Ecclesiastes Episode 2

Beth's Notes

1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?  It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. 11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow. 12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 15 What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. 16 I thought to myself, “Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. 18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.  Ecclesiastes 1:1-18 (NIV)

In Psalms 73 the psalmist Asaph writes of his confusion:
1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. 7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. 8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. 9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. 10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. 11 They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” 12 This is what the wicked are like-- always carefree, they increase in wealth. 13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. 14 All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. 16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. 19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! 20 As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. 21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. Psalms 73:1-28 (NIV)

Coach Vince Lombardi was once asked the secret of his fabulous success in football and he replied, “I go over the basics, I go over the basics, I go over the basics.” I think perhaps if King Solomon would have stopped and gone over the basics of what he knew to be true, his life would have ended quite differently and his heart would have been wholeheartedly Gods. That, dear ones, is what we are after. God desires for all of His children to have wholehearted devotion and a willing mind, keeping our accounts short with the Lord Jesus, and living through His power both for our good and His glory. Indeed, the “man after God’s own heart”, King David, charged his son Solomon in the following way in 1 Chronicles 28:9-10 (a prayer that is a great prayer to pray for our own children and grandchildren as well):
 9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” 1 Chronicles 28:9-10 (NIV)

Indeed, the Lord has chosen us to build our sanctuaries, our temples for Him. This, of course, is presently our bodies as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:7-10:
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NIV)

We are to be revealing the life of Jesus in our flesh. Leaving the aroma of Christ in our spheres. Reflecting His light into every encounter as light in Scripture is synonymous with direction and rescue (and who doesn’t need direction and rescue, Amen?). God’s desire is that we may bring Him much glory – and, BTW, us much good - while we are here on this earth through the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling every child of the King. In this, we are helping others in our spheres of influence (and we all have them, BTW) to come to know Him and to grow up in Him and we are helping ourselves as it is the way that we take hold of the life that is truly life. Unlike Solomon who sought to do everything but reflect God.  Remember, as well, it is never too late to start – the option is always there to start anew. His mercies are new every morning. Paul tells his beloved timid Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17-19:
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
Paradoxically, it is in this giving of ourselves as well as in the sharing and giving away of the possessions, which, I might add, possessions that the world considers key to the good life, that a Christian “may take hold of the life that is truly life”.  The alluring but vain and plastic substitutes for life, supplied by an unhealthy attachment to material things and entertaining ourselves to death, pale into worthlessness when compared with that life which is found only in Jesus Christ.  It is definitely the Diamond verses the paste gem.  In Matthew 16:24-26 Jesus states:
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”  Matthew 16:24-27 (NIV)

Jesus Himself is Life effervescent as well as the Light of the world.  The familiar John 14:6 comes to mind:
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Contrary to what others may think or say, the Truth is salvation is found only in Christ Jesus and is not obtainable through many ways. Only one Way exists. Peter states in Acts 4:12:
12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NIV)

Paul adds in 1 Timothy 2:5:
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle--I am telling the truth, I am not lying--and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. 1 Timothy 2:5-7 (NIV)

Jesus is the only access to the Father because He is the only One sent from the Father to die for our sins and open the way for us to approach God. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20:
20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NIV)

To know Him is life everlasting.  In John 17:1-5 Jesus prays:
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:1-5 (NIV)

This life that Jesus holds out to us is anything but meaningless, purposeless, wearisome or repetitive as King Solomon alludes to.  It is the great adventure.  While this was pre-Jesus, God was to be the same for these Israelites.  Remember the first and greatest commandment in Exodus 20:1-3:
1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1-3 (NIV)

The Jews considered the “Shema” to be one of the most important texts in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 which states:
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)

Jesus addresses this as well in response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” in Matthew 22:37-40

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

Jesus also tells us in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:31-34:
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:31-34 (NIV)

Without God and without Christ, life is indeed a burden and without meaning – “a chasing after the wind” as our protagonist writes. Solomon understood this life as meaningless because his perspective was taken from the framework of secular thinking – and not from God’s thinking who tells us to set our hearts and minds on things above.  If you want to know the source, you must  go to the Source. When we get our focus off the Lord and onto our sphere’s, circumstances and problems, like our psalmist Asaph and our protagonist Solomon, we become confused and disoriented and start believing that everything under the sun is futile and without meaning. And Scripture tells us, “Look up” not “out” or “in”.   

