2 Corinthians 13; Ecclesiastes 6; Ecclesiastes 7; Ecclesiastes 8

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2 Corinthians 13

1 This is the third time that I'm coming to visit you. Every matter is settled on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
2 When I was with you on my second visit, I already warned those who continued to sin. Now I'm repeating that warning to all the rest of you while I'm at a safe distance: if I come again, I won't spare anyone.
3 Since you are demanding proof that Christ speaks through me, Christ isn't weak in dealing with you but shows his power among you.
4 Certainly he was crucified because of weakness, but he lives by the power of God. Certainly we also are weak in him, but we will live together with him, because of God's power that is directed toward you.
5 Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Don't you understand that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless, of course, you fail the test.
6 But I hope that you will realize that we don't fail the test.
7 We pray to God that you don't do anything wrong, not because we want to appear to pass the test but so that you might do the right thing, even if we appear to fail.
8 We can't do anything against the truth but only to help the truth.
9 We are happy when we are weak but you are strong. We pray for this: that you will be made complete.
10 This is why I'm writing these things while I'm away. I'm writing so that I won't need to act harshly when I'm with you by using the authority that the Lord gave me. He gave it to me so that I could build you up, not tear you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, good-bye. Put things in order, respond to my encouragement, be in harmony with each other, and live in peace—and the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Say hello to each other with a holy kiss. All of God's people say hello to you.
13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Ecclesiastes 6

1 I saw a tragedy under the sun, and it weighs heavily upon humanity.
2 God may give some people plenty of wealth, riches, and glory so that they lack nothing they desire. But God doesn't enable them to enjoy it; instead, a stranger enjoys it. This is pointless and a sickening tragedy.
3 Some people may have one hundred children and live a long life. But no matter how long they live, if they aren't content with life's good things, I say that even a stillborn child with no grave is better off than they are.
4 Because that child arrives pointlessly, then passes away in darkness. Darkness covers its name.
5 It hasn't seen the sun or experienced anything. But it has more peace than those
6 who live a thousand years twice over but don't enjoy life's good things. Isn't everyone heading to the same destination?
7 All the hard work of humans is for the mouth, but the appetite is never full.
8 What advantage do the wise have over the foolish? Or what do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before the living?
9 It's better to enjoy what's at hand than to have an insatiable appetite. This too is pointless, just wind chasing.
10 Whatever happens has already been designated, and human beings are fully known. They can't contend with the one who is stronger than they are.
11 Because the more words increase, the more everything is pointless. What do people gain by it?
12 Because who knows what's good for human beings during life, during their brief pointless life, which will pass away like a shadow? Who can say what the future holds for people under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 7

1 A good name is better than fine oil, and the day of death better than the birthday.
2 It is better to go to a house in mourning than to a house party, because that is everyone's destiny; and the living should take it to heart.
3 Aggravation is better than merriment because a sad face may lead to a glad heart.
4 The wise heart is in the house that mourns, but the foolish heart is in the house that rejoices.
5 It is better to obey the reprimand of the wise than to listen to the song of fools,
6 because the fool's merriment is like nettles crackling under a kettle. That too is pointless.
7 Oppression turns the wise into fools; a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than arrogance.
9 Don't be too quick to get angry because anger lives in the fool's heart.
10 Don't ask, "How is it that the former days were better than these?" because it isn't wise to ask this.
11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance— an advantage for those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom's protection is like the protection of money; the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
13 Consider God's work! Who can straighten what God has made crooked?
14 When times are good, enjoy the good; when times are bad, consider: God has made the former as well as the latter so that people can't discover anything that will come to be after them.
15 I have seen everything in my pointless lifetime: the righteous person may die in spite of their righteousness; then again, the wicked may live long in spite of their wickedness.
16 Don't be too righteous or too wise, or you may be dumbfounded.
17 Don't be too wicked and don't be a fool, or you may die before your time.
18 It's good that you take hold of one of these without letting go of the other because the one who fears God will go forth with both.
19 Wisdom makes a wise person stronger than ten rulers who are in a city.
20 Remember: there's no one on earth so righteous as to do good only and never make a mistake.
21 Don't worry about all the things people say, so you don't hear your servant cursing you.
22 After all, you know that you've often cursed others yourself!
23 I tested all of this by wisdom. I thought, I will be wise, but it eluded me.
24 All that happens is elusive and utterly unfathomable. Who can grasp it?
25 I turned my mind to know, to investigate, and to seek wisdom, along with an account of things, to know that wickedness is foolishness and folly is madness.
26 I found one woman more bitter than death: she who is a trap, her heart a snare, her hands shackles. Anyone who pleases God escapes her, but a sinner is trapped by her.
27 See, this is what I found, says the Teacher, examining one matter after another to account for things.
28 But there's something that I constantly searched for but couldn't find: I found one man among a thousand, but I couldn't find a woman among any of these.
29 See, this alone I found: God made human beings straightforward, but they search for many complications.

Ecclesiastes 8

1 Who is wise? And who knows the meaning of anything? A person's wisdom brightens the expression; it changes the hardness of someone's face.
2 Keep the king's command as you would keep a solemn pledge.
3 Don't be dismayed; leave his presence. Don't linger in a harmful situation because he can do whatever he wants!
4 Because the king's word has authority, no one can say to him, "What are you doing?"
5 Whoever keeps a command will meet no harm, and the wise heart knows the right time and the right way
6 because there's a right time and right way for every matter. But human misfortunes are overwhelming
7 because no one knows what will happen, and no one can say when something might happen.
8 No one has control over the life-breath, to retain it, and there's no control over the day of death. There's no release from war, and wickedness won't deliver those who practice it.
9 I observed all of this as I paid attention to all that happens under the sun. Sometimes people exercise power over each other to their detriment.
10 Then I saw the wicked brought to their graves, with people processing from a holy place, while those who had lived honestly were neglected in the city. This too is pointless.
11 The condemnation for wicked acts isn't carried out quickly; that's why people dare to do evil.
12 Wrongdoers may commit a hundred crimes but still live long lives. But I also know that it will go well for those who fear God, for those who are reverent before God.
13 But it will not go well for the wicked; they won't live long at all because they aren't reverent before God.
14 Here's another thing that happens on earth that is pointless: the righteous get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked get what the righteous deserve. I say that this too is pointless.
15 So I commend enjoyment because there's nothing better for people to do under the sun but to eat, drink, and be glad. This is what will accompany them in their hard work, during the lifetime that God gives under the sun.
16 Then I set my mind to know wisdom and to observe the business that happens on earth, even going without sleep day and night
17 I observed all the work of God—that no one can grasp what happens under the sun. Those who strive to know can't grasp it. Even the wise who are set on knowing are unable to grasp it.