Category Archives: Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 10-12; 2 Timothy 4

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV

Judgement. The penetrating, righteous declaration of a loving God will one day declare the ultimate “end of the matter.” At that time, all will be laid bare and it will be abundantly clear if we have followed Him sincerely. God knows the secrets of my heart. He knows if I have godly desires or self-driven agendas. There is no fooling Him, even if at times I might be able to convince myself that my ill-conceived motives are noble.

Ultimately, my salvation rests in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but that does not mean I can relax or tolerate sin in my life. The Christian life is an intentional life. Choosing to live, obey, and deny myself.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV

Paul might have been specifically speaking these words to a preacher, but they also carry broader application. All believers have access to the truth of God’s word and are preachers throughout each day. Sometimes only to myself, sometimes to my kids, in Bible study, small groups, classes, with friends. My pulpit might look like a lawn chair around a campfire or the passenger seat of a car, but wherever I speak, I need to be ready to speak The Truth. I need to be careful though to not cross that line between preaching and being preachy.

I must be a constant student of God’s Word so that I can accurately represent it as I have opportunity. Expanding each word in verse two based on an interlinear text it goes something like this: To share the message publicly with conviction both when it is convenient and welcomed and when it is inconvenient and rejected; convincing with solid evidence to expose truth and error, warning others to prevent them from going down the wrong path, being a spiritual advocate, with extensive and intensive patience through a summarized body of reliable, time-honored teaching.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:6-7 ESV

Living out my faith can be exhausting. It is pouring out my life on behalf of others. It is speaking up when silence is less complicated. It is fighting for what matters. It is running an ultra-marathon and then a Spartan Beast, and then an Ironman Triathlon, week after week, year after year. Not in my own strength, because that would never get me through the first leg. But, if I’m not pouring out, fighting, and racing, I’m missing the amazing gift that comes when you completely deplete your own resources and begin to fight and race only with His.

Only by faith.

Lord God, long ago I reached the end of myself and yet I still wake up thinking I can do today on my own. Call me to your side again. Help me speak Your words, love with Your love, discern with Your wisdom, and run by Your strength. Not giving up when the way demands more than I have, but plunging so deeply into You that there is always more to draw on. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46; 2 Timothy 3

I watched a lot of black and white movies and a lot of musicals when I was back home, as a child, with my family. Here is a clip I pulled, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life. The solution to the question of the mystery of life was love.

“For it is love alone for which the world is seeking; and it is love alone which can repay.”

Solomon had not reached that conclusion yet. He is stuck on the secret of life being significance, meaningfulness, and a sense of contentment about one’s life.

There is a little more clarity here.

Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with its turmoil. – Psalm 46:2-3 HCSB

When God is on my side, how irrational fear is. Where God is there is all power and all love – why would I ever be afraid?

However, I know I can make my own choice, as Solomon did.

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 HCSB

Lovers of ourselves, love of self and focused more on self-love – they all have the word love in these expressions, but are not the words that would describe God when we say that God is love.

Love is only powerful when it reflects the very nature of God and my walk with God reveals that I have spent time with Him when in fact I have loved others as I have loved Him and He me.

Father, I want to mature in my love for You and for others. There is another way to live this life fulfilled, with meaning and with significance and that is to wrap myself in Your love and be changed by it. May my heart realize that when I am in You and You in me, I walk this life with no fear, and why should I? You walk with me. I am not sure how it is that I easily find myself thinking more about myself than others – forgive me. Teach me who I should spend time with in fellowship so that I will be encouraged and built up to serve You faithfully. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalm 45; 2 Timothy 1

“Vanity, Vanity, all is vanity.”

Oft quoted. Sometimes even correctly attributed to the bible. But, what does it really mean, and what is the greater truth behind the statement?

I love digging into the original languages of Scripture and here we find the word “hebel” that is translated vanity. Hebel refers to something that is short-lived. Other translations of this word include the following: delusion, emptiness, fleeting, fraud, futile, mere breath, nothing, useless, vapor, worthless.

Calling everything vanity is not giving it any compliments.

Next, we need to ask, “What is vanity? What is worthless?” (aside from the obvious, “all”)

What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:3-9 ESV

Nothing new under the sun, just lots of same ol’, same ol’ and chasing after the wind.

Solomon searched the earth for some type of meaning, purpose, or value. He tried it all. He poured himself into his work, he indulged every impulse, he achieved power and wealth, even in his wisdom he found only “vanity”– emptiness, a fraud.

That’s a little depressing. Is life just meaningless then?

10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-13 ESV

Even in this vapor we call life, there is a meaning beneath the surface. In God’s love for us, He gave us this beautiful gift called life. Yes, it is full of ups and downs. Days of success and days we want to crawl back in bed, or worse. But all of that is beautiful in its time. Today I was chatting with a lady who was remembering her days of living in an urban setting and how parking tickets and getting her car towed unfortunately seemed to come with the territory. Now she can laugh about it. At the time it was a huge frustration. Now, it is a beautiful piece of the fabric of her life that even makes her smile at the memory.

22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot.

Ecclesiastes 3:22a ESV

I might see an awful day (or even a good one) as mere vanity, but God’s weaving of my life takes light and dark threads. Not for my glory, but for His. Any earthly accomplishments are useless if not done in joy for God’s glory.

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
    I address my verses to the king;
    my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

Psalm 45:1 ESV

The psalmist learned this. His tongue was ready to verbalize praise to God. He was ready, waiting for the opportunity. Sometimes the chance knocks me over the head before I take a breath and realize the perfect circumstance for praising God surrounding me.

Every moment is favorable for praise.

Promotion, lost job. Graduation, failure. Birth, death. Pain, ecstasy. Love, indignation. Fear, confidence. Change, stability. Dark, light. Progress, regression. Feast, famine.

All of it can usher us into the throne room to worship.

14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14 ESV

Guard – from the Greek Phulasso. To guard, watch, constantly. Uninterrupted vigilance.

Both mountain-tops and valleys can pull our focus away from God, yet if we guard the spiritual gift of faith that we have, we will find them both a perfect time to praise Him. Uninterrupted vigilance will keep our eyes open to the spiritual perspective.

Awesome Creator-God, You have given me many gifts that I do not steward as carefully as I should. Strengthen my vigilance that it may truly be uninterrupted in guarding the purity of my faith in You and Your word. I want to worship You in each moment and learn the lessons and celebrate the moments that You place in my path. Help me to find the joy in the journey and not just rush through forgetting that You are my purpose. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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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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