A Year for CONTENTMENT

youre-invited-mingle-before-you-jingle1-1r5pkol-1Knowing my own need, the Lord is leading me in the year of 2017 to continue in my desire and search for the contentment that is found in Him alone. It is easy to read about, to talk about, to search for its meaning and to hope and pray for it. Like “humility” which was our subject for 2014, and “meditation” for 2015, “contentment” has not only to be sought after, but prayed for, desired with the whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and more importantly, waited for with patient endurance.  All of these are possible only by His working them in us as His family in His kingdom.

This is our plan for this New Year, and we invite you to come with us, to help us to discover what the Lord wants and has prepared for us.contentment

Contentment is a subject not only to be studied and pursued, but can be described in many ways. It is the desire of most people, but misunderstood when it comes to knowing how contentment is achieved. Since the beginning of time, we learn that contentment does not come from the things of this world.   Without even using the word or a definition, our first parents experienced what I call a seventh sense (we will look at this later) in the Garden of Eden. They were content, until Satan convinced them that they needed more than God had given them.

We live in the same environment as our first parents, but with a greater need. Contentment is a state of being. No one is born with it. Like the apostle Paul, it must be learned, and the lessons do not come from other human beings. The enemy supernaturally instilled the spirit of discontent, and only one who is stronger than he can deliver us from it.

Divine Contentment

For many years Thomas Watson’s book, The Art of Divine Contentment has been a source of study and delight. You can download free and read with us or download free MP3. Unlike our review and study of Andrew Murray’s Humility, we will not be reading through this book chapter by chapter, but we will use some of Watson’s quotes.

We want you to come with us through this year and to add your comments. We will be posting one, two or three times a week. Not every post will be titled contentment, but relating to it in some way, as we continue our search for this precious state, which our Lord desires for us. He died to deliver us from this horrific power of oppression and discontent, which is opposite from life in His kingdom.

Our posts will relate also to a book that we will be finishing this year. Thriving Under Oppression is relative to the spirit that keeps us from contentment and the life for which Christ has saved us. Soon we will publish God Is Our Goal. This too is relative to the life that is lived here in anticipation of the eternal life that is ours in Christ.  Who knows; maybe this will end up being a book, and you will have helped me write it (Proceeds always designated for missions and charity).

We encourage you to share this invitation with your readers or others you would want to be a part of this movement for 2017.
YES ~ let’s call it a “movement for contentment” ~ long needed for the Christian community.
What effect would our contentment have upon the world?

“Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who in Christ, has blessed us
with every spiritual blessing
in heavenly places.”
Ephesians 1:3

Gracious Father in heaven, it is you who has created us so that we may delight ourselves in you; who has redeemed us and restored us to an even greater estate from which we fell. Only you can bring us from the power of the oppressor to you, to know your presence and power, to work in us supernaturally this contentment for which you saved us in Christ. Draw those that you want to be a part of this year’s blessings as you lead us and teach us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Open our hearts, our minds, our ears, our wills, to you, to our Lord Jesus Christ and your Holy Spirit, so that we do not miss anything you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.
invitationImage from Related Article: Contentment

The Plight of the Discontented Woman

(This is a follow-up from the previous article.  If you have not read it I encourage you to read it before you read this article.)

There are many single women today who are discontent with their families, their education, their jobs, their singleness, and many other reasons; not only unbelievers but Christian women as well.16_discontented-singles Some Christian women that I know personally want to be married and have a family.  They sincerely want a husband with whom they can share their life and to bear children. This is a noble desire, a natural desire for women in all ages. My only counsel, as an older woman, is that you not make this the main focus in your life.

As the apostle Simon Peter writes in his second letter to those who are waiting for the second coming of our Lord, the message is to us today.  Whether male or female, young or old, while we wait for a new heavens and a new earth, we are to “grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 3:18  Take advantage of this time in your life to immerse yourself in His word and prayer; not so that you can be an expert and able to argue certain doctrine, but so that you can humbly discern the faith of others (I did not say to judge) and support and compliment one that may become your husband.

Some beautiful women have no problem finding a husband (we cite the record of Rachel and Leah, Genesis 29-30),  yet their lives are no happier than a single woman without one.  This is the point that I want to make.

If you are unhappy with your situation now, a husband will not make your life any happier.  Your contentment is not dependent on your position in life, but on the condition of your heart. Is Christ all to you now?  Then He is enough.  If Christ is your life, then live humbly and fully in the joy of His presence.  His work of grace in your heart will make you more desirous to those who are looking for a virtuous wife.  Your contentment will be an attraction to others.  It says to a man that you are not dependent on others for your happiness.  It relieves a prospective husband of the burden (the oppression) of making you happy.

Seeing Christ as your contentment and joy is an encouragement to others that you would be a suitable help mate. And if God does not give you to a man, then live in service always to Him.  He will more than fulfill your need for companionship and love in this world, with the promise of an eternal love beyond that which any man can give.

” A Christian has that which may make him content. Has not God given you Christ? In Him there are unsearchable riches. He is such a gold mine of wisdom and grace that all the saints and angels can never dig to the bottom. Never complain as long as Christ is your Friend. He is an enriching pearl, a sparkling diamond. The infinite luster of His merits makes us shine in God’s eyes.   In Him there is both fulness and sweetness. He is indescribable good. Lift up your thoughts to the highest pinnacle; stretch them to the utmost; let them wander to their full latitude and extent—yet they fall infinitely short of those ineffable and inexhaustible treasures which are locked up in Jesus Christ. And is there not enough here to give the soul contentment: A Christian who lacks necessities, yet, having Christ, has the one thing needful.” ~ Thomas Watson The Art of Divine Contentment

Dear Father, I pray for these women whose desires are not fulfilled; who feel that they need something else in life beyond what you have given.  Reveal Christ as the fulfillment, the contentment and joy that you meant Him to be when you sent Him to the earth.  As the propitiation for our sins you have expressed and bestowed a love beyond any that we can ask for or understand.  Make us all humble, accepting the role and position you have given each of us in this life.  Thank you for the hope of your fulfilling every promise that you have given us in your word, now and for eternity.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

Related Article: I Don’t Wait Anymore

Image source

Fight or Flight ~ the Plight of the Discontented Wife

(Warning:  This is an OUCH, and an encouragement.)
As an older woman who has over the years images
taught and mentored younger women, I want to share some of what I have learned from this experience.

Only three of those I mentored were single, but all had an original desire to know and live a full life in Christ. All discipling was personal and biblically based. Christ was the center of each relationship; the prayer was always to seek the Lord’s will in the hearts and lives of each one that I mentored. Some came to me; others I took under my wing.  None were forced,  but each had a seemingly sincere desire to know and grow in Christ.

Each one was unique; and I was amazed sometimes at what the Lord was doing in the lives of those He allowed me to spend time with.

With some, the mentoring stopped at a certain stage because they were not willing to submit to God’s word in a certain area of their lives. They had not fully understood the cost of following Christ.  There are not many women today who are seeking older women for the purpose of knowing how to love and obey their husbands.

The Blight of the Church
In mentoring, and beyond those personal relationships, I write here of what I have observed in the church. Not just younger women, but older ones have been the decision makers for their families. We have had many such families leave our church.  It was well known that the wife was dissatisfied; either with relationships, the doctrine, the programs or activities of the church.

There are many women today who are leaving their husbands for no reason except that they are unhappy with where they are.  Many are being deceived, even as Eve was, by the same spirit of discontent.  Christian women who are not abused and whose husbands have remained faithful are hearing the commercials from lawyers who stand with them in public courts to declare their freedom from any authority over them.

What these do not understand is the oppressive spirit that pervades not only their own lives, but the lives of their husbands, the life of the churches of which they are members, and others with whom they shares their problems.

Where there is discontent, the whole church is affected. We are members one of another. It is like a sickness that pervades the whole body.   Only the work of the Holy Spirit can heal and make the church a healthy church that is able to fulfill its purpose. The practice of church discipline is not known in many churches today, but is effective to a degree. The discontented wife is not excommunicated until her discontent is actively displayed; in the case of railing against her husband and the church, and refusing to repent.

Suggestions For Mentors
Be cautious at what age and stage you become a mentor. Paul warned the church against new converts becoming deacons and elders. The older women, mentioned in Paul’s letter to Titus, would have been those with wisdom and knowledge, and years of experience. Being a friend who is able to listen and sympathize is different from leading another person in their relationship with the Lord; and teaching them to love and obey their husbands.

It is easy for one who is being mentored to become dependent on their mentor. The purpose of mentoring is to direct their way to Christ; to total dependence on Him.

And this is not to take the place of, but directed to, their own personal study of God’s word, personal prayer, the preaching of God’s word and counsel from their pastors.

This time should be limited. After a year, those who are being led should be able to go and grow on their own.  A mentor can remain a friend and available for special times of need.

I have also written from my own experience of having been that discontented wife; and have learned that contentment is coupled with humility. These two, humility and contentment, have been the main things I have desired and prayed for in these latter years; for myself and others. Here is a quote from Thomas Watson in his book, The Art of Divine Contentment

images“ Here was a sore temptation the devil handed over to Job by his discontented wife. Only his grace, as a golden shield, warded off the blow from his heart. “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women” (job 2:10).
Discontent tempts a man to atheism and apostasy.
Atheism is the fruit that grows out of the blossom of discontent.

” A Christian has that which may make him content. Has not God given you Christ? In Him there are unsearchable riches. He is such a gold mine of wisdom and grace that all the saints and angels can never dig to the bottom. Never complain as long as Christ is your Friend. He is an enriching pearl, a sparkling diamond. The infinite luster of His merits makes us shine in God’s eyes.   In Him there is both fulness and sweetness. He is indescribable good. Lift up your thoughts to the highest pinnacle; stretch them to the utmost; let them wander to their full latitude and extent—yet they fall infinitely short of those ineffable and inexhaustible treasures which are locked up in Jesus Christ. And is there not enough here to give the soul contentment: A Christian who lacks necessities, yet, having Christ, has the one thing needful.”

