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October 26, 2022

Living with integrity

Today’s verse gives us an important reminder on how we must guard our hearts and live with integrity, and in fear of the Lord:

Ecc 7:7  Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

As seen with Pharoah in Exodus, he was a great oppressor and because of this he ended up on the wrong end of God’s wrath with all the different plagues that were visited on Egypt.  The same can be said with modern day rulers, Richard Nixon entered his presidency with the best of intentions, but his cheating and conniving ways sent him out of the White House and he had to resign in disgrace.

Leaders should avoid oppressing the people they govern and should not take bribes either, as the text tells us, the bribe corrupts the heart.  That first bribe or taking money out of the cash register that first time, ends up snowballing into normal behavior, next thing you know, what was a five dollar note to buy a meal that you convinced yourself was just a short term loan, has now become an embezzlement of $20,000 and you are now facing felony theft charges!

The long and the short of today’s scripture is we should not oppress those under us and we shouldn’t bribe or cheat, because in the end, it always catches up to us….God sees everything and He also knows our motives.



October 17, 2022

Ecclesiastes Chapter 6 Verses 11 & 12

As the saying goes, talk is cheap….it was probably never more true than it is today.  In our Ecclesiastes, Solomon again points out the minuscule importance of man in comparison to God.  Something we should take note of, because in our own arrogance, we tend to put ourselves on the same playing field as God.  So that is important to consider as we delve into today’s scripture:

Ecc 6:11  For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man?

Indeed, man can run his mouth day and night speculating through unproven theories why things are the way they are, but the truth is, man is very short sighted, and also short lived as the following verse shows us:

Ecc 6:12  For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun

In the scope of time, which we have a very limited knowledge of, our lives pass like a shadow, in that they have a very small impact on the world.  As harsh as that May sounds to some of us, especially now a days, when we are conditioned to think the earth revolved around us, we will more than likely be forgotten.  Let’s be honest, how many of us can name all of our ancestors?  Not many, right?  And apart from maybe their names, how much of their lives do we really know about?  Not much, yet they came and lived here for a little while, just like we will, only to be replaced by a new generation.

Again, this may sound harsh, as if our lives are meaningless, but it is also a critical reminder not to take ourselves too seriously, which is a mistake many of us can make.  The Bible always points to God, after all it is His Word, these verses underscore how our lives a finite, or can be quantified, but God, the great “I Am” who created the universe and who transcends anything that can be quantified, God is infinite and eternal.  In other words, He is greater than we.  An important reminder to help keep us humble.


October 4, 2022

Ecclesiastes 5 Study – Battling Materialism

Solomon continues his criticisms of the materialist, or the person who values wealth and money above all else.  

Solomon writes that the one who hoards their riches and spends a lifetime worrying about them ends up unhappy…here is what Solomon specifically says about such a person: 

Ecc 5:17  Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.

Vexation, sickness and anger are about as far from happiness as one can get.  It paints a picture of Ebenezer Scrooge.  Who would want any part of that?  Yet many business moguls are often unhappy.  Coming into lots of wealth almost becomes the kiss of death.  Bill Gates the world’s richest man, just divorced the mother of his children after being married for almost 30 years.  Howard Hughes who was once the titan of the airline industry spent the last 20 years of his life locked in a hotel room…the man who constantly frets over their earthly assets is denied happiness, or as the Word tells us, lives a life of darkness, sickness and anger.  

So the long and the short of today’s devotional is not to get too wrapped up in the material things of the world, because they aren’t going to make us happy.  

October 3, 2022

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 – We Can’t Take Money With Us When We Die

Solomon reminds us of a very important truth regarding wealth & poses the question; what good is money when you can’t take it with you when you die:

Ecc 5:15  We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.

Ecc 5:16  And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.

In the scope of eternity, we remember what Jesus says, what profit is for a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?

There’s also the time when Jesus said to the rich young man who wanted to get into heaven, “sell all your properties and give it to the poor”, the rich man couldn’t bring himself to do part with his goods.  The rich man’s love of his wealth was greater than his love for Jesus because he was unable to obey Jesus.

We should point out that Jesus isn’t telling us to do this very thing, but we should count the cost of our discipleship.  Do we love our own stuff just as much as the rich man loved his assets?  The materialistic world we live in makes this a very easy trap to fall into.

Christ reminds us, you can’t have both, God and money.  We will love one and hate the other, and as Solomon says, you can’t take money with you when you die, but Christ’s kingdom is forever.


September 29, 2022

Thursday Devotional for September 29th, 2022

An NFL player once said that after getting a massive contract and a signing bonus, that with each passing year, he would have one more mouth to feed, not necessarily his immediate family either, it was often a distant cousin that would need to be care for.

That insight is very relevant to today’s scripture:

Ecc 5:11  When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

Solomon tells us that temporal wealth, like money, is often gone as quickly as it is gained, other than being eye candy, Solomon asks, what good is it?  The owner doesn’t enjoy it for themself, because more often than not, they end up using it to support others.

We should certainly not horde on our riches, and ought to definitely use them to serve others.  But, another point Solomon is making is that, many times our riches become our god.  Apart from the fact that money should not be an idol that we covet, he also suggests that even when you do amass wealth, it’s not really you enjoying it, but those who are around you, and more often than not, it can be very divisive.  Rich folks are always looking over their shoulder and on guard for those they think are might scam them.

As Christ reminds us, better to store up treasures in heaven that are eternal versus treasures on earth that whither and fade and can often cause conflict.

