Words of Wisdom: At the Conclusion of ALL Understanding is GOD, Ecclesiastes 12:9-14

Fear GodWords of Wisdom: At the Conclusion of ALL Understanding is GOD, Ecclesiastes 12:9-14

In addition to the Teacher being a wise man, he constantly taught the people knowledge; he weighed, explored, and arranged many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. The sayings of the wise are like goads, and those from masters of collections are like firmly embedded nails. The sayings are given by one Shepherd. But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is:  fear God and keep His commands, because this [is for] all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil. Eccl 12:9-14 (HCSB)

Why do so many people desire to read motivational books? Why do so many people pursue a regiment of devotional writings for encouragement in their lives? What benefit is there in sharing all the proverbs and parables and passages of wisdom? Will an end ever come to man’s attempts to interpret and understand and translate God’s Word?

Why do I write what God has inspired me to share? Well, simply put, because maybe there is someone who needs to hear what God has shared with me. I have found the greatest benefactor for what has been written as my reflections upon God’s Word is myself! As I have pondered the passages and prayerfully sought relevance of the wisdom found in God’s Word, my life has been blessed. All the feedback I have received from others has been a blessing of affirmation to me. However, in the end of everything the greatest reward I have received is a sense of a smile from God along the way.

Am I wise? Certainly not in my perspective any wiser than most of the people I know. Am I a good teacher? Certainly not any more so than many of the people I know. There are certainly wiser people that I admire and there are definitely better teachers. So what validation do I offer for sharing what I have attempted to offer all these many mornings with all my friends? The only validation that is worthwhile: GOD’s inspiration and affirmation.

Have I written anything new and unique? No! There is nothing new under the sun, as the Teacher of Ecclesiastes shared. All I tried to do is reveal how I apply the wisdom found in the books of wisdom to real and relevant life so that we all may live in relationship with others in a manner that pleases God, and that we can relate likewise to God’s will, God’s ways and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word in our crowded and fast paced lives. Because in the end of all things: God waits for us! All our actions, attitudes, and words, even our very thoughts spoken and written, will be our record of how we lived our life before God. What will be your record that will come with you on that day when you stand before God? What relationships can you claim that will bring a smile to God’s face, and which ones will cause us to feel uncomfortable as we stand before Him?

I pray what I have been able to share with you has helped you to reflect more upon your life and your relationship with others around you and most importantly with God as your daily guide.

Coach

This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seeds along the path are those who have heard. Then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seeds on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground — these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit. Luke 8:11-15 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Seek God While He Can Be Found! Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

Remember your youth

Words of Wisdom: Seek God While He Can Be Found! Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; before the sun and the light are  darkened, and the moon and the stars, and the clouds return after the rain; on the day when the guardians of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, the women who grind cease because they are few, and the ones who watch through the windows see dimly, and the doors at the street are shut while the sound of the mill fades; when one rises at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song grow faint. Also, they are afraid of heights and dangers on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry has no effect; for man is headed to his eternal home, and mourners will walk around in the street; before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the jar is shattered at the spring, and the wheel is broken into the well; and the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. “Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Everything is futile. Eccl 12:1-8 (HCSB)

Why is it that the statistics reveal that if a young person does not acknowledge and pursue God by the age of 18 there is less than a 5% chance he or she will do so later in their life? Most all decisions about one’s relationship with God occur in one’s childhood, before the child grows up, and leaves the safety and security of their home. This is a fact that impacted me years ago and is one of the primary motivations and inspirations for me having been a teacher and coach. Parents, why is there such an emphasis in the Bible to rear our children under the admonition of the Lord and to teach them about God and His Word? Why do most parents place their children in church settings even though they themselves may not be as devoted to the church as they know they should? Now, I am not saying that everyone who hears the Word lives the Word as the focus of their life, all the time. We all go through stages in our walk with God. However, we all need to connect with our Creator God while we are young and the stresses of life have not choked the opportunity from us!

It is also a fact that most teenagers, especially after they leave the house, will wander on their own testing their own abilities and understandings about life for a period of time. Many will listen to people question God’s reality and existence, or hear challenges to the authenticity of God’s Word in academic circles. Freedom of thought and self-understanding are stages in every person’s life that I believe God allows as a challenge to our faith. However, for the majority of those who had a solid grounding in their youth about God, life’s events will eventually bring them closer to God with a stronger understanding and conviction than ever before after a period of independence. You see, most people in pursuit of all their options come to the reality sooner or later that there is no option to God. There will be some who try to deny God, but even in fighting against God one is struggling with God’s reality and impact upon their life. There is probably no greater evidence of God’s existence than the fact that so many people have such a strong faith in Him, and in the end most people cannot deny His existence and reality. Even the most educated scientists and philosophers find their own journeys of discovery almost always conclude that they are staring at God in the end.

Why is this so important? In life there will be times of trials and tribulation that will be beyond our abilities to cope and survive without God. He allows these challenges and obstacles into our life so that our knowledge of God becomes our faith in God as we mature in our walk with God. Yes, our walk with God may falter, but sooner or later most all of us return to seeking by faith God’s will, God’s Ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word as the cornerstone of our life. And God enjoys every person who realizes that he or she cannot go any further in life without Him and seeks the opportunity to return to Him as the Lord and Savior of their life.

Coach

Jesus answered, “The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going. While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become sons of light.” Jesus said this, then went away and hid from them. John 12:35-36 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Walk in the Light but Never Forget the Dark Days, Ecclesiastes 11:7-10

Ecclesiastes 11 7Words of Wisdom: Walk in the Light but Never Forget the Dark Days, Ecclesiastes 11:7-10

Light is sweet, and it is pleasing for the eyes to see the sun. For if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, since they will be many. All that comes is futile. Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sights of your eyes; but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment. Remove sorrow from your heart and put away pain from your flesh, because youth and the prime of life are fleeting. Eccl 11:7-10 (HCSB)

Darkness by definition is the absence of light. Absolute darkness leaves you without any reference points to even stumble around. In the darkness, only fear exists because we do not know what the next step will bring, and there is no future hope in a destination that we can focus upon. In the darkest days of our lives there is but desolation and desperation. But even in the darkest days, God provides us with some light that we can walk towards. His love is so great for us that even when we try to hide in the darkness, He is there desiring to draw us to His light. However, as the passage reveals the fear we have of the light is what it may reveal about our lives. Light is truth and though the truth may set you free, it also reveals the errors of your life as well.

Light is relative as well. In God’s presence there is pure light, and no darkness exists, thus man is at dire risk if he ever enters the “shekinah” glory of God – the absolute light of God’s presence. Light not only reveals it also can cleanse away all that is not pure as the light is pure. Man must be exposed to the light progressively to reveal truth and to purify him along the way, leaving darkness behind. Yet, it is always the memory of those dark days that draw him to the light! Hope, faith and love abound in the light, whereas fear, desolation, and desperation of darkness are left behind in the days of darkness. From isolation and separation we discover our need for fellowship and lordship in our lives. In the light there is always something we can focus upon as a destination that will make us better. When we seek the “good” we will become better than we were, and when we seek the “truth,” we will become wiser than we were. Both are a gift of God as we leave the dark days behind in our memory, and seek after the light that comes in our days of youth as we enter the prime of our life.

One final thought, once we have understood the value of the light, we are to become the light to others we have left behind in the darkness, and thus we are God’s chosen instruments of light to share the truth of the light to others. It is in that cycle that we were brought out of the darkness. The light is to be shared and never hoarded as if it is ours exclusively. We have been given the light as a gift to share and it cannot be exhausted by sharing with others.

