OUR GOD SATISFIES

April 4, 2016

Patito1

Three-year-old Kayra struggled to make sense of the puzzle. Unable to arrange the blocks to get the duck scene right, she vented her frustration. Fortunately, older brother Jehiel came to her rescue and helped her. Puzzle resolved, Kayra was satisfied with the ducks.

King Solomon must have felt frustrated, too, as he struggled to arrange the pieces of life to find satisfaction. Solomon, wiser than any man and incomparably wealthy, wrote “whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from pleasure.” He had it all and did it all, yet wrote, “the eye is not satisfied with seeing and the soul is not satisfied with goodness.” Disillusioned with his quest for satisfaction, Solomon found that it was impossible for him to make the puzzle pieces fit. (1st Kings 2:11-13; Ecclesiastes chapters 1-6)

Maybe you, Like Kayra and Solomon, can’t seem to arrange the pieces in your quest for satisfaction. You struggle to get the perfect job, build relationships, accumulate “stuff”, pursue fun and entertainment … but the pieces don’t fit. Noting satisfies you.Patito

If that’s you, put down those puzzle pieces and read this: Our God “satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9) Vent your frustrations to God, confessing your inability to find satisfaction outside of Him. Ask Him – then trust Him – to satisfy your longing soul. He’ll arrange all your pieces, because our God satisfies!

(Join me every Monday in 2016 on my quest to know God better.)


FREE TO CHOOSE

December 29, 2015

A new year, a clean slate and endless choices. We have 366 days ahead of us, (2016 is a Leap Year!) and how we choose to live each day depends on us. We may not be able to choose our circumstances, but we are free to choose our reactions, attitudes, and our conduct. Since we are free to choose, here are some excellent choices I want to make, and I hope you join me!

CHOOSE TIME ALONE WITH GOD. We can start each day spending time with God to get His perspective, wisdom, direction, strength and peace, or we can “wing it” on our own. Psalm 63:1 tells us: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You…”  It usually doesn’t go as good when we “wing it.”

CHOOSE GRACE. Let’s opt to treat others with the lavish grace that God pours out in our life. In Matthew 10:8 we find these words of Jesus: “Freely you have received, freely give.” We can show grace to others only because we’ve received it from Him.

CHOOSE TRUTH. Instead of allowing damaging thoughts pull us down, let’s believe what is true. We find truth in God’s word. Christ said that if we abide in His word, we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free. (John 8:32) Believing the truth of His Word, we’ll be free!

CHOOSE TRUST. We have a choice: to worry and be afraid, or to trust God. We can’t do both. Psalm 9:10 says, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Why would we not choose to trust our Faithful God?

CHOOSE TO LIVE FOR JESUS. It’s either our selfish agenda, or His; our lives revolve around ourselves, or they revolve around Him. The Apostle Paul wrote that “…those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

CHOOSE SURRENDER. Our burdens can get really heavy; we weren’t made to carry them. That’s why we have the privilege of giving them to God. Peter’s encouragement to believers is to cast “all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Our Heavenly Father wants us to trust Him with our burdens.

CHOOSE CONTENTMENT. It’s easy to gripe and complain; to be grumpy instead of thankful. Let’s learn what the Apostle Paul learned: to be content. He said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) When we are content, we are thankful!

CHOOSE TO END THE DAY PROCLAIMING GOD’S FAITHFULNESS. We can end each day lamenting how bad it went, or thankfully proclaim God’s faithfulness. Here’s a recommendation from the Psalmist: “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord…to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night.” (Psalm 92:1,2)

Don’t forget: we’re free to choose!


WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

July 26, 2014

IF you are waiting for everything in your life to be perfect before you praise the Lord, praise isn’t going to happen.
Commit to praise, as David did, even in the worst possible moments. Ps. 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times.” Why not praise Him now?

IF you expect all of your needs and wants to be met before being content, you’ll never be content.
Learn to “be content with such things as you have. For He Himself (God) has said ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ “ (Hebrews 13:5) Why not be content now?

IF you think everything has to be going good for you in order to worship God, you will never worship.
Let your worship be focused on Him, not on your circumstances. “Because He is your Lord, worship Him.” (Psalm 45:11) Why not worship Him now?

