The LAST Resort - Mark Copeland, Stay NEW - Michael Ledbetter, Finish the Chore - Allan Myers
 

THE LAST RESORT

The “Preacher” tells us in Ecclesiastes 12:14...”For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”  This statement came from him because he had been searching for the answer to the question in chapter 1:3...”What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?”
 
Solomon searched for the meaning of life.  He knew that once a person was born, that person would also eventually die.  In the time that mankind would be on the earth, he wanted to know what would be the most important way to conduct one’s life so that it wouldn’t end in vanity.  He considered pleasure, labor, human wisdom, laughter, wine, possessions, political popularity, dreams & many words, as well as other things.  After trying these or at least thinking about such things, he came to the conclusion that it was all vanity and striving after the wind. 
 
There are two main messages in the book of Ecclesiastes: 
1) The vanity of life under the sun from an earthly perspective...1:14.
2) The importance of fearing God and keeping His commandments...12:13.
 
Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes to help us with our questions about what is important.  He gives us great counsel that we should follow.  We don’t have to try the same things that Solomon did to find that living our lives from an earthly perspective doesn’t work.  We can just look at his conclusion...”Fear God and keep His commandments” (12:13) and live our lives starting with that perspective.
 
Much of the time, we want to live our lives from an earthly perspective.  When we find out that it is not successful, then we want to give our life to God as a LAST RESORT.   Some people will never know that living from an earthly perspective wasn’t successful until life on earth ends.  Many people think they are living from a Godly perspective but aren’t living that way at all.  Jesus tells us to “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).   You see, Jesus wants us to put Him as “OUR FIRST RESORT, NOT OUR LAST RESORT.”
 
Submitted by:  BROTHER MARK COPELAND

 

 
STAY NEW   As we begin a new year, actually a new decade this time, we take time to reflect on the year behind and plan for things we want to do better in the year ahead.  Starting a new year allows us to set new goals and take a fresh start to some planned projects.  We like fresh starts and new beginnings when we can leave some of the old baggage behind us.
  
According to the inspired writing of John, we can continually “be new.”  We don’t need to wait on a New Year to follow John’s teaching, but we can certainly take advantage of a fresh 2020 to devote ourselves to the path that he recommends.
1 John 1:5-9
(5) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  (6) If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  (8) If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
How do we stay new?  If we walk in the light, we will maintain our fellowship while receiving the continual cleansing that keeps us pure.  Yes, we all sin and fall short, we must be honest with ourselves and continually course correct, seeking forgiveness, keeping our eyes on the goal and keeping our feet heading down the right path.  As we walk in His light, reflecting His light to the world, we can be confident that we are cleansed and new.
So, as we start the new year of 2020, enjoy the new decade, put 2019 behind us, seek His light, let His truth guide our steps and enjoy the assurance that we are in fellowship with each other and our creator.  Happy New Year!   Submitted by:  Michael Ledbetter
 
 
 
Finish The Chore
 
John 13:34-35 (NASB)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Can you think of someone who has impacted your life for good, made you feel loved?  Maybe more than one someone?  I pray you can.  These wonderful people can come from anywhere in our lives and may be momentary experiences, lifelong blessings or somewhere in between. 
When you think of these people, do you smile?  Are your thoughts pleasant?  If they are still in your life, what do you say or do when you see or talk to them?  Do these people know you cherish them in such a way?
Let’s look at a few things from the passage above:
“Love one another...as I have loved you...by this everyone will know...”  It’s important to note.  It’s a command.  There’s not an option to hate,  hold grudges, gossip, or just “kind-of” like.  There is no exception clause.  Jesus commands it.  Love one another.   Especially the unlovable. (Luke 6:27-35)
“As I have loved you.”  There are many passages to demonstrate this but the one which leaps to my mind is... “yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)  Romans 5 talks about us in unflattering, unlovable terms such as sinners, enemies, helpless and ungodly.  Yet verses six and eight say “Christ died.”  Christ’s coming to earth, living and dying was according to His Father’s will.  He used words to tell us of His love and then He acted on them so that we would know His love and recognize His impact on our lives.
“By this all men will know.”  Are you impacting lives with your love?  Do all men know of your Jesus-caliber love for your brothers and sisters?  Is the love we are showing to fellow Christians the picture of a disciple of Christ?  How about to those to whom we are closest?  Are we loving on them?  Do our actions of love reach beyond our cell phones?
There is a story that brings this home for me, although I don’t remember where I first heard it.  A mother is sweeping in the kitchen.  Her youngest son comes running through and says a quick, “I love you mom!” and goes out the back door.  Not long after that her daughter passes through on her way into the house and says, “love you” and keeps going.  Soon her oldest son walks in and says, “I love you” and takes the broom from her hand to finish the chore.
We need to hear that we are loved.  Even more so we need to be loved on.  Even more than that we need to finish the chore.
I love you all,
Allan
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