The Amzing Nature of God–Ecclesiastes 7 Final

The world has spent its life trying to make sense of things.  It has tried to use everything in its little box to explain the things of God.  As each year passes, men attempt to explain the supernatural hand of God by using simple natural explanations–it always ends up foolish.
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Solomon was clear–when we base wisdom on men’s ideas and thoughts, it never comes out well.  Men should walk in reverence to God–the master and creator of all; but, instead–they work to minimize his creation and his influence on daily lives.  All that is necessary is simply to look up and see–the vastness of our universe, the creative nature of our planet, the variance in life, and the unique nature of men.  From that ultra-phenomenal view, we should kneel in awe and reverence to a God that did such an amazing thing, and still cares individually for us.
 
 Solomon’s wisdom led him to see that there are none righteous–all have sinned and will sin.  God, who created men and gave them the ability to choose, knew men would naturally pull away from him.  Still, he loved us and on this very occasion of Christmas–came to earth and filled the gap men’s evil hearts have made.  It always comes back to the most simple thing–fear God, live well and love others.
 
God Bless You
In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
    and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise—
    why destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overwicked,
    and do not be a fool—why die before your time?
18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.[a]

19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful
    than ten rulers in a city.

20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins.

21 Do not pay attention to every word people say,
    or you may hear your servant cursing you—
22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.

Don’t Cling to “The Good Ole’ Days”–Ecclesiastes 7 Part 2

cpthegoodoldays_796907061It is impossible to bring back the past. The older we become, the fonder we are of the way things used to be.  It is a phenomenon, but as time passes we forget the bad and cling to the “Good Ol’ Days”.  Truth is, each time passes with its great things and difficult periods.  What Solomon realized was–people must be patient and trust God and allow him to carry us through this difficult but “Amazing Journey.” 

When running a race or even walking trails, we would consider people foolish–if they wanted to go back to a particular part of the course to walk it again, especially if it was because that portion was easier…Each path has the equal numbers of up and down hills.  we cannot enjoy the down hills until we have climbed the up hill–and here is a truth, the down hills pass so much more quickly than the up hills.  God calls us to “Forget what is behind and press toward what is ahead–to take hold of that for which Christ took ahold of us!” Philippians 3 :12-14.  We  must keep an eternal perspective as we live here in this life.  Otherwise, we will cling to the past and be of little use in this present period.

God Bless You

8The end of a matter is better than its beginning,and patience is better than pride.

9Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

10Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.

11Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.

12Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this:

Wisdom preserves those who have it. 13Consider what God has done:

Who can straighten what he has made crooked? 14When times are good, be happy;

but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.

Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

A Good Name is Better than a Fine Perfume–Ecclesiastes 7 Part 1

The older we get, the more we come to realize that our reputation and integrity are our most valued treasure.  We also come to realize that the end of the journey often holds more value than does the beginning.  Merlin, of King Arthur fame said it best, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Solomon is stating the case that, while frivolity, laughter and fun are enjoyable and memorable–it is our trials, the mourning, and the struggles in our lives that define us.  boots_half_price_fragrance_

He also wants to make clear, that it means more to have a good name than it does to have a house full of treasure or a schedule full of games and parties.  We all love to have fun.  Games, vacations, family gatherings all are wonderful–but, it is our handling of life and its daily challenges that define us, strengthen us and equip us to lead and teach others about God and his power.  Protect your name–do not let a circumstance destroy what you have built for a lifetime.  Embrace those moments and people in your life that make you stronger.  Don’t only seek yes men and charmers–seek those willing to keep you accountable and willing to speak the truth in love.  They will bring you a great name and a lasting legacy.

God Bless You

A good name is better than fine perfume,
    and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.
Frustration is better than laughter,
    because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
    than to listen to the song of fools.
Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
    so is the laughter of fools.
    This too is meaningless

Leaving a Legacy–Ecclesiastes 6 Part 2

By all world standards, this journey is meaningless.  It is as frustrating a paradigm as can be conceived.  The great news is–it simply does not have to be that way.  Our creator and Lord knew that giving life meaning and purpose was far more valuable than any possession, position or place a man can name.  As the designer and creator, God has placed in men from the beginning of time the overwhelming desire history-booksto leave a legacy. 

Throughout history, parents have poured into their children as much history and protocol of their family and tribe as possible.  The desire to carry on tradition and history is critical among cultures all over the world.  In addition, as the spirit inhabits us as his chosen, we find that same compulsion to seek and save the lost.  We want those we pass to find the purpose and meaning He has given us.  It is  not radical to want others to experience the peace and purpose we have found in him. 

