April 18, 2013

Eat with Gladness, Drink with Joy

 Recently we opened our bibles to Ecclesiastes in our Sunday morning class. I am going to be honest and say I don't know much about this book, I have never read but a small handful of verses from it, and I was never really drawn to read it in the past. We were encouraged by our pastor to take the time to read it from start to finish, so Eduardo and I decided to read a chapter a night. I have to start off by saying you should really go read this book because I am enjoying it so, so much. The author (Solomon) writes with such wisdom and realism that his message is made clear.

Instead of trying to write down what we have read so far (we are only on chapter 5) I am going to share the notes we took on Sunday, spoken by our pastor and a few other people in the class. It's a great summarization of Ecclesiastes and I hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

This is one person's testimony: there are ups and downs just like there are in our own lives. It's a dangerous book to read in small parts, you should read the whole book. Otherwise, if you're discouraged you may only find yourself even more discouraged by reading specific verses, "...I looked on all the works my hands had done... on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun." (2:11). Likewise, if you are full of hope you can either be uplifted from a verse, or brought down to sadness, "[God] has made everything beautiful in its time..." (3:11) or, "All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless." (2:23)

God gives us good things. If we have good, it is from God. God gives us the ability to enjoy it. We can have everything and not be happy- for happiness comes from God alone. 

"then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it." 8:17   ----> God's mystery. His sovereignty (power). I cannot figure life out, I cannot figure this or that situation out. How long, Lord? How long will this go on for? I do not know. I need to trust Him.

Ecclesiastes is realism. It isn't a pessimistic (although it seems to be at times) or an optimistic book. "It is meaningless, enjoy life - God is in control!" As believers, we can be sure that God approves of what we do. God loves us, we can be joyful- "eat with gladness, drink with a joyful heart.'

Christianity isn't good advice, "I can't figure this out, what do I do?" someone may ask a follower of Christ. Response, "I can't figure it out, either, but I know Who is in control (God) and I trust Him." We need to be confident that God approves of us and He is in control. Take risks: for God is in control. No need to be worrisome or fearful.

Sometimes life goes well for you, sometimes life goes terribly wrong (whether you know Christ as your Savior or not). "You said You loved me, why did You bring me here? You're sovereign, fix it!" My thoughts quickly find themselves on a friend and their on-going struggles... take God's wisdom as a gift. "The wise man's face is brightened." (8:1) meaning there are still battles and pain, but you can take them in a positive manner. 

Be courageous, be calm, serene, trust in God's power and the ability for us, as followers of Christ Jesus, to have peace no matter what

I can't figure life out.
I can't figure God out.
but... "eat joyfully, drink happily..."
because Christ died and rose again
and I am saved.

I am so thankful to the Lord, our God for this message. I pray that it would reach and touch each person that reads it, specifically the friend on my heart at this time. May their life completely turn around for the good. How I ache, my hope had dwindled with them, but I am reminded to trust my loving God and His plans for their life. I ask Him to take away their struggles, their battles, their past that hinders their present. Above all, may God's will be done in their life.

Now go read Ecclesiastes and be blessed!

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