Time To Grow
Part 3 – Final Installment
By Ken Pullen
ACP – http://acrookedpath.com
Tuesday, December 3nd, 2013
God works. Always. It is up to us to remain still, quiet, and listen. To the unchangeable living God. Do I hear voices? Do true believers? Are we delusional and deranged? Gone utterly mad? Heaven forbid! Certainly no. We can hear the unchangeable living God speak to us through His Word. And others.
Recently a young woman asked me a question on Facebook. I only opened a Facebook account in order to publish “A Crooked Path” on that medium in the hope of reaching more people with what I believe is a good offering on the Internet, “A Crooked Path.”
Originally when I was led to sit down and compose the first installment in this “Time To Grow” series of columns I had no idea what I would write. I laid my complete trust before the Lord. Then I had no idea what the second part of this brief series would be about and was led to write what I did. I felt in my heart I could not leave matters dangling there and needed one more installment in order to close this series before moving on to the next column and columns, Lord willing I am measured days and nights to write them. I had no idea what I would write about concerning growth in the final installment – until the young woman asked me for my understanding, my interpretation of a couple of verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes, or The Preacher as the title means in Greek.
Ecclesiastes is written by a wise man reflecting. I believe that wise man to be Solomon. Writing primarily to younger people in an attempt to instruct them. In the hope they take heed. The author of Ecclesiastes had lived a life of great pleasures, past failures, material wealth, great power and prestige – while still seeking an inner lasting happiness. There is a tone of examining his past and all that included, including apostasy at times. Failures at times. Coming to the conclusion from the beginning the ways and desires and labors and efforts of all men and women always lead to vanity and futility. Death is always waiting for everyone. And no matter how materialistically wealthy, no matter how powerful, how much pleasure and fame one had death will be there for them. When they least expect it or upon a death-bed in old age.
The resolution of Solomon is that happiness and worthwhile pursuit only comes through faith in, obedience to, and service to the Creator.
I had been reading and studying in the apostle Paul’s epistle to the believers in Rome prior to sitting down to write the first installment in this series. The Epistle to the Romans is all about growth. As is every verse and word the apostle Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write.
As is every verse and word Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes.
As is every verse and word from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22: 21.
There is not one verse nor one word in the complete Word of God which cannot or does not nourish us continually and help us to grow spiritually – always. Providing we turn to it, read it, pray upon it, and keep it in our hearts and live its life-giving instruction daily, continually.
The True cycle of life. True growth. True value.
I am no expert. I, in truth, feel very feeble in my interpretation of Scripture. I must always rely upon the Holy Spirit to instruct me. I am so limited in my own ways and understanding. it is through faith, through repetition of reading, through praying upon, contemplating what I’ve read, and returning to it and then using a concordance to read corresponding verses and books within Scripture that greater depth of discernment and understanding comes.
Along with keeping eyes and mind, heart and spirit open to the ways and will of God.
And to Him leading us, instructing us with others.
I grew spiritually closer to God and His truth, His living Word today because a young woman asked me a question and had me read and think upon Scripture I might not have read for some time if left on my own. And I can only come to the belief it was God’s will this young woman asked me the question she did which lead me to the reading of Ecclesiastes chapter 8.
For, as I responded to her, I always read what comes before and what follows after – taking everything into context – when discerning and working to come to a greater, deeper understanding of the Word of God and how to apply it to my daily life.
As Solomon throughout all of Proverbs and throughout all of Ecclesiastes contends and concludes all in this life, in this world, of men is vanity. And whatever pleasure or happiness it may seem to offer is fleeting – is vanity. And does not last. Death and dust and rot comes to it all. For everything. For everyone. And this is not depressing.
Oh, it would be and life would indeed be pointless if this was all there was.
But as Solomon learned and knew, and attempted to instruct young people in his time; satisfaction, the true meaning of life, real happiness, lasting happiness, deep happiness and understanding, real wisdom, real wealth, real pleasure do not come from any of the attainments in this life, in this dimension we know on earth as things have been, are, and will be. But real satisfaction, real happiness, real wealth, real strength, real meaning and real depth of joy, lasting joy only come through the Lord of life. The Creator and Lord who give life and are the real power, and the real glory, and the real truth. Only through the understanding and pursuit of the Lord of life can anyone attain true happiness.
And that is real growth.
We may be past the age of physical growth. We may be 20 years old, or 35, or 52, or even 88 and our physical stopped growing long ago and is in a state of decline. But no matter our physical state we can grow spiritually closer to the living God and His Son, Jesus Christ through our submission, our obedience, our serving God and Christ and taking the instruction of their complete, whole, living Word. The Holy Bible. All of it. Not being picky malnourished eaters only ingesting the tasty morsels we deem edible.
We need to be fed and nourished on the complete, whole living Word of God to grow spiritually. And we need this as daily nourishment for our hearts, our minds, our spirits, and our souls!
As in the verses I was asked for my interpretation, verses 10 and 11 in chapter 8 of Ecclesiastes:
And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
Ecclesiastes 8: 10,11
As I explained to the young woman, and earlier in this column, one must read what precedes these verses, and that which follows these verses in order to discern wisely and completely.
We wonder in these times of great rebellion against authority if we need to heed our own government. Too many so-called Christian churches have become little more than entertainment complexes which deal in political debate every Sunday. While we must obey and serve God, Jesus Christ the Lord, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God above all else within Scripture in many places it instructs us to remove ourselves from sedition, from rebellion against authority. We are to obey the kings and powers and nations as long as they do not remove the landmarks of the Word of God. I used the example of the murdering of the unborn – abortion – in America as a law of the land and enforced by the king (president) and leaders of this land of ours, but we cannot serve two masters, one of them being evil, in such a case. We cannot obey and abide the murder of the unborn just because it is lawlessness and immorality made now lawful in these last days. As many things once unlawful and immoral and against God are now being perverted into laws within our land.
But leaders – all leaders of all nations are ordained by God (see Romans 13: 1-7). And we are to pray for them. Not amiss. Not as A Roman Catholic, or a Baptist, or a Lutheran, or of some denomination – as a true believer and disciple of Jesus Christ and servant of the Word of God.
Because leaders will do evil and come to think themselves above and beyond the laws of the land. And they will become tyrants. But the power of God and the Holy Spirit can overcome all evil. If we pray humbly, fervently, and in faith.
But if judgment does not come speedily to those living in wickedness and in evil we are not to lose our faith. We are not to think ourselves the judge.
The Creator will judge all and justice will be met out. In due time.
Yet the hearts of men, who do evil continually, think themselves immune to judgment and deny evil in their days and live in evil and evil grows and grows because they do not fear the Lord our and their God.
But judgment will come. To all. In due time. And judgment will be complete and true according to the works of men.
We must turn to God daily. In prayer and study of His Word.
We must turn away from the vain ways of this world and turn to God. For our time to grow is each day we are blessed with by the Lord our God. For the days are short and the treasures are laid up for us in heaven, not on this earth, for our faith and obedience unto the Lord.
Honor and serve the Lord.
Give the respect due to those of this world. According to the Word of God.
But do not waver or grow weary and weak and join in the evil saying judgment does not come.
For it will come to all. And it will be right and true…and for ever and ever.
Either the second death and eternity in hell away from God and Christ and the joy of heaven.
Or in life eternal with God, Jesus Christ, and the heavenly host.
Judgment will come to all. And there are only two paths. Two courses. Two choices to serve and grow in. Either the right-ness and ways of the Lord, or in the vanity and evil of the prince of this earth for a season, that old dragon Satan. There are no other courses, paths, or ways to take. And no other consequences other than eternal life with God and Christ in heaven – or eternal damnation.
Even though the world and many among the fallen professing belief in these times of the great apostasy profess otherwise.
The Word of God remains true, constant, and clear.
One cannot go wrong heeding the instruction of the wise king Solomon.
Or to grow in the Word of God through the asking of a question of one young person seeking an answer.