Coach

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Words of Wisdom: Quit Trying to Understand What Faith Will Reveal! Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

If-you-wait-for-perfect-conditions-y[4]Words of Wisdom: Quit Trying to Understand What Faith Will Reveal! Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

Send your bread on the surface of the waters, for after many days you may find it. Give a portion to seven or even to eight, for you don’t know what disaster may happen on earth. If the clouds are full, they will pour out rain on the earth; whether a tree falls to the south or the north, the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. One who watches the wind will not sow, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap. Just as you don’t know the path of the wind, or how bones [develop] in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you don’t know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest, because you don’t know which will succeed, whether one or the other, or if both of them will be equally good. Eccl 11:1-6 (HCSB)

Just as the angels of the Lord counseled the disciples in Jerusalem on the day our Lord ascended into heaven after His crucifixion and resurrection, we too cannot stand idle waiting for what is promised to happen someday. Just because something will happen in the future does not mean it will happen in the present! We must continue to live in expectation, but not anticipation! We cannot give up living in the present based upon what we believe will happen in the future.  Because, what we do in the now has a bearing upon what will happen in the future.

God was very clear that He has chosen to use mankind to prepare and build His kingdom on earth until He chooses the time for bringing His kingdoms of heaven and earth together as one Kingdom. However, He patiently perseveres with mankind’s distractions and delays for action not because of those who are hesitating and struggling to act as He wishes, but for those who will benefit from the action and respond to His calling upon them to join His kingdom. God’s patience is for all who have yet to hear and respond to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word.

For the many disciples who struggle in their obedience to God’s Word; Gods forbearance is not for their benefit but for those needing to hear and respond.  We all will be judged someday for how we have responded or failed to respond to God’s Word. None of us have responded perfectly, yet God has worked through our shortcomings to grow His kingdom purposes. To be more obedient and responsive, we need to quit looking for the signs that will tell us His time is near. Too many of us are religious procrastinators – many are eagerly anticipating the arrival signs so that then we will scramble to do what we should already be doing when He comes. In the meantime, we are sitting, staring, and secretly hoping that His arrival will not come for another day. Those who beg for the Lord’s return are those who are tired of waiting to act, rather than being obedient to the Lord in the present. Those who are obedient have been living in expectation but not anticipation. They live life each day with a purpose, and seek to grow daily in God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, because not only is God pleased when we do, others may be watching us and their heart yearns to be filled with what we have.

Do we need to understand all the signs? No! And, all I know myself is that God has the future in His hands, the past is behind me and thankfully God’s forgiveness has allowed me to move out of the past. Thus, I know all I can be held accountable for is the present. If the dark clouds let loose its rain, so be it. If the wind howls, I do not care to understand from where it came, just how to deal with it. And, I praise God for babies being born without trying to understand the miracle of creation beyond what God allows me to comprehend. Each day I pray to plant a seed and do my part to see it develop and prosper to the benefit of God and His Kingdom. Am I perfect? Absolutely not! But I am being made perfect by His grace. How about you?

Coach

So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, at this time are You restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Having the Right People in the Right Positions, Ecclesiastes 10:16-20

ecclesiastes10_18

Words of Wisdom: Having the Right People in the Right Positions, Ecclesiastes 10:16-20

Woe to you, land, when your king is a household servant, and your princes feast in the morning. Blessed are you, land, when your king is a son of nobles and your princes feast at the proper time – for strength and not for drunkenness. Because of laziness the roof caves in, and because of negligent hands the house leaks. A feast is prepared for laughter and wine makes life happy, and money is the answer for everything. Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, and do not curse a rich person even in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry the message, and a winged creature may report the matter. Eccl 10:16-20 (HCSB)

Certainly the common person relates with others who are most like them, but is that a good thing when selecting our leaders to govern over us? Do we want the best and most qualified, or do we want to relate with the people we have placed into office. Well, consider this: if you have a need for life-saving surgery, do you want a surgeon who is chosen out of your pool of friends or those most like you, or would you seek the most qualified surgeon? Governors and Presidents are not meant to be our best friends, but the most ideal person to keep us secure and maintain stability for our life. The Social Contract theory of man says that we are willing to give up certain personal natural liberties to protect our primary interests of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property” which translates to Happiness. In that willingness to submit to a government to govern over us, we also recognize that the best government is the one that governs the least while securing our liberties the best. That balance requires competence, and certainly we ourselves are not properly experienced and trained to govern efficiently and effectively – nor are those in our circle of friends or family. So in the end, do not choose people for positions in government because we like them the most or can relate to them best, but simply will I feel more secure with truly competent and prepared people serving our needs if placed into positions of government.

As we look ahead to a future of hope and prosperity, we need to be reminded that we our government is allowed to govern only by the consent of the governed – that is the constitutional principle of popular sovereignty. Before we bad mouth those in office lets be reminded that it is the people that have authorized those in office to govern. If there is any bad mouthing, it is towards the general population for deciding to place the people in office that are there. We the people have the final say – but choose wisely at the next opportunity to support or replace those in government.

From God’s perspective, He exercises His divine sovereignty through the hearts of men and women. I pray that recognize that God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word will be ideally revealed when His people seek His guidance and approval for the selection of the servant-leaders who run our government. So when the roof seems as if it is caving in, and there are leaking breeches, we only can blame ourselves for not seeking God’s ideal servants but those we feel most comfortable with.

Coach

Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do good and you will have its approval for government is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Romans 13:1-4 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Why Follow the Folly of the Fool’s Advice? Ecclesiastes 10:12-15

Scarecrow directionsWords of Wisdom: Why Follow the Folly of the Fool’s Advice? Ecclesiastes 10:12-15

The words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him. The beginning of the words of his mouth is folly, but the end of his speaking is evil madness. Yet the fool multiplies words. No one knows what will happen, and who can tell anyone what will happen after him? The struggles of fools weary them, for they don’t know how to go to the city. Eccl 10:12-15 (HCSB)

Confusion and chaos are the destiny of those who listen and follow a fool onto the path of his folly. Yet, so many people are susceptible to the tickling and tantalizing words that the fool seems capable of espousing. It seems most people have the struggle within them of selfishness and that leads them to seek shortcuts and believe that there are easier ways to get ahead in life. Thus, even when they know better, they want to believe the lies and folly of the fool who paints a picture of the better life. Do we blame the fool and his folly, or should we brand ourselves as the fool whose folly is following the advice of the fool?

So how can we filter the words that flow from the lips of the fool versus the wisdom that come from the wise? Well, the Bible clearly puts it this way: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His instructions have good insight. Psalms 111:10 (HCSB) This fear is “utmost reverence and respect” for the priority and perfection of the Lord’s guidance to mankind. Where can we get that guidance for all our life decisions? It begins by committing daily to seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. When you invest in hearing and meditating upon what perfection is, then your ears and eyes become more sensitive to the folly of fools. No matter how convincing the initial message sounds like, the fool’s mistake is he cannot help but to keep talking trying to reinforce and convince everyone of his perceived truth. However, when you invest in God’s Word, the message is real, relevant and reliable. God’s Word is to the point and is truth without compromise. It points the way to go, and how one is to go. When you trust the Lord, you find He is with you all along the path He will guide you. However, the fool’s folly never entails the fool’s investment in his plans. He will gladly tell you how awesome his way is to go, and challenges you to go with him, but he does not go with you. The fool’s ways are lonely ways, and it is far too easy to find out that you wind up lost with the directions you are given. Even the sacred GPS system man created has its faults and shortcomings, and it is possible to get lost relying upon your Google map or your vehicle’s navigation device. Only God is absolutely reliable, and when He leads there is no getting lost unless you stop listening and trusting in the Lord’s reliability.

What are you relying upon to guide through the days that lie ahead in your life? The choice is yours.

