Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 The Duty Of Every Person

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Solomon started out this book stating that everything is meaningless. As one reads through it, he shows how worthless everything is in this life. People are born, they live for a while and they die. There does not appear to be any meaning in this life for what a person goes through.

As he finishes the book, he points out that everything has been considered and he came up with a conclusion. That conclusion is that the whole purpose of every person on this earth is to fear God and obey Him.

Having this viewpoint in a person’s life, puts God as the One who is in absolute control of everything and knows what is best for everyone. In the end this will be seen when God brings every deed into judgment. This is not just the deeds that are physically seen, but those that are hidden behind closed doors, or are hidden inside the thoughts of the mind.

This judgment will also include all deeds, both the good ones and the sinful ones. God is not just one-sided, He looks at everything, the whole person.

Some people may now say that keeping His commandments is difficult. On the surface this appears to be true, but if you really look at it, there are only two commandments to really keep. Those commandments are: love God, and love your neighbor.

If you are showing true love to God and your neighbor, you will not do anything to harm either one in any way. This includes harmful thoughts in the quiet of your mind, along with the physical actions many do.

Many people are searching for a purpose in this world. You may be searching for your purpose in this world. Now you know what it is: love God and love your neighbors.

Show your love to God and your neighbors by telling them about Jesus and what Jesus has done and will do for them. Be the witness of Jesus to this world today. That is what Jesus did and wants you to do today.

I pray today that you will know God’s purpose for your life; that you will see the opportunities to be His witness; that you will love God; and that you will show God’s love to everyone else.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 Finding Happiness

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:26

Searching for happiness in life is a common challenge that many people strive for. It is common for people to think that if they just have the right job, or get married, or have children, or get a certain degree, or have a certain level of paycheck, or live in a certain area, and the list goes on forever, that they will be happy.

What usually happens is that they do get what they want. They are happy for a short time and then they get discouraged again. They were satisfied and happy for a while, but then the problems started to occur and they are no longer happy. Other times, the person wants more. Finding happiness, in the way the world does, is like trying a new drug. It makes a person happy for a time, but then he needs more or a stronger one, never fully satisfied.

Solomon says that a person who is not serving God is just working hard to gain things, just to have it handed over to someone else. Working very hard just to hand everything over to someone else is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. One can never catch the wind, no matter how hard he tries.

The way to find happiness is found in pleasing God. The only way you can please God is to follow and please His Son Jesus. In order to please Jesus, you must do what He has asked you to do.

Pleasing Jesus means that you have taken up the task He has started, to reach and save the world. You cannot save the world, but you can bring those in the world to the One who can save them.

Life is not about you. It is about others and God. It is about the kingdom of Jesus. Are you building that kingdom?

Or are you building a kingdom for yourself?

If it is for yourself, it will be handed over to others and you will not find any happiness in this life.

Serve God today.

I pray today that God will show you what He wants you to do today; that you will know how to please God with your life; that you will know the happiness God can give you; and that you will work to build God’s kingdom in this world.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Meaningless And Worthless

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Proverbs 1:2

The words spoken in this verse are the words of a man who is broken and in great despair. He has looked at things in this world and could not find any meaning to anything. Everything that happens appears to have no meaning. The person speaking is Solomon, who had all the money and anything that he wanted. He was the wealthiest man that has ever lived in all of history, he made Bill Gates look poor, yet, he could not find meaning in life.

All around the world people are looking for meaning in life. It is extremely difficult to find meaning in war-torn countries, or in gang infested cities. It is difficult to find meaning when a loved one dies of an illness or bad accident. It is difficult to find meaning in losing a job or finding out a loved one has a dreaded illness or other health issue.

The question is often asked, “why do bad things happen to ‘good’ people?” People have philosophized over that question for centuries. Even Christians have struggled with that question. Many people look at everything and agree with Solomon that everything is meaningless.

When looking at everything without God or Jesus in the picture, it is true that everything is meaningless. Without God it does make sense why someone would want to commit suicide and end it all. There is no meaning in life or reason for anything without Jesus.

To find meaning in this life you must know God. In order to know God you must know Jesus. He is the only way to the Father. Jesus gives meaning to this life. In this life there will be things that look bad, and are bad, but Jesus gives the hope of an eternal life without suffering.

He gives reason to hang on in this life and to spread the Gospel message around the world. Without Jesus there is no peace or meaning. Without there being an eternal life to look forward to, there is no meaning for the suffering going on today.

When things look hopeless and meaningless in your life, look to God for meaning. Put all your hope and trust in Jesus and find meaning to this life.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your savior; that you will know God personally; that God will reveal meaning in your life; and that you will trust God through the meaningless times.

 

 

Proverbs 21:2 Weighing The True Motive

A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2

Making choices is something at every person does all the time. They must choose what they will do or not do, how to do it, when to do it, and why they will do it. Most will think about what they must choose and make a decision that they feel is the best one, based off of the information that they know about situation.

While doing this is often a good start to making the best decision, it does not always mean that their way is the right one. This is true even if all the right moves are made. There is one factor that many people do not always take into consideration when they are in the process of making a choice for an action. That factor is the motive for the action.

Why do people do what they do?

Why do people make the decisions that they make?

Decisions for an action are often based of selfishness. This even includes doing the right thing. Helping someone who is in need is a good thing to do. But if the purpose for helping that person is selfish, to look good to others, then it becomes the wrong action.

God is able to look at the person’s heart and determine the true reason why he is doing what he is doing. As a believer you are to do everything as unto the Lord. You are to do everything out of love for God and love for others.

In doing everything in this manner, there is no room for selfish reasons. It is not about you and how it makes you look. It is about God and meeting the needs of someone else.

Jesus did not die on the cross just to look good, He was already good and everyone knew it. He died for your sins, so that He could remove your sins. It was all about you, not Himself.

You must live your life in the same way. Ask God to search your heart and reveal what your true motives are. Good actions are not good if not done with the right motive.

What is your motive for your actions today?

I pray today that God will fill you with His love for others; that you will have the same motive for your actions as Jesus did; that God will find your heart being the same as His; and that you will do everything as Jesus would do it.

A Bird, Purpose, And God

One of my sons, Kyle, wrote this post on Facebook about an experience he had encountered and his link of it to God. 

Today during the thunderstorm I walked outside to set something out on the porch.

When I walked out there I saw this little bird it had something wrapped up when it’s leg. So I unwrapped it’s leg. When I did it jumped off the porch and then it sat there on the ground. I knew that if it stayed on the ground it probably wouldn’t be safe so I picked it up and I put it back on the porch. And it jumped off again I picked it up and put it back on the porch. It jumped off again. So then I decided it would be safer if I put it inside. I waited til the storm was over and released it.

There are many times in our life where we want to go places we cannot go. But we go anyway but God is gracious enough to pick us up again and again. Until he sets you in a place where you can go nowhere else.

You see that bird had no idea that I had a purpose for where I put it. It had no idea that I had a timing for when I was going to release it.
The bird was scared at first and then it became comfortable then it wanted to be set free but the rain was still pouring.

Doing what God wants you to do maybe scary going where God wants you to go also maybe a scary. This is where you have to have faith in God that in his own purpose in his own time. What he has in store for us will be released.

So do not struggle with where God has you do not be afraid with where God has you. Because what you may not know is that you are not ready. You see if that bird was bigger I would have left it outside for it would have known what to do.

In God’s good time and in God’s perfect will what he has in store for you will come and you will know what to do.

Esther 4:14 For A Purpose

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Haman had talked the king into making it a rule allowing for the people to kill and destroy all the Israelites in the land. Mordecai asks Esther to go before the king to get him to stop the ruling. She does not want to go, because there was a rule that if the king did not summon her, she was not allowed to go to him. Mordecai tells her that if she remains silent she will die, and that it is possible that it is for this very reason that she was raised to the high position of queen.

When a person of the world gets moved into a high position, it is usually looked at as a personal gain for personal purposes. People take pride in their high position and see it as a benefit for themselves. That position is usually used to make the person look better, get better privileges, more money, more position and other selfish reasons. It is rarely looked at as the ability to help others better.

Jesus had come into the world to serve the people. He wanted to meet their greatest need, even though He was lifted up to the highest position possible.

As a believer, you are also lifted to a high position. You are now a child of God. You are a co-heir with Jesus. This is a high position, next to the king.

With this position, you have the purpose of bringing a message to the world. In the bringing of that message, you may get killed, as Jesus did, but it is still important.

In this life, every position you hold, every place you go, you have a purpose. That purpose is to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus. You are to snatch them from the fire.

You are in the right place, at the right time to bring that message to whomever you are around. You are the one who can do what no one else can do. You are there for a purpose.

Will you ignore that purpose and allow others to die?

Or will you meet that purpose?

I pray today that you will see God’s purpose for your life; that God will reveal to you who you need to help; that you will see opportunities where you are to speak God’s word to the world; and that you will build God’s kingdom.

Being A Viola–An Artist’s Calling

My oldest son wrote this article for Masterworks Festival. It is a four week school for people to pursue the fine arts calling in their life, while keeping God at the center of their life and ministry. Although this was written for those that do musical fine arts, it can be appreciated by every person and there is a great lesson to be learned in this for every believer in Jesus.

You may find the original article on their website at: Being A Viola–An Artist’s Calling

strings

So, you’re an actor, a musician, maybe a singer, but you’re also a Christian – What’s the connection? We talk a lot about doing everything to the glory of God as is commanded in 1 Corinthians 10:31, but what does that look like for an artist? Our talents don’t put food on someone’s table, build shelters for the homeless, or finding the cures to the world’s sicknesses, so what can we do?

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

As we all know, the viola and the violin look very similar, identical to an unpracticed eye. And yet, there are few things that will push the temper of either instrument’s musician more than falsely identifying which string instrument they play. These two instruments, while being nearly identical to the eye, are built specifically for fundamentally different purposes. The subtle differences between the two instruments are so specific that a violin will not fit in the case of a viola nor vice versa and if one tried to play the part of the other you would find the tool hopelessly inappropriate for the job.

Violins and violas are built to serve different positions.

Ephesians 2:10 says that God prepares good works for us to do in advance of our doing them. Jeremiah 1:5 builds on this principle.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Before we are even conceived God has fully crafted the plans he has for us, calling us to be actors, musicians, dancers, singers, businessmen, parents, church leaders, politicians, or whatever He has specifically designated for you. You’re not a square being forced into the circular hole, you’re perfectly fitted into the hole God’s placing you because it was exactly fitted to your situation before you even came into being.

God is in the business of tailoring the suit before the customer even walks in the door.

The CSO, the New York Met, Broadway – these are some of the greatest accomplishments for an artist to be able to perform with. The Brooks Atkinson theatre is not in the regular habit of inviting pastors to come and offer a sermon to the cast of Waitress, but a Christian who has taken the years necessary to train their gifts to excellence may be invited as a performer, allowing them a unique window of opportunity for ministry. There they would have access into an entire mission field that no pastor or evangelist could get into. It’s a good work that God prepared in advance specifically for us, as artists, to do. A work that couldn’t be accomplished by just anyone, but was tailor-made to be completed by a trained artist.

Many times an untrained eye may say “Look at that curve, the shape, it’s a violin,” when the instrument in question is a viola. Similarly the world, and at times even the church, looks at us and says “You’re a Christian, so you must become a pastor or missionary.” But while we may be similar in some respects, we are called to a different purpose, just as a viola is built for a different use than that of the other strings. Our Great Composer and Conductor has a solo He has set aside for us alone as the sound only we could produce. Don’t try to force God’s calling for your life into a violin case, it was made for something bigger. Pray and look for what God has called you specifically to, it is sure to be far better than anything we could orchestrate.