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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 10 Verses 1-15

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 30)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 10:1-15 

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.  (2)  A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.  (3)  Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.  (4)  If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.  (5)  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:  (6)  Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.  (7)  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.  (8)  He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.  (9)  Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.  (10)  If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.  (11)  Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.  (12)  The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.  (13)  The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.  (14)  A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?  (15)  The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. 

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. 

All it takes is one dead fly to contaminate a jar of medicine, just like it only takes one foolish act to destroy the reputation of those who are known for living a wise and honorable life.

This is due to the nature of human beings.  We all have a tendency to remember the stupid foolish acts of others instead of remembering their life in its entirety.

 

A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.  Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. 

Most of us have much better control of our right hands than our left hands.  This principle is used as a picture to represent that a wise man is in control of his actions, in comparison to the fool who lacks self-control.

A fool reveals to others that he is a fool through his actions.  As he progresses through life his wisest choices show himself to be a fool.

 

If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences. 

When those in authority oppose you, remind yourself that you are under their authority.  Do not try to exalt yourself against them.  When we submit to higher authorities, it encourages peace between our authorities and ourselves.

 

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:  Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

There is a harmful action that Solomon saw that was commonly displayed by rulers…a ruler exalting a fool while demoting those who have proven themselves to be rich in wisdom.   To illustrate this great inequity, Solomon described it as seeing” servants upon horses and princes walking as servants upon the earth”.

 

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.  Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. 

When a person sets out to be harmful to others, it will eventually come back upon his head.  This speaks of our imperfect human justice system, but especially the last days when all men must stand before the Lord and answer for the life they have lived upon the earth.

One exhibit of Godly wisdom is the understanding of these principles and allowing them to direct our lives.  In doing so, the wise man refrains from taking vengeance on others, realizing their will be a price to say on earth as well as in eternity.

 

If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 

An example of wisdom would be to sharpen an ax before using it.  Why is this? Because a sharp ax takes much less effort to cut wood than using a dull ax.   This is an example of the beneficial, practical, use of wisdom as we cut wood.

This helps us to understand that using wisdom does not simply aid our spiritual testimony, but it also aids us in our practical day to day walk on earth.

 

Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.  The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 

Other examples of this same principle are enchanting a serpent so it does not bite, and the need to direct a foolish “babbler” before he does others harm with the words of his mouth.  Solomon reminds us that one of the greatest benefits to having Godly wisdom is the use of gracious words in comparison to the words of fools that end up hurting others and destroying themselves.

 

The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.  A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?  The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. 

When fools begin speaking words of foolishness they result in doing great harm to others.  The result of the fool’s words are described as “damaging ravings’.  A fool never runs out of things to say.  He makes great promises and predictions that reveal his foolishness to all.  This is because he cannot know what tomorrow will hold or what will take place later in life.

The labor of a foolish man wears out all those who labor with him because he does not know how to accomplish the goal they are setting to accomplish.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, in this section of Scripture, we find Solomon teaching us many harmful aspects to foolishness that is allowed to affect our lives:

  1. Foolishness does great harm to our Christian testimony.
  2. Foolishness not exercise control of our life, and displays itself in our life
  3. Foolishness leads us to willfully opposes a ruler and bring down his wrath upon us.
  4. Foolishness leads to the exaltation of fools and demotion of wise men.
  5. Foolishness harms others and returns to the head of the foolish.
  6. Wisdom holds both spiritual and temporal benefits to the wise
  7. Foolish words discourages others while harming the fool
  8. Foolishness leads to unmet goals and weariness of its followers.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death
25. 9:13-18 A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom
26. 10:1-15 A recognition of the dangers of foolishness

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

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Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 9 Verses 13-18

SIH TOTT ICON What Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 29)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 9:13-18

(13)  This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:  (14)  There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:  (15)  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.  (16)  Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.  (17)  The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.  (18)  Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:  There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 

As Solomon observed the role of one seemingly insignificant woman who saved the city of Abel which was on the brink of defeat, he was reminded of the great value of wisdom…

2Sa 20:15-22 – “And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.  Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.  And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.  Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.  I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?  And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.   The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall.   Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.”

This poor woman exercised wisdom by searching out the reason behind Joab’s attack on her city and came up with a solution that saved the inhabitants of her city while satisfying Joab’s demands.

 

Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.  The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.  Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good. 

