Fast Food Take Away (spiritual food)

Short biblical meditations on the theme "the Joy of Living", for busy people.


The Book of Ecclesiastes
A SPIRITUAL READING FOR TIMES OF DEPRESSION

{The author of this Book calls himself, the "Teacher", or the "Preacher". That's why in some Bibles this book is called "the Book of Qoheleth (the Hebrew term for "preacher"). Usually it is called the book of "Ecclesiastes"(the Greek word for the Assembly of the faithful, where the preacher works)
The author of the book identifies himself as "King David's son", (that is king Solomon, famous for his wisdom.) But this is just a literary fiction. The Book was written many centuries after King Solomon (likely about three centuries before the birth of Jesus). The Book keeps the freshness of today's thinking.}
Ecclesiastes
Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 12        
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7

Ecclesiastes 12
Oct 23, 2003
The concluding words of the Preacher, remind us that faith in God is the source of all wisdom. It is the guarantee for living a good and happy life.

"Because the Teacher was wise, he taught the people everything he knew. He collected proverbs and classified them. Indeed, the Teacher taught the plain truth, and he did so in an interesting way.

A wise teacher's words spur students to action and emphasize important truths. The collected sayings of the wise are like guidance from a shepherd.
But, my child, be warned: There is no end of opinions ready to be expressed. Studying them can go on forever and become very exhausting!
Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad."
(Ecclesiastes 12: 9-14)

Ecclesiastes 9
Oct 14, 2003
The reality of death that drags all humans, no matter their background, to the same fate, is a frightening thought. It has a great impact on humans

"This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God's hands, no one knows whether or not God will show them favor in this life. The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether they are righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who take oaths are treated like people who don't.
It seems so tragic that one fate comes to all. That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. There is hope only for the living. For as they say, 'It is better to be a live dog than a dead lion!'"
(Ecclesiastes 9: 1-4)

Ecclesiastes 8
Oct 6, 2003
Wisdom teaches us to see, beyond the meaninglessness of existence, a way to live a decent human life.
"How wonderful to be wise, to be able to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person's face, softening its hardness.

In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!

So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people to do in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them.

In my search for wisdom, I tried to observe everything that goes on all across the earth. I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. This reminded me that no one can discover everything God has created in our world, no matter how hard they work at it. Not even the wisest people know everything, even if they say they do."
(Ecclesiastes 8: 1,14-17)

Ecclesiastes 7
Sep 29, 2003
Human wisdom can not solve all the riddles of life and death. A wise person, who believes in God, does not rebel against the riddles of human existence, but, among contradictions and excesses, chooses to walk the golden mean

"A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born.
It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time.
Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.
A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now."
(Ecclesiastes 7:1-4)

"Being wise is as good as being rich; in fact, it is better. Wisdom or money can get you almost anything, but it's important to know that only wisdom can save your life.
Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don't fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked?
Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life."
(Ecclesiastes 7:11-14)

Ecclesiastes 6
Sep 21, 2003
As a good believer, the author of Ecclesiastes attributes to God everything that happens on earth. He sees that God has planned everything, but this immutable predestination of all things by God, the author affirms, must teach man contentment and modesty.

"There is another serious tragedy I have seen in our world. God gives great wealth and honor to some people and gives them everything they could ever want, but then he doesn't give them the health to enjoy it. They die, and others get it all! This is meaningless--a sickening tragedy.

All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough. Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it is like chasing the wind."
(Ecclesiastes 6: 1,2,7,9)

"Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there's no use arguing with God about your destiny.
The more words you speak, the less they mean. So why overdo it?
In the few days of our empty lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? And who can tell what will happen in the future after we are gone?"
(Ecclesiastes 6: 10-12)

Ecclesiastes 5
Sep 15, 2003
The author of the Book of Ecclesiastes is a wise man, who reflects on life and the events that take place in society. You may feel that his wisdom and intuitions are quite common. In fact he is not a great philosopher or a famous theologian. He expresses the wisdom of the common people. His originality, though, rests with his staunch faith in God. He sees the futility and all the contradictions of life, but he keeps his faith (which is again the simple faith of the common people).

"Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth--except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers!
People who live only for wealth come to the end of their lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day they were born.

As people come into this world, so they depart. All their hard work is for nothing. They have been working for the wind, and everything will be swept away. Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud--frustrated, discouraged, and angry.

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work--whatever they do under the sun--for however long God lets them live. 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--that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy." (Ecclesiastes 5:10,11,15-20)
Ecclesiastes 4
Sep 8, 2003
Why is there so much injustice in the world? Why does God stand by and lets the wicket triumph and the good be oppressed?
How often you get stuck in this contradiction and find hard to accept a merciful God who allows all this to happen in this world.

"Again I observed all the oppression that takes place in our world. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and the victims are helpless. So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. And most fortunate of all are those who were never born. For they have never seen all the evil that is done in our world." (Ecclesiastes 4: 1-3)

Ecclesiastes 3
Sep 8, 2003
When you feel that human freedom has many limitations, and that all things and events are immutably predestined and are not subject to the human will; when you feel you want to rebel against the human fate, see how the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes saw this problem, and tried to make the best out of it.

"There is a time for everything,
a season 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 rebuild.
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 a time to lose.
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 a time to speak up.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
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."
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8,11)

Ecclesiastes 2 Sep 2, 2003
When you are tempted to chase after pleasure as a way to run away from yourself, or search wisdom to avoid some realities that look irrational and hard to accept, read the following.
"I said to myself, 'Come now, let's give pleasure a try. Let's look for the good things in life.' But I found that this, too, was meaningless. 'It is silly to be laughing all the time,' I said. 'What good does it do to seek only pleasure?' While still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I hoped to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
So I became greater than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. Anything I wanted, I took. I did not restrain myself from any joy. I even found great pleasure in hard work, an additional reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere."
(Ecclesiastes 2: 1-4,8-11)

"So I decided to compare wisdom and folly, and anyone else would come to the same conclusions I did. Wisdom is of more value than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. For the wise person sees, while the fool is blind. Yet I saw that wise and foolish people share the same fate. Both of them die. Just as the fool will die, so will I. So of what value is all my wisdom? Then I said to myself, 'This is all so meaningless!' For the wise person and the fool both die, and in the days to come, both will be forgotten."
(Ecclesiastes 2: 12-16)

"So now I hate life because everything done here under the sun is so irrational. Everything is meaningless, like chasing the wind. I am disgusted that I must leave the fruits of my hard work to others. And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? And yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work. How meaningless!"
(Ecclesiastes 2: 17-19)


Ecclesiastes 1 Aug 25, 2003

When you feel down, bored and doubtful about everything, when you feel that life is without meaning and that all things are immutably predestined and are not subject to the will of humans, when your faith in God starts shaking under the persistent barrage of many "why without answers"íK read the Book of Ecclesiastes.

You won't find in it rational answers to your questions, but, amazingly enough, you will find sympathy and support. The author of the Book is experiencing your same problems, asking the same unanswerable questions. His faith in God remains strong though, even if it can not give a satisfying intellectual answer to all questions.

Is this attitude towards the world negative and pessimistic, or is it realistic and broadminded? You can work hard for the betterment of society and at the same time see the meaninglessness of everything. You can be a staunch Evangelizer, and at the same time have doubts in your mind.

"These are the words of the Teacher, King David's son, who ruled in Jerusalem.
'Everything is meaningless,' says the Teacher, 'utterly meaningless!'
What do people get for all their hard work? Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn't already exist long ago? We don't remember what happened in those former times. And in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now."
(Ecclesiastes, 1:1-11)

"I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race.
Everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind. What is wrong cannot be righted. What is missing cannot be recovered.

I said to myself, 'Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem
before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.' So I worked hard to distinguish wisdom from foolishness. But now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow." (Ecclesiastes,1: 13-18)


Yesterday Fast Food

Ten thought-inspiring readings from the letter of James
2003
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