How To Enjoy Life

Introduction:

“I have set the LORD always before me…” ( Psalm 16:8) This was David’s way of describing his daily practice of putting the Lord first in everything. David’s works, words, thoughts and purpose were to be guided by the Lord. Everything in life was to be done according to God’s will and for His honor. David was conscious of the moment by moment presence of God. It’s another way of saying, “I’m going to live my life knowing that the Lord is always with me.” The bottom line from Sunday’s message was this: Enjoy God’s presence through God’s presents. Or in other words enjoy God’s presents through the things He gives us as demonstration of His love. 

Something To Talk About:

Being connected to God, we can experience him in real, tangible ways, and as a result experience real joy. But, we must be attentive; we must be ready to recognize His presence and His presents in our lives. In Sunday’s message, we talked about how to enjoy life through three key elements: 

  1. See God’s love: It can be hard to see God’s presents and His love in the middle of life’s distractions, busyness, bad moods, demands of life. We can allow our attention to get diverted elsewhere and end up forgetting about God. We want God’s love to be front and center of everything we do. God loves us and Jesus died because of this amazing love. We see God’s love in bad circumstances, in our pain and guilt and our busyness. We simply need to connect the presents God gives us in good and bad times back to Him, with the realization that He loves us and wants us to experience joy in this life. 
  2. Delight in God’s presence: You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  It is easy to think of God as a mysterious vapor that rolls through the atmosphere making us shutter with awe. There is definitely a sense of awe in His presence. But scripture talks more about having joy in the presence of God. This joy is not meant to be a temporary high point in life, but a sense of thankfulness for His love and His presents in our lives. Psalms 100: 2-5 tells us: “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” 
  3. Give God praise: The Bible is filled with instruction to give glory, praise, and thanks to God. Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”  Notice that scripture does not say, “Give thanks to the Lord when everything in your life is going your way.” Rather we praise God because He alone is worthy of our praise. Understandably, it may be challenging to give praise to God when we are struggling, but please remember that we are not praising God for our struggles, but praising Him because He is God; He loves us and provides the opportunity for a lasting relationship with Him. Exodus 15:2 is filled with the beauty of praise to God:  “The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Questions:

  1. Why would God want you to enjoy life?
  2. When God is big, problems are small. When problems are big, God is small. How has this principle been true in your life? How does God’s presents shrink problems and difficulties?
  3. Matthew 7:11 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” What does that mean to you in terms of presents from God?
  4. How does God’s love impact our lives on a daily basis?
  5. What does God’s presence in our lives feel like? How often do you feel God’s presence? How often should we feel God’s presence?
  6. What are some ways we can praise God for His love and His presence and presents in our lives?

Take One Thing Home with You

It is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is here again.

Giving thanks means remembering and giving thanks for God’s grace and love in our lives. Giving thanks takes effort. Telling our grievances to God requires no effort, but developing an attitude of gratitude takes work. It takes effort to think about God’s goodness and thank Him. Hebrews 13:15 tells us, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”

Giving thanks yields contentment. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:6,7: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Thanks is your passport into God’s presence. We all are familiar with using a password to gain access to an account or a website. Similarly to gain access into God’s presence, the Psalmist instructs us: “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving”.(Psalm 95:2) Not only does it make a difference on the way we enter into God’s presence, it makes a huge impact when we enter the presence of our spouse, family, friends, and employer in that manner.