Browsing the archives for the Contentment category.


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Acts 25-26: See God’s Help

Acts, Christian Living, Comfort, Confidence, Contentment, God, God's Love

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I Corinthians 2-3: Quit Competing with Others; Let God be the Best

Christian Living, Confidence, Contentment, Glorifying God, humility, I Corinthians, Relationships

1 Corinthians 2-3 (ESV) by Wordle

Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 2:1-3:23.

“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (I Corinthians 3:5-7).

It must be providence. We seem to get back to this chapter at just the time I need it most. How easily we preachers can compete. If someone has a different style, we want to prove that ours is better and they are making all kinds of mistakes. Maybe I shouldn’t say “we,” but should just say “I.”

But this isn’t just about preachers. And in my preaching is not the only place I do this. What about on the job? What about in parenting? What about in school? How often are we caught up in competitions to prove we are better. If anyone does anything differently, has a different personality, has a different approach or viewpoint, we immediately try to figure out why they are wrong and their way is bad. (Don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to say everything in the world is okay.) It is like we are caught up in this competition and the only way we will feel good about ourselves is if we can convince everyone else in the world that we are the best.

Paul had a different foundation. He wasn’t trying to be the best. He wasn’t in competition with Apollos. If Apollos had some success that Paul didn’t, Paul wasn’t deflated. If Apollos had some failure that Paul didn’t, Paul wasn’t elated. Paul understood that the real power in all of this was God. God has the right to use each of us as He sees fit. Praise God if He provides a victory through someone else. Praise God if He provides one through me. Praise God that He shows us our weaknesses so we can grow. Praise God for the opportunities, resources and abilities He has given to each one. We need to look past the various blessings God has given to each one of us as if they are an indication of how great we are and instead simply look to the blessing giver as the great one. We need to be thankful that He has blessed us and let us be part of His plan.

Today, I’m going to quit worrying about competing and proving I’m the best at whatever. Instead, I want to look to God and glorify Him because He is the best.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? Click here to add your input.

PPS. Check out this video by One Time Blind. It took me watching it a few times to actually finally get the point. But I think it is spot on. Enjoy!

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

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Mark 7-8: You Can Only Save Your Life by Sacrificing It

Christian Living, Contentment, Crucified with Christ, Death, eternal life, Faith, Mark, Sacrifice, trusting God, Victory in Jesus, Walking with God

Mark 7-8 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is Mark 7:1-8:38.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).

A scene from a movie comes to my mind. Toward the end of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” they have actually found the Holy Grail. However, Dr. Elsa Schneider defied the command of the guardian and took the Grail across the seal. The earth quaked and the rock floor split open. Schneider fell in the crack and was only saved by Jones’s quick reaction of grabbing her hand. But the Grail, which had also dropped in the crack, was on a ledge just out of arm’s reach. Jones pleaded with her to let it go and let him pull her up. But how could she? If she had the Grail, she would be rich? She tried to save the life she imagined if she possessed the Grail and slipped from Jones’s hand to lose her life.

As this happened, the earth shook and now Indiana Jones was in the same position as Dr. Schneider. He was dangling in the crack, held by his father’s hands. Despite his protests for Dr. Schneider to climb out of the crack, he was being pulled by the Grail. It had been his father’s life’s work to find that Grail. He had gone through adventure, turmoil, and strife to get it. He wanted to please his father and his father’s life was in that Grail. But Henry Jones (Sean Connery’s character) calmly said, “Indiana, let it go.” Jones reached up and took his father’s hand and was pulled to safety. He gave up his life in that Grail to save his life.

For me, that is a picture of this verse. Our lives can get wrapped up in so many things–education, recreation, occupation, infatuation,etc. Sometimes we want to hold on to Jesus with one hand, while stretching out for something else that we think is what our life is all about. We hope that we can bridge the gap between the two things. But we can’t. If we try to save our lives as we see what is important about them and our goals and desires, we will lose our actual lives. However, if we are willing to give up life on our terms, we can gain real life through Jesus Christ.

We are hanging in the gap, our Grail is just out of arm’s reach. We can attempt to save our life by reaching for the Grail. But we will only lose our lives. Or we can sacrifice our lives to reach up and grab our Father’s hands and allow Him to pull us to safety, saving our lives. The choice is ours.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in this passage? Click here to add your input.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

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Philippians 1-2: The #1 Reason I Don’t Have to Worry about My Eternity

Christian Living, Comfort, Contentment, Encouragement, eternal life, Faith, God's Love, grace, Philippians, rejoicing, relying on God, The Next Right Thing, Walking with God

Philippians 1-2 (ESV) by Wordle*

Today’s reading is Philippians 1:1-2:30.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

This passage just smacked me this morning. Who is Paul convinced will complete this good work in the Philippians? He doesn’t say, “And I am sure of this, that you who began this good work will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Instead, he is convinced God will do it.

What freedom. What comfort. What joy. What peace. I don’t have to put my confidence in me to complete this good work, which only leads me to despair. I can put my confidence in God to complete it, which leads to peace and hope. That sets me free to quit worrying about where I’ll be at my death or when Christ returns. All I have to focus on today is doing the next right thing. God is working on the outcomes. He will bring this good work in me to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. No need to despair when God is the one who is at work within me both to will and to work for His good pleasure (cf. Philippians 2:13).

Praise God!

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading? Click here to add your input.

PPS. Thanks to all of you for the positive comments you gave me here, on Facebook, via e-mail, and person to person about this blog. That was very encouraging and uplifting.

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*Today’s illustration was generated by the creative tool at Wordle.net. You can find all my wordles here.

 

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Revelation 1-2: Jesus in His Glory

Confidence, Contentment, Jesus, Revelation

Today’s reading is Revelation 1:1-2:29.

“The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1:14-16).

There is my Savior. Not meek and mild. Not beaten, battered, bruised and bloodied. But glorified and glorious. A vision like on the Mount of Transfiguration. His snow white hair demonstrating His purity. His eyes of fire that pierce through all darkness. No matter what dark ploys Satan plots, he cannot hide me from those flaming eyes. His burnished feet, tried in the fire. The heel that was bruised by the serpent but came out of the fire to crush the serpent’s head. His powerful voice that overwhelms all other sound. The seven stars held in his hand, angels to the churches. He protects His messengers. A two-edged sword coming from His mouth. His word is sharp, dividing even the soul and the spirit asunder. His word can cut to the heart of the matter and lay everything exposed for examination and purification. Finally, His face shining as if it were the sun itself. What glory.

That is my Savior and I am glad to surrender to Him today.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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I Timothy 6-II Timothy 1: I Have Enough

Christian Living, Contentment, Gratitude, I Timothy, providence, rejoicing, relying on God, Thanks

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 6:1-21; 2 Timothy 1:1-18.

“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:8).

I spend too much of my time wondering when I will get to own an iPad, flat panel TV, the latest Mac, a car that doesn’t squeek or leak, a house with a playroom, an office, and a bed and bath for each family member. I want. I want. I want. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is more than want. I need these things. Then I get into entitlement and resentment. I cannot possibly grow in peace and joy when this is how I approach my life and material blessings.

However, I look at myself and notice that I am clothed. I have a full stomach from eating today. I even have a full fridge which means I’ll eat for the rest of today. I’m worried about tomorrow, but God has taken care of me today, which is the only day I really have. I should be content. God has given me more than enough. If I want to have peace, I need to spend more time today thanking God for what He has given me than complaining about what He hasn’t.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

PS. What struck you in today’s reading?

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