Quality of Life
(Psalm 34:12) “Would you like to enjoy life?
Do you want long life and happiness?
“Without a proper understanding of God (theology), you will never come to a full, complete, and healthy understanding of yourself.
Since you are God’s workmanship, you need to answer the question, “What kind of workman is God?”
Let’s look at three essential truths about God that will help you understand yourself as His workmanship.:
1. I appreciate the opportunity for further> study into God’s Word and I appreciate the chance to study on being a leader.
2. The gift that the class gives me in sharing was?
ANSWER: That I get to write out the things that I> need to confess or see the things that I don’t normally see through my eyes. This helps me to take responsibility for my actions. It makes me stop and think before I act. Also it helps me feel more comfortable with sharing my thoughts.
3. God is a creator (Genesis 1:1), therefore you are unique.
O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made: I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy mighty power throughout the universe displayed: Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, How Great Thou Art!
Yet, how often when you sing these words, have you reflected on yourself as part of God’s wonderful Creation?
Here’s an important truth: Because God is creative, you are unique. There is nobody else exactly like you on earth! What David said of himself in Psalm 139 is true of you: You are uniquely and wonderfully made! You may assume that your talents and abilities are common: “Lots of people can do the things I do.” Not so! Because God is infinitely creative, He has blended talents and abilities in you that are unique. You are a “one-of-a-kind.
“You’re unique because you have been creative by an infinitely creative God. You may agree that you’re unique and different. But you may also assume that other people’s talents are more important than yours.
God is a craftsman (Genesis 1:31), therefore you are good.
God created the whole universe, and at its completion “saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God only creates workmanship of the highest quality.
With one decision, history began. Existence became measurable.
Out of nothing came light.
Out of light came day.
Then came sky… and earth.
And on this earth? A mighty hand went to work.
Canyons were carved. Oceans were dug. Mountains erupted out of flatlands. Stars were flung. A universe sparkled.
Our sun became just one of millions. Our galaxy became just one of thousands. Planets invisibly tethered to suns roared through Space at breakneck speeds. Stars blazed with heat that could melt our planet in seconds.
The hand behind it was mighty. He is mighty.
And with this might, he created. As naturally as a bird sings and a fish swims, he created. Just as an artist can’t not paint and a runner can’t not run, he couldn’t not create. He was the Creator. Through and through, he was the Creator. A tireless dreamer and designer.
From the pallet of the Ageless Artist came inimitable splendors. Before there was a person to see it, his creation was pregnant with wonder….Mundaneness found no home in his universe….Probe deep within him. Explore every corner. Search every angle. Love is all you find. Go to the beginning of every decision he has made and you’ll find it. Go to the end of every story he has told and you’ll see it.
Love….He created a paradise. A sinless sanctuary. A haven before fear. A home before there was a human dweller. No time. No death. No hurt. A gift built by God for his ultimate creation. And when he was through, he knew “it was very good.”
But it wasn’t enough.
His greatest work hadn’t been completed. One final masterpiece was needed before he would stop.
Look to the canyons to see the Creator’s splendor. Touch the flowers and see his delicacy. Listen to the thunder and hear his power. But gaze on [humanity] – the zenith – and witness all three… and more.(From In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado)
Today you can encounter God’s creation. When you see the beauty around you, let each detail remind you to lift your head in praise. Express your appreciation for God’s creation. Encourage others to see the beauty of his creation.
His Workmanship(Cecil Frances Alexander)All things bright and Beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all.
God, the Creator/Craftsman, leaves His mark of quality on all He makes. God made you in His image (Genesis 1:26). He looks at you with great approval. Therefore, like all His creations, you are good.
God is a designer (Genesis 1:14), therefore you are equipped with a purpose.
Design, is the ability to plan and develop with a specific purpose or intention in mind. Each of His creations is equipped with the ability to perform certain tasks well.
Seeing yourself as God’s workmanship – unique, good, and purposeful – is pretty important stuff. You enter the world with the highest possible references, you’re a created, crafted, well-designed child of God. No more being ashamed of your talents and abilities.
Whom Do You Worship?
This knowledge of your “wonderfulness” can do one of two things to you. It can either motivate you to worship your Creator, or it can deceive you into worshipping yourself.
