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  ENJOY LIFE!
 
God created a world with simple pleasures that were meant to be enjoyed. He is pleased when we are happy, but unfortunately, we often don't recognize these daily blessings for what they are and we become discontent and begin to search for things that we think will make us happy. All along, they were right there in front of us, un-noticed and taken for granted.
 
Solomon, after spending much time, cost, and energy into getting everything he thought would bring happiness, came to the conclusion that the simple, God-given blessings of work, family, and enjoying the fruits of our labor are what brings happiness to man. We are to recognize these are gifts from God and gratefully serve Him.
 
Several times in the book of Ecclesiates we are told to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and that God has giving these good things for us to enjoy. It must be important for us to recogzine these blessings since they are mentioned a number of times. 
 
To enjoy the simple blessings of life is from the hand of God: 
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? (Ecc 2:24-25)
 
To enjoy the simple blessings of life is God's gift to man: 
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man. (Ecc 3:12-13)
 
God has given man his lot to find enjoyment in simple blessings: 
 
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.
(Ecc 5:18)

God has already approved us to enjoy food, drink, family, friends, and a festive attitude:
 
"Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun." (Ecc 9:7-9) 
 
Quit wasting time - enjoy the simple pleasures of life now while you can!
 
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going." (Ecc 9:10)
 
 


As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. (1Ti 6:17)

God provides everything that brings joy! So why in the world are we so caught up in obtaining things to try and make us happy? Quit waiting to be happy sometime in the future - with that attitude, the future never comes because there's always one more thing you'll need to get. Material goods don't satisfy and if you think happiness is acquired there, you will always feel empty.

God provides happiness right now! Enjoy God's rich provision of joy ready for you to grab on to! Ask and you will receive. God loves to share!

TAKE A LOOK! 

Does God want us to enjoy our life here on earth? Does this seem like a silly question?
 
We would all answer, "Yes, of course God wants us to enjoy life," but why is it so many aren't?  Often, throughout our day, we had opportunities to enjoy life but didn't realize it. Why? Because we take so much for granted and allow responsibilities and fatigue to overshadow those small blessings that we take for granted and go un-noticed. The result? We go to bed exhausted from rushing around all day, feeling ungrateful with jabs of self-pity, believing we have no life. We ask ourselves, "When can I have a chance to relax and enjoy myself?"
 
We need to open our eyes and see the beauty of God's world as soon as we step out of the door. We need to see the good in people. We need to experience the pleasure of speaking kindly and being thoughtful of others. We need to learn gratitude for even the smallest blessing that comes our way and recognize them as moments of joy. We need to thank God verbally.
 
Our lives aren't so much full of drudgery as they are full of blindness. We feel empty because we take God-given wonders and God-given blessings for granted.  We lost the thrill of the child that once was in us and turned our back on joy. We rush around without seeing. We sit among our accumulations without caring...but actually we do because we don't feel fulfilled. Something is missing....
 
It's time to take off the blindfold and look for joy! 
 
 

In the day of prosperity be joyful,
but in the day of adversity consider. (Ecc 7:14)
 
There are two parts to this piece of wisdom: The second half we speak about, preach about, and soberly consider which is, indeed, good that we do. However, there is another part of that verse we just pass right over - be joyful during prosperous days! There are days when life is going right, without stress and turmoil. Some of us have many of those days and we end up taking them for granted and complain about miniscule things. Others have few calm days and when they do come, they fear what is around the corner.
 
Instead of apathy or fear, let's be grateful for good days when our spirit and body can relax and be at peace. God delights in His people and their happiness!

My Cup Runneth Over 
 
There is always something over,
When we trust our gracious Lord;
Every cup He fills o’erfloweth,
His great rivers all are broad.
Nothing narrow, nothing stinted,
Ever issues from His store;
To His own He gives full measure,
Running over, evermore.

There is always something over,
When we. From the Father’s hand,
Take our portion with thanksgiving,
Praising for the path He planned.
Satisfaction, full and deepening,
Fills the soul, and lights the eye,
When the heart has trust Jesus
All its need to satisfy.

