Tag: ecclesiastes

Sept 2 Be still…

wood-bench-986347_640

“Be still and know I am God.”   What a great reminder!

When I come to You, Father, I know that sometimes it’s on the run, and I just quickly dash off a prayer of need, or thanks, or praise to You.

But it’s in those times when I really prioritize spending time with You that I can calm myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and truly sink into Your presence, that I am rewarded with a fresh realization and a deeper understanding of who You really are.

Lord, right now, I still my physical body, and ask You to quiet my mind, calm my emotions, open my spirit to hear only Your voice; and be sensitive to only Your presence.

It takes a moment or two, and some deep breaths and reciting this verse to myself.  “Be still and know I am God.”   Father, Creator, Counselor, Healer, Deliverer, Provider, Teacher, Savior, Comforter, Friend.  All these names, these ways You have revealed Yourself to me personally, and more come into my mind as I begin to focus on You, rather than on myself.

As worrisome thoughts enter my head, I give them to You.  One at a time.  You take them and ease them away from me.  You can handle whatever it is, because You are God.  I know this.  Not just “I-read-it-in-a-book” know it.  But “I-fully-understand-and-completely-trust” know it.

You are God and there is no other.  You are God and there is no other.  If I have trusted in any other gods, Lord, I renounce them.  My youth.  My appearance.  My energy and vitality.  My children.  Financial security.  My sense of what I can do for others.  I can’t believe how long the list is of things that I get my sense of identity from.  But I lay each of them down.  Who I am, my identity, comes only from You.  Forgive me for trusting in anything else.

I seek Your direction Lord, for the rhythm and timing of my life.  Solomon wrote it all out Lord.  You have created “a time for everything under heaven.”  “A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…”  It goes on.  And I realize Father, that I need to seek Your will for the rhythm and timing of my life.

Father, help me know when to “keep” and when to “throw away.”  I am already sensing I am moving into a time of not keeping so many things.  Help me know when to “speak” and when to “be silent.”  When to “search” and when to “give up.” When to “embrace and when to refrain from embracing.”

As I read each pairing in these Ecclesiastes verses, I can feel You speaking to me.  You lead me to a place in my spirit where the one or the other makes sense in different areas of my life.  Thank You Lord, for showing me the way.

Thank You Father, for always being there when I show up to just “be still, and know that You are God.”  Amen

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 46:10

Sept 5 Fear God and keep His commandments

hand-1245939_640

Father, there are so many things Solomon saw and experienced and wrote about: wise men and fools, hard work and laziness, feasting and mourning, rich and poor, old age and youth, life and death.

He ends with this: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of this matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”  

My whole purpose is to honor and revere You! To acknowledge who You are, and respect You for it. To do what You show me to do. And not do what You caution or command me not to do.

It is not to amass wealth. It is not to leave a legacy of institutions or businesses. It is not to make scientific discoveries. It is not even to compose a masterpiece, write an inspiring book or create a memorable work of art.

The Psalmist adds his wisdom to the collection as he reminds me “you can’t take it with you.” Riches cannot add time to the length of my days. And none of these things can come with me past my life here on earth.

But You, Father, will be with me for eternity. It is You who will “redeem my life from the grave, and take me to be with Yourself”. You “will bring every deed into judgment…”.

And Solomon says he has written down “sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to Him who sent you.” Meaning that if I abide by his counsel, knowledge, teachings and words, I will be able to give a godly account of my life here on earth.

 So Father, teach me to apply this wisdom. Show me how to make decisions about my life that keep me focused on the right things and set godly priorities.

Do not let me chase after meaningless things: riches to boast in, prideful reputation, positions to exalt myself.   Help me remember that You are my future. And whatever blessings You bring into my life, are to be used to honor You.

Let me have a true understanding of the wisdom that comes from You. Amen

Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14; Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 22:20-21

 

Sept 4 Apply my heart to what You teach

Wisdom

Father, I do desire to have Your wisdom. So I will heed the words Solomon wrote.

“A good name is better than fine perfume.” I want my name to stand for loyalty, honor, noble character and honesty.

So help me act in a way that when people hear my name, they will think well of me. And they will know that You are my God and that I am Your servant.

“Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.” Wisdom is greater than power. So when a wise person corrects me, let me learn from it. Let me reject pride that would keep me in ignorance. Help me embrace patience. Do not let me be quickly provoked, or waste time yearning for ‘the good old days’.

Let me not simply seek the approval of fools. Instead, help me turn and apply wisdom to the present circumstances of my life. Rather than be a fool, I want to recognize and learn from wisdom. Let it shelter me, preserve me, and give me an advantage.

Father, in this wisdom, let me be obedient to the authorities You put over me. Give me a wise heart so I will know the proper way to act at the proper time.

There are many things that only You know and I will never understand or see the reason behind it all. That is as it should be. But regardless, let me always seek the way of Your wisdom.

Help me “pay attention and turn my ear to the sayings of the wise; apply my heart to what You teach…so that my trust will be in the Lord”.   For You are “Great and most worthy of praise…You are my God forever and ever; You will be my guide even to the end.” Amen

Ecclesiastes 7:1-19; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 22:17-19

Sept 2 Frustration to Faith

alone-62253_640

 

“Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

 

banner-949932_640

But: “God is [my] refuge and [my] strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

In one day’s scripture reading Father, I can begin with the thoughts and emotions of Solomon here, that everything is meaningless. And yet, finish with the power of the truth of the Psalmist: that I need not fear no matter what because You are my refuge.

Many days I feel the frustration of wondering whether I have an impact on my world, or the people in it. Have I shared my knowledge in a way that has benefited anyone? Have I improved anyone’s life? Blessed them? Inspired them? Encouraged them?

Solomon acknowledges “there is nothing new under the sun.” The earth turns, winds blow, water runs its course and “All things are wearisome, more than one can say.” There are certainly days Lord, when I feel all I do, or have done has had no impact and left me weary.

Clothes are cleaned and put away, then need to be washed again. The kitchen is cleaned, dishes done, but only until the next meal is prepared. Books are read and then forgotten. Classes taught to rooms of students, then they move on to other classes, piling on knowledge without the opportunity to put it into use till much of it is forgotten.

Children grow and what was taught in the home is often overpowered by the forces and influences of the world. World powers come and go but mistakes, oppressions, injustices remain regardless of our attempts to finance or vote ourselves to a better life.

It can lead me to discouragement. Solomon says “There is no remembrance of men of old…” Sobering.

But “everything that God does will endure forever.”

And God, You made me. I am an eternal being. And when I choose to work with You, and make Your desires mine, I know those things will last. You are my refuge, my strength. So when I am feeling overwhelmed by the world I can call on, rely on Your strength in my weakness.

When I feel I have no place to turn, I can turn to You as my refuge, my place of gaining courage and being re-energized. In temptation, You will make a way of escape. In trouble, You will provide an answer. “The Lord Almighty is with [me]”. And with You are all power and all authority. “Therefore [I] will not fear.”  Amen

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11; Psalm 46:1-2, 7