More than just seeing Roses!!!

The holiday's have come and gone and many a New Year's Resolution has already gone by the wayside.  Personally, I really don't begin the New Year by making resolutions, except perhaps in a general way of being aware of God in the little things around me and trying to live to please the almighty.  One day this week, I was looking on the net (I believe it was facebook, but am unsure) and saw this picture.  Since it has Roses in it, naturally it caught my eye.  When I had read the words, I realized that this applied to me and then I thought of this famous passage from the Old Testament...

2 Samuel, Chapter 12
1 Yahweh sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.  2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up together with him, and with his children. It ate of his own food, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him like a daughter.  4 A traveler came to the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man who had come to him, but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man who had come to him.” 

  5  David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As Yahweh lives, the man who has done this is worthy to die!  6 He shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity!” 

  7  Nathan said to David, “You are the man. This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.  8 I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that would have been too little, I would have added to you many more such things.  9 Why have you despised Yahweh’s word, to do that which is evil in his sight? You have struck Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.  10 Now therefore the sword will never depart from your house, because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 

  11  “This is what Yahweh says: ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he will lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.  12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.’” 

  13  David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against Yahweh.” 

Nathan said to David, “Yahweh also has put away your sin. You will not die.  14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to Yahweh’s enemies to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”  15 Nathan departed to his house. 

Yahweh struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it was very sick.  16 David therefore begged God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night on the earth.  17 The elders of his house arose beside him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.  18 On the seventh day, the child died. The servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead; for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he didn’t listen to our voice. How will he then harm himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?” 

  19  But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; and David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” 

They said, “He is dead.” 

  20  Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his clothing; and he came into Yahweh’s house, and worshiped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he ate.  21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child was dead, you rose up and ate bread.” 

  22  He said, “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows whether Yahweh will not be gracious to me, that the child may live?’  23
 But now he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

The picture refers to some positive aspects of trying to follow God; but what about the negative? That is where the story of David comes in.  He did something horrible and it took a prophet with a story to help him realize it.  However, there still was a price to pay.  Death and strife came to David's reign, but David still hoped God would be merciful to a young and innocent child.  When the child died, David accepted the consequences and moved on.  David was not a perfect human being, but he did try to follow God with his whole heart.  If there is a true resolution in my own future, it would be to recognize my own sin when God helps me see it, do something about it and move on.  Life, for me, is more than just seeing Roses, it is self-examination and change.  This may be hard at times, but I pray that all who read this will embrace not only the thought, but put it into action as well. 

Bible Reading Jan.4

Jan. 4
Genesis 4

Gen 4:1 The man knew Eve his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Cain, and said, "I have gotten a man with Yahweh's help."
Gen 4:2 Again she gave birth, to Cain's brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Gen 4:3 As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh from the fruit of the ground.
Gen 4:4 Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of its fat. Yahweh respected Abel and his offering,
Gen 4:5 but he didn't respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell.
Gen 4:6 Yahweh said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen?
Gen 4:7 If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you don't do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it."
Gen 4:8 Cain said to Abel, his brother, "Let's go into the field." It happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him.
Gen 4:9 Yahweh said to Cain, "Where is Abel, your brother?" He said, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
Gen 4:10 Yahweh said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries to me from the ground.
Gen 4:11 Now you are cursed because of the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
Gen 4:12 From now on, when you till the ground, it won't yield its strength to you. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth."
Gen 4:13 Cain said to Yahweh, "My punishment is greater than I can bear.
Gen 4:14 Behold, you have driven me out this day from the surface of the ground. I will be hidden from your face, and I will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth. It will happen that whoever finds me will kill me."
Gen 4:15 Yahweh said to him, "Therefore whoever slays Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold." Yahweh appointed a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should strike him.
Gen 4:16 Cain went out from Yahweh's presence, and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Gen 4:17 Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
Gen 4:18 To Enoch was born Irad. Irad became the father of Mehujael. Mehujael became the father of Methushael. Methushael became the father of Lamech.
Gen 4:19 Lamech took two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
Gen 4:20 Adah gave birth to Jabal, who was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.
Gen 4:21 His brother's name was Jubal, who was the father of all who handle the harp and pipe.
Gen 4:22 Zillah also gave birth to Tubal Cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron. Tubal Cain's sister was Naamah.
Gen 4:23 Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, hear my voice. You wives of Lamech, listen to my speech, for I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for bruising me.
Gen 4:24 If Cain will be avenged seven times, truly Lamech seventy-seven times."
Gen 4:25 Adam knew his wife again. She gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, "for God has appointed me another child instead of Abel, for Cain killed him."
Gen 4:26 There was also born a son to Seth, and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on Yahweh's name.

Ecclesiastes, Wisdom To Endure Life's Vanities, Mark Copeland

                       "THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES"

           Wisdom To Endure Life's Vanities - II (10:1-11:8)


1. As mentioned in the previous lesson, there are things in life that
   we cannot avoid...
   a. Such as the inevitability of death
   b. The governments of men
   -- Both of which can contribute much to the "vanity" of "life under
      the sun"

2. But with the right kind of wisdom...
   a. We can endure the imperfect and often wicked governments of men
   b. We can live joyful lives despite the certainty of death

[...and so the Preacher (Solomon) continues with "Wisdom To Endure
Life's Vanities" in chapters ten and eleven.  As we look now at chapter
ten, we find him expounding upon...]


      1. Folly mars the finest of reputations - 10:1
      2. Folly constitutes an unsafe guide (the heart of a fool is not
         in the right place) - 10:2
      3. Folly will invariably betray it own stupidity - 10:3
      -- In contrast, the wise person will be patient, steadfast, and
         conciliatory, even when opposed by those in authority - 10:4

      1. An evil observed by the Preacher - 10:5-7
         a. Error proceeding from the ruler
         b. Folly exalted while the rich are debased
         c. Servants in power while true princes are humbled
      2. Those who labor with foolishness hurt and hinder themselves 
         - 10:8-10
         a. As illustrated through several examples given by the
         b. The wisdom of the wise will know how to expedite his labors
      3. The foolish seldom know how to restrain themselves - 10:11-15
         a. They do not know how to hold their tongues
         b. They do not know how to direct their labor
      4. How folly and wisdom affect the condition of the country - 10:
         a. Woe to the land whose leaders are childish and feast in the
            morning, their laziness resulting in broken down buildings
         b. Blessed is the land whose leaders feast at the proper time,
            whose successful rule provides for true happiness and 
            meeting every need

      1. Do not curse the king - 10:20a
      2. Do not curse the rich - 10:20b
      -- For what you say will likely reach their ears - 10:20c

[As in chapter nine, much of what the Preacher says in chapter ten
pertains to how to endure the vanity of living under governments often
ruled by wicked men.  As he continues in chapter eleven, we find him

      1. Verses 1 and 2 are parallel, encouraging kindness and 
         hospitality - 11:1-2
      2. The benefits of such benevolence:
         a. It provides blessings for the future
         b. It provides blessings for when days are evil
      -- Similar benefits of a benevolent spirit are described through
         the Bible - Ps 41:1-2; Pr 19:17; Lk 6:38; 16:9; Ga 6:9; 1 Ti 6:18-19

      1. Calamities (like rain and wind storms) will come...
         a. We cannot stop the clouds full of rain from falling
         b. Trees will lie wherever they fall
         ...if we spend our time just watching and not doing, we will
            not sow and reap - 11:3-4
      2. There are things we cannot comprehend...
         a. Like the way of the wind (or spirit)
         b. Like the development of the child in the womb
         ...so we cannot comprehend God's working; therefore do not
            restrict your charity - 11:5-6
      3. There will be days of darkness...
         a. It is great to be alive when one is well
         b. But even if one lives many joyful days, they should know
            that evil days will come - 11:7-8


1. We may not be able to escape the days of darkness in this life...
   a. Evil days often brought on by the governments of men
   b. Evil days that occur for which we have no explanation

2. But thanks to the Preacher, we know how best to endure life's
   a. Avoid making things worse through our own folly
   b. Sow the seeds of benevolence that can help us later when the days
      are evil

3. Of course, besides the Preacher (Solomon), we also have the Good
   Shepherd (Jesus)...
   a. Who has given His life that we might have an abundant life - Jn 10:10-11
   b. Who provides true peace though we may live in a world of 
      tribulation - Jn 16:33

Are we following the Shepherd who leads His sheep to life eternal? 
- Jn 10:27-28