Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Realist And The Optimist

2 Cor 1:8
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. (NKJ)

Some may be surprised to know this verse is even in the bible. Even more surprising is that these words were spoken by the Apostle Paul himself. But I'm very thankful that they are included in the canon of scripture. They have the power to resonate with each and every one of us at various times and seasons of our lives. I'm sure I've been guilty of throwing out some cliche' such as "He'll never put more on you than you can bear". Theologically this may be true, but Paul gives us a "real world" scenario. There are three phrases here I want to look at in more detail.

Paul tells the Corinthians that he and his companions were "burdened beyond measure". He literally felt as though the burden was so heavy, it was beyond what words can express. The next phrase is "above strength". Literally, it was more than they felt that they could physically (and probably emotionally) handle. Next, Paul says that they "despaired even of life". There really is no way to sugar-coat the situation. Paul says that realistically it looked like they were not going to make it! Here is where many of us struggle with emotional honesty and transparency.

Paul was anything but a pessimist. Some of his most encouraging words were spoken to others during times of his own imprisonment. And in the midst of that, Paul never refers to himself as the prisoner of Caesar (or any other human leader)- but always the "prisoner of Jesus Christ". Paul was a man of tremendous faith and belief in the sovereignty of God. And yet he is honest enough to assess the situation without some facade of faith which denies reality. Paul admitted that things were so bad, they seemed hopeless in the natural. Luke made a similar declaration in the book of Acts while he and Paul were aboard a ship during a terrible storm (see Acts 27:20).

God delivered Paul (on both occasions) from what seemed like impossible perils. This gave Paul the ability to remain optimistic despite the "realities" of his situation(s). Notice his words in subsequent verses:

2 Cor 1:9-10
9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, (NKJ)

And now we gain some insight into why God (at times) allows us to go through such trials of faith. Through these instances, we learn who is really in charge. Most of us are hardwired to be self-sufficient. This thinking overlaps into our spiritual lives as well. We become tempted to be self-reliant and to think we have "arrived". These situations are often painful and uncomfortable (Heb 12:11), but they remind us to look to the One who is able to raise the dead!

Notice the tenses in verse 10 (pasted above). God delivered (past tense) Paul from his trouble. God is even now (present tense) at work delivering Paul (and us)- even if we don't see the outward evidences. And finally, there is hope (and faith) that God will yet (future tense) deliver you and me. You may feel that you are in a place right now where things look bleak. Maybe you feel (just like Paul) that you're not going to make it through. But try to remember the miraculous interventions of the past. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has already delivered you from the worst possible fate (eternal death!). God is at work in your life now. He is working behind the scenes, causing things to work together for good if you are called by God and love Jesus Christ! (Rom 8:28). And you can trust that the same One who saved you and is presently at work in your life, will be faithful to complete the work He has started in you! (Phil 1:6).

So in summation- don't be a religious phony who wears a pretentious mask of faith. If things are bad, you're not going to make it worse by being honest about it. But by the same token, don't let your realism become an opportunity for pessimism and despair. Yes, things are bad, but believe that better days are ahead. If you are a believer in the Lord, this is absolutely the truth- the best is yet to come!!!!

Until next time....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Conclusion of the Matter

Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Today, we conclude our series of blogs on the book of Ecclesiastes. In verses 1-6, Solomon gives a really insightful metaphor for the aging process and then gives the final outcome: dust (our bodies) returns to the earth, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecc 12:7). Since we are all headed for the same physical outcome then we should take heed to the final words of the Preacher. The only thing that really matters is living a life marked by the fear of God and a mindset to let our works align with His commands.

To really appreciate Solomon's words, we need to take just a moment to reflect on Solomon's life and what it should have been. In these last words, we basically here Solomon telling us "don't do things like I did them!". So where did Solomon go wrong? It wasn't any one thing that he did, but rather a series of bad (sinful) decisions. In Deuteronomy 17, God outlines the requirements of the Israelite king. He (the king) is forbidden from multiplying horses and chariots, amassing huge amounts of gold, and multiplying wives unto himself. And yet I Kings 10 & 11 record that Solomon did exactly what was forbidden. Solomon had many horses and chariots (I Kings 10:26, 28-29), acquired tons of gold (I Kings 10:14-25), and had many wives and concubines (I Kings 11:1-8). He eventually worshiped other gods

Chapter 2 of Ecclesiastes really illustrates Solomon's pursuit of happiness "under the sun". He tried laughter, women, wine, song, accomplishments, achievements, and basically any thing his eyes wanted, he took (Ecclesiastes 2:10)! But none of these things made him happy. Ironically, the wisest man in the world who had everything he could ever want (and then some) came to this conclusion...."I hated life"!!!!!! (Ecc 2:17a emphasis mine). Why did Solomon hate his life? Because he took all of the commands that God had given him....and did exactly the opposite!!! Many of us go through life with such frustration. We feel that "if only... (fill in the blank)" would happen, then we could be happy. But here is a man who got everything he ever wanted and realized that it wasn't enough! And I wonder how many of us get what we wanted and then realize that it really wasn't what we wanted after all? That's one of the great lies of Satan. He has been telling this lie ever since the Garden of Eden. The lie is this- you would be much happier if you just had the thing that God withheld from you. Adam and Eve got what they "wanted". And they quickly realized that it wasn't what they really wanted at all. God gave them the command to save their lives, not to withhold pleasure from them.

Solomon realized at the end, that the only things that matter have to do with living life with God as the focus, not on the periphery. His admonition to "fear God" is one that we should not take lightly. I think we (preachers) have really tried to soften these words by saying "you shouldn't be afraid of God". Well, obviously there is a sense in which we are to come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4), but there is another dynamic and facet to God's character; holiness. When Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples were more afraid of Him then, than when the seas and winds were raging. When John (the disciple that Jesus loved...the one who leaned on his breast at the Last Supper) saw Jesus on the isle of Patmos- he fell at His feet as a dead man (Rev 1:17a). Any time men had encounters with God in the bible, they were notably and visibly shaken. The point is, that we need to live our lives with a reverential fear of the LORD which is the beginning of wisdom.

Finally, Solomon concludes with a reminder about judgment. There are two notable judgments in scripture: one for the believer in Christ, and one for the unbeliever. The believer will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-12 & II Corinthians 5:9-10) to receive reward or loss for the things done in the body (good or bad). Those who have rejected Christ and His words will appear at the White Throne judgment, described in Revelation 20:11-15. This will not be a place to make plea bargains or make final appeals to be granted entrance into heaven. This will merely be a sentencing event. Those whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. These are somber words, but they are intended to be. Ecclesiastes ends without folly or vanity. We are encouraged to enjoy the life that God has given to us. We are admonished to make the most of our youth (while remembering our Creator), to enjoy companionship with the people we love, and we've received quite a bit of good practical advice; everything ranging from financial matters to interpersonal communications. But in the end, we are reminded that life is short, death is certain, and we will all stand before God one day. And in the end, that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't Wait Until Everything's Perfect

Ecc 11:4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. (ESV)

We are quickly reaching the climax of The Preacher's sermon to us. These last few chapters are deeply emotional and charged with reflective moments. There are few things as gripping as the final words of wisdom from godly men. I feel much the same way when I read some of Paul's final words to Timothy. Especially when he urges him to "come before winter" (II Tim 4:21). I'm not exactly sure how old Solomon is at this point, but one certainly infers that these words are informed by years of experience. Unfortunately, much of it being bad experience. But before we talk about Solomon's failures (we'll likely do some of that next time), let's take some of his parting advice.

He tells us to cast our bread upon the waters, for we will find it after many days. Much could be said about this, but a general principle is that liberality and generosity are never a waste of time. When we reach the end of our journey, it is doubtful any of us will regret any acts of generosity. Furthermore, very few men on their deathbeds wish that they had spent more time at the office, or that they had made a few more dollars. There is a spiritual principle in the bible often referred to as the "law of sowing and reaping". This is certainly in view here, as we see that the bread we cast upon the waters will come back to us.

In verse 4 Solomon instructs us not to wait for all conditions to be favorable before taking actions. Solomon was certainly not known as a procrastinator,and was responsible for the creation of many projects and proverbs. There are very few things in life that come with 100 percent guarantees of success. There is risk involved in almost anything and everything. Some young people are waiting to get married "until they can afford it". Still, others are waiting until they are "more financially secure" before having children. I'm certainly not advocating a high-risk scenario where we live beyond our means in the name of faith. But how many of us that are married with children were actually truly prepared for the challenges? Honestly, some lessons are learned in the school of hard knocks. Some people are waiting to do ministry until everything falls into place. I once heard a wise minister say "never forget that the Promised Land was not a vacation for the children of Israel". While they wandered in the wilderness, one of the greatest challenges for the children of Israel was overcoming their own issues. However, when they came into the land of promise, there were all kinds of opposing nations that had to be subdued. And so it is with life- God doesn't remove all of the obstacles in our way before issuing directives to us.

In verse 5, we are reminded that God is in control. All of our forecasting and predictions come with limitations. Truly, only God knows the future. We are still seeing through a glass dimly. I like to summarize verse 6 by the old adage "don't put all your eggs in one basket". Solomon advises diligence in many matters, because we never know what will prosper, what won't, or if two different options will both prosper. Many view diversification as a lack of faith. But we are constantly reminded in scripture that God's will supercedes even the best of plans and intentions. It's a good idea to be skilled in as many areas as possible and to broaden every possible horizon. Not only does this make sense in the natural, but it also opens other doors for God to use your life in different ways. Many ministers end up in financial ruin because their areas of study are so specialized and they never learn any useful (to the secular world) skills or trades. When their ministry comes to an end (either by retirement or by some unforeseen unfortunate event!) they are often left unprepared.

Verse 8 is somber, yet real and truthful advice. "The days of darkness" will be many. We can make every attempt to avoid risk and harm, but life has a way of dealing us crushing blows in spite of that. Actually, God makes every attempt to remind us that we are just "passing through". Peter reminds us that we are "strangers and pilgrims" here on earth, and Paul says that our citizenship is in heaven. The brightest days are ahead of us. But here on earth, the days of darkness will be many. Solomon is not really trying to be pessimistic here though, for in verse 7 he says "light is sweet". We need to celebrate the good times and remember them fondly, because they can be few and far between.

I seem to be making a habit of summarizing some of these verses, and if you will allow me, I'm going to do it one more time. The end of chapter 11 reads to me as if Solomon is saying "enjoy your life, just remember to remember God!". When we're young, we feel invincible. Old age and death seem so far removed from us. Many of us put off things that need to be done now (not just unpleasant tasks, but even fruitful endeavors) because we feel like there is plenty of time to do it later. Solomon's advice is- don't wait- enjoy your life now. But make sure you enjoy it in a way that glorifies God. Because one day, we are all going to give an account.

We'll talk more about that next time....

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Fly In The Ointment

Ecc 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.(KJV)

We are nearing the end of our series of blog entries on Ecclesiastes. Chapter 10 contains some great pithy sayings as well as good old-fashioned common sense. As I mentioned earlier, one of the great appeals of wisdom literature is the universal application of these principles. We can read the words of Solomon and they resonate with us, because we are just like him. Well, maybe not in the sense that we're the wisest people of our day, or that we're royalty. But we're like Solomon in the sense that we are all human beings with common interests and conflicts. Paul says that there is no temptation that we face except that which is "common to man". Solomon says basically the same thing with the phrase "there is no new thing under the sun." So let's begin a brief look at chapter 10.

The Preacher begins with a parable about the fly in the ointment. It only takes one dead fly to ruin costly and precious perfume. Similarly, it only takes one blemish or moral failure to undo a lifetime of work. Sadly, many wonderful Christian men and women will be remembered only for their mistakes. There is a saying that goes something like this: "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". In the end, our gifts, talents, and abilities won't be what we will be remembered most for. Instead, we will be known for our character. No doubt Solomon did some wonderful things. He built a temple for God, wrote many proverbs, possessed great wisdom. Unfortunately some of the things we remember most about him deal with his multiple wives, worship of other gods, and over-the-top lavish lifestyle.

In verses 2 & 3 Solomon extols the value of wisdom. Those who are wise value wisdom at the "right hand"- a place of dignity, honor, power, and authority. Consequently, foolish people don't put a premium on wisdom, and publish their folly for the whole world to see. It is difficult to hide foolishness. One might be able to hide it for a while if they remain silent, but eventually the truth becomes evident. In verse 4, we are given some great advice on how to deal with angry superiors. We are told to "yield" and "leave not thy place". There is a verse in Proverbs that tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath. A similar thought is conveyed here, but with even more specifics. Whereas the exhortation to give a soft answer applies to everyone, here Solomon gives advice on how to deal with those who are over you. There are times when our superiors become displeased with us (sometimes deservedly so, perhaps other times not so). The temptation is to "leave our place". Many quit and throw in the proverbial towel at the first sign of discomfort or displeasure. Most relationships in life survive not because of an absence of conflict, but because of the ability to find compromise.

In verses 5 through 7 Solomon observes how the world is sometimes "upside down" from the way it should be. Often folly or foolishness is set in high places of authority and renown, while wisdom is not regarded and treated with contempt. Verses 8 & 9 are admonitions to respect the feelings and property of others. We can be sure that if we seek to harm our neighbor without provocation, we will reap the same calamity that we have sown, if not worse!

Verse 10 is a call to "sharpen the axe". We sometimes confuse frantic activity with productivity. There is an old parable about two men who were in the woods cutting down trees- a young man, and an older gentleman. The younger man was much stronger, faster, and vibrant. Yet at the end of the day, the older man had cut down many more trees than the young man. Puzzled by the day's results, the young man asked the old man what was his secret. The old man smiled and replied:

"You were working very hard today. In fact, I watched you and you never once took a break. But here we are at the end of the day, and I've cut down many more trees than you did. You want to know my secret? While you were frantically working, I would sit down and sharpen my axe. I took several breaks throughout the day and sharpened the axe while I sat.. It took much less effort for me to fell the trees because my blade was razor sharp. You worked very hard, but cut down little because you were swinging a dull axe!"

Verses 11 through 14 deal with the tongue. The babbler is compared to a serpent. The bible has much to say about the topic of the tongue so I won't go into great detail here. Foolish men are easy to spot because they are the ones who are always talking. In particular, Solomon seems to be admonishing those who love to make great predictions about everything (know anyone like that?). We might call such a person a "know-it-all". But the Preacher reminds us that only God truly knows the future.

In verses 16 & 17 we get a lesson about priorities and maturity. He says "woe to thee O land when thy king is a child". Now at first glance, we might interrupt with "but wasn't Solomon a child when he began to reign?". The Jewish historian Josephus records that Solomon was 12 years old when he began to rule. So obviously Solomon isn't speaking chronologically. Instead, he's speaking of maturity. We probably all know someone who is biologically an adult, but a child in terms of maturity. This is confirmed because (as Solomon states in this passage) the immature princes "eat in the morning". In contrast with this- the mature ruler does his business in the morning and eats in the evening- and even then- not for drunkenness (10:17b).

Verse 18 is a command against sloth and laziness. Solomon uses the analogy of a decaying building or a house that drops through. What caused this display of depreciation? Simply doing nothing! Many of us think that it takes some really willful act of disobedience to bring about spiritual ruin. But the truth is, spiritual destruction can take place if we simply do nothing. This is exactly the moral of the parable of the talents. The wicked man with one talent is not condemned for being a fornicator, a drunkard, and idolater, or anything like that. What was his sin? He simply did nothing!!!

The chapter ends with a warning not to curse the king- even in your thoughts. The powers that be are ordained of God. When we resist and curse them, we are actually holding God's ways in contempt. Again, this does not mean that every policy or ideology held by a government is sanctioned by Divine authority. But government and order are both products of the will of God.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Race Is Not To The Swift

I apologize for my delay in updating the blog. If you've been following along, you know that we are scheduled to talk about Ecclesiastes chapter 8 today. Because I'm already a week behind, I'm going to do a quick wrap-up on chapters 8 & 9 in hopes that I can finish on schedule. Chapter 8 has a few major themes. First, there is a discussion about how to interact with those to whom you answer. Paul reminds us in Romans that the "powers that be" are ordained of God. That doesn't mean that God approves of or sanctions the actions of governmental rulers, but it does mean that He is an advocate of order and justice. Solomon reminds us that there are some who rule over others to their own hurt (Ecc 8:9). The bottom line is this- we all answer to someone. We should respect those in authority over us and we should also be kind to those we are supposed to be leading. We all ultimately answer to the Highest authority. Paul says that one day "every knee will bow" and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

