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All is Vanity

Towards the end of his life Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as the “Preacher” to teach us what he had learned with all the wisdom and knowledge God blessed him with. As I read Chapter 2 this morning, I became aware of the greatest thing we can learn from him, and that is that anything and everything of this world is vanity and cannot bring true happiness. The only way to true happiness is to know and grow in our LORD and the things He teaches in His Word. I like the comments from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary for added thoughts.

Ecclesiastes 2

1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men’s hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.)

12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferable to ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge will not make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies a stranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most ignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to the body in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of just men made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, we might be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.)

18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?

23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges to the world, which affords a man nothing better than subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof, according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has, or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those that are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour, sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion, which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinner seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.)

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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in God's Love

 

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The Boldness of Grace in Love

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God’s Word tells us to speak His truths in boldness, which I do not have much problem with. What He is helping me with is speaking His truths in love. I take my Lord and His holiness and principles so very serious and try very hard to implement them in my own life, and sometimes I sound more harsh than I feel in my own mind when sharing those truths with others. And His Spirit is speaking to me on this subject. ūüėČ

I like to search things in God’s Word from time to time at a place called the Blue Letter Bible. Today it was on my heart about sharing His holiness and why we hold Him up on high instead of bringing Him down to our level where we are comfortable, and doing that in a kindly, loving fashion. I found this devotional there and WOW, did it ever speak volumes to my spirit.

I share this now, not just for others who may need it but to help me internalize it and put it to use in my own walk with Jesus:

The Boldness of Grace

Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness…And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:29, 31, 33)

Those who serve God acceptably must do so by grace. “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably(Hebrews 12:28). Those who serve by grace find that the boldness of grace develops in their lives.

The early church gave testimony to this reality. Soon after Jesus’ ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were boldly proclaiming Jesus throughout Jerusalem. This was extremely aggravating to the religious leaders: “being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2).

When they arrested the disciples, Peter boldly preached Jesus before the Jewish authorities. “This[Jesus] is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved(Acts 4:11-12).

This bold application of prophecy and proclamation of the gospel astonished the religious establishment. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John‚Ķthey marveled (Acts 4:13). Yet, in their hardness of heart, they further threatened the disciples.

Being released, they gathered the church to pray for continued boldness. “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” The answer to this prayer was another filling with the Spirit, resulting in further boldness. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” This filling of the Holy Spirit brought great measures of God’s grace actively working in their lives, sustaining this powerful witness of the risen Christ. “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”

This is the boldness of the new covenant of grace. “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12). This hope is new covenant confidence. It is part of the abundant life that God brings to us by His Spirit of grace: “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life(2 Corinthians 3:6).

“Heavenly Father, I need this same boldness in my life. Please fill me afresh with Your Spirit that I might minister in the boldness of Your grace, while bathed with Your loving kindness. Amen.”

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2016 in Godly Women

 

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Thanksgiving-What Really Took Place

Our great nation is, more than ever, under attack by the evil forces in this world who hate God. As we pray for God’s will, He is on His throne, we must also take responsibility as His children to do our part. We most assuredly need to pray and take action to change the current administration in our White House. But, as that happens, we must continue to fall on our knees and cry out and repent and turn from our evil ways of the world. I am once again reminded of 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If MY PEOPLE, WHICH ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their WICKED WAYS; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (Emphasis mine.) There are far too many who claim God’s saving grace, but continue to live in sin and teach others that it is ok, just be good. At this Thanksgiving time of year, let us become more attentive and responsible for and to God’s truths. “To whom much is given, much is required!”

“This is an article reprinted by permission in it’s entirety from The Christian Law Association’s website. It contains truths that are never heard in our schools or media today. Due to the pernicious demand that we must have a “separation of church and state” by the anti-God crowd, the truth of our country’s Godly heritage has been virtually drowned out. Hopefully this article will help you to see that God is real and that He is still at work.” (Images added by Anna.)

Americans are beginning to forget the important origins of our national Thanksgiving holiday. Its spiritual significance is no longer taught in our nation’s public schools. In fact, most school children today are taught that Thanksgiving originated when the Pilgrims invited their Indian friends to dinner to thank them for providing sustenance after the Mayflower landed. As with much of modern American revisionist history, there really is much more to the story.

