THE PREACHER SAID, WHAT?………,ECCLESIASTES 1 : 2; & 12 : 8, 13

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There is an elephant in the room. Such a subject does not want to be discussed, let alone mentioned. Whatever the preacher says, it will definitely drill to the center of our core beliefs. What will this preacher say? Will he be one that debates, or will he expound on morals, and the things of God and religion, or both? The subject (s) could have a grave and a majestic meaning. At first glance, and so close to the begining of the book, we find a mysterious man inspired to speak what wisdom he has learned. Maybe he had a discussion with another man. It could be that one of them was under the conviction of unbelief and despair, and the other most likely was under a firm belief of hope and goodness. A more apt conclusion would be that this is a man who has debated within himself about both conclusions and needs to teach what he has learned. His view of life on this orb reflects nothing that holds any value to him. He exclaims early on that everything is vanity. However, that wasn’t enough, he had to make sure that what he said, and what he will say, will penetrate the sub-cranium of all who hear his voice. His experience taught him that this world sheds light in the shadows and reveals that there is nothing here worth having, keeping, or satisfying to term as precious. Everything is vanity, the vanity of all vanities, all is vanity; nothing in this world is worth having, and hugging to our breasts. We cannot take anything with us in the end, nor is there anything giving us something worth living for, it’s all vanity.

The soul, since the fall of man in the garden, needs to be satisfied. Mankind tries to extract from this world what this world had stolen from him. Humankind had the greatest, and most magnificent pleasure of walking, and talking to God, his Creator, until the fruit of a tree robbed us all of that pleasantry. As plans are formed with the utmost care to prevent any evil invading our pursuits, still the satisfaction we seek is not one-hundred percent fulfilled. There is always something missing. The younger we are we seem to accept more deception provided by this world convincing us of the deep soulish enjoyment we seek. The dissatisfaction, in the midst of our human pleasure, leaps up partly because of the very nature of our enjoyments themselves, and partly from the circumstances which corrupt them. To be frank, there are no earthly enjoyments sufficient to adequately supply the high desires and powers of an immortal spirit. the more amusements, and enjoyments you partake in the more susceptible to be injured on so many different fronts. In some cases where one should carry with them the injuries sustained from past unfulfilled enjoyments, causes us to dread any approaching change. And, notwithstanding, if there are those, ” accidents “, of life to leave us untouched, human bliss still must be transferable; the human changes in all respects as it ages.

As we all have noticed, what may have amused us when we were younger fails to titillate our senses in the same way as we mature. As we age we lose our powers, our abilities to act appropriately, and our delightful feelings decline. Face it, we put before us, in advance, great designs for our life hoping that fate will intercede and have all those lofty patterns we made for our state of being to ensure that unquenchable drive to receive that certain quality missing deep within our souls.That very quality we seek cannot be found on this sphere. Looking around we see mountains exploding, the earth appearing to be cracking, forming fissures in it’s crust, uninhabitable tracts of land,islands torn away from continents, and in all places that seem to be hidden, also, from the faculties of sight, there is evidence of a mighty state of destruction. The indication is that this world had been structured to perform in a orderly manner. Either of a physical substance or of a mind, there is the remains of that which was once beautiful, and magnificent. This being the case that this world is not the original, the intention proves that our state of being is not to be the final state of man. However, God made provision despite the consequence of the abuse of human powers. In all the region of the universe sin and vanity now entered disrupting, violently, the well synchronized mechanism, created to last forever, flawlessly, His Holy Dream of fellowship with beings made in His likeness, and image. The distress on every front had been shaken to it’s core.013

Some vexation disquiets man, and some passions corrode him. Discomfort, either felt or feared, gnaws like a worm, the root of his happiness. The very consideration of a matter that causes worry or perplexity, and allows the matter to mushrooming in the heart to the point that it is become a wish that grows, permitting new demands to arise. This becomes a more severe position to be in. The mortification of this is that you have behind you successful pursuits only to be baffled in the enjoyment itself. With every wish that is gratified, a new demand arises: the old saying; one door closes and another one opens. When circumstances show themselves to be favorable, all our ducks in a row, so to speak, in the world, the envied man groans in private under his own moral obligations not being met. This doctrine is so corrupt, yet, followed by worldly men as the only path to be followed, wherewith, all are snared into believing every wish to be granted. This teaching that all expectations of bliss, which rest solely on earthly possessions and pleasures, shall end up in disappointment.

But our Lord did not intend that there is no material difference in the pursuits of men, or that no real happiness of any kind could now be attained by the virtuous. However vain this life might be, the comforts and hopes of religion are sufficient to give solidity to the enjoyments of the righteous.The contrast, in the exercise of good affections, and the testimony of an approving conscience; in the sense of peace and reconciliation with God through our great Redeemer of mankind; in the firm confidence of being conducted through all the trials of life by infinite wisdom and goodness; and in the joyful prospect of arriving in the end at immortal grace; they possess a happiness which, descending from a purer and more perfect religion than this world, partakes not of it’s vanity. Besides the enjoyments peculiar to religion, there are other pleasures of our present state which, though of an inferior order, must not be overlooked in the estimate of human life.

Many of the evils which are of important circumstance accompany our complaints of the world with the full cooperation of our imagination. Especially in the higher ranks of society they are mainly found; fantastic refinements, sickly separations in societal rankings, and eager emulation,open a thousand sources of vexation peculiar to themselves. So much of what mankind suffers is deemed as real: those evils aren’t  existing because of one’s imagination, nor can they be removed by changing the mind of man. Not in a hurry to admit, humans are more responsible for the great proportions of disappointments because of his own misconduct. Diseases, poverty, disappointment and shame are far from being, in every instance, the unavoidable doom of men. There are those evils which are real and unavoidable; from which neither wisdom nor goodness can obtain our dismissal. Religion is the principle source by which acts under such circumstances as the disciplinary means to correct human vanity. It supports, and inspires fortitude, patience, and, by it’s prospects and promises, makes a swift, and piercing ray of light cheering on mankind at the darkest side of human life.

It would be highly unreasonable to not consider our expectations of worldly happiness. Peace and contentment, not bliss and the mental awareness of being transported, is the full portion of man. Perfect joy is reserved for heaven, only. What have we to find fault with the universe? Whose lot is so much beyond what thy virtue or merit gave you ground to claim? The view which we have taken of human life should naturally direct us to such pursuits as have most influence for correcting it’s vanity. And what is the conclusion for fallen man? Shall he continue on such paths that twist and wind through life not having a direction to anywhere specific? Whereas, in chapter twelve, verse 13, we read what God’s plan for us consists of.12031419

GOOD NEWS!

Mankind has a purpose. The architect of the building He designs and erects to answer a specific purpose; no doubt God had a plan, followed it to it’s very minute detail, and established His creation. We are partakers in His plan, actively doing exactly what He has designed us to do. Plans always have a begining and an end, and our Lord Jesus Christ started the construction of His great delight, and declared it’s completion on the cross; IT IS FINISHED! There is nothing more that needs to be done. As one who lays tile, the artist had a design, the mosaic is completed, but there appears to be a severe circumstance which must be addressed without delay; the completion of the magnificent portrait laid at the feet of the tile contractor’s heart, which He declared to be finished is lacking in substance, or though it may appear. THOUGH IT MAY APPEAR, if only it appeared. However you want to describe the lack of the visualization, the finished product is not elusive. The artist had seen the the finished product before He started the project.

We are here to do His will. By nature and by practice we are in a state of alienation from Him; there is a breach of our own making – between Him and us. Our primary concern should be trying to get that breach healed. Despite what you might think, this is possible. We should constantly love Him and obey Him, and seek His glory. He has given us life, physical strength, mental endowments, our spiritual nature, and much more. Oh, to be in His employ is such a privilege than an obligation. Our goal should always be to live for Him. Attending to the details is key.The neglect of the little things can lead to serious results. The details are in themselves such a blessing because they allow for us some quality time to be spent with God. The PURPOSE of life embraces love and service to all mankind. Our work should always be done with a glad heart and diligent hands; and never grow weary, never grow idle till you can say to your Master, ” it is finished “.

How often have we exclaimed with the Preacher, as the hollowness of each pretence of this most pretentious world has been exposed by our own trial; ” THIS ALSO IS VANITY “! Some things are real. Never does the author of this particular book speak of religion as if it were an illusion, or of God as if He were other than true. The spiritual part by which we are related to God and know God is our genuine self. This then is the subject – the vanity of the world and the worth of religion, and each of these seen only, in contrast and foil to the other.The ” Preacher ” now turns ill with the sickness of heart from the toil of knowledge, and removed himself to take part in refined pleasures. The thought death, leveling all distinctions, intruded itself upon him. The wise man, now, is equaled in the earth at last with the fool. Life for him was all vanity and vexation of spirit. If the world sounds hollow wherever we touch it, where is reality to be found? The simple answer of the Preacher is, it is to be found in religion: ” FEAR GOD, AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS “. 1203 Continue reading

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FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST, AND TO DIE IS GAIN. PHILLIPIANS 1:21

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Taking a good look at this passage it reminds me of a hike going up the side of a mountain on a trail. I would pack a lunch, or that is what I would call it, some trail mix, a sheathed knife in case I would encounter an unexpected encounter with whatever might deem it necessary to harm me, some water, and the appropriate clothing for the ascension of the journey to the top. I’ve noticed that there is not one trail, anywhere, whether it be on a mountain, along side a river, and even just a short cut, there really isn’t a straight way to get to any place you may want to travel to. Even if the thoroughfare appears to be straight I can almost assure you that there will be encountered a right or left turn. Whatever you attempt to conquer you will not get there straightaway. You will struggle; there will be twists and turns to get to your destination.

