Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
How does God view you?  Individually, corporately (within your Church) or even within society?  
It's not a benign question, as you are what God says you are, regardless of what your feelings, history, family, geographic history, age or gender tell you.  Turning the Spiritual Switch now to address "Christians"; those of you who have had a point in time experience in the which you Savingly Believed in and on the name of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (editor's note: He isn't your Savior until He's your Lord - Romans 10:9-10), it isn't enough to be "saved". Why are we here?  We hear folks talk about having "fruits to the fullness" or being "saved to the uttermost".  How, and to what end?   
A recent poll found that the single most common feeling among Christians and nonChristians alike, is Purposelessness.  I regularly have folks tell me: "I know God has a purpose for my life, but He won't seem to pass on the memo".   They seem to be waiting for thunder and lightning to guide them into their celestial vocation.  
Next time we'll invade the practical answers to these questions so as to apprehend (take hold of and apply) the principals which are liberating when we possess them. Those who have (applied) are those who enjoy the "peace that passes understanding". They in the lineal tense, have the peace that comes from a clear conscience between them and God and them and their fellow man.   That comes next time. 
For now, let's look at a fellow named Solomon.  He is an object lesson by design. In Ecclesiastes 2, we see him as the one whom God gave everything the world had to offer in an exaggerated degree in order to show us (you and I) from whence comes, and what is - the meaning of life.  Not to put too fine a point on it, it is a lesson on Purpose.   For most of us, the thing in life that drives us, motivates, turns our crank, pre-occupies, is pleasure, and it's always a slippery slope.  Nugget:   Is it true that in order to follow God, I have to avoid any pleasure? Do I have to abstain from things simply because I enjoy them? Are possessions in and of themselves evil?  Is a wealthy person by virtue of his wealth farther from God?
Answer == No,  and we'll dissect that in detail next time.  Remember, Solomon was the wisest man ever.  Ever was, ever will be; so if anyone can handle the worldly trappings without being contaminated, it should have been him - Right?  He tried pleasure - vs 1-2, wine - vs 3,  great works and accomplishments - vs 4-6, wealth - 7-8,  aesthetic and artistic pleasure vs 8 and fame vs 9.  Eight times in this book Solomon uses the word pleasure.  He had 700 wives, and 300 concubines.  And while he was enjoying all of that (fasten your pew-belts), God is not mentioned from Ch 1:14 to 2:23  (there may be a clue there).   Today, people will pay almost any price for pleasure - Epstein oops.   By everyone's standards, our hero had arrived. He was certainly at the apex of achievement, and in all of that, listen as he laments in vs 10-11.  "And whatsoever mine eyes desired, I kept not from them. I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit., ant there was no profit under the sun."  Note the selfish pronouns I and my in his / our thought process.  Here's the prognosis, next week the cure.   God bless.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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