Sunday, December 10, 2017

GRASPING THE WIND OR HOLDING THE TRUTH

Today’s┬áReading: Ecclesiastes 4-6

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Hierapolis was an ancient city located on hot springs in classical Phrygia in southwestern Anatolia. Its ruins are adjacent to modern Pamukkale in Turkey and currently comprise an archaeological museum designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many architectural grave monuments in Hierapolis. The oldest graves are of the Hellenistic Period (1st and 2nd centuries BC). “BC” denotes before Christ. One wonders if Christ preached to the person memorialized here as well as the writer of Ecclesiastes. First Peter says that Christ preached to the imprisoned spirits who formerly were disobedient (e.g. the people of Noah’s day, etc. Read 1 Peter 3:18-22).

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Ecclesiastes 5:2

Do not be rash with your mouth,

And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.

For God is in heaven, and you on earth;

Therefore let your words be few.

 

In Nelson Mandela’s book, Conversations with Myself, he wrote, “Spiritual weapons can be dynamic and often have an impact difficult to appreciate, except in the light of actual experience in given situations. In a way they make prisoners of free men, turn commoners into monarchs, and dirt into pure gold. To put it quite bluntly, Duggie [his friend], it is only my flesh and blood that are shut up behind these tight walls.” According to some of those who visited Mandela in prison, he read his Bible daily. No doubt he read the words of our key verse about “words.” I’ve read Mandela’s words at his trial before his 27 years in prison. He was very intelligent then, but after he emerged from prison, he was not only smart, but very wise with his words. Thousands of hours in a private and secret place can develop wisdom. Ecclesiastes is part of what is known as “Wisdom Literature.”

Mandela and John Bunyan both had prison experiences. In 1678 Bunyan wrote Pilgrims Progress while in prison. The word “vanity” appears eight times in today’s reading. Bunyan tells us of two men, Christian and Faithful, who visit “Vanity Fair.” Here they are mocked for their desire to proceed on to the “Celestial City.” Faithful is executed and proceeds to Heaven. Christian is remanded to prison but escapes and proceeds on his journey. For a good summary of this story click here and check out the fourth paragraph.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, as I meditate on the words I’ve read today about “the tears of the oppressed,” (4:1b) and seeing “the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness” (5:8a), I pray that the example of a Nelson Mandela would challenge me to change as he did during his 27 years of prison. Then may I do my best to change my world first, and then to help where I can to make change for the better in the world around me. I pray this in the Name of the One, who more than any other, changed everything…Jesus Christ! Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

In my recent reading about Mandela, I noted that in his call to affect political change, he made a deliberate decision to be private in his expressions of his personal faith. He does put in his book, Conversations With Myself, the fact that he taught Sunday School at one time, and he reflects on his education in Wesleyan Methodist schools. He also takes considerable space in his book to tell the story of “The Trial of Christ by Pontius Pilate” (pages 223 – 227). Jesus obviously had a major impact on Mandela’s life.

Yours for grasping God’s eternal truths and never letting go, holding and speaking the truth in love,

David

P.S. The name of one of the entities that make up the Crossroads Family of Ministries is “Tricord.” This name is from Ecclesiastes 4:12b, “A threefold chord is not easily broken.” Click here for information about Tricord (try clicking various items in the “Catalogue” at the top, such as “Documentaries”).

5 thoughts on “Sunday, December 10, 2017

  1. The first book of the Bible I ever read was Ecclesiastes. I chose it because I had heard of the wisdom of Solomon, & the Living Bible I had told me Solomon was most likely the author.
    I was amazed because it wasn’t what I expected the Bible to be like – it spoke of the vanity of trying to find meaning in anything-but-God.
    Lord God, help us, all people everywhere, find the Truth, Wisdom, and Solace of your Word. Let it go out to all this world, please send out your workers, and give us all boldness, compassion, and wisdom as your witnesses. In Jesus’s great, great, great name, amen

  2. Thank you for posting the Summary of “Pilgrims Progress” I remember my son talking about it, but I had not read it, so was pleased for a glimpse of that story!

    And David comments and admiration of Nelson Mandela.

    May the Joy of Christmas fill your hearts this day and always!

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