Monday, September 30, 2013

Quote - Robert Frost

"Never be bullied into silence, never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one's definition of your life, define yourself." 

~Robert Frost

This is easy to say and difficult to master.  We are a product of the events we have gone through, the negative comments said to us as far back as childhood and the self inflicted damage we put on our bodies & minds.  We all have different negative experiences, but we are not alone.  There are millions of combinations, yet the result is usually the same.  Our self worth is gone and our self esteem is unrecognizable.  Do not let anyone pen your story.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


One date, two stories.

1st story:

Back in 94/95 I was in the ARMY.  I saw in my head the number 28.  I was engaged and thought that maybe that was going to be the day I got married.  This is one of only two times God has shown me a number, yet at the time I didn't know what it was.  At this point in my life I said I was a Christian, but I had no idea what that really meant and my lifestyle did not support that claim.

Fast forward a few years later I had dated a guy by the name of Mike Hastings.  It was a short lived relationship, but we remained friends.  My best friend Sabrina called me one night and I knew right away that something was wrong.  She said she was on her way over to my house.  I remember the details of this night vividly, as if it was a neon sign seared into my mind.  She told me that Mike was dead and I was in shock. The next night we went to see the group of friends we hung out with, then all the funeral stuff happened. Only later did I realize that he was buried on the 28th.  I had no idea why that number would be important to me, at the time it was just a number, just a faint idea of what could come.

Mike committed suicide.  A friend of mine knew someone on the police force so I heard the details of what happened.  Still not sure if I needed to know those details.  The only reason I am glad to know them is because there was time.  I believe in that moment maybe for the first time he did not feel alone nor was he. There was time to accept God before the end and I have to believe that he chose God because in grief and desperation to see pure love would be overwhelming, I would think that many would turn to Him.  That he believed and felt unconditional love for the first time.

You see he had a plan.  He wrote letters to his family.  Took a gun from a friend.  He was intent on killing himself.  When someone decides to commit suicide, they will follow through.  Unless there is a cry for help that is noticeable they will end their pain themselves, yet many miss the signs along the way.  They have no idea what devastation awaits everyone else that is around them, they are only thinking of themselves. Many intelligent and kind people commit suicide, they are under the impression that their demons will never go away and they have come to this final step to ease their soul.

In John 10:28 it says this "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." So even in that moment Mike could still accept Jesus and be saved.  I believe all sins will be forgiven even in the process of ending ones life.  Romans 8:38-39 says "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  I have heard so many that say that those committing suicide are going to hell, but if we are not in those last moments we can't say that to be true.  We are precious to the Father and even when we make bad decisions I am assured that He is near.  When we are at our most desperate there is comfort that can't been seen with our eyes or heard with our ears.

2nd story:

I thought that was the end of the 28th.  In 2007 I had my daughter and my mom came down for a visit.  She was visiting in October and when she got back to Ohio on a bus my grandparents had a rose for her.  They didn't say anything, they just took her to the hospital.  My dad was there very sick, his body was shutting down.  My dad made sure to tell his dad to get my mom a rose, which was very sweet.  By the time mom got to the room he couldn't communicate, but he could still hear.    He was in a bad situation and was unlikely to fully recover if he lived.  I spoke with mom on Friday and she said that he was doing better, but Saturday I knew he wasn't going to make it.  How I knew I didn't know, I just knew.  My mom had a dream Saturday night and she knew that he wasn't going to make it either.  So I started packing so that we could drive up from TN to OH.  I called on Sunday and mom told me he was gone, that I already knew, she just confirmed it.  He died on the 28th.

He put off going to the doctor for tests and said he would do it while my mom was visiting us, he never did. He came back to God a few years before he died, even doing bible study and going to church.  As far as I can remember he never did that while we were growing up, I never heard him even speak about God, ever. His health was declining, but he never change his lifestyle.  He kept drinking and eating foods he was suppose to avoid.  It is sad to lose someone early when it could have been delayed for many years or decades.

You may think this is a bit crazy, but when I sense something is from God I try to pay attention.  This date I thought was good ended up being sad and I don't know if this is the end of the 28th, only time will tell.  You may say that this was a coincidence, but that word is not in my vocabulary.  I do not believe in mere chance or coincidence. That would take away any glory from God and give it to fate instead of faith.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Eccl. recap

Solomon writes about life's experiences and about the true meaning of life.  With humility and repentance at the end he wanted to warn others not to follow the same path that he went down.  This was a very wise man who did not want others to repeat his mistakes.  The recap is like cliff notes on wonderful ideas God has shown me.