Apostle Paul wrote these telling words about the practice of “worshiping yourself:” “… For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator- Who is forever praised” (Romans 1:21, 25).You can choose to let your life revolve around your Creator, or revolve around yourself. The decision is yours. Will you invest yourself in God and share in what He has invested in His creation, His workmanship? Or will you as Paul says, “exchange the splendor of an immortal God for the image shaped like mortal man”?
Every decision you make in life is affected by whom you chose to serve. If Paul is right, then your choice will mean that you’ll either end up sharing in God’s splendor, or be left alone to face the futility of serving self.
If you want your life to be filled with all the enjoyment, creativity, and fulfillment that’s possible in life, then God says, “Come. let me show you who can be, and what you can do, by being in relationship with Me.” This relationship can come to life when you acknowledge the Lordship of the only One worth serving. In the theology lessons ahead you will study the following areas:
Table of Contents
I. Introduction We explore reasons for taking this course. We look at the challenges. We review the topics of the course, the course’s purpose is discussed with emphasis on the decision we must make.
II. An Invitation to Self-Appraisal We take a look at where your life has taken you. You take a very practical look at your anxieties, life changes, responses, distresses and your sense of satisfaction.
III. My Kingdom or a “Higher Power” Kingdom We define “Higher Power,” why we need it and how it relates to life. We look at “Is there a God and Creator?” We take an overview look at the plan God provides for us; to assist in reaching the proper decision and staying on course towards heaven.
IV. Our Relationship With God We take a look at the need for God’s kingdom being Lord in our life. An observation is made and reviewed that we are created to join God in heaven, and that we need to change from our earthly nature to one which concentrates on reaching Heaven.
V. Help for a Better “Quality of Life.” We learn how God will help us, when we ask, to achieve a better “Quality of life.” We also look at; Why did God give us Life? Our need to be like children of God is explored.
VI. God’s Love in Living We start to look at the benefits of putting God’s plan for you in operation. We look at; Why did God give us Life? Our need to be like children of God is explored.
VII. Christ, Our Guide and Trainer Then as a student you delve into why Christ came down to earth. How he helps us to “salvation.” We also touch on the “Spirit” and how he influences our life.
VIII. Total Commitment Next we take an in-depth look at the need to make a total commitment to God’s kingship by “turning over your life,” to His control. A discussion is included as to whether giving up control is freedom or slavery.
IX. Selfish for a second or Joyful for Eternity We then take a look at the important decisions we must make (e.g. “To turn our life over to God,”). We ask for those decisions. And the lesson then looks at what must be done after the decisions. The student finds that they are moving into why and how he/she must show their belief through actions. In here we pay particular attention to how St. Paul’s guidance blends with Christ and others.
X. Christianity’s Helpful Guidance We take a look at how “Christianity” can help us acquire that better “Quality of Life.” Next the course emphasizes the need to trust our Father in Heaven.
XI. Why God Has a Plan for you A review is made of the need for obedience to God. We look at the disciplines of prayer, reflection, decision making and shared responsibility in God’s plan for you.
XII. Tools and Methods We next take a look at how the Training Program works. We touch on such areas as the church, other Christians, and communications with our Father.
XIII. Life Planning Questions We now move into the realm of application. You set up a personal growth plan.
XIV. Helpful Hints This lesson provides many helpful hints on how to complete the training program successfully. It provides guidance on such actions as prayer, and relationships with others.
XV. The Bible We than take an additional look at how the Bible” is a important part of God’s program. We review why it is necessary and some insights from it.
XVI. Why would a Father Allow Bad Things to Happen A review is then made of the difficulties we are and will be facing. The lesson then discusses how these challenges to our faith are part of God’s total plan. A look at “Why the Father cannot give us everything we would like” is taken.
XVII. Sharing your Faith This lesson takes up the importance of Sharing Your Faith. We delve into how it strengthens our own relationship with our Father. We look at such areas as the need to share with our children, and other areas.
XVIII. Passing over to our Future Home and Family The sometimes feared topic of death is covered. It is put into a new light; the light of Graduation from God’s training program into our Future life as His adult companions in Heaven. We also cover death to self and Lordship of Jesus.
