Sunday, 25 October 2020

Is the end better than the beginning?

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
for anger resides in the lap of fools."
- Ecclesiastes 7:8-9

I am not sure if it is appropriate for me to argue with Solomon - after all, he was the King of Israel and the writer of some amazing books. BUT....

... I don't think that the 'end of the matter' is always better than the beginning!

I guess it does depend on the context, but I have seen some situations where things have begun incredibly well, but then ended up badly. A good start doesn't always equate to a successful ending.

One Biblical commentator has suggested that the reason why Solomon argues his point is that anyone can dream of something, but it takes a person of discipline to finish a project or vision. Now, if that is the context of what he is saying, then I am happy to agree with him. What do you think?

Living in Grace

Friday, 23 October 2020

The living should take note of this

Oh man, Solomon is feeling very morbid in today's passage. He seems to be a little obsessed with death at this point in time. Whilst I agree with him that we should be deeply conscious of our own mortality, I don't think an unhealthy obsession with dying is going to make us 'LIVE' a more fulfilling life.

I would rather suggest that we know that our days are in the Lord's hands and appreciate every day as a gift from God. This can then motivate us to seize every moment as an opportunity to glorify God and live an abundant life.

"It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.
Frustration is better than laughter,
    because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." - Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

“Every moment of the day there should be someone shouting from the rooftops, "Life, enjoy it while you can.”
― Marty Rubin

Living in Grace


Thursday, 22 October 2020

Good old days?

How often do we look back and think that the 'old days' were much better than today? I know we do it more often than we realise. Now in today's scripture Solomon argues that we shouldn't do this. He says:

"Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
For it is not wise to ask such questions." - Ecclesiastes 7:10

I wonder why he suggests that we don't say this? Is it because we will keep living in the past and not enjoying the moment? Or is it because he remembers that even the 'good old days' have many problems and it is just that time has made us forget the pain of those moments? I am not sure why?


Living in Grace


Needing advice?

It is sometimes so hard to get good advice now days. There is plenty of information and content out there, but one has to still sift through it all. During the early days of lock-down I was drawn back to the book of Proverbs and spent 70 days reflecting on those incredible words - some of you would remember that this was in March and April of 2020. I discovered that all the advice I needed was in the chapters of Proverbs. 

I have eventually put these thoughts into book form and the hard copy is now available if you would like to read it. The ebook has been available on Amazon for a while, but the hard copy has just arrived. You can order it through the website or just email me personally. Thanks again for the support and taking the time to read my daily thoughts.

God bless you

Living in Grace


Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Better than

Using a tried and tested technique, Solomon reveals his next diatribe of wisdom. He compares two different elements/things in order to get our attention. The truth is discovered as we reflect on what he is comparing.

 "A good name is better than fine perfume..." - Ecclesiastes 7:1

"It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools." - Ecclesiastes 7:5

What do you make of his words today? Why would he say that a good name is better than perfume? Any guesses?

“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”
― William Shakespeare

Living in Grace


Tuesday, 20 October 2020

The more the words, the less the meaning

"The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?" - Ecclesiastes 6:11

How can one not be challenged by these words today?

Perhaps it is best I take his advice...
...enough said!

John 6:63 - "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life."

Living in Grace

Monday, 19 October 2020

Satisfying our appetite

Solomon certainly wants his readers to get his message, because he repeats himself (at length) on the same subject. Today his focus is more on 'satisfying our appetite', but he is not really speaking of food.

"Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage have the wise over fools?
What do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?
Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite.
This too is meaningless, 
a chasing after the wind." - Ecclesiastes 6:7-9

I like the way he compares physical hunger with material desire and appetite. It makes me think that sometimes humans are merely consumers - we consume food, oxygen, drink, etc - but are we satisfied in the end?

His charge in verse 9 states: "better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite." This initially seems a little confusing, but I found the New Living Translation much more clear, when it says:

"Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have."

Charles Spurgeon wrote - "Let us not be too eager after the visible, but let us look to the invisible God.”

Living in Grace