Psalm 1:1-3

 

Psalm 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is the law of the Lord, and His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and the leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.

 

Building A Life God Will Bless

“Making Life Fun”

By Dr. Zach Henry

 

            "Life is a long hard grind" ‑ But do not look at it as a long hard grind but make it fun. Anything that is accomplished that is worthwhile takes hard work ‑ VERY HARD WORK. Sometimes we look at others and think that success comes so easy. It does not!! Every person that succeeds works hard at it. They do not let others know how hard they are working. Most people like to make other people believe they got it easily. Before I go into specifics, I want to lay a foundation for the suggestions that will come later.

 

            In life, a person has three choices:

 

(1)   Do a minimum. ‑ Live at the edge of little or no effectiveness in life, and at the same time, be pressed for time, money and an organized structure of existence at home, work and play. In this choice, a person can have almost no impact on the lives of others, and sometimes a negative impact ‑ and this includes your children.

 

(2)   Play now and pay later. Live in an intermediate mode. ‑ This could be called a minimum mode for a "comfortable life". In this mode, the family seems to be constantly competing to maintain what the worldviews as an "accepted life style". It always is a struggle ‑ at home and at work. Even the play can result in a hidden question; "Are we having fun yet?" In this family, there is usually a struggling, yet successful effort to maintain enough funds to make ends meet. An impact can be made on others but not to a high degree. To maintain an adequate financial and social standing at this level leaves no choice but to constantly look inward. Little opportunity remains to reach out for the benefit of others. Children in your home feel the strain of the struggle to maintain the "comfortable life" which will be carried with them throughout their lifetime. This person or family is the typical middle class American trying to keep up with the Jones'.

 

(3)   Pay now and play later. ‑ Live in what I call the "Fulfilled Life". Many of the conditions that exist in Number (2) above still exist. However. The difference results from a larger purpose for life ‑ A Vision ‑ a direction that changes the perspective. A well-founded purpose and objective leads to a vision that permits one to reach for greater heights. Present actions are done to receive an effect that you hope will come later ‑ even in eternity. The end result is always great. It might be something that will result in a widely known accomplishment for which you will gain both private and public recognition. But, most likely the result will be one that you know and no one else knows. The latter is the most eternally satisfying. Many times someone else will get the public credit and recognition. For this, it takes a big person to understand that it is all right for someone else to get the credit; but the personal growth that results will be unbelievable. The greatest joy a person will have in all of this is the long-term effect that it will have on your personal life, on your marriage relationship, on your home, on your children and on your career. This is the person or family that permits their total existence to revolve around foundational principles of life that are on a higher plane, that of Jesus Christ and His will. This is the family we would all strive to be. Financial and social status is not a factor in this family.

 

            As a minimum, we would all like to "exist" in the Number (2) "intermediate" mode. But the amazing thing is that it takes little more effort (and many times, less effort) to "really live" in the "fulfilled life". How can we do it?

 

            Establishing a Purpose ‑ Objective ‑ Vision ‑ is not usually done in just a planning session (short or long). It is done in the context of a basic lifestyle that has been established on ethical standards identified in the canon of the Old and New Testaments. It is easy to "believe". And, what most people do not understand is that it is easy to apply and practice also. But, to do so, requires a continual realistic and unselfish self-evaluation.

 

            A person must always be open to criticism. But one must develop a non-self centered, but God centered, foundation that will permit evaluation of the criticism, both good and bad. The Holy Spirit will reveal the criticism that will apply and that which does not. God gives the grace to accept that which does apply and helps us not to be offended at any and all criticism. Always be ready and willing to change for improvement. Understand what is important as compared to what is trivial. Be ready and willing to sacrifice in the short term for a positive long-term effect. This means giving up things that we consider desirable, or sometimes essential, in order to produce a result that we may not see until much later. Note that it does require a strong ethical, God centered foundation to recognize when a short-term sacrifice is required. Also, the short-term sacrifice may seem to be a long-term sacrifice. (James 1:2) When a person gets into the mode of "sacrifice", and sees a vision of what it will bring in the long term, his eyes are so strongly fixed on the final effect of what he is doing that the "sacrifice" takes a turn and becomes a joy-filled journey for a higher purpose. This is when a "struggle" can (and will) become fun.

 

            A further word about the foundation. What is a foundation and how does one establish the correct foundation? Establishing an ethically centered (God centered) foundation is a personal endeavor. This is the individualism: somewhat in the context in which Jesus Christ died for each individual: not for the masses; example, our Christian Nation is based on the individual citizen. It is the individual that is important; not the masses. This puts the burden of responsibility on each person, individually, to know and identify the correct ethical foundation for every action and activity. We cannot and must not be comparing ourselves to others. Each one of us must know that we are where God has placed us. If it compares favorably with someone else or what someone else thinks of us; this is good. If it does not, we still know that we are where we are for a purpose. We must accept and fulfill that purpose before advancing to a higher level.

 

            What has this to do with foundation? We must be in a continual learning mode; especially in the knowledge of foundational principles. Never consider that you have "arrived". Always be ready to adjust, modify, and change as new truths are discovered. Truth is always present. Truth never changes. Out task is to discover truth. Truth is the foundation.

 

            Now back to the "struggle" that becomes fun. Although the pattern for each personal life style and for each family is different, the principles are the same. These are the principles to which I have tried to speak. In every activity of life and in the effort to reach a goal, one must accept the highs and the lows. In any job, at home or for an employer, every individual task that must be done is not fun. We must execute the hard, odious, monotonous tasks in order to reach the final goal. Every effort has these tasks. We can only reach the final goal by passing through these "valleys." However, these valleys can be fun if we concentrate on and understand the meaning and purpose of having to do them. Every person must establish responsibilities in the context of the vision as they reach for the goals. This relates to both small and large activities. The smooth road to success is paved by many tasks that are required on a regular basis. This can be such things as rising early, having a good breakfast and planning daily for an ordered life at home and at work.

 

            Every individual must be continually in a growth phase. One very important aspect of "growth" relates to the mental, financial, physical, and spiritual growth. Many times it is considered that "I have learned all that I need to know and now I will apply it." This is the person that reaches a certain level in his job and never is advanced. It is important that one continues to learn regardless of the initial level of education. This learning can take place on the job or may be independent of the job. Both are extremely important. (Do not forget the great personal joy of just learning new things.) There is another even higher reason for continued learning and mental growth. This relates to the looking outward. The stronger the mental growth combined with spiritual growth, the greater the possibilities of service to improve your world. When mental and spiritual growth are in balance so will be the financial and physical growth. Self‑control, responsibility, patience, contentment, thankfulness, and joyfulness are just a few of the character qualities that can be learned as situations are turned into character teaching lessons.

 

            In summary the following steps are suggested:

 

(1)   Establish your goals ‑ write them.

 

(2)   Make the goals both long and short term.

 

(3)   Identify the time required to complete each goal and the steps required.

 

(4)   Fit each goal into a total program or schedule for the entire family.

 

(5)   Make each goal reasonable and attainable.

 

(6)   If a given goal is too long term or in any ways too extensive to comprehend, break it down into smaller goals until you can identify specific steps to accomplish. It is important to go over these steps and make a schedule showing the goals along with the steps toward completion. (Make a chart and put it in the kitchen or other place where it will have your daily attention.) Keep in mind that for mental, financial, physical and spiritual balance, there must be included: learning, work, play, and activity for spiritual growth

             

            Establish a life purpose and goal!! A properly set life purpose and goal can be reached from any number of career directions. Additionally there are lesser goals, which are important. These may include, but are not limited to, wants vs. needs and appropriate management of money time and resources. This does not mean living in poverty. It is reality to live within your means. Do not major on minors.