Ecclesiastes Episode 3

Beth's Notes

1 I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. 4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.  I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well--the delights of the heart of man. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. 12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king’s successor do than what has already been done? 13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. 14 The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. 15 Then I thought in my heart, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?” I said in my heart, “This too is meaningless.” 16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die! 17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless. 24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:1-26 (NIV)

Spurgeon states:
“The person who takes all but makes no return is out of joint with the universe. To give to others is but sowing seed for ourselves. He who is so good a steward as to be willing to use his substance for his Lord, shall be entrusted with more. Child of the King are you rendering to Him according to the benefit received? Much has been given to you; what is your fruit?  To be selfish is to be wicked. Suppose the ocean gave up none of its watery treasure; it would bring ruin upon our race. God forbid that any of us should follow the ungenerous and destructive policy of living for ourselves. Jesus did not please Himself. All fullness dwells in Him, but of His fullness we have all received. O for Jesus’ spirit, that henceforth we may not live for ourselves!” C. H. Spurgeon
Jesus states in John 9:4-5:
4 “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5 (NIV)

And again in John 6:38: 
38 “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38 (NIV)

Of these 26 verses in Chapter Two of Ecclesiastes, Solomon uses “I”, “My”, “Myself” or “Me” at least 57 times demonstrating to the reader where his true focus remained.  I am reminded of the parable in Luke which demonstrates a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. We see in Luke 12:16-21:
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21 (NIV)

Of these five verses we again see the mention of “I”, “My”, and “Himself”, 13 times. Our constant focus is never to be on ourselves.  Also, selfishness will always destroy pure joy. It is the “upside down” economy of God – we die to live, we give to get, we stoop to rise, we must lose our life to find it – you get the point. God desires for us to be alive to Him and dead to self and self-interest, compelled by the Spirit, which He basically states in all four Gospels. Our willingness to die to self is the price we must pay if we want to be raised from the walking dead to live and work and walk in the power of the Spirit. Jesus describes this in John 12:24:

24 “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25 (NIV)

Unless we are prepared to die to self, we will never become what God intended for us to be. Dead to our own abilities to accomplish anything eternal apart from Christ – means trading what we are for what Christ is.  If we do not do this we will never know the profound peace that comes from allowing the Lord Jesus to assume responsibility for our lives and we will not experience His achieving power within us to accomplish things “too hard” for us to do. I think of it as doing the work He has called me to do – wherever He has placed me – through His power for His glory.  Allowing Him to lead me, seeking to live with open hands – not holding on with a vice grip to what I think I have to have. He loves me and I can trust Him with my life and the life of all I hold dear. Christ is to be Lord of our lives. He knows, He see, He loves, He delivers. Our “reasonable service” to Him is to be living sacrifices as Paul states in Romans 12:1-2:
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Paul also tells us in Titus 2:11-14:
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)

The writer of Hebrews also tells us in Hebrews 12:1-3:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

Like we said last week, it is not about making much of us, rather it is all about making much of Him. Because the One Who gives the power gets the glory. Right? Paul tells us in Romans 15:13:
17 Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. Romans 15:17 (NIV)

We honor Jesus by bringing Him glory through what He has given our hands to do – working at it with all our hearts as unto Him. There is a plan for each of our lives and we are the ultimate losers if we do not walk in it. We are not to be looking around at what others are to be about rather we are to keep our eyes and energies fixed on what He has called us to be about. A good question for us to ponder is do we bring Him glory through our work? Does He stand high or low in the world’s eyes through us? If we think little of Him, going about our own ways, giving Him little or no thought, contented to live without the pleasure of His smile or the comfort and warmth of His presence and caring very little for His honor or His power, we will remain bloomless – so to speak – in our works. If He is on the throne of our hearts then it will be well with our souls. And we all desire soul satisfaction, Amen?

We want to be like Jesus Who was always about His Father’s work, always bringing His Father much glory. Resolve to follow hard after Christ through His power in all He leads you to do, wherever He places you, from the hospital bed to the mom changing the diaper to the CEO of the largest company to the doctor who transplants the heart to the one who sits in the Presidents chair. It matters not the position rather the action and the heart attitude motivating the action. If we are determined to bring God glory through what He places in our hands to do, we will. And that, my friends is taking hold of life that is truly life. Don’t ever wrongly believe that anything is beneath you to do either, because it simply is not. We all stand on equal footing at the foot of the cross. Seek to have a strong will toward a righteous and Godly resolve to bring God glory through our actions in wherever He places our feet to stand.   