September 28, 2022

Wednesday Devotional For September 28th, 2022

Right now there is a lot of talk about political ideology, some support capitalism which favors businesses while others feel that socialism, which puts more emphasis on the citizens is a better form of government.  Each has it’s own pros and cons of how to run a civlization, but Solomon back in 700 BC, saw through all that, thanks to his divine revelation from God.  

Ecc 5:8  Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.

Regardless of the government style, monarchy, free market, marxist….all governments that are run by man, will be reflective of man’s original sin.  None of these governments or rulers are perfect, they are all just as flawed as the one’s that came before them.  Monarchies lent themselves to corruption back in France that precipitated the French Revolution.  Capitalism has it’s own issues that we still see today, big corporations like the airlines collude with one another to screw over their customers and marxism is a great idea in theory, but the implantation of it has never worked out properly as we have seen with places like Cuba, Russia and Venezuela.  

There is no perfect government, because every ruler is flawed.  On the other hand, the One perfect Kingdom is Christ’s Kingdom which is 100% just, with Christ, we know that matters are not swept under the rug and there is no favoritism when it comes to God.  

September 27, 2022

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 Verses 6 & 7 – Talk Is Cheap!

Today Solomon presses on in his preaching against making false promises before God

Ecc 5:6  Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.

Ecc 5:7  Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.

Truer words were never spoken, talk is indeed cheap.  People can run their mouths all day long and have nothing to show for it.  Even Plato the Pagan philosopher was in agreement on this when he said “As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest blabbers”

While this is applicable in a day to day sense through our interactions with others, going back to what Solomon said, it is a far more dangerous offense to make false and empty promises to God.  

Jesus also had a very important insight on what comes out of our mouths and why it is best to keep them shut when He said in Matthew 15:11 “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”

Our mouths are what get us into trouble, whether it is with others or in this case, with God, so best to sit back and observe rather than mouth off.  

September 26, 2022

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 v4-5 — Don’t Make False Promises To God!

Another sobering reminder from Solomon on being careful what we promise to God.  When we hit bad times in life, our mouths can write checks that our body’s can’t cash.

I don’t know about you, but I can personally attest to this, where I have gotten so tripped up by some kind of calamity, for me it was a health issue, that I started quietly making rash promises to God that I would be unable to keep.

If that is something you can relate to, today’s scripture is something we should take note of:

Ecc 5:4  When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow.

Ecc 5:5  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.

To summarize, God has no patience in dealing with fools, we can’t file for bankruptcy with God, so as Solomon aptly points out, it is best to not make a rash promise to God that we cannot keep.

While this shows us God’s unbending fidelity to His laws, it should also be a big wake up call to us too, like with sin; as Paul tells us, “the wages of sin is death”

Given the original sin that we are borne with, we have piled up some pretty heavy wages of sin, and no good deeds that we do in this life is going to balance out the scales.  Thankfully, we are reminded that the One Person that does take away our sin is God’s Son, Jesus, whom He sent into the world to take away the debts that our sins of ramped up.

Broken promises with crack in concrete with words

September 23, 2022

Ecclesiastes 5:3 – Finding Balance In Our Lives

Harmony, balance and simplicity concept. A stone pyramid on the background of river water. Simple poise pebbles, rock zen sculpture, a tower from river stones

Today’s Word deliver some important reminders for us in our speech, and also just something we can relate to in general. 

Ecc 5:3  Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.

If you have ever gotten caught up in a job or a drama, or just some kind of stimulus that eats up so much of the day, there’s a good chance that whatever that “thing” is, it ends up in our dreams too.  

Personally, I have worked long hours during some kind of emergency, and then when I finally get to sleep, I don’t escape from it when I close my eyes, because the lingering adrenaline pops up in my dreams.  

I don’t think Solomon is telling us not to be active, but to approach life in a measured way, and not over obsess about things that God ultimately has control over.

The second half of today’s verse “too many words make you a fool” is another bullseye, we all know that one person who posts too much on social media, in fact, sometimes we have found ourselves being that chatterbox.   Like the saying goes, “sometimes less is more”

We can’t put our foot in our mouths if you don’t open our mouths.  Instead of constantly reacting to all the noise that is around us with more noise, it is often best to just sit back and quietly observe rather than spouting off, trying to one up someone else with a “hot take” on whatever the news of the day is.


September 22, 2022

Ecclesiastes 5 Study – Do Not Make Brazen Promises Before God

Solomon hits us with an important reminder not to make rash promises before God.  If we have ever been in a bad spot, it is very easy for us to make promises that we’ll never been able to keep.  It’s like in the movie Stand By Me when Vern gets spooked in the woods and begins to babble on with false and desperate promises to God about how he’ll never swear again.  Solomon’s words today remind us not to approach God’s throne foolishly:

Ecc 5:1  As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.

Ecc 5:2  Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.

This is actually a good reminder to us to have a better understanding of God, knowing who He is, what He delights in and what He detests.  That is all laid out for us in the Bible.  the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself for man to understand.  When we know God better, we have a more sound understanding on how to approach Him, which should be often.  Not just living our worldly lives, and then when bad times hit, only then approaching God with empty promises.  the Bible today tells us that mindless offerings to God are evil and furthermore, that God us up there and we are down here.  We don’t approach our superiors here on earth disrespectfully, nor should we approach our ultimate superior, our Creator foolishly….so the long and the short of today’s devotion, know who God is, and the best way to do that is to read the Bible that was authored by God for man to better know who God is.

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