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Contentment

Philippians 4:11 -“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Last night while driving to soccer practice, I witnessed a man driving a minivan like a sports car on a raceway. Thankfully, I don’t think there was anyone else in the car but him. However, it reminded me of this – be content.

Contentment is something unfamiliar to us in our society of want. Ask anyone, I’m sure they have a want list. I know I do. We look around us and see things that we want or think that we need. And we typically won’t be (temporarily) satisfied until we get it. 

Contentment is being satisfied with what is around you and being satisfied in the circumstances you find yourself in. Contentment is NOT laziness. Contentment is not always wanting more. Contentment is the absence of restlessness. 

So, if you are content, does that mean that you shouldn’t want to improve your life or make things better around you? I don’t believe so. But there is a difference in making your situation better and wanting things that other people have – that is coveting. For example, we have decided to do some work around the house to get rid of the weeds growing too close to our home. The neighbors all have bushes around their house to keep the weeds away. We thought about getting bushes but decided that with the sprinklers running so close to the house that installing bushes would be too much of a hassle. So we are going another direction. For me, this is an example of being content with changing the improvements. Coveting would be desiring those bushes around my house just so we can be like everyone else. Like I have said before, it is all about your attitude.

Contentment is hugely impacted by your attitude. That is why it is so important for Christ to have control of your attitude. Jesus keeps your thoughts and actions regulated so that you don’t feel the need to drive that minivan like a sports car. Jesus reminds you that it is okay that this person in front of you is driving just a bit slower than you want. That person will get out of the way in just a bit. Hold your horses. Jesus reminds you that you don’t really need those bushes around the house. You are allowed to be different. You don’t always have to fit into the mold the world has made. 

Contentment is being okay with being different. It is being okay with having a different viewpoint. It is allowing God to mellow you out to the point that people say, “Hmm, this person is different. What is it about them?” Contentment is an oddity in our world, and that is a good thing. 

So on this long weekend, be content. Don’t be lazy, be content. Be satisfied where God has placed you and what He has placed you with. Be different. Be weird, according to the world’s standard – but be God’s. Happy Friday.

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A Process

Philippians 2:12,13 – “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Yesterday was homecoming at my church. We celebrated 128 years of service and dedication to our little community. It was a great day. We heard great singing and great preaching. We had several feet of amazing food and enjoyed a great time of fellowship.

One thing I heard in amongst the messages yesterday was this – Salvation is not an event but rather a process. Now, before you get all in a fuss, hear me out. It makes sense. 

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are saved. We have been rescued from the grips of hell and are on track for an eternity in Heaven with Him. But our experience, our closeness, our budding relationship with Christ should not stop the moment we accept Him as our Savior. It needs to keep growing, keep changing, keep enlarging. It should be a process that moves upward each and every day, closer and closer to Him. 

Sometimes the devil wants to convince us followers of Christ that we have done all that we need to do by accepting Jesus as our Savior. Yes, the devil still whispers in a believer’s ear. He may not be able to have you for his own, but he can trip you up as often as possible. He wants you to sit on your salvation like it is an event – something that happened and now we move on and away from it. Yep, you’re going to Heaven, now sit back and wait for it. 

That’s not what Jesus had in mind. He desires a closer and closer relationship with us. Living for Christ is not a religion, it is a relationship. It is something that takes work. It is something that requires a choice. It is something that insists upon a decision that every moment of every day will be devoted to the One who died for you. 

Salvation is not just an event, it is a process.

Today, and the rest of this week, remember, it is a process of growing closer and closer to Him each and every day. It is a process of choosing to trust Him with everything. It is a process of growing. It is a process of doing the things that you feel He has called you to do – using your gifts that He has bestowed upon you. Go out there today and grow. Grow, change and draw ever closer to the One who is in control of the sun and the moon. 

Do you have what it takes?

Philippians 4:19 – “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Tomorrow is my daughter’s very first cheer competition. She and her team have been working since the beginning of October to get this routine together. It has been a road of success and failures, heartache and tears, joy and laughter. They have grown together as a team, but they are nervous.