Coach

Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way where I am going. “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:1-6 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Signs of Evil Ways: Things Are Upside Down, Ecclesiastes 10:5-11

axe_sharp_plans_purposes_pursuitsWords of Wisdom: Signs of Evil Ways: Things Are Upside Down, Ecclesiastes 10:5-11

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, an error proceeding from the presence of the ruler: The fool is appointed to great heights, but the rich remain in lowly positions. I have seen slaves on horses, but princes walking on the ground like slaves. The one who digs a pit may fall into it, and the one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. The one who quarries stones may be hurt by them; the one who splits trees may be endangered by them. If the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success. If the snake bites before it is charmed, then there is no advantage for the charmer. Eccl 10:5-11 (HCSB)

When do we realize that we are in the midst of evil days? Consider the fact that the people have been blinded for the sake of change and fools have found their way into leadership positions and appointed other fools replacing qualified civil servants who have been previously successful. Then the government tries to turn society upside down with the poor and disadvantaged over the rich and successful people, and the wealth is redistributed to win the hearts of the people. In these situations, the days of evil are in place because social order has been overturned by the fools who do not understand the consequences of their folly.

Thankfully, God has an order in place for society and each time man tries to change the natural order of man chaos and dissent follows. However, God is in control so that when fools take charge they only discover that their pits are traps for themselves, and as they try to act like the thief taking what is not theirs to take they are the victim in the end. Likewise, when one tries to perform skilled work without the needed experience the risk for harm is escalated – such as a stonecutter in a quarry or a lumberjack in a forest, which are two extremely skilled and dangerous occupations. Experience matters and maturity enables a person over time to become a capable worker. If this is true, what about in a more challenging and skilled leadership roles of our government, because failures at this level in judgment affects all the people, and not just the one person who is making the decisions.

When we are looking to place people into high offices we must make sure we have properly prepared people who are truly qualified to perform in office to the common good of the public, and not for selfish gain or vanity sake. We need to make sure we have a properly prepared or “sharp axe” to accomplish the tasks that the office requires. We need likewise to realize wisdom is a gift from God, and our leaders need to be thus men of God, and ones who daily seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. When the leadership and the people are on the same page, society is in proper order and the nation is blessed and God is honored.

As a final thought, God works through His people to hold the leaders in government accountable and responsible. All successful governments have been accountable to the people, and when the government fails to please the people “change” occurs! Communism and socialism have been overthrown because of the people’s reactions to such regimes. Let us all seek God’s will, ways and wisdom when pursuing the change we desire to see. Then and only then will the change for the common good actually take place; and. change for change sake is dangerous, unless we know the change God desires for us.

Coach

Listen to another parable: There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. When the grape harvest drew near, he sent his slaves to the farmers to collect his fruit. But the farmers took his slaves, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. Finally, he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son,” he said. But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers? “He will completely destroy those terrible men,” they told Him, “and lease his vineyard to other farmers who will give him his produce at the harvest.” Matt 21:33-41 (HCSB) (Note: God’s plans cannot be usurped or taken away by man) 

Words of Wisdom: One Bad Apple Ruins the Bushel, Ecclesiastes 10:1-4

apple bushelWords of Wisdom: One Bad Apple Ruins the Bushel, Ecclesiastes 10:1-4

Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil ferment and stink; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart [goes] to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left. Even when the fool walks along the road, his heart lacks sense, and he shows everyone he is a fool. If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place, for calmness puts great offenses to rest. Eccl 10:1-4 (HCSB)

When shopping in a farmer’s market for a bushel of apples, it is hard to realize at first glance if the bushel you are looking at has any signs of a bad apple that could impact the goodness of the others. If you do not take the time to inspect all the apples before storing them away, there is the chance one bad apple could turn into many bad apples in no time. The same is true in a group of people – one fool can cause others harm. The fool can disguise himself among the others until he begins to misdirect the others.

Because it is the natural instinct within mankind to be a follower, there is a constant risk of choosing the wrong leader to follow. However, time always reveals the folly of the fool, and those who have followed him begin to realize they are at risk unless they change leadership and leave the fool behind. So choose wisely the leaders you have the choice to follow, even if you discover the error of the choice at some time, there will be a cost for the time you followed the fool.

What can we do? Just like a being at the farmer’s market choosing apples that experience will help you avoid investing in bushels with bad apples. The same is true in life. The closer you are to God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, the more likely you can recognize those who are opposed to living the right way in life, and only seek their own selfish folly. When one claims to have all the answers, our response should be simple: RUN! Although you may become wiser and more mature, you will never be fully wise or fully mature, as if you are our own god. What the wise man realizes is that the wiser you become, the more dependent you become to placing your faith in God and following Him alone with confidence. When you come to that point God will help you to be more alert to the folly of others.

Where do you place your trust for your choices in life?

Coach

Finally, pray for us, brothers, that the Lord’s message may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance. 2 Thess 3:1-5 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom Saves All But Its Memory, Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

wisdom over strength

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom Saves All But Its Memory, Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

 I have observed that this also is wisdom under the sun, and it is significant to me: There was a small city with few men in it. A great king came against it, surrounded it, and built large siege works against it. Now a poor wise man was found in the city, and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. And I said, “Wisdom is better than strength, but the wisdom of the poor man is despised, and his words are not heeded.” The calm words of the wise are heeded more than the shouts of a ruler over fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much good. Eccl 9:13-18 (HCSB)

We call them geeks, nerds, even eggheads, but our lives are better because of those who have the gift of wisdom. We are jealous of their unique gifts and all benefit from their knowledge applied to our lives, but our selfishness causes us to not appreciate them enough to remember them or to acknowledge their accomplishments in our lives. In this passage it is one of those insignificant, behind the scenes wise geeks who finds a way to defeat the strong foe who had laid siege to his city. Though the victory went to the small city thanks to this geek, no one acknowledges him for what he did, and he was even quickly forgotten as they went back to their self-focused living. What is also sad is that we tend to resent those with such gifts and talents, because they have been given what we do not have or could we even have it even if we wanted to claim it.

Wisdom cannot be bought or developed by human endeavor. Either you have the gift of wisdom from God or you rely upon the wisdom of God from others who have the gift. Such reliance causes many to become resentful and jealous. And, it only takes one destructive, ill-timed scheme of a wicked person to destroy the good of the wise.

Why do we envy what God has obviously dispensed for His greater purposes? When we mock or resent those with such talents, are we not mocking and resenting God Himself? When a gifted person crosses our path are we thankful for the opportunity to benefit, or are we jealous that we cannot do the same? Whenever we look carefully at ourselves and others around us we will see that there is a mosaic of unique talents and gifts that God has endowed upon each of us that are intended to complement our shortcomings. No one person is fully capable of having all the gifts and talents to survive in this world alone. We all need to rely upon others to be successful in this lifetime. Do not be jealous of what others have, but discover your own giftedness and give freely of what you have to others, as they should likewise do in return. All of us should search daily by seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and seek to discover how God desires to use us to build His kingdom on earth.

Will you choose to participate and collaborate with others, or push them away and stumble on your own?

Coach

For it is just like a man going on a journey. He called his own slaves and turned over his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; and to another, one to each according to his own ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ˜Master, you gave me five talents. Look, I’ve earned five more talents.”His master said to him, ˜Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!”Then the man with two talents also approached. He said, ˜Master, you gave me two talents. Look, I’ve earned two more talents.”His master said to him, ˜Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!”Then the man who had received one talent also approached and said, ˜Master, I know you. You’re a difficult man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Look, you have what is yours.”But his master replied to him, ˜You evil, lazy slave! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers. And when I returned I would have received my money back with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has 10 talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing slave into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt 25:14-30 (HCSB) 

Words of Wisdom: Celebrate the Gift of Life, Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

CarpeDiemWords of Wisdom: Celebrate the Gift of Life, Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

Go, eat your bread with pleasure, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already accepted your works. Let your clothes be white all the time, and never let oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days. For that is your portion in life and in your struggle under the sun. Whatever your hands find to do, do with [all] your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in  Sheol where you are going. Eccl 9:7-10 (HCSB)

Sheol to the Hebrews, especially in Solomon’s days, was a common place for the dead – the wicked and the righteous. God was Lord over the dead there as well and bodies could be ransomed out of the desolation of the grave. It was conceived as the holding place for the dead – a place of darkness and nothingness. Therefore, in the context of Solomon’s thoughts here, you are encouraged to realize that God knows your heart, as well as all of your actions and attitude, and your future destiny has been determined. From that perspective Solomon says rejoice now in this life time. Celebrate in your present days, which are but a few in the prospect of your eternal destiny. You are either celebrating for the joy of being ransomed by God into His paradise – His presence, or condemned to eternal darkness or separation from God. Either way, celebration now of your life has a practical purpose.

