Monday, October 31, 2011
"CONTENTMENT WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES"
Good Evening to All!
Letter From Paul to the Philippians
I was made very happy in the Lord that now you have revived your interest in my welfare after so long a time; you were indeed thinking of me, but you had no opportunity to show it.
(11) Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content. I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted ) in whatever state I am.
(12) I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
(13) I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [ I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. The more commonly quoted version is "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me".
Paul wrote to the Philippians to share what he had learned about living as a Christian. During his travels as a missionary, he had been persecuted, beaten, and as well as spending time in jail. The more he experienced in his life the more he learned to be content in any situation. This took a special mindset and love in his heart. He accomplished this by leaning on Christ and letting Him strengthen him and come to his aid.
He focused on doing what God equipped him to do, and didn't worry about the rest. Circumstances change, but God is the same today, yesterday and forever. He does not change. He is a constant beacon in our time of need.
I am so thankful for this. Have you ever noticed how it is "human nature" to constantly want more? The more you get the more you want. The more money you make the more you spend. I know these practices well.
I have often wondered if the people back then were as distracted, and "greedy" as we are today. I imagine they were, but at the same time, they didn't have near the distractions to take us away from focusing on God. They didn't have telephones, televisions, they didn't have so many different types of books, or computers. They didn't have radios or CD's to listen to. I cannot imagine being distracted from God back then.
As far as being discontented and wanting more, it's hard to fathom what they had to spend their money on other than the necessities of life such as livestock, groceries or maybe material to make clothes from.
I bring this up, because Paul evidently had been discontented in his life at one time or another because he said "he had learned". Was it just when he didn't have food to eat, or being imprisoned, or did he find himself wanting luxuries even during his ministry for Jesus?
Collecting my thoughts and getting back to present day, when God blesses us, we should realize that is exactly what it is--a blessing. Then be happy with what we have . When we have less, we can be thankful for the little we have. It is then we can focus on God and realize that it is He that sustains us. It is He that provides for us. He supplies "all our need", so therefore it we have a little, that is all we need, that is sufficient.
When He supplies extra, it is then we have more to be able to share with others and new reasons to be thankful.
Our circumstances enable us to refocus. For example if our doctor bills get out of hand, we realize we can get by with less, we can do without cable, or satellite. We can do without the Internet until we get caught up. We can even cut back on some of the extra goodies like cokes, pizza, going out to eat. There are so many ways to make ends meet. Not only that, it probably wouldn't hurt us to do that anyway. We (Americans) are so spoiled. I've even caught myself having a pity party when we were short on funds and couldn't go out to eat when I wanted. (I am in the process of learning to be content as well).
What I am trying so clumsily to say is that if we would do without so much entertainment, extra junk food and that sort of thing, it would definitely be healthier for us as well as giving us more time to focus on what is important,
meaning God (first) and our family.
Contentment is an attitude of positivity and acceptance.
The Answers to last night's Bible Challenge "Sleep" are as follows:
1. stones (Genesis 28:11
2. d) by requiring lenders to return to them each night cloaks that were offered as collateral for loans. (Deuteronomy 24:10-13)
3. d) Moses' (Deuteronomy 31:16)
4. Samson (Judges 16:19)
5. c) His beloved people ( Psalm 127:2)
6. b) their riches consume their thoughts (Ecclesiastes 5:12)\
7. d) that no one be told, and that she be given something to eat (Mark 5:42-43)
8. praying (e.g., Matthew 26:36-46)
9. d) "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41)
10. Jonah (Jonah 1:4-5)
Good Night to All and May God Bless!