Based upon this event, and probably others, Solomon comes to the conclusion that wisdom holds much more value than brute force.  The words of men who speak wisely without drawing attention to themselves should be given much more weight than the words of foolish rulers who cry aloud, attracting attention and demanding to be heard by all.

However, the world does not recognize this principle so it rejects wisdom.  Many times the problems that face this world could easily be resolved through wisdom, however, they remain unresolved because the “wise way” is not the “method of choice” in today’s society.  Our foolish rulers scream and demand to be heard and followed when most of them are leading us down the path of spiritual defeat.   These type of fools can do much harm to our world and to the wisdom that quietly resides in it.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, in today’s society we need to take heed to the words of wise men, not necessarily those who possess great authority, fame, or riches.   Sadly, it seems as if these are the very people that our society seeks to hear and follow.

May the Lord raise up not only Godly men of wisdom but an attitude of willingness to hear and follow their words in the face of the multitude of trials that face our country, churches, and families.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death
25. 9:13-18 A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 9 Verses 4-12

 SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 28)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 9:4-12 

(4)  For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  (5)  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.  (6)  Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.  (7)  Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.  (8)  Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.  (9)  Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.  (10)  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.  (11)  I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  (12)  For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.   Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. 

Solomon came to understand that as long as we possess physical life we have hope of forgiveness, salvation and an eternity with the Lord.  It is far better to hold a position of low estate (such as a menial dog) who is alive, than to be a lion (a regal, universally respected beast) who no longer living upon this earth.

Those who are alive know they are facing death and can prepare for it by turning to Christ, in faith.

This is compared to those who are dead who have no knowledge of what is taking place on the earth.  They no longer have any opportunity for salvation and service to Christ which will lead to their eternal rewards.  They are so separated from this earth, that memories of their existence and works have been forgotten.  Their earthly works have ceased and they no longer can share in anything that takes place on the earth.

What must be done to prepare for eternity and serve Christ must be done while we are yet alive on the earth.

 

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.  Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.   Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. 

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. 

Solomon now addresses those who have prepared for eternity and now can enjoy their remaining time on earth.  There is no reason for the Christian to not be joyous.  The Lord has blessed us with our physical life and the opportunity to prepare for eternity.  He then graced us with repentance and faith enabling us to receive forgiveness and the hope of eternal life.  Joyful living, enjoying creation around us, and having opportunities for continuing service to Christ are the blessings that Christians are given “under the sun”.

In previous chapters, Solomon has been showing us that for men without Christ physical life is vain.  However, in this chapter he is explaining that, for those who have trusted in Christ, life can be of great joy and pleasure when it is used in service to Christ.

This is why, as Christians, we are to do everything to the best of our ability.  All that we do is important in this earth, because we are a reflection of Christ on this earth.  Everything we do (in one way or another) can, and should, reveal Christ to those around us.  Therefore we are to do our best in everything we do.

 

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. 

In comparison to the saved, Solomon turns his attention back to the general condition of mankind on this earth.  He sees that, in many ways, the world is not fair.  This world does not always rightly reward those who excel.  It seems as if reaping due rewards for our labors and excellence is under the control of chance… “being in the right place at the right time’.

However, as Christians, we understand that the Lord is in control of all, including the rewarding of those who excel.  Eventually all will be made right by the Lord.  This is much like fishes and birds who freely live without care, eventually, suddenly are taken into a net or snare. Likewise all men who seem to not feel the results and rewards of their actions will suddenly be brought to justice by the Lord.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

When a man does not use the opportunity of physical life to come to Christ, life on earth is vain and without lasting value.  All is wasted effort with no lasting, eternal rewards.  For those who use their physical life to prepare for eternity by trusting in Christ, they can find great joy and satisfaction as they live a life sharing Christ with others.

Keep in mind, although there are no guaranteed earthly rewards for our labors, the Lord is in control.  In eternity, we are promised for justice to be done and rewards to be given for our faithfulness.  We are to do all we can, to the best of our abilities to show Christ to others, as we live our daily lives on earth.  We can know by faith, that our efforts will be rewarded and the Lord will sovereignly, by His grace, use our testimony to save others around us.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 9 Verses 1-3

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 27)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 9:1-3 

For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.  (2)  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.  (3)  This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 

  

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God:

Solomon set his desires to publically declare that those who are righteous, possessing Godly wisdom, and all that they do are protected and led by the hand of God.  God is actively intervening in the lives of His people.  He is leading them and watching over them as they seek to serve the Lord as they live their lives on earth.

