A Year For Contentment ~ Continued

We are almost halfway through this year in our series on Contentment. I have personally learned much as I have prayed, studied, and written on this subject. Through these six months we have continued to see the extreme between oppression and contentment. We are writing articles for the blog and working on one of our new books, Thriving Under Oppression. We are seeing how contentment is the work in and through us by the Spirit of the Lord even in the middle of oppression. Please pray for this project, a much needed work of grace for God’s people, for His glory and kingdom in this year of our Lord.

Listed are articles we have posted. Following are titles of future posts. If we have not covered something of interest to you, or you have a suggestion or question for a post, let me know. We are still praying and waiting for the Lord’s leading for each one.

A Year for Contentment
Born for Contentment
The Authority of Contentment
The Essence of Contentment
The Image of Contentment
Contentment With God Our Father
Contentment in Jesus Christ
The Reason and Season for Contentment
The Center of Contentment
The Spirit of Contentment
Humility and Contentment
The Voice of Contentment
The Price of Contentment
The Patience That Leads To Contentment
The Flow of Contentment
Future Posts
Contentment vs. Anxiety
The Lens of Contentment
Joy and Contentment
Peace and Contentment
Contentment vs. Satisfaction
Obedience and Contentment
When Will I Be Content?
The Power of Contentment
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for taking us in hand to explore from one end of the spectrum ~ from the state of oppression in which the whole world lives ~ to the other end ~ the state of contentment to which you call us ~ through your plan of redemption in Jesus, your Son. Please continue to brighten our hearts and our hopes while living in the middle of the oppression. We praise you for such a great love that overwhelms us and brings us in your blessedness in the Spirit of Christ to a life of worship and adoration now and for eternity. Continue to lead us in this divine contentment to share your grace with others; for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

After the Storm ~ Peace

Jerry and I are just coming through another one. Though still not where we hope to be (Jerry has not walked since January), as we wait for a reasonable recovery, we are resting in the will of the Lord where we are now.

We have been through many storms such as these, and expect that we may go through others before we get to the end of this life.

He has proven that storms are good for us (Romans 8;28-29).

They take us away from our home base.
They scatter our hopes for anything in this world.
They bring us in touch with people we have never known, some who have been hit worse than we have.
Through these times, He gives us hope and encouragement for others we meet, and find others whose hope is in Him.

We experience the Lord’s presence like no other time in our lives.

Just as Jesus’ disciples looked to Him and He spoke to the storm, He is with us through it and speaks peace to it in His exact timing.

Peace is never as real and powerful as when He brings us through.

Our love for Him is never stronger than when He endures with us.

Our joy is never greater; our faith never deeper planted in Him than through these times.

The sun is never brighter than when we come to a resting place in Him.

Our faith increases during these times.

Endurance, hope, strength, grace, and wisdom grow through these adversities.

The doors of heaven are opened for us, beyond our circumstances, to see the One who created us and redeemed us for Himself, so as to keep us by His power for eternity with Him.
The peace of our Lord is promised to all who endure the storms of this life for a life beyond this one.
He does not allow us to be overcome, but enables us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Gracious heavenly Father, we give you thanks for your grace, power and presence with us during the storms of life. You have always been faithful to keep us through all our circumstances, no matter how difficult they seem. There are many who are struggling. Please be with these; guide them and give them peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Related post: God is Greater Than

images: google

Appointments

Yesterday, as I was thinking of all the medical appointments we have had for Jerry these last six months (sometimes five a week), it became clear that we are constantly making appointments for the things that pertain to this life. All are to minister to our needs, as we desire wellness and what will benefit us physically. In addition to these, most calendars are filled with various appointments for children and the family, for education and amusements.

In the middle of these thoughts, I realized that the day was wearing on, and I had not had the time that I needed with the Lord. Our heavenly Father seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth. I knew He was seeking me to come away from my busyness as a caregiver and a keeper at home, to spend time with Him.

Then I considered that if we can make appointments with everybody else, we ought to schedule more time in each day with Him.

How much time, we may ask, is needful?

Think about how much time we spend in our other appointments, whatever is required for lab work, for a doctor’s evaluation or treatment or for any other concern and relationship. We would do well to do an evaluation and comparison. Considering eternity in relation to the short time we have on this earth we should be spending more time on that which is eternal, especially with our heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer and in His Word; sometimes in quietness, waiting for Him to lead. The more time we spend with Him, the more precious it becomes, and the more natural it is to plan these times, and even spontaneously to be drawn to Him.

God’s Appointments
Consider that just as office personnel call to set up appointments for us, God has set up certain appointments for His creation.

He appointed seasons (Numbers 9:3 , 7,13 Psalm 104:19; Jeremiah 5:24).

He appointed cities of refuge (Joshua 20:2).

He appointed a place for his people (2 Samuel 7:10).

He appointed rulers, kings and the Levites for service in the temple.

He appointed prophets (Nehemiah 6:8)

He appointed the foundation of the earth (Proverbs 8:28).

He appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth (Jeremiah 33:25).

He appoints over the kingdom of men whomsoever He will (Daniel 5:21).

He appointed the end time (Daniel 11:27).

He appointed times, days and bounds (Job 14:5).

He appointed a law for Israel (Psalm 78:5).

He appointed a kingdom to the apostles (Luke 22:29).

He appointed times and bounds of men’s habitation (Acts 17:26).

He appoints our afflictions (1 Thessalonians 3:3).

He appointed His Son heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).

He calls us to meet with Him to consider the more important things that pertain to eternity with Him.

He is not only the Great Physician, but a financial advisor, a consultant for all things, and Judge of all.

We do well to set all our appointments according to His.

Gracious Father, forgive us for focusing on ourselves, appointing times and things only for ourselves, and leaving little time for you. We praise you for your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, your Son, who finds us, and draws us to you through Him. Call us regularly for the times you want with us. Let nothing keep us from our appointed times with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“Well done, good and faith servant…”
Matthew 25:21

Related article: Onward and Upward
Related article: Man’s Calling
Suggested reading: GOD is Our Goal

The Flow of Contentment

In this article we are continuing our search for divine Contentment, our special topic for the year. Contentment is woven into God’s kingdom, experienced by His people as we live daily by the filling of His Holy Spirit. Our other articles are written to bring us to know the legacy that is ours and to keep us content in His kingdom.
In this post, we want to look at the difference in what God creates ~ a world of contentment ~ and what man creates.
When we look at God’s creation, beginning with the heavens and the earth, we see a flow which man can never create. Between the heavens and the earth, there is connection. We cannot sever where one ends and the other begins.

No Corners

Notice that there are no corners, nothing to stop the flow. God’s intentions are, that the present heavens and earth will be replaced by a new heavens and earth so as to make His people a part of a new creation (2 Peter 3:10-14). By His plan and power, it will be in His timing, so as to show His presence and power over all things.

Continual Light

Though in different parts of the world the sun is hidden so that we may rest and sleep, the light of the sun continues to shine, even casting its reflection on the moon as a reminder of God’s presence with us. So, too, the light that shines in our hearts continues to flow so that we are content with His presence and power in our lives (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).

Water

Water flows from heaven, to the springs in the earth, to the streams, the waterfalls, the rivers, and the ocean. So, too, the Spirit of the Lord continues to fill us with the life of Christ.
Plants and trees grow upward and outward, landscaping the terrain in beauty from one hillside and mountain to another, even as they reach to and praise the Creator. 
So, too, the fruit of the Spirit is continually produced in us, for unity with each other and praise to our heavenly Father and our Lord (Galatians 5:22-23).
None of God’s creation has anything to hide, so we see all things living openly and peacefully, uninhibited by pride and sin. They are content to be a part of the flow, producing what the Creator planned for each one. We, too, are content when we experience the flow of the Spirit of the Lord, producing what He plans for each of us, freeing us from sin and pride, in humility to live as a witness of His work in and through us.

Animals

Animals in their natural habitats are not cornered but live by the cycles of each day, as the Lord feeds them
(Psalm 145:15-16);

even the birds of the air

and the fish of the sea (Psalm 8:8).

 

 

 

Life and Death
Even in His creation He planned for the flow of life and death. He created us to reflect His image in the middle of it all. As we consider His relationship with all of His creation, we can live in the state of contentment, believing that whatever is happening in our own lives, personally, or in the world as a whole, He is with us as we are part of the flow, carrying all things throughout eternity, now and forever, for His glory, our good, and our joy.
Our Father in heaven, continually fill us with your Spirit. Make us to know the fulness of Christ and the contentment that only He can give. Move us in the flow of your power as a witness to a world in chaos and draw others to you. In Jesus’ name we pray, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
A Year for Contentment
Images: pixel

The Impact of One Act

A greeting card we received ten years ago stands on our computer desk. We received it from someone we did not know, who wrote, “Dear Fran and Jerry, We have you on our “permanent” prayer list and have been fervently praying for you regularly.”
A neighbor of ours had asked prayer at her church for Jerry, after his leg was amputated. The card was sent from someone who knew of his slow process of healing, saying, “We are so thankful for your Godly example in dealing with adversity and staying so faithful to trust in our Sovereign Lord. We will continue to lift you up! For His glory, Sarina and Michael Roth
This card was among many others, with emails from those who were praying, encouraging and supporting us during that difficult time, but this one stood out from all the rest because it came from a sister-in-Christ that we had never met.
It was over three years, and a third surgery, before Jerry’s wound from the amputation was healed. For nine years I kept the card in a special place. Last year, after I published TWO FULL PLATES ~ Learning to be a Caregiver, I took the card out of the envelope, read the message again, and was led to find Sarina on Facebook. I contacted her to let her know how much her card had meant to Jerry and me, that we were still blessed by reading it. I told her about the book and sent her a copy. In the process of our communication, I learned that Sarina is a photographer and creator of her own greeting cards (perhaps another reason this card was so special to us).
Since our connecting on Facebook, she and Michael were involved in a motorcycle accident. Both sustained injuries, both are recovering, but Sarina cannot yet use her hand for her photography. My prayers for her and Michael are fervent and daily for their healing.
When she sent her card to us so many years ago, she had no idea how her act of compassion toward us would impact our hearts and lives.
Jerry and I were actually impacted by two acts. First, Sarina prayed.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
Then Sarina, in an act of kindness to us, encouraged us by letting us know that she was praying.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” Colossians 3:12
We should never doubt that an act of kindness, no matter how small, will make a difference in someone’s life, and that kindness be returned to us when we least expect it.
 Dear Father in heaven. We praise you for working in the hearts of your people to care for one another. Thank you for revealing your love everywhere, especially in our kindness to others. Thank you for the blessing of Sarina’s card so many years ago, that proves a love that recycles, and truly is evident “all around us.” I ask for your continued healing for Michael and Sarina; for Jerry, as he still needs our care, and your mercy for all in need of healing. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
~ Fran

Man’s Calling

This life is a calling to something higher.
God created us for LIFE with Him ~ a spiritual LIFE ~ an eternal LIFE,  apart from the physical life we are now living.
For this LIFE, God is redeeming a people for Himself, in the sacrificial work of His Son Jesus Christ, through the power of His Holy Spirit.
Just as God, through Moses, brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt to a land He had prepared for them, He sent Jesus, His Son, to deliver us from the bondage of sin and rebellion, with the promise of eternity with Him.
Since Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, He now rules at the right hand of the Father, sending the Holy Spirit to bring this LIFE to His people.
The FATHER finished His work of CREATION.
JESUS, the SON, finished His work of REDEMPTION.
His HOLY SPIRIT is now doing His work to give us this LIFE,
separating His people from the power of Satan, sin, self, and the world,
and preparing us for this eternal LIFE with the FATHER and the SON.
Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ!
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead,

to an inheritance that is imperishable,
undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you,

who by God’s power are being guarded
through faith for a salvation ready
to be revealed in the last time.”
1 Peter 1:3-5
Here is a double promise in Simon Peter’s words.
It is not only by God’s power that the inheritance of eternal LIFE is being kept in heaven for us, but we are being kept through faith to receive this inheritance. No one can take it from us, or keep us from receiving what He has willed for us for eternity.
“according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:”
1 Peter 1:2
In light of the work of Christ, the promises, and this high, heavenly and holy calling, He is preparing us in this life for eternity with Him.
There is no other purpose for physical life than this: preparation and conforming us to the image of Christ, so as to be compatible to share His glory.
His bride (His people) must be ready (Ephesians 5:26-27). It is during this preparation that we get a glimpse of the glory which is prepared for us. His love goes deeper, and our hearts grow fonder as He draws us to Himself.
The nearer we come to the end of this life, the more we anticipate this consummation and eternity with our Lord. Nothing in this life will ever compare to what He has planned for us. We have but to meditate on His promises and imagine this LIFE with Him. I am reminded of the story of Esther’s preparation to become Queen. The King offered her half his kingdom. We are promised the Father’s whole kingdom, as joint heirs with His Son.
“The first man Adam became a living being”;
the last Adam became a LIFE-giving spirit.”
1 Corinthians 15:45
Love, joy and peace are just a sample of the LIFE Jesus came to give through His Spirit. We, who now live on earth, are in the preface of eternity. God’s children are born, sealed, live, led, walk in, and bear the fruit of His Spirit, and grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as He prepares us to share His glory. Every phase and every stage of this life, with every episode and event, is part of this preparation, all for His glory and our joy (Romans 8:28-29).
Gracious Father, we are not worthy, but we praise you for this new life in Christ, revealed to us in your Word by the power of your Holy Spirit. We praise you for keeping us by the same power to live now, in preparation and anticipation of eternity with you. Let love, joy and peace and the other fruit of the Spirit be evidence that we belong to you, now and forever. Let us sanctify you in our hearts, and expect others to ask us what is our hope and joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
~ Fran

Suggested reading: GOD is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan For HIs People

All the Way My Savior Leads Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEOtFEs0Jos

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Fake News

This article may not seem to relate to the topic of Contentment, which we have been spotlighting this year, but as we look at what the world offers, we see how people are influenced to believe things that not true, and miss out on the things that are true.
We see this in how the “gospel” is presented in different forms that seem to come from God’s Word, but they either leave out a main ingredient, or give what is not relevant to the salvation of the soul. It is through the gospel, the “good news” of the love of God in giving His Son to die for our sins, that He is able to “deliver us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4).
It is in the power of His Holy Spirit that He convicts us of our sin, and delivers us from the power and guilt of sin. His power is the greater power that within us, frees us and turns us in repentance and faith to a life in Christ that fulfills our every need.Because of a misunderstanding of the meaning of repentance, and whose work it is, many are “turning” to a different gospel which states that “the finished work of Christ” is all we need, and does not require confession of our sin, or turning from it.
An example of this “gospel” will clarify how it supposedly works.
A few years ago there was a fifteen-year-old boy in our church who was attentive to Jerry and me. At times in our conversation, I would ask him what he thought about the sermon he had heard that day relating to salvation. He told me that he could not accept Jesus because he was not ready to give up his sins. He enjoyed the things a young man enjoys in this world, including his thoughts about girls. I told him that I would pray for him. I continued to pray for him, and a few months later, I was surprised one morning when he and his brother were baptized. Afterward, I asked him what happened to change his mind.
He said that his dad told him that he did not have to give up anything, just believe that Jesus died for his sins and be baptized; then, you’re “good to go.” Soon afterward his parents, whose family had been members of our church for five years, sent this “gospel” in an email to all church members, with accusations that our ministers were preaching heresy.

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

My original document has more references. If needful I will do a Part 2. I don’t want to spend a lot of time writing about this controversy, but to go forward and upward in our quest for the kingdom that is ours in Christ.
The writer of Hebrews 6:1 spoke of this.
“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”
A related article, Onward and Upward, was posted last week, which comments prompted this article.
Dear heavenly Father, it is easy to be swayed and deceived regarding our relationship with you. I pray that you would, by your Holy Spirit, give new hearts and spirits, birthing your children into your kingdom, so that there is true joy in Christ. Bring conviction of sin and the need for repentance to new life in your Spirit. We need your Almighty power to overcome the false teachings that we hear today. Enable us to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord. Let us speak truth by your word and Spirit to lead others in your truth.    In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
~FRAN
What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?