Life’s Big Adventure

February 25, 2013 at 11:28 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 8 Comments
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Have you ever shared the feelings of the writer of Ecclesiastes: that this earthly life (life “under the sun“) is just vanity? Is the best we can hope for just a little temporary pleasure between the pains? If so, the problem may be that you have a wrong relationship to God. Once you are correctly oriented in your thinking about God, you really can enjoy the good gifts that come from God. Certainly, for Christians, life under the sun is not vanity.

In fact, having a right relationship with God in Christ means that our lives can be filled with:

1. Adventure

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Ecclesiastes 11:9

It is fun to be around new Christians. They can be like young men in their youth, when everything is new and fresh and exciting. Things that – sadly – can start to seem routine to older Christians (soul-winning; Bible studies; prayer meetings; the Lord’s supper; praise and worship) are still thrilling to them. As older Christians, although we might not always feel the same exuberance we once did, we need to be challenging ourselves to step out by faith and serve the Lord in new and exciting (even scary) ways. When is the last time you stood up in a church assembly, or a group of strangers, and gave a testimony of God’s goodness and grace?

2. Appreciation

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

Ecclesiastes 12:1

The older we get, the more we appreciate what we might have been too worked up to truly appreciate the first time around. God is gracious to allow “do-overs.” Take advantage of these when the opportunity arises.

3. Academics

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

Ecclesiastes 12:11

There is pleasure in learning from experience – and in teaching others what you’ve learned. Athletes eventually get too old to compete in the sports they loved in their youth, but many find great fulfillment and excitement in coaching. Goads prompt you to keep going; nails are what you use to hold in place what you’ve already learned.

4. Accounting

When you recognize that this earthly life we live does matter, then it’s encouraging to know that Someone’s keeping score. The idea of being held accountable can be frightening, but it’s also reassuring, because we know God doesn’t miss it when we are faithful stewards. God is the One Who’s in charge of the rewards.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

The wisdom that comes from God is true wisdom, and the result of true wisdom is true riches.

The Last but Not the Least – Part 3

September 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Jeremiah, Salvation | 8 Comments
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Last time we saw that: Being content brings gratitude, but being covetous brings gall.

Now we will see that:

Being content brings glory to God.

Jeremiah the prophet prophesied in a time much like our own. His description of Egypt in his day was very much like America in our day.

Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north. Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation.

Jeremiah 46:20-21

At the local fair, my kids like to look at the livestock in the 4-H exhibit. They enjoy seeing the plump healthy cattle, well-cared-for and sporting their blue ribbons. Little do they know that these cattle have been fattened for a slaughter. Why does the Lord let the wicked accumulate wealth? Why does He let wicked men and governments and corporations and nations oppress the weak and the poor? Could it be that they are being fattened for the slaughter? Could it be that they are being allowed to prosper and grow rich and fat – and believe themselves to be invincible – so that the Lord receives more glory when He strips them of everything they have coveted after, and casts them into the pit?

One of my favorite verses is James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” This verse does not mean that it’s a good idea to be humble, but it’s not really mandatory to be a victorious Christian. No, let me tell you something – your humility may be delayed – but it is not optional. You will be humble before the Almighty God. But this verse says I have the option of humbling myself. If I humble myself, He will lift me up. If I don’t humble myself, then He will humble me. As my old Sunday School teacher used to say, God will get the glory from my life – one way or the other.

Being content brings glory to God, but being covetous brings grief to a generation.

God can take away what you love most if you love it more than Him. God may take away the people you love most if you worship them in place of Him. Lord, help me to get my focus off of me – and get my focus on You. Do you want your life to bring grief to your generation, or do you want it to bring glory to God? Do you want to be the best parent you can be? Then love God with all your heart. Do you want to be the best spouse you can be? Then love God with all your mind. Do you want to be the best Christian you can be? Then love God with all your strength. Do you want to be the best person you can be – to have your “best life now?” Then forget about your “best life now.” Instead of having your “best” life now, have your “blessed” life now.

Before his conversion Saul of Tarsus had his “best life now.” Read his resume’ sometime in Philippians 3. He had a great job. He loved his work. He was the best, the brightest. He had money, renown, a reputation. He was strong, swift, educated, intelligent. He was on the fast track to be the number one man in his field!

And he threw it all away – to become the scum of the earth: beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, roaming from place to place, hunted at sea, hunted on land, hunted by the Jews, hunted by the heathen, hunted in the city, hunted in the wilderness, attacked by false friends, tired, wracked with pain, hungry, thirsty, cold, and naked (II Corinthians 11)! AND HE WAS CONTENT!!!!

If you try to save up your life – to make your life about the abundance of the possessions that you control – that you think you own (Luke 12:15) – you will lose it. But if you lose your life for His sake, you shall find it.

There was once a man who was the wisest (except for Jesus) and the richest (up until that time and maybe even today) man who ever walked the face of the earth. He had everything you could ever want or even imagine. He had every trinket, every delicacy, every luxury, every entertainment, every experience that could be had. The darkest fantasy you’ve ever dreamed of in your darkest most secret moment of sin – the one you wouldn’t dare tell your closest friend in the world about – he had it. And he had it twice, just to make sure. But after all the excess – after all the experience – after all pleasures that this world had to offer – here is what he had to say: “Vanity of vanities – all is vanity!” He had it all – and he was miserable. There must be something more, he thought, there must be something different. There must be something deeper – a knowledge of something greater. There must be Someone Who can give me – Who can be for me – what I have never been able to grasp. There must be Someone who can fill the vanity – the emptiness – that I’m left with – that is inside my very soul!

If you are reading this right now, and identifying with King Solomon, I can tell you there is only One. And there is only One Way to Him. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is more real than just a plan, a path, or a purpose – He is a Person. He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

What has the Devil and the world talked you into believing is going to make you happy? Getting what you see and what you want? Being like the wealthy, the powerful, the famous? Jesus Christ took your sin on Himself, and He took the punishment for it in your place on the Cross. He was sinless and perfect, yet He was tortured and crucified for every sin you and I ever committed. The good news: God accepted Him as the perfect and only possible sacrifice for sin, and showed His acceptance by resurrecting Him from the dead. He lives today. You have only two choices: You must believe on Him, rejecting your own self-righteousness – or you must reject Him. You are not promised a certain number of opportunities. If you leave the room you are in right now without asking Christ to save you, you might very well leave this life without being saved. Do not tempt the Lord your God.


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