Ecclesiastes 10; Ecclesiastes 11; Ecclesiastes 12; Galatians 1

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Ecclesiastes 10

1 Dead flies will make a bottle of perfume stink, and then it is spoiled. A little foolishness outweighs wisdom [and] honor.
2 A wise person's heart leads the right way. The heart of a fool leads the wrong way.
3 Even when a fool goes walking, he has no sense and shows everyone else that he's a fool.
4 If a ruler becomes angry with you, don't resign your position. If you remain calm, you can make up for serious offenses.
5 There is a tragedy that I've seen under the sun, an error often made by rulers.
6 Foolish people are often given high positions, and rich people are left to fill lower positions.
7 I have seen slaves sitting on horses and influential people going on foot like slaves.
8 Whoever digs a pit may fall into it. Whoever breaks through a stone wall may be bitten by a snake.
9 Whoever works in a stone quarry may get hurt. Whoever splits wood may be injured.
10 If an ax is blunt and the edge isn't sharpened, then one has to use more strength. But wisdom prepares the way for success.
11 If a snake bites before it has been charmed, then there is no advantage in being a snake charmer.
12 A wise person's words win favors, but a fool's lips are self-destructive.
13 A fool starts out by talking foolishness and ends up saying crazy things that are dangerous.
14 He never stops talking. No one knows what the future will bring, or what will happen after [death]. Who can say!
15 Fools wear themselves out with hard work, because they don't even know the way to town.
16 How horrible it will be for any country where the king used to be a servant and where the high officials throw parties in the morning.
17 A country is blessed when the king is from a noble family and when the high officials eat at the right time in order to get strength and not to get drunk.
18 A roof sags because of laziness. A house leaks because of idle hands.
19 A meal is made for laughter, and wine makes life pleasant, but money is the answer for everything.
20 Don't curse the king even in your thoughts, and don't curse rich people even in your bedroom. A bird may carry your words, or some winged creature may repeat what you say.

Ecclesiastes 11

1 Throw your bread on the surface of the water, because you will find it again after many days.
2 Divide what you have into seven parts, or even into eight, because you don't know what disaster may happen on earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain, they will let it pour down on the earth. If a tree falls north or south, the tree will remain where it fell.
4 Whoever watches the wind will never plant. Whoever looks at the clouds will never harvest.
5 Just as you don't know how the breath of life enters the limbs of a child within its mother's womb, you also don't understand how God, who made everything, works.
6 Plant your seed in the morning, and don't let your hands rest until evening. You don't know whether this field or that field will be profitable or whether both of them will [turn out] equally well.
7 Light is sweet, and it is good for one's eyes to see the sun.
8 Even though people may live for many years, they should enjoy every one of them. But they should also remember there will be many dark days. Everything that is coming is pointless.
9 You young people should enjoy yourselves while you're young. You should let your hearts make you happy when you're young. Follow wherever your heart leads you and whatever your eyes see. But realize that God will make you give an account for all these things when he judges everyone.
10 Get rid of what troubles you or wears down your body, because childhood and youth are pointless.

Ecclesiastes 12

1 Remember your Creator when you are young, before the days of trouble come and the years catch up with you. They will make you say, "I have found no pleasure in them."
2 Remember your Creator before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars turn dark, [and] the clouds come back with rain.
3 Remember your Creator when those who guard the house tremble, strong men are stooped over, the women at the mill stop grinding because there are so few of them, [and] those who look out of the windows see a dim light.
4 Remember your Creator when the doors to the street are closed, the sound of the mill is muffled, you are startled at the sound of a bird, [and] those who sing songs become quiet.
5 Remember your Creator when someone is afraid of heights and of dangers along the road, the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, [and] the caper bush has [no] fruit. Mortals go to their eternal rest, and mourners go out in the streets.
6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is snapped, the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher is smashed near the spring, and the water wheel is broken at the cistern.
7 Then the dust [of mortals] goes back to the ground as it was before, and the breath of life goes back to God who gave it.
8 "Absolutely pointless!" says the spokesman. "Everything is pointless!"
9 Besides being wise, the spokesman also taught the people what he knew. He very carefully thought about it, studied it, and arranged it in many proverbs.
10 The spokesman tried to find just the right words. He wrote the words of truth very carefully.
11 Words from wise people are like spurs. Their collected sayings are like nails that have been driven in firmly. They come from one shepherd.
12 Be warned, my children, against anything more than these. People never stop writing books. Too much studying will wear out your body.
13 After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone.
14 God will certainly judge everything that is done. This includes every secret thing, whether it is good or bad.

Galatians 1

1 From Paul--an apostle [chosen] not by any group or individual but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who brought him back to life--
2 and all the believers who are with me. To the churches in Galatia.
3 Good will and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ are yours!
4 In order to free us from this present evil world, Christ took the punishment for our sins, because that was what our God and Father wanted.
5 Glory belongs to our God and Father forever! Amen.
6 I'm surprised that you're so quickly deserting Christ, who called you in his kindness, to follow a different kind of good news.
7 But what some people are calling good news is not really good news at all. They are confusing you. They want to distort the Good News about Christ.
8 Whoever tells you good news that is different from the Good News we gave you should be condemned to hell, even if he is one of us or an angel from heaven.
9 I'm now telling you again what we've told you in the past: If anyone tells you good news that is different from the Good News you received, that person should be condemned to hell.
10 Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ's servant.
11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Good News I have spread is not a human message.
12 I didn't receive it from any person. I wasn't taught it, but Jesus Christ revealed it to me.
13 You heard about the way I once lived when I followed the Jewish religion. You heard how I violently persecuted God's church and tried to destroy it.
14 You also heard how I was far ahead of other Jews in my age group in following the Jewish religion. I had become that fanatical for the traditions of my ancestors.
15 But God, who appointed me before I was born and who called me by his kindness, was pleased
16 to show me his Son. He did this so that I would tell people who are not Jewish that his Son is the Good News. When this happened, I didn't talk it over with any other person.
17 I didn't even go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went to Arabia and then came back to Damascus.
18 Then, three years later I went to Jerusalem to become personally acquainted with Cephas. I stayed with him for fifteen days.
19 I didn't see any other apostle. I only saw James, the Lord's brother.
20 (God is my witness that what I'm writing is not a lie.)
21 Then I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22 The churches of Christ in Judea didn't know me personally.
23 The only thing they had heard was this: "The man who persecuted us is now spreading the faith that he once tried to destroy."
24 So they praised God for what had happened to me.