1893.) Psalm 39

August 3, 2016

Psalm 39 (New American Standard Bible)

To the Chief Musician. 

“The Chief Musician” is thought by some to be the Lord God Himself.

1I said, “I will guard my ways
That I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle
While the wicked are in my presence.”

Ps39 words and meditations

The psalmist began this Psalm by remembering his prayer -– asking God’s help in not speaking foolishly or sinfully when the ungody were listening.

“He knew how his words would be misunderstood and misused by such persons. To them his words would seem to be a criticism of God and his ways.”
–James Montgomery Boice (pastor of Tenth  Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1968 until his death in 2000)

2I was mute and silent,
I refrained even from good,
And my sorrow grew worse.
My heart was hot within me,
While I was musing the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue:

4“LORD, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am.

Ps39 cactus

“The reader learns that, since life is short, the only real meaning of a man or woman’s existence must be in his relationship to God, for God is eternal.”

–James Montgomery Boice 

5“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.
6“Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

Ps39 busy

Sounding very much like the later Book of Ecclesiastes, the psalmist thought about the mass of humanity that lived ignoring the shortness and frailty of life.

· Each of them walks about, but like a shadow, living a life with no substance.

· They are busy, but in vain, being blind to eternal things.

· Each of them works hard and heaps up riches, yet does not think beyond their own short and frail life.

“‘Every man that exists, is vanity.’ All his projects, plans, schemes, &c., soon come to nothing. His body also moulders with the dust, and shortly passes both from the sight and remembrance of men.” –Adam Clarke (1762-1832, British Methodist biblical scholar)

–David Guzik

7“And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.



This psalm shows the writer experiencing very trying times, calling out for healing, protection, and mercy. During some of the hardest times in my life things have seemed just so overwhelming that I cannot breathe; it is hard for me even to get air in and out. At such times, I have found that the simple repetition of the phrases  HERE  from this song help me. “My life . . . my strength . . . my hope . . . is in you, Lord.” And indeed, I have good reason find it so:   Job 12:10 says, “For the life of every human being is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.”

May God bless you with healing, protection, mercy, strength, hope, and easy breathing.


8“Deliver me from all my transgressions;
Make me not the reproach of the foolish.
9“I have become mute, I do not open my mouth,
Because it is You who have done it.
10“Remove Your plague from me;
Because of the opposition of Your hand I am perishing.
11“With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity;
You consume as a moth what is precious to him;
Surely every man is a mere breath. Selah.

Calendar, Pages Flipping bxp34754h

James 4:13-15 (Contemporary English Version)

You should know better than to say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to the city. We will do business there for a year and make a lot of money!” What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears. You should say, “If the Lord lets us live, we will do these things.”

12“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner like all my fathers.

Ps39 world home

“Abraham first described himself as a stranger and a sojourner…All his children, those who inherit a like faith, must say the same. Faith cannot find a home on this side of the stars. It has caught a glimpse of the Infinite, and it can never be content with anything else.”

–F. B. Meyer

“If an Englishman goes to the Continent, and tries to pass himself off as a German or a Frenchman, he is soon detected; and, in a similar fashion, a true Christian reveals the, fact that he is an alien in this world, his ways and manners and customs are not those of the men of the world, who have their portion in this life.” 

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

13“Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again
Before I depart and am no more.”


New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 39 puff of wind.   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3640/3305943940_cdf7829fa4.jpg
Psalm 19:14.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ab/39/f3/ab39f383933a2b0c5678e3cf69caf95e.jpg
cactus and 39:4.    http://wonders.wallpaperdave.com/ps39-04v.jpg
calendar pages.    http://lh3.ggpht.com/_z291oaHU3ps/Sg25Xia7JoI/AAAAAAAAQm4/AQFXIeGNKSE/bxp34754h.jpg
This world is not my home.   http://image.slidesharecdn.com/thisworldisnotmyhome193-130828194305-phpapp02/95/this-world-is-not-my-home-1-638.jpg?cb=1377719025

1892.) Ecclesiastes 12

August 2, 2016

Ecclesiastes 12   (New Living Translation)

Ecclesiastes is a bright book of life.  It is bright precisely in its dazzling darkness.  It is a book of life precisely because it honestly and nakedly confronts the fact of death.  It is a great, great book because it explores, deeply and uncompromisingly, a great, great question:  What are our lives here under the sun for?

