In photography, one takes a picture and perfects it. Hours could be spent either taking the correct picture, perfecting technique, or spent behind a computer editing the photo. Consequently, this makes me think of how God uses life to shape and edit (in a way) His saints. Not in the same way a human would take or edit a picture, but He spends time on His product. He uses some circumstances in life as our editing process. He spiritually prunes His followers like vines. When He sees ideologies and mentalities that need to change, he cuts them away.
A photographer searches for the right days to take a photo, the right season to travel, and the right conditions for the outcome of their product to be easier to manage. Many times in God's word, He emphasizes that there is a season and a time for everything. Rarely would you see a photographer out in certain conditions unless they had the equipment. However, God equips His saints through circumstances. This devotional will center on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11 accentuate the theme for everything there is a season.
A Time for Everything
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, NLT).
Historical Context Behind the Text
Ecclesiastes, according to Jewish tradition, is believed by scholars to have been written around 935 BC, during the late reign of King David's son, King Solomon. The teacher in this book documents his experiences with disappointment in trying to find peace and comfort away from God. The examples of wealth, wisdom, popularity, and pleasure are used to emphasize that all will lead to disappointment if it becomes an idol, or the sole reason for existence. Towards the end, the teacher abandons secular pursuits and glorifies God by obeying His commandments. In order to follow God's commandments correctly, motives must be pure or else it is sin and glorifying self.
Everything in its Season
We're all somewhat familiar with what we learned in kindergarten (even if some were homeschooled) in that everything has its place. This lesson never tires beyond home. It's just expounded upon. Everything in life has its season. There is peace before war and there is peace after war. Sometimes, in order to have or truly appreciate peace, there is war.
The life of the Christian is like being in a constant war, with periods of peace. Every day that is given, there are new battles. Constant white noise. Advertisements, propaganda, explicit TV shows, temptations from other people to commit sins. Sometimes, they are impatient with where they are at and take matters into their own hands. I know for me, maintaining patience is something that is difficult to do. I will admit there have been plenty of areas I took matters into my own hands and received either God's discipline or a blessing was put on hold. It's a lifelong process and one that no one will perfect. Thus, this is the beauty in the struggle: it all points to God and takes the focus off of self. The teacher brings home this point of useless foundation-less work:
"For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. This is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die." Ecclesiastes 3:21-22.
Take Up Your Cross
All four Gospel books illustrate building a solid foundation. I'm going to use Luke's account.
"So why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord!' when you don't do what I say? I will show you what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the flooding waters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the flood waters sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruin." Luke 6:46-49, NLT.
Going forward today, live life as if you weren't going to be given a second chance. Ask yourself: who am I to God? Am I a friend, or an enemy? If you are a friend, examine your faith. Where does it stand? And if you are an enemy of God, know that only through Christ can there be given life. There is only one life to live. Tomorrow is never promised. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyoVJfADlwo See more devotionals here:
Jars of Clay
Finding Biblical Purpose
Lending a Hand Campaign
The numbers of the victims of human trafficking and the stories behind the numbers are why Blissful Faith is partnering with nonprofit organizations to help fund rescues and recovery programs for those entrapped in bondage. Each number is a person. You can be the one to help make a difference by purchasing a shirt in which proceeds will go to nonprofits that seek to give a voice to the voiceless. See more on human trafficking from my previous articles below:
The Price of Freedom
Blissful Faith started as a lifestyle and branched into a blog to help others hear about Jesus Christ and how they too can develop a blissful faith through knowing God. This blog’s purpose is to be an evangelical outreach to further the kingdom of Christ. Furthering the kingdom means stretching outside of the comfort zone, comprehending, and working towards meeting the needs of others. Putting faith to action keeps it from becoming stagnant. The Blissful Faith Merchandise store helps both this blog to grow and to meet the needs of others. About 8-10% of the proceeds will go to The Exodus Road and Agape International Missions to help combat human trafficking. The funds will help assist in rescue operations, providing shelter, and recovery programs to those in bondage. Below is a link to other nonprofit organizations currently working around the globe to help aid those in bondage in human trafficking: