Archive | June 2014

Do I need MORE to be content?

Lately I’ve been enjoying watching some of the home  renovation programs on t.v.  They tend to inspire me to do creative things in and around my house. I’ve also found, however, that they also create a bit of discontent within me. I find myself wishing we had more expendable income so we could do more. At times, I also find myself becoming discontent with what I have. Though we don’t live in the lap of luxury, we have more than most in this world of ours. We have loads to be grateful for! We have been blessed with so much inside and outside our home.

I know there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve things in our lives. Change can be a good thing. Some change can makes our lives easier, more comfortable etc. However, the changes that we want are not always possible. The timing may not be right, the finances may not be there, the person may not be ready etc.

The Lord has reminded me, once again, that I must learn to be content with what I have and with the things I cannot change right now. If I allow my discontent to grow, I will find myself envying others and being resentful to those around me. God hasn’t called me to a life of selfish indulgence but to a life of service. When I focus on what I don’t have and not on what I should be grateful for, I become a grumbler. Grumbler’s never accomplish much for the Kingdom!  Just read Exodus 16 & 17.  If it had not been for Moses, these grumblers would probably still be wandering in the wilderness!

I don’t want to grumble, instead I want to live as Paul learned to live.

Ephesians 4:8-13 NKJV 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I am learning. It is a progress but I do want to learn to be truly content in any circumstance. Not because it makes me more noble or holy. Simply because it is what Jesus calls me to do. When I walk in contentment I am usable for the Kingdom. When I grumble and complain and keep my focus on me me me, I make myself insensitive and unavailable for service.

Lord, for those of us who struggle with discontentment from time to time we ask for forgiveness. Please  open our eyes that we may see all that we have to be grateful for! Give us a heart like Jesus. A heart that desires to do your will. A heart that is content in all things. A heart that is yielded to the Holy Spirit. We ask it in the beautiful name of Your Son Jesus. Amen



Hmm what to choose, acceptance or legalism?

Being a follower of  Christ does not immunize us to the constant pounding of the world’s philosophies or new normals.  If we are not hearing this on the tv then we are surely reading it online, in magazines, in newspapers and hearing it from those around us. We shouldn’t be surprised or shocked. The Bible warns us that as time draws close to Christ’s return we will see sin and destruction abound. We surely are seeing it now.

Though it may from time to time upset us, we can take heart knowing that the Word of God told us these things would happen. We can put confidence in the One who knows the beginning from the end. Through Christ and the prophets, God gave us the heads up of what is to come and therefore we know He wins! Christ is returning for His church, a church of which the gates of Hell shall not prevail! That’s pretty awesome news!

When we  see this world of ours grow darker in sin and vain philosophies and when we see natural disasters increase in frequency, we can rest knowing that He is still in control. He warned us that these things would happen before His return.  So how are we to respond to what we are hearing and seeing? Are we to try and legislate the gospel by becoming more legalistic? Are we to just accept the new normals, philosophies and lifestyles that go against the Word of God?

Apostle Paul gives us the answer in his Epistle to the Colossians in chapter 2.

Colossians 2 NKJV

For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

20 Therefore,  if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion,false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

This chapter shows Paul’s knowledge of the human heart. He knew that our most natural response to spiritual oppression from the world is to either become accepting of it, or to become legalistic against it. Neither are correct!  He makes clear that Jesus Christ is to be the focus of our response! We are to remember that it was through Him we are saved and it is through His defeating sin and death on the cross that we are free!  We are to stand firm in what Christ has done for us! We are not to veer from the gospel of truth.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

We are to stay rooted in the truth of the gospel of Christ, knowing we have been made complete in HIM. Not by the law, not by vain philosophies but by Jesus Christ alone, who is the head of all principality and power.

We will never combat  the sin of the world with legalism. It is only through the power of Christ that anyone will be free. 20 Therefore,  if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion,false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

This is such a practical word for our day. Too often, we the church,  react with either  acceptance or legalism to the ways of the world. Paul tells us neither are the correct response. We are to remember that Christ and Christ alone has saved us and freed us! It will take Christ and Christ alone to save others. Legalism will not change their behavior and acceptance will only encourage sin. Our response is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who need Him. To stand firm in the uncompromising truth of the gospel, not being rocked to and fro. To remember that trying to enforce holiness through works won’t cut it and to rest in the knowledge that in Him dwells all the fullness of the God and we are complete in HIM.

Lord, please forgive us for being accepting of things we know displease you. Forgive us for being caught up in things that draw us away from You. We know You alone can save us and You alone can change us. If we slide into legalism, draw us out. Forgive us for trying to replace You with a set of rules. Help us to live in the truth of the gospel, knowing that You and You alone are Savior, deliverer and the One we can trust in.  Keep us close to You Jesus as we wait for Your return.  In Your precious name, Amen.

Too busy to draw near?

Some may have noticed that I have not been too active here for the past few weeks. Our son and his fiance are getting married at our home next month and I have been spending a lot of time trying to whip our property into shape before the wedding. Between staining decks, painting doors and doing some minor inside renovations I have been quite busy. It’s a good busy, but it has not left me with a lot of free time to write.

Because I work full time, some of this work has been done when I get home in the evenings. After working my job and then working at home I have found myself a little more tired than usual. This has resulted in me spending less time reading my Bible and more time plunked in front of the news, or other programs in the evening when I finally get to relax.  I noticed on Sunday, that I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with everything. It is amazing how in such a short period of time we can become caught up in the cares of the world when we don’t balance those cares with enough time in the Word and talking with the One who knows us best. Though I seldom get stressed about trivial things, I was beginning to let things get to me that normally wouldn’t.  I was spending so much time worrying about getting things done that I was neglecting to do the thing I needed to do most and that was talking to God. I noticed I was missing my prayer time.  I mean deep daily prayer time, time where I get to  talk to God about everything going on in my life, intercede for the needs of others and ask Him to lead me throughout the day.

It’s been great getting jobs accomplished around the house. It’s been good to be busy but shortening my prayer time and time in the Word has left me feeling a little more sapped than usual leaving me less inclined to cast off discouragement and worry and more inclined to respond to events and opportunities with a poor attitude. That poor attitude causes me to lose my peace. Obviously, I still have plenty to learn about balancing my responsibilities with my devotional time!   🙂

I’m so glad that we serve a Savior that is loving and forgiving. That woos us back to Him, despite our distractions. That longs to spend time with us just as we long to spend time with Him.  Today as I read James 4:7-10 NKJV, it spoke volumes.  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.1Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

It’s time to take the time to draw near to the One who loves me.  He will give me the strength to do all I need to do and more and to do it with the right attitude! As I lay aside my striving and humble myself in His sight, He will lift me up!

“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” ~Francis Chan

Don’t make discouragement your home

Every so often I find myself battling discouragement in one form or another. Sometimes it comes from disappointment in another person’s response or behavior. Sometimes it comes from feeling I am not achieving as much as I would like to.  Sometimes it is a result of the worldwide atrocities taking place. Sometimes it comes from facing tragedy.  Sometimes it comes when I open another incorrect Hydro bill after multiple calls to have the situation rectified!  😉  It can happen for any number of reasons.

I don’t think it is possible to walk this earth without feeling discouragement  from time to time. I know that there are multiple examples in the word of God of people who went through times of discouragement. Just for a few we have Moses, Elijah, David, Rachel and Nehemiah. Though we all will probably experience it from time to time, how we choose to deal with our discouragement is very important. If we embrace it, it can eventually lead to depression. If we ignore it, it will usually rear it’s ugly head later on. If we lash out at others because of it, we can damage relationships and trust. If we look to others to remove it, we will likely be disappointed yet again.

Though receiving kind words of appreciation do wonders to encourage us, we can’t become addicted to them to get us out of discouragement. Otherwise we can become dependent on others for our joy or happiness.  I am finding that when I get discouraged I need to refocus on the big picture. I need to put my current situation in perspective. In most cases  discouragement comes  as a result of some unfulfilled expectation. Perhaps my expectations of another person’s appreciation of something I did didn’t quite hit the mark or my expectations of a job, situation or circumstances fell  below what I was hoping for.  Regardless of the cause, in order to move past the discouragement and move forward in our walk with Christ, we must first see it for what it is and then make a decision as to whether to change the situation or use it as an opportunity for  spiritual growth. In some cases, we are not able to change the situation. In those cases our attitude becomes critical. It will determine whether we move past the  discouragement or allow it to eventually result in depression.

In order to put the situation in perspective, we need to get into the word of God where we will see that God works ALL things together for our good. Some of those things may be difficult to deal with or cause  temporary discouragement  but they too shall pass. We cannot allow ourselves to slide down the slope of self pity while we wait on the change.  We must guard our hearts from resting in a place of discouragement. The following scriptures have been given to  us for times like this…

Philippians 4:12-13 NKJV 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV 28 Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord shall walk and not faint.

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:9-18 NKJV Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 

Joshua 1:9 NKJV Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Luke 18:1-8 NKJV 18 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heartsaying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.

Galatians 6:9 NKJV And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Discouragement, like any other negative emotion we experience, will pass as long as we don’t embrace it. If you are battling it now, take heart and know that many soldiers in God’s army have battled it before you. The key to victory is leaning into Christ and allowing the truth of the word of God to comfort you. As you turn your focus from your disappointments to Christ and His plans for you, you will begin to walk out of discouragement and walk into the purposes of your calling.

 “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” ~Corrie ten Boom