The one thing they have to remember is this – just do your best and don’t stop. Don’t stop competing. Don’t stop smiling. Don’t stop cheering.

I was never a cheerleader. I don’t know what it is like to stand in front of a crowd and cheer my heart out only to have a bunch of people sitting there staring at me. I do know that it makes my daughter smile when I try to cheer along – for being a band geek, I’m not very good at keeping the right tempo in a cheer. It’s quite embarrassing, actually.

Anyway, I know you must be wondering when I am going to get around to tying this all together. I could bring out something cliche like “Life is like a cheer competition because…” But I won’t.

Every day we are faced with some type of challenge. It may be getting up in the morning or it may be deciding whether or not you are going to take a stand for what you believe in. Competition is out there. Fierce competition is out there. The question is, do you have what it takes to face it?

We think – “I need more time” or “I need this to do this right” or “I need to do this to win”. Nope. You need Jesus. Paul reminded the church at Philippi that God would supply everything they need. Everything. Everything they NEED. Not everything they want. Sometimes we get those two mixed up.

What the girls need for tomorrow is to give the glory to God for how well they are going to do and to trust Him to keep them safe. What I need for today is to meet the challenges I face with a holy and righteous attitude that will glorify my Father in heaven.

God already knows what tomorrow will bring. He already knows what the next 10 minutes will bring. Let Him give you what you need and be ready to praise Him when He gives you more than you deserve.

A Piece of Peace

Philippians 4:4-9 – “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Many people are looking for peace. They are looking for peace in the Middle East. They are looking for peace in their home. They are looking for peace inside themselves. Peace is not elusive. Peace can be found. 

Through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us where and how to find peace – in Jesus. Peace can be found in living for Christ. Let’s look at a few ways to find and know peace in our life:

1. Rejoice, always. Do you always feel like rejoicing? Not me. When traffic is horrible and I’m late for work, I do not feel like rejoicing. But I should. I can choose to look at from this perspective – I get more time to pray and think on God’s word OR I get more time to enjoy the beauty of His creation. It is kind of hard to remember that when you are moving one inch every 10 minutes and you know that you are going to have to stay late because of the ginormous amount of paperwork you need to finish today, but it is possible to change your perspective if you give Him the opportunity to do so. 

2. Let everyone see God’s hand in your life. When you have the opportunity, give a shout out to Jesus. Let those around you know how He is working in your life – good and not so good times. You know, “it was raining yesterday but praise God He reminded me to bring my umbrella.” Little shout outs can make a huge difference. 

3. Pray. Lay it all out for the Lord. He wants to know the good, the bad and the ugly along with the praise, the cheer and the joy. This is like the fast lane to peace – when you give it to Him, your burden is so light you can’t help but embrace peace. 

4. Think on the right things. There is so much in this world that is depressing. It is sometimes hard to find good news. But you have access to THE Good News – the Bible. Choose to remove from your meditation the yuck that is so prevalent in the world today. Choose to think on the things of God which will lead you straight to peace. 

Peace is a beautiful thing. It can come and go because we fail. We don’t hold onto it like we should. We think we can handle things and then puff! There goes peace. Peace comes from a constant relying upon God to handle things. The world is too dark and too ugly to allow true peace to be prevalent on its own. We need the True Light to show us true peace. 

So let me encourage you today, Princess, to seek out a piece of peace. All of these things together will bring you peace. But also, one little slice will bring peace as well. Choose one or choose them all. Try one out and experience a piece of peace like you have never seen. God is ready and waiting to shower His peace upon you.

Stuck in my head

Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

I have a problem.
I love music. I love all kinds of music, well, not all kinds – I’m not a big fan of rap or techno music. I have a tendency to get songs stuck in my head. Every morning when I wake up, I have a song waiting for me in my head.
Unfortunately, lately, I have not had uplifting songs in my head. And you know why? Because I have let those type of songs be played in my car. My kids like to listen to secular stations after school. And I usually let them. The bad part is that those songs that they play over and over again on every single station get stuck in my head. The songs are not encouraging. They don’t honor God.
What’s a mom to do?