 

no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 

The full spectrum of life events is experienced by both the righteous and the wicked.  Many times we cannot see the love and care of God coming upon His people. His people, just like the wicked, still face trials, hardships, and sorrows in this life.

Because of this we cannot perceive whom God loves or hates through the events that take place on earth.  In spite of this, we can be certain that God’s love and care remains upon His people.

 

This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 

There is one destructive characteristic that is shared by all mankind and there is one event that touches the lives of everyone.

All men share in possessing the character of a fallen sinful creature.  Their desires are full of wickedness and obsessive pride rules in the heart of all.  Because of their fallen, sinful nature all mankind faces removal from this earth through physical death.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, as God’s people, we should rest assured that God loves us, protects us, and leads us on a daily basis.  Although we realize that all of life’s events are shared by both lost and saved, it is no reason for us to doubt the Lord’s personal intervention and enablement of His people.

As we look about us we are constantly reminded of the great need of shining as lights in the midst of a sin darkened world.  All men are touched by sin, condemned to physical death, and in desperate need of Christ in their lives.

May we all seek to show Christ to others through our words, actions and lifestyles, exercising confidence that He is with us protecting us and leading us every step of the way.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 The recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 The recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 The recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 The Recognition That Righteous and Wicked Share Common Life Events

 

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The Precious Human Life #6: Prepare To Meet Thy God

SIH TOTT ICON

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

 

This is part of a series that is looking at the preciousness of life and the need for a more serious examination of the Scriptural validity of taking a human life under any circumstance.  Folks, our world has devalued the taking of human life to the point the loss of human life is “no big deal” and “JUST a part of the world in which we live.”

By God’s grace, as we continue through this series, my prayer is that the Lord would open all of our spiritual eyes and come to a more complete realization of the great value of human life.  Also, we need to carefully consider the results of our actions, and the circumstances surrounding the taking of human life, making sure that in each situation, the taking of life is Biblically justifiable and absolutely necessary.

Our devotional series will contain six daily devotions, all of which will emphasize the wondrous nature of the human creation and the loss inflicted upon mankind when a human life is taken from their midst…

  1. Thou Shalt Not Kill (Exo 20:13)
  2. The Glory and Honor Of Man (Psa 8:4-6)
  3. God’s Image & Likeness (Gen 1:26-27)
  4. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (Psa 139:14-16)
  5. The Minister and Witness Of These Things (Acts 26:16-17)
  6. Prepare To Meet Thy God (Amos 4:12)

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Prepare To Meet Thy God (Amos 4:12, Eccl 9:10, Isa 38:18-19, 55:6, Eph 5:15-17)

 

Amos 4:12 KJV – “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10 KJV – “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

Isaiah 38:18-19 KJV – For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.   The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.”

Isaiah 55:6 KJV – “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:”

Ephesians 5:15-17 KJV – “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.   Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

 

In Amos 4:12, We find the Lord speaking to the nation of Israel after explaining to them their sinful condition.  The Lord commands them to “Prepare to meet thy God”.  In other words, the Lord was encouraging the Jews recognize their sinful condition, turn from their sins and place their faith in the coming Messiah.

In a very real way, the command given to the nation of Israel applies to us in today’s time as well.   All of fallen mankind, regardless of race or nationality, are to prepare to meet their God through recognition of their sin, turning from those sins, and placing their faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who came to the earth and died on the cross to pay the price for the sins of His people.

When are we to prepare to meet our God?  Now, while we still have life within us.  At our physical death, our opportunity to be prepared will come to an end, and we will enter eternity.  That is why the Bible emphasizes the need to live our physical lives to prepare to enter into our Lord’s presence, after death all opportunities for salvation and faithful service will come to an end (Eph 5:15-17).  And this is why Ecclesiastes tells us to do all we can, while we can, to the best of our ability.  It will be too late to come to Christ or serve Him following our death (Eccl 9:10).  Even the Old Testament prophet Isaiah understood this truth (Isaiah 38:18-19).

Folks when the physical life of a person is taken from them, all their hope of salvation and their future service for Christ is forever lost.   From a totally human perspective, the taking of life can rob a person of their future salvation or service to our Lord.

Please keep in mind: We know that the Lord is a sovereign Lord who will bring to salvation those whom He has chosen to save from eternity past.  He will keep each and every one of His elect alive until He calls them to Himself and grants them eternal life and forgiveness.  From a divine perspective, when a person dies in a lost state it is proof they were never one of God’s elect.

However, when we are looking at an issue concerning man’s responsibility, we are required to look at things from a human viewpoint.  For example, from God’s standpoint, any sin that is committed is a part of His sovereign plan for mankind.  If it wasn’t a part of His plan, He would not allow the sin to take place.

However, although a sin may be allowed by God, when we stand before Him we will never be able to justify that sin by saying “You are to blame, You allowed the sin to take place” or “The sin I committed as done according to your will’.  Of course we could not say these things.  To blame the Lord for our sin and attempt to make Him the responsible party based upon His sovereign will, is utter blasphemy.

 

The same holds true for the argument that would say, because the Lord allowed me to kill this lost individual, then it proves the person was not one of God’s elect.  Although, from God’s perspective, this may be true; from mankind’s perspective, we can never look at things this way, nor justify our actions based upon them.   From our human viewpoint, we cannot know if a lost person is one of God’s elect or not, therefore we can, and will, be held accountable for taking their “chance” of salvation away from them at the point of their death.  This is a grave sin indeed.  In a sense, from our viewpoint (as mankind who cannot know God’s future sovereign will) we are taking the eternal destiny of an individual into our own hands.

Likewise, how foolish it would be to try to justify the taking of human life based upon the principle that if the Lord did not desire for it to take place then He would not have allowed it.  In other words, we can twist the Word to teach that all taking of human life must be pleasing to God… simply because it took place.  Both of these attitudes are unscriptural and a blasphemy in God’s sight.

 

In closing, may we all follow Isaiah’s instructions for us and… “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:”  (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)

 

Summary Of Our Study

In these devotionals, we have seen several ramifications of the taking of physical life:

  1. For mankind to devalue human life is to mock the authority, value and deserved respect that God Himself has placed upon mankind.
  1. For mankind to devalue human life is to devalue a wonderful picture of the gracious humility, authority and exaltation of Christ that took place at His first coming.
  1. Man being made by God the “image” (“similitude”) and “likeness” of Him is another reason why the devaluing of human life is such a very sobering act. When a man’s life is taken, an image of God given to mankind is silenced and, in actuality, destroyed.
  1. We are devaluing that which the Lord has fearfully and wonderfully made and that continually testifies of His greatness. To bring an end to this life is to bring an end to this testimony of God’s greatness.
  1. Whether they be saved, or potentially a future recipient of salvation, by devaluing and taking away physical life, we are silencing one who may be used of God to accomplish great things in His service.
  1. The devaluing and taking of human life is, from a human viewpoint, will, be held accountable for taking their “chance” of salvation away from them at the point of their death. This is a grave sin indeed for we are taking the eternal destiny of an individual into our own hands.

May we all come to understand the need to value physical life above all of God’s other creations and do everything in our power to bring an end to the unscriptural devaluing and taking of life that is so common in today’s world…

“But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?   Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:”

(Hebrews 2:6-7 KJV)

 

 

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All About Living Dogs and Dead Lions

SIH STSTA ICONIn Ecclesiastes 9:4, Solomon makes the statement…
For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

In Phils 1:21, it is explained to us that Paul believed that ….
“For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.

Solomon and Paul seem to contradict each other.  Solomon seems to say that the possession of physical life is far better than departing into eternity.  However, Paul seems to place our eternal existence ahead of our temporal existence here on earth.  Which view is correct?  Is the Bible contradicting itself?  How can these two verses be reconciled?

Let’s take a few moments to study these two Scriptures, in their proper context and see what we can learn from each statement…

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

4) For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5) For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
6) Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.
 (Ecclesiastes 9:4-6)

 

13) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.
14) 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)

 

21) For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.
22) But if I live in the flesh, this [is] the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23) For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24) Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [is] more needful for you.
 (Philippians 1:21-24)

 

THE STUDY:

Solomon’s message included the truths that for all mankind, our physical life that is given to us is of great value that should never be downgraded nor ignored….  

