Thursday, July 31, 2014

LIVING THIS THING CALLED LIFE (PART 8)

Can I pray for you in any way? Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com.

In Christ, Mark
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** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”—before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when people rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; when people are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags itself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then people go to their eternal home and mourners go about the streets. Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

As we look at this eighth part of the series, Living This Thing Called Life, the word of God has one simple message for us:

Remember your Creator.

It’s a no brainer, right? I mean, of course we are to remember God as we live our lives. But how many of us have forgotten Him when we have been in the midst of hardship or difficulty? How many of us have written Him out of our life when everything was super and we were living free of trouble?

If we’re honest, I think everyone will say that there has been a time when they failed to remember God or some promise God has made regarding support for His created people. Given this, it’s a blessing to have the following reminder from the Book of Ecclesiastes?

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”—before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when people rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; when people are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags itself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then people go to their eternal home and mourners go about the streets. Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!” Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth. We’re not told what years encompass “youth” but we get a sense that it’s those years before we age to the point where life becomes more and more difficult to live, where we become wearied from many years of labor and toil, where we get to the point where we encounter physical, and sometimes mental, limitations that impact the way we are accustomed to live, where we maybe start to lose our zest for life in general indicated by the following symptoms from our scripture:

- We find no more pleasure in the years we are given to live, the years before the sun and light and moon and stars grow dark and the clouds return after the rain.
- The keepers of the house tremble and strong men stoop.
- The grinders cease because they are few and the sound of the grinding fades.
- Those looking through the windows grow dim.
- The doors to the street are closed.
- People rise up at the sound of birds only to find the songs are growing faint.
- People are afraid of heights and dangers in the streets.
- The almond tree blossoms and grasshopper drags itself along and yet people fail to find their desires stirred.
- The silver cord is severed, the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher is shattered, and the wheel is broken at the well.
- People go to their eternal homes and become dust, their spirits returning to the Creator God who gave them. The deaths drive the mourners into the streets.

Yes, life does eventually draw to a close but it doesn’t mean we need to be any less excited or feel any less blessed than we did when we were younger. For the same God who made us and sustained us in our youth is the same God who will sustain us and strengthen us in our latter days.

We need to remember this, ever keeping God, our Creator in mind, as we grow older while living this thing called life

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

LIVING THIS THING CALLED LIFE (PART 7)



Can I pray for you in any way? Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com.

In Christ, Mark
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
** Become a Follower of The Christian Walk at http://the-christian-walk.blogspot.com
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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 11:10

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

Our last devotion in the series titled “Living This Thing Called Life” encouraged us to live in joy and happiness, to rejoice and be glad in every day that the Lord blesses us with.

But how do we possibly do this when we are up against so many things in life that bring us stress, worry, anxiety, or fear?

The answer is simple. We turn to the Lord and the assurance of His word.

Today, I offer you two such excerpts from the word of the Lord, the first coming from the 11th Chapter of Ecclesiastes and the second from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the passage I consider to be God’s prescription for His people against the pressures, concerns, fret, and apprehension that life can bring upon us.

So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless. Ecclesiastes 11:10

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

In order to live life as the Lord intends for us to live it, we must banish anxiety and cast off all our troubles. There is simply no way we can go and give ourselves freely in service to others if we have issues that are weighing us down, issues I believe Satan uses to his advantage to keep the people of God from doing the work of God.

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus in Matthew, Chapter 4, you’ll recall that Jesus used the word of God as His weapon, relying on the strength and power of His Father when he was weak and vulnerable. As Christians, we are to follow the lead of Jesus and turn to God, our Father, when we are going through troubles or times of uncertainty and difficulty.

Want to rid your life of tension and unease in the midst of strife?