The apostle Paul is expressing his determination, and consuming devotion to Christ. He now encounters an obstacle, but he’s thinking about others. He embraces this feeling and knows it is his because of his call of duty to stop and work. His traveling supplies are much the same as I, or anyone else would pack. I’m sure he packed a supply of food, and nuts. Having a sheathed knife would also be common on his trip.Water and appropriate clothing had a vital role on his missions. Notice the similarity of his preparedness for his journey compared with ours; it’s no different. His generation was encountering life as we do today. Granted, our technology has had major advances in time, but the basics are still the same. In all senses in which you can use the words, Christ is this man’s life.3460

Paul tells of his dilemma in verse 23; ” I’m in a straight between the two, …….. “. He alludes to the fact that the Christian life is a life lived on a higher plain than those lived by those in the world. So who are we living for? A life such as this has a purpose, and not aimless. It’s a life that finishes and has it’s element of existence in Christ. He speaks here of those who are insincere and contentious. The apostle is speaking to those whose lives appear to be predominately in Christ, but NOT wholly. However, he is not morbid in relating death to a conclusion of his presence amongst us. He looks forward to that glorious day when he will be forever with Christ, and all the heavenly hosts. He is content to be in this world, but his ambition is Christ.

There is nothing evil with the life we live in the flesh, but death, to the Christian who loves Christ will gain so much. He does not diminish the Christian compared to that of the Christian death. He explains how the Christian death is much more than much better. Death brings the Christian in very presence of Christ in an instant. To Paul, He speaks of the Christian death like opening a door and having full knowledge of what’s behind it. Now, if Christ be life, we have no expectation that death would bring us any advantage. If God ordains life, it is a grace to live and not die. He chose us to announce His good news to the world and in this way it is a blessed service that our Supreme teacher, and Creator has appointed for us to attend to. Notwithstanding, be the death of a Christian so desirable, It’s the fault of our own doing if the happiness of life does not more than counterbalance the trial of it.2552

How often have we heard people try to persuade us to do and not to do? I myself have turned my head and walked away in the past. I didn’t know, then, I prevented, your’s truly, from receiving more heaven here on earth. To die to this life in this world means nothing, and the life I lead will not change the course of anything in, or on this sphere in the cosmos. The contrast the apostle is painting is unless we allow Christ to take up residence, within us, death will be that unknown abyss that we dread. Unless we provide for the sanctioning of Christ’s residence we are doomed for the second death. To be perfect is not the sum of our life, but the remittance of our own will to do Christ’s bidding is the solution. Heaven comes  to us when the door to our heart opens to let Christ in to take up residence; He will be there to help us to make the right decisions, and directing in which way He wants us to go. Compared to any achievement to be gained here in this world, what better achievement than that of having heaven on earth and having much more of it at death.

” TO LIVE IS CHRIST, AND DEATH IS GAIN “. However, a comparative that this world holds in view details something totally opposite of the view the Christian holds of this world and death. This is a party world, a place for good times, always; to die is to smother any joy. The thoughts of one plunging into the I don’t realm, and coming to face the where I am going is unknown. The flesh enjoys the life of indulgence of luxuries of our senses; to die is the destruction of all that gratifies them. To live is affluence in what all are coveting; to die would be to have all this taken by others. To the flesh to live is having a successful business, competition, prosperity ( sounds familiar ), power, fame; and to die, well, all that is lost. Meanwhile, the Christian life prescribes us to give up all our wants; the death to self. To them this kind of life is hard; it is the endurance of the privacy of one’s life centered only on the life of Christ. The endurance of poverty, and pain: that is much worse than the love of prosperity, power, fame, competition, and the lusts accompanied with what this world has to offer. There is an undefined horror attached to death. For that which a man loves supremely is that for which he lives – money, fame, pleasure, & etc.

Our deduction comes from two questions that are raised, ” What is the true object of life “?, and, ” What is beyond life? “. It is this very proclamation declared here that these questions are answered. To live is Christ: a life dependent on Christ like a child to their head of the household. This dependence is constant; humble; trustful; invisible, but real. It is a relationship with Christ; as between two friends. It is an elevated devotion to Christ , as servants to a magnificent and loving master.This embraces all callings known to mankind without prejudice. Christ is all and is in all, and wants all to be in Him. No matter how, or what you want to believe, Christ is Lord of all. Christ has the keys to Hades, and still prepares a place for those who believe in Him. To whatever destination we enter in the end the complete, and glorious manifestation of Christ will be realized by all.

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