Category Archives: Ecclesiastes

Leviticus 26; Psalm 33; Ecclesiastes 9; Titus 1

I will be with you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. I, the Lord your God, brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves. I broke the power that held you down and I let you walk with your head held high. – Leviticus 26:12-13 GNT

May I know that You are an intimate God who wants to walk with me and be my God.

I will remember my covenant with Jacob and with Isaac and with Abraham, and I will renew my promise to give my people the land.  But even then, when they are still in the land of their enemies, I will not completely abandon them or destroy them. That would put an end to my covenant with them, and I am the Lord their God. – Leviticus 26: 42, 44 GNT

Lord, may I know that You remember Your covenants and promises. 

All you that are righteous,
    shout for joy for what the Lord has done;
    praise him, all you that obey him. – Psalm 33:1 GNT

I praise Your holy name for all Your goodness to me. Thank You for adopting me into Your family and for making me righteous. I will not forget what You have done for me and my praise for You will be forever on my lips, for You alone are worthy. 

It is better to listen to the quiet words of someone wise than to the shouts of a ruler at a council of fools. – Ecclesiastes 9:17 GNT

May I find myself not only listening but heeding the quiet words of the wise.

From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I was chosen and sent to help the faith of God’s chosen people and to lead them to the truth taught by our religion. – Titus 1:1 GNT

Father, thank You for Your Word and for calling me into Your family. Help me to take heed to all that You are teaching me and use me to point many to Christ. Thank You for revealing the truth of the gospel and of faith and grace to me so that I can chose to walk in godliness before You. AMEN

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Leviticus 25; Psalms 32; Ecclesiastics 8; 2 Timothy 4

“While Moses was on Mount Sinai, the Lord said to him, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.  When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year.  For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, but the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest.  It is the Lord’s Sabbath.  Do not plant your fields of prune your vineyards during that year.”  Leviticus 25:1-4 NLT

In times of rest and Sabbath, sometimes I can feel stuck.  I forget that God is working in the waiting.  I wonder how the Israelties felt.  Did they look out on the empty fields and see God’s provision or lack?

“In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burden’s here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night.  I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun.  Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.” Ecclesiastes 8:16&17 NLT

Do I trust that God is in control? Am I worrying about the future so much that I am missing the joy of today?  I can become impatient in the waiting.  I forget all that God has done in the past.  But, maybe God is using those times to reflect on His goodness.  To build my faith.

Paul’s faith was evident in his life.  He was always looking forward. Paul spoke courage and bravery into Timothy, to continue the work that he started.  I think about the words that I am speaking out loud and to myself.  What kind of legacy am I leaving?

“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.  Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord.  Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.  As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.  The time of my death is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have remained faithful.  But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.  And he rescued me from certain death.  Yes, the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom.  All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.”  2 Timothy 4:5-7,17&18 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for your faithfulness. Help me to step out in faith even when I don’t understand.  Thank you for always meeting me where I am. Amen.

“For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.  You surround me with songs of victory.  The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.” Psams 32:7-8 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Leviticus 20; Psalm 25; Ecclesiastes 3; 1 Timothy 5

The subheading in Leviticus 20 is “Punishments for Disobedience.” There’s a long list of disobedient acts, and the punishment in many cases is death, rejection, or loss. The punishment for sin has always been death, rejection, and loss.

The things he warns against–a defilement of life, of spirit, of body and of mind. He values life, spirit, body, and mind; and he wants (us) to value them too.

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy.

24 But I have promised you, ‘You will possess their land because I will give it to you as your possession—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from all other people.

26 You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own. (Leviticus 20:7-8, 24, 26, NLT)

David’s psalm is worship, a declaration of trust. The whole of it, an acknowledgment of God’s goodness.

O Lord, I give my life to you.
    I trust in you, my God! (Psalm 25:1-2, NLT)

David worships God for his mercy, compassion, righteousness, leadership, and unfailing love. God is good. God is trustworthy.

Ecclesiastes tells of time. When read with a lens of God’s goodness and trustworthiness, I can see his hand in all things. He is in control.

10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again. (Ecclesiastes 3:10-15, NLT)

No one who trusts in you, Lord, will ever be disgraced.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me enough to choose me, for loving me so much to guide me and teach me and show me the way. You did not put me in this world to figure it out on my own. I put my hope in you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Ecclesiastes 3-5; Psalm 45; Matthew 15

I think of the scraps that fell from the table: could meager remnants become a feast? I sat on a bench one year and considered the crumbs and thought of this woman in Matthew 15 and her perspective.

24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”

25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”

26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table. (Matthew 15:24-27, NLT)”

She taught me something profound that day about my own heart. About contentment. About gratitude. About the Lord. About enough.

The Pharisees had their expectations of what life would look like, and how purity would be recognized, and a protocol for how things would be done. I think on how my own expectations, perceptions, and protocol have kept me sour, hurt, angry, or disappointed.

Ecclesiastes marks time like seasons for war and peace, tearing and mending, silence and speech. Couldn’t it show on the calendar? On (this day), you will cry. You will grieve. But in a few turns of the calendar pages, you will laugh. You will dance. Would the wait feel long?

Here, I linger:

What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13, NLT).

The injustices of life. The advantages of companionship. The futility of power and wealth. The importance of integrity. Read slowly. Everything, beautiful. Even in the becoming, beauty, in the wait. A scope of His work.

17 Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.

18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past (Ecclesiastes 5:17-20, NLT, emphasis added).