That is the greatest question in the world.  The only greater book than this would have to be a book that gave the greatest answer in the world — another book from Solomon, the Song of Songs.  The philosopher asks the question, but the lover answers it.  The head thinks, but the heart sings.

–Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life

We have just finished reading both Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. Please share with us, in Comments, below, what you saw new in these books this time through!

1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.”

2 Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.

3 Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop.

Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.

4 Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.

Eccle12 hearing-aid

5 Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.

Eccl12 graveside

6 Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. 7 For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.



HERE  is “We Will Remember” by Tommy Walker and friends.


Concluding Thoughts about the Teacher

8“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.” 9 Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. 10 The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.

11 The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.

12 But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.

“A Girl Reading” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1890 (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”

–Louisa May Alcott

13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

 “This is how the book will end.
On this rock we can be destroyed; but it is rock, not quicksand.
There is the chance to build.” 

–Derek Kidner

1 Corinthians 15:54 and 58 (Good News Translation)

So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true:
         Death is destroyed; victory is complete!

So then, my dear friends, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.


Grant, O Lord, that we may live in thy fear,
die in thy favor, rest in thy peace,
rise in thy power, reign in thy glory;
for thine own beloved Son’s sake,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

The End of the book of Ecclesiastes


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Remember.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/created-12.jpg
cataracts.   http://www.shulmaneye.com/images/cataracts.png
walker.   http://media1.break.com/breakstudios/2012/2/6/Old%20lady%20with%20walker.jpg
glasses and no teeth.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/smiling-old-man1.jpg
hearing aid.   https://bbfzone-ckatoday.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/man-with-hearing-aid.jpg
graveside.   http://www.wilbert.com/assets/1/7/MainFCKEditorDimension/209-Wilbert.jpg
Renoir.   http://www.artilim.com/artist/renoir-pierre-auguste/girl-reading.aspx

1891.) Ecclesiastes 11

August 1, 2016

Ecclesiastes 11 (New Living Translation)

The Uncertainties of Life

1 Send your grain across the seas,
and in time, profits will flow back to you.
2 But divide your investments among many places,
for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.

Or take some alternative advice from Mark Twain, in Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894):

“Put all your eggs in one basket — and watch that basket!”

3 When clouds are heavy, the rains come down.
Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.

4 Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
— Goethe

“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
— Helen Keller

“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”
— Seneca

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.”
— T.S. Eliot

“Opportunity dances with those on the dance floor.”
— Anonymous

“Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called ‘sure-thing-taking.'”
— Jim McMahon

5 Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

6 Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.

Advice for Old . . .

Eccle11 old man

7Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. 8 When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.

. . .  and Young

Eccle11 girl

9 Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. 10 So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.



For young and old alike, it is a comfort to know that we are never forgotten, or even neglected, by our Heavenly Father.  The Lord will never leave us or forsake us!

HERE  is “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,”  sung by Carabella.

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Ecclesiastes 11:4.   http://www.doorposts.org/images/Old%20Test/Eccl.11.4.jpg
Diversify.   http://aws.canequity.com/assets/images/diversify-your-portfolio.png
Take a risk.   http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/thumbs/07/4b/artistic,sea,writing,take,a,risk,quote,words-074b868f581ab389891dc45e66332e83_h.jpg
old man.   https://ironmanstrength.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/the_old_man_and_the_sea.jpg
young girl playing.   https://www.gryphonhouse.com/images/blog/girl-playing-with-blocks.jpg?w=300

1890.) Ecclesiastes 10

July 29, 2016

The King James Version talks of “flies in the ointment” in verse 1.

Ecclesiastes 10 (New Living Translation)

1 As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink,
so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor.

2 A wise person chooses the right road;
a fool takes the wrong one.

3 You can identify fools
just by the way they walk down the street!

Proverbs 13:16 (New International Version)

   All who are prudent act with knowledge,
   but fools expose their folly.



“You can identify fools just by the way they” . . . dress at WalMart.  Yes, I apologize in advance!  HERE!