The remainder of chapter 8 describes conditions of inequality and unfairness that exist in this present age. We have all lamented the fact that bad things happen to good people. And good things happen to bad people. But Solomon's advice is not to dwell on these things. Many are not in relationship with God because they are angry over the injustice and inequality that exists in this world. The bible makes no denial against this claim. As a matter of fact, the scriptures are filled with examples of "bad things" happening to "good people" (the relative goodness of any of us is possibly suspect since Paul says "there is none not one" in the book of Romans). Solomon's advice is to enjoy the life that God has given you (Ecc 8:15). Of course, Solomon desired to understand the mysteries of life and so he applied himself to "know wisdom" (verse 16). But in the end, he was content with the answer that there are some things that only God understands. And we would do well to take his advice regarding matters that we absolutely cannot make sense of.

Chapter 9 begins with a strong statement of the sovereignty of God. The Preacher says that our lives are in "the hand of God". This is both a comfort, and at the same time, a source of struggle for us. Struggle, I say, because there are times that we wish God would immediately intervene and remove our suffering or eradicate injustice. But as Solomon will explain, there are things that happen in life because people are at the right place at the right time. First, he laments that one event happens to everyone- good, bad, religious, agnostic, devoted or lazy. And that event is death. If there is one recurring theme in Ecclesiastes, it is the brevity of human life. James compares it to a vapor. Solomon frequently refers to it as a shadow. The wicked of this world are attempting to experience all of their joy in this present world. This attitude stems from a belief that this life is all there is.

Now if I can paraphrase verses 7-10 in chapter 9 it would be "take time to stop and smell the roses". There is an unfortunate and erroneous perception that many have regarding the nature of God. Some view Him as merely some far-removed deity who seeks to make men miserable. We get some clue about the nature of God from Jesus however. His decree on earth was that He had come to give life, and give it more abundantly (John 10:10b). Obviously Solomon understood this before the New Testament had even been penned. And so his instructions are to be happy, enjoy your food, enjoy your family, wear your nice clothes and good-smelling fragrances. And above all, be thankful because this is the portion that God has assigned to you. These simple things that bring us pleasure, are actually God's design for us. He doesn't want us simply to endure life- but to enjoy it!

He then describes something that we have all observed time and time again. The race is not to the swift. Sometimes the smartest guys don't make the most money. Sometimes the best team doesn't win on a given day. Sometimes people are simply the beneficiaries of being at the right place at the right time. Perhaps many of us have had the unfortunate experience of being passed over for something we felt deserving of. And maybe someone else got the very thing we desired because they had a relationship with the person with power to promote. And to top it all off, trouble seldom comes with adequate warning or notice. Solomon says that man "does not know his time" (vs 12). Just as an unsuspecting fish gets hooked or a bird gets snared in a net, so it is with us. Trials often come when we least expect them.

Next, Solomon inserts a parable about wisdom. He recounts a story of a poor wise man who (through his wisdom) was able to defend his little city with few people against a powerful king with a great army. When all was said and done, no one commended the poor man for his wisdom. Instead, his good deed was soon forgotten, and his wisdom unappreciated. So it is with us today. Godly wisdom is often scorned, while the "counsel of the ungodly" (Psalm 1) is praised. But regardless of how men fail to appreciate and perceive the value of wisdom, God (and Solomon) still champions the virtue and superiority of wisdom over might. On a rather somber note, the chapter ends with this truism: "one sinner destroys much good." It has been said that we should never underestimate the power of an individual. It's true- one man can do tremendous good. Some of the greatest leaders of mankind have had to stand when no one else was willing to stand with them. But the same is true of evil. You have probably heard an expression like "one bad apple..." or perhaps the scriptural phrase "a little leaven leavens the whole lump".

We are coming to the conclusion of our study, but I thank you for taking the time to read and study along with us. I look forward to sharing again with you soon!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Longing for the good old days?

Ecclesiastes 7:10 Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise. (NLT)

Chapter 7 in Ecclesiastes is pretty long. It reads a lot like a chapter in the book of proverbs; filled with practical and eternal wisdom. I'm afraid that I could get really mired in a total summary of the chapter so I'm going to choose some select passages to apply today. The beginning of the chapter sets the tone for the rest of it. A "good name" is more valuable than anything else in life (vs 1). The following verses contrast the man with eternity on his mind and the man with partying on his mind. There is a time for celebration. Solomon had already said in chapter 3 that there is a time and a season for everything- including dancing and celebration. But here, he describes the man whose chief aim is to make life a big party. His waking hours are spent looking forward to the next one. The man with eternity on his mind however is likened to the man "in the house of mourning"(vs.4). Solomon doesn't mean that wise men just love to go to funerals. But the lesson here is that wise men are thinking about their mortality and where they will go in the days when life is over. We all have an appointment with death (Heb 9:27).

Solomon then gives some good advice about friendship and attitudes. Don't hang around with people who simply flatter you all the time. It's good to have some friends with wisdom who will tell you the truth even when it hurts. And don't be consumed with anger, because anger "lodges in the bosom of fools" (vs 9). The book of Proverbs also warns us not to choose people with angry dispositions as friends (Prov 22:24). Yes, we are all guilty of losing our tempers on occasion, but the point here is that some people are constantly angry (thus the phrase "lodges" in the bosom of fools- anger doesn't simply visit this man- it LIVES with him).

Then the Preacher instructs us not to long for the "good old days". I've already mentioned the "Egyptian Fever" that plagued the Israelites that God delivered from Pharaoh, so I won't revisit that story here. But many of us cannot embrace what God is doing in our lives in the present, because we are so preoccupied with the way things used to be. In verse 13, Solomon says "consider the work of God". We can't be obsessed with the past because God is doing something in our lives in the present- even if we can't appreciate it. Someone once told me (and they were probably quoting some other great theologian) "God is always at work redemptively in our lives- especially when we don't feel it". Lives are riddled with frustration because we are trying to "make straight what God has made crooked" (vs 13b). Sometimes (not always of course) the source of our frustration can be traced back to the fact that we do not consider or appreciate what God is doing. This is a lesson much easier for us to discuss than do though isn't it? Agreed.

Eccl 7:14
14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future. (NIV)

I think we ought to celebrate our victories. I love to acknowledge when good things happen. And I love to hear when someone else receives a breakthrough. One of the reasons I believe we should celebrate these times is because they don't last forever (despite what some false teachers would have you believe). In fact, God has ordained that we also have times that are not so pleasant. If your theology is such that you believe God is only at work in your life when everything is going great, you will become disillusioned when trouble arises. The LORD meant what He said when He promised to never leave us nor forsake us. That includes even the most difficult of times and circumstances.

Now I want to take a moment and appreciate some of the humor in the bible. I do find humor there- whether it's intentional or completely unintentional- look at Solomon's advice:

Eccl 7:21-22
21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you--22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others. (NIV)

Someone once told me- the person who will gossip to you will also gossip about you. But perhaps the focus of Solomon here is not to pay too much attention to what people are saying about you. Regardless of how good you are (whether in theory or in actuality), you are going to have some critics. And rest assured, if you are really striving to accomplish something- someone is either going to envy you or criticize's just part of the human experience. But Solomon gives us what I think is a humorous dose of reality- there have been times when every one of us have been critical of someone else.

Ecc 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. (KJV)

It's unfortunate but the Creator receives much blame for things that He had nothing to do with. The Garden of Eden is a picture of God's design and desire for humanity. The suffering, injustice, and tragedy that is all too common to the human experience actually has its origins with mankind- not God.

Rom 5:12
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- (NIV)

Sin entered the world through man. And death (and all of things that accompany death- sorrow, sickness, tragedy, violence, malevolence, etc.) came on the heels of sin. Paul reminds us not to be too hard on Adam because "all sinned"- yes that means you and me!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Mat 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (KJV)

I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a wonderful and glorious Easter Sunday! I'm about to preach a sermon entitled "Resurrection" at my home church (Liberty Worship Center). I'll attempt to get the audio of the service online sometime soon.

Jesus is Alive!!!