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Smoke and Mirrors- What Is The Difference

Smoke and Mirrors

Speaker: Pastor Ty Neal
Date: October 29, 2017

Just when you think you have life figured out, it happens - the unexpected. It's ironic how life has so much mystery that leaves us asking more questions than there are answers for. So we go to God. We try to figure Him out. We cross our t's and dot our i's expecting him to be controlled and domesticated. But God is not to be tamed like a circus lion. This blows us up. So what are we to do? Where are we to find meaning and lasting happiness when we don't have all the pat answers we so desperately desire? What do we do when life feels like a bunch of smoke and mirrors? Join us as we go through the enigma, wrapped up in a mystery, surrounded by a riddle within the Bible known as the book of Ecclesiastes.

Title What is the Difference?

Big Idea: Jesus is the difference

Ecclesiastes 8:10-11 - 10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.

Tension #1 - Unfair

Quote- “Our faith develops out of the most difficult aspects of our existence, not the easiest.” - Eugene Peterson

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13- 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

Galatians 6:6-10 - 6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Hebrews 13:5-6 - 5Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

Ecclesiastes 8:14 - 14There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.

Tension #2 - Undeserved

Ecclesiastes 8:15 - 15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

Joy in God’s Gifts

Quote- “Our life is not only a great deal of trouble and hard work; it is also refreshment and joy in God’s goodness. We labor, but God nourishes and sustains us. There is a reason to celebrate. . . . God is calling us to rejoice, to celebrate in the midst of our working day.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Ecclesiastes 8:16-17- 16When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, 17then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.

Tension #3 - Unknown

Quote - “Where reason fails, with all her powers, there faith prevails, and love adores.” Isaac Watts

Joy in God’s Transcendence

Isaiah 55:8-9 - 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Quote -“For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.” Robert Murray McCheyne

Philippians 4:4-7 - 4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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