALITIES

God’s invisible qualities are present in our life.

~ Lisa Blair

Contrary to popular belief, too many of us, Christians, are blind to the invisible world God created for us. We do not see the pure wonderment of his Workmanship. The Arabic version says that His properties are invisible to us because they can only be known through the eternal power and Godhead. When we are aligned with the Father, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us, the beauty and magnificence of the world are revealed to us. We begin to see the light of nature that His people have enjoyed since the beginning of time.

We begin to see the unity in all things and start to understand that nature, man, and all of the things of this earth are one, created by the Great Creator. Our passion for God’s presence is present in all things. The revelation of his Supremacy becomes visible through the invisible realm of His creation.

If nothing else, this should turn us from our wicked ways, fall to our knees vowing obedience and dependence upon Him who created us and leave our heathen/worldly lifestyles behind.

I have a Christian friend who shared that he had fallen away from the Lord. It was a slow tug back into his old life and was awakened when he was struck with an illness and taken to ER. His words are – ‘always stay alert,’ stay in the spirit, and see the invisible workmanship of the Lord, humble yourself to His way, His will, and His light.

Acts 1:8, KJV reads:

“But ye shall receive power, after that, the Holy Ghost comes upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

In this scripture, power (dynamai) refers to strength, the force of power behind supernatural events, i.e., the creation of the earth and all that is in it; the power of Jesus to work miracles because He is God. The power is seen in the crucifixion of Christ.

As believer’s, we are called to witness to those who are blind and destined to live in what they see, the sins of this world. ‘Paul teachers that every man, that has known God or not has rejected this knowledge of God and replaced it with idolatrous thoughts of another of their own making.(one passion ministries)’ As witnesses, we must share the invisible workmanship and wonderment of God’s world, both supernatural and natural, they are gifts from God and His sacrifice made to open our eyes.

Romans 1:20 NLT (Tyndale House) reads:

20 From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.

God’s invisible qualities are visible to those who believe. We have no excuses for falling short of denying ourselves and sharing the Good News.  Paul warned that God is not pleased with His followers who fall subject to their worldly sorrows, do not repent, and once again pick up their cross. We should do all we can to stay in God’s good graces. Do not look back to salvage your blinders. We have no excuses.

Images – YouVersion.Bible.com.Roger Coles; Google Images

References: Romans 1:20, YouVersion.Bible.com; Romans 1:20. BibleStudytools.com; Romans, 1:20,21 Commentary, preceptaustin.org; Romans 1:20. KJV Word Study Bible. Nelson Thompson Publishers; No Excuse – Romans 1:19-23. Onepassionministries.org

Refer to my Post – We Are the Light

Also, visit my website, My journey as a blogger began in 2017.