Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dust to Dust

18 I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.” 19 For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. 21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? 22 So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?
(Ecclesiastes 3:18-22, New King James Version)

Dust to Dust

This is a rather interesting conclusion Solomon makes at the end of Ecclesiastes 3. What does he mean when he compares man to the animals saying that man has no advantage? Like the animals man will return to the earth (dust to dust).

It is important that we keep these verses in context with the rest of this chapter from Ecclesiastes. Solomon has been pondering life's worth in considering the things that will happen to his estate after his death. I believe that is his intent when he asks, For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

It is true that man's body will return to this earth, but that is where the similarity to animals ends. When an animal dies, his spirit, so to speak, returns to the earth along with his body. Man's spirit, however, but goes upward.

Looking upon his own life and possessions, Solomon admits that, from an earthly standpoint, we should take pleasure in the work we do; as he states, "That is our heritage." It is not appropriate that we should concern ourselves with the things that will happen after we leave our life on this earth. No one can see what will happen after he is gone.

As a Christian it is important that we find peace in knowing that, after our death, this world is still in the all knowing hands of God.

What a glorious thought! Though our bodies will go from dust to dust, our Spirits will dwell with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for all eternity.

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, July 30, 2010

There is a Time

16 Moreover I saw under the sun:

In the place of judgment,
Wickedness was there;
And in the place of righteousness,
Iniquity was there.
17 I said in my heart,

“ God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:16-17, New King James Version)

There is a Time

In the place of judgment,
Wickedness was there;
And in the place of righteousness,
Iniquity was there.

I cannot think of a better way to describe our world in the 21st century. Where there should be just judgment, we see wickedness; and where we should see righteousness, we see sin. Is there no hope for mankind?

As Christians, we know the answer to that question. Solomon sums it up rather well in verse 17.

“ God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”

Rather than despair, we are reminded that there is a time when God will judge the righteous and the wicked. Except for the shed blood of Christ, all mankind would be cast aside at that time.

It is not a time that the true saints of God need to fear; instead it will be a time of great rejoicing. There is a time when sin will no longer rule the world; a time when God's children will be ushered into His glorious kingdom.

It is good for us to remind ourselves of these facts. When we are literally at our wit's end, so to speak, we need to remember God's great grace. These times will not continue forever as they do at this now.

There is a time when time shall be no more!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, July 29, 2010

God is Forever!

14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15 That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past.
(Ecclesiastes 3:14-15, New King James Version)

God is Forever!

There is a certain futility in these words by King Solomon.

I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.

Being creatures of time, it is not easy for us to think in terms of eternity. In once sense, a lifetime seems like a long time, but compared to eternity it is just a vapor that appears for a moment and then passes away. Viewing it from this perspective, it is good for us to stop for a moment and think about what we are doing with the time that God has given to us.

We have no control over the past--it is done. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. However, we can do something about today and tomorrow! As we look around and see the hand of God, we also realize, as did Solomon, that nothing God does is new. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been! Are we, then, just supposed to give up, because everything is futile? No! There are two very important thoughts brought out in these verses.

First, God does it, that men should fear before Him. Fear can take on many aspects. There is the fear of terror, the fear of respect, the awe-inspiring fear, and many others. In a sense, our fear of God is a combination of all of these things. Yes, it is good to understand that God alone holds the keys to eternal life and eternal death. It is not bad if this motivates us to obey Him. As a Christian, however, the fear of God is so much more. Who is a God like unto our God? Our God is able to save (and to keep) even to the uttermost; His love transcends all love.

Second, God requires an account of what is past. Because God requires an account, we know that He has a purpose for us to fulfill in this life. Our everyday tasks may seem meaningless to us, but they are never meaningless to God. Wherever God has put us; whatever He has given us the abilities to do, we will be required at the end of days to give an account to God.

These things should not bring unreasonable fear into our lives; they should, in fact, do just the opposite. God has a plan unique to each of us. Whether that plan seems great or meaningless, it is not necessarily great or meaningless to God! A poor, lonely widow who can do nothing but pray is seen as being on equal footing with the greatest preacher in the world. The poor beggar comes before God on equal terms as the richest man in the world.

All of the tasks we are called to do, whether they seem of great importance or they seem meaningless, are God-given tasks. Let us do them to the glory of God, alone, that His name may be praised in everything we think, we say, and we do.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Everything Beautiful

9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
(
Ecclesiastes 3:9-13, New King James Version)

Everything Beautiful

Our Bible passage today from Ecclesiastes 3 begins with a question. What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I do not know about you, but that is a question I often ask, especially when I am doing the laundry or cleaning the house. It is a job that never ends--when I finish I need to start all over again.

God has made everything beautiful in its time. Does that mean even the dishes and the laundry? Yes, the dishes, the laundry, the office job, the factory, etc. In other words, labor is not only God-given, but it is also beautiful, as it all brings glory to God, even if we cannot see much purpose in what we do.

Why is this true? God has put eternity in our hearts; though we may not know the work that God does, we yearn to be with Him. We see through a glass darkly today; we can discover the sweet beauty of fellowship with Him, but in eternity we will see Him face to face, and know Him as He is known.

Even though it may seem as though our daily work has no real purpose in this life, it does bring glory to God. As such, we should find peace and contentment in it, and enjoy the fruits of our labor, not only because it is God-given, but, even more, it is a gift given to us by God.

Enjoy your gifts from God today, for He has made everything beautiful in its time!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

There is a Season

1 To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, New King James Version)

There is a Season

Made popular by the Byrds in the 60's, this is perhaps one of the most well known portions of Scripture. The lyrics to, "Turn, Turn, Turn" begin like this.

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

(More lyrics: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/byrds/#share)

It is obvious that though this was written thousands of years ago, its message is just as appropriate in our day as it was in Solomon's day.

What is the bigger message in these verses? I do not know about you, but patience is not a trait that comes naturally to me. If I am having a day of great pain, I cannot hardly remember a day when I did not have pain. Yet, if I am having a day without pain, I can hardly remember days with pain. Solomon encourages us to look beyond the circumstances of this day, realizing that there will be better days to come.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

I think Solomon understands the balance God grants us in life. When life is not going so well, we tend to blame God. Why could He not have prevented this? The comfort to us is that, even in the bad times, we are safe in the hands of God. He is molding us and making us more like Him, until we reach the point where time for us will be no more.

What is the balance we should understand while on this earth? If we are going through bad times, we must understand that good times will come again. If we are in good times, we should be wise and sober, knowing that things may not stay like this.

Where is the joy in that? That seems rather depressing! The joy, as always, remains in Christ. True joy in this life does not come from the good times or the great things we have or can do. True joy is a gift of God!

I pray you will have a joy filled day!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hand of God

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.

24 Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.
(Ecclesiastes 2:17-24, New King James Version)

Hand of God

Our Bible passage today begins on a rather dismal note.

Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

How can this be? This is King Solomon, the richest man in the world; he should be happy, right? As Solomon looks for the deeper meaning in life, he finds himself discouraged. He has done everything he could do in terms of building his empire in wisdom, yet in the end it will all be left to someone who has not labored for it. What will that man do with it?

For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

However, Solomon does not leave us without hope. Look at his conclusion in verse 24.

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

Though he can find no satisfying purpose for all of his labor, Solomon understands that he is viewing it from the wrong perspective. Why am I laboring? Am I trying to leave a name for myself, or look wise and powerful to those around me? Doing so just brings emptiness; it is all vanity.

What is the right conclusion? Man should enjoy his work. His soul should enjoy the good in his labor, because he understands that what he has is from the hand of God. It always comes back to this, does it not? We cannot, and should not try, to separate ourselves from the hand of God in our lives. Therein, and only therein, is there true purpose to life.

Christianity is not something we just tack on to the rest of our lives. Christianity is our life; in other words, we have no life apart from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even our work and play should be centered around our service for God.

Let us pray, this day, that we will purpose to see the hand of God in everything we do and say. This is not possible in and of ourselves, but by the grace of God we can do it!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wisdom and Madness

12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly;
For what can the man do who succeeds the king?—
Only what he has already done.
13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly
As light excels darkness.
14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head,
But the fool walks in darkness.
Yet I myself perceived
That the same event happens to them all.
15 So I said in my heart,

“ As it happens to the fool,
It also happens to me,
And why was I then more wise?”
Then I said in my heart,

“ This also is vanity.”
16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever,
Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come.
And how does a wise man die?
As the fool!
(Ecclesiastes 2:12-16, New King James Version)

Wisdom and Madness

In some ways, these verses seem rather depressing. First Solomon admits that wisdom is better than folly. A wise man walks in light while a foolish man walks in darkness. Then his thoughts change as he discovers that though a man is wise, he dies the same death as a fool.

