“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.



Seeking wisdom Ecclesiastes 1

Ecclesiastes 1
Mark 16:26
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Today I take a sidetrack from the Book of Mormon and read from the books of Solomon. Solomon is credited with three books from the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Psalms. All were very poetic in their verse.
How I read it:
  • 1. I read it through one (two) times.
  • 2. I went back and thought deeply about certain verses that jumped out at me and I asked questions?
  • 3. I tried to imagine that I was the author. Why would I say what I said this way? What was his mood? (Somber) What was his intention?
  • 4. I tried to remember something about Solomon to help me. What I couldn’t remember I looked up.
  • 5. Finally, I was able to pull from it what was pertinent to me.

Life can be hopeless, if you let it. Wisdom comes to those who seek it, and when we find the knowledge needed to make us wise, it often brings us sadness. Why? Because, true wisdom does not come from knowledge (alone) of this earth which is cyclical, repetitive, and predictable. It is not until you add the element of God’s spirit into your life do you find something that will lift you above the mundane. Something that is able to help you make choices based not on pattern, but on truth that comes from an eternal source.

What is the difference in wisdom and profit? Why was Solomon bemoaning the fact that he could not have any real profit from doing his earthly labor?How you think Solomon saw profit? Did he include wisdom in his equation of profit? Wisdom is knowledge + spirit. Wisdom is knowledge + experience. Without a touch of experience to season our knowledge, knowledge is a valuable as vanity. Without the spirit to season our knowledge it brings us little gain. When you think of it this way, you can find a new understanding of Solomon’s words.

I have known quite a few older people in my life. I watch these older people. Why? Because I want to see if they have found the secret of life, or are they tired, lonely and angry. The ones that are happy, really happy with a smile that burns through to your soul, are the ones that have kept a higher law. They are not shy about telling you so. They have an energy about them that draws you to them. And when you are around them, you feel alive, full of hope and you begin to cultivate a desire to have wisdom. I think that we have a choice in life to choose to be a battery charger or a battery drainer. When we choose God, we become a charger.

I once met an older man at a social gathering. When his son introduced me to him, it was like plugging into a battery charger. He was in his late 80’s, but carried the demeanor of a much younger man. His smile spoke volumes about his faith. I knew from knowing his son that he (my friends father) was a man of great faith, but I didn’t have to be told that. His faith was apparent in his aura, in the way he treated others, in his smile and his consideration for others. He was happy! No he was full of joy! Happy comes from earthly experience, Joy comes from God.

When we get our energy from something “above the sun”, when we find our wisdom from keeping God’s commandments we forego the frustrations of life. We forego the difficulties and the seemingly endless cycles of life that “run into the sea” and “return again”.
You can read this with a touch of pessimism as many have, or you can read the first chapter of Ecclesiastes with a touch of optimism. It does get rather boorish listening to Solomon recount the reasons that life without the spirit does not bring profit, but I believe he is trying to emphasis these points so that he can help us understand where exactly our focus should be if we want to have true profit from our lives.

(Words and Phrases)
Vs 2 Vanity.. all is vanity. Vanity: worthless, pride, narcissistic, egotism. Basically anything that you can't take with you when you die.
Vs 3 What profit our work for this life? When we die do people really remember what we did or didn’t do to make a living? I have done a great deal of genealogy work and discovered that when we die we are most remembered for whom we lived with, where we lived, and the families that we bore. Sadly, we are also often remembered for the “skeletons” we create. The best way to be remembered in this life is to be kind. To be forgiving. To love another human being. When we become too caught up in our work, in ourselves, in our vanities… then we become part of the life cycles that never end, and never change. We must live a higher law.
Vs. 4 One generation passeth away.. another cometh. The families of man are born. They die. And the earth on which we live abides.
Vs. 5 A day.. a cycle in the time we have here on earth. A small circle of time in the larger span of time in our existence here.
Vs. 6 according to its circuits – even the wind has its patterns. Meteorologist know the patterns of wind. They are daily, seasonal, and patterned. Forever
Vs 7 all the rivers. – the cycle of water it comes from the rivers, to the sea, and back again. It is a never-ending cycle of moving water.
Vs 8 full of labor – No matter what man does for his labor, he will never be satisfied. There is not contentment in a world where the cycles of life are never ending.
Vs 9 no new thing - Elements. We are made of elements. The world within which we live is made of elements. There is no new thing. It just all gets transferred from one phase of the cycle to the other.
EXCEPT WHEN we show kindness, show love. This is new. To the soul that receives it, it is new. Spiritual truths, spiritual gifts, spiritual kindness always brings newness. New ideas, renewed hope, understanding. When the spirit has gone out of us, when we loose hope then we are merely elements awaiting our cycle to turn its course.
Vs 11 no remembrance of former things – I believe this is a reference to the veil. We cannot remember our lives before. When we are on this earth, we must be content with the elements that exist. We cannot know what is to come (after this life)
Enough said. Give your heart to know wisdom. Wisdom comes from God.
Vs 14vexation of spirit – Solomon is frustrated because he wants more. He was the king over Israel. He does not understand the prophets, the hope the promise. Or if he does he still wants more and God will not give it to him.
Vs. 18 he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow – knowledge alone will not bring us joy or lift up our spirit. Knowledge used for vanity brings sorrow. At the end of the book Solomon will tell us that knowledge used for service of God brings joy

As I read this first chapter of Ecclesiastes, I was reminded to consider that a life lived for oneself is vanity. Vanity is worthless and meaningless. There can be little joy in labor that does not serve a higher purpose.
But wisdom can be found within the cycle of life. It comes in keeping God's commandments and learning to understand God's ways.

One of the greatest gems I received today was the realization that the spirit of giving renews us all. We all have a spirit of goodness within us. We all have a spirit of God. We can choose to ignore it and live a life of drudgery, or we can choose to embrace it and help bring a new spirit to those we meet, we work with, to those we love. We can do this by giving our heart to search out wisdom.

FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2010

Solomon's Need of Want Ecclesiastes 2

Ecclesiastes 2

It is possible to never have "need of want". But is it possible to fill our "want of need"?

Solomon discourses on this truth in this chapter of Ecclesiastes. He realized that he had everything he could ever want. He would never "need of want"for: food, work, pleasures, folly, mirth, possessions, gems, etc... His physical body (senses) would never have need. He was set. He is trying to help us see that although being king or (having everything) may fill his cup of "want", it will not fill his cup of "need".

Want and needs are two different things. Solomon told us in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes that those who focus on the physical aspect of "the days of our lives" will never find contentment. Contentment cannot be found in a never ending cycle. We will always want for more. But here is Solomon the King and he has no need for want. Why then does he still need?

We are both spiritual and physical beings. We all have physical and spiritualneeds. Until our spiritual needs are met (by giving and serving a higher purpose) it does not matter how many of our physical needs are met. We will still fill empty.
Spiritual needs are set up differently. Unlike the physical which must "take in" in order to be fulfilled, the spirit must "give out" in order to find fulfillment.