There is always something over,
When we tell of all His love;
Unplumbed depths still lie beneath us,
Unscaled heights rise far above;
Human lips can never utter
All His wondrous tenderness,
We can only praise and wonder,
And His name forever bless.
 
~Margaret E. Barber~ 

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11)

We can't command ourselves to be glad. Gladness comes with the right frame of mind: A mind that understands what it means to be "in the Lord"; It means a heart of gratitude. Gladness means contentment, being rid of materialism. To be happy is to be upright, not just in our actions but, more importantly, in our thoughts. Pride prohibits happiness. 


TRAIN YOURSELF TO ENJOY LIFE
 
Understand...
  • God wants you to enjoy life.
  • Make the effort . 
  • Learn to be grateful throughout the day.
  • Pay attention to small details - the reflection of light dancing across the floor.
  • Stop with the complication in your life. Live more simply in thought, possessions and actions. 
 
Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. 
Waiting to enjoy life. Why?  
 

Moderation...

In order to enjoy God's gifts to us we must also learn moderation. "Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit." (Pro 25:16)

Moderation allows us the full benefit of our gifts as it prevents the fatigue and ingratitude of gluttony, lust, and boredom that comes with desensitizing of overstuffed senses. Even beholding the beauty and wonder of creation can be too much if other needed responsibilities are ignored. In fact, creation itself teaches moderation. Can you think of ways it teaches us?

Be careful, but not overly care-full...

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see..

O be careful little ears what you hear
O be careful little ears what you hear
(etc)

From an early age we were taught to be careful with the senses God gave us? Rightly so, we are taught to be careful to avoid evil in what we see and hear. We were taught to avoid touching sharp objects and if we smell smoke or chemicals we must look for the source of a potential problem.

But how often were we taught to see and appreciate beauty throughout our day... to enjoy the smell of a new morning as we first step outside? To appreciate the feel of various textures and to hear the beautiful sounds of creation?

God gave us senses to connect with His world. Yes, sometimes, for warning but most of the time for joy! We need to make it a habit to use these senses - see, feel, hear, smell, taste creation!

Remember the Creator... 

The ultimate joy is to remember God in the world around you. He is the one who provides and sustains. He not only gives us all things we need, but creates pleasure in satisfying our senses, our emotions, and our thoughts. Most of all, He teaches us lesson in His creation and we can connect His love and His scriptures to the life that surrounds us.

 

Trials preventing joy?

Life isn't always happy and that's OK - you don't need to feel guilty about that. After all, our High Priest who understands us was once described as "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." However, joy is another matter; even in pain, grief, and all sorts of trials, we can have the same joy that our Lord possessed: "Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:2) Jesus' spirit ruled over His flesh, giving us an example to follow.

Here are some ways to develop a stronger spirit in order to find joy during trials: 

Pray for joy. Pray for awareness and understand  what it means to have joy.

Pray for joyful circumstances, even if you are in the throes of grief.

Examine yourself and repent of any thoughts or actions that may be preventing joy in your life. 

Develop a heart of gratitude.

Take joy in God's word. 

Take notice of little things throughout the day that make you feel good, even if it was for a moment.

Don't look for storms. "Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come." (Pro 31:25)

Connect with nature. God's earth and sky is a great healer of a crushed spirit.

Be real. I have seen women laugh off problems and give off a positive air and take pride in being known as happy-go-lucky when, in reality, they end up being very sensitive to certain problems and will go overboard in their reaction. Don't allow a joyful personality to become a style you want to flaunt. If that is the case, it won't last and the real you will eventually come out.  "People who shine from within don't need the spotlight."

Be content. Joy and discontent can't co-exist; neither can joy and envy. 

Stop ruminating. Replace with humility and good thoughts.

A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? (Pro 18:14) 
 
Chronic illness is out to crush our spirit, isn't it? On bad days it demands our attention, takes away our ability to do what we want to do, and leaves us wondering if our lives are worth anything. Well, there is one thing about illness - it may crush our bodies, but it can't crush our spirit unless we allow it to.
 
