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Lord, Help Me to Remember Solomon’s Final Words–Ecclesiastes 12:13-14


Today’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14, 1 Kings 12:1-20; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19; 1 Kings 12:21-24; 2 Chronicles 11:1-4; 1 Kings 12:25-33; 2 Chronicles 11:5-17

Heavenly Father, Solomon’s last words sound like something I should have framed on my wall:

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.  –Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

  •  Fear God
  • Obey His commands
  • It’s everyone’s duty
  • God will judge us for everything we do

Holy Spirit make this personal for me.  Remind me of these words.  Lord, I want to fear You and obey You.  Help me.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 13:1-14:24; 2 Chronicles 12:13-14; 2 Chronicles 11:18-23; 2 Chronicles 12:1-12; 1 Kings 14:25-28; 2 Chronicles 12:15-16; 1 Kings 14:29-15:5; 2 Chronicles 13:1-22; 1 Kings 15:6-8; 2 Chronicles 14:1-8; 1 Kings 15:9-15; 1 Kings 14:19-20; 1 Kings 15:25-34; 2 Chronicles 14:9-15:19

Lord, Help Us Find the Time and a Way to Do What is Right–Ecclesiastes 8:5-6

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-11:6

Heavenly Father, the state of our world must make You so sad.  Have we as a society completely lost our way?

Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right… —Ecclesiastes 8:5-6

Where are the wise people who find a time and a way to do what’s right?

This past week, I had an experience that really troubled me. I was assisting my mom with a legal matter. I had talked with my her the night before and ask her if she had informed the family of the person we would be confronting the next day. She said she hadn’t. We talked about it and decided it was the right thing to do, so she contacted the family. When we got to the attorney’s office yesterday and told him there was a change in plans because this person’s family wanted to be involved he said in a tone that added “stupid” to the end of the question, “why did you do that?” I told him because it was the right thing to do and we decided that we would not want to be treated that way so we handled the situation by applying the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12)  He did not like it. He felt we had caused a simple situation to be complicated and caused it to take way too much time. To his surprise everything worked out better and quicker that he had originally planned.*

*Some details were changed changed in this scenario to provide anonymity 

Yes, it was within the boundaries of the law to handle the situation the way the attorney suggested, yes it appeared to be easier to do it the attorney’s way, but it wasn’t right.

Jesus, doing what is right gets harder everyday. The only way we can live a victorious Christian Life is through constant communication with You, through prayer and Bible study. Holy Spirit, help us to do the right things in the small things so that we can stand strong when the big decisions arise. Yesterday, proved that our only true counselor is the Holy Spirit.

Lord, help us to make Your way, our way!  The enemy of our soul works tirelessly to keep us so busy that we don’t have time to do what’s right–we’re always cutting corners, sliding by, looking for the easy way out…

Holy Spirit, speak loudly.  Speak clearly.  Convict us of our sins.  Help us to turn from our wicked ways. Help us to find the time and make a way to do what’s right!

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Devotions: Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14, 1 Kings 12:1-20; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19; 1 Kings 12:21-24; 2 Chronicles 11:1-4; 1 Kings 12:25-33; 2 Chronicles 11:5-17

Lord, My Motivation for the Good Life has been Wrong—Ecclesiastes 2:24

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12

Heavenly Father, the older I get the more I understand Ecclesiastes. I used to think this was one of the most depressing books of the Bible but now I see it as a book that has as much wisdom as Proverbs. Solomon had it all, did it all and owned it all. From the beginning he was driven to succeed, very goal oriented and never settled for less than his high expectations.

Here’s what he says about success during the later years of his life:

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. —Ecclesiastes 4:4

Lord, in our 20s, 30, and 40s most of us would never admit that our motivation for success is to be like our neighbors. Now that I’m in my late 50s I will confess that more than likely that was my motivation for most of my life. In today’s world it’s even worse. We are tempted, stimulated and manipulated by the media and advertising from the time we are born (how many 3 year olds know what McDonald’s looks like?), so we don’t just envy our neighbors we envy advertisements, air-brushed people on magazine covers, celebrities, movie characters, and our social media friends’ pretend lives.

Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible got caught up in the success myth so we’re in good company, right? Here, I go again Lord, using the mistakes of people in Your Word to make me feel better about myself. While it does give me comfort, the purpose of Your Word is for us to learn from the mistakes of others, not feel better about our poor attitudes, desires, and choices.

From everything Solomon experienced this is what’s on his mind in his golden years:

So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. —Ecclesiastes 2:24

Lord, help me to enjoy each day’s work, food, and drink. Help me and my friends who are striving for “the good life” to stop striving and just enjoy the simple pleasures You provide. Forgive us for envying the lives of our neighbors, both the real and pretend ones.

In Jesus name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-11:6

Lord, Help Me to Learn From the Mistakes of Solomon—1 Kings 11: 9-10

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Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 11-43, 2 Chronicles 9:29-31, Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Heavenly Father, it’s sad that Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible, who through Proverbs shared so many nuggets of wisdom is now teaching us by his mistakes.

The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.  He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command.  —1 Kings 11:9-10

Lord, I’ve always thought that Solomon’s ridiculous number of wives (700 wives, 300 concubines) were a sign that he was some kind of sex addict but I saw something in my commentary that made me think that sexual pleasure wasn’t all that was on Solomon’s mind.

Solomon made a practice of marrying foreign women to solidify political alliances, in spite of Gods clear instructions that the king of Israel should not do this. As a result, Solomon began to add the religious practices of these foreign wives to his worship of the Lord.  “Chronological Life Application Study Bible,” Tyndale House Publishers

Father, I think I get it. Power was Solomon’s issue. These women were his ticket to growing his name and influence throughout the world. I’m sure his chest got pretty puffed up when it was known throughout the land that he was “man enough” to have this many women in his life.

If we drill down past Solomon’s power problem we see that pride is at the root of his downfall.

Lord, I know pride has been the source of many of the tough times I’ve experienced. It has been the ruin of many. It’s ironic that Solomon wrote this Proverb.

All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. —Proverbs 8:13

Lord, continue to expose pride in my life. Help me to be teachable and repent quickly from this sin that destroyed Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12

One Reason Not To Worry About the Future–1 Kings 11: 27-40

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ecclesiastes 11:7 through Ecclesiastes 12:14; 1 Kings 12: 1-20; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19; 1 Kings 12: 21-24; 2 Chronicles 11: 1-4; 1 Kings 12: 25-33;  2 Chronicles 11: 5-17

Rehoboam… Jeroboam–Who’s Who?

Was it hard for you to keep them separated?  I had to go back several times to get it straight.

  • Rehoboam was Solomon’s son who became the King of Israel after Solomon died
  • Jeroboam, was one of Solomon’s officials who had fled to Egypt from King Solomon

When I first read today’s scriptures I thought, “Rehoboam, you should have listened to your elders and kept all of Israel as your kingdom.”

But then I read …

1 Kings 12:15:   So the king paid no attention to the people.  This turn of events was the will of the Lord, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.

1 Kings 12: 19:   And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.

If you go back to June 5th’s reading you will see where this was prophesied: 1 Kings 11:27-40

Folks let’s not miss the significance of this—we read the Bible as history but when the word was given to Jeroboam by the prophet Ahijah it was a prediction of the future.  It happened just as He said!

One of the benefits of reading the whole Bible is realizing how many times God said it and then it happened!

We live in troubling times but if we read scriptures like Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation we can know that these events were prophesied two thousand years ago and are the will of the Lord, and will come to pass.

Let’s determine to spend less time fretting over the things we cannot control and more time seeking the Lord for his will for our lives during these historic times.  Jesus is coming soon!  We need to be busy about His business!

 Blessings!

 

© 2013 Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  1 Kings 13:1 through 1 Kings 14:24; 2 Chronicles 12:13-14; 2 Chronicles 11: 18-23; 2 Chronicles 12: 1-12; 1 Kings 14: 25-28; 2 Chronicles 12: 15-16; 1 Kings 14: 29 through 1 Kings 15:5; 2 Chronicles 13:1-22; 1 Kings 15: 6-8; 2 Chronicles 14: 1-8;1 Kings 15: 9-15; 1 Kings 14:19-20; 1 Kings 15: 25-34, 2 Chronicles 14:9 through 15:19

Are You Addicted to These Three Things? –1 Kings 11

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ecclesiastes 7:1 through Ecclesiastes 11:6

1 Kings 11 is critical in understanding how Solomon got to the place to write the sad book of Ecclesiastes.

Solomon did exactly what the Lord told him

NOT

to do.