Richard Warren, among 10 passengers in the lan...

Coming to America
The Atlantic crossing in the fall of 1620 had been an extremely difficult journey for the Pilgrims. For two months, 102 people were wedged into what was called the “tween decks” of the Mayflower-the ship’s cargo space with only about five-and-a-half feet of headroom. No one was allowed above deck because of the terrible storms. This was no pleasure trip. The Pilgrims comforted themselves on their journey by singing from the Book of Psalms. This “noise” irritated one of the ship’s paid crewmembers. He told the Pilgrims he was looking forward to throwing their corpses overboard after they succumbed to the routine illnesses common on such voyages. As it turned out, this crewmember himself was the only person to die on the voyage and be thrown overboard. God providentially protected His own people. A little-known fact about the Mayflower is that this ship normally carried a cargo of wine; and the wine spillage from previous voyages had soaked the beams, acting as a disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease. During one terrible storm, the main beam of the mast cracked. Death was certain if this beam could not be repaired. At that moment, the whole Pilgrim adventure could very easily have ended on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Providentially, the Pilgrims had with them a large iron printing press screw. That screw repaired the beam, saving the ship and all on board.

“Land Ho!”

Mayflower arrived inside the tip of Cape Cod f...

After sixty-six days at sea, land was sighted off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not the place these Pilgrims wanted to be. They intended to establish their new colony in the northern parts of Virginia (which then extended to the Hudson River in modern-day New York), but two factors interrupted their plans. The winds had blown them off course, yes; but they later learned that other Englishmen who wanted to settle in the same part of Virginia had actually bribed the ship’s crew to land them farther north. Despite this chicanery, God was in charge and the Pilgrims landed exactly where God wanted them to be. Had they actually made landfall near the Hudson River, they most certainly would have been immediately attacked by hostile Indians. Instead, they arrived at the one spot along the coast where hostile Indians had been providentially removed from the land. Many years before the Mayflower journey, local Indians had captured a Frenchman on a fishing expedition to that region. Just as they were about to kill him, the Frenchman warned them God would be angry, would destroy them all, and would replace them with another nation. The Indians boastfully replied that his God could never kill them. Yet, a year or two before the Pilgrims arrived in this very same region, nearly all the native inhabitants had been wiped out by a plague.

Help Arrives
Despite this miraculous provision of safety from hostile Indians, the Pilgrims barely survived their first winter on the Cape. Only four families remained intact; but God was still faithful. In the spring of 1621, He sent Squanto, an English-speaking Indian who offered to teach the Pilgrims how to survive in this strange new land. Squanto was one of only a few local Indians who escaped the plague. He had been captured as a young man and taken to England as a slave. During that time he mastered the English language. When he was freed, he returned to his native territory on the Cape shortly before the Pilgrims arrived.

How Well The Corn Prospered. Squanto or Tisqua...

Probably the most important thing Squanto
taught the Pilgrims was how to plant the native winter staple crop-corn. The Pilgrims thanked God for this wonderful helper. They also repaid Squanto by sharing with him the most valuable treasure they had brought with them from England-the Gospel. Squanto died a year or two after coming to the aid of the Pilgrims, but before his death he asked them to pray with him that he might go to be with their God in Heaven.

Peace and Thankfulness
Squanto introduced other Indians to the Pilgrims, and these Indians were also impressed with the Pilgrims’ God.

Prayer

During the summer of 1621, it appeared the year’s corn harvest would not survive a severe drought. The Pilgrims responded by calling for a day of fasting and prayer. By the end of the day, it was raining. The rain saved the corn, which miraculously sprang back to life. One of the Indians who observed this miracle remarked that the Pilgrims’ God must be a very great God because when the Indians pow-wowed for rain, it always rained so hard that the corn stalks were broken down. They noticed the Pilgrims’ God acted differently by sending a very gentle rain that did not damage the corn harvest. It was that miraculous corn harvest in 1621 that provided grain for the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving meal with their Indian friends and helpers. The evidence of history shows that on this first Thanksgiving Day, both the Pilgrims and Indians thanked God for His great provision and for His goodness toward them all. Unlike other Europeans who came to America, these Bible-believing Pilgrims were model Christians in their dealings with the native populations. During their first year on the Cape, Squanto, acting as a friend and interpreter, had assisted the Pilgrims in negotiating an important peace treaty with Chief Massasoit, leader of the nearby Wampanoag Indians. The two populations, Indian and Pilgrim, kept that treaty of peace for more than fifty years.