If Solomon would have sought this end his life would have turned out 
remarkably different. Hindsight is always 20/20, Amen?    

There is much of life that we cannot understand – it is filled with difficulties and perplexities as King Solomon points out over and over. From his secularist human point of view, in our passage for today, it’s all vanity and folly for him. If we live for pleasure alone, enjoyment will decrease unless the intensity of the pleasure increases. Then you finally reach a point of diminishing returns when there is little or no enjoyment at all, only bondage. When pleasure alone is the center of life, the result will ultimately be disappointment and emptiness. When anything apart from Christ being the center of your life, the results are the same. Yet life is God’s good gift to us both for our enjoyment and to bring Him glory. God desires for us not to place our hopes in riches which are so uncertain but in God. Paul tells us that God provides us with everything for our enjoyment and we are to be generous and willing to share and in this way we store up treasures for ourselves for the coming age. This is the way to take hold of the life that is truly life. To be sure, no one ever outgives God. In 1 Timothy 6:17 Paul states: 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)

Our actions towards others is to point them to God and to His glory – not trying to please ourselves or men or make much of us. As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12:
10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NIV)

I am reminded of the psalmist’s words in Psalms 115:
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. 2 Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. 4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. 5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; 6 they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; 7 they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. 9 O house of Israel, trust in the LORD-- he is their help and shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD-- he is their help and shield. 11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD-- he is their help and shield. 12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us: He will bless the house of Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, 13 he will bless those who fear the LORD-- small and great alike. 14 May the LORD make you increase, both you and your children. 15 May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. 17 It is not the dead who praise the LORD, those who go down to silence; 18 it is we who extol the LORD, both now and forevermore. Praise the LORD. Psalms 115:1-18 (NIV)

When we take God/Jesus/Holy Spirit out of the equation – vanity, meaningless and fruitlessness are the correct response. That is why King Solomon writes so dismally. But God. Scott Sauls writes:
“In 2015, Business Insider_ Magazine published an article about Markus Persson, the creator of the wildly successful video game, Minecraft. Persson sold his company for $2.5 billion—establishing him as one of the richest, most successful entrepreneurs in our time. Following the sale, he purchased a mansion for $70 million and spent his days living the dream with lavish parties, high-end vacations, world travel, and frequent hobnobbing with well-known celebrities.
At the peak of his success, when he seemed to be one of the world’s most happy and secure human beings, Persson shared the following Ecclesiastes-like reflections on his Twitter page:
‘The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying.  Hanging out with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people, able to do whatever I want, and I have never felt more isolated.’
Several years ago, a friend sent me an essay about the work culture in Silicon Valley indicating that Persson is by no means alone in his struggle. The writer, who had spent a good bit of time with successful start-up innovators and organization leaders in the tech industry, said that while Silicon Valley may be awash in material wealth, its workers are afflicted with a different kind of human poverty. This kind of poverty doesn’t suffer materially as much as it suffers relationally, spiritually, and emotionally from the effects of self-centered ambition, ruthless competition, hyper-intense driven-ness, and insane work hours.
There is also Michelle Williams of the famed diva band, Destiny’s Child. Reflecting on her newfound fame and fortune, said "I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression. When I disclosed it to our manager at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘You all just signed a multi-million-dollar deal. You’re about to go on tour. What do you have to be depressed about?’’
There are still others. Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway. Groundbreaking writer and literary patron Virginia Woolf. Celebrated author and professor David Foster Wallace. Seattle rock star Curt Cobain. Oscar-winning actor, Robin Williams. Pioneering poet Sylvia Plath. World-renowned fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Actress and cultural icon Marilyn Monroe. All of these and many like them have two things in common. First, they all become portraits of success, popularity, fame, and fortune in their lifetimes. Second, they all committed suicide. Fame and fortune had promised to deliver happiness to them all, and failed to do so on each count.
Does this mean that things like success, popularity, fame and fortune always lead to downfall and destruction? No, it does not. But it is always tricky.
One of the most perplexing things that Jesus ever said was that it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). And yet, many affluent people in the Bible did
 _enter the kingdom of heaven—Abraham the father of faith, Joseph the prime minister of Egypt, Job the wealthy sufferer, David the King of Israel, Solomon the son of David, Luke the physician, Joseph of Arimathea the financier, and (eventually) Nicodemus the wealthy pillar of his community—just to name a few.
Possessing power and luxury only becomes problematic when possessing power and luxury begins to possess us. Success in the world’s eyes—wealth, fame, power, beauty, love and romance, comfort, popularity, health, and so on—can be something to celebrate and enjoy with thanksgiving. But this is true only as long as we don’t turn this kind of success into our lifeline, our source for significance, our basis for meaning, our true north.” Scott Sauls

