Next week we will celebrate the 4th of July. The day in the history of our nation’s signing of the Declaration of Independence.
We will be having family and friends over to cook out. We will gorge ourselves on food that is bad for us. We will laugh and play and live “the life.” After all, that is what our life is all about! Right??
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NASB “I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is the gift of God.”
Ecclesiastes 5:18 “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting; to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and the receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.
I believe with all my heart that God loves to see his children enjoy the life He has given. However, we frequently need a re-vision of what kind of life really brings one “gladness of his heart.”
“To realize our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever is to appreciate the whole thrust of Scripture, to see into God’s heart, and to discover our own purpose. A real grasp of this truth can enable us to see that knowing Jesus is eternal life, and that losing our lives for him means finding true life.” The Shorter catechism : a Baptist version : with scripture quotations from the New King James Version.p. Cm. Based on the Westminster Assembly catechism, with a few questions added and others modified to express the Baptist doctrine.
The real secret of life is experiencing the presence of God daily. That was the first experience man had with God in the garden. Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the evening.
The freedom that comes from living free of the shackles of sin’s enslaving is a gift from God. “When we confess our sin, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
The problem is we want to carry the shackles and keep reminding ourselves of our past as though it might keep us from going back and making the same mistakes again.
If we could trust God and leave our sin burden at the foot of the cross, we could move on to the great things God has in store for us.
How do we glorify God and enjoy Him?
1.We stop listening to the continuous tape in our head that says we are our past failures. We are not our past! The past is removed and covered by the blood of Jesus who cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness.
2.We remind ourselves of who we are “in Christ”. Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
3. We learn to live a life of praise and thanksgiving.
Life is a celebration. God loves a good celebration. His Word is full of parties. The first miracle recorded in the New Testament was at a marriage celebration. In the prodigal son story, the father gives a party for the son who came home. All the feast of Israel were celebrations for the hope and future of God’s chosen. And the best is yet to come, the marriage supper in heaven for His bride.
How are we to live? “Lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b-2
As we celebrate our country’s beginnings, I pray we will remember what made this country great. It was founded on the principles of God’s Word. God honors those nations who honor Him and His Word.
It was established as a place to raise our children in an environment that was safe because it was protected by God. Now our children are at risk and our society is growing further and further from the truth we find in God’s Word.
My prayer is that we will turn our hearts back to God and repent of our sinfulness. I pray it isn’t too late for America and the world. But God… has a plan. That plan for His children will begin with a very large celebration of the marriage of Christ and His bride, the church.
I imagine there will be lots of fireworks, maybe the stars and the heavenlies will give quite a show. We will praise Him for all eternity for all He has done, is doing and will do. Begin now. Praise and thanksgiving are attitudes that will make your heart glad.
Keep your eyes turned to the eastern sky!
“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.” ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
“Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation.” ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy’s fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy’s flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.” ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
God inhabits the praises of His people!