XIX. In Conclusion In the conclusion we review what we learned and how it should affect our lives. We touch on the question of free will versus God’s plan. The lesson then emphasizes the need for the church, to assist us in continuing the plan.
XX. Appendix-Suggested Prayers
January 7th, 2000 — Hi, Fellow Human Being! Like me, are you wondering if you still want to claim to be a human? Are you looking around your own life and the world around you? Are you having a lot of questions? Maybe one of the questions you have, is this really worth it all. Have you seen some of these following items in your media.
Although we have the most experts, counselors, etc., we have ever had in our history, one out of two marriages in the United States ends in divorce, and many of the others lack a meaningful, satisfying fulfilling relationship.
Serious problems in the relationships between parents and children are forever in the news. and we demonstrate no significant progress in learning how to live together within a nation or as nations in a meaningful, harmonious manner for the good of all.
By now, you may believe; pain, brokenness, and human limitations are our common, human dilemma. No one escapes – neither individuals, societies, nor nations. No one is invulnerable. In the midst of these realities, individuals, societies, and nations are born, live and die. We all are confronted with fundamental human questions:
What do you do with the pain, brokenness, and limitation in your own life together with others?
What are the REAL treasures of life?
What’s life all about?
Why this struggle?
It will all be the same a hundred years from now. The sun, the moon, the stars, the sea – they are all there as they have been from the beginning, and so they will be in the future. While we humans have come and gone, the world goes on. Have you not considered these same thoughts? Well Wilfred Cantwell Smith in his book, “The Meaning and End of Religion” puts it this way:”
Someday you will face the thought that you will die. Your body, mind, will no longer exist. The tide of life that propels you with such force will cease – and I – this I taken so much for granted by you – will no longer walk this earth. Your work, your ambitions, your dreams and absorbing projects will be like fiction.”
“When your body ceases to be – will there be any I? Will there be this center of consciousness, this I am, or not?”
What are you spending and being spent for?
What dreams, causes, goals are you living for?
What power or powers do you fear or dread?
What is your purpose for living?
The bottom line of this; can be summarized with this vision into someone’s life. Said one man to another of an acquaintance who had just died, “how much did he leave?” Answered the other, “He left it ALL.” If all we have looked at is true, life does not make sense. Maybe we are looking at the wrong basic of life.
Have you found Happiness difficult to find?
Have you been wishing?
If I only had that new home…then I’d be satisfied!
Happiness is a person too share my love…then I’d be fulfilled!
Money, that’s what I need…then I’d be okay!
When I get…A frustrating fact is that all the wishes and the favorable results will not guarantee your happiness for any long period of time. The immediate satisfaction, comes and goes, and a new desire replaces it along with the problems of possession and control.
How can you be sure that you won’t blow the one life you have to life? How can you satisfy your heart’s deepest hunger? Where does genuine satisfaction come from?
Does the answer lie in fame?
Is success the answer?
Does satisfaction come with power?
Does sex bring fulfillment?
Happiness is a condition of your spirit. So if you are not happy, you need a “Spiritual Doctor.” Let’s see if we can’t provide you with a prescription for a joyful spirit.
You are in for a real joy fest (one happy experience after another) when you travel through this course. It will be a happy surprise to study using this approach, in improving your living and relating. You will find the possibilities contained in this resource to be exciting and desperately needed.
This is not a course that you study as much as a tool to enable you to change your life. I don’t want to spoil your surprise, but here’s a sneak preview of what to expect.
Happy surprise! You will discuss your calling in life and you find yourself discovering positive, concrete ways to respond.
Very happy surprise! You will grow in your ability to cope with life difficulties. You will learn how to relate to life around you and find yourself experiencing a richness of community and involvement you have never known before.
A course like this, has a risk of falling into and out of your life as a isolated event unless there is a immediate call to action. The material provided speaks for itself, and I am convinced that you will be compelled to go beyond just studying this course. You’ll be itching to “make great changes in your life.”
We want that itch scratched. We want the content of this course to extend into your life and relationships.
