Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ecclesiates 9:1-12

We have been "Unlocking the Meaning of Life" through a study of Ecclesiastes in both Sunday morning worship and small groups during the week. Tonight we studied Ecclesiastes 9:1-12....

Solomon addresses the brevity of life in these verses. While we cannot live recklessly and irresponsibly with no thought to the consequences of today's actions, we should live each day appreciating it as the gift it is and adhering to God's will for us. We should do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord not because today may be our last, but because it is what He instructs and desires us to do.

In verse 4 "But for him who is joined to all the living, there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion." Here we see that the noblest, most upstanding men (and women) who die without salvation and without knowing God have no hope, but the vilest and worst of creatures have hope as long as they have life.

Eccl. 9:9 says "Live joyfully with the wife who you love all the days of your vain which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun." Although Solomon seems to have a sarcastic attitude towards the reader here, he addresses the issue of monogamy and loving one woman for a lifetime. Proverbs 5 also addresses this in v. 15-21 instructing again that man should have one wife and not be "enraptured by an immoral woman and be embraced in the arms of a seductress." (Proverbs 5:20). We are to be faithful to our spouse throughout our lifetime.

"I returned and saw under the sun that-
The race is not to the swift
Nor the battle to the strong
Nor the bread to the wise
Nor riches to men of understanding
Nor favor to men of skill
But time and chance happen to them all."
Ecclesiastes 9:11

God does not necessarily reward the things we give value to in this carnal world. In fact, throughout history He has used the weakest and least "qualified" to do His work...and in that is the power of God. Without God, David would have fallen at Goliath's feet, Moses would have run away from Egypt and Pharaoh, Joseph would have left Mary for shame of being unwed and pregnant. Over and over He has shown us that He does not value the traits that we hold so highly among ourselves.

Lord, let me live each day for You. Let me seek you through prayer and scripture. When I am challenged or unsure of myself, let me seek wisdom in You and Your word. Father, I trust you to care for me through whatever trials come my way. I pray that I will not seek the approval of this world, but rather seek You and Your grace. I know that my works on this earth can never make me worthy of You, but I praise you for sending Your Son to give me value, to give me worth in Your eyes. Lord, I ask that I remain diligent in my pursuit of You and live each day according to Your will.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Heart That Serves

"And the Lord God said 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.' " Genesis 2:18

Women are not the same as men, we are not meant to be equal partners in a marriage. We are made by God to be help-meets for our husbands. One of the most important characteristics of a heart for God and our husbands is a heart that serves.

Cultivating a Heart that Serves
-We, as women, must start with our families, specifically our husbands, in our efforts to cultivate a heart that serves.

-Elizabeth George states our mission is clear from God..."I am on assignment from God to help my husband." But how? I can share his responsibilities, respond to his nature with understanding and love, and cooperate with him in working out the plan God has for our family.

-I do not desire to be in competition with my husband. I desire to support and complement him. To this end, I have made a commitment (which I often have to remind myself of daily) to help my husband.

-I try to focus on my husband's needs...what can I do for Rick today? What can I do to help him make better use of his time?

-In each decision I make or action I take that effects our home, family or anything else related to our marriage, I ask myself "will this help or hinder my husband?"

A submissive and servant's heart is not an enslaved heart. I don't do these things because Rick demands them of me. I do them because I love my Lord and I love my husband and this is how God has instructed me to treat my husband and express that love I feel for him. I am not perfect, Rick is not perfect. Often we fall far short of God's instructions and expectations of us, and in the process we hurt each other. But God forgives and instructs us to forgive...and so we do, because we love Him and each other.

"We have to learn to make the least of all that goes and the most of all that comes." Ruth Graham

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Heart That Obeys

(Continuing my study of Elizabeth George's book "A Woman After God's Own Heart")

"And Samuel said to Saul 'You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you'." -1 Samuel 13:13-14

David and Saul were men with two very different hearts.


  • Willing to obey
  • Served God
  • Cared for God's will
  • Had a heart centered on God
  • Consistently sought God
  • Humble


  • Satisfied with external acts of sacrifice, not truly obedient
  • Served himself
  • Cared for his own will
  • Had a heart centered on himself
  • Devotion to God was sporadic
  • Proud

Elizabeth George breaks down a "Heart that Obeys" into 5 steps:

1. Concentrate on doing what is right.
"Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8

Seek God's guidance through scripture and prayer.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:6

2. Cease doing what is wrong.

Stop any activity contrary to God's will immediately. It's not enough to ask forgiveness later if you have continued to sin after you realized you were doing so. God forgives us, but He expects that we will make an effort to change the behavior.

"For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." Hebrews 2:18

3. Confess any wrong.

God expects us to acknowledge our sin and ask forgiveness. I think of how much I appreciate my children when the confess their transgressions before I even have a chance to catch them at it and confront them.

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9

4. Clear things with others.

While it is important to confess our sins to God, it is also important to apologize to those who have been hurt by our sinful actions. While this is not always possible, we should make every effort to set things right with those we have transgressed against.

5. Continue on as soon as possible.

God does not want us to dwell in our sins. He wants us to learn from them and move on with our lives, serving Him to the best of our abilities.

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heritage of Children

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,

The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

So are the children of one's youth.

Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;

They shall not be ashamed,

but shall speak with their enemies in the gate."

-Psalm 127:3-5

I recently read somewhere that the estimated cost of raising a child is $1.5 million. I don't know what that includes and when the "raising" ends (after high school, does this include college tuition, wedding, etc.), but I was a little disturbed as it felt like putting a price on a child. How often have we heard "We would love to have more kids, but we just can't afford it right now"? Our culture views children as a burden, an added expense, one more thing to drain our precious bank accounts and deplete our net worth.

But the Bible paints a different picture of children. The word "heritage" is defined on as "something reserved for one", the King James Dictionary defines it as "an allotment or possession". Psalm 127 goes onto refer to them as a "reward". None of these terms evoke images of burden or financial drain. On the contrary, we associate reward and allotment and possession with financial gain.

Our American society has become so focused on financial gain and so defined by the bottom line, that we reject the blessings God has for us in our children. That's not to say that everyone needs a large family, on the contrary, God has purpose for all of his flock, single, married, families small and large. But don't let the distorted image of "financial success" our society perpetuates prevent you from God's will for your family.