I know the conclusion that Solomon comes to at the end of the book, but I do wonder what perception he had of life after death. I also wonder whether he understood the purpose of life as that of serving God instead of just himself. I am thinking that perhaps he was still forming opinions at this point.

It is not uncommon for us to face that sense of the pointlessness of life, or the lack of purpose. Especially if we begin to think back upon our ancestry, we agree that after a generation or two we will no longer be remembered.

That is all the more reason that we develop a closeness to the Lord, as well as an understanding that we are not here by accident. Our lives were planned by God even before time began. As a matter of fact, not only were our lives planned, but they are included in God's Almighty plan for this earth on which we live.

If you are like me, I need to be reminded of that time and again. Wisdom and Madness! Which would you choose?

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No Profit

4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. 9 So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 2:4-11, New King James Version)

No Profit

Solomon was consumed! In his pursuit of meaning in life he amassed great wealth, being known for his gardens, his servants, and his accumulation of silver and gold. It was not a drudgery to him as shown in Ecclesiastes 2:10.

Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.

As we well know, there is enjoyment in labor as well as in the gain of new knowledge. Yet, in all of his wealth, Solomon concluded, "There was no profit under the sun." How can that be? How can that be considered no profit?

Note that he used the phrase, "under the sun." It is hard to believe--we just assume that all of our troubles would go away if we were financially independent. That, however, is not what Solomon discovered; I am sure it surprised him as well. He was back to, "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity." Even in his great wealth and power he felt empty.

What does that say about us? It tells us that we need more to grant us contentment and a feeling of self worth. We are spiritual creatures, and unless we feed out spiritual natures, nothing will give us contentment, but will fill our hearts with the same emptiness that Solomon felt.

It is so amazing that all of the things Solomon had did not blot out the emptiness he felt, and yet the poorest person in the world who has set his heart upon the Lord can find peace, joy, and contentment.

Oh, that we would learn that lesson!

God Bless You,
Linda











Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Test of Pleasure

1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
(Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, New King James Version)

Test of Pleasure

It almost seems as if Solomon is taking a scientific approach to seek out the meaning of pleasure in his quest to discover what is good for the sons of men to do under heaven. In all of his experimenting with pleasurable things he does them while guiding his heart with wisdom. It almost seems as if he steps outside of himself and takes notes!

I find it interesting that Solomon uses his wisdom in this way. He is going beyond fun and pleasure to determine its meaning in life. Does that mean that we are not to laugh, have fun, or find pleasurable entertainment? Not at all. However, we are not to seek these things as the end or purpose of life.

I think there is also another subtle message in these verses from Ecclesiastes 2. Sometimes we are so busy living our life that we do not take the time to step back and take a hard look at ourselves. I think this is what Solomon meant by "guiding his heart with wisdom." It seems as though he stopped from time to time to take an assessment of his life.

As Christians who understand the deceptive nature of sin, it would be good for us to stop and assess our own lives. It is always much easier for us to see sin in the lives of others than it is to see sin in our own lives. What would happen if we spent more time analyzing our own thoughts and actions before God?

Solomon took his own test of pleasure which resulted not only in the book of Ecclesiastes, but also in the book of Proverbs. Though it seemed to him as though no one would remember him, God chose to use his books of wisdom to guide Christians in their daily lives even to this day.

Only what is done for Christ will last!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Disparity!

16 I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief,
And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
(Ecclesiastes 1:16-18, New King James Version)

Disparity!

How are we to understand these verses that seem to be so full of disparity or contradictions? God had blessed Solomon with greatness and wisdom more than all who were before him. Yet, in the end he seems to discount wisdom and knowledge.

I do not believe that Solomon is discrediting wisdom or knowledge; rather, I think he is saying that with more wisdom comes more understanding of the sorrow and grief that exists in this life.

Think of children; it seems they spend their whole life hurrying to grow up. They cannot wait to grow up and be free. What they do not realize is that with that freedom comes responsibility. Actually, what they perceive as freedom is not really freedom at all.