Like the pilot we talked about last week who takes his eyes off “the command bar” to keep his wings level and on to doing what seems right in his own eyes visually, he will soon discover himself to be in dire straits.  We become confused over our circumstances – senseless, ignorant and oppressive – “brute beasts” as Asaph states - when we take our eyes off of God’s Word and His commands for our lives. God wants us to pursue contagious joy (which is only from Him) and not infectious boredom else we wind like Hemingway stated: “Life is a short journey from nothingness to nothingness”. If Solomon would have only looked up and remembered.  Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1-4:
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)

Instead of Scripture focused, Solomon was self-focused – seeking the answers in all his “wisdom” – and he won’t find it there and neither will we.   

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 14:12 and exactly the same wording used again in Proverbs 16:25 for emphasis:    
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

When we choose a path – meaning our way of life – that may seem right in our own eyes – it leads to death if it does not line up with God’s Word and will. Sin always brings death to something, Amen? And because it leads to death, it is the way of sin and folly. I am reminded of John Newton’s quote which I have mentioned many times but it seems to fit perfectly here:
“It is natural for us to wish and to plan, and it is merciful of the Lord to disappoint our plans and to cross our wishes. For we cannot be safe or happy until we are weaned from our own wills and made simply desirous of being directed by His guidance. Although we understand this we seldom learn to put it into practice without being trained for a while in the school of disappointment. The schemes we form look so plausible and convenient that when they are broken we are ready to say, ‘What a pity!’  We try again, and with no better success; we are grieved, and perhaps angry, and plan another, and so on; eventually, in the course of time, experience and observation begin to convince us that we are no more able than we are worthy to choose correctly for ourselves. The Lord’s invitation to cast our cares upon Him, and His promise to take care of us, appear valuable; and when we have done planning, His plan in our favor gradually opens, and He does more and better for us than we could either ask or think. I can hardly recollect a single plan of mine, which if it had taken place in the time and the way I wanted would, humanly speaking, have proved my ruin; or at least would have deprived me of the greater good the Lord had designed for me. We judge things by their present appearance; but the Lord sees them in their consequences. If we could do the same we would be perfectly of His mind; but since we can’t, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is regarded as one of His heaviest judgments when He gives any person up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk according to their own wisdom.”  

Man does not get away with sin – even though perhaps, like the psalmist Asaph thought it may appear that way. God never winks at sin – it cost Him the death of His Son.  We are not our own, we have been bought with a high price and we are to honor God with our bodies.  We are held accountable for what we do and what we say and what we think as well as the motivation of our heart. It is always important to go back to the root – not the fruit – and that’s the heart. It is always about the heart.

We discover in Ecclesiastes Solomon was led astray by his own great folly.  More than likely he was prompted by his many foreign wives who were eager to lead him astray towards their idol faiths. God said that would happen and it did. That’s why it was prohibited by God. Sometimes the penalty of our iniquity is the iniquity itself.  If God allows us to go the way of our own hearts as was Solomon’s example, we will inevitably reap what we sow. And if we chase after anything but God – we will, in the end of the chase, find it sorely wanting. No matter how much money or “wisdom” we may have. Solomon bears witness to this. 

“Every man’s inordinate affection shall be his own affliction.” Augustine

But God (my two favorite words in Scripture) has a higher and infinitely better way. Paul tell us in Ephesians 4:17-19:

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. Ephesians 4:17-19 (NIV)

Because of this, Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 5:15-17: 
15 Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)

Let’s see if Paul adheres to what he prescribes resulting in a life of purpose and meaning and not in meaningless futility. We read in Philippians 1:20-26:
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. Philippians 1:19-26 (NIV)

Sounds anything BUT purposeless and meaningless does it not? Paul wrote that it is Christ that gives meaning to life and it is He Who enables people to lovingly serve Him right up until He takes them home to be with Him. Indeed, Paul goes on to say in Philippians that everything he once thought of as profit - which was a great deal as he was a Jew among Jews and held a high standing - he now considered a loss for the sake of Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:7-11 states:
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV)

Paul vehemently desired to know Christ and to make Him known to others. When we have something this wonderful, we must share it. We are just beggars telling others where to get bread – and Bread that will fully satisfy. Paul writes in Philippians 3:17-20:
17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:17-21 (NIV)

Remember as well, no one ever outgives God.  