 

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope:
It is during our life on earth that we possess HOPE.  The hope of salvation, and the hope to be faithful in our opportunities of service for Him.

 

for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
The hope we possess as the result of the physical life that is given to us is so great that it outweighs all the wealth, power and fame this world has to offer.  Far better for us to possess life as a poverty stricken servant, than to be a dead king, millionaire or movie star that has wasted their life by ignoring their need of salvation and their opportunities to serve Him.

 

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Dying is a universal event that touches every person.  Everyone knows death is coming. 
With physical life comes the opportunity to prepare for the certainty of death and entrance into the afterlife….
1.  When death comes we will enter into a conscious eternity in the presence of our Great Judge. We will no longer experience life on earth, nor will we know about anything that is taking place on earth.  All of our interaction on earth will be over.
2.  Our opportunity to use it to prepare for eternity has passed.  We will no longer have the opportunity to lay up eternal rewards through faithful service to Him.
3.  When death takes us, we will no longer be able to influence men, and in many cases, we will not even be remembered by men.

 

Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.
4.  When our life on earth is over, our interaction with other men is brought to an end. We will no longer be able to react to the needs, desires and actions of others with the emotions of love, hatred or envy.
5.  No longer will we have allotted to us any type of role in the land of the living.

 

Based on Solomon’s previous message, later in Ecclesiastes, he tells us….
 

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.
Our most important responsibility is to use our life on earth wisely by submitting to the True God through faith in His Son and then living lives of obedience to Him.

 

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.” 
We must always be thinking about the permanent separation from this earthly life that death brings to us and the need to prepare NOW for the judgment that is to come upon us.

Based on the above verses, Solomon’s message is thus….
1.  Our life on earth gives us the hope of salvation, and the hope to be used by Him in service.
2.  These hopes we possess in life outweigh all the wealth, power and fame this world has to offer.
3.  Once our life on earth is ended…. IT IS TRULY ENDED.  We will be TOTALLY CUT OFF from any type of intervention in this world.
4.  We will be in God’s presence and will stand before Him to answer for what we have done on earth.

 

Paul’s message reiterates and supports Solomon’s message fully….

For to me to live [is] Christ, and to die [is] gain.
Paul is reminding those of us who are saved and serving Him that, in spite of the great importance of our physical life on earth, we will be gaining when we enter into eternity.

 

But if I live in the flesh, this [is] the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
As we live our life on earth… we should always remember that our upcoming eternity with Christ, and the rewards it will contain, will be the direct result of using our earthly life wisely.  Although, we would rather be home with the Lord, we should continue on preparing for eternity with faithful service to Him.

 

For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [is] more needful for you.
Paul desired to go home and be with Christ NOW, he recognized it would be of great benefit to him.  However, he also understood that as long as he was on the earth, the Lord had work for him to do. He also recognized that Christ’s work for Paul was to glorify Him in all things.  Through Paul’s teachings and example others were receiving spiritual benefit.

This is perhaps the greatest sacrifice a Christian can give to others around him.  To be willingly to use their physical life wisely, by living a life that honors the Lord in word and deed, being a living sacrifice of His grace, and choosing to continue on in service on earth… all the while knowing that there is a far greater eternity awaiting Him.

Based on the above verses, Paul’s message is thus….
1.  Our life on earth, for the faithful saint is an opportunity to affect the lives of others for the glory of His Lord and Savior. Although, times may get tough and the saint may feel like quitting…
2.  He knows that a far greater blessed eternity is awaiting Him.
3.  He knows that he is being used of God to be a blessing to others.  This is a part of the Christians being a “living sacrifice” for Christ.
4.  He knows that his continued faithfulness on earth will reap spiritual blessings in eternity

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In spite of the seeming differences in their writings, the three texts listed above clearly show us that these men shared much in common.  They shared the same faith in the Messiah as their Savior, they both recognized the need to trust Christ and serve Him in this life and they both understood that the afterlife would include recompense for their service.

So why did they make seemingly contradictory statements?  Although had held much in common concerning their beliefs, the audience  and therefore the purpose of their writings are different and key to reconciling their two statements….

 

1.  Ecclesiastes – Solomon is addressing mankind in general.
In his writing of Ecclesiastes, Solomon is explaining the true purpose and meaning behind our physical life on earth.  He has come to learn, through a lifetime of investigation that to “fear God and keep His commandments” (see Eccl 12:13-14) is the purpose of our existence and the key to living a joyous, fruitful, satisfying life on earth.