So, should we seek wisdom and knowledge or not? Yes! Wisdom was sent to Solomon from God as a blessing. Where, then, is the blessing? The blessing comes in knowing that we are not to rest in wisdom, knowledge, or anything of this world. We are to use that wisdom and knowledge to live our lives to the glory of God.

It really comes back to our true purpose in this life. Are we here to make a name for ourselves, gather riches and honor, or to consume ourselves with pleasure? No! Those things will only bring emptiness, grief, and sorrow.

Let us, today, look above the daily grind of life to God, our Father, who has a greater purpose for us than just the things of this world.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grasping for the Wind

12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
(Ecclesiastes 1:12-15, New King James Version)

Grasping for the Wind

Have you ever held the wind in your hand? Have you ever captured the wind in a bottle? Have you ever changed the wind from an easterly to a westerly direction? Have you ever even seen the wind?

The Preacher, Solomon, King of Israel, whom God made the wisest man on earth, decided to seek out by his wisdom, everything that was done on earth. We will see the extent to which he went to make this discovery in the coming chapters of Ecclesiastes, but even before he gives the details, he gives the conclusion of the matter.

All is vanity and grasping for the wind.

What is crooked, and there is much that is crooked on earth, cannot be made straight. The things that are lacking are so great they cannot be numbered.

Again, we are left with a rather hopeless impression that even life itself is meaningless. I think it is important for us to come to that conclusion as, only then, do we begin to understand our need of a Savior. Only then will we understand that we are helpless without the aid of the Lord our God.

What is your goal in life? What things do you seek? In your goals, are you really just chasing after the wind? Do you think that completion of your goals will bring security, happiness, and peace? It surely seems that way in the movies, does it not? How many movies end, "And they lived happily ever after?" Oh, they may not say those very words, but the inference is there.

How, then, can we prevent total despair in our daily lives. We teach our children, but will they pass on the wisdom and knowledge they learn from us? Even if they do, will their children pass it on to the next generation?

I am so thankful that it is not for us to be concerned about the future. Why is that? Just as we can do nothing about the present, we can do nothing about the future. Just as we must leave everything in the present in the hands of God, so must we leave the future in God's hands.

Is that so bad? What an amazing God we have! What we cannot do, He does. Are we concerned about the future generations? Then let us pray to God to lead and guide them in the way of truth just as He has led us.

Yes, we are just grasping for the wind, but God holds the wind in His hand. This is the God we love and serve; this is the God who will live with us for eternity!

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nothing New!

9 That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which it may be said,

“ See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, New King James Version)

Nothing New!

How can Solomon say there is nothing new under the sun? We see new discoveries being made every day! Do you think this is really what Solomon meant?

I have often puzzled over these words, "nothing new." Times may come and go; discoveries may be made, but what about man? Is man really any different now than 100 years ago, or even 1,000 years ago? Solomon will elaborate more on this as we go through the book of Ecclesiastes. We will find that he had the unique opportunity to test this theory.

What are the predominant traits we see in mankind today? We see desire for wealth, power, and fame as probably the top three goals of men and women in the world, especially in the United States, the land of opportunity. Many people achieve these goals, but are they happier for their success?

Nations fight nations; dictators have free reign in some countries. Does victory bring them a greater peace of mind? I would propose that the more countries they conquer, the more they worry about maintaining what they have. The rich man concerns himself with not only making more money, but he also worries about hanging on to the money he has.

Is this new? Not at all. Ecclesiastes 1:10-11 is very sobering.

10 Is there anything of which it may be said,

“ See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.

Have we learned from the past; do we remember the mistakes of former times? Do children learn from the mistakes of their parents? From the beginning of time, when Adam and Eve lusted after more knowledge, mankind has not been satisfied with his lot in life?

What, then, are we to do? We cannot change our very nature, but God can! Therein lies our hope. Only in Christ will we find peace, joy, and contentment. Amazingly, this contentment has nothing to do with what we do or do not have. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, has always been and always will be the only answer to man's desire for peace and happiness.

Let us pray that we will, through Christ, learn from the mistakes of our forefathers.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hum Drum

7 All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
8 All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
(Ecclesiastes 1:7-8, New King James Version)

Hum Drum

I suppose that one of the reasons I have always enjoyed Ecclesiastes is its philosophical nature. I always tend to look at the bigger picture rather than get swallowed up in the details. I think that is exactly what we have in our reading today from Ecclesiastes 1.

