Archive for the ‘Ecclesiastes’ Category

Remembrance by the numbers

May 26th, 2014 by Maureen

There is not a remembrance of former [generations]; and will be no remembrance of those who live now by those that are at the last. Ecc. 1:11 YLT

As citizens we owe it to those who have lost their lives on the battlefields in the name of the United States to remember their names, to value their lives, and to grieve their loss. And as we remember the fallen, let us include the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day, the 5.5 million disabled veterans. including the 1 in 5 suffering from PTSD, and the 57,849 homeless veterans,  These men and women have lost the lives they used to have before they fought. To remember is to push against the tide of selfishness and apathy and to count the costs of war.

Lord, inspire us to do more than remember.






I don’t deserve this

April 26th, 2014 by Maureen

I have turned so as to see under the sun, that the race is not always to the swift the race, nor the battle to the mighty, nor bread to the wise, nor wealth the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful, for time and chance happen with them all. Ecc.9:11

Life is not fair. Though our actions and attitudes can and do effect outcomes in our lives, time and chance disrupt our self-reliant perspectives and replace them with God-centric perspectives. Focus on the unfairness of life yields bitterness. Focus on the love and grace of God yields peace.

Lord, thank you for giving me better than I deserve.

Christmas present

December 2nd, 2013 by Maureen

It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them. Ecc. 5:18

Sometimes our grandest purpose is simply to be present in our eating and drinking and working, to pay attention to the people who are right there in front of us, and to savor life’s small adventures. In a season that is full of planning, preparation and purpose it’s easy to focus on “special events” and fail to be present in the moment.

Help me practice the art of being present and increase my awareness of Your presence in these present moments.




In the moment

November 8th, 2013 by Maureen

Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both. Ecc. 11:6

It’s important to prioritize, but it’s not a good idea to write off opportunities, or relationships. What may seem like an unproductive waste of time might turn out to be incredibly rewarding. We can’t always predict which activity or personal interaction may lead to transformation and blessing in our lives. It’s important to pay attention.

Lord, help me to be in the moment all day.

Fortunate peeps

June 6th, 2013 by Maureen

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Ecc. 4:9-10

We all need people who let us be ourselves, who love us no matter what, who listen to our craziest ideas, and who call us out when necessary.  Our friendships, marriages, families, and/or ministry and work relationships are all God’s way of making sure we don’t do this life alone. It takes deliberate effort to maintain the level of love, honesty, and grace that keeps this sort of relationship going.

Lord, thanks for all my peeps…especially my husband.

Happy Anniversary, Ted!

In the spontaneous, intentional moment

May 9th, 2013 by Maureen

Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both. Ecc. 11:6

Really being present in the moment  takes both  intentionality and spontaneity. It is often when we are kindly responding to another person, responsibly taking care of business, or joyously pursuing an interest that the grace and love of Jesus bursts out of our lives. Opportunity to communicate love and grace happens when we are aware that while we are in the moment, He is in that moment with us.

Lord, help me to simply enjoy You as I enjoy life with others.


Stop waiting to be happy

April 9th, 2013 by Maureen

Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present. Ecc. 5:19 (The Message)

Does it ever seem like you’re always waiting to be happy? Too often we focus on achievement, goals, or rewards that seem practical; or we tell ourselves that we’ll pursue and develop God-given gifts and talents after this season passes or this milestone is met. Our passions and talents are part of God’s gift to each of us.

Lord, help me to engage in the present.

Big mysteries

March 22nd, 2013 by Maureen

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Ecc. 11:5

Delving into God’s big mysteries can stretch our minds and spirits. With prayer and study we may gain more insight. However the Bible seems to spend the most ink on our relationships and responses to God and other people.

Lord, help me to enjoy the mystery of living in You, for You, and through You in relationship with You and others.

Looking back and taking stock

December 31st, 2012 by Maureen

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecc. 3:1

2012 has been a year full of births and deaths, graduations and retirements, weeping and laughing, winning and losing, fighting and peacemaking, gathering and dicarding, conversations and contemplations, giving and taking, selfishness and generosity. Every human purpose has been pursued and we can’t change any of it now. But God can take even our hardest seasons and use those experiences to accomplish His purposes.

