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J. Elliott
Attended Belaire High School
Lives in Baton Rouge, LA 70815
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Reminds me how proud and thankful I should be to be an American!!! 
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For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Death of the Son.” I will praise you, L ord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. [2] I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. [3] My enemies retreated; they staggered and died when you appeared. [4] For you have judged in my favor; from your throne you have judged with fairness. [5] You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have erased their names forever. [6] The enemy is finished, in endless ruins; the cities you uprooted are now forgotten. [7] But the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from his throne. [8] He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness. [9] The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. [10] Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. [11] Sing praises to the Lord who reigns in Jerusalem. Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds. [12] For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer. [13] Lord, have mercy on me. See how my enemies torment me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death. [14] Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem's gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me. [15] The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others. Their own feet have been caught in the trap they set. [16] The Lord is known for his justice. The wicked are trapped by their own deeds. Quiet Interlude [17] The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God. [18] But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed. [19] Arise, O Lord! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Judge the nations! [20] Make them tremble in fear, O L ord. Let the nations know they are merely human.
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For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by the flute. O L ord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. [2] Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. [3] Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. [4] O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. [5] Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. [6] You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers. [7] Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe. [8] Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. [9] My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery. [10] O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. [11] But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. [12] For you bless the godly, O L ord; you surround them with your shield of love.
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Praise the L ord! How joyful are those who fear the L ord and delight in obeying his commands. [2] Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. [3] They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. [4] Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. [5] Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. [6] Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. [7] They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. [8] They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. [9] They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. [10] The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.
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Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, [2] "Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat." [3] Jesus replied, "And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? [4] For instance, God says, 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.' [5] But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, 'Sorry, I can't help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.' [6] In this way, you say they don't need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. [7] You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, [8] 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. [9] Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'" [10] Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. "Listen," he said, "and try to understand. [11] It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth." [12] Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?" [13] Jesus replied, "Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, [14] so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch." [15] Then Peter said to Jesus, "Explain to us the parable that says people aren't defiled by what they eat." [16] "Don't you understand yet?" Jesus asked. [17] "Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. [18] But the words you speak come from the heart-that's what defiles you. [19] For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. [20] These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you." [21] Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. [22] A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely." [23] But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. "Tell her to go away," they said. "She is bothering us with all her begging." [24] Then Jesus said to the woman, "I was sent only to help God's lost sheep-the people of Israel." [25] But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, "Lord, help me!" [26] Jesus responded, "It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs." [27] She replied, "That's true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters' table." [28] "Dear woman," Jesus said to her, "your faith is great. Your request is granted." And her daughter was instantly healed. [29] Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. [30] A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn't speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. [31] The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn't been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel. [32] Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, "I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way." [33] The disciples replied, "Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?" [34] Jesus asked, "How much bread do you have?" They replied, "Seven loaves, and a few small fish." [35] So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. [36] Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. [37] They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. [38] There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. [39] Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.
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Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. [2] A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. [3] He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: "Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. [4] As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. [5] Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. [6] But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn't have deep roots, they died. [7] Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. [8] Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! [9] Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand." [10] His disciples came and asked him, "Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?" [11] He replied, "You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. [12] To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. [13] That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don't really see. They hear, but they don't really listen or understand. [14] This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, 'When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. [15] For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes- so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.' [16] "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. [17] I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn't see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn't hear it. [18] "Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: [19] The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. [20] The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. [21] But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word. [22] The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. [23] The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!" [24] Here is another story Jesus told: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. [25] But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. [26] When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. [27] "The farmer's workers went to him and said, 'Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?' [28] "'An enemy has done this!' the farmer exclaimed. "'Should we pull out the weeds?' they asked. [29] "'No,' he replied, 'you'll uproot the wheat if you do. [30] Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.'" [31] Here is another illustration Jesus used: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. [32] It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches." [33] Jesus also used this illustration: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough." [34] Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. [35] This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: "I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world." [36] Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, "Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field." [37] Jesus replied, "The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. [38] The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. [39] The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. [40] "Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. [41] The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. [42] And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father's Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! [44] "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. [45] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. [46] When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! [47] "Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. [48] When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. [49] That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, [50] throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [51] Do you understand all these things?" "Yes," they said, "we do." [52] Then he added, "Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old." [53] When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. [54] He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, "Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?" [55] Then they scoffed, "He's just the carpenter's son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers-James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. [56] All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?" [57] And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family." [58] And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
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J. Elliott

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For the choir director: A psalm of David. I trust in the L ord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! [2] The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. [3] The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?" [4] But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. [5] The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. [6] He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. [7] For the righteous L ord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.
