And who knows the interpretation of a thing? Wisdom makes one’s face shine, and the hardness of one’s countenance is changed.
Keep the king’s command because of your sacred oath. Do not be terrified; go from his presence, do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is powerful, and who can say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever obeys a command will meet no harm, and the wise mind will know the time and way. For every matter has its time and way, although the troubles of mortals lie heavy upon them. Indeed, they do not know what is to be, for who can tell them how it will be? No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle, nor does wickedness deliver those who practice it. All this I observed, applying my mind to all that is done under the sun, while one person exercises authority over another to the other’s hurt.
Then I saw the wicked buried; they used to go in and out of the holy place, and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. Because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the human heart is fully set to do evil. Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they stand in fear before him, but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days like a shadow, because they do not stand in fear before God.
There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people who are treated according to the conduct of the wicked, and there are wicked people who are treated according to the conduct of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.
When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how one’s eyes see sleep neither day nor night, then I saw all the work of God, that no one can find out what is happening under the sun. However much they may toil in seeking, they will not find it out; even though those who are wise claim to know, they cannot find it out.
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death, than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for this is the end of everyone, and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.
For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of fools; this also is vanity.
Surely oppression makes the wise foolish, and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit.
Do not be quick to anger, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun.
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to the one who possesses it.
Consider the work of God; who can make straight what he has made crooked?
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that mortals may not find out anything that will come after them. In my vain life I have seen everything; there are righteous people who perish in their righteousness, and there are wicked people who prolong their life in their evildoing. Do not be too righteous, and do not act too wise; why should you destroy yourself? Do not be too wicked, and do not be a fool; why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of the one, without letting go of the other; for the one who fears God shall succeed with both.
Wisdom gives strength to the wise more than ten rulers that are in a city.
Surely there is no one on earth so righteous as to do good without ever sinning.
Do not give heed to everything that people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you; your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others.
All this I have tested by wisdom; I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.
That which is, is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out? I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness. I found more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters; one who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum, which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. See, this alone I found, that God made human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes.
There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon humankind: those to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that they lack nothing of all that they desire, yet God does not enable them to enjoy these things, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous ill. A man may beget a hundred children, and live many years; but however many are the days of his years, if he does not enjoy life’s good things, or has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For it comes into vanity and goes into darkness, and in darkness its name is covered; moreover it has not seen the sun or known anything; yet it finds rest rather than he. Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to one place?
All human toil is for the mouth, yet the appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage have the wise over fools? And what do the poor have who know how to conduct themselves before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire; this also is vanity and a chasing after wind.
Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what human beings are, and that they are not able to dispute with those who are stronger. The more words, the more vanity, so how is one the better? For who knows what is good for mortals while they live the few days of their vain life, which they pass like a shadow? For who can tell them what will be after them under the sun?
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than the sacrifice offered by fools; for they do not know how to keep from doing evil. Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.
For dreams come with many cares, and a fool’s voice with many words.
When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Fulfill what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your words, and destroy the work of your hands?
With many dreams come vanities and a multitude of words; but fear God.
If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and right, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But all things considered, this is an advantage for a land: a king for a plowed field.
The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.
When goods increase, those who eat them increase; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes?
Sweet is the sleep of laborers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.
There is a grievous ill that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owners to their hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture; though they are parents of children, they have nothing in their hands. As they came from their mother’s womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands. This also is a grievous ill: just as they came, so shall they go; and what gain do they have from toiling for the wind? Besides, all their days they eat in darkness, in much vexation and sickness and resentment.
This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot. Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil—this is the gift of God. For they will scarcely brood over the days of their lives, because God keeps them occupied with the joy of their hearts.
The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow.
All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has already been, in the ages before us.
The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them.
I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.
What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.
I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.
For in much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.
Every morning you wake up, each day you live on, will be marked by the choices you make.
Every choice you make identifies your master. Everything you do points to your passion. What’s driving you will show in the choices you make.
All your todays add up to all your tomorrows. If you choose something today that you don’t want for your tomorrow, just remember the choice was, is and will always be yours. So… be intentional about what you think about today. Be purposeful about what you do today.
At sixteen years old, I started at the bottom rung of the fast food restaurant ladder. My first job was as a crew person at a chain restaurant. If there were no customers to serve, my secondary duties consisted of cleaning base boards, sweeping and mopping the floor, washing dishes, taking out trash, and cleaning up the bathrooms. Yuck… but I didn’t complain – it was part of the job I signed up for. Soon, I was a trainer, responsible for teaching others the details of restaurant maintenance and upkeep. After my eighteenth birthday I made shift manager with the responsibility of running one of three shifts a day at a profit while keeping the store clean and orderly and providing excellent customer service in 90 seconds or less. There was a progression of details I needed learn in order to operate the business, but my overall training began with the most menial.
These years provided my true foundational business education.
