Vanity of Vanities, all is…

Vanity of Vanities, all is……

Ecc 12:13 “Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, all is vanity!

All is vanity!!!

But it doesn’t have to be!!!

How do I obtain LASTING peace and joy? Solomon started his life in God’s will but it turned into Solomon doing his own will later in life. He started off by seeking God’s will be done but then the flesh turned him to seeking his own will over God’s.

He tried to find lasting happiness by the material pleasures he owned and by the people he surrounded himself with. God had told him and his people not to intermarry with the gentile nations. Solomon disobeyed and…

I Kings 11:4-6 “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.”

The lesson is that you cannot have the most important thing in life in conflict with what is the most important thing in your spouse’s life. The command is the same for the NT saints and who they commit their lives to in marriage.

Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done. Solomon had all the world could offer so how could this happen? Listen as Solomon leaves us some great advice.

Ecc 12:1,8,13,14 “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have not delight in them’. Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, all is vanity! The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Solomon’s conclusion was that the temporary joy that this world offers is vanity. America’s gods offer the same. They are sex, self and money. In and of themselves each is not evil, but if they become our god they then keep us from God and are evil.

The question for you and I is; am I seeking my own will over a lasting relationship with Jesus????

Luke 9:23 “And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Funny how…Where my Treasure is…

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,

Funny how…Where my Treasure is…

Actions truly do speak louder than words.

Funny how a $100 bill “looks” so big when you take it to church, but so
small when you take it to the mall.

Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a Team
plays 60 minutes of football.

Funny how long a couple of hours spent at church seems, but how short
they are when watching a movie.

Funny how we can’t think of anything to say when we pray, but don’t have
difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.

Funny how we get thrilled when a baseball game goes into extra innings,
but we complain when serving takes too much of our ‘leisure’ time.

Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the bible, but how easy it is
to read 100 pages of a bestselling novel or spend hours on the Internet.

Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert, but
scramble to get a back seat at church services.

Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a fellowshipping
event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other events at
the last moment.

Funny how hard it is for people to memorize verses to share the gospel with

others, but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip.

Funny how we believe what the newspaper says, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven but don’t want to listen to the Gospel.

Funny how you can send a thousand ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread
like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord or
from His word, people think twice about sharing.

Mat 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Where is your heart this morning? I doubt there is one out there with myself

included who wasn’t a bit offended by one of those challenges. So…….

Romans 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Theology, Grace, Mercy and Donuts…

John 15:13a “Greater love hath no one than this…”

Theology, Grace and Mercy and Donuts…

There was a certain Professor of THEOLOGY. We will name him Dr Smith, a studious man who taught at a small college in the Western United States. Dr. Smith taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course his or her freshman year regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Smith tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Smith had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going on to seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Smith asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night”.

“200? That’s pretty good, Steve”, Dr. Smith said.

“Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Smith.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need
you to do about 300 pushups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Smith said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday.
Let me explain what I have in mind.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of
the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts.

Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Smith’s class.

Dr. Smith went to the first girl in the first row and asked,
“Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Dr. Smith then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would
you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

Steve said, “Sure,” and jumped down from his desk to do a quick
ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Smith put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Smith then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do
you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.” Dr. Smith asked, “Steve would you do ten
push-ups so Joe can have a donut?” Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every
person before they got their donut.

And down the second aisle, till Dr. Smith came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good of a condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. When the professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”

Dr. Smith said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Smith shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked,
“Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten pushups.

Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Smith said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.”

And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Smith started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Dr. Smith asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Smith asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?” Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say “No” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Smith asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely. Dr. Smith started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Smith went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Smith, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Smith thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way that you want.” And Dr. Smith went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Professor Smith said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.”

Dr. Smith said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room hardly knew what was going on. “Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Smith finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was profusely dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was no sound except his heavy breathing, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders, and very popular. Dr. Smith went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Smith quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Dr. Smith turned to the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Dr. Smith, why can’t I help him?”

Dr. Smith, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone, I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve, here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do pushups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your pushups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.

Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Smith turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to the Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he yielded up His life… And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. “Well done, good and faithful servant” said the professor, adding “Not all sermons are preached in words.”

Turning to his class the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who spared not the only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all for the whole Church, now and forever.

John 15:13 “Greater love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

If only I…

Psalm 92:1, 2 “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, Oh Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.”

If only I…

Today, upon a bus, I saw a handsome young man And wished I were as handsome.
When suddenly he rose to leave,
I saw him hobble down the aisle.
He had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as he passed, he passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it’d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
“I thank you, you’ve been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you.
You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,
but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
“Why don’t you join them?”
He looked ahead without a word.
I forgot, he couldn’t hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go…

With eyes to see the sunset’s glow.
With ears to hear what I’d know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I’ve been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

 

I Thes 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

CHRISTian Bumper Stickers and Signs…

James 1:5,6a “If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God, Who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith…”

CHRISTian Bumper Stickers and Signs

Be Fishers of Men…. You fish, He catches & Cleans ’em.
~~~~~~~
A clean conscience makes a soft pillow.
~~~~~~~
A family altar can alter a family.
~~~~~~~
A lot of kneeling will keep you in good standing.
~~~~~~~
Are you wrinkled with burden? Come on into Church for a faith lift!
~~~~~~~
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
~~~~~~~
Do your best and then sleep in peace. God is Awake.
~~~~~~~
Don’t put a question mark where God put a period.
~~~~~~~
Don’t wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.
~~~~~~~
Exercise daily. Walk with the Lord!
~~~~~~~
Fear knocked. Faith answered. No one was there
~~~~~~~
For all you do, His blood’s for you!
~~~~~~~
Forbidden fruits create many jams.
~~~~~~~
Give God what’s right, not what’s left!
~~~~~~~
Give Satan an inch and he’ll be a ruler.
~~~~~~~
God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
~~~~~~~
God doesn’t want shares of your life; He wants controlling interest!
~~~~~~~
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
~~~~~~~
God loves everyone, but probably prefers “fruits of the spirit” over “religious nuts”!
~~~~~~~
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
~~~~~~~
Having truth decay? Brush up on your Bible!
~~~~~~
He who angers you controls you!
~~~~~~~
He who is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
~~~~~~~
He who kneels before God can stand before anyone!
~~~~~~~
If God is your Co-pilot – Swap seats!
~~~~~~~
In the sentence of life the Devil may be a comma, but
DO NOT let him be the PERIOD!
~~~~~~~
Kindness is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back.
~~~~~~~
Man’s way leads to a hopeless end! God’s way leads to an endless hope!
~~~~~~~
Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.
~~~~~~~
Never give the devil a ride! He will always want to drive!
~~~~~~~
Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it.
~~~~~~~
Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
~~~~~~~
“Pray” is a four letter word that you can say anywhere except in a public school.
~~~~~~~
Prayer -Don’t give God instructions – just report for duty!
~~~~~~~
Read The Bible…It Will Scare The Hell Out Of You!
~~~~~~~
The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us.
~~~~~~
The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.
~~~~~~~
This Church is “Prayer Conditioned”!
~~~~~
To be almost saved is to be totally lost.
~~~~~~
Wal-Mart isn’t the only saving place!
~~~~~~~
WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning!
~~~~~~~
Watch your step carefully! Everyone else does!
~~~~~~~
We don’t change the message, the message changes us.
~~~~~~~
We set the sail; God makes the wind.
~~~~~~
We’re too blessed to be depressed.
~~~~~~~
When God ordains, He sustains.
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Wisdom has two parts: 1) Having a lot to say. 2) Not saying it.
~~~~~~~
Worry is the darkroom in which “negatives” are developed.
~~~~~~~
You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Directions for Living Your Life…

All of us need improvement in our lives. Check out the following to see which will piece of advice best meets your needs.

James 1:2,3 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is
like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself,

goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. “

Directions for Living Your Life…

  1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
    2. Memorize your favorite verse(s) of scripture.
    3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want. Check things out with scripture and run from those that do not line up with God’s word.
    4. When you say, “I love you”, mean it.
    5. When you say, “I’m sorry”, look the person in the eye and also mean it.
    6. Believe in Jesus and be a part of His work on this earth before He returns a 2nd time.
    7. Believe in love God’s way.
    8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams.
    9. Love deeply and passionately and do it unconditionally as God does.
    10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling. Not even fighting may be the best solution. Listen much more than talking.
    11. Don’t judge people by their relatives or your values. Or by what you perceive their motives to be. If scripture does clearly ID that it is wrong, maybe you are the one with the log in your eye.
    12. Talk slowly. Listen long…………..
    13. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and
    ask, “Why do you want to know?” or simply be silent. Lying is never ok.
    14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risks.
    15. Call your Mom (and your dad) today. Oh, don’t forget the Grandparents, now that I am one! And maybe twice a day for them, they need it!
    16. Remember as you look into the mirror that Jesus will always love you.
    17. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
    18. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.
    19. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
    20. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. And do not be afraid to say you were wrong.
    21. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
    22. Marry the one you love to talk to and is a friend. As you get older,
    the conversational skills will be as important as any other.
    23. Spend much time alone with God so He can direct your path and do it first thing in the morning.
    24. REMEMBER, God’s values do not change over time. His absolutes are for eternity. Only the wisdom of this world changes.
    25. Silence is frequently the best answer.
    26. Read more books and watch less TV. Especially read The Book that God has authored, the Bible.
    27. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll get to enjoy it a second time.
    28. Trust in God and lean not upon your own understanding.
    29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
    30. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past. Don’t go to bed angry.
    31. Don’t read between the lines it almost always is wrong.
    32. Share your faith. It’s a way to achieve immortality and help someone else to do the same.
    33. Be gentle with all.
    34. Pray from the heart and not with repetition. There’s immeasurable power in it.
    35. Never interrupt.
    36. Mind your own business.
    37. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
    38. If you make a lot of money, put it to use as God intends by helping
    others while you are on this earth. Make sure God gets the first fruits and not the last or leftovers.
    39. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes exactly the way God has planned it.
    40. Learn the rules, then keep them. The rules are written in the Book (Bible).
    41. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
    42. Judge your success by what you willingly gave up in order to get it.
    43. Remember that your character is how the world judges you.
    44. Remember that what you did with the knowledge of Jesus as your
    Savior is how God the Father will judge you. John 3:3, 14:6

Now how do you look in the mirror?

James 1:5,6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

Did they see Jesus or…

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Did they see Jesus or…..

Dr. Harry Ironside used to tell a story about a man who lived in a small country town in England.

One day, he went to London where he would need to stay for several days. He was glad to be there on a Sunday because that gave him opportunity to hear some of the great preachers of that day. Writing home to his wife, he said: “Last Sunday I went to hear Dr. ‘Jones’ and in the evening I went to the Metropolitan Tabernacle to hear Charles Spurgeon. I was so greatly impressed by both of them. Dr. Jones is certainly a great preacher, but Mr. Spurgeon has a great Savior.”

So who are people you are impressed with after they have been with you?

Are they impressed with you, or are they impressed with your Jesus? In many ways, that’s the measure of the authenticity and impact of our lives. Who do they see when they are talking with us?

There have been few more brilliant, more gifted men or more dedicated men to walk this planet than the Apostle Paul. But he loved his Savior enough and knew enough about Him that he didn’t want people thinking about him instead of his Savior. He wanted to leave people thinking about Jesus. The Holy Spirit reminds us of that when He had Paul record II Corinthians 4:5. “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

It’s not about us, folks.
It’s all about Jesus. And that is a relief! We will fail each other but our Lord and Savior will never fail anyone who places their trust and hope in Him.

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”