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Crown Him the Lord of Years

I will continue providing some video meditations on the book of Ecclesiastes in the coming weeks. My purpose in doing this is to encourage you to stay in God's Word. And to encourage you in general. I think we all need some encouragement right now. You are still in my thoughts and prayers. I am mindful that at the moment some of you are working harder than you have ever worked in your life while others of you are feeling alone and isolated and bored, just wondering when life will get back to normal.

I am seeing a lot of references online to the movie Groundhog Day lately. It's a favorite of mine. In that movie, Bill Murray's character is stuck in the same exact day on an infinite loop. He wakes up every day hoping that February 2nd will be over so that he can move on with his life. We get to watch him go through the five stages of grief as he copes with reality: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

For many of us, life feels like Groundhog Day right now. You wake up each day hoping for change. For a new day. For some good news. For all the sad things to become untrue.

Part of the good news the Bible proclaims to us is that we are not on an infinite loop. In Ecclesiastes 1, the Bible acknowledges that life can appear this way sometimes. From one perspective, it looks like life is a big circle that only ends when we breathe our last. But God shatters that circle by telling us that He is the Lord of time: "Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time." That He is sovereign over our days. That He will fulfill all His holy purpose. And that when we do breathe our last, we will be ushered into the presence, and joy, of our Master.

Life, like time, is not happening to us. It is happening for us, to get us into the presence of Christ. For Jesus Christ entered this world of time, and bled and died and resurrected in this world of time, to assure us that no matter how cyclical life may feel, Christ has blazed a straight line into the joy of heaven. This means for the Christian that death gives way to resurrection and sorrow gives way to joy. Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5). Practically, the death and resurrection of Christ shows us that, for the believer, sudden reversals and happy endings are not only possible, but inevitable.

Join me in praying for a happy ending, this side of heaven, for the Covid-19 pandemic. And plead Christ's resurrection as the reason for believing, and knowing, it is possible. And thank God that Jesus is the Lord of our years.

Posted by Heath Cross

Words You Can Take to Heart

Let's talk about how the book of Ecclesiastes is the perfect book for the situation we're facing right now. It's a great book to think about right now. Many of us are sitting around with a lot of time to think. That's exactly what Solomon is doing in Ecclesiastes. He's thinking. He's reflecting. He's advancing in years and taking the time, as a mature man, to sit still and reflect on the purpose of life in this fallen world. And on the past mistakes he's made living in this fallen world.

One of the most intriguing verses in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 7:3: "Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad." We need to hear this verse. Solomon is reminding us that in God's economy sorrow leads to joy. We see hard times as setbacks. But, in God's world, sorrow is often a setup for future joy. As Jesus says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

Another piece of wisdom Solomon shares: "Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you" (7:21). Is that a verse for the times or what? When mixed messages are leading to confusion and anger, it's good to remember not to take the things people say to heart. Words are dangerous and can be hurtful, especially when you allow them to penetrate your heart. I encouraged my daughters to memorize this verse at a very early age. Let the gospel of Jesus' great love for us penetrate your heart. Don't let the words of man pierce you.

I share these verses to whet your appetite. There's much more wisdom to learn from Solomon. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing some video meditations on Ecclesiastes. These videos will be posted on our YouTube and Facebook pages. As many of us continue to shelter at home, I pray that God's words, delivered through Solomon, will give us encouragement. And that it will give us some much-needed perspective on how to live with wisdom in a confusing, sin-shattered world.

Posted by Heath Cross

Holy Thoughts for Holy Week - Part 7

"'You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.'"
Matthew 27:65

Saturday was relatively uneventful for the disciples. Their Savior was dead. Luke tells us, "On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment." Surely they were emotionally drained and distraught. 

But while the disciples rested, the chief priests and Pharisees plotted. They remembered Jesus' claim, "'After three days I will rise,'" so they urged Pilate to secure the tomb lest Jesus' body be stolen. Pilate complied with their request and ordered the tomb sealed and guarded.

I wonder though if Pilate had some secret concerns. He wasn't excited about crucifying Jesus. His wife had sternly warned him and he found no guilt in Jesus. Maybe he had a hunch that the thousand pound stone wouldn't work.

That stone may serve as an impressive symbol of unbelieving man's herculean efforts to suppress the truth of the gospel in unrighteousness. Unregenerate people are forever concocting arguments and espousing philosophies to debunk the resurrection. They strive to make their views secure, solid, coherent, and irrefutable. Not too many years ago Bishop Spong said, "I couldn't be more excited about the future of the Christian faith, but it will be a different faith." He went on to describe traditional faith as suffering a "last gasp death-rattle in a world explained by Darwin, not Deuteronomy."

But with all due respect, he was wrong. The stone could not contain the Savior. The chief priests could not suppress the truth. The guards could not resist the angel. And to this day neither liberal theologians nor pagan philosophers nor the gates of hell can resist the risen King who quietly but relentlessly builds His church.

I'm sure that particular Saturday lasted 24 hours like every other day. But for the resting disciples it must have been the longest 24 hours in history! If Jesus had not come out of that tomb, we would be of all men the most to be pitied. But He did come out and in so doing defeated sin, conquered death, and opened Paradise. I don't hear any death-rattle, do you? "Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Christ has burst the gates of hell; death in vain forbids Him rise, Christ has open Paradise!"

P.S. Here is a little music from our cowboy friends in Montana, Peter and Gracie Rosenberger, to cheer your soul.

Posted by Jim Bachmann