Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When Things Don't Go Your Way - Trust God

     Many of you are acquainted with the famous "Thayer" vacations I have written about in the past where "if something can go wrong, it will."  Our recent trip to our favorite spot (St. George Island) was no exception.  We had loaded up my husband's car with all our gear ready to enjoy a beach vacation with our daughter and son-in-law and three precious grandchildren.  The morning was hot, but we got the job done in short order.
Our grandson Gavin playing on the beach
 As we drove our car out to the mailbox, I remembered that we needed to get the mail.  When I hopped back in the car and closed the door, the electrical system shut down.  The engine was running but the air conditioning was not.  This had happened to my husband before and had been repaired or so we thought.  We restarted the car and everything worked fine.  However, we were concerned that this might happen in the middle of nowhere on our trip; so we backed up my husband's car and loaded mine.  While it took more time than we had wanted to spend, we were thankful that we were able to change vehicles before anything else happened.
     Upon arriving at the home we had rented for the week, we unloaded everything, and I began to preheat the oven for our evening meal.  After half an hour, I went back to check the oven and it was barely warm.  Naturally, it was a weekend night and the staff of the company that manages the upkeep of the house was not available.  I pondered what to do since we were all hungry.  I decided to turn the oven to 490 degrees and see what would happen.  Half an hour later, the oven was warmed up to around 350 degrees.  It was enough to complete the cooking although it took a little longer.  Was I frustrated?  Yes, but I have learned that it does no good to get upset about things we cannot change.  We have to trust God in all things.  I could not have said that earlier in my life when I was much younger in the Lord.  Experience in trusting God, maturity and time served learning patience as our four children grew up have helped me calm down in the face of difficulties.  After all, only God can change our circumstances.
     This was the case when Joshua and the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan to conquer the land which the Lord had promised them.  The task before them would not be easy.  It would require effort, but God had vowed to be with them.  Joshua was an able leader, but I am certain he questioned how he and his men could ever overcome the City of Jericho that lay before them (Chapter 6 of Joshua).  However, Joshua had seen God's mighty move as He led the children of Israel under the leadership of Moses, and he trusted God.  Alone, neither Joshua or his men could overcome the strength of Jericho; yet God had a plan.
     God's approach probably seemed unusual to those who listened as Joshua told them they were to march around the city each day for seven days.  On the seventh day, the soldiers, the priests carrying the Ark and trumpeters were to march around the city which was heavily walled seven times.  Then, they were to shout after the seventh time around and the walls would fall down.  The people obeyed Joshua and the walls came down.  Because of Joshua's obedience and leadership under God's direction, Jericho fell to the Children of Israel.
     Based on our own natural inclinations, I am certain no one would have tried to take Jericho in this manner.  Coming upon a thickly walled city filled with many people would seem like an impossible task, but Joshua and the Children of Israel trusted God.  This is the key when things don't always go our way.  We have to adjust, trust God, and seek His wisdom.
     This was true for us.  We did not have time to have my husband's car checked.  We had a timetable for our trip
when we came upon an obstacle.  What did we do?  We trusted the Lord to get us safely to our destination by taking another car instead of taking a chance on the road.  We also made adjustments when the oven did not work well.
     When faced with unanticipated complications, we have two choices.  Either we trust in the Lord to show us the way and thank Him for His provision or we get upset.  From experience, I can tell you that getting upset only hurts us.  Expending emotion over something we cannot change drains us of energy and leads to frustration.  However, when we trust in the Lord, He makes a way for us where there seems to be no way.  His provision is enough.
     Life in this fallen world will always present us with situations that don't work out as we had planned.  That is a given.  BUT...we serve a risen Savior who has overcome this world.  We must trust in Him when things don't go our way.  We must remember the words of Paul when he wrote:  "6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).  Selah!

Monday, July 28, 2014

God Understands

     Often times when we are faced with something difficult or scary, we wonder if anyone really understands how we feel.  I asked myself that
when I went in for my heart catheterization a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, I had prayed about it, and been prayed for by many other brothers and sisters in Christ including my dear family.  However, when it comes to the day and time, there is always some apprehension that goes with any test.  We think about the outcome and consider the possibilities.  Ultimately, we know that we are in God's Hands, but calming the nerves is often hard.
     As always, I turned to the Bible to seek God's counsel in His Word.  There are so many scriptures that assure us of His love and tender care.  Psalm 103:13-18 tells us:  "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.  But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments."  These words ring with truth and comfort.
     Knowing that God has compassion for us and is aware of our frail frame helps us know we can trust in Him.  We are His children through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Nothing can separate us from His love or tear us out of His hand.  While our physical bodies will one day die, our souls live forever under the care of our Great Shepherd Jesus Christ.
     Another scripture I read and found comfort in is Psalm 145:9:  "The Lord is good to all, and His mercy over all that He has made."  His mercy knows no end, and when we face scary things, it is good to meditate on these scriptures.
     When we arrived at the hospital for the procedure that day, I was pleasantly surprised to see scriptures written on the walls.  The hospital is run by the Adventist system, and they are not afraid to post scripture for all to see.  What comfort as I came upon verse after verse reminding me that God was with me all the way.   It was at that moment that I realized that God not only understood my fear, but He was there to give me peace. There are many occasions when we think no one really knows what we are going through, but God does.  He walked this earth, breathed the same air we breathe, He experienced temptation, rejection and abuse, but unlike us, He never sinned.  Therefore, He knows what we are going through.  He is our perfect high priest who is fully able to identify with every emotion, thought and feeling that we have; yet, He has overcome the world.  Because we are in Him, we too shall overcome.
     Knowing that God understands our pain, our fear, or regret in the various circumstances in life should encourage us during difficult times.  We must remember that nothing is impossible to face with God's help.  The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 8:37 that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."  Daily we must remind ourselves that when no one else understands us, God does.  Selah!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Make Room for Interruptions

     Over the years, I have learned that there is nothing more certain in a day than interruptions.  When our four children were small, it was a rare day when a telephone call, meal preparation or housecleaning was put on hold due to a crisis of some sort that needed immediate attention.  This is just a part of life.  We can make all the plans we want to, but God often has other priorities for our life.  His sovereign plan is always the best.  Psalm 33:10-11 reads:  "The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.  The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations."  There is a difference between our shaky plans and God's sovereign will.  He can see the beginning to the end of all things; therefore He allows those interruptions to come our way.
Children can interrupt us with requests to read
but what a blessing and privilege it is!
 For example, look at the account of Mary in Luke 1:26-31.  Here is a young virgin who is betrothed to a fine man.  She is going about her daily routine when suddenly an angel appears to her with the news that she will be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah.  She was troubled and shocked by the news that she would give birth to a child though she was not yet married.  If she were found to be with child outside of marriage, she could be accused of unfaithfulness to her betrothed.  This was a major interruption, and yet, an unparalleled blessing from God's Hand.  Mary yielded to God's will for her life, and delivered the Son of God who would one day deliver her from her sins.
     In Acts 9:1-9, we read about another interruption that radically changed a man's life.  Here we see Saul of Tarsus.  He was a man who hated Christians and persecuted them to the death.  He was traveling on the road to Damascus to carry out further orders to put Christians in jail.  However,  a light flashed around him causing him to fall to the ground, and he heard the voice of Jesus asking him why he was persecuting Him.  This was an amazing interruption in a life that was dedicated to the destruction of Christians.  Of course, we know how it ends.  Saul becomes a believer in Jesus Christ and turns the known world of his day upside down by taking the Gospel to the Gentiles.
     Both of these cases point to the fact that God has a perfect plan which often over rides our daily list of "to do's".  The problem comes in when we look upon interruptions with frustration, fear, irritation and doubt.  What we see as an obstacle to getting something done may really be, in fact, a greater blessing than we could ever realize.
     Recently, when I went in for some heart testing, I felt it might be a waste of time or interruption to my daily routine.  Nevertheless, I went through the tests and discovered there was a problem and it was addressed putting me back on the road to improved health.  I believe it was one of those divine interruptions we often complain about.  It has made me realize that we need to look upon intrusions from a different perspective.  We need to be able to exchange our "to do list" for His when He brings along interruptions.  Seeing it as an opportunity to serve the Lord will change our response to interruptions.  Selah!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Overwhelmed, Burnt Out and Just Plain Exhausted

     Having raised four normal, healthy and very active children, I can say "Amen" to the title above.  There were days when I felt overwhelmed as I homeschooled them, cooked the meals, did the laundry and delivered them to the many activities they were involved with in our community.  At other times, I felt burnt out and just plain exhausted because I had no extended family around my husband and I to assist with the children.  However, I did have some precious friends in Christ who came to my aid.
     Both ladies could see that I needed some quiet time to work on lesson plans apart from the children; so for about one week, one of the ladies lent me her kitchen table in the afternoons while the other dear lady helped to clean my home for me.  What a treat!  The children were looked after, I got my lesson planning done for the upcoming school year, and I had a time in which I could enjoy some quiet.  I needed that, but I resisted the whole proposition at first.  My pride made me want to do it all on my own.  How foolish!  However, there was another person in the Bible who thought he could handle things all on his own.
     In Exodus 18:13-24, we see Moses sitting to judge over people who had disputes from the rising of the sun till evening.  Verse 13-14 reads:  "The next day Moses sat to judge the people from morning till evening.  When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, 'What is this that you are doing for the people?  Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?'"  Now, Moses' father-in-law Jethro had a good point.  How can one man keep up a schedule like that without becoming overwhelmed, burnt out and exhausted?  However Moses pointed out that he had to settle the disputes arising and make the people know God's statutes and laws.  While this seems legitimate, Jethro pointed out that it was not effective in verses 17-18:  "Moses' father-in-law said to him, 'What you are doing is not good.  You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for this thing is too heavy for you.  You are not able to do it alone."
Big Ben in London reminds us that
we must use our time wisely.
     Most of us can speculate as to how Moses might have felt being offered unsolicited advice from his father-in-law, but Jethro went on to tell him a plan to have wise men who loved God help him in judging the many cases that needed to come before the Lord.  By breaking down the task, the people would receive justice and Moses would be relieved of having all the burden thrust upon him.  Surprisingly, Moses listened to Jethro.  We read in verse 24:  "So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said."
     There are two things we can draw from this story and apply in our own lives if we will.  First, we need to listen (verse 24) as Moses did.  He accepted his father-in-law's sound advice.  Secondly, we must be willing to accept help (as described in verse 25).  There are times when we don't accept the help we need due to pride, but that is not always the case.
     Sometimes life is just moving so fast with so many demands piled up on us that we hardly have time to react or even contemplate asking someone for advice or help.  Ah, but God reminds us in His Word (as seen in this story) that we need to surround ourselves with wise counselors who can offer us advice drawn from their experience and wisdom.  We don't have to run in circles pretending to be "Super Dad" or "Super Mom".  We can listen to a wise father-in-law as Moses did or a dear Christian friend as I did when I was overwhelmed with busyness in my life.
     Taking prayerful advice and learning to delegate responsibility helped Moses deal with a large responsibility.  He was not less of a person for taking this action.  In fact, it made him a more capable leader because he was able to use his time more effectively.
     Those ladies who came to me many years ago and offered me relief were blessings in my life.  I am happy they saw my need, approached me and gave me the opportunity to have a mini retreat.  We all need to be able to accept help, advice and godly counsel when it is offered.  Then we need to act on it so that we will not be burnt out or overwhelmed.  God cannot use us when we are carrying a load by ourselves that we were never intended to carry.  We must allow others the privilege of helping us.  Both the person who helps and the one who receives will be blessed.  Selah!

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Heart Work

 Recently, I completed a stress test with my cardiologist as I was having some shortness of breath which she thought required some attention.  She followed up with a nuclear PET scan which is a test of endurance for laying completely still with your arms above your head for 20 minutes while they take pictures of your heart.  Following the tests some days later, I met with my doctor and she felt I needed a heart catheterisation to look at an area of abnormality.  I had previously had one a number of years ago that had shown nothing of any consequence.  However, I am always leery of tests, so I wasn't terribly excited about another one.  Nevertheless, I trust my doctor and agreed to have this done.
     This past Wednesday, I underwent the procedure knowing that if they found something they could correct with a stent or angioplasty that they would do it at the same time.  In short, they did find a significant blockage which they were able to correct with a stent.  After an overnight stay in the hospital, I came home yesterday to begin a new way of living with a better diet and a gratefulness that they were able to repair an artery before trouble came my way.  As I recuperate,  I couldn't help but reflect on the heart surgery that the Lord had performed on my heart over 43 years ago, but in a different way and not a temporary fix.  In fact, the Lord gives to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ a new heart.
     From Old to New Testament, God makes clear His plan for salvation and what it means to us.  In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God instructs the prophet to speak these words to the Children of Israel who had once again fallen from His ways:  "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."  Note:  God does all the work here from start to finish.  While He speaks here of Israel's restoration, this is a foreshadow of God's plan for those who are called by His name as we see fulfilled through Jesus Christ.  My MacArthur Study Bible's footnote on these verses reads:  "The gift of the 'new heart' signifies the new birth, which is regeneration by the Holy Spirit.  The 'heart' stands for the whole nature.  The 'spirit' indicates the governing power of the mind, which directs thought and conduct.  A 'heart of stone' is stubborn and self-willed.  A 'heart of flesh' is pliable and responsive.  The evil inclination is removed and a new nature replaces it."  This is the best heart transplant procedure ever done, and only God can do it for us.  There is no concern that we can ever lose it either.
     In the New Testament, we read these words of the Apostle Paul who testifies to our new life in Christ:  "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;" (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).  Once again, both Old and New Testament bear witness to the change in us.  We are new creations...not just repaired creations.  God has given to us a new set of values, life, and outlook.  He has forgiven our sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, and now we can live for Him.  Yes, evil and sin are still present, but we are free to obey God and to see life from a new perspective no longer bound in sin and death.  This newness of life is a continuous work of God's Holy Spirit which He gives to us to guide and direct our steps.  We no longer live for temporal things but with a view of eternity before us.  What glorious surgery the Lord does on us!
     On April 27, 1970, God did surgery on my heart and my husband's heart the same evening.  We confessed our sins and received from God's hands hearts of flesh.  We became new creations in Christ and have enjoyed fellowship with Him these many years.  How grateful we have been for His complete provision for us.  He has not only given us new life but also has given us the gift of eternal life with Him.
     While I am very thankful for my physical heart repair, I rejoice even more in my spiritual heart transplant which God has done in my life.  My eternal destination is secure in Christ who is able to keep me safe in His arms.  Has God done spiritual surgery on your heart?  If not, ask The Great Physician to give you a heart of flesh even today.  He will be faithful to answer your prayer.  Selah!

I welcome your testimony on how God has worked in your heart.  It is a blessing and encouragement to others.

Many thanks to all who prayed for me during my recent procedure and hospital stay.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?

     In 1989, Don Bluth created a movie entitled "All Dogs Go to Heaven".  This is a story of a rather shady dog named Charlie and his dachshund buddy Itchy.  Unfortunately, Charlie is murdered by an associate of Itchy's named Carface.  Despite his bad deeds, Charlie goes to heaven where he steals his life watch back and returns again to earth.  Unknown to him, when the life watch runs down again, he will be cast into Hell since he gave up his status in heaven.
Our old basset hound Roscoe and our granddog Beau
 Charlie meets an orphan girl whom he befriends to use her ability to talk to animals and thus win money for races they are in.  He does not really care what happens to her until the end of the story where she nearly drowns.  He sacrifices his own life to save her but loses his life watch.  However, an angel comes and takes him to heaven once more since he helped the little girl.  Carface, the villain, also goes to heaven when he dies despite his unrepentant life of dirty tricks.  Hence, the name of the movie, "All Dogs Go to Heaven".  In reality though, according to the Christian faith, not all go to heaven and none can return to have a second chance.
     Scripture teaches us in Hebrews 9:27:  " is appointed for man to die once, and after this comes judgment..."  There is no mention in God's Word  telling us that we can return to earth for any do-overs.  Furthermore, we are told clearly that the only door into the sheepfold of heaven is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Unless we are found in Him through faith, we cannot enter heaven.
     In the letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that we are all sinners and under condemnation before the Lord.  Romans 3:23 says:  "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  However, the remedy to this fatal sin nature is life in Jesus Christ.  Romans 6:23 tells us, "For the wages of sin are death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  This is how we can enter eternal life in heaven by repenting of our sins and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation.
     Unlike Charlie, in the movie, we do not get into heaven because we have done any good deeds which makes us worthy recipients of eternal life.  The Apostle Paul made that clear in his letter to the believers at Ephesus when he writes:  "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).  God grants us not only His grace but also the faith with which to believe.  In verses 4 and 5 of this same letter, Paul tells us:  "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..."   
      From start to finish then, it is God who awakens us from the death of our sin nature, and gives to us the faith to believe in the salvation bought for us through the sacrifice of His Son for our sins.  This is Good News!  Will all believe?  No, and certainly those who are unrepentant will die in their sins.  For them, there will be justice which awaits.  This place reserved for those who reject God is called Hell.  Jesus mentioned Hell or a place of eternal torment nearly 46 times in His ministry.
     Hell was meant for the devil and his angels, but all who reject the message of salvation in Jesus Christ will join them in this place of separation from God.  It is a place of judgment, wrath, fire, torment, weeping, gnashing of teeth where there is no comfort day or night.  Quite often, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus alludes to this place as He teaches the kingdom principles of living:
Matthew 5:22, 29-30; Matthew 7:19, Matthew 8:12 and 10:28.  Mark 9:43-48 also paints a bleak picture of the eternal punishment awaiting those who do not believe.
     Jesus warned us and told us plainly about Hell, but today, there are many who do not choose to preach on this subject.  It is a real place, and one that we should not want anyone to enter.  Therefore, we have a ministry to friends, neighbors, family to tell them about Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished for us.  While God is love, He is also a God of judgment, wrath and justice who will punish those who are unrepentant.  To some God grants mercy, but to others, God brings justice.  This is why it is so important that we tell others the Good News.
     Unlike Rob Bell in his book "Love Wins", I do not believe that all will be saved in the end.  All dogs do not go to heaven, but all need to hear the message of salvation that some might come to Him.  Those who are God's chosen will respond when He calls.  Our job is not to judge others, but to present the truth of God's only means of salvation - Jesus Christ.  There is no other way to heaven (John 14:6).  Let us be faithful so that no one misses the opportunity to enter eternal rest in heaven when they die.  Then, let us pray and leave the results to God.  Selah!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nothing New Under the Sun

Solomon, the presumed writer of Ecclesiastes, coined the phrase "nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and indeed, he is right.  Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man has tried everything under the sun to do things HIS way and found as Solomon did that "all is vanity and a striving after the wind" (Eccles. 2:17).  Whenever we leave God out of the equation, we come to the same conclusion.  However, it was not always that way.
A crown at "The Residence" in Munich, Germany
     King Solomon was David's son with Bathsheba.  When he came to the throne, the kingdom had been well established by his warrior king father David.  Solomon began well as we read in I Kings 3:4:  "Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places."  His love for God was right, however, Solomon offered sacrifices on pagan altars and continued to do this even after he had built the Temple.  This was a sign of problems ahead as using pagan altars was forbidden in Israel.  Nevertheless, at the beginning of his reign, after offering many sacrifices to the Lord, God appeared to him in a dream by night and asked what He should give to the king.  Solomon asked only for wisdom by which to guide the people: "Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people? " (I Kings 3:9).
     God was pleased with Solomon's request and not only gave him great wisdom but also riches and honor even though he had not asked for that.  Yet, the Lord did make one prerequisite:  "And if you will walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days" (I Kings 3:14).  It was a wonderful beginning, but Solomon squandered the grace and mercy of the Lord.
     Over his life, Solomon, indeed showed much wisdom in his judgments which became famous throughout the known world of his day.  He gained tremendous wealth, and took for himself seven hundred wives and 300 concubines.  Unfortunately, like many of us, he lost his way to the world.  His wives and concubines brought in foreign gods and worship, and Solomon participated with them even after he built a great temple to the one true God.  Because of his unfaithfulness, the kingdom which the Lord helped him build was to be torn from his descendants.  Only one tribe would remain under his descendants rulership.
     Thus, we come to Ecclesiastes a message written from an older king who is now reflecting on his life and sharing with us the message that life is all vanity without the revealed wisdom of God guiding us daily.  Solomon asked for wisdom and God anointed him with great wisdom.  However, when Solomon struck out on his own and used only empirical evidence around him instead of God's wisdom, he found emptiness and vanity.  Ecclesiastes 1:17 reads:  "And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly.  I perceived that this also is but a striving after the wind."  The footnote to this verse in The MacArthur Study Bible says this:  "When Solomon depended on empirical research rather than divine revelation to understand life, he found it to be an empty experience."  Isn't this what we see today?  So many scientists try hard to explain the universe and its creation without a Creator.  They base their findings on empirical data without considering divine revelation.  "We cannot have God in the mix", they would claim.  As Solomon wisely noted, it is "a striving after the wind."
     Then, Solomon tried all the pleasures he could possibly enjoy as a result of his wealth and many women.  He never denied himself anything.  Again, in all of this exercise of lust for the things of this world, the king did not find the satisfaction he sought.  Apart from God, life is indeed vanity of vanities.  It is meaningless without the truth of God and His Word to us.
His Word is Truth!
     When we know the Lord, as Solomon did, and decide to walk away for our own pleasures, we will find nothing but emptiness in life.  Because Solomon did look back on the wreckage of his own life and repent, he was able to write under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit this book of the Bible for our benefit and instruction.  Here was a man who had it all:  wealth, women, fancy chariots, a palace, lots of servants, and great wisdom.  Was he happy?  No, not without God in his life.  That is why he could say there is "nothing new under the sun."
     Life without Jesus Christ as our confessed Savior and Lord is every bit as empty as Solomon's  while he was engaged in sin.  There is nothing new about this.  It started in the Garden.  As Romans 3:23 tells us:  "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."  We inherited the sin nature of Adam and are dead in our trespasses.  However, by God's regenerating power, we are awakened from this death and have the privilege of repenting and coming to Jesus Christ.   I will wager that a poor man who gives his life to Christ is far richer and wiser than Solomon when he strayed from the Lord.
     All the knowledge in this world, all the riches there are to offer cannot make us whole, secure or happy.  Joy comes from knowing, serving and living for Christ.  Even Solomon concludes his book of Ecclesiastes with these wise words:  "The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil."   Life has meaning when it is lived for God.  Selah!