Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wisdom VS Foolishness, Part Two

Chapter 10 of Ecclesiastes has quite a few insights on how to live. I have highlighted some verses and expounded on them a bit, then split them up into two posts. The first post can be found here.

``If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no use for a charmer.`` The damage is already done. Basically this tells us that whatever the situation may be, we need to find help before it is too late.

``The words of a wise mans` heart are gracious and win him favour, but the lips of a fool consume him.`` Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Well, not according to this scripture. Words have weight, direction and influence for good or bad.  One simple word can lead to devastation, like a spark can light a whole forest ablaze. Do not be mistaken, words are powerful.

Secondly, a fool multiplies words. This is one of my pet peeves. I really dislike listening to someone who multiplies words. It becomes a plethora of words devoid of meaning. It`s maddening and boring all at the same time--and worse, you lose the direction of the conversation and go round and round going nowhere. It's almost as if he just enjoys listening to himself/herself speak. It's best to think about what you`re saying before you say it and keep it clear and concise.

``The labor of fools wearies them, because he does not even know how to get to town.`` Honestly, I think we`ve all been here.  Everywhere we turn there is emptiness and futility. We don`t know where to go or what to do and we become confused. The answer is simple really. It is to look for guidance in the right place. We can`t make it on our own, we need help. God shows us which step to take, and one step leads to many. Consider Him in all you do.

``Through indolence the rafters decay and the roof sinks in, and through idleness of the hands the house leaks.`` This one is rather self explanatory. I think that most people want a life of ease, but here we are told that industriousness is a good thing. Hard work is its own reward. Not only does it make us feel good when we accomplish things, but on a larger scale it strengthens a nation when its people are industrious and informed.

 Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything. This certainly seems true under the sun.  Almost everything we can have is gained by money. Money comes through hard work. So in this version we are told once again that hard work is its own reward. Remember though that this is "under the sun." There is still more to life than money, but we do need money to live.

However, my Amplified version reads like this: ``(Instead of repairing the breaches, the officials) make a feast for laughter, serve wine to cheer life and (depend on tax) money to answer all of it.`` This speaks of a corrupt system that burdens its people and relies on everyone else's money for their own pleasures. It speaks of a system that is not responsible with the power they wield.

``Curse not the king, not even in your thoughts, curse not the rich in your bedchamber, for a bird of the air will carry the voice, and a winged creature will tell the matter.``  How often we have heard people say, ``a little birdie told me,`` or, ``the walls have ears.`` Words have a way of getting to the wrong ears, and usually they have been magnified. It is better to keep your complaints to yourself. If you don`t want to work  to change something that is wrong, than keep quiet. We should all learn this lesson, because it can have grave consequences for us. Truly in today`s world, the walls do have ears and there are eyes everywhere. You can walk outside and be photographed at every corner. Privacy is truly a thing of the past, so take heed to this verse.

Well, that`s the end of chapter 10.

Here it is in a nutshell:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 (Ephesians 4:23,24 says virtually the same thing).

Thank you so much for visiting! I love hearing your comments and insights!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wisdom VS Foolishness, Part One

Chapter 10 of Ecclesiastes has quite a few insights on how to live. I am just going to highlight some verses and split them up into two posts.
As the Preacher showed us previously, things are not always what they seem to be. Sometimes we make decisions that look right, but turn out to be wrong. The decisions we make, if not made with wisdom, can hurt ourselves and others — especially if we are people with much influence or power.
Dead flies putrefy the ointment, so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honour.`` As a young teen, peer pressure can be overwhelming and the insistence of friends can turn us into fools. Sadly it`s a lesson many of us must learn over and over again throughout life.

``If a rulers` anger rises against you, do not leave your post. Calmness can lay great errors to rest.`` Sometimes our first impulse at trouble is to run the other way. However, that just makes us look guilty. A far better way is to show deference. A soft answer turns away wrath, and acknowledging another persons` feelings and rights can remove offense. It shows that you are a reasonable person that has a willingness to work things out. This is true when dealing with a friend or someone in position of authority.

``Ì have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves.`` This verse actually refers to favoritism. You`ve heard it quoted, ``it`s not what you know, it`s who you know.`` Sometimes those with great ability go unnoticed, while those who have the right friends are put in positions of great authority.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons government is so corrupt.

