Week Thirty-Seven, 2023
So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. Ecclesiastes 2: 9-11
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14
I wonder how we will be remembered. As others look back at your life and mine. What will they see? How will you and I be remembered?
Maybe they will remember us by all the stuff we accumulated. The size and number of our homes and cars, the size of our bank accounts, the championship rings and trophies, the lengthy resumes of accomplishments and business successes.
Solomon’s reflections looking back on his life, recorded in Ecclesiastes, caused him to come to an unhappy disappointing conclusion. Nearing the end of his life and reflecting on what he had viewed as a successful life, he shared these candid words— But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
Solomon looked back and saw that his life was all about him and what he wanted, and what he wanted to do, aligned with the pull of the world. That even though the world saw him as wise, wealthy, and wonderful, he realized way too late that he had missed too many moments in his life to walk with God.
It was all meaningless, like chasing after the wind, he wrote. Another translation records his reflections, that in his life “all was vanity and grasping for the wind.” And as a result, he had missed all the fullness, purpose and meaning of the life He could have had, and was created to have, aligned with God and God’s will for his life.
The world calls us to align with its values and priorities. To bow at the altar of things, success, image, championships and more. The more the better. Solomon found out that was all meaningless, vanity, like chasing the wind. He wasn’t the only one, though.
Moses doubted God, thinking it was about what he could or could not do. Joshua had to be told three times to be strong and courageous as God called him forward. God scooped Jonah up in a fish to cause him do what God wanted him to do with his life.
David went off on his own too many times but kept looking and returning to God to be who he was created to be. Peter denied Christ three times, was forgiven, restored, and realigned with Christ to live the life God created him to live.
Solomon finally got it, though, when he shared — “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”
Calling out to himself, and to you and me, to align our lives with God, and to be all who God created us to be, and to do all He intends for us to do. Remembering God is always there, in all those times when we feel like we’re sinking deeper and deeper, to pull us up and send us back out.
In those times when we can’t seem to find a door to where we should go, He opens one before us. And when it seems like every road we travel leads to emptiness, regret and disappointment, He places our feet on the road to all we can be with Him.
When life seems empty and meaningless, look to Him.
That is how we will be remembered—aligned with God. Scott Whitaker
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
Words of wisdom from Edgar Aponte
• Christ identifies Himself with sinners, by taking their place, yet He is separated from sin. If you have repented and trusted in Jesus, God loves you the same way He loves Jesus. Trust God’s love for you!
• The devil will tempt you to doubt God’s provision and love in the face of difficulties. Trust God’s Word!
• The devil will use even religion to cause you to sin. Hold Jesus more precious than anything else.
• Don’t allow the desire of the flesh to dictate your identity. Refuse the allures of sin and cling to the Word of God.
• The closer you get to Jesus the more the devil will tempt you.
• The devil comes to us at our deepest point.
• We must choose whether to listen to the voice of God or the voice of the devil. Listen to the voice of heaven and not the voice of hell.
• It is better to suffer than to sin.
• The devil is not just at work in the wilderness but also in the church, as people use the Bible to justify their sin.
• It is so easy to be religious and still be lost.
• We need to trust the word of God in the face of temptation.
• We fall into temptation when we are not abiding in the word of God.
• Learn from temptation and flee from it.
• When we go to Jesus, he helps us flee from temptation and be secure in Him.
• If you are a Christian, then God loves you the same way He loves Jesus.
— o —
A father said to his daughter “You have graduated with honors, here is a Jeep I bought many years ago. It is pretty old now. But before I give it to you, take it to the used car lot downtown and tell them I want to sell it and see how much they offer you for it.”
The daughter went to the used car lot, returned to her father and said, “They offered me $1,000 because they said it looks pretty worn out.” The father said, now “Take it to the pawn shop.”
The daughter went to the pawn shop, returned to her father and said,”The pawn shop offered only $100 because it is an old Jeep.” The father asked his daughter to go to a Jeep club now and show them the Jeep.
The daughter then took the Jeep to the club, returned and told her father,” Some people in the club offered $100,000 for it because “it’s an iconic Jeep and sought by many collectors.”
Now the father said this to his daughter, “The right place values you the right way,” If you are not valued, do not be angry, it means you are in the wrong place. Those who know your value are those who appreciate you….. Never stay in a place where no one sees your value.
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
If you are willing to receive from God, be willing to give. Rich Jensen
All human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes. Andrew Carnegie
Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The path to wisdom is paved with humility.
Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it. Thomas Paine
Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others. Robert Louis Stevenson
Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill
God doesn’t care if you pray with fancy words, He just wants you to talk to him.
Though no one remembers exactly how it happened, the unthinkable becomes tolerable and then then acceptable and then legal and then applaudable.
The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see. Alexandra K. Trenfor
Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.
Don’t worry about getting old, worry about thinking old.
Don’t worry about dying, because you will live forever. All you have to worry about is location, location and location.
Do you know why God didn’t teach pets to speak? He wanted to teach them that love and loyalty are demonstrated by actions rather than words.
One of the most cowardly things ordinary people do is to shut their eyes to facts. C.S. Lewis
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but rather by people who watch others do evil and don’t do anything about it. Albert Einstein
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. Henry Ford
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. That is the principal difference between a dog and man. Mark Twain
When asked if my cup is half empty or half full, my only response is that I am blessed to have a cup.
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