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10 Rosensteinstraße
Böblingen, BW, 71032

We are an Assemblies of God church serving English speaking community in Stuttgart, Germany.

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Devotional

August 16, 2019

Jordan Campbell

Read Ecclesiastes 2:18-26

Solomon summed up the futility of his quest for meaning in Ecclesiastes 2:24: “There

is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” On the surface, this is another one of those verses from Ecclesiastes that almost sounds like it shouldn’t be in the Bible. Really? “Nothing better?” It sounds so bleak, even nihilistic. Moreover, a literal translation of the text might read, “There is no good in a person who eats and drinks and enjoys his work.”

Okay. That’s still bleak, but it makes a lot of sense because it is universally true. Humans are incapable of creating anything good on their own. But here’s the ray of hope: Our heavenly Father delights to give us good gifts. As James says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (Jas. 1:17). Without God, there is nothing good. But with God, there is nothing better.

What are some ways you have experienced the goodness of God this week?

August 15, 2019

Jordan Campbell

Read Ecclesiastes 2:4-17

Comedian Mark Lowry sings a song about settling down in first class on a flight home to Nashville, only to hear the pilot announce the destination is Omaha. His song, “First Class, Wrong Flight,” contains this lyrical response, “I thought why should I sweat it, I’ll eat my steak and smile. It’s not important where I go, I’m going there in style.”

That attitude sums up Solomon’s description of his life in Ecclesiastes 2:4-17. He had the best of everything, but when he considered all he had accomplished and worked for, he found “all was vanity and a striving after wind” (v. 11).

When you come to the end of your life, will your first-class flight have delivered you to your desired destination? This is a question with eternal implications as well as earthly ones. From an earthly perspective, you may find yourself like Solomon, feeling like you have wasted your life trying to please yourself instead of investing your life on behalf of others. But Solomon knew that God has “put eternity into man’s heart” (3:11). We are all headed to one of two eternal destinations. It’s important to know that, but it is also important to consider what we are doing as we travel along the way.

How are you investing in eternity today? In what other ways can you begin to live more for eternity than the here and now?

August 14, 2019

Jordan Campbell

Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

“I said in my heart.” There are numerous stories that begin this same way and end the same way as well: badly. Often what we tell ourselves is terrible. We give ourselves horrible advice. We lie to ourselves. We flatter ourselves.

There are six times in Scripture (all in Ecclesiastes) where the phrase “I said in my heart” is used, and in all six, the Hebrew literally reads, “My heart said...” In our world, following your heart is a romantic notion. It’s what dreamers, poets, and adventurers do. The only problem is that according to Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” The sinful, unregenerate heart will get us in trouble—every single time. This is why we can’t follow our heart. It’s the worst possible thing we can do. The path to fulfillment is not to follow our heart; it is to ask God for a new one, to have God rip the old, sin-ravaged, deceptive heart of stone out of your chest and replace it with a new, grace-saturated, redeemed heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26). Only such a new heart, given to us by God, inclined toward God, and controlled by God is worth trusting.

The last time you followed your heart, was it your old heart of stone or your new heart of flesh? What was the result?

August 13, 2019

Jordan Campbell

Read Ecclesiastes 1:12-18

In verses 16-18, Solomon seemed to make the same mistake many of us make: treating wisdom and knowledge as synonyms. But in the Hebrew, these are two distinct concepts. Knowledge (yada) is “the apprehension of the mind of some fact.” Wisdom (hokma) is “a moral rather than an intellectual quality.” As someone has said, knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable; wisdom is knowing not to put one in a fruit salad.

But we can go a step further. Wisdom is not just a moral quality. Solomon himself personified divine wisdom when he wrote, “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence” (Prov. 8:12). Paul called Christ “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). So wisdom is not an intellectual fact or simply a moral quality. Wisdom is a Person who can dwell with you. The key to living well and rightly in this world is to continually abide with Jesus—“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

How has abiding in Christ kept you from despair?

August 12, 2019

Jordan Campbell

Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Consider the three books Solomon wrote—Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes—and how each one appears to follow the seasons of Solomon’s life. Song of Solomon perhaps depicts the king’s demeanor while he was young and in love. Proverbs captures him during his peak years in terms of his learning and influence. Ecclesiastes reflects the latter stages of his life, when he was feeling dissatisfied, cynical, and confused with things the way they are and always seem to be. Reading Ecclesiastes, the overall feeling is thus disillusionment and despair. It’s the kind of book that, if you didn’t know better, might surprise you was even in the Bible.

But God’s Word is absolutely true, not just in what it says about God but in what it says about us as well. Solomon’s despair toward the end of his life is echoed in popular culture, such as in Orson Welles’s character in the movie classic Citizen Kane. In non-linear fashion, the film tells the story of a reporter trying to decipher the final word (“Rosebud”) of an extravagantly wealthy publishing mogul who, despite his “rags to riches” success in life, dies in evident despair. As this 1941 movie illustrates, fame and wealth are not adequate means for solving the crisis of despair that faces all of us in our frail and mortal humanity.

As Solomon himself said, “There is nothing new under the sun” (v. 9). How do you resolve the crisis? We know the answer that Solomon—and all whose material abundance fails to satisfy them—yearned for: Christ Jesus. Because of Christ, we need not despair. Life is not devoid of purpose. In Christ, we have been given treasure upon treasure, one of which is understanding that we live today not for today, not for tomorrow, but for eternity.

What could you change today to keep you from feeling like Solomon at the end of your life?