IF you try to secure all the resources and figure everything out on your own prior to trusting God, you’ll never trust Him.
Give up your efforts. Let him handle the situation. “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) Why not trust Him now?

Really now, …what are you waiting for?

 


THE ELUSIVE BUCKET FULL OF DOLLAR BILLS

April 21, 2014

On the way to AWANA with our grandsons, I emptied out the coin bin in the car and handed both of them what seemed to be an equal amount of coins for the offering. “Wow! That’s really a lot!” Seven-year-old Jehiel exclaimed as he put his newly acquired coin counting skills into practice. “One dollar and 35 cents!” Then Jehiel spontaneously offered a child’s interpretation of the word “rich”: “Rich is when you have a whole bucket full of dollar bills!”

Unexpressed thoughts swirled through my head: It depends on how tightly the bills are packed, how big the bucket is, how much debt you have, current monthly expenses, where you are in life, or in the world…sure, a bucket full of dollar bills might mean you’re “rich”…

Then I remembered one of my Dad’s favorite Bible passages, especially in his later years: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1st Timothy 6:6-8)

Maybe as a 7 year-old, Dad had the same concept of “rich” as Jehiel has. By the time he was that age, World War I had ended and he lost his mom to the 1918 flu pandemic. With his 3 siblings, Dad had to dig the best potatoes from their crop to pay the undertaker for his mom’s burial because Grandpa didn’t have that bucket of dollar bills. Throughout his life the bucket was elusive: World War II, the Great Depression, being laid off at 43 with six children at home, starting a new business at that age…but no bucket full of dollar bills.

When Dad went to be with the Lord at age 94, he still didn’t have that bucket. What he did have – and it was obvious to those who knew him – was “godliness with contentment”, learned at an early age, and cultivated over many decades.

As the years creep up on me, the truth that the Apostle Paul expressed in 1st Timothy 6:6-8 becomes more real. I haven’t secured that elusive bucket full of dollar bills, either, and I’ll probably never have it. With contentment, I have something far more valuable: the assurance of God’s presence. In Hebrews 13:5 we are encouraged to “Be content with such things as you have. For He himself (GOD!) has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

And that assurance makes me much richer than the elusive bucket full of dollar bills!


GODLY CONTENTMENT

September 19, 2013

Living in a prosperous country, it’s easy to get sucked into the mindset of the world. In our society, there is a feverish pursuit of those things which are above and beyond the basics. We like the “extras” and almost think we’re entitled to them.  In every area, we are subtly being convinced that the basics aren’t sufficient; that we can’t live without the “extras”. There is an all-out campaign to convince us that the “extras” are responsible for our happiness – or lack of it.

Looking to relocate? We want bigger, nicer and with more amenities. Grandpa’s old farmhouse with the front porch swing and creaky floors wouldn’t be an option.

Going out to eat? Our taste buds are being trained to enjoy only gourmet. One-pot, home style meal around the family table? Nah. Too boring… and a few notches below our taste.

Shopping for clothes? “Designer” is the word. Mom’s old Singer sewing machine isn’t used to dress the family any more. The name on the tag is what matters now.

How about education? Extracurricular activities somehow seem to take center stage for many kids. The 3-Rs? Are they really so important, anyway?

With this inverted value system, many of us are unaware of what the real “extra” in life is: godliness with contentment. The apostle Paul expressed it this way: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” (1st Timothy 6:6-8 NKJV)

Tracing Paul’s footsteps through the New Testament, we realize that he lived through very diverse scenarios and learned godly contentment. In fact, he wrote to the believers in Philippi: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.” (Philippians 4:11,12 ESV) Paul enjoyed the “extras” at certain times in his life; but his heart was not attached to them. He was set on pursuing Jesus and keeping Him in the center. Then, when life’s “extras” vanished, Paul’s contentment was still intact.

Let’s give kudos to those people, who like the apostle Paul, have learned godly contentment. Whether they possess only the bare basics, if they are blessed with plenty, or if they’ve lost it all, they are content. God grant the rest of us His grace to passionately pursue Him; then with or without the “extras”, we will learn true godly contentment. We will have discovered the only real “extra”!


%d bloggers like this: