Ecclesiastes – The “Millennial” Book

Reading the titles of the sections in chapters 1 and 2, I could hear “millennials.”

“I’ve seen it all.”

“I never said no to myself.”

“I hate life.”

I heard their voices in the verses of The Message translation:

  • There’s nothing to anything, 1:2.
  • Everything’s boring, utterly boring, 1:8.
  • Year after year it’s the same old thing, 1:9.
  • Don’t count on being remembered, 1:11.
  • There’s not much to write home about, 1:13.
  • God hasn’t made it easy for us, 1:13.
  • I’ve seen it all and it’s nothing, 1:14.
  • The more you know, the more you hurt, 1:18.
  • Let’s go for it – experiment with pleasure, have a good time! 2:1.
  • But there was nothing to it, 2:1.
  • You just do what you can, and that’s it, 2:12.
  • I can’t take it with me, 2:18.
  • That’s when I called it quits, 2:20.
  • Gave up on anything that could be hoped for, 2:20.
  • What’s the point? 2:21.
  • The best you can do with your life is have a good time, 2:24.
  • Get by the best you can, 2:24.

“Ecclesiastes is a famous…witness to this experience of futility. The acerbic [sarcastic] wit catches our attention. The stark honesty compels notice….in order to call a halt to our various and futile attempts to make something of our lives, so that we can give our full attention to God – who God is and what He does to make something of us.”

The Message Introduction to Ecclesiastes

* * * * * * *

Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.” The Message

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The Post I Didn’t Want to Write

Proverbs 28:9, “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to Him.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 27:1, “Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow, you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 27:2, “Don’t call attention to yourself, let others do that for you.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 27:19, “Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 29:20, “Observe the people who always talk before they think – even simpletons are better off than they are.” The Message

Enough said.

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Custom-Made Piece

“Yesterday you experienced a great sorrow, and now your house seems empty. Your first impulse is to give up and to sit down in despair amid your dashed hopes. Yet you must defy that temptation…” “Streams in the Desert” March 11

Yesterday I experienced a great – disappointment. The house seemed empty. I didn’t sit down in despair; I went back to bed and took a nap!

You know I wanted to move the keyboard and that would entail rearranging David’s office. I got out my reduced-to-scale floor plans and furniture pieces. I moved the pieces around and showed the result to David. He looked at it, and said,


My keyboard rests on a dresser and it’s too high. I raised the drum throne to its full height to play seated. Of course, then I couldn’t reach the pedal.

I moved my photo storage boxes under the keyboard. That raised it to a comfortable height for playing while standing. But I can’t stand on one foot and play for hours. I asked to order a keyboard stand.

“Not until we have a place to set it up.”

Another “No.” I gave up and went back to bed.

After my nap, he promised, “We’ll find something to work. We don’t want to buy just anything and make do.”

Space is premium in our home. Each purchase has to do double duty. Finding the right piece is always a challenge.

When I wanted a large table for our basement, David built a topper. It’s in two pieces. He laid it on top of our oval table and latched it together. Sometimes, custom-fit is the only option.

Proverbs 24:11, 12, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, and a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.” The Message

Back to the drawing board. I went online to see what size desk was the right scale for his office. Maybe he could build a topper for our present desk.

If only there was a way to attach the keyboard to my piano. I would have to remove the music stand…and I would want it angled…

Proverbs 24:5, 6, “It is better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day. Strategic planning is the key…” The Message

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Haste Makes Waste

“Don’t tell Derek – I didn’t practice yesterday!”

By the time I got the swelling down it was late. No energy to move the keyboard.

Waking up at 3:00 a.m., I thought of moving it today. I got up because this time tomorrow will be 4:00 a.m. and read.

Proverbs 21:5, “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 19:2, “…haste makes waste.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 21:31, “Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory.” The Message

Then I remembered – Rachel will be playing with me tomorrow! Woohoo! I will only need to play the piano parts. She will play the synth/strings/pads parts. I can practice on my REAL piano!

I moved tomorrow’s music to the piano. I placed the items I need to take next to it. I don’t want to forget anything and we all know…

Proverbs 19:7, “…out of sight, out of mind.” The Message

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God Has the Last Word

I’m sure it is a common keyboard players injury caused by standing on one foot. The other leg pumps the damper pedal up and down while you play. Imagine riding your bike up a hill. You stand up but can only use one leg to pedal.

At 3:36 a.m., I could not find a comfortable position for my leg. Sports cream didn’t help. Resigned, I got up at four and found swelling in my Tibialis Anterior muscle. Ibuprofen and R.I.C.E., (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), didn’t cure it. I moved my books and Chromebook to the couch. A heating pad offered some relief.

This has happened before. So, a few months ago, I raised my keyboard to practice while standing. I had hoped to strengthen the muscles in my legs.

But practicing…

  • at home on Wednesday
  • before the service with the team
  • playing for the service
  • again at home on Thursday
  • and then practicing with Sunday’s team

…was too much.

My plans for the day were to spring clean the front room and kitchen. Then iron three tablecloths and the dress clothes I washed. Instead, I sat on the couch with my leg elevated.

Proverbs 16:1-3 “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.

(2) Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good.

(3) Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.”

The Message

David called to take me out for lunch. Then Mom called to say she was in town. Had I followed “my plan” I would have been too hot and sweaty to go! I would have missed lunch out with David and Mom.

Proverbs 16:20, “It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 15:3, “God doesn’t miss a thing – He’s alert to good and evil alike.” The Message

I give up. I’m going to close the piano and place the keyboard on top of it. Sacrilege!!!

Then I will practice. But first, more ice – the swelling is back.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

A Woman of Gentle Grace Gets Respect

A recent quiz had me finish famous quotes. It surprised me when I got them all! How did I know them?

It reminded me of “Quiz Bowl” competition in high school. One of the questions then was…

“Who said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’?”

I wanted to answer, “Matthew,” but it was in the book of “Mark,” too. Then I remembered Abraham Lincoln used that phrase in a speech. Had I answered, “Matthew” or “Mark,” I would have been correct! But that was not the answer they wanted. Their “correct” answer was Abraham Lincoln.

On the quiz, one of the quotes to finish was – “Make hay while…”

Proverbs 10:5, “Make hay while the sun shines – that’s smart; go fishing during harvest – that’s stupid.” The Message

This one everyone knows – “Easy come,…”

Proverbs 13:11, “Easy come, easy go, but steady diligence pays off.” The Message

How about – “Hard work…”

Proverbs 14:23, “Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table.” The Message

Many self-help books use the sayings and precepts written in Proverbs. They don’t realize they are quoting the Bible.

Proverbs 12:14, “Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 13:15, “Sound thinking makes for gracious living, but liars walk a rough road.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 10:14, “The wise accumulate knowledge – a true treasure; know-it-alls talk too much – a sheer waste.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 10:19, “The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 11:16, “A woman of gentle grace gets respect, but men of rough violence grab for loot.” The Message

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Don’t Squander Your Precious Life!

In “Your Money or Your Life,” I read, “Money = Life Energy.” We established the actual cost in time and money required for our job. And we computed our “real hourly wage.”

We add to our hours worked the time for:

  • Commuting
  • Dressing/Haircuts
  • Buying clothes worn only at work
  • Lunches out
  • Meals eating out while networking
  • Club memberships
  • Decompressing after work
  • Escape entertainment
  • Daycare
  • Housekeeper
  • Lawn mowing service
  • Vacations
  • Job-related illness – induced by stress or a reason to take off work
  • Educational programs
  • Books
  • Tools
  • Conferences

This is our actual hours.

We subtracted the expenses for the above from our pay, prorating some items. (Divide the cost of a yearly vacation by 52.) Then we divide the balance by the actual hours worked. This is our “real wage.”

If your “real wage” is $4, then you work fifteen minutes to earn a dollar. We look at the price of an item in hours worked, not dollars. Ask children, “Would you rather have this toy or 2 hours playing with your dad?”

Proverbs 8:33, 34, “Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life. Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 5:23, “Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead-end.” The Message

The Wisdom of Proverbs is calling out!

Proverbs 7:1, 2, “Do what I say and you will live well. My teaching is as precious as eyesight – guard it!” The Message

We would never let someone gouge our eye out. Don’t let anyone gouge you anywhere else.

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

Know How to Live Well

Derek went to the library with me on Sunday. He renewed his library card. I picked up a few, new fiction books from publishers I trust. (Baseball season started.)

He was ready to go. I explained, “Now I choose a few titles from nonfiction.”

I started in the 808 section, 747, 620, and Derek thought I had enough. He didn’t know I had three sections to go! I chose 2 out of 332 and one out of 248. In the final section, 158, I picked a book with him in mind…

“Make Your Bed,” by Admiral William H. McRaven, (U.S. Navy Retired)

Out of orneriness, I posted a picture of the book on Facebook. “I checked it out for Derek!” I joked. The number of books I got surprised him. But I only check out as many as I can carry. 😉

The next day, I made my bed as usual. I read the first chapter of the book. Then marched right back in my room and remade my bed!

After reading Admiral McRaven’s reason, I wanted to do my best! He gave an example of a famous man who refused to make his bed. (Read the book!) I did not want to emulate that man!

I set the book aside. This is a note-taking book, not a reading book. I haven’t finished taking notes on “Your Money or Your Life!”

I read for knowledge in many areas. I study wisdom. Proverbs is one book of wisdom in the Bible.

“Many people think that what’s written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people into heaven…It is equally concerned with living on this earth…on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven everyday living…the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves….Wisdom has to do with becoming skillful in honoring our parents and raising our children, handling our money and conducting our sexual lives, going to work and exercising leadership, using words well and treating friends kindly, eating and drinking healthily, cultivating emotions within ourselves and attitudes toward others that make for peace.”

The Message Introduction to Proverbs

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 1:1, 2, “These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David’s son, Israel’s king – written down so we’ll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it’s going.” The Message

* * * * * * * *

Proverbs 1:7, “…Start with God – the first step in learning…” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 3:5, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Proverbs 3:21-26, “Dear friend, guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life: don’t for a minute lose sight of them.

(22) They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive.

(23) You’ll travel safely, you’ll neither tire nor trip.

(24) You’ll take afternoon naps without worry, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep.

(25) No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner.

(26) Because God will be right there with you; He’ll keep you safe and sound.” The Message

©2009-2018 All Rights Reserved.

Safe, Sound, Content

Saturday, while planning projects in March, I realized I forgot a goal. I want to type out the “Babysteps” Guide because most don’t know the abbreviations. Although they are standard, some are unfamiliar. I wrote, “Type 30 days of Babysteps Bible Reading Guide” on my “To Do” list.

God laughed.

Sunday, David pointed out the discrepancy for the money in savings for clothes. There was four times more in my account than in his. He asked me to audit the accounts a few months ago. I wasn’t in a hurry to find the errors. I wrote it on the “To Do” list and decided  “Babysteps” would have to wait.

God laughed.

Early this morning, I received an email from Pinterest. “We noticed a login from a new device or location and want to make sure it’s you.”

It wasn’t!

I linked my social accounts together. A blog post goes to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. I pinned some posts to Pinterest. Foolishly, I used the same password on more than one of those sites. I spent 3 hours changing passwords and checking for unauthorized activity. It was 11:30 a.m. before I read my Bible.

I felt guilty.

Then I noticed something. The first project King Solomon worked on after receiving wisdom and understanding from God.

2 Chronicles 1:13, 14, “…He set to work as king of Israel. Solomon collected chariots and horses: fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses! He stabled them in the special chariot-cities as well as in Jerusalem.” The Message

Horses and chariots were for war. Solomon built up the supplies he needed to protect his kingdom.

Changing those passwords were for my protection. Waiting a few hours would have given them time to do more damage.

Solomon “collected” horses and chariots. He was continually adding to his stable-cities. He had them stored all over his kingdom and everyone knew it!

1 Kings 4:31, “…He became famous among all the surrounding nations.” The Message

Solomon’s wisdom was not politically correct. Overpopulation did not concern him, yet no one went hungry.

1 Kings 4:20, “Judah and Israel were densely populated – like sand on an ocean beach! All their needs were met; they ate and drank and were happy.” The Message

He had the finest weapons and lived in peace. His people were so well taken care of that they didn’t want anything more.

1 Kings 4:24, 25, “Solomon was sovereign over everything,…Peace reigned everywhere. Throughout Solomon’s life, everyone…lived safe and sound, all of them…-content with what they had.” The Message

He never had a shortage.

1 Kings 4:27, “…there was always plenty.” The Message

Solomon was wise, understanding, and generous. He was also prepared for anything.

1 Kings 4:29, “God gave Solomon wisdom – the deepest understanding and the largest of hearts. There was nothing beyond him, nothing he couldn’t handle.” The Message

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Why Build a Shack? (The Honeymoon Book in the Bible)

“…the Song of Songs…contains exquisite love lyrics…it is very explicit sexually…The Song proclaims an integrated wholeness,…committed, wedded love for a world that seems to specialize in loveless sex.

Christians read the Song on many levels: as the intimacy of marital love between man and woman, God’s deep love for his people, Christ’s Bridegroom love for his church, the Christian’s love for his or her Lord. It is a prism in which all the love of God in all the world, and all the response of those who love and whom God loves, gathers and then separates into individual colors.”

The Message Introduction to Song of Songs

I call Song of Songs the “Honeymoon Book.” It’s a special book that means more when you read it together. Every time you read it will remind of your honeymoon. It gives us encouragement and a warning.

It starts with encouragement in the first chapter. Sex is not the best when we’re young and beautiful. It gets better with age.

Song of Songs 1:5, “I am weathered but still elegant…time-softened like Solomon’s Temple hangings.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Song of Songs 2:3, “As an apricot tree [mature with fruit] stands out in the forest, my lover stands above the young men…” The Message

Sex is like a roller coaster – without brakes! Once you get on, you can’t get off. If you jump from one roller coaster to another, everyone gets hurt. The thrills on the second roller coaster will never match the thrill of the first. A ride designed for the same two people until death.

That is why it warns twice not to start the ride until we are mature and have made a life-long commitment.

Song of Songs 2:7 and 3:5, “Let me warn you,…Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe – and you’re ready.” The Message

Why? Sex takes time – lots of uninterrupted time.

Song of Songs 2:16, 17, “My lover is mine, and I am his. Nightly he strolls in our garden, delighting in the flowers until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Song of Songs 4:6, “I stay until dawn breathes its light and night slips away….” The Message

After becoming one, being apart is physically painful.

Song of Songs 3:1, “Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover. I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.” The Message

* * * * * * *

Song of Songs 5:8, “…tell him I want him, that I’m heartsick with love for him.” The Message

We wait for sex out of our fear or reverence for the Lord. How long? As long as it takes.

Psalms 72:5, “Outlast the sun, outlast the moon – age after age after age.” The Message

Waiting builds a firm foundation for your home.

Psalms 127:1, “If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.” The Message

You say, “I can’t wait! I can’t take the pressure.”

“Remember, it requires eleven tons of pressure on a piano’s strings for it to be tuned.” Streams in the Desert, March 4

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