Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rose Colored Glasses

When I was a child we used to have what is called a “testimony service” much like what we call a “worship service. People would stand and tell everyone something God had done for them.

A man in his early seventies would lament continually that we didn't worship like the church did in his younger days. I was about 16 years old when I stood during testimony service and read this verse out of Ecclesiastes. “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ for you do not inquire wisely concerning this.” To my recollection the man never complained in the same way again.

However, I have since noticed the same question tends to come into my head, “Why were the former days better than these?” The older we get the greater our tendency is to look back through distorted rose-colored glasses.

God has given us today to serve him. This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let’s stop looking backward and look up toward God instead.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Window Shopping

Ecclesiastes contains a little known proverb. “Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire” (Ecc 6:9).

When I was younger I loved to window shop. I was particularly interested in the crystal stemware and the beautiful fractured light reflected in the mirrors behind the glass shelves. I admired the diamonds, rubies, and emeralds under the jewelry counter and felt inspired by the statues and paintings in the furniture department.

But I had a quiet discontent arriving home. I had allowed my desires to wander away from God toward things.

I learned that absorbing God’s creation reminded me of his love and I allowed me to relish his presence.

I agree with the author of Ecclesiastes, “Better is sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Weighing Carefully

The author if Ecclesiastes believes it is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting (7:2). Not that it is more enjoyable, but it causes us to face our own vulnerability. We need to remember that death will come to us like it has all those who have gone before us.

Considering our death causes us to make sure we are ready to meet God (7:1-4). King David requested of the Lord, “Teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

As we remember life passes quickly we are more apt to remember our decisions have a lifetime affect. Let's weigh them carefully.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Why do you suppose the author of Ecclesiastes would say the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth (7:1)? I know that depression can drive you to a death wish, but is that all there is to this statement?

The day of one’s death is better than the day of ones birth from the simple fact that on the day of our death we are about to see God. What a glory fills our minds and hearts at the thought of seeing face to face him who loves us and created us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wealthy Believers

God has chosen to give some of us the kind of wealth that allows a multitude of choices without limits. His gifts are for our enjoyment and for his kingdom including gifts of wealth.

God has people of every tribe, nation, tongue, health, culture and class to glorify his name and as a testimony of his Grace. If he has given you wealth he has called you to reflect God to your peers. The wealth belongs to him and you are his faithful steward. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Money, Money, Money

Why do you suppose we long for things? The magazine with the prefect garden creates a desire to live in such a place. The photo of the elegant furniture around a cozy fireplace draws our imaginations toward what we could do with a couple million dollars.

Wouldn’t it be fun to travel anywhere we wanted, whenever we wanted? Wouldn’t it be great to buy matching furniture for every room? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to always dress nice, shop whenever the fancy took hold of us or dine out at our leisure?

I often think it would be fun to be rich. I imagine the money I could donate to missions, the projects I could help finish, the gifts I could buy family and friends. I asked the Lord, “Could I have a try at being rich?”

God in his wisdom has always said, no. Ecclesiastes points out the danger of being rich. There is never enough money to satisfy us; we always want more. Money cannot help us sleep at night. Greed and fear often accompany wealth. Children often money waste their parents’ wealth. Money can bring “sorrow, sickness and anger” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-17).

We are wiser to be happy for the finances God has provided (Luke 3:14; Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Helping the Opressed

Tender hearts grieve over the oppression of others. It is good and acceptable to have compassion, but there is danger of allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by it. We need to remember that there will always be oppression of the weak (Ecc 5:8).

This does not mean we remain idol if there is something we can do to end oppression. It does mean we should not let it rob us of our joy and hope in the Lord. Perhaps he has allowed you to recognize what is being done so that you can pray or be active in finding the answer, while remembering that a perfect world will not exist until after Christ’s return.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Holy Vows

Our mouths can get us into trouble. God permanently records our vows to him and to one another and calls those who do not keep their vows fools (Ecc 5:3). In fact scripture says he will destroy the work of their hands (Ecc 5:6).

Our vows and our words should be kept at a minimum. Though we should always weigh our words carefully because God takes them seriously, scripture assumes we will make vows.

God is worthy to receive our vows. They are to be given with prudence and to be done in the house of God. It is there we are most aware of his love for us and our commitment to him.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Making Vows

When we sense the presents of the Lord during a service, our hearts rejoice and we are often overwhelmed with thanksgiving. Vows of dedication pour from our lips in the midst of our praise.

If God is calling us to action, we need to make a vow of commitment, but the writer of Ecclesiastes warns us, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it: For he has no pleasure in fools.”

Vows are to be made after careful consideration. Only God knows our future, therefore our vows should always consist of the words, “If it be your will Lord” (Ecclesiastes 5:2; James 4:13).

Friday, April 17, 2009


I have noticed that being corrected is not one of my favorite experiences. I have also discovered that I am not alone in my sentiments. Adult children do not like their parents to correct them. Siblings usually do not accept correction from each other graciously. Our friends may be allowed to give us advice but they know they must do it with caution.

We tend to think we should be able to reach an age when others recognize our maturity and accept our choices without question. But scripture tells us, age or power is never a reason to refuse the advice of others (Ecclesiastes 4:13).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Helpful Neighbor

Jesus told us the greatest commandments are to love the Lord our God with all our heart sold and mind and to love our neighbor as our selves (Mathew 22:37-38). If we have a bad habit of looking on the dark side like the author of Ecclesiastes, we will focus on our failure to do this.

However, God does not give commandments to frustrate us but to bring blessing. We help each other when we fall. We keep each other encouraged. We support each other in struggles. We give each other strength (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Our lives are enriched when we love each other with the same intensity with which love ourselves.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What are we consuming?

“The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh” (Ecclesiastes 4:5).

When we refuse to work we destroy our own lives.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Focus

Like us, the author of Ecclesiastes was discouraged as he saw the injustices in life. He reminds us that even in our attempts to execute righteous judgment, we fail to act righteously (Ecclesiastes 3:16). He grieves that people fail us repeatedly (3:19).

Throughout history powerful people have oppressed the powerless. It can be overwhelming when we continually hear the bad news, and we can easily fall into the depression of Solomon (3:16-4:3).

However, Ecclesiastes was included in the Cannon of Scriptures to demonstrate to us the futility of focusing on this life and not on eternity. To put all our eggs in this basket is to have them broken.

But when we are aware of the unrighteous ways of the world, yet focus on the omnipotent God, we are able to live in peace (John 14:27).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Last Day

Have you ever heard a sermon or teaching that says we should live each day as though it were our last day on earth? Can you imagine what the world would be like? We would continually live on the edge of our emotions. We would be obnoxious with our pleading, exhorting, witnessing, and clutching our loved ones who are not saved.

Our frantic emotions would not accomplish spiritual tasks simply because they can’t (Romans 8:7-8).

Scripture exhorts us to be aware of the brevity of life (James 4:14; 1 Peter 1:24), but to occupy ourselves with the work he has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

It is good for us to remember that our lives will one day be over. It keeps us humble and reminds us to depend on God (Ecclesiastes 3:15-22). But it does not negate our responsibility to finish the work he has given us to do, not the truth that God will decide what he will accomplish through us.

We are called to be faithful and live in peace (John 14:27; 15:11).

Friday, April 10, 2009


Cement can be jack-hammered out of place. Trees can be cut down. With enough time and money even mountains can be removed with bull dozers. But God’s work stands permanent. “It shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

Jackhammers are useless.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finality of God's Work

“I know that what God does it shall be forever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

This is an amazing verse. God’s work is always completed (Psalm 138:8; Isaiah 55:11 Philippians 1:6) and it lasts forever. No one can undo it. No one can stop it (Revelation 3:7).

What work do you see God doing? Don’t be discouraged. He will finish what he has begun and it will not fall apart.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Great Food

Chapter three of Ecclesiastes is full of God’s glory. Look at verses twelve and thirteen. “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.”

At our women’s Bible study we were discussing the fact that scripture says our bodies are not our own but God purchased them. Because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we are literally the temple of God. One of the women smiled and said, “He likes ice cream.”

We all laughed, but she makes a good point. God has given us gifts of food and drink to enjoy.

Today, enjoy these gifts. Look at the color of your food; breathe in the aroma; notice the texture. Rather than rush through your next meal, savor every mouth full with thanksgiving.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Eternal Hearts

The last two days we have focused on the fact that God has given us tasks to accomplish and that he will finish them through us. With the same breath the author says God puts “eternity in (our) hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecc 3:11).

You can recognize the eternity set in your heart in the longing you have for things to make sense, for the pieces of the puzzle to be put together and your desire to see his glory. But he has called us to wait actively and patiently to see what he is accomplishing.

Some say we will not care about asking God the “whys” when we get to heaven. But I believe that those “whys” will come together in a work of art that will bring shouts of praise and worship to God for the intricacies of his designs in our lives.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Assigned Tasks

We often forget to take God’s word literally. We are perfectly willing to believe that he has saved us and we are his children as along as we keep it in the realm of the abstract. We have a more difficult time accepting the fact that he has prepared specific tasks for us to accomplish.

We tell ourselves we are not important enough to make a difference. We don’t have what it takes to do anything of any significance. Our sphere of influence is much too small to be noticed by humans no less by God. Jesus would most likely say to us as he did to his disciples, “Oh ye of little faith” (Mathew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8).

If the scripture says he has made plans for us, why do we doubt it (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13)? If he says he will make things to work together to make things beautiful, why do we not take him seriously (Ecclesiastes 3:11; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11)? What do we think it means when he says our days were ordained before there was one of them (Psalm 139:16)?

Is it reasonable to think we are the only exception in all of those who belong to him? Are there any exceptions? If you think there are can you prove by scripture that exceptions exist?

Remember if God called you to a task, he will accomplish it through you (1 Thessalonians 2:24).