Throughout history there are constant circles of sameness.

The only thing we have control of in this world is how we think, speak and act and how we react to other people and situations. 

There is a price to wisdom; we will be expected to feel more, observe more, question more, act more and even hurt more.

I think that knowledge is made up of facts and ideas; and wisdom is the ability to know what to do with those facts and ideas and how to apply them to life. 

Solomon thought that he could test himself and be OK.  That is dangerous ground to be walking on. 

He was saying that he still had wisdom even though what he was doing was not wise.

Solomon did many great things, but because he did them for the wrong reasons, they were hollow inside.

This book is a warning that we should not put God out of the way because if that is the case then we will not prosper.  What are the reasons behind your goals?

We may not be happy with Him all the time, but we do not know what His plans are for us so we do not have all the details to make a correct observation.

Every little thought, our actions, how we treated family and strangers, how we spent our time and money will be on trial before God. 

You can not grasp what is untouchable. 

God is looking for quality in us, not quantity.

 It is not the destination, but the journey where we learn our lessons and determine who we are in this life.

God gives us cycles, which are natural to go through.  Our problem is that we get stuck in some of these places and it is difficult to get out. 

Pride will drive a country to war and when it is finally destroyed only then will the pride be defeated into desperation.

At times a faulty foundation must be torn down so that a correct one can be put in it's place for the stability of our life. 

There is joy in the end if we will only believe. 

Space apart is much needed when betrayed.

Some things found will eventually be lost. 

Remember if we do not speak out against injustice then it is as if we are in agreement with the injustice we so oppose. 

Only when they have sight and strength can they start to fly.

Our hearts are bound to something that we can't see.

Although when we try to keep track of our "good deeds" then we start to lose sight of the path we are on.

I know that unless we are in someone else's shoes we will not know everything that happened so our judgment is just that, judgment.

There is a balance to all things.

The result is that you find you are not alone like you once thought. 

We were not meant to do life in this world alone.

Check your heart when you are near God because He will surely see your motives behind your prayers.

Guard your words, think carefully before you make a vow to God. 

When you give and help others you will get a payment that no check in the world could duplicate. 

Throughout history oppressing the weak has been consistent.

If you are constantly looking in the rear view mirror you will miss where you are going and all the people along the way.

Adversity is a refining fire that eliminates unnecessary elements in our lives.

We are sad when someone dies and leaves us, but in heaven there is rejoicing for those coming home.

I would rather go through heartache with God than be blissfully unaware of Him for my entire life.

In bad times we should take time to contemplate everything God has does for us and that He knows infinitely more than we ever could. 

We should take the advice of others who have come before us and have learned valuable lessons at a high cost.  So that we will avoid the same price paid.

Those throwing stones at you from their glass houses will inevitability get cut from falling glass. 

Any words can be spoken and sound kind, but there could be deceit just under the surface. 

Thinking you have a vast amount of wisdom is a good sign that you don't.

I think he was showing that no one can stand before God and be considered upright on their own merit.

We may not agree with everything that a leader does, but we should still pray for them.

We are a passionate people, but the actions of others do not justify our actions for revenge. 

We do not see people's hearts and even if we did, we could not judge them accordingly.

We all have a common destiny, but not all will lead a common life.

We are not to go through life as if we were covered in fifthly rags, utterly destitute in spirit.

 Do not depend on your spouse to make you happy

We could make such an impact if we quit letting our personal problems get in our way or worrying about what others think.

We also disregard wisdom if we don't think the person appears to be valuable in God's kingdom.

Do not let the outer appearance of someone get in your way of receiving God's wisdom.

There are many who try to cover up their deeds with sweet words or actions, but in the end the stench will seep through.

Wisdom can not always bring about change if the wise ones have no power.

It is better to be poor in bank account than spiritually bankrupt.

When we decide to be a Christian, it is a 24 hour/7 days a week position, we need to be extra careful when we are on "break" so that our hearts do not get corrupted with the world's view.

We should give freely the things God has put in our care.

 If 10% was to be given under the law then how much more generous should we be?

I know there are tons of excuses why not to give.  Which one will you give God when He asks why you did not have compassion on those less fortunate?

He deserves our time above everything else.

It makes it harder to want to continue to sin when we see what is at stake.

Life centered on selfish pursuits is void of life itself.

Our spirit will return to the one who gave it freely.

