Godly Contentment

If you were with us in 2017, you may
remember our series on Contentment.

We have edited, revised, and published these posts as chapters in our newest book. Godly Contentment is seventh in our series Little Books about the Magnitude of God.

Never in eighty years have I seen these truths so desperately needed. I have been reviewing these for my own encouragement since January.  Our cover image (as well as our header) is a personal photograph by a sister-blogger, Heidi Viars – Wings of the Dawn. 

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 3 – The Essence of Contentment

Faith Leads to Contentment
Faith affects our senses as we “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28-29).

Faith becomes the bridge, the means to the whole of God’s kingdom. Here is where we connect faith and contentment, contentment being the seventh and complete sense in communion with the Father.

Our Father uses faith to bring us out of the state of oppression through adversity. We would rather say that His presence and power lift us above the adversity and brings us to the state of contentment. We do not escape adversity, but in it, we learn to live in conformity to the image of Christ. His Word and faith in His Word train our senses. By these, we accept and live unmoved by our circumstances. We practice keeping our focus on God, our Father, and our hearts centered in Christ and His promises, as the Holy Spirit leads us.

Godly Contentment is available on Amazon and soon through other distributors.
Proceeds are designated for missions and charity. Paperback      Ebook
Fran

GOD IS GREATER THAN

GOD IS GREATER THAN
our circumstances;

HIGHER THAN
our expectations;

BIGGER THAN
the universe;

MORE POWERFUL THAN
death:

&

NEARER THAN
our very breath.

“IN HIM WE LIVE AND BREATHE AND HAVE OUR BEING.”
Acts. 17:28

AND WE ARE IN HIM WHO IS TRUE, IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.
HE IS THE TRUE GOD AND ETERNAL LIFE.”
1 John 5:20

Dear Father, interweave between my human thoughts the truths and the authority of Your Word.  I thank you and praise you that Your Words are Spirit and Life to me.  In Jesus’ precious and powerful name Amen
Fran

Image: Google

 

Staying In The Ship

“Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.”   Acts 27:31
774px-The_Shipwreck_engraving_by_William_Miller_after_Turner

Paul’s last voyage was not a pleasant one. From Caesarea he was being sent to Rome as a prisoner to be tried before Caesar. The storm encountered was causing the ship to break apart as it ran upon the rocks near the beach of Malta.

Before running aground, where the bow stuck and the stem was being broken by the surf, the prisoners could have escaped by throwing out the anchor and letting down the lifeboat. This could have been Paul’s chance to avoid being carried to Rome. But, he knew what was happening was within God’s plans for him.

The following night, after Paul was arrested, “the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” Acts 23:11

Then, during the storm, Paul stood to encourage all who are in the ship, “Take heart for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, Do not be afraid Paul, your must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.” Acts 27:22-26

Paul trusted God’s plan for him; he trusted His Word, and he was obedient to the will of God. His was the example of the obedience of faith he preached in the gospel to the Roman Christians.

God’s plans for us may be that we go through the storms and waves of this world. The relationship we are in may break up, and seemingly all hope is lost, but in faith, we must stay in the ship. Our relationship with God may encounter upheavals; our fellowship with other believers may run aground, but we are called to obedience to stay in the ship and endure through the entire course, even if that means that we are heading toward the end of this life.

Paul survived his last voyage with other prisoners and soldiers. Undoubtedly, they were non-believers, not knowing the promises or power of God to save His people. Paul is the example for us, even in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to shine as lights in the darkness.

Cutting Away the Lifeboat

“Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.” Acts 27:32

God is able: and He promises in His Word never to leave us nor forsake us. At times He may have to cut away the ropes of anything that might help us to abandon ship.

His church is that great ship that is often run aground, but He has not forsaken her. Many leave the ship, and often have a difficult time finding it again.

Marriage and family units are vessels that have to bear the storms. Many find these relationships on the rocks, but when we rely on God’s promises, His presence and power as Paul did, we experience His working through the upheavals. He can restore these ships, sometimes to better relationships than they were before.

We may be the only one with faith, courage, and perseverance to stay with the ship, knowing the God to whom we belong and worship. We may be the only light that God chooses to save a whole family from darkness and disaster.

We accept this reality with humility, not pride. It can be a heavy burden for us, but in time it will produce the joy that He intends for us. Wherever we are is where God places us; to testify of Him.

Sheet Music: Be Still My Soul
Image

The Best is Yet

If we know anything of the past and the future according to God’s eternal plan, we understand the times in which we live. This is not all there is, nor are we even near the end of what we must go through.

Eternity is called the Promised Land because it is planned for the future. The blessing of the children of God is that we have glimpses, mostly when least expected. We miss them when our attention is on what is happening around us and in the world or on ourselves. They are revealed in the preaching of His Word, in worship, in fellowship with other believers, in the study of His Word and prayer. Especially in intercession for others, He opens heaven to us.

We are traveling through this wilderness on our way to our true home. The enemy would have us wearied and weighed down with the cares of this world. We are drawn, caught up, and carried away in fear of what will happen next. We miss the most glorious of the revelations He has for us in our times of fellowship with Him, in our daily lives and as He overcomes the work of the enemy in us and others.

The promises of eternity with our Lord are given to those who, in faith, believing the promises, live in light of the promises now, here, and forever. Instead of  repeating the same fears of the multitudes, we exhort one another in the hope and fulfillment of God’s Word.