While Solomon has found the bitter truth of life in this culture–Christ created a new culture.  That is why those who follow him closely–seem so strange to a purposeless and meaningless world.  The radical shift to a purposeful and meaningful life gives hope and leaves the legacy we were intended and created to build–embrace holiness. Be different-  Christ was; and we are called to be like Him.

God Bless You

Everyone’s toil is for their mouth,
    yet their appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage have the wise over fools?
What do the poor gain
    by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?
Better what the eye sees
    than the roving of the appetite.
This too is meaningless,
    a chasing after the wind.

10 Whatever exists has already been named,
    and what humanity is has been known;
no one can contend
    with someone who is stronger.
11 The more the words,
    the less the meaning,
    and how does that profit anyone?

12 For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?

Prosperity Zombies–Ecclesiastes 6 Part 1

They are out their, they are in every walk of life. Let’s call them the “Prosperity Zombies.” If you have ever watched a zombie movie, it is easy to spot the monsters–they walk through the village and bring death to all they encounter.  Prosperity zombies are similar–No matter their life stage, they are unhappy.  No matter their Job, they are seeking a higher position.  No matter their wealth they must have more–to the point that they cannot enjoy what is right in front of them.  They are not dead–they are worse–because nothing in life can bring them joy or peace–like a zombie.genericzombiemale
 
What God  says is simple–be grateful for what you have, not ungrateful for what you do not have.  If we focus on being grateful and appreciative for our life, position, wealth and family; we then can also be grateful for the Lord’s granting the use of what he has put before us.  It is after all–all his stuff! Only when we begin to feel entitled, do we lose sight and the enjoyment of all that is sitting before us.  If we would focus on that, we would not become the prosperity zombies.  This is the season for us to reevaluate our heart of gratefulness and be thankful for all he has provided!
 
God Bless You
I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man— even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?

The Good Life–Ecclesiastes 5 final

As one reads Ecclesiastes, there is a sense of frustration and futility. Solomon seems to be looking at a life of utter waste and sorrow.  Such a view is inaccurate.  Solomon was simply analyzing the world and its state; and determining how to find meaning in a meaningless proposition.  His answer–“be content.”  Each person has a role to play.  Some are wealthy, others are barely solvent.  Some labor under back breaking conditions, while others sit at a desk and barely lift a finger. As one observes others in the world, all other roles seem more attractive; when, in fact, each carries its burdens and unique set of problems.

Solomon grasped that whatever our role, as long one has food, shelter and clothes, they can have a good life.  He learned that it is what occupies our heart that brings us joy, not what we possess. In our lives, in this country, many of the nation’s poor have a great number of luxuries that others in the world lack.  But, until each of us, rich or poor, become content in our current circumstance; we will not be content in any other condition.  The key is to understand that we simply need food, clothing and shelter–beyond that, it is all a luxury.  We can be grateful for those luxuries we are given, but, we can never expect them to be a need.

God Bless You

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.

No Relief from the Rich or the Government–Ecclesiastes 5 Part 2

The context of Ecclesiastes five is probably the most telling message to the verses.  Here, the wisest man that was ever king; the king of one of the richest nations on earth at the time–is writing a book and telling all whom would listen, “Guess what–the government and the rich will not fix life.  Instead, the government will take all the extra it can get–and well the rich will never have enough; nor, will they ever be at peace with their stuff.  On balance, probably one of the most unsettling messages he could have given.

Once again, it comes down to the basic truth–only God can fill the void in our lives.  If we look to the government to fill it, we will be disappointed. It really does not matter the government’s form–republic, monarchy or dictatorship–in the end, they are run by humans and humans fail.  The best we can hope for is that our leaders will seek God and follow His leadership–then, there will at least be less chaos.  As to the wealthy, they sadly get it from all sides–the less fortunate are jealous, the more fortunate are competitive and petty.  The government wants more, and no one realizes that they have lives and issues like everyone else–what’s more, even if they do realize, they do not care.

That is why Paul’s words continue to ring true–“I have learned to be content, no matter what the circumstance; whether well fed or hungry–living in plenty or in want, I can do all thing THROUGH Christ who strengthens me.

God Bless You

Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.

If you see the poor oppressed in a district,

and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things;

for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.

The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.

This too is meaningless.

As goods increase, so do those who consume them.

And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?

The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much,

but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep