Day 31: The Conclusion of the Matter, Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

Click here for today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

Reflection: In all his wisdom, Solomon concludes the book of Ecclesiastes in poignant terms:

“…Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” –Ecclesiastes 12:13

Despite the sometimes vanity-ridden aspect of life, despite the fruitlessness we sometimes feel, our point, our purpose is the keep God’s commandments.  In that, we will find our all.

Application: What is God asking you to do?

Prayer: Jesus, may we recognize the fruitfulness of following You.  Show us Your hand.  Keep us as we seek Your will.  May our hearts be humble that we may see You–just You.  Amen.  And Amen.

 

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Image by Stephen Stacey

Day 30: In Diligent Pursuit of Godliness, Ecclesiastes 11:1-10

Click here for today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 11:1-10

Reflection: Solomon,the wise, encourages us to keep planting.  He encourages diligence and a recognition that we do not know which seeds will take root.  Rather than, therefore, calling the act of planting worthless, he encourages us to keep going, keep planting.

Application: What, therefore, shall we do?  Rather than contemplate the wind, which cannot be seen, or the sky whose vastness goes beyond our imaginations, we must keep doing the things God has set before us.  Keep planting, keep working, keep going.  For He will water the seeds, and He knows which seeds will take root.

Prayer: Jesus, remind us of Your faithfulness, Your provision, Your hand at work though we may not see it.  Remind us that the Holy Spirit moves in ways we cannot understand.  Encourage our hearts and minds that we may continue the work You have set before us.  Help us keep pressing onward.  In Your precious name, Amen.

 

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Image by Frazier Mohawk

Day 29: Feasting, Ecclesiastes 10:16-20

Click here for today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 10:16-20

Reflection: Verse 17 strikes me.  Feasting–for strength, not drunkenness.  In a world of hazy absolutes, where people passionately ascribe to sometimes illogical stances, feasting has been attributed to gluttony, excess, and pride.  Yet Solomon distinguishes two very different motivations for feasting.  Feasting for drunkenness, whether literal or spiritual, is an escape.  An attempt to escape the day-to-day, escape the pressures of life, and escape responsibility.  Feasting for strength, however, is feeding the needs of the body.  Nutrition, calories, and food-borne minerals strengthen the physical body.  Connection, fellowship, and more intimate conversations experienced in feasting strengthen the bonds of brotherhood.  Gratitude, humility, and understanding the vast provisions of God strengthen the faith of the one experiencing the feast.  With strength of body, brotherhood, and faith, a man can do anything.

Application: In what areas are you hiding from reality, feasting on that which will distract you from what is before you?  Review your life and see where the Lord has provided.  See the friendships, the provisions, the purpose He has given.  Feast on what the Lord has done.  Feast for strength.

Prayer: God, give us courage to face the world before us.  Give us humility to recognize Your provisions.  Open our eyes to the brotherhood around us, given by You to strengthen our resolve.  And show us how to enjoy the bounty only You can provide.  In Jesus/ name, Amen.  And amen.

 

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Day 28: Ugly Realities, Ecclesiastes 10:11-15

Click here for today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 10:11-15

Reflection: If this passage teaches anything, it is that a fool’s life is unattractive.  Who would want to be swallowed by babbling words?  To be described as multiplied in raving madness?  And really, who wants to be more tired than necessary because they chose foolish ways?

Application: Reflect on these words from Solomon.  Ask God to show you where you allow foolishness to rule the day.  And change your ways.  For who wants what the fool has?

Prayer: God, we seek Your will.  We seek Your wisdom.  And we seek to represent You as cleanly and faithfully as possible.  Take our hand and lead us in Your path.  For only in Your path will we find fulfillment of the soul.  Amen.

 

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Image by Martin Walls

Day 27: Even Just A Little, Ecclesiastes 10:1-10

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Click here for today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 10:1-10

Reflection: Even just a little rot will spoil the entire thing. As a dead fly putrefies perfume, a little folly wrecks a whole person. I find myself thinking, at times, that I can do things on my own, that my own thoughts are right and God will agree. And every one of those times, God reminds me of my folly. When my sinful self stomps my foot in a human tantrum, God extends patience, reminds me of Who He is, despite everything around me speaking to the contrary.

Application: In what areas are you allowing “just a little” sin? Repent–consider this your gentle reminder. For if you do not, the reminder will come like a freight train.

Prayer: God, may we lay down our own ways at the foot of the Cross. Help us recognize all You have done, all You are doing, and follow You wherever seemingly-confusing place you may lead. ONly by the cleansing power of Jesus’ sacrifice, Amen. and amen.

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Image by Colin Brough