The Lord had clearly instructed Israel not to marry foreign women, because they would turn their hearts to their gods.

What did Solomon do?

He married women from Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon and the Hittites.  He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and they did exactly what the Lord said they would do—turned Solomon’s heart away from his God.

Success, power, and prestige are as addictive as heroin.

That’s the only explanation for Solomon “needing”so many woman—just one more fix and I’ll be happy!

Solomon’s problem is an epidemic in today’s world.  Leaders both in the political world and the church world start out with the purest of motives but when they get a taste of power and prestige they exchange their noble motives for an enticing ego trip. They start to believe man’s laws AND God’s laws don’t apply to them.

I’m so thankful God shows the good, the bad, and the ugly in the Bible.

Solomon started out with a heart for his people and for God but ended up seeing his life as “meaningless.”  God knows we learn best from “real-live” examples—Solomon showed us what NOT to do.

Here are some of my favorite words of wisdom from today’s reading:

  • A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume (Eccles.  7:1)
  • Finishing is better than starting (Eccles. 7:8)
  • Patience is better than pride (Eccles. 7:80)
  • If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit!  A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes. (Eccles. 9:4)
  • Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade.  That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. (Eccles. 9:10)
  • Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. (Eccles. 11:5)

I think we should pencil in Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33 at the end of Ecclesiastes:

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Heavenly Father, help us to live a Matthew 6:33 life that is pleasing to you!  Help us to know that this world isn’t about power and prestige, but about knowing You and causing others to know You!  Help us to learn from the mistakes of Solomon!

In Jesus Name.  Amen and Amen!

 ©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Ecclesiastes 11:7 through Ecclesiastes 12:14; 1 Kings 12: 1-20; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19; 1 Kings 12: 21-24; 2 Chronicles 11: 1-4; 1 Kings 12: 25-33; 2 Chronicles 11: 5-17

5 Steps to Getting Over the Mistakes of Your Past? –Ecclesiastes 5:20

Today’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12

Are you living in the past?

    • 5 minutes ago
    • Yesterday
    • Last week
    • Last year
    • 5 years ago
    • 10 years ago

I have an assignment for you:

1. Read the book of Ecclesiastes, learn from someone who had it all, and did it all.

2. Confess your sins to God and those you’ve wronged, own up to your responsibilities for those sins and turn in the opposite direction of those sins

3. Underline Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 5: 18-20…

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.  And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.  God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

4. Find some work that you enjoy, accept and embrace your life–be present in your present!

5. And stop brooding over the past!

Heavenly Father, we make life so complicated.  We don’t appreciate the simple things like being physically able to work, having a good meal and something to drink.  Lord, help us to realize these simple pleasures are from Your hand (Ecclesiastes 2:24)

Lord, Solomon said that most of us have the wrong motivation for work and success:

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. –Ecclesiastes 4:4

Jesus, make us into Your image today.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

 ©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-11:6

Is Your Life Meaningless?–1 Kings 11:1-3


Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 11:1-43; 2 Chronicles 9:29-31; Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites.  The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, ‘You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.’ Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.  —1 Kings 11:1-3

Have you ever insisted and persisted to do something “anyway” when you knew that You were going against your conscience, the law, your parents, your supervisor or your God?

How did that work for you?

Probably about as good as it did for Solomon…

The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.  He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command.  So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.   –1 Kings 11:9-11

    • God chose Solomon to be the king
    • God was so impressed with Solomon that he offered to give him anything he asked for
    • Solomon asked for wisdom and God gave it to him, plus riches, and so much more
    • Solomon did amazing things: Built a beautiful temple for the Lord, built a gorgeous home for himself, rebuilt the city of his father, ruled justly, wrote all the amazing Proverbs that are still guiding us today
    • Solomon worked very, very hard
    • But, then Solomon forgot where his wisdom and riches came from
    • He began to believe his own press and decided to go against the will of God
    • He thought he was above it all
    • He thought he needed to experience it all…so he did

The great thing for us is Solomon did it all and told us what he learned from the thrill of going directly against the will of the Living God…

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?  

Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.  The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.  

Everything is wearisome beyond description. 