Words and Phrases

vs 1. mirth and pleasure ... Solomon's words taken out of context here can bring the wrong message. I don't believe he is saying that mirth and pleasure are wrong because they are vain. Later in the chapter we realize that he is saying that without God, they bring only vanity.
vs 2 laughter - laughter cleanses the soul. It is good medicine. But without God it is of no value.
Vs 3. what they should do under heaven - what do we do? What is that thing we do? Solomon apparently was a busy man because he is going to recount to us all of the things that he has done his whole life to keep busy. He says that without God, without the higher purpose it brings only vexations.

vs 4-6... He made many things. We too have many duties that keep us focused in this life. We too have many jobs that help us move forward and find a feeling of accomplishment. But how much is this accomplishment worth if we can't take it with us? If it is bound to this earthly world?
vs 7-9 - He collected many things of value and worth: servants, gemstones, land, etc. We too collect many things as we travel on our journey of life. We too carry with us many different items in our tote-bag. How important are they if they do not fill our spiritual needs.

v9 my wisdom remained with me - Solomon truly was wise. He knew that it wasn't about what you had, or what you did, or (what he is trying to help us see) what we don't have or what we don't get to do. It's about seeking wisdom and living in such a way as to be able to retain it.
vs 11 no profit under the sun. Here he is cataloging all that he has done, all that he has owned, and considering if he has real profit? His wisdom has brought him to a higher understanding. His wisdom has helped him to see that while all of these things help us as we pass our days "under heaven" they give no real profit. Why ? Because we can't take them with us.
vs 13 wisdom exceedeth folly - He compares wisdom to light and folly to darkness. Those who choose to be foolish with their time will walk in darkness, while those who seek wisdom will fine light.
vs 14 the event happeneth to them all - We are all subject to life experience. What determines how we will react to the experiences we have in life is weather we have cultivated wisdom or folly.
vs 15 Why was I more wise? a bit of self reflection here? Some self abasement as well. Solomon was a humble man.
Vs 16 how doeth the wise man? Solomon believes that the wise man who believes he is wise will die a fool not because he is wise but because the cycle of life will cause him to be forgotten. Then how has his wisdom profited him?
He is actually using a bit of Socrates philosophy here and using the question to lead him to an answer.
18 I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me - Wo.. this is profound. Solomon realized that no matter how hard he worked, no matter how hard he tried to be in control of his labors, his life, his "wisdom", he was not. It would be left to the cycle of humanity that would follow him. Left to their interpretation of him, left to their perspective. His vanity causes him great pain. He feels caught between his own wisdom of what he has figured out and what he is to do with it?

vs. 19-23 He's cycling down now. His thoughts are becoming deep and despairing. He saying that vanity comes from his realization that he is proud of his work and does not want another to overseer it.
vs 24.. make his soul enjoy good in his labor - from the hand of God. He's beginning to see that he does not need to be frustrated. He does not need to be vexed. He just needs to realize that when we let God in our lives.. we have no need.

For God giveth to a man that is goo in his sight wisdom, and knowledge and joy.
What else can we take with us when we pass on but wisdom, and knowledge and joy? Wisdom from our experience. Knowledge from our learning and experience and Joy from our relationships that allow us to give of ourselves.

When we live for a higher purpose we are able to have our needs met. We don't need to feel the frustration and depression that Solomon felt. We can learn lessons from his wisdom and know that our labors are not in vain when they are done through and for God.

As an example, consider the words that we are reading. Where did they come from? Solomon. Are his words lost on his vanity? Or are they spread to all the earth because of his wisdom?


Beauty in His Time Ecclesiastes 3 P


Comes to us all.
One breath, rising
within us, a life.

blooms in patient corners
of the heart. Until,
it draws upon itself
moving rhythmically
to His Time.

Within Nature
lies the mark of time
that sends her seasons
Acting an obedient part
in His play
of miniature worlds.

Within me.
lies a piece of eternity
that sends me roles of light,
and glimpses of an eternal round
playing to my direction
on a stage of my choice.

We bloom beauty
in His time.
We ply purpose
under His heaven.
We live His hope and design.
We find eternity
in His time.
Linda Conkey Shaw July 4, 2010Copyright

I walked the beach yesterday. I noticed several jelly balls (a non-poisonous non-tentacled jelly fish) washed ashore. It was time for jelly balls. Several languished in the shallow slews and children picked them up, tossing them back into the surf. Last week when I walked the shore it was the time for snails. As the tide ebbed out, hundreds of snails left trails of burrowed sand, like coiled strings. When I walked down by the inlet where the shorebirds were nesting, several concerned parents dive bombed me, giving me fair warning to keep my distance. It was their time to nest.

The storms have begun to come almost every afternoon now. It is the time of year when the heat scorches the land until the sky cries tears of mercy and begs for relief. Thunderclouds roll across the parched land. The flowers will bloom and then give seed. The birds will nest and then hatch chicks. Soon the seasons will change. Nature will follow it's "purpose under heaven".

We all have a purpose. We all have our beauty. God knows our purpose. He alone knows our beauty. He waits for us to realize that we are loved. We are beautiful. And we all have purpose. He waits for us to understand "our purpose under heaven".

These verses from 1-8 have been sung by Pete Seager, They Byrds, and many other musical artists. It is often repeated at funerals. I have not understood this. For reading these first eight verses at a funeral is to say that the dead has finished their time. If this were Solomon's single meaning, the chapter would not have gone on for 22 verses. I believe Solomon had a greater purpose than for us to merely accept our lot, our time. He wants us to accept "our purpose under heaven". That is different from accepting our purpose in time.

Time exists to mark our journey in this life. Time cannot be measured, it can only be marked by events. Time comes from our observations of the earth's events: sunrise, sunset, seasons, occurrences, events,etc. When we are gone from this life, time will have no meaning to us. Time cannot mark an eternal spirit.
Solomon wanted us to understand that God's work transcends time. God (vs 11) put the beauty of nature into our hearts, to ponder, so that we would not seek to understand he eternal round, "his beginning to end".

vs.1 God's plan is that everything has a "season" and purpose. A reason to live. A reason to die. We are no different from His everything. We are his children. If he has a purpose for all that he created, how could we not believe he has a purpose for us. We only have no purpose when we choose to not believe in the higher love.

vs. 2 .God's plan is that everything he created (nature) (man) has a time (season) to be born and to die. Look at the life span of butterfly, a bird, a cricket, a flower, a shaft of wheat. Within each of these creations lies an inward clock that brings... tells them what, when and where to be. Where is man's clock? I believe we all have one, but God has given us agency. So man (because he is a child of God) must learn to use his own time with wisdom.

vs 3 ... the cycle of creation, the cycle of life. the cycle of existence on this earth. We kill for food. We break down what God has given us so that we can have food, shelter, and clothing.
vs. 4 The cycle of emotion. .. It is important to feel all of these emotion. We cannot appreciate one without the other. Each emotion has a purpose. Each emotion has a reason it is in our life. Too much anxiety means our life is out of balance. Even joy can bring us to the realization of what we need to do to continue to progress.

vs 5 the cycle of forgiving... cast away the stones that seperate.. gather the stones to build a community of acceptance. Embrace those you forgive. Learn to let go those that will not be forgiven.

vs 6 the cycle of acquiring - sorting.. what is of value? What do we truly need? What can we take with us?

vs 7. the cycle of communication - we all make mistakes. When we have been wronged we need to know when the time is right to tear open the truth... when should we mend our relationships? How do we do this? through silence or through speech?

vs 9.. Solomon is now asking us about how time enters into the equation of profit? He wants us to understand that there is no profit in a never ending cycle of time and season that measures our existence here on earth. The only profit comes....

vs 11... when God makes everything beautiful... in his time...
God is in control of the earth. God is in control of our lives. God is in control. We need only to accept Him and realize that our understanding of eternity (in relation to the marked time here on earth) is the beginning of our understanding of God's wisdom.

vs 13 It is the gift of God.. to eat and enjoy the goodness of his labor well spent. We all have a need to spend our time wisely. To bring something meet for reward to our Father in Heaven when our time is ended.
va 14. Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever. - God is eternal. God is spiritual. God does not end. All that he does is an eternal round.
vs 16-17 wickedness (not knowing God) and righteousness(acknowledging God) will be judged.. Why? Because God designed a purpose. If we all have purpose, God will want to see if we met our purpose. Think of a flower blooming. Sometimes I plant a seed and it does not sprout. It does not mature. Why? God will want to know why we didn't sprout? Why we didn't bloom.
vs 18-19 the aestate of the sons of men, - affairs of men. .. We are but beasts who must adhere to the cycles of life. birth, death, sleep, growth,. We came from dust. We, like the beasts will return to dust.
vs 21-22. Solomon knows that we will return upward, but he asks the question?

Under the Sun Ecclesiastes 4 P

Under the Sun

Hot and long are my days under the sun.
Oppressed without hope of comfort, I cry out.
He who holds power over my labor, casts us into
A demonic cycle where we,
My oppressor and I, face a hopeless struggle.
He replaces his fear of right with an impotent offer of solace.
I replace my comfort lost with the celebration of my dead
And a grievance for my unborn.

Under the sun,
A mirage of escape looms, Untouchable,
Masked in the pretense of a “right work”.
Success lends itself to envious strife and
Broken promises of rewards
That causes my contentment to fly away
With both hands full of emptiness.

Under the sun,
A fool, I languish so that I might fold my hands
And eat my own flesh.

Under the sun,
Learned, I strive for the envy of my neighbor
And the vanity of my success.

Under the sun
Alone I must trudge
with neither eye satisfied,
Always wondering
“For whom do I serve?”

Under the sun
Alone I face a sore travail
and taste not of the “good reward”
Reserved for the two
That lift one another,
Warm one another,
And offer a threefold cord.

Under the sun
I serve an old and foolish king
That turns away from humble counsel and
Fills his kingdom with desolate spirits
Who are unable to comprehend,
The quiet freedom, comfort and contentment
A poor and wise child could bring.

Under the Sun
Did Solomon sing,
A mournful yet beautiful hymn

To the lonely, the oppressed and even the fool
God's love wants only to comfort, quiet, befriend.
Linda Conkey Shaw July 4, 2010 Copyright

I actually thougth when I first read this chapter that it was going to be an easy blog.
It was not easy to comprehend. It was not easy to get. I had to read, and reread it. Finally it fell into place.

Solomon sees only evil "under the sun". He does not understand how any who live only for the day to day cycle of life find comfort, companionship, or contentment. He sees how the powers that oppress rob all of mankind from the hope of a better way. He sees how the powers that drive us to put success over relationships, over companionship bring empty wealth. He sees how kings (himself) finds nothing but arrogance, selfishiness, and power hungry people in his kingdom. He sees that life is not good this way.

I know that this is true. In my own life I have seen many who have travailed "under the sun" and found no real happiness. The corporate world makes the world go around, and down. It often looses its balance when it places profit, success and greed over the humane needs of feeling accepted, balanced and humble.

Words and Phrases

vs 1 all the oppressions.... the world is full of oppression. If someone cannot directly oppress you through work, they will seek to lure you into oppression through "evil designs" that cause you to become addicted to their product, etc.

vs 1 no comforter... The Holy Ghost is the first comforter to those that believe in Jesus Christ.
We need not have "no comfort" in this life. We only choose to not accept the comfort that was planned for us from the beginning.

vs. 2 I praised the dead.... so great is the cage of oppression that many who are caught into it celebrate their dead more than their own life. They praise those that made it through their trials. and greive for those who have yet to come. Life is not meant for this despair. Life is meant to have Joy.. Joy in the Journey.

vs 4. every right work... Solomon is going to now consider the travail's of man's labor. and
first he will look at "every right work" the successes that men have in their lives and what it brings them when they are not balanced.
vs 5. the fool, foldeth his hands. ... second solomon will look at the fool who refuses to work. He ends up eating himself .. when we don't prepare for the future and use wisdom to plan for our tomorrows we deceive ourselves into a false sense of security only to be surprised that we must eat up all of our resources. We should always plan prudently
vs 6. a favorite verse... A handful of quietness.. ... It is better to be content with a little than to have frustration with too much. There is greater joy in contentment. There is greater joy in understanding how to balance our wants with the needs of our spirits.
vs 7. vanity under the sun... another look at how we ply emptiness in our world.
vs 8. for whom do I labor? the lonely must labor all day and to no reward. to no satisfaction or contentment. They do not share their lives with any one so they must fall alone, sleep alone, be cold alone, and never understand that their pursuit of wealth does not bring them good rewards. There is no family, no friends, no rejoicing in hard work that serves itself.
vs 9 two are better than one... The Lord has taught me this.. two missionaries, two animals, two partners, two visiting teachers, two home teachers, two .. strength in pairs.
vs 10. for if they fall... safety, security, promise of help from those you serve.
vs 11 how can one be warm alone? the warmth of friendship. the warmth of togetherness and of sharing thoughts, feelings, love, hopes, dreams, tomorrows, laughter, etc.
vs 12 a threefold cord is not quickly broken. .. strength in numbers. don't go it alone
vs 13 who will no more be admonished... will I ever receive so much success, wealth, want, that I forget how to take counsel.
vs 16 shall not rejoice in him... who can not rejoice in the Lord God? Who cannot see the strength that faith in him will bring?



A Fool's Prayer Ecclesiastes 5 P

Ecclesiastes 5

Proverbs 15: 2
2 The atongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of foolspoureth out bfoolishness.

A Fool's Prayer

Keep my feet
within thine house, Lord;
Make mine ears
more ready to hear.

Help my mouth
to be less rash, Lord;
Train mine heart
to stay more near.

Give my dreams
unto thy company, Lord;
Make mine vows
defer not their pay.

Keep my word
ever true Lord;
Give me strength
to do all I say.

Suffer not my mouth
to sin, Lord;
Let me not
before angels make,

Excuses that would
anger thee, Lord;
Or from thee
divine pleasure take.

Cometh down unto
my earth Lord;
Destroy not mine
works of hand.

Let not my words
of multitude
cause my sorrow
to expand.

Thou, my God
in heaven lives Lord;
Thou my God
make my words few.

Help me know
thy wisdom true Lord;
Help me keep
my vows to you.
Linda Conkey Shaw copyright July 6 2010

We have all put our foot in our mouth a time or two. We have all said more than was needed. Solomon took time to expound on some of these and speak his mind about how unbridled words can put us into a world of hurt.

"A Fool's Prayer" is taken from the first seven verses of Ecclesiastes 5. It helps explain Solomon's feelings about those who do not take God's words and existence seriously.
As I read it I remembered several adages I have learned through the years; "Take your word for it; As good as his word; A man of few words; etc.

In understanding the poem, it is important to read verse 1-7 first. In reading it you will understand that Solomon is trying to help draw a distinction between those who will not adhere to God's wisdom and those who will. He has a darker way of getting his point across, but it is still effective. He asks us to consider all of our words and how they direct our actions.