Lord,  forgive those seasons when I pursued my own purposes over Yours and restore even those seasons to Your purposes.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks…

November 23rd, 2012 by Maureen

Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king. Ecc. 9:17

There is a lot of shouting in the marketplace this time of year. Messages come from every direction intended to create a sense of desire in order to sell products. This time of year  traditions that are supposed to be expressions of love and events that are supposed to be gatherings of celebration can become hollow, pressure-filled expenses and obligations unless we keep our eyes on the star and keep seeking the Child.

Lord, help me to hold on to the quiet satisfaction that thankfulness produces.

Get going…

October 22nd, 2012 by Maureen

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Ecc.3:4

Sometimes waiting to act is the prudent, Spirit-led, wise choice. Sometimes it is simply a fearful reaction to the climate of the moment.  If fear and doubt is driving the wait, the optimum moment may never present itself. Sometimes, in spite of the current climate, it’s time to stop procrastinating and just start.

Lord, I’m getting going…I really am….

First world one-percenter problems

September 3rd, 2012 by Maureen

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! Ecc. 5:10

What the first world might consider a necessity the rest of the world considers a  luxury. What a one-percenter might consider standard the rest of the first world considers an extravagance. Many visitors comment on the joy they see in poverty-stricken areas of the world. If most of our worries are first world one-percenter problems it might be time to rethink how we define words like “need” and “happy.”

Lord, help me be happy with enough and help other people have enough as well.

Seasons and passages

May 27th, 2011 by Maureen

For everything there is a season,
      a time for every activity under heaven. Ecc. 3:1

We gather as friends, families, and communities to mark life’s transitions with ceremonies like graduations, weddings, baptisms, anniversaries, and funerals. When those we love experience important passages in their lives, whether happy or sad, it’s important for them to know that they have a support system in place to face whatever is next. There is no season of life that is meant to be faced alone.

Lord, show me how and when to be there when I’m needed.

Finish strong

May 18th, 2011 by Maureen

Finishing is better than starting.
      Patience is better than pride. Ecc. 7:8

We can run out of energy and enthusiasm as we approach the end of a  long project or school year.  The final product may not be what we hoped and there are always things we could have done better.  Even if pouring our best efforts into a strong finish does not significantly improve the outcome of the current project but will change the way we approach future projects. 

Lord, give me the patience I need to finish strong.

Analysis paralysis

February 9th, 2011 by Maureen

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Ecc. 11:4

Trying to figure out perfect timing and optimal conditions can lead to analysis paralysis. Nothing will ever get done if we wait around for perfection and certainty. When we accept that risk and change are inherent to living life we can begin to live with less fear and greater effect.

Lord, when I freeze up remind me to keep moving.

It’s simple

December 4th, 2010 by Maureen

It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.  And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.  Ecc.5:18-19

Life may be  punctuated by big, epic moments but most of it is made up of our simple, every day routines. If we accept God’s purposes as our purposes and His goals for our goals we increase the pleasure we get out of life. We can savor the moments, recognizing the provision and treasuring the people He’s put in our lives.

Lord, thank you for all life’s simple gifts.

Carpe diem

November 9th, 2010 by Maureen

Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both. Ecc. 11:6

We only have so much time and energy; plus, everything we have to do is not equally interesting. That said, we increase the chance for fun and profit when we invest and engage rather than just doing what we have to do because we have to do it. We don’t always know when God will turn everyday responsibilities into phenomenal opportunities.

Lord, help me to seize the day.

Life isn’t fair

October 3rd, 2010 by Maureen

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill, for time and chance overtake them all. Ecc. 9:11 (KJV)

We don’t always get what we feel we have earned. Factors outside our control can mess up our plans even when we do everything right. Fortunately our assets are of no eternal consequence and our worth is derived from Christ.

Thank you, Lord, that grace that is not dependent on my own strengths and abilities.

In awe of God

September 13th, 2010 by Maureen

God has made everything beautiful for its own 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. Ecc. 3:11

There are mornings when it seems as though God has created a new shade of orange for the sun. There are times when the impact of ocean waves confirms God’s power. Our hearts were designed to experience awe, and nature is a only a glimpse into the awesome experience of actually knowing Him.

Lord, I am awed by all You have made, all that You’ve shown me of Yourself, and all You have yet to reveal.