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.
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.
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 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 in their natural habitats are not cornered but live by the cycles of each day, as the Lord feeds them
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
Over the decades we have learned what agents are effective for certain needs.
Jerry and I should have bought stock in The Clorox Company when we first married almost fifty-six years ago, since it is the most powerful solution for mildew and especially for bloodstains. If I can get Jerry’s tees and the sheets before the blood sets in, it will rinse out with cold water. But usually, they end up soaking in strong bleach water. His blood thinners are good for A-fib and other heart issues, but even a slight brush of the skin or a simple scratch causes unwanted bleeding.
As I was applying a little more bleach to some stains this morning, I was reminded of the power of God’s grace, in which I have learned to soak. He brings me to His Word, and while I spend time there, His Spirit does His work to cleanse any stains from my heart, to revive my spirit, and brighten my hopes and joy in Him. He takes as much time with me to work His desired effect. I stand in wonder of His grace in my life and others who cherish His Word and spend time in communion with Him. He brings forth in us praise and adoration. The effectual working of His grace in our lives shows His humility and holiness ~ the witness of His presence and power to others.Gracious Father, you alone know our hearts and what we need to prepare us for your glory. Yours is the power of cleansing the devastating work of sin. Your grace alone is effectual to cleanse a leopard’s spots, making us holy in your Son, Jesus Christ. Have mercy upon us today and while shedding abroad your love in our hearts, let it spread to those around us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole
I want Thee forever to live in my soul
Break down every idol, cast out every foe
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat
I wait, blessèd Lord, at Thy crucified feet
By faith, for my cleansing, I see Thy blood flow
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Lord Jesus, Thou knowest I patiently wait
Come now, and within me a new heart create
To those who have sought Thee, Thou never saidst no
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain,
Apply Thine own blood and extract every stain;
To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
James L. Nicholson 1872
This good news was announced on earth to a few shepherds by a single angel, after which a multitude of angels rejoiced, in praise “to God in the highest.” One of the greatest events on earth took place that night.
Can we imagine what was going on in heaven? Could it be that after thousands of years of planning and waiting for this day heaven was quiet?
Joseph’s purpose and greatness in this life was to serve as Jesus’ earthly father. He attended the birth and accepted Jesus as his own son. But God, His heavenly Father begat Him for an even greater purpose. His physical birth was the result of the heavenly Father’s desiring, and siring, to fulfill all His promises of redemption for His people of every race and nation.
Would not He and all of heaven been in a holy expectancy in anticipation of this event with its celebration and proclamation?
While the people of Bethlehem may have been sleeping and the world clueless to God’s plans during this historical event, can we not think that God, Jesus’ heavenly Father was present, with the attendance of the angels, for the delivery of His own Son? Would not Gabriel who had announced the conception to Mary been present? And might Michael have been there to keep the enemy at bay? This is only speculation, but surely there was much going on that was not recorded for us.
If “the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repents,” imagine what all the heavenly hosts were doing that night when the Redeemer, who has brought that means of repentance, was born.
A few were privileged to experience the reverberation that night—from the heavenly Father came the proclamation of new life here on earth, as promised from the beginning, and prophesied through the ages. The shepherds heard, believed, and came to see “that which had come to pass,” and glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen.
“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
The echo continues, as it has for thousands of years. God, the Father is still proclaiming the majesty of His Son over all things, and His love for all His children. For those who hear, Christ is conceived in the heart, bringing faith and repentance. The heavenly hosts are still rejoicing as God, the Father, through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit give true life ~eternal life ~ to new sons and daughters.
We do not know what happened the night of Jesus’ birth other than what has been recorded in His Word, and passed down through the centuries. We celebrate the season of this birth in many different ways according to our culture and traditions. There are many reverberations heard and experienced throughout the world that have nothing to do with the purpose and truth of the birth of the Son of God. But, in a few, from the hearts of those to whom this truth has been revealed there is an echo resounding, not from speculation or imagination, but from the Father, and Christ, Himself.
He is present, and the heavenly hosts rejoice with each new birth. He has made us His children, His family, His people, His church, His echo here on earth, heard not just for one season or another, but for all time and eternity.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace with whom he is pleased.” Luke 2:14
“Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.” Hebrews 13:21
Dear heavenly Father, as you planned that your only begotten Son would be the first of many brethren, bringing many sons to glory, let us gratefully echo the good tidings that the angels announced that holy night. Fill us with the Spirit of the life of Christ, so that forever He will be glorified in you and us. In His name we pray. Amen.
Some people of the Christian faith are celebrating the season of Advent ~ the anticipated coming of the Messiah. (See related article for a longer explanation.)
Advent emphasizes two main things, “coming” and Jesus Christ ~ the one who was to come, who has come, who is coming and will come again a last time.
According to promise throughout the Scriptures, the Israelites were expecting Emmanuel ~ “God with us.”
Their prayer and song was “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”
The Messiah has come (the reason for celebration now) and in His coming Christ has saved a people for Himself.
Those who anticipate His second coming celebrate Advent also. This will be the third advent.
The Second Advent is the lifelong celebration of the coming of Christ by those who have experienced it personally. What does this mean?
Think of the Holy Spirit that “hovered over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light.” Genesis 1:2-3
Promise of a Savior
Then in the first chapter of Luke we see how Christ came into the world in fulfillment of the promise of a Savior.
“And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, a young virgin, as God’s means to bring light into the world, the light that had been extinguished.