4 If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit!
A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes.

The Ironies of Life

5 There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake 6 when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth. 7I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes—and princes walking like servants!

8 When you dig a well,
you might fall in.
When you demolish an old wall,
you could be bitten by a snake.
9 When you work in a quarry,
stones might fall and crush you.
When you chop wood,
there is danger with each stroke of your ax.

10 Using a dull ax requires great strength,
so sharpen the blade.
That’s the value of wisdom;
it helps you succeed.

Yes, it is safer to work with a very sharp knife! 

Stanley Lobel of Lobel’s butcher shop in New York explains that a sharp knife means you have to make fewer cuts. A dull knife makes you work harder; several cuts are required where one or two would do.

It’s really a simple law of averages: fewer cuts means fewer chances of cutting yourself over the long run. More cuts, and the risk goes up. A sharp knife will also cut more cleanly and precisely than a dull knife, and with much less chance of slippage.

11 If a snake bites before you charm it,
what’s the use of being a snake charmer?

12 Wise words bring approval,
but fools are destroyed by their own words.

Matthew 12:36-37 (English Standard Version)

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

13 Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions,
so their conclusions will be wicked madness;
14 they chatter on and on.

No one really knows what is going to happen;
no one can predict the future.

Eccle10 future

Quotes about the future:

Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.
–Mattie Stepanek

Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.
–Andrew Carnegie

There is nothing like a dream to create the future.
–Victor Hugo

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
–Albert Camus

I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.
–George Burns

15 Fools are so exhausted by a little work
that they can’t even find their way home.

16 What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant,
the land whose leaders feast in the morning.
17 Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader
and whose leaders feast at the proper time
to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk.

18 Laziness leads to a sagging roof;
idleness leads to a leaky house.

19 A party gives laughter,
wine gives happiness,
and money gives everything!

Eccle10 Laissez

“Let the good times roll,” they say in New Orleans. How many times has that attitude led to less than gracious situations! My parents, sober Norwegians, raised me with another motto: 

1 Peter 5:6-8 (New International Version)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

20 Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts.
And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom.
For a little bird might deliver your message
and tell them what you said.


New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
flies in the ointment.    http://www.allisoncarmichael.com/rebus/fly_in_the_ointment.jpg
sharp knife.   http://atmedia.imgix.net/d64b3bdb4cbd38b112faf84599715e86c18691ab?w=1500&fit=max
two people talking.    http://www.clker.com/cliparts/5/b/9/8/1194984513646717809chat_icon_01.svg.med.png
Confucius quote.   http://a2.typepad.com/6a00e5501d9bf3883401bb078f804a970d-320wi 
dilapidated house.   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/ecclesiastes10_18.jpg
“Let the good times roll.”   https://img1.etsystatic.com/057/0/9403275/il_570xN.733407513_dq8v.jpg
A little bird told me.   http://0.tqn.com/d/rubberstamping/1/0/p/f/-/-/little_bird_told_me.jpg

1889.) Ecclesiastes 9

July 28, 2016

Ecclesiastes 9 (New Living Translation)

Death Comes to All

1 This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor. 2The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t. 3 It seems so tragic that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. 4 There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”

Ah, but there is something ahead beyond death:

John 5:25-29 (English Standard Version)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.  For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

5 The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. 6 Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.

Eccle9 eat and drink

7 So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! 8 Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!

Psalm 118:24 (King James Version)

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.



HERE  are the Maranatha! Singers and “Give Thanks.”


9 Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. 10 Whatever you do, do well.

Eccle9 do it

1 Corinthians 10:31   (NLT)

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.

11 I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

12 People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.

Thoughts on Wisdom and Folly

13 Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works. 14 There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it. 15 A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought to thank him. 16So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long.

Eccle9 loud

17 Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person
than the shouts of a foolish king.
18 Better to have wisdom than weapons of war,
but one sinner can destroy much that is good.

Our society honors wealth, attractiveness, and success above wisdom.  Yet wisdom is a greater asset than strength, although it is often unrecognized by the masses.  Even though it is more effective, wisdom is not always heard, and wise people often go unheeded.  From this parable we can learn to be receptive to wisdom, no matter who it comes from.

