We are learning from Solomon how to live simply in the margin of mystery created by the unpredictability of life. Ecclesiastes 9:11-18 warns us not to trust our personal ability or opportunities.
Many of us may not feel wealthy when we look at our budgets. The Bible says that we should be content with food, clothing, and shelter (1 Timothy 6:8). By that standard, especially compared to the majority of people in our world, we are an affluent group of people. Solomon gives wisdom for wealthy people to maintain our eternal purpose for living.
We are studying the third section of Ecclesiastes, which instructs us on how to rejoice in hard times. Joy is the reality of the believer who lives in the blessed will of God (Ecclesiastes 8:15). With the proper perspective, believers can enjoy all God's good gifts, but if distracted from eternal purpose, we will doubt the integrity of God and His providence.
The next section of Ecclesiastes we will study is Ecclesiastes 6:1-8:15. The beginning of chapter 6 instructs us how to navigate life's apparent divine inequalities. The message of the book is consistent: God's people must persevere in enjoying God and His blessings, even when God seems unfair.
Solomon's examination of the apparent anomalies and contradictions that confront our lives every day continues in Ecclesiastes 4. Walter Kaiser describes the progression of thought from chapter 3 to chapter 4 as follows:
We have divided the third chapter of Ecclesiastes into 3 sections.
This week, we will examine several plain truths to apply God's wisdom to our lives.
Psalm 12 expresses how David felt when he had been abandoned by godly friends. In Psalm 13, David is so alone, he feels he has been abandoned by God Himself. This feeling is prompted by the length of his suffering. Perseverance in a long time of difficulty is perhaps the most trying to our minds and hearts.
David's struggle will feel familiar to many people of God. In a marathon of trust, we often ask similar questions. Is God one who abandons? Through David's wrestling, we will learn that God's character and work confessed in prayer sustains us during long, drawn-out periods of suffering.
The question posed in Psalm 11:3 addresses a human need. The wickedness around David, the writer of this Psalm, threatened to undermine the foundations of the nation of Israel, God's people. In our day, it seems that the foundations of our country are being threatened as well. The foundations of the church are undermined when many Protestant denominations deny the authority of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage, and the sacred nature of human sexuality as God defines it. Personally, at times it seems that the foundations of one's life are being destroyed by loss of health, financial security, or valued relationships.
In such uncertain times, the righteous take refuge in the Lord! David unpacks 4 activities that the righteous practice in order to take refuge in the Lord.
Romans 8 concludes with a strong emphasis on the truth that God's children can experience no separation from the love of Christ. If God's love is enough to hold the whole body together, how much more so will it hold individual believers eternally secure! There are no people or circumstances that can separate us from God's love.
Last week, we discussed our personal approach and perspective in suffering. Now we will consider our prize, a glory that is beyond our comprehension.
At his death in 1902, Cecil Rhodes left 6 million pounds to Oxford University to establish the Rhodes scholarships. As great as a material inheritance can be, Christians value a spiritual heritage more than any earthly treasures (Colossians 3:1-2). The Holy Spirit ensures countless resources for the believer as a result of our adoption.
God’s mercy sustained a poor widow through a time of grief, turning her troubles into a blessing for all mankind. Please take time to read the book of Ruth, one of the most delightful accounts in the Scriptures.
Every true worshiper feels this tension at some point: We are doing the right thing as best we can, yet instead of blessing us, God allows difficult and even harmful things into our lives. Why does God allow bad things to happen to people who are trying to be faithful? God's people have struggled with this question through the ages. The book of Job and Psalm 44 are two examples of wrestling with the circumstances God has allowed.
What can possibly settle our hearts when God does not act as we expect? This question cannot be worked out in academic theological discussion. The only safe place to approach it is humbly bowed before God in prayer.
Our theme for the year is Living Worship-Filled Lives. Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us to present our whole selves to God as a logical act of worship. This includes times of corporate worship and personal worship in prayer and reading God’s Word. But we also worship as we go about our lives, showing the fruit of what we’ve learned. The integrity of our lives should mirror how we worship on the Lord’s Day.
As we prepare to study the Pastoral Epistles, we’ll begin by learning about Timothy, to whom Paul wrote two letters. Understanding Timothy’s character helps us understand the content of the letters written to him.
You’ve probably of someone “cramming 4 years of college into 10.” In Genesis 29, Jacob spends 20 years in the school of spiritual hard knocks. The first events are glorious, but they are soon followed by tragedy and consequences.
In God’s providence, the next chapter of Genesis fits perfectly with a Father’s Day theme. The Lord provides for every need of His people’s hearts when preaching through the whole Word of God.
The American evangelical culture can view God as an activity director on a cruise ship. We expect Him to be blessing us every moment, or He is not doing His job. This passage corrects that understanding. Faith is cultivated through trials.
Psalm 16 gives us a glimpse into the warrior King David’s heart and shows us where he took refuge. David didn’t trust in his army, his people, his power, or his wealth. He knew that God alone is the source of refuge and soul security.
When you look at a painted portrait of a woman, you often wonder what she was really like. We wonder the same thing with Bible characters. A few verses in Hebrews 11 show us how to interpret Sarah’s story. She was known as a woman of faith.
Sarah is involved differently in all 3 sections of Genesis 18. God’s promises to Sarah and Abraham show what he can do with faithful obedience in simple, singular things.
When studying narrative or story portions of the Bible, we will not find as many direct commands from God. We draw out spiritual principles from stories, and these are just as authoritative as direct commands.
We have observed several virtues in Abram so far, his spiritual discipline and patient obedience. The next section of narrative show Abram succumbing to temptation. Genesis records God speaking to Abram 7 times, and 3 times of Abram being tempted away from God’s truth. Here is our first principle: A saved person will never be sinless, but in the process of progressive sanctification, they will succeed more than they fail.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Just as a soldier’s backpack contains everything they need for survival and execution of their mission, Christians have been given adequate resources by God Himself. As God’s soldiers, we are properly prepared to survive in the field of Christian service.
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