I did a quarterly evaluation in areas of my life from 1-10: work, health, friendships, etc. Goal books and podcasts preach a level-10 life. What would it look like, I wondered. And slowly I realized–I was already there. I have all I need. And maybe living out level 10 didn’t mean what I was making it (nebulous as it was). Maybe it didn’t look like anyone else’s vision of ten. Maybe, in some cases, it had to do with letting go of hurts and expectations, with looking forward and sowing into a future than looking back and carrying past burdens. Maybe my disappointment stemmed from exceptions and restrictions and expectations I placed upon things, a schedule I overbooked, a relationship I overestimated. For community that was never going to be what I hoped it could be. For the friend who never agreed to be who I needed her to be. What if I let go of my own restrictions, instead of wrestling with a past I couldn’t change, and people I wished who would? Seems like chasing the wind.

Lord, thank you for meeting me that day on the bench, bringing that woman’s story to mind. Thank you today for reminding me of the scope of your story. Thank you for gifts from you: good things from you, and the health to enjoy them.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 31; Ecclesiastes 1-2; Matthew 14

What a great reading today – sets the tone for the day. The ideal woman is described through her activity as a wife. I was reading that the traditional hymn sung praising the mighty deeds of a warrior was transposed to extol a heroic wife – the focus on her exploits. As beautiful as all of this is, nothing really matches the words from her children and her husband as they praise her. What a portrait of a household ruled by Woman Wisdom and if you will, the home of those she has discipled. I love calling my wife a woman of wisdom.

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:  – Proverbs 31:28  ESV

The man of wisdom himself, Solomon, takes the idea of being transparent seriously. I have so much to learn from him in this area.  I notice whenever he uses the word “you” in advice or warning, he actually sounds like he is speaking to himself. While he is talking to himself about things he should be doing, he finds himself not doing it. Have to remind myself not to do that when I am preaching.

The words of the Preacher,[a] the son of David, king in Jerusalem. – Ecclesasties 1:1  ESV

No matter what my need is, Jesus comes to me in my hour of need. He is watching over me even when I cannot see Him. The storm and the miracle of walking on water is a great picture of what Jesus still does in my life when I am sailing through my own storms which happen in the dark so often.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” – Matthew 14:27  ESV

I am meant to recognize the metaphor. If I allow myself to face my storms alone, that is on me.

Father, I look at this amazing woman of wisdom and I see this wise man filled with wisdom, and I cannot help but realise how You sent Jesus, Your wisdom personified, to walk with me in life. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

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Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46; 2 Timothy 3

Yesterday was Independence Day in the United States. My family and I had a quiet day at home. But I was acutely aware of past celebrations: swimming, cookouts, a bonfire. As I walked around the yard, I stopped and remembered–Alan stoking a fire (that was the summer he was diagnosed with cancer; he died almost two years later); Linda and her wide-brimmed hat (disease took her away from us last year); another family staying later, wrapped in blankets as the evening cooled dramatically; Denise holding up a flag and smiling for the camera. Some of these, years ago but the memories felt fresh yesterday.

***

I think of her as The One Who Loves Me. She has called me lately to share her heart, thoughts, and fears. She has a heart catheter procedure scheduled tomorrow. She tells me the things she needs to say, just in case. She will call me again today, and she will tell me those things again, and I will do my best not to cry at the implication.

The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.

It seems so wrong that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. Already twisted by evil, people choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”

The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. (Ecclesiastes 9:2-6, NLT)

While he was alive, and especially after his death, my father’s life caused me to think long on legacy. Paul’s printed words affect the future, but at the time, he was writing to Timothy. The words were to him.

10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. (2 Timothy 3:10-11a, NLT)

While we are here, we are known by those around us. Influence, example, purpose–these things speak of us and for us. I know the things I value, but does my life reflect them?

Thank you, Lord, for your word in my hands and heart. I want to be true to the person you designed me to be, to live this life to glorify you. You put songs and delight in my heart. Help me to live this life well.

Courtney (66books365)

So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne! … 10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8, 10, NLT)

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Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 125; 2 Timothy 2

I love Ecclesiastes.  Remember Peter, Paul and Mary singing, Turn Turn Turn? I was only a child then but I remember every word.  My favourite chapter in the entire Bible is chapter 3, and again probably because of that song.  When I read Chuck Swindoll’s book on Ecclesiastes, that probably sealed the deal – it finally all made sense (that is, the other chapters other than chapter 3 – that one I had nailed down).

So it makes sense that my wisdom comes from this book more than any other.

 Be careful what you do when you enter the house of God. Some fools go there to offer sacrifices, even though they haven’t sinned.[d] But it’s best just to listen when you go to worship.  Don’t talk before you think or make promises to God without thinking them through. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so don’t talk too much.  If you keep thinking about something, you will dream about it. If you talk too much, you will say the wrong thing. – Ecclesiastes 5:1-3  CEV

Be thoughtful when I enter into God’s presence, listen while I worship, and think through what God is asking from me making sure that whatever I say or do will in the end glorify Him.

It is probably why I have so much faith in God protecting me.

Just as Jerusalem is protected
    by mountains on every side,
the Lord protects his people
    by holding them in his arms
    now and forever. – Psalm 125:2  CEV

In my role with the Navigators, I am called to share how I have been growing in my faith and to lead others into the same kind of walk I have with Jesus. I disciple disciple-makers.

Timothy, my child, Christ Jesus is kind, and you must let him make you strong.  You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others. – Timothy 2:1-2  CEV

Father, as You lead me today, give me wisdom to know that needs to be done.  Allow me to see Your hand making the day exactly what You made it to be.  Protect me and my family as I move out to do what You have called me to do.  Show me how to be full of grace and allow me to let You make me strong.  I want to tell others how they can follow You, show me who can be trusted to do and be this kind of person in order to advance Your Kingdom. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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