Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 – Wealth in Spirit

Read Ecclesiastes 5:8-20

Why does it seem like the problems Solomon wrote about centuries ago are still problems facing our culture today? There are still wealthy people and poor people, and the gap seems to be enlarging all the time. People are always complaining about the red tape in government, including ineffective measures. And, we still die, taking nothing with us.

This isn’t the first time Solomon focused his lament on having riches. Remember, he was king, and God had given him more than wisdom to enjoy. How lavishly he lived his life, we can surely imagine from all the descriptions we have in the Bible. When you have that much “stuff,” it must be hard to imagine not having it or leaving it all behind.

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Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 – The Meaning of Life

Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Reading through the book of Ecclesiastes should be interesting because it has traditionally been a bit controversial. The book is believed to be written by King Solomon, late in his life, after living much of his life apart from God. His reflections look back on his life, and we’ll no doubt see a lot of parallels to our world today. You’ll soon discover Solomon’s frustrations with life.

As we let the Holy Spirit guide us through this book, we’ll see how important it is to fear God and obey his commands. We’ll encounter contradiction, pessimism, and opinions of the wise king. You may recall Solomon asked God for wisdom when he first became king. God granted his request, and Solomon became the wisest in the land. It’s my prayer that Solomon’s wisdom will draw us closer to God.

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Mark 8:34-9:1 – How to Follow Jesus

Read Mark 8:34-9:1

Do you think the crowds showing up to see Jesus wondered how they could become followers like the chosen twelve? Jesus’ magnetic character automatically drew people to him. I’m guessing many of those people wanted more. We often find ourselves wanting more, too.

In this passage, Jesus lets us all know how we can be his followers. Jesus told them, “you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” Would that statement have made sense to those hungry for more? Does it make sense to you?

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Zechariah 8:20-23 – God is With You

Read Zechariah 8:20-23

There’s a lot of responsibility involved when you follow Jesus. I want to be seen as someone who knows Jesus. For Zechariah’s audience of Jews, this message was especially personal to them. Can you imagine how you’d feel if someone came up to you and said, “Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

What would your response be? “Absolutely!” Or would you look over your shoulder thinking they were talking to someone else? Shepherding a new believer is always a privilege. It’s not hard. You just have to remember what it was like to be a new believer and try not to over-stimulate them with exuberant faith!

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Zephaniah 2:1-3 – Act Now!

Read Zephaniah 2:1-3

What does repentance look like? Zephaniah shows us in today’s reading. This is not only meant for the remnant of faithful ones who are wanting to stay true to God in the days before the exile, but to us as well. The prescription for living is not hard, unless you have a hard time humbling yourself and being obedient to God’s will.

Many will choose the independence this world offers. The evil one wants us to believe there is freedom in those choices. Rather, it’s a death sentence with no hope for eternity. Is it hard for you to humbly obey God?

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