November 21

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NIV) 13Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Solomon searched out all the avenues of life to find something of meaning. He encouraged man to enjoy his labor and the simple pleasures of life, but to avoid extremes. Every thing he looked to for fulfillment, he concluded was meaningless. But here in the last two verses of this book, he gives us his conclusion of all his seeking. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. A healthy fear of God will deter us from evil.

His commandments are given for our good. If we will let God's word direct our lives, we will certainly be better off than if we had ignored it. The Word is a lamp to our feet and a light unto our path. We sometimes get confused about what God would have us do. This sentence helps make the will of God an idea we can grasp. "If I will fear God and keep His commands, I will have done all that I should." That is our whole duty in one sentence.

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. The temptations of life lose their attraction when we consider standing before God to answer for them. There is nothing hidden from His eyes. God will reward the good and punish the evil. Those in Christ can thank God that their sins are covered with His blood. There is still the judgment of reward for us, but many of our deeds may be determined to be wood, hay, and stubble. Those done by the Holy Spirit through us will be the precious stones that endure.

Consider: Is your life in keeping with the duty of man described here? Do you live in the light of the fact that we will all one day give an account of our lives to God?

November 21

Hebrews 13:3-5, 8 (NIV) 3Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 4Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The letters in the New Testament sometimes end with a list of one- line instructions. This is the case with Hebrews. I have just pulled a few. They are all worth heeding.

A great number in the body of Christ live under the threat of persecution. We should remember them in our prayers and do what we can to assist them as if we were there among them. The Voice of the Martyrs and several other organizations exist to help the persecuted church. Read their stories, and let your heart be touched to pray and give.

Our world is trying to destroy the foundation of the home, marriage with fidelity. God is faithful. That is the one reason we should be faithful. Since marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ, infidelity is a picture of idolatry. No wonder the godless are bashing the institution of marriage.

Contentment should come from the fact that our greatest need is met in Christ Jesus. He is our Provider. He gives us what we need. His presence in our lives should be the source of our contentment. If we are not content, we have set our heart on something other than Christ.

Finally, though everything in the physical world changes, Jesus Christ will eternally be the same awesome Savior that He is and always has been. He is the rock we must cling to in an ever-changing world.

Consider: When I am discontented, I must discover what my heart has fixed upon outside of Christ.