No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.  —Ecclesiastes 1:2-9

I wonder how many of you feel this way today?  Never satisfied.

There’s only one thing that can truly satisfy–filling that place in the deep, quiet, depths of our soul with a relationship with the One, True, God.  Not just a head knowledge of God, not just a “Santa Claus” mentality of God, but knowing we have a Friend, Savior, King, and Trusted Advisor who knows what’s best for us…

Then, life is never meaningless. It’s an adventure, a wild ride, a well-thought out plan with the perfect destination!

Heavenly Father, forgive us for wanting to go our own way.  Forgive us for never being satisfied.  Call us out to be different.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:12-6:12

Is Your Work a Gift? –1 Kings 7:1

Today’s Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 7:1-51; 2 Chronicles 3:15-4:22

Solomon was a builder, not a warrior.  God chose him to build His temple, not fight His battles, like his father.  This is a great example of the uniqueness of God’s calling.  Our Creator doesn’t use the cookie-cutter approach.

Once Solomon finished building the Temple of the Lord, be began working on his palace.  He spent 21 years building.  Building is hard work.  I know Solomon didn’t actually do the manual labor, but overseeing, planning, and designing can be more stressful than manual labor.

I wonder if Solomon was counting the days until his building projects were finished?

I wonder if Solomon was looking forward to the days when he could just be the King?

He probably was, but at the end of his life, when Solomon shared his wisdom, I think he was longing for those days of building.

So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is why we are here! —Ecclesiastes 3:22

The wisest man on the earth is telling us to enjoy our work.

Today’s culture tells us that work is the thing we do so that we can play on the weekends and retire as soon as possible.

There’s nothing better than being happy in our work…  

What do you think?

Do you enjoy your work?

Is work a gift from God to you?

Heavenly Father, help us to find joy in our work.  Help us to”be” where we are and stop wishing our lives away!  We want to honor You in everything we do.

In Jesus’ Name.  Amen and Amen!


 

©2013, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 8:1-11; 2 Chronicles 5:1-14; 1 Kings 8:12-21; 2 Chronicles 6:1-11; 1 Kings 8:22-53; 2 Chronicles 6:12-42

Are You Addicted to These Three Things? –1 Kings 11

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Ecclesiastes 7:1 through Ecclesiastes 11:6

1 Kings 11 is critical in understanding how Solomon got to the place to write the sad book of Ecclesiastes.

Solomon did exactly what the Lord told him

NOT

to do.

The Lord had clearly instructed Israel not to marry foreign women, because they would turn their hearts to their gods.

What did Solomon do?

He married women from Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon and the Hittites.  He had 700 wives and 300 concubines and they did exactly what the Lord said they would do—turned Solomon’s heart away from his God.

Success, power, and prestige are as addictive as heroin.

That’s the only explanation for Solomon “needing”so many woman—just one more fix and I’ll be happy!

Solomon’s problem is an epidemic in today’s world.  Leaders both in the political world and the church world start out with the purest of motives but when they get a taste of power and prestige they exchange their noble motives for an enticing ego trip.

I’m so thankful God shows the good, the bad, and the ugly in the Bible.

Solomon started out with a heart for his people and for God but ended up seeing his life as “meaningless.”  God knows we learn best from someone’s example—Solomon showed us what NOT to do.

Here are some of my favorite words of wisdom from today’s reading:

  • A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume (Eccles.  7:1)
  • Finishing is better than starting (Eccles. 7:8)
  • Patience is better than pride (Eccles. 7:80)
  • If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit!  A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes. (Eccles. 9:4)
  • Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade.  That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. (Eccles. 9:10)
  • Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. (Eccles. 11:5)

I think we should pencil in Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33 at the end of Ecclesiastes:

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Heavenly Father, help us to live a Matthew 6:33 life that is pleasing to you!  Help us to know that this world isn’t about power and prestige, but about know You and causing others to know You!  Help us to learn from the mistakes of Solomon!

In Jesus Name.  Amen and Amen!

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Ecclesiastes 11:7 through Ecclesiastes 12:14; 1 Kings 12: 1-20; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19; 1 Kings 12: 21-24; 2 Chronicles 11: 1-4; 1 Kings 12: 25-33; 2 Chronicles 11: 5-17

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