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not some sort of Pollyanna who is all smiles when my illness imprisons me in my house or in my bed; I get frustrated and depressed and often there is a war going on between my spirit and flesh. But this one thing I know - even when I long for relief, God has made it possible to patiently endure and think on better things. It is a blessing our spirit is separate from our body; while it is encased in the flesh, it still has the ability to endure and grow stronger, even when the flesh may continue to weaken.   
 
"The body can, as it were, fall back upon the support of the spirit, when it is distressed and weakened; but when the spirit itself is broken, grieved, wearied, debilitated, it has no resource, no higher faculty to which it can appeal, and it must succumb beneath the pressure."  (Pulpit Commentary) We must not allow ourselves to indulge in depression and self-pity. We must pray for help, gather strength from God's word, and distract our negative thinking with good things as much as we can.
 
Some days equal to nothing else but enduring suffering. Even those days are not a waste if we allow our spirit to be victorious over our flesh - how can a spiritual victory ever be a waste?! We have God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit on our side strengthening our heart! There is unseen beauty in the inner battles of the righteous - let your beauty shine!
 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength...But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:29, 31)
 
 

Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding. (Pro 4:7)

"Get understanding - Do not be contented with the lessons of wisdom merely; do not be satisfied with having a sound religious creed; devils believe and tremble; but see that thou properly comprehend all that thou hast learnt; and see that thou rightly apply all that thou hast been taught.
 
Wisdom prescribes the best end, and the means best calculated for its attainment. Understanding directs to the ways, times, places, and opportunities of practicing the lessons of wisdom. Wisdom points out the thing requisite; understanding sees to the accomplishment and attainment. Wisdom sees; but understanding feels. One discovers, the other possesses." -Barnes

Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. (Pro 1:20-23)

Happy is the man who finds wisdom,

and the man who gains understanding;

  1. Wisdom and understanding are more valuable than anything on earth: "For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold."
  2. Nothing on earth can compare with wisdom! "She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her."
  3. Wisdom will give a longer life: "Length of days is in her right hand."
  4. Wisdom offers riches and honor that far exceed what the world offers: "In her left hand riches and honor."
  5. Want a pleasant life? Wisdom will give it to you! "Her ways are ways of pleasantness."
  6. Wisdom gives you peace no matter what is happening in your life. "And all her paths are peace. "
  7. Life springs up out of wisdom- even to those who are physically dying! "She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her."
  8. Want to keep happiness? Make wisdom a part of you every day: "And happy are all who retain her." (Pro 3:13-18)

 

Do the Math

 

Man + Wisdom = Happiness

Man + Understanding = Happiness

 

We have a habit of thinking we know what's best for ourselves and we know what will make us happy. Even though God, our Creator, who knows us better than we do, says otherwise.

 

Man + Things = Happiness

Man + Great Knowledge = Happiness

Man + Popularity = Happiness

When every bit of your physical desire is telling you to buy something you can't afford...when every fiber in you is wanting to respond badly... when you feel you just have to experience or partake in something that isn't good for you PAY ATTENTION to wisdom who cries out NO! Wisdom will bring happiness and contentment! 

So where can wisdom (happiness) be found? 

 

God understands its way, and He knows its place.
Job 28:23

The source of wisdom is God. It is only in God can wisdom be found. He gives wisdom to us and desires us to live in wisdom (see Daniel 2:21). The only true, wise, and living God allows us to gain wisdom through the following: 

 

  • Fearing God and knowing Him: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Pro 9:10)
  • Putting the word of Christ in our heart: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. (Col 3:16)
  • Knowing the Father and Christ as God has revealed to us: That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3)
  • Pay attention to creation and see the product of God's wisdom: He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. (Jer 10:12)
  • Learn wisdom from other wise people. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1Co 11:1)
  • Learn wisdom from past experiences: For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. (Pro 24:16)

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June 2017