The Holy Spirit comes upon us to birth Christ the Savior in us. He cannot save us outside of ourselves. He must overwhelm us with His holiness, His love, His power, and fill us with the light of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter:3)
Mary’s and Joseph’s hearts were tender and fertile to receive the infant Jesus and to care for Him, to bring Him up in the nurture of God’s Word.
“A new heart and a new spirit “(Ezekiel 36:26) is God’s promise and gift to us so that we can receive the life of Christ in us. It is this advent in our own lives that enables us to live in the power of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the Last Advent.
“No ear may hear His coming
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still
The dear Christ enters in
O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today.”
(O Little Town of Bethlehem)
Jesus is no longer a baby in a manger, nor a man on a cross, but our Almighty Savior, High Priest, Lord and King, who is interceding for us now, , by His Holy Spirit intervening, and who will come and take us to Himself for eternity.
Dear Father, we praise you for the power of your Holy Spirit to complete your work here on earth. Continue to shine your Light through the advent of our lives. We pray the gift of new hearts, the Holy Spirit and the life of Christ throughout the coming year. Come, Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Some come to a screeching halt when the body is unable to keep up the normal pace.
Others gradually slow down as life becomes more difficult.
The younger generation catches up and overtakes us. We become inundated with a youth culture that is hard to understand and to which we can relate.
The ophthalmologist who examined Mother’s eyes twelve years ago, observed, “She is fragile, isn’t she.”
She was born the fifth daughter of twelve children. Before any brothers were born, her father took her hunting and taught her everything he would have taught a son. She started her first full time job and married at the age of fifteen. She was a small woman, but agile, strong, and faithful. There was nothing she could not do that she wanted to do or needed to do. She lived to the age of 92, after taking care of my dad, and enduring six years of dementia. And during those years she was fragile.
Now, I know the feeling of this fragility. Though I am in my second childhood, and loving it ~ loving what the Lord is doing in my life ~ there is a sense of losing strength and agility that I once had. Children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have their own lives, and don’t seem to need us anymore..
This does not mean that we are discontent, or disheartened. More so, we are more content than ever, encouraged even in these difficult times, and more tenderhearted toward others. We are able to see the needs of others, and to pray for them.
Our greatest desire is that we have something lasting and eternal to share with the younger generation, believing that this is God’s plan for His people.
Dear Father, thank you for the seasons of this life, for the agility we need as children, and for the fragility of the senior years. I praise you, that for the things we lost or left behind, you have replaced with your presence and power, the joy that is ours in Christ, our Lord, and the increase of faith and hope for the eternal life that you now share with us. Thank you for the strength and grace that we need for each day. I pray that you bring generations closer in faith and understanding of the true meaning of life and enable us to see the need for each other. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Music: My Grace is Sufficient
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Audio: The JOY of the FATHER (we are presenting an audio of this post to see if this is something our viewers are interested in, to share with friends who are not readers. Let us know what you think.)
What a blessing it is to serve God and to proclaim His kingdom in this world! He calls us as His children, His image bearers, to “be about the Father’s business.” But even a greater blessing than this is for Him to bid us come away with Him, from the hustle and bustle of His work, to spend time with Him.
Yesterday, after months of steady, and sometimes stressful, labor, it seemed as if the Father was leading me to sense His presence away from the work, just to enjoy Him.
It was not too many years ago that the Shorter Catechism became a special gift from Him. Although there are 107 questions and answers in this little booklet, the first one is the most important; one that has had a great impact on my life
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
What? Enjoy God? From what I had learned from my childhood, my sense of God was to fear him. Most of what I knew was in relationship to His wrath. Enjoying God was not a doctrine with which I was familiar. When I discovered this new teaching, the first thought of glorifying God came across as something that I had to do, but did not know how.
To enjoy God was not contemplated until later. Finally, there came the realization that enjoying God had something to do with glorifying Him. These two have a correlation that is bound up in a relationship. My main desire, then, became one of knowing how to enjoy Him.
When our purpose in all of life ~ the mindset of all that we are, what we think, speak and do ~ begins with another person, namely our Creator, the importance of all things shifts from us to Him. The desire of all things is focused upon Him.
As in my writing First Things, about the concept of love, beginning with a Father and passed on to us as His children, so the thing of joy begins with Him, also.
What a beautiful thought is found in Zephaniah 3:7, remembering that Jesus teaches us that God is our Father.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
Joy, like love, is not a natural trait. It is a by-product of a relationship with the source of love and joy. The Father rejoices over His own work, in creating and redeeming His people.
What is our response?
“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them: let them also that love your name be joyful in you.” Psalm 5;11
Again, here is His initiation:
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11
And what is our response?
“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.” Psalm 43:4
Joy and Meekness
This joy springs from our relationship as humble and meek children before Him. His joy fills the humble earthen vessel.
“The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord.” Isaiah 29:19
Isaiah shows us that our joy is “in my God.” And we understand what He has done to evoke this joy in Him.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
The joy of the Father is the same as the “joy of the Lord.”
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
This joy comes, is in and through the Son, Jesus Christ. It is a full joy, a supernatural joy that no man can take away.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:11
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11
“And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.” John 16:22
We also have this joy in the Holy Spirit.
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:7
“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13
The Joy That Was Set Before Jesus
“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
Some say that this joy that was set before Him that enabled Jesus to endure the cross, was the joy of saving His people. Was it not more than that? Was it not the same joy that He had in relationship with the Father before time began, and before He came to earth to save His people. Was it not the joy of doing the will of the Father, to please Him, and to accomplish the work that He sent Him to do, and to return to His place with the Father?
Was not His joy a result of glorifying the Father in His life and His death, so that we might fulfill our chief end of glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever?
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 24-25