Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Occupation brings Joy to our Hearts

Since December, I have been impressed to do a simple ‘word study’ for my devotional readings. I just use my in-Bible concordance and read the verses listed there on a particular topic, and this morning it was the word SATISFY (-fied, -fies) Today I was directed to Ecclesiastes 6:7 – "All the labor of man is for his mouth [for self preservation and enjoyment], and yet his desire is not satisfied. " The English Standard Version (ESV) says "appetite", so I immediately thought of the new year’s resolution preoccupation with dieting and fitness. We labor so we can eat. But eating does not satisfy – we just have to eat again ! However, in the context of this verse I saw some other truths from the previous chapter 5, verses 18-20.
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and to drink, and find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him, for this is his allotted part.
Also, every man to whom God has given riches and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his appointed lot and to rejoice in his toil, this is the gift of God to him.
For he shall not much remember seriously the days of his life, because God Himself answers and corresponds to the joy of his heart [the tranquility of God is mirrored in him].
I had been reading these verses just before our son had called to chat on his way to work this morning. He was telling me all about a job opportunity within the company that he works for and we were discussing various aspects of his recent top-grade interview. As I have been praying for him and this possible job prospect, I was encouraged to read these truths about work, labor and toil, and what a gift it is from God.

The English Standard Version (ESV) translates the last part of 5:20 as “because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.” God created us to work, to enjoy our work just as He enjoys His work. (I could go off on another topic and study the word ‘work’ but maybe you would want to do that !) And what a GIFT it is FROM Him – to have work today and have an opportunity to be occupied with joy in our hearts. This may not be equated with ‘gainful employment’ but rather the daily work that we do upon arising. It also may be related to actually being “rich” in this world, which can be pretty relative, when we consider the poverty of others.

The apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to his son in the faith , Timothy, “As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment; charge them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous-hearted, ready to share with others, in this way laying up for themselves the riches that endure forever, a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed. “ (6:17-19)

So, my take-away is threefold. 1) Work is a gift from God. 2) The results of that work are a gift from God. 3) What we do with that gift can be a reflection of God in our lives to those around us.

Have a blessed day at your work today !

May you be occupied with JOY in your HEARTS !

Thursday, July 29, 2010

All Creatures of Our God and King !!!

I had reached for my personal hymn book this morning, opened randomly, and my eyes fell on All Creatures of Our God and King. As I stood on the deck here on the Ridge overlooking the beautiful scene of God’s handiwork, I called out to all the creatures and creation to join me, and began to sing the words of this hymn of St. Francis of Assisi.

I was moving through the verses in rhythm, calling out to the burning sun, the silver moon, the rushing wind, the rising morn, the lights of evening, the flowing water, the fire so masterful and bright, and then my eyes and voice fell upon the next verse and I continued to sing, stunned that my Abba Father would use this word to wing my prayers and thoughts and His gentle comfort to our dear friends in Florida, the family of James Bryan Worden. Hear the words of St.Francis –

All, all ye men of tender heart, Forgiving others, take your part, O sing ye – Alleluia !
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, Praise God and on Him cast your care.
O praise Him, O praise Him, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia……………………..

It filled my heart with sorrow and with joy, a tender mixture of the Father’s Grace and Mercy….

Bryan Worden, a man with a tender heart, forgiving others, has taken his part – in singing praises to the Lord of creation forever.
Bryan has long pain and sorrow born, and He continued to praise God and on Him cast his care….
Our loving Father said now is the pain over, come and enter my rest…. And join – O sing ye !!
Alleluia, Alleluia, alleluia ………

Today Bryan’s family gathers. Please lift them up, as they grieve but not as others who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again ….. so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)