Thursday, May 30, 2013

Contentment or Containment?

Is it possible to be content living in this sin-filled world?

As a believer in Christ how do you find contentment? Through attending church, praying, spending time in the Word, hanging out with believers, or on your face in reverence to God?

I woke up this morning with these two words on my plate and seeking God's wisdom for what He wanted to share with you through this blog message today. I found that every study I opened today dealt with these two things and I hope you'll find something here to help you get through your day today.

When I think of contentment, I think of being happy with what you have. Not wanting anything else necessarily but just trusting in God to provide anything else you need.

Too often I think people are too busy spinning their wheels trying to find that level of contentment. Where they can sit back satisfied by what they have. Yet the one thing I've come to understand in this world, is that no matter how much we try to fast forward to the end or attempt to reach that next level of finally being satisfied, we'll undoubtedly want something else.

Think about it.

If I asked you to fill in the box, I'd be content if.....(this is where you insert what you think would make you content).


The ultimate dream job? Being your own boss? Setting your own hours?

Financial freedom?

The perfect husband? Wife? or Kids? Maybe all of the above?

The only way we can truly be content is something that must be learned through experience. You have to go through many storms, trials and stuff this world throws your way before you can ever reach that point.

It's interesting that the world content means contain internally, being self sufficient. Not in that you are sufficient that you have everything you need, but that you are sufficient in Jesus Christ. In His work. In His Spirit.

We have to trust that God will provide. He will provide. He may not always provide the things WE want, and He doesn't always do things our way. If you remember back to the story of Joseph and his brothers, we think of that initially as a pretty bad story for Joseph. Favored son out of 12, he gets a little too full of himself sharing his dreams to his brothers, gets a beautiful coat of rainbow colors and pretty soon, his brothers decide to get rid of Joseph. At first they want to kill him, but finally realize that tossing him in a well and leaving him to be sold into slavery is better than having blood on their hands. But when you get through the story you can see the Hand of God in every instance where thing went from bad to worse for Joseph and in the end God truly provided for him. Did it happen the way Joseph wanted? I would wager a guess and say with most certainty it didn't. But in the end, I can say God did provide for Joseph.

God's hand is ruling over all things in your life. No matter what the circumstances look like right now. We have such amazing promises from God to rely on and that never fail.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (NIV).

Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (NIV).

We need to trust in the power of God.

God has given you blessings to glorify Him through helping others, not hoarding what you have been giving. It's time to show love to those in need by helping people out. I love what I read in one of my devotions this morning.

"In his book, Why Revival Tarries, the late preacher Leonard Ravenhill wrote of the prayerlessness of many churches. "We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere." 

The world has no internal resources when crisis comes. They reach out to what they can see around them. Self help or self medication as a means to cope. But when you look at how a tree grows, its source of strength doesn't come from the things around it, the things you can see, but by the root system, the things you can't see. It's what feeds it, waters it, and enables it to hold up to fierce storms around it.

We need to remember where our strength and contentment comes from, from what people can't see. It's through our faith in Jesus Christ. He is our vine and we are the branches. Just like a tree, we need to reach out to help this hurting world that is finding itself more in darkness as the end draws near. Let us reach out to them and love and draw them to Christ. Only in Him will we find strength, refreshment and ultimately contentment.

Remember there are no accidents only appointments from God. So who is He sending to you?

Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's the Point Anyway?

"What's the point?"

"Do anyone really notice?"

"What would happen if I never existed?"

If you're honest with yourself at some point in your life, you've probably said those things outloud or to yourself. I know I have, all of them actually.

I used to define myself by what I did.

What kind of job I held, the elusive job title, sometimes how much I made and how that impacted my ability to financially help support my family, even where I lived, dressed or what car I drove.

Silly now that I look back on all of that in my whopping 49 years of life here on this earth. God had such a bigger way for me to view things. All that matters to God is my life.


Just the way I am right now, flaws and imperfections.

I will never be perfect this side of heaven but I am perfect for God today, just the way I am right now.

When I look back at my life, I can see God's hand in so many areas. All of them if I look long and hard enough. Through the trials I thought would consume and drown me, He was there all the way.

Sometimes it was me, trying to work through life my own way, but God never left my side. Often times the only one who left was me.

I try and take time each morning and remember to invite God into my day. Apart from Him, I can honestly do nothing. And at this stage in my life, I don't want to go it alone without Him.

I also spend time reflecting before beginning my day at one of those times in my life when I doubted I would get through something and see how God enabled me to get through it. Sometimes it was days to weather through that storm, other times years and even decades. Some I am still weathering through.

It's important not to forget God during those times. Those are our faith builders. They are what fuels our spiritual life to keep on enduring. To keep pushing forward when the enemy simply wants us to call it quits. Give in. Succumb to his will instead of God's.

I share this with you today because too many people are wondering about their place in life right now. Out of work. Loss of a loved one. Financial crisis that seeks to overthrow everything we've worked so hard for. Perhaps wondering if your life is worth anything. Perhaps your even questioning God to give you a sign.

Stop and realize that right where you are at this moment, is no accident.

God is caught off guard while He was busy handling someone elses crisis and failed to notice yours.

Sometimes all those prayers seem to go unanswered but are they really? Are you seeking your own answer to them instead of Gods? Perhaps that answer isn't the one you wanted. Perhaps the answer is No or simply the worst one we hate, wait.

What wait means is just that. Wait.

Not grow impatient because we think God isn't working on our situation. It may take 20 years to reach that break through moment, but it will come. If we don't step in and handle it ourselves.

If we ask God to handle it, keep on pressing forward doing God's will in your life. Not sure what that is, pray about that instead of your impatience waiting on God's answer. I remember a quote once that God's working on things when He appears to be the most quiet in your life.

Don't worry, be happy.

There's a whole lot of truth to that statement. If we remain negative, complaining all the time, who wants to be around us? We'll breed that negativity into someone else life. Refuse to be that way. It's the one thing we can change is our attitude. Go do something for someone else instead of complaining what isn't working in your own life. See how that will change your perspective!

This all brings me to my own blogging and sharing pieces of my life with others. Often times after looking back at going on almost 4 years you wonder if it's worth it. Does anyone even care you're doing this anymore? Does anyone even read what I wrote?

The answer is yes! Yes! YES! It matters to God.

I may not see the results of my efforts until years later, but often times God sends me an encouraging message. One that tells me to keep on, keeping on. Like the one I got in an email today. Only know besides encouraging me, it has rekindled that fire of the Holy Spirit.

I started my blog to encourage not only believers but mostly unbelievers in their day to day life. I lost sight of that along the way when life got a bit busy. Thanks to you my wonderful friend for giving this parched soul a big old drink today! You will never know how much your email meant to me this morning and thank you God for sending it to me when I needed it the most. You are always doing things like that and I thank you, Lord.

Thank you for the gift of being able to share what you bring to my heart each day. May everything I write and share bring glory to YOUR name and spread the message of Hope to a dark world in need of light.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We are all co-dependent!

The other day I was sitting in my recliner letting the worries of the week fill me with dread again. Yes, I was falling victim to listening to how I felt and not how I should be. I looked at my cats lounging in front of the doorway that was open letting in the cool morning breezes, the birds chirping on the lawn and thinking to myself, "Wow! I'd love to live the life of a cat. Just taking long naps whenever I felt like it, lounging in the warm sun and just having no worries about anything."

Then I heard God speak to my heart. He reminded me that living the life of a cat is not worry-free. It just looks that way from the outside. He asked me to think what would happen if I didn't remember to fill their bowls with food or water. What would they do? I think they might just get a tad bit concerned if I failed to meet their needs. Yet I do every single day without fail. Whether it's first thing in the morning or at the close of my day, I refill their water with fresh, clean water and add more cat food that I know is good for them so they don't have to worry about anything.

God reminded me that despite how many times people tell us we need to be more independent, the fact of the matter remains that we are all co-dependent on someone.Even if we are financially sound, we have to depend on the banking institution where we place our money that it will be there when we need it. We are dependent on customers to buy our products; for employers to provide us a paycheck and a job; for grocery stores to stock food for us to buy. The need to depend on people is always there. Life is never worry free even if it appears that way. What we need to remember is that God understands those concerns and will address them one day at a time.

He never overfills us beyond what we can manage. Looking back at the Old Testament when the Israelites were wandering around in the desert, God provided them with daily manna. The only day He provided them with more was on Saturday evening because He didn't want them working to gather food on the Sabbath, so He provided an extra supply. He is reminding us to take things one day at a time for a reason. He didn't die that we would live our lives in despair and worry over things we can't change today. He wants us to enjoy each day with an expectation of hope for something good to happen.

When I find myself spiraling out of control, and it does happen with greater frequency than I would like, I have to remind myself of the same advice I dole out to everyone else. Can worry change your circumstances today? Do you have enough food to meet your families needs today? Do you have a place to sleep tonight? Do you have clothing to get you through today? Then anything else above and beyond that is a BONUS!

Everything we have today is based on God's blessings. We are given everything from our family, our spouses, our children, our personal belongings as gifts to use while we are here and nothing more. How often do we take these things for granted thinking we will have them all tomorrow? Because we believe and have hope we will be here tomorrow. We don't know for sure but we believe. That is the difference between the lifes of believers and nonbelievers. We walk by faith not by sight. Nonbelivers walk by sight, not by faith. Let us make sure we remind ourselves of that daily when worry and anxiety weigh heavy on our shoulders. God is simply standing there with the ultimate strength to take it from us if we would only let Him.

Let us make sure that the one thing we are today is completely co-dependent on God. He alone can provide ALL our needs.

"Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater (in quality) than food, and the body (far above and more excellent) than clothing.

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life? (Psalm 39: 5-7)

And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil or spin.

Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these (1 Kings 10:4-7)

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, 'What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or What are we going to have to wear?

For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all.

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble." ~ Matthew 6: 25-34 Amplified Bible

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blessing in Disguise

I often heard the saying be careful what you wish for, because you just might get that. As a busy mom of three, and no that's not including my husband, I've often times wished for a quiet home and some alone time every once in a blue moon. In fact when my husband mentioned taking my youngest to Orlando, Florida as part of her graduation gift, I thought, "Sure! Why not!"

The only thing I was dreaming of was a spotlessly clean house for the next nine days and making meals for myself. Hours and hours of uninterrupted and guilt-free time to immerse myself in a load of books to pass the time, perhaps some light gardening. You know peaceful existence right? I know a lot of you are thinking, Oh what I wouldn't give to have that time, how truly priceless.

It was for the first day or so. I did what all "Martha's" do and clean and organize my house from top to bottom. Drawers, closets, rooms you name it. I thought if I busted it all out in one day after dropping them off at the airport, I could relax in my own day spa of sorts for the next 9 days.

Snap out of it, it didn't work out that way. While I was getting downloads of fun photos from my husband and daughter hanging out by the pool, ordering lunch poolside, enjoying road trips, I was sitting at home completely bored.

Breakfasts consisted of toast and coffee for one, lunches were sandwiches and dinner was usually pasta or something easy to fix for one. All the chores that my family used to help me out with, now fell on my shoulders alone. This is a big house, and between the heat wave we had for most of the time, that involved being out watering all the new plants we just put in, keeping the new grass watered as well, and picking the never ending supply of dandelions before they turned into Buzz Lightyear's trip across infinity and beyond.

Thank heavens grocery shopping never had to be done except for the occasional run to Target to pick up a few things that I ran out of like shampoo and cat food. I think the days were the best part because the nights were almost too surreal. Did you notice how many noises your house makes at night, when you're all alone. I didn't even have a dog. Just three cats who would find it fun to run around at the oddest times playing tag. Advil PM soon became my best friend along with a lot of prayer to get me through the night into the morning.

Now that it's almost officially over as I picked up my family in a couple of hours, I look back and would do a lot of things differently. I would still clean for a day and stock my kitchen with things I love to eat. But I would take the time to do more things for me. Like visiting with my friends more if they had the time, get my hair done, perhaps even take my own road trip kinda close. I need to stop cleaning so much and just sit back and enjoy the gift of time more and stop worrying about finding things to fill the time.

It was interesting to say the very least and look forward to more time in the future perhaps not at long this time. What about you? Would you love to spend 9 days all alone? What would you do?