–notes from The Life Application Bible


New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Ecclesiastes 9:11.    http://fessicsfavorites.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/ecclesiastes-911.jpg?w=700
stairway to Heaven.   http://blog.mlive.com/helmtolee/2009/04/large_StairwayToHeaven-D-4d.jpg
Eat your food with rejoicing.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e5/c8/8e/e5c88e9d7e7a923ed5bb63127683a327.jpg
Start each day . . .     http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lm3i8rNua81qab193o1_400.jpg
Ecclesiastes 9:10.   http://reformedoutfitters.com/wp-content/themes/editorial/functions/thumb.php?src=wp-content/uploads/2011/11/hand-might-2-1024×640.jpg&w=606&h=&zc=1&q=90
Never assume.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/fe/05/e1/fe05e1e0a08f6d3609beeab9c8b921f0.jpg


1888.) Ecclesiastes 8

July 27, 2016

Ecclesiastes 8 (New Living Translation)

 1 How wonderful to be wise,
to analyze and interpret things.
Wisdom lights up a person’s face,
softening its harshness.

Obedience to the King

He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.

–St. Augustine

To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it.

–Queen Elizabeth I

The King is dead. Long live the King.

–a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch 

2 Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. 3 Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants. 4 His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it. 5 Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, 6for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble. 7 Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? 8 None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked.

The Wicked and the Righteous

Eccle8 wicked righteous

9 I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other. 10 I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless.

Yes, I have seen that, too — men who were hard, cruel men, remembered after their deaths for their goodness — ?? 

Shakespeare saw it a different way (from Julius Caesar, Act 3, scene ii):  “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.” And we have seen that, too.

11 When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. 12 But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off. 13The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows. 14 And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!

15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.

Eccle8 eat drink

The Teacher sees so clearly that life is meaningless. All he can say is that we should make the best of a bad situation and enjoy life as much as we can . . .

16 In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.

Eccle8 my thoughts higher

. . . yet here is another perspective:  that God is doing something beyond our understanding. Ah, Teacher, this is an idea worth pursuing!



In 1773, William Cowper experienced a nervous breakdown.  His mind was telling him that he was condemned to hell for all of eternity.  In his mental sickness he thought God was telling him to take his own life, so he called a taxi and asked to be taken to the Thames River where he intended to end it all.  A thick fog fell about them that evening and the taxi driver drove about lost until he finally stopped to allow Cowper out.  When Cowper stepped out of the taxi he found himself standing at his own doorstep.  He believed God had sent the fog to spare him. Sometime later he wrote the hymn that contains the phrase so often used by Christians today who seek to understand the ways of God:  God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

HERE  — Lori Sealy has taken Cowper’s famous poem/hymn, written a new melody and added a couple of her own bridges.  I hope you enjoy it!

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

God moves in a mysterious way that’s often not my own
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain.
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.

God moves in a mysterious way that’s often not my own.
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.
Help me to trust when I don’t understand
Grant me the peace of resting in your plan.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blind unbelief . . .     http://i.ytimg.com/vi/2pTEboDF090/0.jpg
crown.  http://gallery.yopriceville.com/var/albums/Free-Clipart-Pictures/Crowns-PNG/Red_King_Crown_PNG_Clipart_Picture.png?m=1399672800
The thoughts of the righteous.   http://www.jarofquotes.com/img/quotes/f7d231711d490bcbf845df42c7eb6096.jpg
Eat, drink, and be merry.   http://www.twotwentyone.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/eat-drink-merry-multicolor-8×10.jpg
Isaiah 55:8-9.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/0d/2a/cf/0d2acfdbaf5f302c83b9fb48bd6b1825.jpg

1887.) Ecclesiastes 7

July 26, 2016

Ecclesiastes 7 (New Living Translation)

Wisdom for Life

1 A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.

One of my favorite poems:

The Courage That My Mother Had 

by Edna St. Vincent Millay 

The courage that my mother had 

Went with her, and is with her still: 
Rock from New England quarried;
Now granite in a granite hill. 

The golden brooch my mother wore 
She left behind for me to wear; 
I have no thing I treasure more: 
Yet, it is something I could spare. 