Solomon says to take joy in your marriage, your family, and even in your career. Take nothing for granted and embrace every opportunity to enjoy life’s pleasures. This is not a hedonistic pleasure principle but a principle of not wasting the gift of life in the present because no one knows when life will come to an end. Likewise, your destiny is in God’s hands, whether for good or bad.

Of course, there is now hope for our eternal destination that Solomon did not understand. Solomon’s advice today would suit anyone not believing in Christ’s message of hope. Since the days of Jesus, mankind has learned that God’s love is so great that He has revealed that God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word offers eternal life in His heaven to all who surrender their present lives to Christ’s lordship. We now have a Savior – the Messiah promised in scriptures that Solomon did not understand has been revealed – and He was born as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem and grew among us, lived the ideal life, and taught us that God desires all to be saved. This same Jesus even paid the debt for our sin that allows all to claim His sacrifice on the Cross as the ransom for their soul beyond the grave. Sheol in the present tense has no hold on us any longer; we have immediate presence before God the Father through the works and word of Christ, the Son of God.

With Christ as our Savior, as Solomon suggested, we certainly do have a good reason to celebrate life now to the fullest, enjoying it to the fullest in the light of His ways, truth and life that we can understand in His Word. Was Solomon saved? I don’t know, but you can know about your destiny – it can be secured in Christ. Just call upon Him and make a commitment to live your life in the light of His Word.

Coach

This [Jesus] is The stone despised by you builders, who has become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. Acts 4:11-12 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Different Routes, Same Destination, Not Same Destiny! Ecclesiastes 9:1-6

hope in lifeWords of Wisdom: Different Routes, Same Destination, Not Same Destiny! Ecclesiastes 9:1-6

Indeed, I took all this to heart and explained it all: the righteous, the wise, and their works are in God’s hands.  People don’t know whether [to expect] love or hate. Everything lies ahead of them. Everything is the same for everyone: there is one fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not sacrifice. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner, as for the one who takes an oath, so for the one who fears an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun: there is one fate for everyone. In addition, the hearts of people are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live – after that they go to the dead. But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything. There is no longer a reward for them because the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate, and their envy have already disappeared, and there is no longer a portion for them in all that is done under the sun. Eccl 9:1-6 (HCSB)

In this lifetime there will be both love and hate in our lives, and we cannot control when or why either will cross our path. God has a purpose through both love and hate to shape and mold, to enlighten, and to guide our lives. And in the end of things, no matter how we have dealt with the challenges of this lifetime, we all have a common destination regardless of the various routes we have chosen to follow in life, for good or for bad, for love or for hate, for obedience or for non-obedience, for fulfillment of promises made or for rejection of promises. We all will find our paths will arrive at the same destination – the same finish line. Death waits all without exclusion!

Our lifetime is meant to be a time of preparation for understanding what is good versus bad; love versus hate; clean versus unclean; obedience versus disobedience; truth versus ignorance; faith versus foolishness. God gives no one an advantage in this lifetime, because He loves all equally and perseveres with our folly – as all have hearts that are full of evil. God wants all to be saved from their selfish disobedience. Until we reach the finish line of this lifetime, God is encouraging and influencing everyone to discover His love and the truth that lies in seeking after God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Through the pursuit of them lies the reward of eternal life that is promised for all who arrive at the finish line truly alive and not “dead on arrival.”

Yes we all have the right to choose our own different routes in this life, but we all have the same destination, but God says not the same destiny. Think carefully upon the choices we are allowed to make, because there are consequences to those choices.

Coach

Then He said to [them] all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. What is a man benefited if he gains the whole world, yet loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and that of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the truth: there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:23-27 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: It is all a Matter of Personal Perspective! Ecclesiastes 8:14-17

jealousyWords of Wisdom: It is all a Matter of Personal Perspective! Ecclesiastes 8:14-17

There is a futility that is done on the earth: there are righteous people who get what the actions of the wicked deserve, and there are wicked people who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile. So I commended enjoyment, because there is nothing better for man under the sun except to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, for this will accompany him in his labor during the years of his days that God gives him under the sun. When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the activity that is done on the earth (even though one’s eyes do not close in sleep day or night), I observed all the work of God [and concluded] that man is unable to discover the work that is done under the sun. Even though a man labors hard to explore it, he cannot find it; even if the wise man claims to know it, he is unable to discover it. Eccl 8:14-17 (HCSB)

Why do bad things happen to seemingly good people, innocent people? Why are seemingly bad people allowed to have what appear to be good things happen to them? Why does it seem the world is turned upside down with the way rewards are distributed? Of course, are any of us able to discern God’s motives for how His blessings are dispensed? Do we understand the mind of God and understand His purposes and plans?

Solomon’s advice does make a lot of sense when he declares: there is nothing better for man under the sun except to eat, drink, and enjoy himself. I believe what we must learn about life is that we must accept what we are responsible for and not fret over the lives of others and the events we cannot control.

Godly humility applauds those who seemingly are rewarded with blessings even when such rewards do not seem appropriate in our eyes. Why? Because, we must not be jealous for what happens to others. If we believe in God’s justice and mercy, should there be any reason for our envy or criticism? There is so much in this lifetime we are never meant to understand, and though we may pray for understanding, there is much that is beyond our grasp. The only ultimate wisdom we can attain in this lifetime is the wisdom to know and accept we can never know all there is to know, and in that simple fact resides the most valuable piece of wisdom we can learn, and there godly humility resides.

Remember, in the end of all things, we will only be held accountable to God, our Judge, for what we did with what He allowed us to experience in this life. We will not be held accountable for what others did, only how we responded to what they did. Therefore, our attitude must be that of Christ’s: as one seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Our prayers must be not to try to find justice in the lives of others, but to understand how we must respond to such matters, especially when we clearly do not understand. God has such a broader and deeper perspective on the comings and goings in life that is well beyond our ability to see and understand, and ultimately our faith should declare God’s good and perfect purpose will prevail through even the events that seem unjust to us. What we should pray for is God’s perspective on these matters so that we may humbly reside in peace with everyone, then we can walk through life focused on what matters the most: our personal relationship with God, and leave the rest up to Him.

Coach

If you do [what is] good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do [what is] good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:33-36 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom Frees the Chains of Ignorance, Ecclesiastes 8:1-13

chains of ignoranceWords of Wisdom: Wisdom Frees the Chains of Ignorance, Ecclesiastes 8:1-13

Who is like the wise person, and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom brightens his face, and the sternness of his face is changed. Keep the king’s command. Concerning an oath by God, do not be in a hurry. Leave his presence, and don’t persist in a bad cause, since he will do whatever he wants. For the king’s word is authoritative, and who can say to him, “What are you doing?” The one who keeps a command will not experience anything harmful, and a wise heart knows the right time and procedure. For every activity there is a right time and procedure, even though man’s troubles are heavy on him. Yet no one knows what will happen, because who can tell him what will happen? No one has authority over the wind to restrain it, and there is no authority over the day of death; there is no furlough in battle, and wickedness will not allow those who practice it to escape. All this I have seen, applying my mind to all the work that is done under the sun, at a time when one man has authority over another to his harm. In such circumstances, I saw the wicked buried. They came and went from the holy place, and they were praised in the city where they did so. This too is futile. Because the sentence against a criminal act is not carried out quickly, therefore the heart of  people is filled [with the desire] to commit crime. Although a sinner commits crime a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I also know that it will go well with God-fearing people, for they are reverent before Him. However, it will not go well with the wicked, and they will not lengthen their days like a shadow, for they are not reverent before God. Eccl 8:1-13 (HCSB)

We will never know all the reasons under the sun for why certain things happen or even why some people can get away with the things that they do, but we are blessed with sufficient wisdom to learn to be patient and to persevere even when it seems futile, and to persist in seeking to understand. However, wisdom is not dispensed like candy from a vending machine or doled out as in a cafeteria buffet line. Only God knows all things, and He alone has the sovereign authority over wisdom and the sharing of it with man. And, I believe there are times when God holds back wisdom to protect man in certain circumstances. Why? Because, man cannot fully comprehend all the reasons why certain things happen and for what greater purpose God allows them to occur.

Yes, there are arrogant and wrong-doing authority figures that rule over us. However, God has allowed them to rule for a reason and for only a season so that His purpose will be realized later. However, while such a person flaunts their power and position upon others, we are told to prayerfully persevere under their yoke of tyranny because in the proper time we will see the blessing that will come from remaining faithful. This is also true of the wicked that walk among us and even enter our churches; there too we are told to not be jealous that they seemingly are getting off scot-free from their lifestyle choices and evil deeds. Though they flaunt their superiority and invincibility, there is coming a time when they will be held accountable and justice will not be delayed or softened.

In the end, God-fearing people are the faithful ones who pursue God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word on a daily basis. The faithful are given the wisdom to recognize wrong but also the patience and understanding to persevere through times that they cannot change. Christian courage is given to those who are willing to walk in this world realizing evil exists and bad things do happen to good people, and bad people seem to get away with their schemes. However, in the midst of that God shines His light of truth upon the truly courageous and faithful, and they are given the wisdom to break the chains of ignorance that causes us to fear. Just as if there is no darkness how would you know what the light is, so too with evil and goodness! That is the beginning of Godly wisdom. This is how we learn to live with a purpose in this imperfect world, making a difference for God’s glory and greater purposes by faith.

Coach

You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matt 5:43-48 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Do Women Tempt Men, Who is Really at Fault? Ecclesiastes 7:23-29

bonded to lustWords of Wisdom: Do Women Tempt Men, Who is Really at Fault? Ecclesiastes 7:23-29

I have tested all this by wisdom. I resolved, “I will be wise,” but it was beyond me. What exists is beyond [reach] and very deep. Who can discover it? I turned my thoughts to know, explore, and seek wisdom and an explanation [for things], and to know that wickedness is stupidity and folly is madness. And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, her heart a net, and her hands chains. The one who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner will be captured by her. “Look,” says the Teacher, “this I have discovered, by adding one thing to another to find out the explanation, which my soul continually searches for but does not find: among a thousand [people] I have found one [true] man, but among all these I have not found a true woman. Only see this: I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.” Eccl 7:23-29 (HCSB)

The pursuit of wisdom is an ongoing journey, and the more we grasp, the more we realize that we are short of what we really need to discover, which is still beyond our reach. If only we could grasp the knowledge we need, then and likely only then will we avoid the wickedness that leads us to stupidity, and the folly that identifies us as mad men.

The ultimate test for a man that claims to be wise, that has become the envy of others, is how that person handles his relationships with women. When man pursues out of lust a woman then that pursuit, not the woman herself, becomes a trap, a net, and it will chain us in that lust. A wise counselor who was a professor in college told me that when a man and woman establish an intimate relationship there is a chemical connection that lasts a lifetime long after the two have traveled separate paths. A man will remember vividly each woman he has been with given the right circumstances. That is an interesting trait that marks our life of relationships, however often many of those memories come with regrets and consequences.

So are women wicked? Are they to blame for man’s stupidity and folly? Why do proverbs identify sin with the temptress? (Well, most of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes were likely written by a man who knew wisdom and wealth, but still felt the need to lust after what he could never own – the love of the women he pursued in life.) No, women are not wicked and certainly not to blame for man’s lustful desires. The only temptress is man’s own sinful, lustful heart that stirs man’s stupidity and foolish ways. Just as wisdom is never fully attainable, neither is the satisfaction of man’s lust for women. However, we become wise when we realize that fact and learn to be satisfied with where we are in life and not allow the pursuit of wisdom, wealth or women to blind us into falling prey to the lust of any of the three.

Our only hope is found in our faith in pursuing God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word so that we can learn to love rightly all that we have, and to free ourselves from the lust that resides within us. Lust is the seed of sin that tempts us. Men beware, and do not blame women for our sinful distractions that are left unchecked will destroy the relationships we hold most dear to us.

Coach

You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell! Matt 5:27-30 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Strength in Humility and Honesty, Ecclesiastes 7:19-22

Understanding Others

Words of Wisdom: Strength in Humility and Honesty, Ecclesiastes 7:19-22

Wisdom makes the wise man stronger than ten rulers of a city. There is certainly no righteous man on the earth who does “good” and never sins. Don’t pay attention to everything people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you; for you know that many times you yourself have cursed others. Eccl 7:19-22 (HCSB)

Wisdom is more than knowledge of stuff. Wisdom is applying common sense to life’s situations and knowing your limits and the limits of others as well. Wisdom is learning when to be quiet and when to speak. Wisdom knows what is truth and what is just people talking for the sake of talking. Wisdom recognizes our imperfections and shortcomings.

Wisdom is a powerful gift that God provides to those who are willing to invest in it and who will actively pursue it. Yet, wisdom from God can never be fully acquired or discovered in one’s lifetime. In some way or another, we all have some degree of wisdom. Even the fool has stumbled across some wisdom – just not enough to recognize what he still lacks, but enough to think he has found it.

A person who has pursued wisdom grows in humility and honesty each day, and interacts with others in a manner that pleases the author of wisdom. The more wisdom one realizes, the more that person realizes how much wisdom he or she lacks. The person that invests in wisdom also realizes that goodness and sin exist together to expose the other. And, a wise person has experienced both in their life and acknowledges the fact that without God’s forgiveness there is no one righteous on their own.

Have you invested enough time in pursuing God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word to walk through life with the strength and confidence of knowing what godly wisdom is and that it is worth pursuing? How can you know if you are becoming wiser? Well, do the words and actions of others not affect you like they used to? Are you seeing the strength of living more humbly and honestly with others? Are you still seeking approval from others, because the truly wise person knows the only opinion that matters is from the Author of Wisdom, Truth and Life? Only our relationship with God matters in the end, but remember how we relate to others does matter to Him! We cannot be responsible for how others relate to us, but we are responsible for how we attempt to relate to others, and God offers us the wisdom in even the most difficult relationships. It is there we find real strength, true humility and honesty!

Coach

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not [only] for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil 2:1-4 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Even in the Extremes of Life: God is There! Ecclesiastes 7:14-18

thrivinginadversity061211

Words of Wisdom: Even in the Extremes of Life: God is There! Ecclesiastes 7:14-18

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: without question, God has made the one as well as the other, so that man cannot discover anything that will come after him. In my futile life I have seen everything: there is a righteous man who perishes in spite of his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in spite of his evil. Don’t be excessively righteous, and don’t be overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Don’t be excessively wicked, and don’t be foolish. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp the one and do not let the other slip from your hand. For the one who fears God will end up with both of them. Eccl 7:14-18 (HCSB)

Life and death are a part of the cycle of our time on this earth. Yet, God is with us all the time, in everything, and with every step of the journey of life, even well after our death. How can we believe that at any time God is not involved in our lives? Will we ever be that good, that wise and righteous that we can walk alone without God’s presence? Or, can we ever be so wicked that God will abandon us and we walk alone without God’s presence? On this side of heaven, at what point would God, our Creator, consider His mission complete with us, or declare His mission has failed with anyone of us?

God uses adversity and prosperity for His greater purposes in shaping and molding us. He allows us to experience right living as well as wrong living choices, so that we will be able to choose for ourselves what is right and wrong. I believe that the story about Adam and Eve reveals a truth about God’s relationship with man: God desires man and woman to choose through their free will the way in life they should go, and to do so God allowed us to know the difference between good and evil. If we only knew “good,” how would we have a free will choice between good and evil, because we would have no knowledge of evil? How can one love if they do not understand hate or the absence of love? However, God never wanted us to live in one extreme or the other – our lives are to experience the fullness and awareness of living so that we can make the choices we need to make. God also allows us to realize how life would be if we chose to live without Him in life.