Had it been up to me, I would have been interning at an advertising agency during high school – an unpaid errand girl learning all about the artifices of the world. But my choice jobs didn’t want me. My guadian at the time, an aunt, was certain a fast food chain would not turn me down. She was so determined to get me working she drove me to the restaurant, made me fill out an application while she waited for me, and assured the hiring manager she would pick me up after later shifts. I think I was hired on the spot. In my aunt’s opinion, at age sixteen, I was becoming a young woman and needed to be able to finance my personal needs as well as my school expenses.
This was my first lesson on personal financial responsibility.
Today I work for one of the top fifteen companies in the Fortune 500 – in a support role on the executive floor – as I’ve been told numerous times, it doesn’t matter that I’m an assistant, it matters that I am well-positioned.
Supporting people was not my idea of a career path when I was in college – I was focused on the management and ownership tracks. However, this unplanned administrative assistant career has been the best possible training for me. With all sincerity I say God has brought me to where I am and along the route of His choosing for His purposes in my life.
The details make up the whole.
Focusing on the details of life – how I live, who I share my time with, what I think and how I share my beliefs – allows for a greater spotlight to be placed on my life in general… or rather I won’t be ashamed when the spotlight hits me because my shadowy areas are just as clean as my well-lit areas.
What I learned from my restaurant years is that a dirty restroom can ruin an otherwise perfect visit. Crumbs on the floor can invite a trail of ants that will in turn have parents snatching up their children and running from the restaurant. What I’ve learned from my corporate years is that a hospitable spirit and gracious personality will open more doors than any degree will. At this level, everyone has some impressive education or experience, but not everyone has an impressive attitude or character.
We can understand God’s plans for us better when we look back and see what He has done for us, what He has brought us through, and what lessons He is insistent we learn from repetitious situations in our lives. I can tell you now, even though I am not sure what my next or final roles will be here on earth, I am certain that they will be a culmination of everything I’ve learned and experienced up to that point.
Life… everyday life, full of details we pay little attention to, is the beginning of our ministry to others in the Body of Christ. You may think you have nothing worth sharing, but I assure you, your life is a beacon to someone within elbow or shouting distance.
“The people should not think that small beginnings are unimportant. They will be happy when they see Zerubbabel with tools, building the Temple. (These are the seven eyes of the Lord, which look back and forth across the earth.)” ~ Zechariah 4:10
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” ~ Luke 17:11-19
Get this Word!
Ten lepers cried out to Jesus from a distance. Jesus simply looked at them and spoke a statement – from that same distance. He didn’t offer any promises or elaborate speeches. He just told them where to go and what to do. In the PROCESS of them following Jesus’s instruction, the ten lepers were cleansed of their disease.
That’s power! Pure power in the Word!
As he continued to walk in Jesus’s instruction, one of the lepers noticed he was clean of his disease and rushed back to Jesus and thanked Him for what He had done. He praised God for his healing.
Jesus can’t be shocked by human nature, but He points out that He cleaned ten lepers and only one (a foreigner, at that) returned to thank Him and give glory to God. He continues and says because of that man’s expression of faith, he is now healed.
What I hear in what is not said is the other nine were not permanently healed. They were indeed cleansed in the process, but without faith they did not stay that way.
Now apply this story to any situation in your life. How have you believed God for a manifestation and when you received it, you considered it your due? Perhaps you didn’t offer God thanksgiving. Or perhaps you attributed your gratitude to outside sources that seemed to come through for you.
Keep thinking of that situation. Now consider how you regressed. Regression happened didn’t it? Perhaps you got the house you prayed for, but then you weren’t able to afford the payments. Perhaps you got the job you prayed for, but then you didn’t have time for your spouse and children. God will always support and increase what He provides when we give Him His due – praise and thanksgiving.
In all your getting, get understanding (Proverbs 4:7). The most important element of life is to understand we were created to praise God (Isaiah 43:21).
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress.
He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. ~ Psalm 107:1-9
Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith. ~ Habakkuk 2:2-3 NKJV
Are you familiar with the TV series, the Highlander? I think Adrian Paul is the reason I had a huge crush, not just for Scots men, but for Scotland! I watched the television series long before I saw any of the movies.
The premise of the show was that immortals inhabited the Earth. They didn’t know about their immortality until they died and rose up again. They were destined to roam the earth in solitude or fight to an eternal death when they encountered each other because they believed, ultimately there could only be one immortal left on Earth.
I mention this because the Highlander’s tagline helps to illustrate my thoughts for this post. There can be only one.
I am husband hunting. Over the past few weeks, people’s reactions to my blunt speech about my search have implied that verbalizing and taking action on my desires is somewhat inappropriate. Like, I’m somehow stepping outside of a box they assigned me to.
Well, I don’t fit well in boxes and other peoples discomfort with truth and purpose are not going to hinder me. I’m not ashamed. I’m not embarrassed. I’ve simply reached a point in my life where I’m ready for marriage, family and the whole kit and caboodle. I’m ready to fully lay my life down for my unit. First, I must acquire a partner. I am under no misconceptions that there can only be one. Despite popular opinion and practice, I don’t feel the need, nor do I buy into the hype, that I need to sample men. There’s no need to test flavors, acquire substitutes or play house, try out options or explore different models. I won’t be used for any of that. You’re either ready for the full purchase or you can keep on moving.
I would like to extend a heartfelt, sincere “Thank You” to the ones who are moving out the way and clearing the field for a sincere, viable prospect to step up and consider throwing his gauntlet into the ring. Their instant scurry has provided a better line of sight to that one.
For those of you sitting back, waiting to be approached – I guarantee you it won’t happen. I am not soliciting men; I am simply announcing my availability. A wilting, whimpering man too scared to speak up for himself will not attract my notice or my favor. However, one who boldly approaches and lays his plans on the table will certainly earn my ear. Note: Having access to my ear is not the same as earning my hand.
Those men running away in terror from a woman seeking her mate have no need to worry. I’m not looking for a scurrying mouse; weak character removed you completely from the opportunity to acquire this prize. It’s the man standing firm in his identity and his purpose, walking towards me that my eyes are glued to.
What’s so scary about marriage?
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His word, love for Godis truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. ~ 1 John 2:4-6
The more I think about it, the less I think that’s the true question. Perhaps I should ask, what’s so scary about honesty, commitment and nakedness?
Hmmm… I think that’s a recurring theme in my writing. I keep coming across people who are so deep in the fig leaves they don’t know how to perceive anyone who refuses to conceal themselves.
Myles Munroe stated, “Vision is personal, but it is never private.” In Habakkuk 2: 2-3, God tells us to write the vision He gives us plainly on a wall or tablet. We are to make our vision visible. Visions are not just for the seer, they are also for the surrounding community.
Now, the question running through your mind could be, “Why do others need to know about your vision for marriage?”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, that since my vision is lined up with what God planned marriage to be (a committed, life-long relationship He is in the midst of), He’s pointing out a sore spot to a lot of “Christians” living in the world. Many people who claim to believe God and trust Him are exposing themselves as liars. Unfaithful. Untrustworthy. Undisciplined. Unholy. Selfish. Lustful. Liars.
Ouch. But that’s what self-proclaimed Christians become when they sample one another intimately and/or sexually outside the bond of marriage. You may think it’s love and you’re exonerated, you may think mutual agreement allows for a friendship with benefits, or you may just be honest enough to admit to your lustful nature. No matter how you’ve excused your immoral conduct, you are still violating God’s laws.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
I don’t know…. Perhaps I’m flabbergasted that some people are truly opposed to commitment and marriage yet see nothing wrong with violating the Holy Spirit with their bodies. Or violating themselves with their bodies on a lesser level.
Over the pass few weeks, I’ve been told I am in error for even looking for a husband, let alone speaking aloud about what I want. Some people have laughed in my face. Others were shocked that I am serious. A few have asked me why I won’t just adopt as a single parent, why I won’t just have a child and skip the husband. Married women have asked why I want to complicate my life with a man. The simplest of the questions have been: Why do you want to marry?
My simplest answer is: God paired mankind from the beginning. The Bible is full of marriages that have changed the course of human history. The relationship God demands of us is a prototype for our relationship with our spouse. Everywhere in His word, I read about my partner and I read about what I am to be as a partner. I want what God has written about. I what what He has promised. And I am ready to receive it. Simpler still: I want to marry because I believe God.
To the “naysayers”
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. ~ Hebrews 6: 4-6
For the naysayers a.k.a. the nonbelievers, it’s not difficult for me to believe with someone who is believing for a manifestation in their life. I may have to come to grips with it, depending on where my understanding is, but I certainly don’t sit back with an air of judgment and an expectation to see them fail.
It’s interesting to me how shocked and, dare I say, offended people are at my boldness. Actually, their shock is offensive to me. Their timidity is disturbing to me. Why? Because they are attempting to blind me with their lack of vision. They are trying to restrain me with their own lack of purpose.
A person of purpose admires purpose in another. A person of faith recognizes faith in another. A Believer lifts other Believers up.
This is not to say that I need everyone’s support or hope for universal agreement in my quest. I am free of that need. The Word says that I need only join with one or two others in the name of Jesus when requesting anything in my life and it will be granted (Matthew 18:19-20). And whatever we ask for in faith, believing we have received it will be granted (Matthew 21:22). Those requirements have been met. I call this process done in the name of Jesus. What you see before you is a woman acting out her faith. The one who’s coming has already been prepared for me. Sharing this process is simply a creative way for me to wait for his arrival.