The sea is not full, the eye is not satisfied, and the ear is not filled. I call this the hum drum of life. Does it often seem to you that you do the same things day after day, week after week, and year after year, until life just seems to be a monotonous repetition?

As the cycles of life continue in their constant repetition, where is the meaning of life? One of the most difficult things about the Christian life is living the day to day life. We all seem to do all right at the peaks and valleys--it is the level ground that causes us difficulty.

King Solomon has done a good job of expressing the sameness of life. As he will ask, so must we ask, "Is this all there is to life?" One way or another, every person alive must come face to face with this question, and it is the answer to this question that will drive us to the Lord or away from the Lord.

I encourage you, today, to look to the Lord. He has given purpose and meaning to a life that seems to live in a barren wasteland. Do not get caught up in the daily hum drum of life; God has so much more for us in these few years He has given to us on this earth.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vanity of Vanities

2 “ Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;

“ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
3 What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
6 The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
(Ecclesiastes 1:2-6, New King James Version)

Vanity of Vanities

Emptiness! Have you ever looked around you and thought, "Everything is vanity of vanities."? Solomon begins verse 2 of Ecclesiastes 1 with those very words. As a matter of fact, the verses shown above seem to express a meaningless hopelessness.

I do not think that is the whole message that Solomon is trying to convey; I think, rather, he is saying that our striving after things is hopeless. Look around you. What do you see? Man is out of control striving to get all he can get while on this earth.

Does that change the earth in any way? No! The generations come and go, but the earth abides forever. The sun rises and sets, and the wind continues to blow. In the bigger picture being painted here, a life searching after fame, fortune, and folly is a hopeless and meaningless life.

Do you think Solomon is saying that life is useless? Absolutely not! As we continue through this book, Solomon will point out the things that man looks to for happiness. However, these things do not satisfy; only God can fill the vanity of vanities that exists in our lives.

Only in Christ do we have a purpose; only in Christ can we live lives that do have meaning. It is good for us to reflect on these things, so that we can adjust our focus on the things of God rather than on the emptiness of a life lived for ourselves.

I pray that as you look at your life, you do not see endless vanity, but rather a purpose driven life lived to the glory of God the Father.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ecclesiastes

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
(Ecclesiastes 1:1, New King James Version)

Ecclesiastes 1

Ecclesiastes is one of those Old Testament books that we rarely seem to consider unless we are reading through the entire Bible, and yet it is a book of extreme importance in our world today.

Solomon, the son of David, calls himself the Preacher in this book. I find that rather interesting. Why do you suppose he did that? I really do not have a definitive answer, but I think he was implying that we should listen and consider the message given in this book.

Why should we listen to a dead King from centuries ago? To answer that, I would ask, "What do we know about this king?"

*He was known as the wisest man in the world.
*He was known as the richest king in the world.
*He ruled during a time of great peace and prosperity for his nation.
*This peace and prosperity ended with his death.
*After the death of Solomon, the kingdom was divided, never to be united again.

There are many other things we know about Solomon, but let us just think of these things for the moment. Where do we go for advice? To whose advice do we listen? Are we more apt to listen to a homeless man on the street, or the wealthiest man we know? Are we more likely to seek advice from a high school drop out, or from a well educated man or woman? Are we more likely to listen to a world leader who leads his country through times of peace and prosperity, or one who leads his country into chaos and destruction?

I think you probably see the direction in which I am heading. Not only in the time of Solomon, but ever since, there has never been such a king, who possessed such wisdom, such wealth, and who brought such peace and prosperity to his country. Best of all, we can read a book, written by this king, dealing with his philosophical discoveries of life. He had the means to try everything possible to possess happiness, and he did. However, his search for happiness was much more fleeting than he realized.

Tomorrow we will begin Ecclesiastes 1; I hope you will have an opportunity to read the entire first chapter. I plan on moving through the book rather slowly with the goal of understanding our own Christian lives much better.

See you tomorrow!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Vacation

I will be on a short vacation so will not be writing devotions for a few days. Hope you will take some time to go through the archives during that time, or visit my website: Devotional Reflections from the Bible.

God Bless You,
Linda