Through it all, all the extremes in this life and the death that we all will certainly face someday, God is with us, whether we accept Him or not. Even when we reject Him, He is there! He loves even those who claim to dismiss Him or hate Him, and He will not let go until a person arrives through death’s door rejecting Him, and then God says with a tear, “I tried, but have it your way!” And, your wish becomes eternal reality – separation from God and everything and everyone God loves. That is the choice of Hell! Yet, God wants you to know that light, love, laughter and living with others are absent in Hell. Think about the choices God makes the next time you believe you will reject God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. God is trying to show you His love in the good times and the bad times, through life and death. Consider the freedom of choice He gave you.

Coach

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” John 3:16-21 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Choose the Better Investment: Wisdom or Wealth? Ecclesiastes 7:11-14

wisdom v wealth

Words of Wisdom: Choose the Better Investment: Wisdom or Wealth? Ecclesiastes 7:11-14

Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, and an advantage to those who see the sun. For wisdom is protection as money is protection, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner. Consider the work of God; for who can straighten out what He has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider: without question, God has made the one as well as the other, so that man cannot discover anything that will come after him. Eccl 7:11-14 (HCSB)

What better person than Solomon to consider the truth about the value of wisdom versus wealth, because God blessed him with both. However, which of the two did he find more valuable and enduring? Which of the two once obtained cannot be taken away? Which has only increasing value and does not fluctuate unless not used properly by the owner?

It seems clear that after all the wealth that Solomon was blessed by, during his reign as King of Israel, he found all the treasures of the world could not bring happiness and contentment. Wealth consumes a person and can never satisfy what is inside of a man. Lust for power, prestige and position may be bought with gold and silver, but cannot satisfy the desires of man. Likewise, wealth is the envy of others and draws the thief and robber in the night to steal what you claim to be yours. And despite our best efforts to protect out things, there is one thief that no one can stop from scooping away everything we hold dear from our grasp: Death is that one unstoppable threat! What wealth exists beyond the grave? Someone else will take possession of what was yours while you were alive.

However, consider wisdom. Wisdom continues to grow as one applies it and experience nurtures the fruit to blossom as one walks through life in wisdom. Yet where does it begin? It begins as a gift from God, the source of all wisdom. It is the one investment man can make with only the price of time and faith. If we will only seek God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word each day and by faith apply what we learn, wisdom will grow within us and change our lives. And the most wonderful thing about wisdom is that it can never be devalued by fluctuating market conditions. Wisdom and knowledge are commodities that are always in high demand. Therefore, in the end, wealth finds its way to the wise, but also the wise understand wealth is relative and never pursue wealth as a goal in life. A truly wise man understands what is truly important; walking daily with the Lord of Life, because He alone is the source of all knowledge and wisdom. In good times and in bad times, the wise man never falters in his faith because he understands God brings both with a purpose, and ultimately all things work to the good for those who love and trust in God’s purposes – no matter the circumstances they find themselves in life.

Wealth may come and go, but the wisdom from God will never fade in value. However, be careful to not mistake man’s wisdom for God’s wisdom. Genuine wisdom is absolute, whereas man’s wisdom is relative and subject to change. Always know the source of the wisdom you seek, and your future will be secure. If what you find to be wisdom, filter it against God’s Word: if it is from God it will be verified in His revelation of truth to you. If not, it is of man! Which do you trust? Time always increases the value of God’s wisdom. That is the test of God’s wisdom versus man’s wisdom.

Coach

The  Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ˜Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children. Luke 7:34-35 (HCSB)

 

Words of Wisdom: Don’t Take What is Not Yours to Take, Ecclesiastes 7:7-10

patience leads to the endWords of Wisdom: Don’t Take What is Not Yours to Take, Ecclesiastes 7:7-10

Surely, the practice of extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe destroys the mind. The end of a matter is better than its beginning; a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit. Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools. Don’t say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not wise of you to ask this. Eccl 7:7-10 (HCSB)

Learning to be content in our present state – the challenges and opportunities that are in the present moment – is the key to learning to be patient. We cannot change the past; those days of opportunities and challenges are behind us and never can be realized again. What we failed to accomplish for any number of reasons (most likely because of selfish excuses) are like the water in a river that has rushed on by us and is certainly irretrievable. Yet, likewise, the opportunities and challenges of the future are unknown until they present themselves in the present, and can only be recognized in the context of the present. It is like trying to predict what will flow in the waters that have just began its journey at the head of a river – so much depends upon what is in the path of the river along the way, long before it reaches you where you are. The future is unpredictable, and God certainly is the only person who knows the future, because He alone exists outside of space and time, and He is the creator of all that occurs in this lifetime, past, present or future.

In light of our present situation in life: Why get impatient and angry because you want to know what is coming as the next challenge or opportunity in your life? God knows what you are capable of handling, and only allows what you can handle to be thrown at you in this present moment in time. Sometimes you may feel overburdened, and other-times you may feel even bored, but God is teaching you through all those moments. How you handle life in the now, God is watching, shaping and molding you for what the future holds for you. So do not be like the fool and pursue a seer and her crystal ball to peek into the future, because they only see what you want to see, not the future. And, wishing to return to the days of our past is futile and certainly folly, because if we could go back, it would never be the same because you are not the same person who lived in the past moment! Learn from the past, but realize we can never live in the past.

So how can we have the strength to cope and exist in the present challenges and opportunities of the present that often seem like endless tests, trials, and tribulations of our patience, our endurance, and our perseverance? The answer is simple. Seek out a daily, present moment relationship with the author of time and space, the one who orchestrates the challenges and opportunities for each of us – God, our heavenly Father. Begin each day and return as needed to seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Pray for the patience to wait on the future as we prepare in the present, and praise Him for what has past and is clearly behind us. Believe with all your heart that God knows what is best for us, and that He does allow choices at certain crossroads, but He will continue to journey with us in the present for the greater good, no matter the choices we may make. But for heaven’s sake: don’t be like the fool and try to dam up the river to hold onto the past and rush the future, as the fool will only get washed away by what he thought he could handle that was not his to have!

Coach

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last you have renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me, but lacked the opportunity [to show it]. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content] – whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship. Phil 4:10-14 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Pick Wisely Those Who You Desire to Follow, Ecclesiastes 7:5-6

Fireside relation ship

Words of Wisdom: Pick Wisely Those Who You Desire to Follow, Ecclesiastes 7:5-6

It is better to listen to rebuke from a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. For like the crackling of [burning] thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This too is futile. Eccl 7:5-6 (HCSB)

No one desires to seek out a rebuke as words of encouragement! However, why is it that many young people today seem to be drawn to firm, authoritative older adults? Why do they actually listen attentively to firm but caring words of constructive criticism and correction, but only laugh along with the comments of their peers? Why is it that most people seek out an older, wiser mentor-friend for their life?

We all seek and need someone who genuinely loves us enough to tell us what we need to hear, even if it is not always what we want to hear. Most people realize soon enough that much of the chatter and comments amongst friends is not beneficial to them, but actually self-serving banter that is seeking approval for their own benefit. Many people need and desire laughter in their lives as some form of approval. However, laughter quickly fades like the “thorns that pop in the fire” which make a big snap sound, but quickly disappear in the flames.

A firm hand shake that connects two people is more lasting and significant than a slap on the back or some high five gesture that is seeking approval. We respond to those who genuinely care about our needs rather than promoting their own agenda. We all desire to spend valuable time with someone who will ask questions and listen to us about our lives, rather than constantly share about their own lives or how wonderful they are.

