September 2

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“We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry” (2 Corinthians 6:3 NLT).

From: September 2, 2018

DOES YOUR WAY OF LIFE HELP OR HINDER YOUR WITNESS?
Paul told the Corinthians that he and his ministry team were careful to live in such a way that wouldn’t cause people to stumble. He wanted his life to match his message. He reminded the Corinthians of this because they were so easily swayed by fancy words without considering the character and conduct of the speaker.
 
The reason the world often accuses the church of being filled with hypocrites is because our way of life does not match our message. If we are to reach the next generation, we must heed Paul’s words. We are not called to be perfect. Only Jesus was sinless. But we can be real. We can be authentic and humble, loving and forgiving one another, so that our way of life points to Christ.

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV).

From: September 2, 2017

The apostle Paul quoted Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa. 49:8) concerning the time of salvation that the coming Messiah would bring to both Jew and Gentile alike. Paul declared to the Corinthians that the long awaited for time had come. Paul began both phrases of his application of Isaiah’s prophecy with “behold, now.” The word “behold” demanded that one “look” and “see” with an understanding mind. The word “now” called for a sense of urgency from the one who having understood the gospel, would quickly decide to believe it.

As the Ecclesiates reading for today states, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). So today, we live in the “accepted time” of the gospel, yet let us not “receive the grace of God in vain.” Having heard the gospel, now is the time to accept it. Having accepted the gospel, now is the day to live it out and proclaim it.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)

From: September 2, 2016

Every time I read this verse, I hear The Byrds singing “Turn, Turn, Turn” in my head. Yet, this passage is more than the inspiration for a 60s song. It is a keen observation on life “under the sun.” As the writer, Solomon, struggled with a search for meaning in life, he observed that everything has a “season” and a “time.” There is an appointed start and finish “time,” and there is a length of time between the beginning and end of a “season.” Just as the sun, moon and earth move through times and seasons set by an unseen hand, so the times and seasons of humanity seem similarly set. Solomon concluded that it is best to just “be joyful and to do good” (Eccl.3:12) in every season, since we have no control over the times. In other words, make the best of things as they are, knowing as the Persian poets have said, “This too shall pass.” Yet, Solomon’s observations were necessarily limited to life “under the sun.” His wisdom did not take into account the larger arc of time that began at creation and will end with the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment. Those who have heard this revelation from “beyond the sun” are able to do more than just make the best of things. They are able to hope for better things to come because of Jesus.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV)

From: September 2, 2015

King Solomon was the writer of Ecclesiastes. He observed the beauty of how God had assigned everything a season and how these things seemed to repeat over time. Yet, he also observed that God had put an eternal longing in man’s heart that wanted to know and experience more than just what his season on earth allowed. This “eternity” that God put in humanity’s heart makes us unique in creation. We long for that which will last. We long for ultimate meaning and purpose. We long for God. Solomon found that everything “under the sun” was “vanity” (empty, meaningless). Why? Because we long for that which is beyond the sun. We long for the Eternal One. As Pascal said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

“I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiates 1:14 NLT)

From: September 2, 2014

The key to understanding Ecclesiates is the repetitive phrase “under the sun.” Unless there is more to life than what we experience “under the sun,” then life is meaningless. Our only hope for meaning is that there is life “beyond the sun.” Written by King Solomon, the book’s Hebrew title is “Qoheleth” (“Teacher” or “Preacher”). The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) translated the title as “Ekklesiastes” (“the one calling out”). The Teacher is calling out to his hearers explaining that everything “under the sun” is “meaningless” (or “vanity” as in the KJV). This is why believers are to set their sights on the realities of heaven where Christ their Treasure and ultimate meaning dwells (Col. 3:1-4).

“A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away” (Proverbs 22:15)

From: September 2, 2012

Sin and foolishness are synonyms in Proverbs. Wise parents recognize their God-given responsibility to discipline their children to obey. This is hard work. Yet, God has given us this holy stewardship. A parent’s discipline becomes the child’s self-discipline later in life. Better to root out the seed of foolishness in your 3-year old, than to wait and deal with the tree of rebellion in your 13-year old. Parents, do your job!

The key to Ecclesiates

From: September 2, 2009

So, we begin reading Ecclesiates today. Written by King Solomon, the book’s Hebrew title is “Qoheleth” (the preacher or teacher or speaker)
The Greek translation (the Septuagint) translated the title as “ekklesiastes” (which might be translated “the one calling out”). In the New Testament, the word came to be the name for the church (ekklesia – the called out ones). The Preacher is calling out to his hearers explaining that everything “under the sun” is “vanity” (or “meaningless” as in the NIV). The key to understanding Ecclesiates seems to be in this repetitive phrase “under the sun.” Unless there is more to life than what we experience “under the sun,” then life is meaningless. But what if there is life “beyond the sun?”