Words and Phrases and Verses

vs 1 - Keep thy foot - Be reverent. Be steady. Be sure. Be balanced. Stand tall
vs. 1 - More ready to hear - Listen. reverent, quiet, humble
vs. 2- rash with thy mouth - Listen. Think before you speak. Do not cast fast judgment
vs 2 - heart be hasty - greed, unbridled passion. envy.
vs 2 - Let thy words be few - Think clearly what you will say. Consider your word choice when speaking to the Lord who is in heaven.
Vs 3 - A dream cometh through the multitude of business - What we desire to gain comes not from one source but the Lord works through his networks of those that serve him. A fool will speak his mind no matter how it will affect those that work to his favor.
vs 4 he hath no pleasure in fools - It does not please the Lord when we put our foot in our mouth.
vs 5 - integrity
vs 6 No excuses- Do what you say. Make your word good. Your honor depends on it.
vs 7 too many dreams (directions) and too many words... brings emptiness. Fear God and focus. Don't walk in circles, but rather find focus and fear God.
vs. 8 Justice comes from a higher source than can be found on earth
vs. 9 served by the field - we all eat the same food, and benefit from the same profit.
vs 10 Those who seek abundance - (not profit) are never satisfied. Why? Because abundance is not specific. It is the accumulation of things, but these things may have no meaning if they have no purpose
vs 11 - the beholding of them with their eyes - we like to look upon our wealth, but for what other purpose is there. This is pure vanity.
vs 12 those who labor sleep well, those who have an over abundance must worry about its safety.
vs 13 riches kept for the owners to their hurt - those who seek riches just to obtain and have, suffer pain from the anxiety of worrying about them. We cannot serve two. Either we will love one (riches) or we love the other (God or people). But if we try to serve both.. we find angst.
vs 14 -16 - We take from this life what we bring to it. nothing physical.
vs 18 -19 enjoy the good of his labor- there is a difference between enjoying the good of ones labor in his portion... and understanding that it comes from God.. as a gift.... And selfishly keeping all of your riches for the vanity of having riches.
vs 20 joy of his heart - From our good of our labor comes a joy of heart that is unmatched from any mass of wealth we can obtain.


Where is my Goodness? Ecclesiastes 6 P

Where is my Goodness?

Is it in the common-hood of man?
Does it dwell in my treasures,
Or in the honor of my name?

Where is my goodness?
Does it lie hidden in my wealth?
Or in the family of my hundred children?
If I live one hundred years will
I find my goodness?

Where is my goodness?
Does it come with my birth?
Does it leave me at death?
How will my name be remembered?

Where is my goodness?
If I look to the Sun
Will it be there?
Will it bring me rest?

Where is my goodness?
If I live one thousand years
And find myself with you
at that one place
Will I have found goodness?

Where is my goodness?
If I work all my days to feed my mouth
How do I fill my appetite, for goodness?

Where is my goodness?
Am I a fool if I know it not?
Am I a poorer man for not knowing
the walk of the living?

Where is my goodness?
Will my eyes see all that I have
And be content?
What will my desire seek?
Will it wander?

Where is my goodness?
Has it been named?
Has it been in man?
Or does my goodness come
from him that is mightier?

Where is my goodness?
For am I not but a shadow
If I cannot know from
whence my goodness comes?
Am I not but a shadow
If I cannot discern
goodness from vanity?

Where is my goodness?
With all my wealth?
With all my honor, and riches?
How will I give goodness
To whom shall be after me
If I have not goodness
Under the sun?

Goodness come from God. When I watch and play with my littlest grandchild I know that goodness comes from God. We are born with it. We choose our lives and weather or not we will die with it. Solomon saw that many of us are never content with the goodness in our lives. We always want more. We call it different things: ambition, drive, success, career, hobby etc. but the truth is we are merely feeding our vanity. We often have enough to live one day at a time. We have enough to share, but it is because of so many other "obscure things in our lives" that we forget to be content. We let our desires wander.

Words and Phrases

vs 1 - common among man - I believe discontent is very common among men. Once we have what we want we always want something more. Toys rarely last very long before we seek a newer model, a newer twist on an old need.
vs. 2 - all that he desireth - Solomon knew that the key to what we have in our lives is what we desire. Those who desire wealth usually find it. In this verse he wants us to understand that God will give us what we desire. Be careful for what you pray for because you might just get it. Then once you have it, you can not enjoy it "not power to eat". And then to make it all the more frustrating, we watch another enjoy what we have but cannot enjoy because they have desires that are appropriate. We can be wealthy and miserable or wealthy and full of joy.. It depends on what our ultimate desires in life are focused on.
vs 3 soul be not filled with good - We can have a long life, a large family, and wealth and if we don't know what good is, it will mean little to our name, our family, or our long life.
vs 5 he hath not seen the sun - He does not know the power, the warmth, the glory that the sun can bring to his life. He has not taken time to look up from his dreary work load to recognize from where his blessings, his food, and all he that he has comes from. He has not understood the goodness of God. How can we understood goodness in our lives if we have not understood that goodness comes from God.
vs 7 appetite is not filled - needs and wants again. We can have all our needs taken care of and still hunger for the appetite of our soul
vs 8 wise more than the fool? - spiritual knowledge and the belief that our spirits rule our bodies, not the other way around
vs 9 wandering of desire - this is a key phrase in this chapter and has to deal with our ability to be content with the sight of our eyes. We really cannot physically be responsible for more than we can see with our own eyes. So why do we obtain riches and then want more than we can see, hold, or care for?
vs 11 many things that increase vanity - There are so many things that tend to feed our hunger of uncontrolled desires. Whatever attends to our senses: sight, smell, taste, lust, touch, pride, etc... will serve to increase our vanity if it is used without goodness of intent.
vs 12 as a shadow - We are but shadows if we cannot separate out the good from the vanity in our life.
vs 12 - who can tell a man- who can tell the future and in knowing the future we understand the difference between what will be vain(without use in the future) and what will be remembered and of use to those who come after us.

A Good Name: Wisdom Ecclesiastes 7 P

Ecclesiastes 7
A Good Name:

Layeth not his heart
In the house of feasting.
But seeks to mourn
With those who mourn
And comfort those
In need of comfort.

Strengthens his heart in sorrow
And considers a sad countenance.

Seeketh the heart of the wise
In the house of mourning
And leaves the fools to their mirth.

Hears the songs that upbraid,
With an excellency of wisdom
That is meant to make better the heart.

Waits with a patient spirit;
For a thing's end brings more
Satisfaction than its beginning.

Resteth his anger,
Not in the hasty
Bosom of fools,
But rather in
He that giveth life.

Sees wisdom in he
Who can see the sun
And knows from whence
An inheritance finds profit

Knows that both wisdom
And money bring protection,
But wisdom alone giveth life.

Rejoiceth in his prosperity
But considers God
In his day of adversity.

Balances his righteousness
So that he perisheth not.
And considers his foolishness
So that he lives a long life.

Fears God
With the strength of wisdom
That brings the sadness of truth
That he is a sinner.

Judgeth not others
For their cursing.
But knows of his
Own cursing.

Asks, how do I truly know
The wisdom that elusively
Stretches before me
And dives exceedingly
deep within me?

Will yet apply his heart to know,
to search, to seek the reason of things.

Realizing that a good name
May be found in
Only one man
Amongst a thousand.