To the Discontented Wife
If you are not content with your life, whether a wife or not, search your heart. Does Christ have your whole heart? Do you seek daily His word, and in prayer desire His Spirit to lead you in His word to obedience in all that you read? Does Christ speak to you, leading personally through His word? Or do you live, desiring things your own way, and blaming your circumstances on someone else?

My prayer is that God will reveal yourself to you. Once you are able to see yourself as you are, a sinner who is discontent with God and the life that He has given you, I pray that He would reveal Christ to you as your Redeemer; and enable you to believe and follow Him in obedience to His Word and Spirit. In His timing and His way, as He changes us (and sometimes our circumstances) we are able not only to endure all for His sake, but He gives us joy in the middle of our circumstances, and praise, for our deliverance from the oppressive spirit that has controlled our life.

The God whom we have railed against in our discontent becomes our refuge and our life.

If you are the victim of one with this oppressive spirit, Christ will give you the power of His Spirit of humility and contentment; to resist this oppression and live hopefully and fully in Him.

Dear Father, turn our eyes to you in Christ, melt our hearts and unite us in Him and His church.  Make Him to be our only desire, our hope, our joy, and our fulfillment ~ all to your glory, now and forevermore.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Related articles:
The Plight of the Discontented Woman
 Give Your Marriage at Least Fifty Years

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Divine Contentment

(From Thomas Watson‘s The Art of Divine Contentment)

Epistle to the Reader

Christian Reader,

     Having seriously considered the great dishonor done to almighty God (as well as the prejudice which accrues to ourselves) by the sin of discontent (a universal and epidemic sin), it put me upon the study of this subject at first.  More is it incongruous to handle this next in order to “The Christian Charter) [reprinted by Soli Deo Gloria in The Sermons of Thomas Watson], I showed you there the great things which a believer has in reversion.  Things to come are his, and here behold a Christian’s holy and gracious deportment in this life, which reveals itself in nothing more eminently than in being content.

     Discontent is to the soul as a disease is to the body: it puts it out of temper and much hinders its regular and sublime motions heavenward.  Discontent is hereditary, and, no doubt, is much augmented by the many sad eclipses and changes that have fallen out of late in the political body, yet the disease is not to be excused because it is natural, but resisted because it is sinful.  That which should put us out of love with this sullen distemper is the contemplation of the beautiful queen of contentment.

     For my part, I do not know of any ornament in religion that more bespangles a Christian, or glitters in the eye of God and man more, than this of contentment.  Nor certainly is there anything wherein all the Christian virtues work more harmoniously or shine more transparently than in this orb.  Every grace acts its part here.  This is the true philosopher’s stone, which turns all into gold.  This is the curious enamel and embroidery of the heart, which makes Christ’s spouse all glorious within.  How should every Christian be ambitious to wear such a sparkling diamond!

     If there is a blessed life before we come to heaven, it is the contented life.  And why not be contented?  Why are you angry, and why is your countenance fallen?  Man, of all creatures, has the least cause to be discontented.  Can you deserve anything from God?  Does He owe you anything?  What if the scene were to turn and God put you under the blackrod?  Whereas He now uses a rod, He might use a scorpion.  He might as well damn you as whip you.  Why, then, are you discontented?  Why do you give way to this irrational and hurtful sin of discontent?  May the good Lord humble His own people for nourishing such a viper in their breast as not only cuts out the bowels of their comfort, but spits venom in the face of God Himself!

     Oh, Christian, if you are overspread with this fretting leprosy, you carry the man of sin about you, for you set yourself above God and act as if you were wiser than He, and would sassily prescribe to Him what condition is best for you!  Oh, this devil of discontent which, whenever it possesses a person, makes his heart a little hell!

     I know there will never be perfect contentment in this life.  Perfect pleasure is only at God’s right hand, yet we may begin here to tune our instrument before we play the sweet lesson of contentment exactly in heaven.  I should be glad if this little piece might be like Moses’ casting the tree into the waters, to make the bitter condition of life more sweet and pleasant to drink of.

    I have once more ventured to address the public.  I acknowledge this work to be homespun.  Some better hand might have made a more effective draft, but, having preached upon the subject, I was earnestly solicited by some of my hearers to publish it, and although it is not dressed in that rich attire of eloquence as it might have been, I am not about poetry or oratory, but divinity.  Nor is this intended for fancy, but practice.

     If I may herein do any service, or cast but a mite into the treasury of the church’s grace, I have my desire.  The end of our living is to live to God, and to lift up His name in the world.  May the Lord add an effectual blessing to this work and fasten it as a nail in a sure place.  May He, of His mercy, make it as spiritual medicine to purge the ill humor of discontent out of our hearts, so that a crown of honor may be set upon the head of religion, and the crystal streams of joy and peace ever run in our soul.  This is the prayer of him who is desirous to be a faithful orator for you at the throne of grace,

Thomas Watson

From my study at Stephens, Walbrook
May 5, 1653

The Art of Divinie Contentment
http://www.heritagebooks.org/the-art-of-divine-contentment/
or available online http://www.ccel.org/ccel/watson/contentment.html