Through the Bible – Day 266

Bible text(s)

One day at a time

1I thought about these things. Then I understood that God has power over everyone, even those of us who are wise and live right. Anything can happen to any of us, and so we never know if life will be good or bad. 2But exactly the same thing will finally happen to all of us, whether we live right and respect God or sin and don't respect God. Yes, the same thing will happen if we offer sacrifices to God or if we don't, if we keep our promises or break them.

3It's terribly unfair for the same thing to happen to each of us. We are mean and foolish while we live, and then we die. 4As long as we are alive, we still have hope, just as a live dog is better off than a dead lion. 5We know that we will die, but the dead don't know a thing. Nothing good will happen to them—they are gone and forgotten. 6Their loves, their hates, and their jealous feelings have all disappeared with them. They will never again take part in anything that happens on this earth.

7Be happy and enjoy eating and drinking! God decided long ago that this is what you should do. 8Dress up, comb your hair, and look your best. 9Life is short, and you love your wife, so enjoy being with her. This is what you are supposed to do as you struggle through life on this earth. 10Work hard at whatever you do. You will soon go to the world of the dead, where no one works or thinks or reasons or knows anything.

11Here is something else I have learnt:

The fastest runners

and the greatest heroes

don't always win races

and battles.

Wisdom, intelligence, and skill

don't always make you healthy,

rich, or popular.

We each have our share

of bad luck.

12None of us know when we might fall victim to a sudden disaster and find ourselves like fish in a net or birds in a trap.

Better to be wise than foolish

13Once I saw what people really think of wisdom. 14It happened when a powerful ruler surrounded and attacked a small city where only a few people lived. The enemy army was getting ready to break through the city walls. 15But the city was saved by the wisdom of a poor person who was soon forgotten. 16So I decided that wisdom is better than strength. Yet if you are poor, no one pays any attention to you, no matter how clever you are.

17Words of wisdom spoken softly

make much more sense

than the shouts of a ruler

to a crowd of fools.

18Wisdom is more powerful

than weapons,

yet one mistake can destroy

all the good you have done.

1A few dead flies in perfume

make all of it stink,

and a little foolishness

outweighs a lot of wisdom.

2Sensible thoughts lead you

to do right;

foolish thoughts lead you

to do wrong.

3Fools show their stupidity

by the way they live;

it's easy to see

they have no sense.

4Don't give up your job

when your boss gets angry.

If you stay calm,

you'll be forgiven.

5Some things rulers do are terribly unfair: 6they honour fools, but dishonour the rich; 7they let slaves ride on horses, but force slave owners to walk.

8If you dig a pit,

you might fall in;

if you break down a wall,

a snake might bite you.

9You could even get hurt

by chiselling a stone

or chopping a log.

10If you don't sharpen your axe,

it will be harder to use;

if you are clever,

you'll know what to do.

11The power to charm a snake

does you no good

if it bites you anyway.

12If you talk sensibly,

you will have friends;

if you talk foolishly,

you will destroy yourself.

13Fools begin with nonsense,

and their stupid chatter

ends with disaster.

14They never tire of talking,

but none of us really know

what the future will bring.

15Fools wear themselves out—

they don't know enough

to find their way home.

16A country is in for trouble

when its ruler is childish,

and its leaders

feast all day long.

17But a nation will prosper

when its ruler is mature,

and its leaders

don't feast too much.

18Some people are too lazy

to fix a leaky roof—

then the house falls in.

19Eating and drinking

make you feel happy,

and bribes can buy

everything you need.

20Don't even think

about cursing the king;

don't curse the rich,

not even in secret.

A little bird might hear

and tell everything.

It pays to work hard

1Be generous, and some day

you will be rewarded.

2Share what you have

with seven or eight others,

because you never know

when disaster may strike.

3Rain clouds always bring rain;

trees always stay

wherever they fall.

4If you worry about the weather

and don't plant seeds,

you won't harvest a crop.

5No one can explain how a baby breathes before it is born. So how can anyone explain what God does? After all, he created everything.

6Plant your seeds early in the morning and keep working in the field until dark. Who knows? Your work might pay off, and your seeds might produce.

Respect and obey God

Youth and old age

7Nothing on earth is more beautiful than the morning sun. 8Even if you live to a ripe old age, you should try to enjoy each day, because darkness will come and will last a long time. Nothing makes sense.

9Be cheerful and enjoy life while you are young! Do what you want and find pleasure in what you see. But don't forget that God will judge you for everything you do.

10Rid yourself of all worry and pain, because the wonderful moments of youth quickly disappear.

1Keep your Creator in mind while you are young! In years to come, you will be burdened down with troubles and say, “I don't enjoy life any more.”

2Some day the light of the sun

and the moon and the stars

will all seem dim to you.

Rain clouds will remain

over your head.

3Your body will grow feeble,

your teeth will decay,

and your eyesight fail.

4The noisy grinding of grain

will be shut out

by your deaf ears,

but even the song of a bird

will keep you awake.

5You will be afraid

to climb up a hill

or walk down a road.

Your hair will turn as white

as almond blossoms.

You will feel lifeless

and drag along

like an old grasshopper.

We each go to our eternal home,

and the streets are filled

with those who mourn.

6The silver cord snaps,

the golden bowl breaks;

the water pitcher is smashed,

and the pulley at the well

is shattered.

7So our bodies return

to the earth,

and the life-giving breath

returns to God.

8Nothing makes sense.

I have seen it all—

nothing makes sense.

Respect and obey God

9I was a wise teacher with much understanding, and I collected a number of proverbs that I had carefully studied. 10Then I tried to explain these things in the best and most accurate way.

11Words of wisdom are like the stick a farmer uses to make animals move. These sayings come from God, our only shepherd, and they are like nails that fasten things together. 12My child, I warn you to stay away from any teachings except these.

There is no end to books,

and too much study

will wear you out.

13Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:

Respect and obey God!

This is what life

is all about.

14God will judge

everything we do,

even what is done in secret,

whether good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12:14CEVOpen in Bible reader

God's Spirit and our own desires

16If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires. 17The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.

19People's desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20They worship idols, practise witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: no one who does these things will share in the blessings of God's kingdom.

22God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26But don't be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.

Help each other

1My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don't be tempted yourself. 2You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.

3If you think you are better than others, when you really aren't, you are wrong. 4Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don't compare yourself with others. 5We each must carry our own load.

6Share every good thing you have with anyone who teaches you what God has said.

7You cannot fool God, so don't make a fool of yourself! You will harvest what you plant. 8If you follow your selfish desires, you will harvest destruction, but if you follow the Spirit, you will harvest eternal life. 9Don't get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don't give up. 10We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord.

Final warnings

11You can see what big letters I make when I write with my own hand.

12Those people who are telling you to get circumcised are only trying to show how important they are. And they don't want to get into trouble for preaching about the cross of Christ. 13They are circumcised, but they don't obey the Law of Moses. All they want is to boast about having you circumcised. 14But I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his cross, the world is dead as far as I am concerned, and I am dead as far as the world is concerned.

15It doesn't matter if you are circumcised or not. All that matters is that you are a new person.

16If you follow this rule, you will belong to God's true people. God will treat you with undeserved kindness and will bless you with peace.

17On my own body are scars that prove I belong to Christ Jesus. So I don't want anyone to bother me any more.

18My friends, I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you! Amen.

Galatians 5:16-6:18CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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