He is trying to emphasize to us all that we should never take the importance of our physical life for granted.  It is during our physical life on earth that we possess the opportunity of salvation and service to our Lord and Savior.

Solomon’s desire is to share the importance of using our physical life to glorify God by trusting in Him and serving Him here on earth.

 

 

2.  Philippians – Paul is writing to saved church members at Philippi who are faithful in their service to Christ.
Unlike those to whom Solomon writes, the faithfulness of Paul’s readers has proven that their salvation is genuine and that they possess an understanding of the need to serve Christ while on earth.  Therefore, the issue of the importance, and purpose, of their physical life is not needed to be emphasized to them.

What did they need to hear?  They needed emphasized to them the need to be remaining faithful amidst affliction in this world and the wonderful blessings awaiting them in eternity to come.

Paul’s intent was to share with his readers that, compared to this earthly life filled with trials and heartaches, THE BEST IS YET TO COME.  They should continue on in the faith knowing that someday they would go home and be with their Lord and Savior for an eternity.

So folks, there is no contradiction in these two passages.  Both texts, while complimenting and building upon each other, hold many truths to encourage, comfort and strengthen us as we live our life on earth…

For those who know Christ as their Savior, may we never take the blessing, privilege, and opportunity of our physical life on earth for granted, while yet understanding that we have a far better life in heaven to come!

For those who have never come to know Christ as their Savior, please take advantage of the wonderful blessing of physical life that the Lord has given to you.  Turn from your sins, trust in Him as your Savior and know that your life was given to you as a gift.  This gift is to be given back to Him by living your life in service to Him.

 

For all of us…. always remember… it is far better to be a living dog than a dead lion.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Spirits Among Us – Do Ghosts Exist?

SIH STSTA ICONThe belief in the existence of ghosts is on the rise, and no wonder… in today’s world the subject of ghosts has flooded the TV screen. A few of the TV shows that have ghosts as a central theme are: “Ghost Whisperer”, “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Stories”, “Ghosts Lab”, “American Paranormal”, “A Haunting”, “Celebrity Ghost Stories”, “Being Human” the list goes on and on.  One list I found said there are 50 shows currently on TV centering on ghosts.  If you would like to see the list just click here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110628172308AA4hkzC

With the existence of ghosts a major subject in today’s entertainment world I thought it would be good to look at the truth about ghosts.  The Word of God is the final authority on all issues of life here on earth and in the spirit world.  Let’s take some time to examine the truth about ghosts.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 7:58-60; Luke 23:39-43; 2 Cor 5:1-9; Phil 1:23-26; Psa 88:9-12; Eccl 9:10;

Heb 9:27-28; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 8:51-56;

THE STUDY:

To begin our study, it is very important to define what we mean by a “ghost”.  “ A ghost”, for this study, refers to the disembodied spirit of a dead person that dwells among the living on earth.  This is the definition we will be using for this study.

The Bible teaches us that once a person dies they immediately depart from this world: 

(Act 7:58-60) And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.   And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.   And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

(Luk 23:39-43) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

(2Co 5:1-9)   For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.   For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

(Php 1:23-26)  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.  And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;  That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

This is why the Word makes it plain that once we are dead we can no longer praise the Lord or serve Him on earth…

(Psa 88:9-12) Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.  Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.  Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?  Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

 (Ecc 9:10) Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Also, the writer of Hebrews understands that, once we die there is no longer any opportunity to receive forgiveness of our sins…. We are given this warning to motivate us to be sure we have received forgiveness in this lifetime…

(Heb 9:27-28) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The account of the rich man and Lazarus gives us a clear understanding of what takes place following the death of both God’s people and those who have never been forgiven of their sins…

(Luk 16:19-31) There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Notice in this account several interesting points:

  1.  Immediately upon death both saved and unsaved leave earth and enter the eternal state (saved into “Abraham’s bosom” – another name for God’s presence; unsaved into “hell” another name for eternal torment – or “prison” in 1Pet 3:19)
  2. They are recipients of the justice of God based upon their deeds on earth during their lifetime.  “he is comforted, and thou art tormented”
  3. Their eternal state cannot be changed.  There is a division between the two that cannot be spanned. “there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
  4. When there is a suggestion of sending one from the dead back to earth, it is assumed there would be a resurrection from the dead.  There is no other option even discussed…  “though one rose from the dead”.  When Christ resurrected someone from the dead, their spirit re-entered their physical body, and then walked among men on earth…

(Luk 8:51-56) – And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

After studying all the above verses, it is quite obvious that the spirits of those who have died DO NOT return to the earth as disembodied spirits. 

If this is the case, does this mean that the only living beings on earth are human embodied beings?  Absolutely not!

In our next blog posting, we will examine what spirit beings exist among us and how they affect our lives…

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

Let’s be careful to not get “caught up” with the modern day “ghost fever” running rampant around us.  Let’s always keep in mind, the final authority on the spirit world is our Lord and His Word.  Keeping in mind that departed loved ones will not return to the earth as a spirit, helps us to understand the tremendous responsibility to be a witness to those around us before it is eternally too late. (Matt 9:36-38)

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

The Lord, the Creator of all things (including the spirits of men) has clearly told us in His Word that the dead do not return to earth and dwell among us as spirit beings.  Knowing this should motivate us to seek the Lord while we yet have our physical life.  Once, we are dead, we no longer have the opportunity to come to Christ, nor can we avoid eternal punishment by simply returning to the earth as spirits and dwelling among the living.  (Jer 8:20)

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage – http://www.settledinheaven.org

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Finding God’s Will For Our Lives – What Is God’s Will? (Part #1)

Prov 3:6 – “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 In this short 12 word verse, we find one of the most precious promises of the Bible… the promise for the Lord’s leadership and guidance in our lives.   But in this same verse, we find one of the most difficult aspects of the Christians life… following the path the Lord desires for our life.

One of the most frequently asked questions posed to me during my ministry has been “How can I find God’s will for my life?”   In the next 6 blog entries we will be seeing what God’s word teaches us about this important subject…

  1. What is God’s will?
  2. Not my will, but thine be done.
  3. Thus saith the Lord
  4. Oh what a feeling
  5. Open and shut doors
  6. Summary of the study

In part number 1 of our study lets answer the question… What is God’s will?

THE SCRIPTURE:

 God’s Sovereign Will:

 Prov 16:9 – A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Prov 16:33 -The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof [is] of the LORD.

Dan 4:35 -And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Acts 2:23-24 -Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 4:27-28 – For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Rom 9:17-24 – For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Eph 1:11-12 -In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

And many, many more….

God’s Revealed Will:

Ps 119:1-12 – ALEPH. Blessed [are] the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.Blessed [are] they that keep his testimonies, [and that] seek him with the whole heart.They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded [us] to keep thy precepts diligently.O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed [art] thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Matt 28:20 -Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 14:21 -He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Eph 5:15-17 -See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

Eph 6:5-7 – Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Heb 8:10 – For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

1John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

And many, many more….

God’s Individual Will:

Prov 3:6 – In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Eccl 9:10 – Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Jer 10:23 –  O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Acts 11:12  – And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

Acts 16:6-8 – Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

Gal 6:10 – As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Phil 4:10 – But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

And many, many more….

THE STUDY:

  1. God’s Sovereign Will – This is the “secret’ will of God that has been determined before the foundation of the world.   This will includes EVERY event that actually takes place throughout history. (Deut 29:29)
    1. Prov 16:9 – Here we find that mankind makes many plans concerning his future, but the Lord is the One that controls all the future events in one’s life.
    2. Prov 16:33 – Here, we find that although the casting of lots from man’s standpoint is a random occurance… it is actually predetermined and under God’s total control.
    3. Dan 4:35 – It is clearly declared that His sovereign will is done both in heaven and on earth. No one can hinder it
    4. Acts 2:23-24, 4:27-28 – Even the crucifixtion of Christ was a part of His “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God”
    5. Rom 9:17-24 – Pharoah, his rebellion and his defeat, was all a part of God’s plan, which ultimately resulted in glorification of God. We cannot question His will, He knows the end from the beginning, but we do not.
    6. Eph 1:11-12 – Even our salvation and our inheritance are a part of His eternal plan.  All of this is why we are to thank and glorify Him for all things.  He is the One in ultimate control of all.
  1. God’s Revealed Will – This is God’s desires for our lives as revealed in His will.  Commands like “be ye holy” and “thou shalt not lie”, as well as “think on these things” etc. are all a part of God’s will for all His people.  These are all revealed to us in the Bible.
    1. Ps 119:1-12 – In the entire Psalm 119:, we find the importance of God’s Word for our lives stressed.  The Word of God in Psa 119: is given the titles “Law”, “Ways” , “Precepts”, “Statutes”, “Commandments”, “Judgments”, “Word”… the list goes on and on. And yet, the basic principle is that we are responsible to be in submission to His Word for our own good.
    2. Matt 28:20 – The Lord’s churches are to teach new believers to observe all of His commands (which are found in His Word)
    3. John 14:21, 1 John 5:3 – Keeping His Word is a sign of our love for Him.
    4. Eph 5:15-17 – By understanding the principles of His Word, and applying them to our lives, we can wisely walk in this world, using our time on earth to the greatest spiritual benefit.
    5. Eph 6:5-7 – We are to sincerely obey His Word with the right motives in our hearts.  This is an act of service to the Lord.
    6. Heb 8:10 – The Word is placed in our hearts, minds and consciences.  As we study and learn more of His Word we carry it with us and, hopefully, live according to it.  (Psa 119:11)
  1. God’s Individual Will – This is God’s desires for each one of us as individuals.  Throughout the Scriptures, we find followers of Christ being directed in their lives.  This direction normally takes the form of open and closed doors of opportunity.
    1. Prov 3:6  – Here we find that if we recognize His Lordship and submit to it in our lives then He will supply the direction we need to choose the correct life paths.
    2. Eccl 9:10 – “whatever thy hand findeth to do” – this can be describing the opportunities we have open to us.  Our responsibility is to take advantage of the opportunities we have in God honoring ways.  He is the One that controls what opportunities open to us.
    3. Jer 10:23 – We do not have the ability in and of ourselves to control the future events and opportunities of our lives.  This is all in the Lord’s hands.
    4. Acts 11:12, Acts 16:6-8 – Here is one example where the Lord used His Spirit to lead Peter to accompany men to a house where Peter received the call to Joppa.  Also the Lord led Paul in his ministry to forego preaching the Word in Asia and Bithynia.  In both of these cases the Lord used His Spirit to lead His servants to areas of ministry.  This Spirit leading could have been received as a combination of open/closed doors, the Word in conjunction with the human conscience, or even supernatural revelation (prior to the completion of His Word).  Neither Peter, nor Paul, explicitly details how the leading came about in their lives.
    5. Gal 6:10 – Paul clearly declares that we are to minister for the Lord based on the opportunities that are open to us.
    6. Phil 4:10 – Paul as he was writing to the church at Philippi made it plain that the church had faithfully supplied their support of Paul when they had opportunity.  But for an unspecified length of time, they lacked the opportunity to support him.  Note, that Paul was not critical of them and their lack of support during the inopportune times.  He only praised them for continuing to support him when they had the opportunity.

The above outline helps us to understand that there are three aspects to the will of God.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Here are the beginning principles we must understand as we begin our study of finding God’s will for our lives:

  1. The Sovereign Will of God cannot be changed by man.  This will of God will always be done.  Every event in history that has taken place, and will take place is a part of this sovereign controlling will of God. (Dan 4:35).  We have no need to be concerned about following this will of God.  It will always take place.
  1. Please notice that the Word of God (His Revealed Will) is the basis of the future judgment of the believer’s life. (Roms 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10)   It is this same Word that was given to us to lead us and guide us along life’s pathways. (Psa 119:105, Psa 119:11)

Therefore, all of our life’s decisions are to be made based upon our knowledge and understanding of His Word. The revealed will of God for each of our lives is regulated by the Spirit’s inner witness through the use of His Word (1 Pet 1:22, Ezek 36:27) and in our conscience (1 Tim 1:19, Heb 13:18)

  1. The individual will of God is regulated based upon the Spirit’s intervention in each of our lives normally through open or closed doors of opportunity (Gals 6:10)

In our search for God’s Will to be shown to us in our lives….

Prayer Principle #1 –  We must pray for the Lord’s leadership in our lives.

For those who are not saved….

The Lord’s will for the life of those who have never trusted in Christ is clearly declared in 1Tim 2:3-6 …

For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

For more information about salvation and the forgiveness of sins, please refer to my blog page found here: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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