The Content and it’s Vital Impact
The purpose of this course is to equip you as a student for a distinctive life-style. The major obstacle to living a fulfilling life is an “Identity crises.” By guiding you to who you are and what your future can be, the course addresses this crucial need. Imagine a fish trying to live outside of it’s native environment. The course strives to acquaint you with your “natural environment,” and instill a joy for it. The course offers concrete steps to take so that you are moved to a deeper understanding of your life’s activities and your “identity.”
“Who Am I, Anyway?” One of the important questions we continue to ask is “Who am I, anyway?” It is often asked with overtones of puzzled bewilderment and occasional self-depreciation. Answers abound, but you still might find yourself musing, “Yes, but who am I…really?”
From the world, we are confronted by every imaginable kind of resource, philosophy, methodology, and approaches to life. These are by no means all bad; many are quite good. It is just that they do not always put purpose in life along with such rewards as peace, joy, satisfaction and much more.
None of us wants merely to be told who we are we want to experience it and do it. The completion of this course will do much to help you in your self-identity process along with what is your purpose.
The question, “Who am I? should not be considered in isolation, from the question of, “How can I improve my Life?”
Life is always a matter of growth. Learning the answer to the question, “how can I improve my life?” is not the end; it is the beginning of a process. Growth is constant movement from the problems to the “solutions.”
Too often, we think that once a certain body of knowledge has been learned, we have “arrived.” Not so! Growth in your life does not cease at the end of formal instruction. It continues until the day you die. It is true that you cannot make your self grow, unless you wish to grow and know how to grow. You can develop that motivation, and acquire the guidance. This course is provided to assist you.
Making Guidance Practical
“Guidance to Grow,” that cannot be put into practice in no help at all. Growth is always practical. Growth is a call to action. This course answers that call by providing an environment that will enable you to live on a very practical level.
The approach of this course is holistic. Holistic education is no simple matter. It involves the integration of intellectual, emotional, relational, and spiritual elements. You will be encouraged to think, to react, to participate, to relate to others and to the material provided in a variety of ways.
So Welcome! In the lessons ahead, you will learn what the course is about? What are the benefits for you? We have covered some of them already.One of the key areas that we will address in the course is how to cope with the difficulties of life. We are going to try to understand some of the difficulties. You will discover that you are not alone in experiencing them. You will discover some ways to overcome your difficulties. The time you spend on this course will enable you to live life in a fuller way, with the joy and peace that it should be lived. So let’s go on.
Let’s start to answer some of the questions:
Where are you going?”
On the edge of a new millennium, on the brink of a new stage of human development, we are racing blindly into the future. But where do we want to go?” (Alvin Toffler)Where can we go?”
The object of philosophy, as I conceive it, is not to help people, but to discover truth… He looks for a clue to guide him through the labyrinth, for a system where with to classify or a purpose in terms of which to make life meaningful.” (C.E.M. Joad, English philosopher)What’s our purpose?
In the form in which men have posed, the Riddle of the Universe requires a theological answer.”
“Suffering and enjoying, men want to know why they enjoy and to what end they suffer. They see good things and evil things, beautiful things and ugly, and they want to find a season – a final and absolute reason – why these things should be as they are.” (Adous Huxley)
I feel bad, how can I feel better?
“What stands in the way? Not physical or technical obstacles, but only the evil passions in human minds; suspicion, fear, lust for power, intolerance…”The root of the matter is a very simple and old-fashioned thing, a thing so simple that I am almost ashamed to mention it, for fear of the derisive smile with which wise cynics will greet my words. The thing I mean – please forgive me for mentioning it – is love, Christian love… (Bertrand Russell).
“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbor…” (Mother Theresa)Well we have started to look at some answers, and we have seen part of the answer is “Love.” But why are we having trouble with this answer. Let us go back to our start. From infancy on we have deep with us three basic assumptions that provide direction on our journey into adulthood and throughout life.
The three assumptions are: (1) I am in control or ought to be in control of all that has to do with my life; (2) I am at the center of the universe; (3) Everything and everyone ought to be spinning around me so I can have what I want and life will be the way I want it to be.
About this time, you may be asking yourself, “where did these assumptions come from, and are they true?” All you have to do is to think back to the last time you saw a “difficult” toddler or infant.
Or maybe you have seen someone dealing with a adolescent who has the “inner Kingship” attitude of wanting to do it my way, but more than that they want it to be their way.