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As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor. [2] A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one. [3] You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street! [4] If your boss is angry at you, don't quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes. [5] There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake [6] when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth. [7] I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes-and princes walking like servants! [8] When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake. [9] When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you. When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax. [10] Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That's the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. [11] If a snake bites before you charm it, what's the use of being a snake charmer? [12] Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words. [13] Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness; [14] they chatter on and on. No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future. [15] Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they can't even find their way home. [16] What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant, the land whose leaders feast in the morning. [17] Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk. [18] Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house. [19] A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything! [20] Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.
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Jesus Curses the Fig Tree [18] In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, [19] and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" And immediately the fig tree withered up. [20] The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" [21] Then Jesus told them, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, 'May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will happen. [22] You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it." [23] When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, "By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?" [24] "I'll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question," Jesus replied. [25] "Did John's authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?" They talked it over among themselves. "If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn't believe John. [26] But if we say it was merely human, we'll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet." [27] So they finally replied, "We don't know." And Jesus responded, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I do these things. [28] "But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' [29] The son answered, 'No, I won't go,' but later he changed his mind and went anyway. [30] Then the father told the other son, 'You go,' and he said, 'Yes, sir, I will.' But he didn't go. [31] "Which of the two obeyed his father?" They replied, "The first." Then Jesus explained his meaning: "I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. [32] For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn't believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. [33] "Now listen to another story. A certain landowner planted a vineyard, built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. [34] At the time of the grape harvest, he sent his servants to collect his share of the crop. [35] But the farmers grabbed his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. [36] So the landowner sent a larger group of his servants to collect for him, but the results were the same. [37] "Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking, 'Surely they will respect my son.' [38] "But when the tenant farmers saw his son coming, they said to one another, 'Here comes the heir to this estate. Come on, let's kill him and get the estate for ourselves!' [39] So they grabbed him, dragged him out of the vineyard, and murdered him. [40] "When the owner of the vineyard returns," Jesus asked, "what do you think he will do to those farmers?" [41] The religious leaders replied, "He will put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest." [42] Then Jesus asked them, "Didn't you ever read this in the Scriptures? 'The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful to see.' [43] I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. [44] Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on." [45] When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them-they were the wicked farmers. [46] They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.
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Approaching God with Care a As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. [2] Don't make rash promises, and don't be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few. [3] Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool. [4] When you make a promise to God, don't delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. [5] It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. [6] Don't let your mouth make you sin. And don't defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved. [7] Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead. [8] Don't be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy. [9] Even the king milks the land for his own profit! [10] Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! [11] The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth-except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers! [12] People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night's sleep. [13] There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver. [14] Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one's children. [15] We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can't take our riches with us. [16] And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing-like working for the wind. [17] Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud-frustrated, discouraged, and angry. [18] Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. [19] And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life-this is indeed a gift from God. [20] God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
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A Time for Everything For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. [2] A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. [3] A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. [4] A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. [5] A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. [6] A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. [7] A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. [8] A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. [9] What do people really get for all their hard work? [10] I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. [11] Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. [12] So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. [13] And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. [14] And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God's purpose is that people should fear him. [15] What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again. [16] I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! [17] I said to myself, "In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds." [18] I also thought about the human condition-how God proves to people that they are like animals. [19] For people and animals share the same fate-both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! [20] Both go to the same place-they came from dust and they return to dust. [21] For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? [22] So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is why we are here! No one will bring us back from death to enjoy life after we
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These are the words of the Teacher, a King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. Everything Is Meaningless [2] "Everything is meaningless," says the Teacher, "completely meaningless!" [3] What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? [4] Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. [5] The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. [6] The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. [7] Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. [8] Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. [9] History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. [10] Sometimes people say, "Here is something new!" But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. [11] We don't remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. [12] I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. [13] I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. [14] I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless-like chasing the wind. [15] What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered. [16] I said to myself, "Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them." [17] So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind. [18] The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.
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Baton Rouge, LA 70815
Previously
Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - Narita Airport, Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
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Education
  • Belaire High School
    1994 - 1996
  • Baker High School
    1997 - 1998
  • CLA
    1996
  • Fort Lee
    Logistics, 2000 - 2000
    US Military
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j.elliott
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