Showing posts from February, 2014

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 11

It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart (Ecc. 7:2). Consider the end of you life, so that you live your life in a meaningful way.
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him (Ecc 7:14). If you get caught up with the ups and downs of life, you will not see God's purpose in all of eternity. Life is but a breath.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 10

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income (Ecc. 5:10). This reminds of a story of John D. Rockefeller:
John D. Rockefeller, an Ohio native, started Standard Oil.  Rockefeller was at one point the world’s richest man and first ever American billionaire.  Considering he was a billionaire in the early 1900′s he is still considered as the richest person in modern history.  When a reporter asked him, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.” If you find that you never have enough money, then you are probably in love with it.  As it says in Timothy 6:6 - 10:
But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and[c] we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 …

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 9

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and fool's voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay (Ecc. 5:2-5). We are told pray unceasingly (1 Thess. 5:17), but that does not mean we should pray carelessly. We need to remember who we are praying too. God is not like our friends on earth, although He is a friend, but He is in heaven and we need to keep that in mind. Be sure to think about what you are saying to God. Don't make vows that you don't intend to keep.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 8

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbour (Ecc. 4:4). Envy is desiring something because somebody else has it. At first it would seem that we don't envy that much, but then if you ask, why do we have so much stuff we don't need? It becomes clear that envy is definitely part of our culture. We need to be careful in distinguishing our wants from our desires. Material possessions don't bring happiness, which we all know, but we often live as if it does. It doesn't just end at material possessions, we often envy the praise that is given to someone else. We need to work because we enjoy it, not because we want something that we don't have.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 7

Who can bring him to see what will be after him (Ecc. 3:22)? This is one of the key statements of Ecclesiastes, and is found in 4 other places. There are really two types of people, those who think that this life is all there is, and those who think there is life after death. However, even those who think there is life after death, don't live according to that knowledge. Those who want to please God live in the knowledge of what will be after them.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 6

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end (Ecc. 3:11). Every activity that God has given man has purpose when done at the right time. These activities are not useless, because man knows that there is life after death. But, exactly how and why things happen is unclear to us. Each of us has a longing to know eternity, and as Blaise Pascal pointed out.
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 5

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. We often like to have formulas that tell us what to do in all situations, but life is more nuanced than that. There is truly a time for everything depending on the specifics of any given situation. Our society is very much a "positive" society, and rarely thinks it is appropriate to die, pluck up, kill, b…

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 4

For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering, and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God (Ecc. 2:26). Without God, life is just keeping busy until you die. With God, every part of life is valuable for growing in wisdom and knowledge and joy, which is of value because of life after death. God's purposes are set on those who please Him.

Donald Miller - out of the blue?

Donald Miller made his name when he wrote a book called, Blue like Jazz. I never read the book even though many people asked me to, but based on what people told me about it, I am not surprised by how things turned out. Recently, Donald Miller, made waves by suggesting that he doesn't go to church very often. May God change his mind.

His article capture well the thoughts of a growing segment of the evangelical church, but he could not be more wrong. Let's take a look at what he had to say.
I can only give camera angles on the issue because that’s how I think. I tend to see things from multiple angles and am comfortable not choosing “the right opinion” because I’m not convinced the right opinion is even on the table or that there is one in the first place. Many opinions can be right. Binary thinking causes more false dichotomies than true answers or helpful discussions, so I’ll avoid them as best I can.  It is only too predictable how things will turn out (without the intervent…

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 3

The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise? For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten (Ecc. 2:14-16). Life does not show favour to one person over another. Foolish people get rich and wise people get poor. Foolish people become famous and wise people are unknown. However, in both cases, they will soon be forgotten. How many people know the  name of their great grand father? Is there any reason to live a good and wise life, if it will not change the events of your life, and your legacy will soon by forgotten?

Thankfully, this is not the end of the story.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes - Part 2

The I considered all my that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. (Ecc. 2:11) Solomon had everything anybody could ever want. He had houses, gardens, parks, pools, women, and lots of money, but he was not satisfied. Fulfilling all of your senses does not make you happy, because in the end you die, and you can't take it with you. It is only temporary. Albert Camus in response to absurdity of man's predicament said, "There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide." To live or not to live is the only question with meaning, because there is no meaning to life.

Thankfully, this is not the end of the story.

Reflections on Ecclesiastes

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after (Ecc. 1:9-11). Every generation looks back at the previous generation and regards them as backward, but they forget the next generation will do the same. Supporting abortion is looked at as being progressive, but child sacrifice has existed for thousands of years.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana)." Francis Schaeffer in his book, How should we then live?, describes the characteristics of the downfall of a civilization.
"First, a mounting love of show and luxury (that is, affluence); second, a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor (this could be among countri…

Josiah's Death

The old testament is full of stories that do not have fairy tale endings, or at least it does not seem that way. Josiah was a humble man who courageously followed after God, until the event that led up to his death.
After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemeish on the Euphrates and Josiah went out to meet him. But he sent envoys to him, saying, "What have we to do with each other, king of Judah? I am not coming against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war. And God has commanded me to hurry. Cease opposing God, who is with me, lest he destroy you." Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. he did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight in the plain of Megiddo. And the archers shot King Josiah. And the king said to his se…