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  1. Twisting the Untwistable (Ecclesiastes 2)

    May 28, 2013 by Pito

     

      To the inscrutable repetitions of life, Solomon adds that man is not only finite, he is also sinful. What God has made crooked because of sin, man cannot straighten out. Man cannot untwist what God has twisted.

      Contrary to the modern gospel of uplift, it is God who has given us a painful business, a world of affliction, thorns and briers in every hand.

       Solomon, in his flight from God, tried every pleasure, every experience and he found them all empty. From laughter to better living through chemistry, from royal feasting to works of cultivation and refinement, it all added up to a big zero.

       Solomon left nothing undone. He tried everything. If it felt good, he did it. What did he find at the end of his rainbow? a pot of vapor. God’s curse has given us a pot of vapor. God also gives to His own the gift of enjoying it all, anyway.

       If control is not an option, what should we strive for?

    “Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands….  Pray for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way…”

       After trying everything Solomon concludes, “There is nothing inherent in man than that he should eat and drink and that his soul should enjoy the good of his labor.”

      Human life in all its mystery is a gift from God. The man of God will experience frustration and pain, and he will respond with deep feelings of revulsion and even hatred; this must be a temporary posture, a passing response. The ultimate posture of the wise believer is to “take and eat,” confessing that God has gifted him with life. So take and eat!


  2. Vapor of Vapor, All is Vapor (Ecclesiastes 1)

    May 25, 2013 by Pito

     

                                    Vapor of Vapor

        The writer of Hebrews tells us to act maturely, to be able to discern between good and evil by having our senses exercised thereunto.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon spoke words of wisdom that we might be better able to discern between good and evil.

      He says that the wise man recognizes that our lives are vapor, that any attempt to comprehend the world and God’s ways in the world leads to frustration, emptiness and vanity. This life must be seen for what it is and then we must trust God and rejoice in His gifts, even in and especially in the face of hard times, chaos and every evil thing.

       When Solomon says “vanity of vanity, all is vanity,” he is not referring to  pridefully looking in the mirror nor is he saying that life is meaningless. James gives us the meaning when he says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, it appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

        Paths of glory lead but to the grave. Like the waves on the shore, generation after generation comes and goes and like sandcastles, the place thereof knows us no more. Everything is beyond our control and we successfully manipulate nothing that matters.

       So what is the answer to all this vapor? Solomon tells us. “Go, eat your bread with joy. So I commend enjoyment. It is good and fitting.” In other words, God gives us the ability to watch this earthly futility with a grateful chuckle and to rejoice anyway. 

       Our lives are vapor, but He is in control of it all. Paul tell us that we are to “be stedfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord because your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” It is not a vapor. The world needs men and women who truly reflect His image in a visible community of love. We have a work to do while it is day. Salvation is living in such a way to show what God is like, being instruments to spread His life and love and joy before the world. If they can’t see our good works, they can’t glorify the Father. We are the saved community that they need to see so that they too can have fellowship with the Father and the Son and with us.

      The wise thing to do then is to have fun and glorify our heavenly Father so that the world may also glorify Him.

     

     


  3. Come Up! Acts 1:9-11

    May 9, 2013 by Pito

     

           When Jesus arrived in heaven, into the throne room of the Almighty, He was crowned with universal dominion and glory and majesty and might, world without end – forever.  Daniel 7:13-14.

         The New Testament teaches this as well (Revelation 4-5), and teaches further that we believers have a new birthright portion of this dominion and glory. We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 1:3.

       This is why our prayers are heard. This is why our souls have a heavenly security, beyond the reach of anything that stings or harms. All of Christ for all of life.

       Why are all these things ours? Because Jesus ascended and is enthroned in heaven. He ascended because He was raised from the dead and He was raised from the dead because He was crucified and He was crucified to make all things yours.

       The ascension of Jesus as a man speaks of the ascension of a new humanity in Him. A man, one of us, is in heaven, the highest heaven and we are in Him. The risen Lord is here and bids us to come up. Our coming up into heavenly places each week is a foretaste of our coming up at the end of our lives. We rejoice that we get to “come up” before we “come up.” We experience the presence of God here and now, before we are called into His immediate presence at the end of our pilgrimage down here.

          Going up is a good thing, but what about going down? It all depends on what you are talking about. When Jonah went down, it was not good. He went down to Joppa.  He was running away from God’s command. He went down to a ship. He went down into a ship. He went down into the sea, He went down into the belly of the sea monster. He said he went down into Sheol. So when you are running from God, down is not a good way to go.

        On the other hand, Jesus came down from heaven to earth to minister to us and to give His life a ransom for many. If He had not come down, we would not ever be able to go up. He first came up from the grave and so will we. He ascended into heaven and so will we. He calls us this morning to spiritually ascend to heavenly places and that is why we are here.

       Our time on earth, except for corporate worship, is basically a time of down, of humiliation, of service to our Lord, of service to others. This also includes suffering for righteousness sake and suffering for our own foolishness.

        We must obey and serve during the time of our earthly pilgrimage, building His kingdom by re-creating all of life in the power of the Spirit. We are called to participate in the greatest adventure ever; crushing the head of the serpent, inheriting eternal life, and most importantly, knowing Jesus and His love.

     


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