Oh, if instead she’d left to me
The thing she took into the grave!— 
That courage like a rock, which she 
Has no more need of, and I have.

And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2 Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies—
so the living should take this to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.



HERE  is the cry of our hearts for a worthwhile life —

Holiness is what I long for,
Holiness is what I need;
Holiness is what You want from me.

Righteousness . . .

Brokenness . . .

4 A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.

5 Better to be criticized by a wise person
than to be praised by a fool.
6 A fool’s laughter is quickly gone,
like thorns crackling in a fire.
This also is meaningless.

7 Extortion turns wise people into fools,
and bribes corrupt the heart.

8 Finishing is better than starting.
Patience is better than pride.

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”
–Ecclesiastes 7:8

Look at David’s Lord and Master; see His beginning. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Would you see the end? He sits at His Father’s right hand, expecting until His enemies be made his footstool. “As He is, so are we also in this world.”  You must bear the cross, or you shall never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire, or you shall never walk the golden pavement. Cheer up, then, poor Christian. “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”

See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is. Be content to be like Him, a worm and no man, that like Him you may be satisfied when you wake up in His likeness.

That rough-looking diamond is put upon the wheel of the lapidary. He cuts it on all sides. It loses much–much that seemed costly to itself. The king is crowned; the diadem is put upon the monarch’s head with trumpet’s joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that coronet, and it beams from that very diamond which was just now so sorely vexed by the lapidary. You may venture to compare yourself to such a diamond, for you are one of God’s people; and this is the time of the cutting process. Let faith and patience have their perfect work, for in the day when the crown shall be set upon the head of the King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, one ray of glory shall stream from you. “They shall be Mine,” saith the Lord, “in the day when I make up My jewels.”  “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”

9 Control your temper,
for anger labels you a fool.

10 Don’t long for “the good old days.”
This is not wise.

11 Wisdom is even better when you have money.
Both are a benefit as you go through life.
12 Wisdom and money can get you almost anything,
but only wisdom can save your life.

13 Accept the way God does things,
for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14 Enjoy prosperity while you can,
but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.
Remember that nothing is certain in this life.

Eccle7 contentment

Philippians 4:11-12 (Good News Translation)

And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little.

The Limits of Human Wisdom

15 I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. 16 So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? 17 On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? 18Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes. 19 One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!

20 Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.

21 Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you. 22 For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.

The ESV translates verse 21 as:  “Do not take to heart all the things that people say . . .”  My mother was a high school teacher; she re-phrased this verse and said that a good teacher does not see all she sees, or hear all she hears. 

It is simply another way of giving grace.

23 I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work. 24 Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find. 25 I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.

26 I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.

27 “This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle. 28 Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!

“Eve’s Apple” by Edwina Sandys (a granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill)

This speaks more about Solomon’s choice of female companionship than it does about the relative wisdom of men and women. See what various commentators say:

“His fruitless search for a woman he could trust may tell us as much about him and his approach, as about any of his acquaintances.” (Kidner)

“Such as he knew her to be in Oriental courts and homes, denied her proper position, degraded, uneducated, all natural affections crushed or underdeveloped, the plaything of her lord, to be flung aside at any moment. It is not surprising that Koheleth’s impression of the female sex should be unfavorable.” (Deane)

“He found that a harem did not provide the appropriate companion for man. How much better he would have been with one good wife, such as he speaks of in Ecclesiastes 9:9 and Proverbs 31!” (Wright)

–David Guzik


29 But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Wisdom for Life.   http://www.angelaswisdomtips.com/resources/WisdomLife.jpg
“golden brooch.”  http://www.fashionjewelryforeveryone.com/OtherProductsPhotos/b346.jpg
Imperial State Crown worn by Queen Elizabeth.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/200652414339_mtnew_ceremsym_crownjewels_galleryiii-jpg.png
contentment.    https://yourdailyenlightenment.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/visual-inspiration-365-contentment-is-not-the-fulfillment-of-what-you-want-anonymous-web.jpg
Sandys.   http://media.mutualart.com/Images/2009_04/08/0007/151933/151933_ba5cd07d-6b48-4f7a-9034-975ec3c8e504_-1.Jpeg