When we spend time seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom in God’s Word we discover the caring but stern Father who loves us enough to say what we need to hear, not what we want to hear all the time. He firmly hugs us and holds our hand when we need to be directed and comforted about life. He chastises us and disciplines us when we stray, but does so with a loving heart that seeks only the best for us. The way God deals with us is the way we should seek to be a strong mentor-friend for others, and to seek such for our own lives.

Who is your mentor-friend? Who has God directed into your life? Or are you only interested in listening to the always laughing and joking buddy who really is only blowing his own horn for the attention he desires? Think about who you allow into your inner circle…

Coach

Who is wise and understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and lie in defiance of the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Is there Satisfaction at the Beginning of the Race? Ecclesiastes 7:1-4

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Words of Wisdom: Is there Satisfaction at the Beginning of the Race? Ecclesiastes 7:1-4

A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of one’s death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart. Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad. The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure. Eccl 7:1-4 (HCSB)

Being told you have a lot of promise doesn’t make it so! Being told you come from a great family does not make you great! Until we have competed in life and put forth the effort, we have not earned the right to claim honor for our name. Success and fame is not something you can claim – it is something that you earn and is received. It is the crown given to you by others you have impacted in this life. Success and fame come from the reputation you earn for yourself as you walk through life affecting and relating with others. Thus, at the beginning of the race what honor have you received? What accomplishment is there before the race has been run?

Solomon is clearly stating that a life well remembered at the end of the race of life is far more valuable and rewarding than a party we may hold along the journey. I know that I have been a part of many funerals, but they have all turned into a celebration of memories as a testimony of the person’s impact on the lives of others.

How sad it would be if no one came to your funeral?

If there is a tragedy in the Christmas Carol story, it is that Ebenezer Scrooge gets the opportunity to see that if he does not change his miserly, lonely ways, no one will mourn his death. No one will memorialize his life. In fact, those who do take note are glad to see him gone. What a legacy of a life wasted on selfish ambition and values that took from others and never shared with others.

Consider the stage of the race you are in this lifetime? Remember life is a marathon not a sprint! It is not clearly marked but there are plenty of others who are running it with you. At all the crossroads the race though life can be affected for good or for bad by the choices you get to make, so choose wisely. A moment to consult God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word is always a good investment. Do not trust the flow of the people to always choose wisely because there are many who are like sheep and they will follow the crowd only to learn they have picked the hazardous and dangerous path at the crossroads.

Run the race that is set before you, knowing that there is someone who loves you more than anyone standing at the finish line calling your name and urging you to not quit and to finish strong. He knows the way. He ran the race and knows the challenges and obstacles you will face along the way. But He also knows the reward at the end! There is a crown of victory and a crowd of others who finished before you waiting to celebrate the victory you will have realized. At the finish line in this life, genuine satisfaction and honor resides. However, for those still running the race there are plenty of opportunities for encouragement along the way, and you are rewarded as you help others along the way as well. So, continue to run the race well, and desire to celebrate your life with friends and family along the way.

Coach

Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Heb 12:1-2 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: We are a Creation of the Creator, Ecclesiastes 6:10-12

All is vanity . Ecclesiastes 6Words of Wisdom: We are a Creation of the Creator, Ecclesiastes 6:10-12

Whatever exists was given its name long ago, and who man is, is known. But he is not able to contend with the One stronger than he. For when there are many words, they increase futility. What is the advantage for man? For who knows what is good for man in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow? Who can tell man what will happen after him under the sun? Eccl 6:10-12 (HCSB)

Okay, let’s face the facts as they are! We are a creation and God is our Creator. As such, everything we know and will ever know is a result of God’s grace and grant. However, does that mean we will ever know all that God, our Creator, knows? Of course not!

With that statement made, then why do we struggle to control what we can never fully understand? Why do we fight for what we can never fully possess? There is no originality that man can truly claim in this world, except who we choose to become. Yet, we were created as we uniquely are by God, our Creator. With that said, why does man try to rule, to have dominion over everything and everybody else? Is the created trying to usurp the Creator? As Solomon asks, what advantage do we have in such a struggle?

However, our Creator does give us the choice: follow Him or try to walk with our own abilities in a world that man can never own or possess. Even the things that man tries to grasp, he cannot hold onto nor fully understand and then in the end, like a vapor he leaves this world in the same fashion he arrived, empty handed and alone.

Why would anyone try to walk in this life on their own understanding, or try to accept another man’s understanding as their guide? Was man with the Creator when he was created? Was man there to help God create all the creatures and things of this world? Every attempt man has made to understand is but a shadow of some truth, because man can only speculate and wonder about what he does not know, nor will ever know for certain in this lifetime.

The Bible states: “Who has gone to heaven and returned to share the truth about God?” The Bible also says that “no man has seen God as He is and lived.” In that sense, man in our current existence has not earned the right to stand before God, and thus we would be consumed in His glory. Only by His grace and mercy will we receive His invitation to walk with Him after this lifetime has come to an end, and we have come to the point in our life that we have surrendered our lives to God’s will, God’s ways and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. When we have accepted His invitation that was given through His Son, Jesus, who walked among us to share God’s message, then we will understand the Creator and His love for His creation.

For those who desire to walk in their own understanding, I pray you will come to the point soon to realize what you assume to be truth and knowledge is but a shadow that keeps you from knowing the truth and the reality of the origin of truth. Also, I pray you will come to accept that in this lifetime we will never know everything, but we can know what we need to know so that we may experience the Truth, the Way and the Life that reveals the Creator to us.

Coach

“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” John 14:5-7 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Wisdom is More Valuable than Wealth You Cannot Afford, Ecclesiastes 6:8-9

Wind by Jason Prince, Port AlfredWords of Wisdom: Wisdom is More Valuable than Wealth You Cannot Afford, Ecclesiastes 6:8-9

What advantage then does the wise man have over the fool? What [advantage] is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others? Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. Eccl 6:8-9 (HCSB)

Too often we identify success by material rewards, and I believe there was no difference in Solomon’s day. It was a common belief among the Hebrews that wealth was a sign of divine approval and reward. If that was so, then Solomon must have been nearly perfect according to earthly standards. His wealth was unrivaled in his day, yet he struggled in life and certainly by his own admission, he was not perfect.

The wise dream dreams like anyone else, and desire to better their conditions in life also, but the wise know to live rightly in the present and find contentment in it. When we are always seeking what we do not have, there can never be contentment. As a result, we continually grown anxious about what we do not have and feel we have been cheated somehow. The result: we become bitter and try to live out the dream of what could be, rather than what is, and we become the fool who is pursuing the wind.

Futility is trying to live the life we are not able to live in the present. Thus futility is defined as follows: We buy through borrowing what we have not yet earned; what we cannot afford; to pretend to have what we really do not own, so that we can surround our lives with images of what we are not; while struggling in the reality of who we truly are.

This is the futility that has led our country into near economic collapse, and it is the same condition and threat our government is placing our entire country under by trying to bail everyone out. We as a nation are now trying to write checks for programs and dreams that our nation cannot cash! This is nothing more than transferring the futility of wanting what we think we deserve, no matter the cost, onto our future generations. We have mortgaged our wisdom for the sake of our perceived wealth in this lifetime, only to learn our values come with a terrible price: we send the bill to our children and their children.

Why can’t we as a nation accept our limits and live contently in what we have, and not seek to live beyond our means? Corporate America is serving as the agent of evil by promoting a lifestyle of things we don’t need as necessities of life. And, our justification rests in the statement that our purchasing helps America to be strong, yet it is clear that our country is being sold a bill of goods that says we have the technology to pursue the wind and if you run fast enough you can grasp it! Who is the fool now? Does our greed for more blind us of the wisdom that says it is futile and destructive to try and chase the wind? It will always remain just beyond our grasp!

How can we stop this futility and stupidity? Our only hope is to remember what made our country great – rather than try to remove our reliance upon God from everything, why not go the other way and proclaim our need to pray more often and stop and praise God for what we have as a nation. Yes, let’s not promote religion, but let’s not cutoff the relationship that is the fiber and foundation of our nation’s strength. May we turn as a nation to seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word once again! How different life would be when we truly trust in God once again, foolishness would be replaced by wisdom from the author of wisdom.

