The Book of Ecclesiastes is, in my estimation, one of the more crucial books of the Bible with which to reckon. A right understanding of Solomon’s soul-searching invites one to embark upon their own such incisive quests. It does not call us to escape our broken world, but rather, to engage it — to enter into all the discomfort, discombobulation, and disaster of this fractured life and there tender grace.
Steve Harvey is one of those pop-culture personalities so associated with his later-in-life career that his rise to fame is all but forgotten. If you asked the average millennial who Steve Harvey is and what does he do, the vast majority would tell you about his run as host of the day-time gameshow, Family Feud. But that’s probably about it. Honestly, I don’t know how he got famous, either.
The apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy primarily deals with the doctrine of God’s church. He iterates the roles they were to play in it, the message they were to proclaim, and its precedent to demonstrate that message in how they lived. In 1 Timothy 5, Paul transitions to inform Timothy of how the church was to function as the family God. This is Christianity in action.
From Jesus’s first moments of public ministry, he has endeavored to declare the gospel of the kingdom of God. Yet, his preference was to upset any and all prevailing notions about how this kingdom would come to be and what its founder, the Messiah, would do to establish it. The disciples are certainly confused in this moment. But Jesus speaks into their confusion by relaying two striking parables about the unexpected operation of his kingdom that was right in front of them.
The middle of Psalm 119 might also be its midnight. David opens up to God in the 11th stanza, not pretending he is fine but honestly expressing his grief. His hope has shriveled. His heartache is bringing him to edge of faith, to his wit’s end. It’s easy to feel similarly to the psalmist. But fortunately, we are given the same source of hope in the middle of our heartache.
It is not often that I hasten to my keyboard after reading or watching something in the news so as to provide comment. I don’t pretend to assume that my contributions to the ever-churning news machine matter all that much. But this was different. This was important. What occurred and what was uttered in that courtroom was, perhaps, one of the best instances of grace this side of the cross.
Paul’s first letter to Timothy sees the apostle instructing his young disciple in the healthy, nourishing words of “sound doctrine.” Such things Timothy was to “labor and suffer” for — to “command and teach” — to construct and conduct his entire ministry on. As Paul closes chapter 4, he gives an insightful portrait into the significance of doctrine and devotion in both the private and public life of the Christian.
The Gospel of Mark is a “no holds barred” sort of Gospel. Its matter-of-fact presentation of Jesus’s actions confront all of our preconceived notions as to what the promised Messiah is supposed to come and do and say. Whereas many fancied the Messiah sauntering into Rome on horseback with sword drawn, instead, he is sitting and dining with outcasts and sinners. Jesus continues his trend towards unexpectedness in Mark 4, as he relays the hallmark parable in all of his teachings.
In Psalm 119, the Christian is afforded with boundless encouragement. It relays to us the unceasing relevance of God’s Word through some of the most earnest, honest, human prayers in life’s intensest moments. The truths throughout the Psalms, but especially those of the 119th chapter, are what we cling to as the church. They are our unwavering, unfading confession.