The Tradition Continues
The story of Thanksgiving doesn’t end there. The holiday itself was not officially celebrated until almost 170 years later, after the Revolutionary War had been won and our American Constitution had been adopted.

Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the Unit...

In 1789, Congress approved the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Congress then “recommended a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” to thank God for blessing America. President Washington declared November 26, 1789, as the first national day of prayer and thanksgiving to the Lord. Another 75 years later, after the Civil War ended, President Abraham Lincoln officially established the last Thursday in November as a day to acknowledge “the gracious gifts of the Most High God,” which He had bestowed on America. Every president continued this tradition until 1941 when Congress officially made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Teach Your Children

Now that you know the true story of Thanksgiving, this year make sure your children and grandchildren learn it too. As America is currently facing serious challenges both at home and abroad, let’s join together with countless generations before us in giving thanks to God for blessing and preserving our nation. Let’s make sure that all our children and grandchildren learn Whose hand of protection has been on America; and let’s all pray that He will continue to bless and sustain our nation as we continue to acknowledge and honor Him.

From your friends at:
‘Old Paths’ Baptist Ministries
1482 N. Ramah Drive – Pueblo West, CO 81007
Dr. Robert E. Bliss, Director/Evangelist
[719] 248-9036 or http://www.opbm.org

A Ministry out of:
Lighthouse Baptist Church
4280 Hopeful Drive – Colorado Springs, CO 80917
Dr. James Carroll, Pastor
[719] 444-8502 or http://www.Ibcsprings.com

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in God's Love

 

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Becoming a Godly Woman Part 4

Portrait of two women and a boy by Charles Bay...

 

Titus 2:3 ‚ÄúThe aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;‚ÄĚ

“Teachers of good things”.

Teacher: Instructor, Educator, Mentor

I like to think of us as mentors to our younger Christian sisters, much the same as our younger siblings. To be teachers of good things, we are to be a good influence for the younger women and teach them God’s doctrine and principles. The Greek word for teachers of good things is kalodidaskalos (kal-od-id-as’-kal-os) meaning teachers of the right.

What are we to teach that is right? Titus 2:4, 5 “4. that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their¬†husbands, to love their children, 5. to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

1. “be sober” – Greek word sŇćphroneŇć – serious,¬†self-restrained, of a sound mind, temperate (control our tempers?)

2. “love their husbands” – This goes above and beyond just “loving” our husbands. It is to be lovers of our husbands, putting our love into action by putting his needs above our own. This is the foundation for all domestic harmony as a Godly man will, in turn, do the same.

3. “love their children” – Godly women not only nurture their children physically, but train them up in the Lord as well. We make our homes and our families our priority.

4. “be discreet” – self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion) probably from an obsolete¬†Greek root phrao¬†(to rein in or curb). Could this possibly be referring to curbing our tongue? I would say so, but¬†I would¬†say that we are to¬†also curb our thoughts that lead to what rolls off of our tongues.

5. “be chaste” – the Greek word hagnos means pure in our thoughts as well as in our behavior¬†–¬†innocent, modest, perfect – being faithful to our husbands

6. “keepers at home” – Guardians of the house¬†–¬†here again this has to do with keeping our homes our top priority and fulfilling our household duties, even if we work outside the home, our families¬†need to¬†come first. If we are training our children in the Lord, they will chip in and help. Godly families work together as a unit.

7. “good” – kind¬†(Greek word¬†ag-ath-os’) beneficent or thrifty as housewives helping our husbands to be good stewards of what God gives us

8. “obedient to their own husbands” – submission to our husbands. Please see my SIDE NOTE in my Enter Evil posting for the best description of wifely submission.

We are to teach our younger women this lifestyle so that “the word of God be not blasphemed.” We are not to bring shame or reproach to God or His word.

In conclusion, as teachers of good things we not only do what is good and right, we teach our younger women to do the same and pass on Godly precepts to the next generations. And this we do, not just in church, but we let our very lives show them how to become Godly women. They want to hear us and see us portraying these wise, Godly principles, not just mouthing them.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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