The Bible tells us to think on things that are pure and true and honest and lovely. These songs tiptoeing around in my head are catchy but not pure, honest and lovely.

I think I need a purge. My kids are not going to like it. They need an alternative. And our area just doesn’t have a super good Christian station that plays a wide variety of new Christian music. I guess it’s time to break out the phone and play some music that we already have that we know we enjoy that is catchy and honest.

Music has such a potential in our life. It has the power to bring us to tears or send us to the mountain top dancing. Most people don’t pay two cents worth of attention to the lyrics. But I do. I hear them and am typically appalled when I hear secular music. So why do I let my kids listen to it? That is a really good question. I don’t have a good answer. Maybe it’s because we don’t have cable or satellite and this is my way of allowing them something “normal” in their life. Maybe it’s a break that I need too. Maybe I just want to give them a little control. I don’t really know why we listen to that stuff.

So, let me encourage you today, princess, to really listen to whatever you listen to. Is it true and pure and honest and lovely? Or is it full of stuff that is none of those things? Remember, junk in, junk out.

By the way, “Favorite Song” by TobyMac was stuck in my head this morning. And it is currently fighting for control as I write.

Selfishness

Psalm 36:2 – “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.”

I have been known to say, quite frequently actually, “It’s their world and your just living in it!” Selfishness is running rampant in our world today. Too many people would rather think of themselves than any other. There are children being abandoned by their parents because they don’t fit into the parents’ plans. Families are being torn apart because one spouse chooses to leave the relationship for one reason or another. People are getting in car accidents because the other driver thinks that their text message is way more important than the person they are meeting on the road.

Selfishness is everywhere. It’s an epidemic really. It is a seed that has always been there but in our current social climate, it flourishes.

So, what do we do about it? How do we live an unselfish life? How do we tolerate those who choose to think only of themselves? Well, I don’t have all the answers but I know Someone who does.
Philippians 2:3 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
It is hard, sometimes, to do this. You don’t want to be at the bottom of the thought process. You want to do what you want to do. You don’t want to have to think about others along the way. But Jesus commands us to do just that – think of others along the way. Can you imagine how different His ministry would have been if He had thought of Himself at any time?

You see, it’s a great way to show others His love when you think of others more than yourself. You choose the hard things instead of the easy way out. You sacrifice your time and your efforts for someone else’s gain – and you are okay with it. You don’t complain when things get hard, you face them and move through them. You don’t become bitter and nasty when asked to do something.

Princess, I just want to encourage you to be different. Choose to walk away from selfishness. Choose to be the kind of person that is ready to serve no matter the cost. Choose to be the kind driver out there on the crazy road. Choose to be the one who volunteers to do the task. And shine on, sister – let them see His light coming through you.

Everything you need

Philippians 4:19 – “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Would you ask a first grader to write an essay on proper leadership within a multi billion dollar company? Probably not. (I was going to say quantum physics but most adults would not be able to write a paper about that! I know I wouldn’t!)

Anyway, as ridiculous as that sounds, don’t you think it sounds just as ridiculous to think that God would send us out unprepared and ill equipped to do whatever He is asking us to do? I think so. I believe God is constantly training us and encouraging us to grow. I think that through this growth, He is preparing us to do something amazing. However, I feel that oftentimes we hold Him back. We let our fears and reservations keep us from reaching our full potential.

And don’t think that I am just referring to going to a foreign mission or quitting your job to devote yourself to the Ministry. Those things are vitally important to the Kingdom of God. At the same time though, I think that it is the little things in life that add up to make a big difference – deciding to move to a new house, starting a new job, beginning a Bible study in your home, getting up 45 minutes earlier to read your Bible on a daily basis. All these things may seem small and trivial, no big deal, but they are. They can have a huge impact on your life and the lives of everyone around you.

The one thing I want you to get out of this today is this – When God asks us to step out and do something, He provides everything we need to do it. He doesn’t leave us hanging. It is not like a bird pushing his little bird out of the nest and forcing it to fly. No, God has His mighty hand under us and holds us the whole way.

So if God is asking you to change, to make things different in your life, to get out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid. A new adventure is just around the corner if you are brave enough to peek at it.