“Purpose is what gives life meaning. A drifting boat always drifts downstream.” Charles Parkhurst

“Knowing that we are fulfilling God’s purpose is the only thing that really gives rest to the restless human heart.” Chuck Colson

“We will never put God in a nice little convenient proverbial box of our own makings and imaginations. He is so totally other – His thoughts are not our thoughts neither His ways our ways.  His paths for us are always perfect and pleasing and have our best interest at heart though most often unimaginatively difficult. His ways may not lead us into comfort and painlessness.  Indeed, His children should not expect to be carried into heaven on a bed of down though He can do so if He so desires. More often than not, His ways lead us into circumstances ‘far beyond our ability to endure’ to demonstrate to the unbelieving world (and to ourselves for that matter) His power in our lives whether it be by miraculously changing our circumstances or just as  miraculously (or even more so), by changing our hearts through the circumstances. His good ways will always lead us on paths of conformation to the fullness of His precious Son – that’s the purpose. He wants us to be like Jesus – whatever it takes - and we want that too. That is the abundant life.” BHY
Paul also tells the Philippians that he was confident that Christ who began the work in them would carry it on to completion in Philippians 1:6:
4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV)

The Christian life is not about our own capacity and ability – thankfully -  but about God’s; not about who we are, but who He is; not about what we have to offer, but what He offers, which is all of Himself, if only we are as available to Christ as Christ was available to His Father, Amen? This begins with crucifying ourselves with the bolt of Galatians 2:20 as Paul writes:
20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”  Galatians 2:20-21 (NIV)
God gives us all that we need in Christ through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit so that no flesh can ever glory in His presence. Everything we have is received from His Almighty hand – taking away all opportunities for any boasting. Even pre-Christ coming, God wanted His children to depend on Him and His power – not in the weakness of the flesh. Just as God told Joshua:
5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:5-9 (NIV)

Oh if only Solomon had paid attention to those words! His life would have turned out dramatically differently. Oh if we would only pay attention to God’s Word! Remember as well, Satan is a master at presenting the bait and hiding the hook – to present the sweet pleasure but hide from the soul the wrath and misery that will most assuredly follow – from Adam and Eve to present day Satan promises the former but intends the latter – giving an apple in exchange for paradise – there is simply nothing new under the sun. Satan promises the soul honour, pleasures, and profits but pays the soul with the greatest contempt, shame, and loss. King Solomon followed his own heart and not God’s Law creating great havoc for himself. Let’s use him as our example of what not to do. We are to keep a great distance from sin – hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Sin is the most infectious plague in the world – far more infectious than COVID and quite frankly, more deadly. How few tremble at it and keep a distance from it!  Sin will usher in the greatest and saddest losses that can be upon our souls. It will usher in the loss of that divine favor that is better than life, and the loss of the joy that is unspeakable and full of glory, and the loss of the peace that passes understanding that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.   
We need to be still before the Lord. Quietness can preach reality to our souls like few habits can. It says that he is God, and we are not; he knows all, and we know little; he is strong, and we are weak. Quietness widens our eyes to the bigness of God and the smallness of us. It brings us low enough to see how high and wise and worthy He is.
How often do we try to solve our problems without slowing down enough to first seek God? King David writes in Psalm 37:7:
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. Psalms 37:7 (NIV)

And again in Psalm 105:4 the psalmist proclaims:
4 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.   Psalms 105:4 (NIV)

Self-reliance is, of course, not as productive as it promises to be — at least not in the ways we would want. When we refuse to be quiet and ask God for help, we not only cut ourselves off from his strength, but also invite other painful consequences. As we discovered in Solomon’s life, the sin of self-reliance simply breeds more sin. Yet thankfully, we cannot sin our way out of God’s heart – if you are His, you are always His.  Jeremiah 31:3 states:
3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 

We also see in 2 Chronicles 30:9:
“For the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” 2 Chronicles 30:9 (NIV)

The yearning heart of God delivers and redelivers sinners who find themselves drowning in the sewage of their life – deep in need of rescue they cannot even begin on their own much less complete. God does not yearn for the Facebook you, the you that you project to everyone around you.  He yearns for the real you, the you underneath everything you present to others. 
Out of His gracious heart flows mercy and love and often and unbelievably so, out of ours a reluctance to receive it.  His heart for us does not waver according to our “loveliness” – He confounds our intuitions of Who He is. Our very sins often move Him to pity rather than anger.  I am reminded of Jesus sadness over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37:
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate.”  Matthew 23:37-38 (NIV)

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18 states:
18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!  Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

Paul’s words to the Ephesians in Ephesians 3:14-21 are a suitable closing for us today:
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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