Like a goad, wisdom may be unpleasant to hear at first, but it will keep you moving in the direction you need to go.

I am talking about different religions using parts of the bible and their own ideas to make up a new "bible".  That is dangerous ground that will not stand up before God.

You can't just pick to love or fear Him, they were intertwined from the start and are inseparable.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quote - Katherine Graham

"The longer I live, the more I observe that carrying around anger is the most debilitating to the person who bears it."
~Katherine Graham

A very true statement.  We carry these things around as if it were a badge of honor.  Often the other person doesn't even have a clue as to why we are mad in the first place.  So this anger that is for someone else never reaches it's target, it stays with us ruining our lives.  Letting go of the pain and anger is the best thing that we can do for ourselves, only after that can we heal and move on.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Eccl. 12:1-14

Eccl. 12:1-14
"Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
'I find no pleasure in them'-
before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when men rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
when men are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags himself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then man goes to his eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.

Remember him-before the silver cord is served,
or the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
or the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

'Meaningless! Meaningless!' says the Teacher.
'Everything is meaningless!'

Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people.  He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.  The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in additional to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil."

It is easy to forget about God in one's youth, this I know very well.  Life centered on selfish pursuits is void of life itself.  We need to have a strong foundation, roots that grow deep so that when trouble comes we will not be swept away.  When we are near the end of life in old age our bodies will betray us and the strong will become weak and frail.  Although this does not have to affect our minds, some weak in body are a strong force for God's kingdom.  Since almond trees can bloom as late as February, some think they resemble men in their old age.  The thing I find fascinating about almond trees is that the flowers appear before the leaves show up.  Then when the old blossoms fall to the ground they look like snowflakes.  Only when we let go of the things of the earth and die to self will we then be clean as fallen snow. 

Life is not certain.  The silver cord, bowl, pitcher and wheel symbolize how fragile life really is.  How much more should we set our sights on being thankful for today and seeing that we should live wisely and not squander our lives away.  Our spirit will return to the one who gave it freely.  Our bodies are a vessel for our spirit and when we are gone the vessel remains. 

There are many elderly people who try to give wisdom to younger generations, yet they often go unnoticed in our youth driven world.  The words of the wise are like goads.  A goad was a sharp metal tip attached to a handle used to keep oxen or cattle moving.  Like a goad, wisdom may be unpleasant to hear at first, but it will keep you moving in the direction you need to go.  Wisdom is like nails that are deeply embedded by the one true Shepherd.  Jesus was the recipient of nails used for destruction and He turns that around to use them for our good so we can grow in our relationship with God. 

Anytime there is a warning in Scripture I read it several times.  This is warning us that there is much out there that is not good for us, that will lead us down the wrong path.  There are many different versions of the bible out there that are not truth.   I'm not talking about the different biblical versions like NIV, KJV, Amplified, etc.  I am talking about different religions using parts of the bible and their own ideas to make up a new "bible".  That is dangerous ground that will not stand up before God.  If a book claims to be biblical yet contradicts God's word then it's not His word.  Simple?  No, because there is an enemy out there who is ALWAYS trying to get us away from Him.  When a rock is thrown the slightest bump will throw it off it's course, the same is true for the enemy, he wants to ever so slightly get us off course so that we still think we are on the right trajectory.  In only a few feet a rock doesn't seem to have changed course much, but give the rock hundreds or thousands of feet and the landing will be nowhere near the target.  Some may think this thinking to be archaic, but I follow God's word.  So all complaints should be directed to Him. 

"In his conclusion, Solomon presents his antidotes for the two main ailments presented in this book.  Those who lack purpose and direction in life should fear God and keep his commandments.  Those who think life is unfair should remember that God will review every person's life to determine how he or she has responded to him, and he will bring every deed into judgment."                       NIV notes

We are to fear God, I believe that when the bible says to fear God it doesn't necessarily mean to be scared of Him.  Although He has the ability to be an angry parent and inflict punishment when we do things wrong.  God is love and He wants the best for us.  To have a healthy fear of God is to be in reverential awe, some synonyms are: respect (esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of someone) and reverence (a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe).  This helps keep me humble because without God I know that I can't do much of anything.  We are to keep His laws.  Many love God, yet do not fear Him and they keep sinning and thinking that it's OK.  You can't just pick to love or fear Him, they were intertwined from the start and are inseparable.  To live your best live you must have both.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Out for a walk

Our family went out for a walk today with the dog.  A neighbor down the street was watering some flowers down by his mail box.  My husband said hi and the man's reply was less than friendly.  He told us that he had to change out his flowers and that we better not have our dog pee on his flowers.  We told him that we didn't allow our dog to do that.  This man then implied that maybe he would shoot our dog if we did let him.  We have never talked with this man before and I can see why.  He saw a family with a dog and decided we were one of those families who let their dog do that.  He was in all ways defensive and bitter.  At first I was irritated, but then I started to feel sorry for him.  I always do when someone lashes out on others who did nothing wrong.  There was no need for him to even talk to us let alone threaten our dog.  He made an assumption, he didn't care that we also don't like when people let their dogs pee on our flowers. 

When we got home I used it as a teaching lesson for my son.  This man might have been having a bad day and was frustrated about his flowers, but that doesn't excuse bad behavior.  Nor does that excuse blaming others who didn't do anything wrong.  We can't pick our neighbors and we can't always be friends with them.  When you assume something and are dead set on your beliefs then you may find out that you are the one who looks like the fool in the end.  Thankfully my kids did not hear what he said about our dog or the tears would have started to flow. 

I can see that the enemy was out to ruin our walk.  Just a simple thing, a walk around the block, but some much needed family time.  Later on our walk the kids were being difficult so we decided to come home early.  When you have a Kingdom perspective you can start to see the enemy take shape, the invisible becomes visible.  Obviously I did not see a demon, but I could easily see the result from their handy work.  Surprise attacks are a common move, but just as dangerous are the slowly inching attacks that don't really seem like anything at all.  The enemy will use an means necessary to separate a family.  He knows that if we are so busy fighting and angry at each other we will not let God in.  This will destroy any family that doesn't see that they are being separated.  Then it might only take one big thing to dissolve the union the God put together. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Eccl. 11:1-10

v. 1- 10
"Cast your bread upon the waters,
for after many days you will find it again.
Give portions to seven, yes to eight,
for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

If clouds are full of water,
they pour rain upon the earth.
Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, 
in the place where it falls, there will it lie,
Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

As you do not know the path of the wind,
or how the body is formed in a mother's womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God,
the Maker of all things.

Sow your seed in the morning,
and at evening let not your hands be idle,
for you do not know which will succeed,
whether this or that,
or whether both will do equally well.

Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
However many years a man may live,
let him enjoy them all.
But let him remember the days of darkness,
for they will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.

Be happy, young man, while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
God will bring you to judgment.
So then banish anxiety from your heart
and cast off the troubles of your body,
for youth and vigor are meaningless."

Today is one of those days I don't really feel like blogging, but I know that those are the days I really need to write.  Allergies are making my head feel heavy, but my heart is happy and content.  So hopefully there will be something that you think is useful for your life today. 

We are to be generous to others, there is no need to be selfish.  We should give freely the things God has put in our care.  There are so many in this world with an unlimited amount of cash that is used just on them.  The bible talks about giving 10% of our income back to God.  Does He need our money?  No, He has no need for it personally.  We are to give back so that we will obey Him and our hearts will not grow in greed.  If 10% was to be given under the law then how much more generous should we be?  If you have never given money then I hope you will start.  You can give locally or globally, the choice is yours.  Why talk about this?  This is the ONE THING in the bible that I can recall that God says to test Him on so this is a big deal.  This really shows how dedicated you are to the Kingdom, going that extra step to obey God.  I can tell you that many people stop right here and do not go any further.  There are many people without much of an income and yet they still give their money, talent or time to help others.  The dollar amount is not the important thing, its your ability to freely give, this shows your heart and soul.  Cooking a meal for a friend who lost a loved one, paying for some one's meal behind you in the drive-thru or spending time with a child who has no one to love them.  There are many ways to give in addition to cash.  I know there are tons of excuses why not to give.  Which one will you give God when He asks why you did not have compassion on those less fortunate?  Ouch, I know, but true all the same.  Giving money to someone in need or a worthy cause is a beautiful expression of God's love.

The verse about planting and reaping not only apply to farming, but also our spiritual life.  Are you waiting for the perfect time to sit down and read the bible?  You may be among chaos and can still find the time.  I know having little ones at home makes it difficult, but you can pray doing the dishes, driving in the car, or during a child's nap.  There will be interruptions when we try and take the time to sit with God.  I know many women who use checklists.  If they do not have certain things done around the house then they will not make the time to read the bible or pray.  God does not care if your house is spotless, He cares about your heart.  He deserves our time above everything else.  If spending time with God is at the top of your list then other things will fall into place or you will find that they don't matter as much as you thought they did. 

If we think we will go to church when we feel accepted or when we find that perfect church then no one would ever go.  Church is full of sinners, that is where we belong, we are to be with other imperfect people.  I know there are many churches that are like high school, cliché's everywhere, judging others and excluding them for their lives.  It's ok to church shop, going to different ones until you get a good feel for the sermons.  If you are getting fed from Scripture at church then maybe some of those "cardboard Christians" (you know the kind that look put together, but from the side are just held up with a small piece of cardboard, hollow inside) will start to want to be like you.  Instead of trying to fit into their groups they will see there is something different about you and want to be around you.  If they hate you then they may be jealous and critical.  Who wants friends like that anyway?

God is beyond us!  For how far we have come we only know a little of Him.  We are to enjoy our life, but not forget dark days.  If we do this, then we will be prepared for things down the road.  Also, remembering dark days helps us to be thankful that God has seen us through.  Solomon is giving a warning that if we choose sin then there will be judgment.  It makes it harder to want to continue to sin when we see what is at stake.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Quote - Abraham Lincoln

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

Abraham Lincoln

One of America's greatest presidents knew that even with the large responsibility of running this country, he needed help.  In his time there was the unknown, a seismic shift was shaking the foundations in this country, a horrific battle that was self inflicted was tearing America apart.  At no other time in history have we been so divided that we were propelled to an all out inward war on a grand scale.  Any great leader will know that they have been given a gift of nearly unlimited power that they have to decide how to limit it, so that the people and the country will prosper.  This war divided families, towns, cities and by an obvious line-states. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Eccl. 10:11-20

v. 11-20
"If a snake bites before it is charmed,
there is no profit for the charmer.

Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious,
but a fool is consumed by his own lips.
At the beginning his words are folly;
at the end they are wicked madness-
and the fool multiplies words.

No on knows what is coming-
who can tell him what will happen after him?

A fool's work wearies him;
he does not know the way to town.

Woe to you, O land whose king was a servant
and whose princes feast in the morning.
Blessed are you, O land whose king is of noble birth
and whose princes eat at a proper time-
for strength and not for drunkenness.

If a man is lazy, the rafters sag;
if his hands are idle, the house leaks.

A feast is made for laughter,
and wine makes life merry,
but money is the answer for everything.

Do not revile the king even in your thoughts,
or curse the rich in your bedroom,
because a bird of the air may carry your words,
and a bird on the wing may report what you say."

When the Jewish people had incompetent or lazy leaders the result was that the nation often fell into disrepair or was captured by an enemy.  I think that Solomon is saying that when people are in positions of power they should be wary of things that may trip them up.  Solomon being in a position of leadership could see how easy it is for a kingdom to go under.  Money alone will not be able to meet all of our needs.  Money itself is not sinful, it is the love of money that will push out God from our lives.  It is better to be poor in bank account than spiritually bankrupt.

We are not to revile (speak with contemptuous or opprobrious language; address or speak of abusively) about our leaders.  So even in our homes we are not to put down leaders or the wealthy.  I believe this is running rampant all over the world.  Remember that little ears will hear what we say about those in authority, they may have a grudge against those people when they grow up and are out of our home.  I know that this is hard to fight against because in many cases we don't agree with their policy or they are abusing their power.  Our culture is one that encourages the putting down of any leader we think is not worthy of the position they hold.  We should show respect for the office held by everyone from small town aldermen to presidents, kings, or other leaders around the world.  They many be very wrong about what they are doing, but shouldn't we leave it to God to deal with?  Many times our words will come back to bite us.  If we are trying to teach integrity to our children then this should be an area that we are very careful in.  In the end we will not be held accountable for others actions, only for our response to those actions.  I love how it says that "a bird of the air will carry your words."  This could mean many things these days, the birds could be: our children, spouse, other family, friends or even technology.

When we decide to be a Christian, it is a 24 hour/7 days a week position, we need to be extra careful when we are on "break" so that our hearts do not get corrupted with the world's view.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Eccl. 10:1-10

v. 1-10
"As dead flies give perfume a bad smell,
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left.
Even as he walks along the road,
the fool lacks sense
and shows everyone how stupid he is.
If a ruler's anger rises against you,
do not leave your post;
calmness can lay great errors to rest.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
the sort of error that arises from a ruler:
Fools are put in many high positions,
while the rich occupy the low ones.
I have seen slaves on horseback,
while princes go on foot like slaves.

Whoever digs a pit may fall into it;
whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake.
Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them;
whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.

If the ax is dull
and its edge unsharpened,
more strength is needed
but skill will bring success."

There are many who try to cover up their deeds with sweet words or actions, but in the end the stench will seep through.  Fools will trip themselves up at some point and show their reckless decisions.  I use to be in the U.S. Army as an MP (Military Police) and when we were at our post we were not to leave or we would be subject to consequences.  Employers are to be civil and fair with employees, employees should in turn be reliable and trustworthy.  Solomon is again showing injustice in the world.  Wisdom can not always bring about change if the wise ones have no power. 

Those choosing to set traps may very well fall into them.  The people who are up to no good waste months and years of their lives in things that are meaningless.   If you have ever cut with a dull knife you know that it makes it harder to cut and the dull blade can also be very dangerous, it becomes unreliable.  We are to stay sharp so that we can be ready for anything in our path.  If we are unequipped for the task at hand then we may miss out on opportunities in life.  If we lack skills, then we should spend time working on them through training and practice. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Eccl. 9:7-18

v. 7-18 "Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do.  Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.  Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun-all your meaningless days.  For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.  Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come:

As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so men are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them.

I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: There was once a small city with only a few people in it.  And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it.  Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom.  But nobody remembered that poor man.  So I said, 'Wisdom is better than strength.'  But the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.

The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
than the shouts of a ruler of fools.

Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but one sinner destroys much good."

When you are clothed in white, you are set apart, holy.  We are not to go through life as if we were covered in fifthly rags, utterly destitute in spirit.  During the grieving process the Jewish people would tear their clothes and put ash on their forehead.  After a time of mourning they cleaned themselves up.  Putting oil on was a sign that mourning has ended.  When we become born again we are clothed in His beauty and we are new creatures.  Wearing white and having oil on your head are signs of being joyful and being able to celebrate life. 

Since the divorce rate is so high it would be fair to say many people are not heeding this advice to enjoy their spouse.  Do not depend on your spouse to make you happy.  Their job is to be a partner in life, not to be put in God's place.  God comes first, then family.  The time we have here on earth is short so we should focus on the gifts and tasks God has given us.  We could make such an impact if we quit letting our personal problems get in our way or worrying about what others think. 

If we are caught by evil times then we have a choice to get out of them.  There are too many temptations all around.  We should listen to the wise people around us.  Many elderly people are forgotten about, yet they have valuable wisdom that could help us on our journey.  We also disregard wisdom if we don't think the person appears to be valuable in God's kingdom.  Do not let the outer appearance of someone get in your way of receiving God's wisdom.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eccl. 9:1-6

v. 1-6 "So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God's hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him.  All share a common destiny-the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. 

As it is with the good man,
so with the sinner;
as it is with those who take oaths,
so with those who are afraid to take them. 

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all.  The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.  Anyone who is among the living has hope-even a live dog is better than a dead lion!

For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even the memory of them is forgotten.
Their love, their hate
and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
in anything that happens under the sun."

This is Solomon's final conclusion.  The part where it says "no man knows whether love or hate awaits him" I had to look up other versions to see what I thought that meant.  At first I thought that was odd, don't we know if love or hate awaits us?  Then I start to think of the many who have used God's name to do terrible things, they must think they are immune from judgment.  We can not determine whether someone will be in the Book of Life or not.  We do not see people's hearts and even if we did, we could not judge them accordingly.   I like what the Complete Jewish Bible has to say, "I applied myself to all of this, sifted through it and concluded that the righteous and the wise, along with their deeds, are in God’s hands — a person cannot know whether these people and deeds will be rewarded with love or with hatred; all options are open."  This version seems to look at this situation as if looking on humanity as a whole and as an individual. 

It almost seems that there is no difference in good and evil people, the end result is the same.  This can be a dangerous gamble to think it's ok to do what we want here on earth.  All will be met by death, not all will be given eternal life.  I believe this only talks about death, not our eternal home.  Death is just an end, then it will be decided where we will call home.  We have multiple chances to redirect our lives, but once we are gone it will be over.  You can probably guess that I am not a big fan of being frozen to come alive again at a later date or anything of that sort.  It's entertaining to watch in the movies, but that is not a feasible option.  Why would I want to come back here instead of going to heaven? 

"Though, on this side death, the righteous and the wicked seem alike, on the other side death there will be a vast difference between them."  Matthew Henry

We all have a common destiny, but not all will lead a common life.