November 15, 2015

Eccles. 8-12
There is nothing better than being wise.  Knowing how to interpret the meaning of life.  

Wisdom puts light in the eyes and gives gentleness to words and manners...Yes, there is a right time and way for everything, even though, unfortunately, we miss it for the most part....

As long as men and women have the power to hurt each other, this is the way it is... Even though a person sins and gets by with it hundreds of times throughout a long life, I’m still convinced that the good life is reserved for the person who fears God, who lives reverently in his presence, and that the evil person will not experience a “good” life...

Here is something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all:  Good people get what’s coming to the wicked  and bad people get what’s coming to the good.  I tell you that makes no sense.  It’s smoke....The only good earthly men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time--compensation for the struggle for survival these few years God gives us on earth....

If you keep your eyes open day and night without even blinking, you’ll still never figure out the meaning of what God is doing on this earth....The good, the wise, and all that they do are in God’s hands- but day after day, whether it’s love or hate, they’re dealing with, they don’t know ....

I find this outrageous--the worst thing about living on this earth--that everyone’s lumped together in 1 fate....
  
Seize life!....God takes pleasure in your pleasure!  Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precious life.  Each day is God’s gift.  It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive.  Make the most out of each one!  Whatever turns up, grab it and do it.  And heartily!  This is your last and only chance of it.  

I took another walk around the neighborhood and realized that on this earth as it is---The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor satisfaction to the wise, nor riches to the smart, nor grace to the learned.  Sooner or later bad luck hits us all... All the same, I still say that wisdom is better than muscle even though the wise poor man was treated with contempt and soon forgotten.  

The quiet words of the wise are more effective than the ranting of a king of fools.  Wisdom is better than warheads, but one hothead can ruin the good cards...a calm disposition quiets intemperate rage....Immaturity is given a place of prominence while maturity is made to take a backseat....The word of a wise person is gracious...fools talk way too much....

Laughter and bread go together, and wine gives sparkle to life---but it’s money that make the world go around...loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around...

Be generous: invest in acts of charity.  Charity yields high returns. Be a blessing to others.  This could be your last night....Go to work in the morning and stick to it until evening without watching the  clock... 

Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.  Take delight in each light-filled hour, remembering that there will be many dark days and that most of what comes your way is smoke....

In old age, your body no longer serves you so well...Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past.  Even a stroll down the road has its terrors.

The last and final word is this:  Fear God, Do what he tells you.  And that’s it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge according to its hidden intent; whether it is good or evil. 

1 & 2 Peter - In the early church, Peter’s influence was enormous and acknowledged by all.  By virtue of his position, he was easily the most powerful figure in the Christian community.  And his energetic preaching, ardent prayer, bold healing and wise direction confirmed the trust placed in him.  

The way Peter handled himself in that position of power is even more impressive than the power itself.  He stayed out of the center, didn’t “wield” power, maintained a scrupulous subordination to Jesus.  Given his charismatic personality and well-deserved position at the head, he could easily have taken over.... 

The two letters Peter wrote exhibit the qualities of Jesus that the Holy Spirit shaped in him:  A readiness to embrace suffering rather than prestige, a wisdom developed from experience and not imposed from a book, a humility that lacked nothing in vigor and imagination...


1 Peter 1 - ...
What a God we have!  And how fortunate we are to have him...because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven--and the future starts now!...

The day is coming when you’ll have it all--life healed and whole....pure gold put in the fire comes out proved pure; genuine faith put through suffering comes out proved genuine.  

When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.  

You never saw him, yet you love him.  You still don’t see him, yet you trust him---with laughter and singing.  Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to; total salvation....Do you realize how fortunate you are?....

So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that is coming when Jesus arrives...

As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled in a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.  God said “I am holy, you be holy.”  

You call out to God for help and he helps---he’s a good Father that way.  But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get away with sloppy living.  

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.  It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in.  He paid with Christ’s sacred blood you know...and this was no afterthought.....Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it.