The older and nearer I am to the Riverside, the more and clearer I see the vision of the promises.

We don’t need to wait until we are old for this vision. As we receive the promises, we continue to our goal looking forward and upward in the blessed light He has given us in Christ, by His Spirit and His Word. We seek those things above where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. We set our affections on things above, not on things of the earth. Colossians 3:1-3

“He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7

We hold forth God’s Word to encourage others. If we could only see how our heavenly Father sees and what He is doing behind the scenes, we would be rejoicing always and letting our moderation be known to all men
(Philippians 4:4-5).

Jerry and I were recently discussing the possibility that God could be discontent. Is God ever discontent in His sovereign rule? That would mean He is depending on His creatures for the way things will end. If that was so, then we would have no hope in His promises. We have a living hope by the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3).

“Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Titus 2:13
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you,
and thereby many be defiled;”
Hebrews 12:15

“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,
wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
2 Peter  3:12

“Keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Jude 1:21
We praise Him that He is in control ~ according to His own plans to bring us through by His grace to Himself.  We must keep our focus on Him, our hearts and minds centered in Christ ~ our spirit in continual unity with His as we cry, “Abba, Father.” Let us see your glory in the face of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Keep us looking upward. In His  name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Related article: Onward and Upward
Suggested reading: GOD is our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
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Soul Food for Sunday

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord:
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”
Psalm 84:2

 I am addicted to the Word of God.  In it is the power of the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The power of the gospel to save (Romans 1:16) is the same power that raised Christ from the death, so that His life would be a continual flow of power in and through His people.  Feeding on His word daily is coupled with the Lord’s Day proclamation in the preaching of His word.  His word goes forth in power to those whose hearts and souls feed on Him.  How can we fast on the Lord’s Day when He has prepared a feast for us from His word?

Sword-Word-God-118735“For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12

By His Word and Spirit, He searches and knows my heart; He tries me and knows my thoughts, sees any wicked way in me; and leads me in the paths of righteousness (Psalm 138:23-24; 23:3).

 “Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

I need His word ~ the same word that penetrated my being ~ to permeate, and perpetuate the life of Christ in and through me; for His sanctification by the “washing of the water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”

John 6:63

Through His Word are all God’s promises made and fulfilled in Christ, the living Word.

For he satisfieth the longing soul,
and filleth the hungry soul with goodness
.”
Psalm 107:9

“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.”
Psalm 130:5

“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth:
but God is the strength of my heart, 
and my portion for ever.”
Psalm 73:25:26

sarasota-tropical-garden-design“And the Lord shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones:
and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isaiah 58:11

Dear Father, as you bring us this day into your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise, open our hearts to your word, that our souls may be fed, nourished, and receiving the bread of life in Christ, your Son, and your Spirit, knowing the abundance of His life within us. Let us this week, in the obedience of faith, be about our Father’s business of life, doing all your will ~ to your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

Just When We Thought

We were beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel……

It was mid-2006. Mother had continued to decline in the four years she lived with us. Her physical condition was adding its toll to her dementia. We had done all we could since my dad died of cancer several years before.  While caring for her, we kept two of our granddaughters two days a week ~ a joy and a respite for us and Mother.

But, something had to give.

Her month in a nursing home before she died did not make life any easier. Even so, we hoped this would end our adventures with adversity. No so. Five weeks through the settling of her small estate, Jerry had emergency by-pass surgery on his left leg.

A month later, his leg had to be amputated. After three years of not healing, he had a third surgery to remove the graft inserted for the by-pass.  The stump finally healed seven months later and for a short while he used a prosthesis with a walker. But it is still painful.

For the last two years, he has not driven a car, walked, or worn a shoe because of issues with wounds that would not heal. His heart disease and diabetes are not our best friends.

Why am I rehashing these affairs? One reason is to witness of the fulness of God’s grace during trials in this life and to compare the lives of God’s children to the children of Israel as He delivers us from our bondage to self and sin and brings us through this wilderness to His promised land for us.

A Worse Scenario
God’s people had been in bondage four hundred years when the Lord sent Moses and Aaron to Egypt. Their case before Pharoah to deliver Israel only made their condition worse. Not only were they still required to make bricks, but they had to find their own straw. They could not understand how the Lord was working for their freedom.

“Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. And they said to them, “Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” Exodus 5:20-21

Like the people of Israel, we cannot see how the Lord is working on our behalf until we get past a breaking point. Adversity is His means of proving His presence and power in the lives of His children, enabling us to live in the assurance He gives and to praise Him every day.

“My brethren, count it all joy
when ye fall into divers temptations; 
Knowing this,
that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
James 1:2-4

More and more, we are learning what Paul meant when he said, “I have learned to be content.” Jesus becomes more precious with each trial, endears us to Him and excites our hope for eternal life with Him.

It is in the “something has to give” times that He fills us with His grace and shows His mercy ~ growing us in the process to understand the truth and reality of His promises. Christ in you ~ the hope of glory is experienced in every turn of this life, bringing us closer and closer to Him, His glory and His joy.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

Dear Father, as we are still learning what it means to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray your Holy Spirit to prove us to be yours. Fill us with your grace and make us know your goodness and mercy that follows us all the days of our lives; that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran
Suggested Reading: TWO FULL PLATES ~ Learning to be a Caregiver

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