Is a precious ointment
on the day of death.
Linda Conkey Shaw copyright July 9 2010

Wisdom. Why does it elude us so? Why do we think we are wise and find out we have come so short a distance after traveling for so many years? Wisdom is defined as having experience, knowledge and good judgment. Sometimes children seem to have more than adults.

One child who was celebrating his 5th birthday with his grandfather who was celebrating his 50th birthday, said to his grandfather, "Hey we are the same age, because zero's
don't count."
And they don't. And true wisdom helps us know that age is but a number on our journey of eternal life. Experience shapes our lives, but not necessarily the wisdom within us.

Children often surprise us with the wisdom they possess, not because of their knowledge or experience, but because of their lack of experience and knowledge. It amazes me with what they often can say and come up with as it relates to the world of adults. They see life so matter of fact. It is theirnaivete's, honesty, and limited perspective that brings them the wisdom that so often eludes adults. Untainted by the world "of foolishness", they serve to remind us of what our maturity has forgotten.

Jesus said we should see life as little children. I am often reminded of how much humility and joy comes from a little child. My youngest grandson has a smile that lights up my world. He enjoys life to the fullest. His smiles, laughter, and questions delight me. We were sitting outside (he's 5) and he noticed our lawn chair, and its ability to have its back lowered or raised. He began to look at it from all angles. Finally he said to me,
"Gramma, look see how high this can go? Gramma, look see how low it will go? Look what makes it stay high. See how this works?"
He is observant beyond his years. His wisdom lies in the structure of life. I marvel at how much wisdom he already has in learning to understand how things are put together.

My other grandson need only hear a song and he will sing it and then play it on the piano. I marveled at his piano talent at such a young age. His wisdom lies in the melody of life. Then there is my youngest granddaughter.(18 months) She speaks to us with sign language (and a few words) and manages just fine to maneuver all through her world of discovery. Her wisdom comes through her pure joy of discovery, and the delight of her soul in making all around her smile.

It is my prayer that we will discover that wisdom comes not only from knowledge, experience, and good judgment, but also from the pureness of a new soul that craves life and sees it all anew. I believe that if we can all remember this child-like wisdom of seeing the world through the magic of belief in ourselves, in others, and in all that we experience we might just find some sense of true wisdom and give ourselves "A Good Name".

Words and Phrases

vs 1 -precious ointment - for healing, for comfort, for relaxation, for safety. a good name.
vs 9 anger restest in the bosom of fools.- Be slow to be anger or be foolish in your actions
vs 12 wisdom giveth life - without wisdom there is little life worth living. Wisdom keeps life balanced. Different people have different talents for wisdom.
vs consider the work of God - this alone is wisdom
vs 15 just man perisheth in his righteousness - He who is so sure he is right and is unwilling to change.. He who is not humble enough to admit his faults will cause himself so much grief, that he will perish in his righteousness
Vs 16 neither make thyself overwise - too much of anything is not good
vs 19 Wisdom strengthened the wise - I think of McGuiver(television) He was very wise with all of his knowledge and could always get out of trouble with his knowledge. Knowledge can keep us from trouble and help us fight our battles. The wise know that they need not be physically strong to win a battle. I think of David and Goliath.
vs 20 - not a just man upon the earth - we are all sinners. We all make mistakes even the wise. especially the wise because they believe their wisdom protects them.
vs 24 exceedingly deep who can find it - somethings that we contemplate about wisdom are much too much to comprehend. We must do our best and then let it go. it will come in time. For me it was understanding what love was. I thought it was about saying a few words. Now I know it is so much more. It is doing, saying, living, and breathing for another that you love.
vs 29 God hath made man upright - He wants us to live a good life. Man seeks many different ways to wander from God. But if we want we can have wisdom and walk upright before God.

FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010

Who Is Wise? Ecclesiastes 8 P

Ecclesiastes 8

Who is Wise?
Who is as the wise man?
Me. I am as the wise man.
When I practice my turn to
figure out a problem, interpret a solution,
and to know the root of all wisdom.

There is wisdom that flows through me
as I break down my piece of life
one section at a time, trial upon trial.
I find a great boldness that causes
me to begin to shine forth.
It changes my countenance.

God placed on this earth a government
that brings peace and prosperity
to my daily commune.
Who is wise? I am. In my obeying
my king's command as he obeys
the oath of our God.

I can practice wisdom when I choose to
forgo my hastiness and stay close
to my king. My king's wisdom
and power of word gives him cause to do
whatsoever thing he pleases.

But he, like me, must face the
same time and judgment
when spirit retains spirit
For no matter my loyalty,
This war will claim all.

But my king with power over me
I have wisdom to know that he is
no better than I. Yet his vexation
increases and my freedom decreases.

And I have wisdom to know that
yet I seek it
I cannot find it.
Yet I know it.
I cannot have it.

Who is wise?
Anyone who thinks he is
must consider how he became such and
realize that to consider this shows
that he is not.

Yet we all can impart bits of wisdom
We all can feel the joy of touching wisdom
And know the change that comes upon us
when but for a brief moment we feel
the power of wisdom surge through us.

Who is wise?
He who seeketh to interpret.

Whenever I have figured something out, it brings great energy to my soul. When I read this I think that Solomon is asking us to think about what it takes to be wise? And asking if we have ever had the experience where we have known just a small bit of wisdom?

I once watched my son, (age 12) figure out a song he was learning on the piano. He played through it once so to learn the notes. Then he learned the harmony. (left hand) Then he learned the dynamics. And then two hands together.Finally, he began to polish it off and make it sing beautifully. Now he was beaming. Eventually he dissected every part of this song and could play it with his eyes closed. I enjoy listening to him as he masters the many different parts of the song.

I enjoy watching him feel happy as he learns to use his wisdom to interpret the song.
The joy that came from interpreting the one piece of music to his own understanding was written all over his countenance. But mostly it was written in the way he played.
He knew that he not only understood the piece, but that he had interpreted it correctly and played it with his soul. When we learn to dissect a problem the way he was able to dissect this beautiful song, we too will play beautiful music.

The thing about learning to play a piece of music is that there are certain rules you must follow in order to unlock the beauty that lies written on the page. You must learn to read the music notes, dynamics, style, tempo. etc. You must learn to practice it correctly. I have heard him practice a song foolishly thinking that if he played it anyway he wanted, his fingers would forget how he practiced it and find some magical formula when it came time for performance.
When we keep the commandments the way we learn to play a piece of music, we find that we are able to progress with greater ease and speed.

Speed seems to be something that my son likes when it comes time to play his pieces. He loves playing fast. Sometimes he ruins his songs. The most memorable songs I have are the ones he has played them with melody, emotion, and the interpretation of his soul. He seems to forget this often and simply try to be "hasty" and quickly be done with his practice. I am trying to help him learn to discipline himself and not "do whatsoever pleaseth him."

The power comes to him when he learns to follow the instruction of his teacher and the interpretation of his soul. The power of a king comes from his word that follows the oath of God. The power of a good pianist comes from his word that follows the oath of instruction and practice.

When my son is able to "keep the commandments" of piano practice he is able to finish in a timely manner and work through each piece with focus and safety from mistakes. When he does not focus there is a fear of the evil thing. Having to repeat, repeat and repeat.

When unraveling the wisdom of a problem, Solomon tells us that a wise man discerns both time and judgment. When playing a piano piece well, a wise piano student will practice his piece with time and judgment. Time comes with rhythm and the part of the day he sets aside to work on his problem piece. Judgment comes with the choices he makes that daily helps him improve his performance and find strength in his skills.

The thing about problems is that we don't know when or where they will crop up upon us. Like playing a piano piece for someone we meet, it is important to practice daily study so that when the opportunity comes to play (problem solve) we are ready to preform without mistakes. Our fingers are strong, our form is solid, our hands are relaxed and we need not fear. We simply practice what we do every day. It becomes natural to us.
When we practice wisdom, this happens the same way. like playing music.

Solomon does not speak about playing the piano here. But rather he speaks about learning to keep the laws of our land and honor those that govern over us. He helps us see that they too must die, but even still they deserve our respect, even when they rule to our hurt. We are all human and even though we have wisdom, we also lose our wisdom.

Wisdom is something that must be practiced and maintained, and even then it is difficult to hold onto. It changes us. It is always changing. It is truth. It is the inevitable. It is knowing the tomorrows and not knowing what to do with what we know. It is learning to bridle the tongue and keeping our knowledge to ourselves unless invited to share. For some are ready to hear what we may impart and others will find pain by our words.

Wisdom comes from those that seek it. We all have that ability. We must search this not only in study but in practice. How wonderful it is when we are able to but touch it, it touches us with its energy and power and changes our faces to that of a shining smile.

Words and phrases

vs 1 - who is as the wise man? - We all can be wise in our own way. We all have our perception of life that will cause others to see what their views cannot.
vs 2 keep the king's commandment - obey the laws of our land.
vs 3 stand not in an evil thing - don't forgo obedience to the laws to stand in evils way, but rather find wisdom in being obedient to the laws of the king.
vs 5. A wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgement - the wise have a sense of time concerning the problems they are working on, as well as a judgment of good and evil.
vs 6. the misery of man is great upon him - the king who must execute judgment of his law must face the misery of those whom he must judge.
vs 8 power over the spirit to retain the spirit - we all will die. Even the king. No man of great earthly power can escape the heavenly law of death.
vs 8 no discharge in that war - we all must fight the battle of death and we all lose.
vs 9 to his own hurt - when we obtain power we all find a way to abuse it. We face frustration, jealousy, etc. and must find a way to overcome the desire to hurt others.
vs sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily - it takes time for the evil work of the wicked to come to light.
vs 16 I applied my heart - give it all your heart to know a problem, a challenge, a task and it will become clear, strong and sure to you. When we seek wisdom we will find it, but it will also be elusive because of its nature and size.


MONDAY, JULY 5, 2010


The Hope of the Living Ecclesiastes 9 P

Ecclesiastes 9


Like the fishes caught in an evil net
Or the birds caught in a snare
I know not my time
that falleth suddenly upon me.

As the hand of God that
comes alike unto all
in that one event, I have
considered in my heart:

The hand that falls both upon the
wicked and righteous,
the clean and unlcean,
swearer and the faithful
will fall upon me.

But to the living
There is Hope
Who wears a white dress
And recognizes death,
Not as a foe but rather as a reward
For remembrance.

Hope walks amongst the living
Who join together banding their love
Knowing God who accepts their works
And anoints their head with his oil

Hope liveth joyfully with her spouse
Whom she loveth all the days of her life.
Hope accepts her portion in this life.
Hope accepts her portion in her labor.

Hope findeth living work
and doest it with all her might,
knowing that in death there is no work,
nor knowledge, nor wisdom.
The grave taketh it all.

Hope knoweth the race of life
goes not to the swift
nor to the strong
but finds balance
in life's time and chance.

Hope teaches that quiet words
fights her battle with wisdom,
and forges works of righteousness

Hope eats bread with joy
drinks wine with a merry heart
and goeth his way in peace.

Knowing that when he is snared
even as a bird is caught by an evil net
God's providence will carry
him forward into the living light.
Copyright Linda Conkey Shaw July 10, 2010.

Our daughter had occasion to spend the day with us today. Dressed in white we attended the temple of our faith. I read this chapter while in the temple and could not help but think of our daughter and the joy that she has brought into our lives. I will name her Hope, for the purpose of this entry. As I thought about our time with her, her ability to love, to recharge our batteries, I could only think of how being around her (Hope) was like being around the living.

Those who choose to have God in their life have chosen to walk among the living. When we walk among the living, we wear white and practice wisdom. When we walk among the living, we learn to love with a joyful heart and accept our portion of work. When we walk among the living we teach one another of hopeful things that bring love, faith, and good works. We let go of things that death will take with him to the grave: envy, hate and a dead love.
Hope is alive. It breathes life back into us when we have allowed ourselves to become despondent to life's attempts to keep us on track. Hope seeks wisdom; wisdom seeks hope.
The two work together.
When life has become hard and difficult, cultivate hope. Hope for things to change for the better, hope for life to become quieter, peaceful and more productive. Hope to have God's influence in our lives so that we can have the desires of our hearts.

Words and Phrases

vs1 - in the hand of God - We all must consider that no matter what happens to us in our lives we are all in the hand of God. We are all dependent upon his love, wisdom, spirit of guidance to direct us.
vs 2 all things come alike to all - Life happens to us all. I think one of the greatest things that I disdain is to see a righteous person treat a non righteous person with contempt. His pride reaches him and he believes that what has happened to another cannot befall him. Sometimes it does not matter how much power or control we have over our lives, sometimes life happens. I could name several calamities, but there are also many other things that involve our personal lives. Perhaps these are much more common.
vs 3 one event unto all - again.. we are in this together. We can choose to live as the dead among the living and prepare for the day that we will die by carrying with us the things that will leave us at death, or we can choose to live among the living and carry with us the things that will carry our lives on in the memories of those we love.
vs 4 there is hope - one of the greatest virtures.. something to be cultivated with wisdom
vs 5 the living know they shall die - the living are alive in Christ. Alive in wisdom, alive in righteousness. They may not know when, but they know they will die. It does not distress them, because they are aware of the peace and good their lives of hope have created. Hope carries on. Hope is eternal. When we live our lives with hope, we live lives that will continue on after our death.
vs 8 let they garments be always white - clean, pure, righteous, good, able to walk with hope
vs 9 live joyfully - hope brings joy because it helps us see the optimist side of life.
Hope brings us joy in the many ways that we love others.
vs 10 thy hand findeth to do - hope knows self reliance. Hope seeks to work with the living so that the living may live.
vs 11 time and chance - it happens to us all. We have God to help us if we choose to love God, but even as we love God, time and chance happens. I believe that God works to change time and chance for our benefit. I believe that God and his angels help those that live with the living.
vs15 poor wise man - saved the city, but because he did not cry with the foolish, but rather used his wisdom as his strength to save the city, he was easily forgotten. The

UNDAY, JULY 11, 2010

A Little Folly Ecclesiastes 10 P

Ecclesiastes 10

A Little Folly

A little folly finds me, like King David
whose heart, that was said to be like unto God's,
A little folly destroys one's standing.
What if David had considered his honor?

A little folly, sets me to no particular direction.
I am lost, like King David,
From justices right hand.
What if David had turned away
and let wisdom steer his way?

A little folly walketh by my way.
I walk, like King David
drunken with my lust so that
everyone who sees me
knows my shame.
What if David had walked
wisdom's path?

A little folly causes me to flee.
I flee, like King David,
before the wrath of my God,
pacifying my great offense.
What if David had stood his ground
when his heart screamed
out its reprimand?
What if he had held to his wisdom
that said stand strong?
Accept your weakness.
Ask God?

But alas a little folly
does not allow for error.
It brings only blind anger,
like what King David, saw
when he turned himself
inward to discover
his mischievous madness.

A little folly sets in motion a
revolution that finds itself set
in the dignity of evil and sets
the rich into lowly stations.
It unravels a noble's tapestry.

A little folly comes to us all,
To rulers as King David,
in its own time,
by its own chance
like that of a serpents bite
or a stone fall midst a quarry.

A little folly, unchecked
by wisdom's weight
will unsettle the grandest ruler.

A little folly, unchecked by honor
will unravel the stature
of the wisest of men.

Help me not, oh Lord
to play the fool's part,
to choose the left side,
of my fool's heart.

Keep my wise man's heart
on God's protective right hand
Keep my wisdom strong
And with God's courage let me stand.
Linda Conkey Shaw copyright July 11, 2010

A little folly: What are my little folly's? We all have them. They are called mistakes. errors of judgment. A little white lie? A lustful glance at something we should not? (David Bathsheba) A angry outburst? A misunderstood communication? A hurt feeling?

What do our little follies cause us? Where do they lead us? How do we over come them? Solomon felt that we could only overcome them with the weight and balance of wisdom.

As the mother of children, I am all too well made aware of our follies. Children make them all day long. It is what they were meant to do. We learn from our mistakes. As a mother I too make my mistakes. Sometimes we get into the mode of thinking that because someone is in charge, they are not allowed to make errors of judgment or mistakes. They are not capable or their wisdom, experience, or generosity towards us will not allow them to make mistakes that might cause us pain. David fell into this trap when he believed he was above the law, and somehow had grown incapable of doing wrong. His position became a hindrance to his humility.
People are placed into positions of authority by various means. As parents all we have to do is give birth and this places us in the position of teacher, decision maker, leader, mitigater, communicator, etc. the list is long. Other leadership positions come via our job, our social contacts, or we might even be elected to a post. It doesn't matter how we obtain the authority over others, we only have to remember that we too are human. We will make mistakes. We will err. We need to say we are sorry. We need to recognize the need for humility and communication. We need to allow others close to us so that they can point out what we cannot see. If we cannot do this we are destined to fail at our personal relationships.

The saddest part about King David's story is not that he wanted Bathsheba. It is that he did not ask God for her. He could have had her. He had many concubines. What he really wanted was "a little folly". Maybe he thought that his wisdom had elevated him above everyone so that he could have whatever he wanted. God tells us in 2 Samuel that if he had but asked.

A little folly comes to us when we forget to ask. When we allow our anger, our lust, our gossipping tongue to rule our actions. When we forget the wisdom of our youth. When we grow weary and decide that we are entitled to "a little". ?.... t.v., entertainment, etc...

Most of us realize that "a little" folly leads to more. There is no such thing as putting your toe into the door and then not wanting the door to open wide. Usually if we go after a little, we want it all. When we entertain the idea for a little, we have given way to forget the wisdom that we need to direct our paths. We want to be set free. We want to find freedom. David found his freedom and then it destroyed him.

A little folly says Solomon causes the ointment of apothecary to stink.
He is warning us to beware of our "little follies" and what they might actually lead to.

Words and Phrases

vs 1Dead flies of the ointment of the apothecary - an apothecary was a person of medicine and ointments used for healing. Even though he had ointments of healing and was well revered for his ability to help the sick heal, dead flies would collect within the ointment and cause them to stink.
vs 2 A wise man's heart at his right hand- the right hand is typically considered to be one of justice and rightness, while the left hand is considered to be have no direction, no justice.
vs 3 his wisdom faileth him - when we walk the way of a fool the wisdom we have cherished does not uphold us. We must choose between folly or wisdom and when we choose it helps us find what each gives: strength or swagger
vs 4 spirit of the ruler riseth up - when someone over us becomes angry at us, do not flee or run away, but stand strong (do not leave your post) and let the consequences fall where they may. If we yield, we offer great offenses.
vs 5 an error from the ruler- the evil says that rulers are not human, they are not allowed to make mistakes. Parents, teachers, bosses, doctors, anyone whom we give authority to in our lives are not allowed to make mistakes. Wisdom says... we all makes mistakes, apologize and move on.
vs 6 -7 folly set in great dignity - pride causes great revolution of the people where no one knows there place and there is great evil at the disorganization.
vs 8 diggeth a pit. - Folly comes to all of us no matter our standing. We often are caught unaware by chance happenings that cause us to fall into the pits of our own making. Be careful for what you do, as it may in fact claim you. If you dig pits for a living, it may come back to your own demise. .. If you gossip for a living, etc.
vs 13 mischievous madness - when we talk to much without consideration of who we are talking about, it causes great foolishness for both the person spoken about and the person who is speaking. It is difficult to unravel too much talk.

MONDAY, JULY 12, 2010

God's portion Ecclesiastes 11 P

Ecclesiastes 11

"God's Portion"

God giveth
To all men who
Sow upon the earth
Bread and sustenance
That they may rejoice
In all their years
And walk this way or that.

To the investor
Who regards the evil
Upon the land
God says: "Give a portion,"
To seven, and eight,
Protect your returns
With diversity.

To the pessimist
Who says "the clouds be full of rain,
They will empty themselves
Upon the earth,"
God says: "Give a portion,"
That you might protect yourself
From chance.

To the fearful
Who observes the wind
That howls fiercely
Or dark clouds that loom,
God says: "Give a portion, "
That ye may sow your seed
And reap a harvest.

To the builder amongst men who wonders
How an embryo's bones do grow, or
To the leader of men who wonders
How the way of the spirit doest lead,
God says: "Give a portion,"
That you knoweth the works
Of God who maketh all.

To the faithful believers
Who share the bread of life,
God says, "Give a portion,"
Both morning and night that ye
might prosper in either.

To he whom has lived many years
And doth rejoice in them all,
God says, " Give a portion,"
That ye may remember
your many days of
darkness and vanity.

To the young man who doth
Walk in the ways of his heart
And in the sight of his eyes
God says: "Give a portion,"
That ye may be warned
Of God's judgment.

To the sorrowful
Who have known
Only the evil of childhood vanity
God says, "Give a portion,"
That thy sorrow might
be removed from thine heart.

To those who give of
The bread they receive,
God says, Man does not live
by bread alone.
Taste the sweetness
Of his bread lightened by His spirit.
Let thine eyes behold
The pleasantness of his sun.

Now when I receive of my daily bread
I am quick to tithe and portion God's part.
For I know that in giving a portion away
I will find his love sketched on my heart.
Linda Conkey Shaw copyright July 12, 2010

Words and Phrases

vs 1 Cast they bread - Take a chance, Share thy profits, Go fishing, Help others. Believe that your good deeds will ultimately be for your good.
vs 1 upon the waters - I always associate waters with emotion. upon the waters would be upon the living waters of my fellow man. So to cast my bread upon the waters would be to take my profit and share it with others who are in need.
vs 2 give a portion - share your wealth, not all of your wealth, but some. Be sure to not keep it all to yourself.
vs 2 to seven and also to eight - I think it is important to see that he says to share with seven and eight. Diversity is important. If you are going to share your bread (upon the water) be sure to do so with those with many different needs. Be sure to not put all your eggs in one basket. Invest your time, talents, profits well. The best investments are the diversified sharing with others
vs 3 if the clouds be full of rain - you will certainly have prosperity in your investment,
but even with clouds full of rain, your investment involves the risk of too much rain.

vs 3 in the place where the tree falleth - chance. No matter what you invest in, there is not certainty. Things happen by chance such as a tree falling. We are not in control of what happens once we let go of our profits and share them. They are not given to helping others for the same reason that you would invest in a stock market. Investing in people involves greater risks and chance. So once you share let it go. As verse one said, it will come back to you.

vs 4 He that observeth the wind - Those who stand and watch the wind will not sow seeds for fear that their seeds will not find root. There will always be a level of risk, but we must learn to trust in what we cannot see and in God's greater plan. We must have faith.

vs 5 knowest not the ways of the spirit - God's ways are not our ways. We are dependent upon the physical nature of life for sustenance and survival, so our ways have a different purpose and perspective. God is not dependent upon these things so his ways are different. We cannot know all that he knows, such as how the bones grow in the womb

vs 6 in the morning sow thy seed - It is important when we live God's faith, that we learn to sow (cast) our seed of faith in the morning. If we wait until the evening we have lost the opportunity to know what he would have taught us that day. We should read our scriptures in the morning, so that God's faith can work on us throughout the day.

vs 6 in the evening withhold not thy hand - As the day progresses and we are made aware of our faith and how it grows within us from the morning, be sure to share thy hand with others. Give of your profits, your faith, and learn to show others how God has given back to you.

vs 6 knowest not whether shall prosper - you don't know how God's hand will manifest itself in your life. You don't understand how God's love will change your life or where your investments will come from. You don't understand how God will bring your faith back to you full circle

vs 7 truly the light is sweet - God's love. Faith in God is a beautiful thing to behold. When we cast our bread and have it returned to us full fold, we behold his light and the sweetness it brings to our soul. When we understand the blessings of "coincidences" and how our good karma is returned to us. When we see how life is not about obtaining physical blessings but real life comes in the sharing of them.

vs 7 eyes to behold the sun - in our lives of physical hardships where we are dependent upon the rain, the wind, the falling of trees to be in our favor, where the earth holds no predictability, it is a beautiful thing to see how the sun shines upon our life in good providence, not so that we may have for ourselves, but so that we can watch what we share with others return itself full back unto us. When we are kind, we receive kindness. When we share our good fortune with others in a kindly manner, we are able to behold the sun... and have our bread return unto us "in a few days'.

vs 8 remember the days of darkness - Life is full of vanity. If we become to accustomed to God's love and light in our lives we tend to forget the darkness that we had before. By remembering the darkness we are assured to remember to share with others, to love others, to testify to others of our story, of how God bore us up and gave us light in the darkest of our days.

vs 9 God will bring thee unto judgment - Rejoice in thy youth and know that you will receive judgment for your days upon the earth. Enjoy your youth, your freedom, but remember to share your good fortune with others because you (even the youth) will stand before God and have to recount they days of your vanity and how you shared your good fortune with others.
Live a Christian Life.

vs 10 remove sorrow from your heart - you have no need to sorrow if you will live a life of faith. You have no need for sadness if you will share your good fortune with others and let it be returned to you. You have no need of sorrow if you will let go of your vanity and help those who are in need for it will bring you light, and the sun (God's love) will shine upon you.

vs 10 put away evil from your flesh - evil comes when we think only of ourselves and our own profits. Evil comes when we think only of vain things and not of God's word. We put evil away from us when we share our good fortune with others and in our youth learn to live by faith.
vs 10 childhood and youth are vanity - We learn the ways of selfishness in our youth and childhood. We must learn in our youth rather to serve others and to trust in God.


My Whole Duty Ecclesiastes 12 P

Ecclesiastes 12

Vanity of Vanities

I am in my youth
Aware of the sun that shines brightly, the wind that caresses my skin,
The taste of golden fruit, and the strength that surges through my limbs.

I am aware of my gifts that God has given for me to see
How his love has sustained and guided, Lifted me.

But in the day when I have wearied from my years that draw nigh,
Will I say that I have lived for wisdom, and given God my best try?

If I find myself alone when my silver cord shall be loosed,
Will my vanity of vanities shadow me from truth?

As my days grow long and my pleasures grow dim,
Will I have learned that my purpose
Was to grow closer to Him?

As the keepers of my house begin to tremble,
And my strong men bow themselves low,
Will I look upon my hands and stand upon my legs
And realize too late, what I don't know?

As my grinders grow few and cease,
And my window shades darken,
Will my teeth and mine eyes
Finally find courage to hearken?

As my doors shall shut up
And the sound of my grinders is low,
Will I remember what mine ears heard,
Or forget the taste of what his love did grow?

When standing on all that is high
Brings a fear of all that shall be in my way,
When my almond tree shall shed strands of grey,
And my grasshoppers shall bring a burden that stays,

Will the desire within me that once
Thought of God, fail to understand,
That the desire of youth see stars that are bright
And knows not of returning clouds rain?

Fear God, in thy youth, He alone can bring truth.
Fear God, keep his commandments true,
Fear God, in thy youth, and live a life
Fear God, Fear God, in thy youth.

Experience will tell you only what is wrong
It will never help you find right.
Experience will tell you what does not work
God's love will give you a joyous light.

Experience is limited to the earth bound life
It will never lead you to higher ground
Experience will only expose your small size
It will never show you to where God's love does abound.

God loved us so he sent us to earth
To see if we could but understand
How his plan is for us to draw nigh to him
and leave the vanity of vanities to man.

Solomon taught his conclusion on the matter
Fear God and keep his ways, find his plan.
Fear God in they youth, learn of his ways.
For this is the whole duty of man.

Linda Conkey Shaw July 13, 2010 copyright

Words and Phrases

vs.1 evil days come not - while in our youth we are truly protected from that which we cannot know. We think life is hard. We don't really understand what our parents and leaders do to protect us from the evil that is upon them.
vs2 keepers of the house - our hands
vs 2 strong men - our legs
vs 2 grinders - teeth
vs2 those that look our windows - eyes
vs 4 door shall be shut - ears
vs 4 shall rise up at the sound of birds - unable to sleep
vs4 daughters of musick - unable to hear well
vs 5 afraid of that which is high - older people tend to be afraid of heights
vs 5 almond tree shall flourish - almond trees bloom in white. this represents our grey hair
vs desire shall fail - no desire to live life, because of the discomfort and difficulty that our bodies bring us
vs 6 all of these metaphorical phrases represent death
vs. 8 all is vanity - without God in our life, we have lived a life that has only served to return the dust back to the dust. The purpose of life was to know God. To build strong relationships with those that we love and to prepare to meet God. If we have failed to do this, we have lived a vain life with no real eternal purpose to it. The work that we have done will return to the dust as well.
vs 9 good heed - listened
vs 9 sought out - asked
vs 9 set in order proverbs - understood what God wanted us to understand. God's philosophy of Man
vs 10-12 words of truth - books there is no end - The best study is the study of God's word.Revere God and all that he says and there is no need to study unto weariness. Gods words are the truth that we all need. Experience will bring truth but only through much pain. We don't need the pain if we will listen to God's words of truth
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