Turn to the words of Philippians 4:6-7 and present all that you are going through to God in prayer and petition and thanksgiving. Lift all the burdens, burdens you don’t possibly have the might to handle, and lay them at the throne of the God who can do all things. Don’t leave anything back. Give Him all your anxieties, all your worries, all your stresses, and all your fears. Banish all of it from your life, and without reservation, trust the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength as you live this thing called life.

Friends, when you do this, something amazing occurs.

You find peace.

Not just any peace but a peace that surpasses all understanding for there is no human being who can bring you that kind of peace. Not your parents. Not your partner. Not your siblings. Not your pastor.

No one can bring true peace, a peace that is heavenly to the receiver, but God Himself. It’s this kind of peace that He desires for all of us to have as we live this thing called life.

Do you have it today?

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

LIVING THIS THING CALLED LIFE (PART 6)



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** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Ecclesiastes 11:7-9

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

Through the last five days, we have looked at direction from God in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 11 regarding living this thing called life. We’ve heard His call to be generous, to invest ourselves in others, to go with the flow of the Lord when things happen in life we have no control over, to just trust in the Lord and accept we will not understand everything in life, and to stay busy each and every day in carrying out the work of the Lord. There has been so much for us to learn, so much so that we might just need a break or even ask the Lord, is there not time allowed on life to just have fun and enjoy things?

Well, the Lord has an answer for that question today as we look at verses 7 through 9. Here they are:

Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Note the word of the Lord here and what it tells us about daily living. Yes, we are to be busy in carrying out God’s will as we are called to be active and not complacent. But we are also called to enjoy life for it truly is something to be celebrated. We know this because the scriptures tell us to.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

We’re not given some particular days to rejoice in. No, we’re to rejoice in this day because we’re not sure what tomorrow brings and yesterday is gone. We have today and we’re supposed to enjoy it, to be happy and to live in joy. As Christians, we have a hope in Jesus that no one can take away from us, a hope that makes us victorious people no matter what life brings, a hope that means death is not the end but just the glorious beginning of eternity with the God who made us and His Son Jesus who saved us.

Rejoice and be glad in each day. Let others see the hope that is in you and live in a way that leads you to tell them about it (1 Peter 3:15). No one will want the Christian life if we live just like the world does in darkness and sin and hopelessness. No, we need to live like we’re in the world but definitely not of it because we live for someone who is greater than the world, the One who made it. We need to live like we are living in the light of His presence and His love.

Friends, the Lord is alive and today He had blessed you with a new day to live this thing called life.

Rejoice and be glad. Let your hearts be filled with happiness and joy and light and love as you get to doing God’s kingdom work that He is calling you to do.

Blessings to you always.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Monday, July 28, 2014

LIVING THIS THING CALLED LIFE (PART 5)

Can I pray for you in any way? Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com.

In Christ, Mark
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
** Become a Follower of The Christian Walk at http://the-christian-walk.blogspot.com
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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Ecclesiastes 11:6

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

It’s a saying we hear often, a saying centered on the ideal of motivation over procrastination, something I think we’ve all been guilty of from time to time.

It’s true isn’t it? We’re not always ready to do things we know need doing. Sometimes it’s because we’re tired. At other times, we’re just feeling lazy. We even put off doing things because we really don’t want to do them although we know we need to.

We might know we need to go to the dentist to get our teeth cleaned but we really hate the dentist and so we put it off, that is, until we get a toothache as a cavity beckons for attention.

We look out at the lawn and it really needs cut but we’re really not all that motivated to get the mower out and get to work. Our favorite show is on or it’s too hot outside or maybe there is a slight chance of rain, enough for you to be able to use it as an excuse to wait one more day.

We might need to get out and exercise more or go on a diet. We know it’s something that would make us healthier but it’s also something that requires effort. We vow to be more active and change the way we eat soon and unfortunately soon means later rather than sooner.

And let’s not even talk about bad habits we might have like smoking or drinking alcohol or any other number of things that become addictive if we’re not careful.

Yes, it’s easy to put things off that need to be done and we can become very skilled at it if we’re not careful, even in our spiritual lives.

We know the Lord calls us to serve Him and others as we live this thing called life. We understand we’re called into action by the scriptures. We get it that the life of a Christian is not a passive life.

And yet, so often, we choose to either delay or just plain ignore what the Lord is calling us to do, just like we do so many other things.

Well, for the procrastinator, the word of God has this to say and we all would be well served to listen and respond accordingly.

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. Ecclesiastes 11:6

The call here is simple. We are to be people who stay busy in every day we have been given. As Christians, we are to always be about our Father’s business as Jesus was and that means even on Sunday (remember that Jesus worked on the Sabbath to carry out His Father’s will).

This call to busyness isn’t just limited to the morning or the evening but we’re to remain engaged in the work of the Lord day and night. Things happen all the time and we can never know when we will be called to act, to be His hands and feet in making a difference in the life of another.

Friends, there is so much work that needs to be done for the kingdom of God here on earth. Remember that the word of God from Romans, Chapter 12 tells us to be living sacrifices, offering ourselves to God as holy and pleasing, offering ourselves as ready, willing, and able to carry out His purposes. Today and every day, let us rejoice and be glad that we are being called to be instruments of His will and then let us set out to answer the call to make disciples of all nations, to lead others to be baptized in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching others to obey all that Jesus commanded.

Living this thing called life as a Christian requires proactive action and initiative. It’s time to get to work and the Lord is ready to lead us there.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

PS: Please share this with anyone you feel might be blessed by it.

Send any prayer requests to OurChristianWalk@aol.com

Sunday, July 27, 2014

LIVING THIS THING CALLED LIFE (PART 4)



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** Follow The Christian Walk on Twitter @ThChristianWalk
** Like posts and send friend requests to the author of The Christian Walk, Mark Cummings on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.cummings.733?ref=tn_tnmn
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The scriptures. May God bless the reading of His holy word.

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Ecclesiastes 11:5

This ends this reading from God's holy word. Thanks be to God.

How often do we sit around and try to figure out God and what He does as we live this thing called life? How many times do we dwell on His ways, wanting to understand everything about the world we live in and why things happen the way they do?

Frankly, I think we do it way too much and I wonder if God doesn’t feel the same way sometimes.

Not that God doesn’t want us to seek Him. It’s definitely not that because He desires for us to pursue His purposes for our lives. It’s just when we get caught up in Him and how or why things occur the way they do that we get to a place where we are simply wasting precious time, precious time that we could be carrying out the work of the Lord instead of trying to understand things we’ll never be able to comprehend.

This truth, that there are simply things that we will not know, is at the heart of the following verse from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 11:

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. (v 5)

No one knows the path or direction of the wind. I mean, we can’t even see it. We see the effects of it but that’s about it. It’s one of God’s amazing creations that will be a mystery to us until we are called home to be with the Lord forever.

So why try and figure it out? Can’t we just accept that there are things of the Lord God Almighty that will remain unknown to us?

Things like the way human beings are created.

Although science has come to understand a lot about conception and the way a child develops in the womb, certainly a lot more than they knew more than 2,000 years ago as this book was written, there is still so much that remains a mystery. I mean, is there anything more miraculous than the way a child comes to be born? It’s one of the most amazing works the Lord does and it happens thousands upon thousands of times each and every day.

Yes, there is certainly so much we don’t know and even as we do learn more and more in life, we will still fall way short of understanding everything that there is to know about God. The scriptures are truth and our scripture verse today tells us point blank that we cannot understand the way God, the Maker of all things, works.

And that’s OK, at least for me. For there is so much the Lord has for me to do that I don’t have time to sit around and ponder matters that will never be made clear, at least that is until I go to see the Father face-to-face. Until then, it’s time to get busy and labor for the kingdom of God during every day that He blessed me with, during every day that I get to live this thing called life.

Amen.

In Christ,

Mark

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