Coach

For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For: who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:11-16 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Happiness, Not Things Brings Contentment, Ecclesiastes 6:1-7

Ecclesiastes 6 7

Words of Wisdom: Happiness, Not Things Brings Contentment, Ecclesiastes 6:1-7

Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity: God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives, if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. And if he lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place? All man’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied. Eccl 6:1-7 (HCSB)

Why do bad things happen to people? Why do events cause people to lose what they have worked hard to achieve for themselves? Is God the architect for evil or for good in our lives? These are hard questions that men have asked over the millennium, and many have used the question to argue against God’s existence or at least His involvement in this world. Even Solomon is befuddled by what he sees as a tragedy in life: that God gives man “riches, wealth, and honor” to meet man’s desires only to provide circumstances whereby man cannot enjoy them. Well, is that man’s perspective or God’s perspective?

When we focus on the here and now, and we value our life by the things we have, the station in life we have arrived at, or the treasures we have realized in this world, then we have focused upon fleeting things – things that matter little to God. If that is your value system, then I agree to what Solomon grieves about: “that a stillborn child is better off than he; for he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness.” In this world we cannot control and cling to things that belong to this world. Either we lose what we claim is ours to have, or we discover what we fought to attain does not really satisfy our wants as we thought they should and we futilely continue to seek other things to fill the void. In that cycle of futility, a still-born child certainly benefits from never having to face such frustration, disappointment and futility! However, the greater tragedy is this: we miss out all together on what truly matters in this world – and it has nothing to do with things!

Happiness can never be bought. Happiness is a blessing for right living in right relationships with others and with God, our heavenly Father. Happiness is a reward that flows when we live seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Only proper relationships, proper attitudes and actions can bring satisfaction and ultimately contentment in this life, and thus realize the blessing of happiness and joy from God. As long as we believe that life is all about what Solomon stated: “All man’s labor is for his stomach, yet the appetite is never satisfied,” then we are no better off than someone who never lived at all. However, we have a choice: pursue contentment and happiness our way or God’s way – God says the choice is ours to make!

Coach

Blessed (Happy) are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Blessed (Happy) are those who mourn, because they will be comforted.

Blessed (Happy) are the gentle, because they will inherit the earth.

Blessed (Happy) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.

Blessed (Happy) are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy.

Blessed (Happy) are the pure in heart, because they will see God.

Blessed (Happy) are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.

Blessed (Happy) are those who are persecuted for righteousness, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Blessed (Happy) are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matt 5:3-12 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: God’s Abundant Gift is our Sufficient Reward, Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Stand in awe of GodWords of Wisdom: God’s Abundant Gift is our Sufficient Reward, Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Here is what I have seen to be good: it is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward. God has also given riches and wealth to every man, and He has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God, for he does not often consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart. Eccl 5:18-20 (HCSB)

One of the causes for man’s problem is his insatiable desire for the good things in life. We seem to never have enough money, enough of the latest “stuff” that fills our daily life. We seem to never be satisfied with our current relationships, so we are always looking for something better.

In our jobs, we never seem content, and are almost always looking for change to try something else. As soon as a vacation is over, we already are looking for the next vacation. Why can’t we just be content in the station of life we are presently living? Why do we always feel unsettled and need something more? Funny, even when we get what we want, we already discover we still want more! Talk about futility!

However, there is the good life as God intended it. It is the life that enjoys the fruits of the present moment. It is the life that makes the most of what we have, capitalizing on our time, talents, and treasures that we currently have and finding satisfaction and rewards of joy from who we are, what we have, and where we are in our present life. This life trusts God to provide an abundant life without the stress. God knows best what we can handle and what we can responsibly handle, and He blesses us according to our abilities and attitude. When we focus on what we have rather than upon what we do not have, we discover the real treasures of life: contentment, satisfaction and fulfillment.

Who best knows us and desires the best for us than our Creator? Who loves us more than our Heavenly Father? Why do we think we cannot find joy in His generous gifts?

If you are tired of trying to always find a sense of satisfaction in your life – a sense of fulfillment or real contentment – with what you have who you are, or where you are at in this life, then God offers a solution for you. He says trust me to meet your needs and to fill your wants so that you may find joy in this life. The journey begins by investing in seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word. Seek to get to know God and to know you can trust Him. The rewards of joy come when you look at your present station in life, and all the great gifts He has already provided you. Once you learn to truly enjoy what you have, God will smile His blessings upon you and increase your blessings as He sees you are ready to handle more.

Note: if only Americans understood this basic truth, then our economy would not be in the shape it is and our country not burdened with so much debt! God, not government is our hope for a better tomorrow!

Coach

“Consider how the wildflowers grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you – you of little faith? Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.” Luke 12:27-30 (HCSB)

Words of Wisdom: Rich or Poor, We Begin and Finish the Same, Ecclesiastes 5:13-17

fights the wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words of Wisdom: Rich or Poor, We Begin and Finish the Same, Ecclesiastes 5:13-17

There is a sickening tragedy I have seen under the sun: wealth kept by its owner to his harm. That wealth was lost in a bad venture, so when he fathered a son, he was empty-handed. As he came from his mother’s womb, so he will go again, naked as he came; he will take nothing for his efforts that he can carry in his hands. This too is a sickening tragedy: exactly as he comes, so he will go. What does he gain who struggles for the wind? What is more, he eats in darkness all his days, with much sorrow, sickness, and anger. Eccl 5:13-17 (HCSB)

In ancient Egypt the great pharaohs entered their elaborate and ornate tombs, known to us as the pyramids, with all their worldly wealth and even servants to meet their ongoing needs after death. They believed that the afterlife was a reward for the righteous kings and queens. If their heart was measured as being without sin, they would be able to continue in the lifestyle they had enjoyed on earth. However, in truth, all their wealth ended up in the hands of grave robbers, archaeologists and museums. Wonder of wonders, I wonder what that revelation tells us about trying to build great treasures in this world to take with us into the next?

I have never seen a new born baby arrive with a bar of gold or a diamond ring on their hand out of the womb either. As Solomon shares, in the naked condition we enter this world, just so we will also exit this world. Assuming that to be true, why does man work so hard at gaining riches in this lifetime? Why hoard wealth? What does having more money than you can spend in a lifetime mean in the big scheme of things? In our society, the top 5% of the population controls 80% of all the wealth of the world! The pyramid schematic to reflect such distribution of wealth is a very hallow pyramid because even taking into account the upper middle class, 95% of the population is scrambling to share in the remaining 20% of all the wealth. Outside of a fancier coffin, does our fate with death change the fact that our wealth in this world is left behind for others to squander and squirrel away for their selfish aims?

The tragedy that Solomon speaks of is how focused we as humans can be on material things during our lifetime, and how futile that pursuit actually is in the big picture and the grand purpose of this lifetime. For those who trust their lives over to seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, there is hope for something far more valuable than treasures on this earth. It is truly the something that you can take with you into the grave, and that is a personal relationship with the Lord of Life itself. This Lord promises us in this life that there may be trials and tribulations to face, but that He will be there and that He will make sure our needs are met in this lifetime. He knows what we truly need, and He knows what we are responsible enough to handle properly. Wealth is not evil, but the pursuit of it certainly is! When our passion for the pursuit of wealth overrides the more important relationships in this lifetime then evil exists. God does bless certain people with wealth but they have a heart for others and they use their wealth in a manner that pleases the Lord, and their generosity is evident.

During Christmas the story of the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens speaks volumes on this subject, and its message resonates in the hearts of people through the decades, because it speaks about this exact subject. I recommend watching it in the light of that message. Learn the lesson that Solomon spoke of through the example of Ebenezer Scrooge this Christmas.

Coach

You of little faith! Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:28-34 (HCSB)