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The Journal

It is not all about me

IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT ME In Ecclesiastes 4 the teacher examines our hearts very carefully to see what they are like. He comes up with some disturbing evidence as he looks at various things which occur amongst humans. He encounters :- 4:1-3 oppression between people, 4:4-6 envy which impacts why and how people engage in work, loneliness 4:7-12 which is not God’s plan for us and finally 4:13-16 the limitations of political leaders. God set this world up with blessing that we would go forth and multiply and be good stewards of this world but sadly ever since our disobedience in the garden (Gen 3) we have failed to not only obey God but we have also hurt one another. The 2 great commandments instruct us to love God with all our hearts and love our neighbours as ourselves but we have failed to do this. When we see our spiritual bankruptcy evidenced by the way we treat each other our hearts cry out to God for help. We can’t solve the problem of sin by political solutions nor by our own ingenuity. It is true that we need a revolution and we need the Lord’s power to come and heal our hearts of sin. The glorious Gospel of Jesus not only brings forgiveness of sins but also heals our broken hearts so we learn to love our neighbour and care for one another. One of the symptoms of our broken world is loneliness and as the Gospel of Jesus’ death for our sins is preached He deals with this loneliness by bringing reconciliation with God and with each other. His purpose in salvation is to create a new people who can love and support one another and declare His goodness to the world. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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God is in control

GOD IS IN CONTROL This famous passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 reminds us that there are seasons of life that are outside of our control. Of course we need to make good and wise choices now but only what God does endures forever - 3:14. God has put eternity in our hearts 3:11 and this reminds us that there is something better than than life just under the sun. God’s whole purpose in the various seasons of life we encounter is to humble us that we may fear Him and give Him the honour He deserves 3:14. In the second section the teacher speaks about injustice and how there is corruption in the place of power 3:16. We are created in the image of God and one of the qualities which comes from this is our concern for justice. Indeed this is at the heart of God who wants us to treat one another justly. God promises us that He will bring judgement in his time. The judgement of God gives us great hope because we know that everyone will have to give an account of their life and evil will be dealt with. Our decisions now to stand up for justice and to treat people with dignity carry significance and count and also when we have been denied justice by others we know that God has heard our cry and one day we will be vindicated. This concern for justice on the part of the teacher points us to the Cross where justice was done and our sin was punished with Jesus taking our place. God is totally just and judgement fell on Jesus that mercy may fall on us. This cry for justice by Jesus gives us confidence to face God when Jesus returns to judge all people. We must all be ready for the return of Jesus if we want to escape judgement and this means that we fear God which means to trust Him and recognise that He is in control not us. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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Finding true contentment

Finding True contentment 

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Dying well so you can live well

Learning to die well so we can live well. Today we embark on a new series on the book of Ecclesiastes. In 1:1 we are told that these are the words of Qoheleth which is teacher or leader of the assembly. This book is from the wisdom tradition and at times reads like Proverbs. Some people see this book as a book which shows us what it is like to live without God and then in chapter 12 we are told to fear the Lord. The conclusion is correct but the teacher is trying to get us to really examine life and how it works because he says that life is meaningless or a better translation is life is like a breath or vapour. He is not saying that life is futile but that life ultimately can’t be controlled by us. It passes so quickly. This writer is not depressed nor cynical rather he is teaching us that there is an inevitability of life that we must face - that we all die. As we face our mortality God is wanting to produce in us a humility to see our need of Him. All of us want our lives to count and to have significance but there is something frustrating about trying to “gain” 1:3 in this world and make our mark because death humbles all of us and we are forgotten. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus uses this idea of gain when he warns us of running after things in the world at the cost of losing our soul. The teacher is taking us on a journey to look at the patterns and rhythms of life so we can live realistic and fruitful lives now and be ready to face the Lord. Living well is not just about avoiding worldly pursuits but rather the uncertainties of life are faced by all people Christian and non Christian and to live well which is one of the purposes of wisdom literature requires us to learn the lessons of life we see God teaching us through this book. Too often as Christians we learn Bible truths but this wisdom from God doesn’t penetrate our values and our attitudes. Ecclesiastes is a book which will get under our skin and give us the opportunity to grow in faith as we seek the Lord and apply His Wisdom to our lives and our values and attitudes are changed and affect our behaviour. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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