Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Day 158

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Welcome to Day 158 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 4; Ecclesiastes 5; Ecclesiastes 6; Psalm 18; Ephesians 3 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Ecclesiastes 4, “Oppression, toil, friendlessness.” What a heading for a chapter of scripture. “Meaningless” seems to be Solomon’s favorite word. I’m not excited to read the book. It’s depressing! And yet, for the one who is attentive, there are some great verses and principles along the way! Like this one…

v 9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

… and this one…

Ecclesiastes 5:18, “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”

Ecclesiastes 6:9, “Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite.”

Psalm 18:19, “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

v 29, “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”

Ephesians 3:17, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp

how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do

immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,

according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!”

O bservation

The difference in tone of Ecclesiastes in comparison to Ephesians is huge. Ecclesiastes is so… hopeless. Yet Ephesians is so… hopeful!

A pplication

Solomon, the son of King David wrote Ecclesiastes. The Apostle Paul wrote Ephesians. Solomon built the temple in the first seven years of his reign as king. Then spent the next 30+ years on an emotional and spiritual downhill slide. Paul however, spent the rest of his life (after his conversion) traveling as a missionary, encouraging churches.

Paul’s final statement was this, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

As opposed to Solomon’s final statement being, “Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 12:8.

Often times when I read the Bible, and I have been (just like you) reading 4-5 chapters every day this year, I see the cautionary passages. I see men’s failings and I often say, “Note to self. Don’t do that.”

And I ask, “How did Solomon end up there??” He started so well. He really did! Remember when he sacrificed a thousand bulls?? Remember his prayer at the dedication of the temple?

2 Chronicles 6:41, ““Now arise, Lord God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation, may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness. 42 Lord God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant.”

Sounds like an altogether different person from who wrote Ecclesiastes, doesn’t it?

Seems Solomon somehow lost his way.

As opposed to Paul who proclaimed near the end of his life, (it bears repeating!) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Could it really be this simple?

Could it really be as simple as knowing one’s own sense of purpose? Knowing who they are and whose they are? Having vision for one’s life beyond just working and paying and living and dying? THAT is meaningless.

Wealth and power is meaningless without that sense of greater purpose. (Solomon, a king, lived in a palace he built… powerful, wealthy beyond imagination, a thousand wives, three hundred concubines, even built the temple…)

Without a grasp of “how wide and high and long and deep is the love of Christ,” I believe life could be considered meaningless.

It’s good to go to college, get a job and advance, meet someone and marry, raise a family. Serve the poor, give to charities, do good, make a difference.

But apart from Christ?

I really believe this… deep down in the core of my soul… IN Christ, is where we find meaning. Once we grasp his love for us, once we come to believe that he is “able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” we find hope. When one lives to see what Christ can do… wants to do… Once we are living beyond ourselves… Once we find our purpose in Him

Life is no longer “a chasing after the wind.”

We find meaning. Purpose. Satisfaction…

… the few days of life God gives us.

P rayer

Help me to never lose sight of your purpose for my life.

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3 thoughts on “Day 158

  1. Nicole Marvin on said:

    Ecc. 4:6
    ” One handful of peaceful repose
    Is better than two fistfuls of worried work—
    More spitting into the wind.”

    Peace is a beautiful thing.

    Ecc. 5:18-20
    “After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.

    This is the fourth time that Solomon has said this in Ecclesiastes. I noted it three times yesterday in Ecc. 2:24, 3:13 and 3:22. “Enjoy life” It comes from God, it’s a gift from God. Life is a gift, meant to be enjoyed. I tell my boys “you choose to be happy”. No matter what tests we are given, how the evil one tempts us, what others do to us…we can choose to enjoy life, to be happy, to appreciate the gift God has given.

    Psalm 18-Victory!
    God is our protector, defender, strong fortress, light, shield & strength.
    I need to be obedient, faithful, pure & humble.

    What a fabulous Psalm. He reigns! We have victory!
    It reminds me of the song “The Lord Reigns”…

    The king is on his throne…we have no worries. We can see glory all around us.
    We have a reason to enjoy life. We are the children of the king.

  2. Ive tried 3 times to create this post so decided while I was at the library I would try ONE MORE TIME. Im in a battle today. Im standinging on the Eph. 3:20 verse God IS able to do exceedingly, abundantly ABOVE and beyone all that we have ever dared to dream. I also loved the verse that He rescued me because He delighted in me. So even in my hour NOW He went ahead and made the path (my crooked, jacked up path I DID) to make it straight and cleared the way. I had my driving priviledges revoked (90 days) for driving without insurance (Ive never been in trouble) I had just got my car out of the shop (1200.00) repair I went 3 mo. without a car. I was trying to work to make enough money to PAY/re-instate my insurance when I was involved in a fender bender. I was honest with the policeman who DID NOT charge me. The man who I hit (even though it did NO damage to his truck) was so angry that last year he was hit by another un-insured driver and turned me in to the state. Anyways, I need 300.00 to get driving priviledges to just go to work. Yea that would be me in that verse today, sinking in the mire, and God in all His glory pulling me out giving me a place and promises to stand on…Amen…

  3. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

    Lord, today I pray for anyone reading this that they can experience your extravagant love, whether for the first time or going deeper. In Jesus name.

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