Jesus states in Luke 12:48:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48 (NIV)
God is to be our satisfying portion. The world may fill a man but can never satisfy him.  It was never intended to. We discover this over and over again with what the world offers, Amen? The wisest man in the world became a greedy, lustful, power-hungry, idolatrous fool. He violated the kingly commands of Deuteronomy 17 and accumulated possessions as well as women for himself. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3). The foreign women he married pulled his heart away from Yahweh to false gods (1 Kings 11:1-8) as God had warned him against, yet Scripture states, “he held fast to them in love”.  He did not deny himself anything he wanted and it was not a pretty picture – neither was it God glorifying. As a result he ruined his kingdom, and God told Solomon that following his death his kingdom would be divided during his son’s reign (1 Kings 11:9-13). I find it interesting that he was so distraught over what his heirs would do with what he left them yet what he left them was a kingdom in shambles. He should have been more concerned about his responsibility towards them than theirs towards him! 
Most have too much but no one has enough. Only God fully satisfies.  Only God. It is He that fills our cups to overflowing with Living Water where every space is filled unlike the rocks the world offers to our metal cups that will never fill to the fullness and are always found lacking and clanging. The world cannot satisfy even the senses, much less the soul.  Where can true contentment be found? It is not in the earth if God is not in it.  If you long for the things of this world, you will find them nothing when you receive them. They can only be fully enjoyed when God is your portion. 
All we need to do is listen to Solomon’s words if we believe happiness can found by earthly treasures: “Meaningless! Meaningless!”. God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is to be our  anchor of sufficiency and joy. Rejoice in this: that your names are written in heaven. Your inheritance is infinite, eternal, sure. Our joy is safe. Neither suffering nor success_ _can destroy its anchor. Great is your reward in heaven. Your name is written there. It is secure. Jesus anchored the happiness of suffering saints in the reward of heaven. And he anchored the happiness of successful saints in the same.  Both suffering and success can lead us to monotony and meaningless.  Jesus has freed us from the tyranny of worldly pain and pleasure — worldly suffering and worldly success.
“Our God is a safe portion, a secure portion. He is a portion that no one can rob you of. God is a portion that fire cannot burn, floods cannot drown, thieves cannot steal, enemies cannot confiscate, and soldiers cannot plunder. A man may take away my gold, but he cannot take away my God.” Thomas Brooks

Our faith is to be an assurance of things hoped for, being certain of what we do not see. It is to be a faith that substantiates our hopes and checks our roaming sensuality for we find in even the purist hearts the tendency for corruption and present satisfaction in worldly things. Though the pleasures of sin are short and inconsiderable, yet because they remain near at hand, they have more influence over us than the joys of heaven which are future and absent from our sight. Yet Jesus is to be our sufficiency and strength in the present as well, and we are to delight in His amazing mercy and love. When lust is up and eager for fulfillment, all considerations of eternal glory and blessedness are laid aside to give it satisfaction. Think Esau and the selling of his birthright for a mere bowl of stew. Many part with their faith for the vilest price, Amen? A little pleasure, a little gain, a little happiness in the world, will make men part with all that is honest and sacred. Here lies the bait, these things are present; we can taste the delights of the world, and feel the pleasures of the flesh, but the happiness of the world to come is unseen and unknown. When we discover our hearts going down the wrong road. Stop. Repent (turn). Follow (Jesus) in His power for His glory. Do this a million times a day if need be.     

Again, God is our very satisfying portion. Indeed, all of life is meaningless apart from Him. The world’s “trinkets” while alluring are mere pastes gems in comparison to the brilliant diamond from God’s river of delights.  

The glitzy lights of this world are no match for the True Light of Jesus which shines forth through every believer. While certainly louder and touting the promise of satisfaction, the world fails miserably in its offer of continued contentment, joy and peace. Like the drug addict, all the world does is keep one longing for more. With Christ there is no wanting. He is the Living Water which totally fills the cup. Daily be filled with Him and everything else is merely a cherry on top. 

Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 1:13: 
13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. 1 Thessalonians 3:13 (NIV)

The Thessalonians needed strengthening by God in their inner beings.  The word strengthen, used by Paul, describes Timothy’s strengthening of the Thessalonians in their faith. Paul did not pray that they would be sinless; that was impossible. He prayed that they would be blameless, that is, that after they sinned they would deal with it as God requires by seeking repentance and so be free from any reasonable charge by their fellowmen. Before God they should be holy, separated to God in their hearts and habits. Paul longed that when Jesus Christ would return He would find them blameless before men and holy before God.

Further, Paul writes later in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6:
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NIV)

The reason the Apostle Paul writes this he states in 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8:
7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NIV)

Lastly, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2:
1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 (NIV)

Within the house of hedonism there are many rooms, and Solomon tries to sleep in them all. Many people turn to pleasure, if not for ultimate meaning, then for distraction from lack of meaning. Solomon wants us to learn from his experiments in the classroom and not on our own personal field trip experiences – and so do we, Amen? More will not satisfy us only God can.  Apart from God there is no lasting enjoyment. Everything is meaningless without Jesus but with Jesus there is both purpose and enjoyment.
Unless we follow Christ and make God the great object of our life, we only differ in appearance from the most frivolous of people. People are perpetually trying to find satisfaction in created things rather than the Creator, and seeking satisfaction in anything or anyone other than God is idolatry. We will never find fullness of joy until we find our identity in Christ/God/Holy Spirit. The search for other things will never work because created things cannot bring ultimate satisfaction – they will always come up wanting.
It is not that these things are inherently bad in and of themselves, it is the place in our hearts with which we give them that’s bad. Good things that are turned into a god thing becomes an enslaving thing. Every. Time.  Despite its boast of license, the weak-willed heart is clasped in irons. It has no control.  When we have an inordinate love for anything other than God it will inevitably control us. For example, King Solomon lavished himself with so much largesse (gold, horses, wives) that he forgot how to say “no”. So have many others before and after him. And God will not share His rightful throne of our hearts with anything or anyone. It is His place. Remember, Solomon lived larger than any of us ever could and he concludes that it was all futile. 

Lastly, we must learn to guard our hearts. Scripture tells us in Proverbs 4:23 – interestingly written by Solomon:
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Heart is a basket term for our entire inner person. It is to be our chief concern as it is the root from which our fruit comes. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:43-45:
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:43-45 (NIV)

Remember as well that a deluded heart will mislead us. Isaiah 44:30 states:
20 He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” Isaiah 44:20 (NIV)

Scripture also tells us in Jeremiah 17:9-10:
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NIV)

Just prior to these verses in Jeremiah God tells us in Jeremiah 17:7-8:
7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

God has given us a new heart that replaces our old heart of stone.  Ezekiel 36-26-27 tells us:
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel  36:26-27 (NIV)

Through this call, God graciously enlightens our mind with a saving knowledge of Christ, satisfies our desire for life and love, and renews our will so that we might freely accept Christ as Savior and submit to Him as Lord. Two things have happened: the stubborn and proud heart has been subdued and the feeble and enslaved heart has been freed and strengthened. Yet He is a gentleman and does force His will on us – that is why, in my opinion so many die as mere babes in Christ never growing up and missing out on the life that is truly life. 

It is always about the heart. Always. One of the best prayers we can pray is King David’s request in Psalms 139:23-24 where he pleads with God to search his heart:  
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV)

If King Solomon had sincerely prayed this his life would have undoubtedly taken a dramatic turn from meaningless to purposeful. Remember the prodigal just simply had to return home. Keep your accounts short with the Lord – quick repentance is key here in cultivating a pure heart.

The world has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Only God fully satisfies. 

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

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