Scripture reading for September 21st: Ecclesiastes 12, Song of Songs 1-3, 2nd Thessalonians 3
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 3:10-13 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”
Some in the church were idle and living off the work of others. Paul warned them not to be idle, but to be steady in good works and earn their own way. Idleness leads to gossip and meddling and strife. This is not proper in God’s family.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of men. For God will bring every deed into judgment with every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for calling Your people to good works and earning a living. Keep me mindful that I will have to answer to You for my conduct on earth. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 20th: Ecclesiastes 9-11; 2nd Thessalonians 2
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing; because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
In the last days, unbelievers will be deceived by Satan through a man called “the lawless one.” This individual will have power and use false signs and wonders to dazzle and deceive. God will send this delusion upon those who refuse salvation and trust in His Word, the Truth. Believers will be protected by truth!
Ecclesiastes 9:1 “But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before Him.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You that You know all things are in control. Give me Your Truth each day as my daily food and drink! Amen.
aScripture reading for September 19th: Ecclesiastes 5-8; 2nd Thessalonians 1
Key Scriptures: 2nd Thessalonians 1:11-12 “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul’s pastoral prayer for the believers was that God would fulfill His purposes and good works through them. The result of all their effort and faithfulness would be for God’s glory and their glorification in Christ at His return. This would be a result of grace and faith working by love.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 “Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil–this is the gift of God.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for gifts and power through faith. May I use them for Your glory and pray effectively for Your church. Amen.
Scripture reading for September 18th: Ecclesiastes 2-4, 1st Thessalonians 5
Key Scriptures: 1st Thessalonians 5:1-4 “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.”
Paul encouraged the believers concerning the times and seasons. They were in a period of grace that could end at any time with the coming of the Lord Jesus. This coming would be like a “thief in the night” to the world but not to the church family of Jesus! We are children of light and are eagerly awaiting Christ’s return.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; . .”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for making me aware of the times and seasons that are here and coming soon. Help me to make the most of my time here for You and Your coming kingdom. Amen.
Scripture reading for July 25th: Ecclesiastes 9-12
Key Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
Solomon concluded his dissertation with a simple statement of truth. Even though life under the sun appeared to be meaningless to the worldly man, there was a God in heaven that deserved reverence and obedience. This God had decreed that He would judge each person based on their deeds and obedience to His commands. There was nothing that would be hidden from His sight.
Thankful for God the Righteous Judge: “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, . .” (John 5:22) “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)
Scripture reading for July 24th: Ecclesiastes 4-8
Key Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 8:7-8 “For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him. Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war; so wickedness will not release those who practice it.”
Solomon had everything money could buy and wisdom that dazzled others, but there were things he did not know or understand. God has set boundaries and only by His revelation can man find answers to some of life’s perplexing questions. “What will happen in the future?” “When is the day of our death?” “How can I control the wind?” “Will my misery ever end?” Solomon knew that life under the sun could not adequately answer these questions.
Rejoicing in truth: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the tow: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. . .” (Philippians 1:20-23)
Scripture reading for July 21st: Proverbs 30-31, Ecclesiastes 1-3
Key Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, . . . “
The writer of Ecclesiastes had lived a while and observed God’s boundaries in the various times and seasons of life. As the seasons rolled around in the calendar year, so God ordained the times set for the various activities of man. God uses these seasons to draw men and women to seek Him and to find Him. This wisdom came from observation and revelation and was confirm other times in the New Testament.
Thankful God sets boundaries: “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set of them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ “ (Acts 17:26-28)
Scripture reading for July 15th: Ecclesiastes 7-12
The quest of Solomon to find meaning is played out every day in our world. People are going to and fro seeking pleasure, wisdom, meaning in life. They are trying wine, relationships, sports, building, materialism, and fame to find happiness and fulfillment. Many who are laughing and appearing to have fun, feel empty inside. Others are in bondage to sin and are miserable. They are looking for that elusive fulfillment that can only be found in God Himself!
Solomon stated that the day of death was better than the day of birth because all men could contemplate their own future at the funeral. Death will take away every man and their works will stand judgment. There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right all the time and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 3:23) Solomon found that God had made men upright, but that men in their folly had gone in search of many schemes! (Ecclesiastes 7:29) We must all answer to God when we die!
“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) No one really knows the future or what it holds. Accidents can come suddenly and death can snatch us from this life without warning! “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)
“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; her is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-13 Solomon concluded his book with a simple warning. Let the fear of the Lord and obedience to His commands drive your life. These are wise words to be pondered and applied!
Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 1-6
Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived outside of Jesus Christ, decided to try to find meaning in life by pursuing riches, fame, and fortune to the maximum. The result is this book of Ecclesiastes! After trying everything, Solomon found no meaning in endless days of toil and the work of man. (Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11) He observed that man spent his time working and gathering things and suddenly death took him away. In a few years or less, no one remembers him or his works!
Solomon tried to find meaning with the pursuit of pleasure and things that brought laughter. He tried wine and pleasure common to his culture! He then tried great building projects to find satisfaction in what he had accomplished. He built houses and planted vineyards and fruit orchards. His herds and flocks were numerous and his treasury filled with silver and gold. He hired singers and entertainers and even bought a harem of beautiful women to enjoy as he pleased. He enjoyed his life under the sun but as he thought about it, it was meaningless! (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)
Solomon noted that all his hard work would be left behind when he died and given to someone else who did not work for it. (Ecclesiastes 3:21-23) His conclusion was that if man would eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work each day, that was a gift of God. For without God, we can’t find meaning or enjoyment! (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)
“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Solomon concluded that God had made a time for everything under the sun. These times are in His hands and man should accept each day with gratitude. Man has a God-given knowledge of eternity in his heart. Each knows that he is an eternal being who will be judged by God one day. This understanding helps bring meaning to all of life!
Take a moment to thank God for revealing eternity and the plans of His heart through Jesus Christ! In Christ we now have eternity restored in God’s presence! All our life has purpose and meaning under the Son!
Scripture reading for January 15th: Genesis 41-44
Joseph had been in prison for several years for a crime he did not commit. He had been faithful to God and avoided the seductive trap of Potiphar’s wife, but it cost him time in jail. There he had risen to a key helper for the jailer. Today we would call him a “Trustee” who could work. He had interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners; the one who was freed had agreed to help him get out but promptly forgot! Two years later, Pharaoh had a disturbing dream that none of his advisers could interpret and the chief cupbearer, formerly Joseph’s fellow prisoner, remembered Joseph’s ability! Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and he interpreted the dream, giving God credit! ( Genesis 41:16) Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second in command in all of Egypt! He went from jailbird to prince because of his connection with God!
Faithfulness to the Lord to serve Him and live for Him brings great reward. Sometimes it takes us on paths we didn’t sign up for. We can learn from the story of Joseph to be faithful to God, even in adversity. We must faithfully live for God, even when we end up in situations we did not anticipate or ask for. We must hold onto our dreams from God and He will bring them to pass.
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took the signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” Genesis 41:41-42
” and he sent a man before them–Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the Word of the Lord proved him true.” Psalm 105:17-19