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by Rick Stephenson
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Happy Anniversary! Itís been a year now that the Between the Dash blog has been in existence. I can hardly believe it, since it feels like yesterday I started writing.

Anniversaries are good things to celebrate, however they are usually reserved as being observed related to weddings or marriages. On the other hand, my kids are at the ages that they are experiencing their first puppy loves and at that age they celebrate all sorts of anniversaries, the first time they met, the first week together, the first time they held hands etcÖ I know to some this may seem like overkill but I believe we donít celebrate enough anniversaries.

The word anniversary to most only conjures up the strictest definition of an annual observation of a past event and therefore if it hasnít been an exact year, it isnít by definition an anniversary and not worth celebrating. However, there is an additional definition to the word anniversary that means a celebration or other commemorative ritual marking the date of an important event. Itís in this definition that I think my kids may have it right.

So is the real question that we donít have enough anniversaries or important events to celebrate or could it be that we have lost our understanding of what is important? Iím afraid it may be our understanding, since there are plenty of events going on all around us on a daily basis and how we view or interpret those events makes all the difference.

Therefore, you may need to review a good definition of the word important, which means having value or significance, worthy of consideration or relevant influence. You see, I specifically said a good definition because there are other definitions of the word, important, that I donít necessarily think are all that good for us such as a high social position, pompous, seeming to assume more status or value than is actually due.

Itís these poorer definitions of the word that have seemed to surface in our society over the last several decades. We observe too many using their higher social or even political positions to assume more for themselves than they deserve and as such, it has left a revolting taste in the majority of our mouths that we then shun what many call important. However, in shunning what may be called important, it has also caused us to toss aside those things that are truly worthy of consideration in our lives because we donít want to cause confusion or to think too hard about what may be important. Things like moral values, truth, decent living, respect for others and love have suffered as a result.

Nevertheless, our desire for celebration remains the same and because we have a poor understanding of what is truly important, we then begin to celebrate the meaningless or even empty things, raising our glasses to the mundane or shouting for joy over the simplified. God understands our need for celebration and in fact, when He gave His decrees and commands to the Israelites in the desert He made sure to outline times of festivals or celebrations. He wants His people to live lives of joy, victory and celebration! Just read the Bible and you will see for yourself such scriptures as these:

ďÖI am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.Ē (John 10:10 KJV)

ďThou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.Ē (Psalm 16:11 KJV)

ďThou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.Ē (Acts 2:28 KJV)

ďLet them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.Ē (Psalm 35:27 KJV)

ďÖfor the joy of the LORD is your strength.Ē (Nehemiah 8:10 KJV)

What keeps us from truly celebrating and living a joyous life is sin. What is sin? Simply put itís a willful act, thought or way of behaving that goes against the desires of God. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, He told them what was important to Him, but they chose to downgrade that importance to what they thought was important and the result was sin.

Therefore, if we want to get back what is truly important and valuable or what is worthy to be celebrated we must come in alignment with Godís word. By doing so, we will begin to have a relevant influencer in our lives guiding our decision making and helping us recognize the events and happenings in our lives that are worth celebrating.

A celebration after all is being able to praise something publicly, to show happiness at something, especially that something good or special has happened, and by doing it together. Take a hard look around at our society and see if it is polarizing (causing division of opinion) or unifying (brining people together). I believe we can turn our nation and even our world around not through protests, uprisings of revolts (even though some of these may be necessary), but rather through the celebration of what is truly important. To support this notion, I offer the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2-Chronicles 20:20-22

ďAnd they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon,Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.Ē (KJV)

Notice it was in the celebration (the singing and praising of God) that God took care of the situation without their involvement. I believe if He did it then, He can do it now! That gives me a reason to celebrate and be happy. I am also happy that God is using Between the Dash to spread His word and that together we are refocusing on what is truly important.

I encourage you today to reexamine what you may have called important in your life and ask God what He calls important. You may become aware of some changes that need to be made and thatís alright Ė celebrate that (the recognition) if nothing else at this point and strive to come in line with His agenda. Remember often a celebration starts off small and before you know it, you may have the whole stadium (your family, your friends, your coworkers, your community, your nation) doing the wave because one person was brave enough to stand up and move in another direction than everyone else.

God Bless & Happy Anniversary! - Rick


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