``He who digs a pit will fall into it, and he who quarries stones will be bit by a serpent.`` This is not talking about actual pits or quarries. It is speaking about what we do to ourselves and to each other. The first part of this verse tells us that if you try to set someone up for a fall, you may be the one hurting in the end. The second one tells us that when we work to get something of great value to us, something precious—we may get it, but it might hurt us in the end. Money is the thing that comes to mind. We all want more, but sometimes less is more. Yes, we all need money to live, but the love of money can corrupt us.

``If the axe is dull and the man does not whet the edge, he must put forth more strength; but wisdom helps him to succeed.`` Think carefully about how you go about things. Consider how you approach a matter because there is usually an easy way and a hard way.  Careful consideration will make the job faster and easier. This is true when doing something, or dealing with others.

I`m going to stop here and post the second half of chapter 10 over the weekend.

Thank you for visiting! I appreciate your comments and insights!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spurgeon on Deception

I've often been concerned about some of the things passed off as gospel in this day and age. Deeply concerned. When I came across this article, it was too good to pass by. It's interesting that this has been going on since the beginning. We really need discernment, especially in these trying end times. 

 Shall we Fraternize with Those who Bury the Gospel Under Wagon Loads of Trash?

I don't have much patience with a certain class of Christians nowadays who will hear anybody preach so long as they can say, "He is very clever, a fine preacher, a man of genius, a born orator."Is cleverness to make false doctrine palatable? Why, sirs, to me the ability of a man who preaches error is my sorrow rather than my admiration.

I cannot endure false doctrine, however neatly it may be put before me. Would you have me eat poisoned meat because the dish is of the choicest ware? It makes me indignant when I hear another gospel put before the people with enticing words, by men who would fain make merchandise of souls; and I marvel at those who have soft words for such deceivers.

"That is your bigotry," says one. Call it so if you like, but it is the bigotry of the loving John who wrote—"If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

I would to God we had all more of such decision, for the lack of it is depriving our religious life of its backbone and substituting for honest manliness a mass of the tremulous jelly of mutual flattery.

He who does not hate the false does not love the true; and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God's word or man's, is himself unrenewed at heart.

Oh, if some of you were like your fathers you would not have tolerated in this age the wagon loads of trash under which the gospel has been of late buried by ministers of your own choosing. You would have hurled out of your pulpits the men who are enemies to the fundamental doctrines of your churches, and yet are crafty enough to become your pastors and undermine the faith of a fickle and superficial generation.

These men steal the pulpits of once orthodox churches, because otherwise they would have none at all. Their powerless theology cannot of itself arouse sufficient enthusiasm to enable them to build a mousetrap at the expense of their admirers, and therefore they profane the houses which your sires have built for the preaching of the gospel, and turn aside the organisations of once orthodox communities to help their infidelity: I call it by that name in plain English, for "modern thought" is not one whit better, and of the two evils I give infidelity the palm, for it is less deceptive.

I beg the Lord to give back to the churches such a love to his truth that they may discern the spirits, and cast out those which are not of God. I feel sometimes like John, of whom it is said that, though the most loving of all spirits, yet he was the most decided of all men for the truth; and when he went to the bath and found that the heretic, Cerinthus, was there, he hurried out of the building, and would not tarry in the same place with him.

There are some with whom we should have no fellowship, nay, not so much as to eat bread; for though this conduct looks stern and hard, it is after the mind of Christ, for the apostle spake by inspiration when he said, "If we or an angel from heaven preach to you any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

According to modern efficiency he ought to have said, "Let him be kindly spoken with in private, but pray make no stir. No doubt the thought was original, and we must not question his liberty. Doubtless, he believes the same as we do, only there is some little difference as to terms."

This is treason to Christ, treachery to truth, and cruelty to souls. If we love our Lord we shall keep his words, and stand fast in the faith, coming out from among the false teachers; nor is this inconsistent with charity, for the truest love to those who err is not to fraternise with them in their error, but to be faithful to Jesus in all things.

Well said Mr. Spurgeon!

Thank you you so much for visiting! I will continue on with the last two chapters of Ecclesiastes soon.