The “His majesty the baby” wants it his way. He wants what he wants, to be in control of all that has to do with his life, and he proves his very existence through this control. Totally ignore a infant, and see what results. Many over crowded, orphanages will prove the result of shutdown. This need to be in control is a very basic point for existence in life.
If you should be deluded into thinking that adults outgrow this; we better take a look at how adults carry these assumption into their lives.
We all want to be in full control of our lives and destinies. We also want to control others and even the universe. We hear it in the “why me?” and in the feeling “I am no good,” or “I am nobody,” or “nobody could love me” or “I am different, unique, and special.” All of these, keeps the focus on me and keeps me at the center.
Everybody knows at the intellectual level that “our kingship” is not possible. It just isn’t possible to have that kind of power and control. Why we even have institutions and names for people who carry this belief to the extremes. But maybe you may think you have escaped this attitude.
Think of the frustration level in crowded, slow traffic or any kind of delay that gets some people upset all of the time and others some of the time.
We get upset at ourselves when something in our behavior continues, even though we have decided to change it or get rid of it. We think we ought to be able to have more control. Or we may blame our behavior on someone else; which among other things, means we want to control the other person. We can get angry when some decisions made that isn’t to our liking over which we have no control of if a terrible accident or fatality comes into our lives.
Our so called human experts have looked into this. They have found that those who have a strong “kingship” attitude feel: unstable, tense, nervous, afraid, guilty, ashamed, pushed, incapable, uncertain, unworthy, and dismayed. Those who have been able to change to a submission attitude feel that they are at peace, safe, composed, relaxed, contented, thankful, cleansed, sane, and receptive
.It doesn’t take a 2 x 4 hit to the head, to call your attention to the fact that maybe this attitude of “kingship” is the key that will unlock the ‘secrets’ to a “Quality of Life” that makes life worth living.
So why don’t we just change? Well there is no evidence that anyone naturally lets go of wanting life to be “the way i want it to be.” Although life proves that we aren’t in control, it demonstrates that we want to be.
We get a clue to the correct way to make this change in the warm and loving parental relationships with needed and appropriate limit setting and discipline can assist in some movement towards growing up and letting go of this infantile behavior. But such relationships don’t have the capacity of removing the assumptions and expectations of the “inner king.” If you doubt this; why do bad kids and adults come from good families.
The experts in this area call this compliance – which they describe as half-hearted acceptance, submission, resignation, yielding, acknowledgment, and concession. As example of this; in A.A. is the alcoholic who continues to drink is asked, “you have admitted powerlessness, but have you accepted it?” Compliance is conscious (intellectual) assent but unconscious (gut-level, heart-oriented) non-acceptance. In compliance, the “ego” has been weakened but not dislodged from the throne.
Surrender is a process, not an event. Moving from “kingship” to compliance to surrender, like all human change, is a process. For some, no matter how great the effort and whatever the timing and for whatever other reasons, surrender never comes
.To start down this path of the involvement of the person, we need to realize that it is a battle that is fought on a “one day at a time.” A.A. reflects this in their guidance: included in that way of life is not only surrendering to and accepting human powerlessness over alcohol, but also learning to live with that reality “one day at a time.” At the beginning of each day, proper respect needs to be paid to “ego.”
Did you ever watch children live? They become excited over the wonders of flowers. They yell with the excitement of a game. They pet puppies and taste ice cream and talk to strangers. Maybe, you have memories of a time when life was simpler… When did life become so complicated, so predictable? What happened to the openness, the spontaneity, the freshness?
Wouldn’t this be a good quest, to take on the adventure of “becoming a child again?”
Are you ready for a fresh life of joy and peace, of satisfaction and discovery?
Are you ready to be surprised by what new life and vitality is in store for you?
Since no two human beings are alike, what are some personal characteristics that you feel distinguish you from other people?
In what ways has God crafted you as a person with thousands of intricate details and features?
What have you learned in this lesson that may help you solve this problem of self-perception?
In what ways has this lessons made you think differently about yourself?
Set an “action goal” that will help you apply the principle of “workmanship.” make it specific and measurable. For example: Every day this week, I know and will compliment them on it in a way that gives God the credit,” (“Bill, you’re really very fortunate that God gave you a real gift for planning.”