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Friday, November 24, 2006

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"The Tyranny of Discontent"

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).

Last week I received a sales flier from "Bass Pro Shops" one of my favorite stores. It had a little gps on sale I've craved for a long time.  The sale is today from 6-11 AM only. I suppose, given the excellent value of this popular item, they probably sold out early this morning.

Now I have no real need for this gadget at all; I've just wanted one. It's a form of personal tyranny many of us deal with, but I'll just descriptively call it the "tyranny of got to have" (otherwise known as the "tyranny of discontent.")

This morning I am resisting the urge but believe me I have not always done so!  And I will admit I turned the thought over and over in my mind that I just might get up early and take advantage of this enticing sale.  In my 52 years I have succumbed far too often to purchase items I didn't need, but really desired. There is such an allure to colorful, descriptive ads, new packaging and simply having the latest thing.

How much is enough? Just a little more!

It's human nature just to want a little more.  Adam and Eve had so much but they wanted just a little more.  They weren't content with the multitude of blessings God gave them and that's a condition that has afflicted the human race ever since. 

How contemporary the daily verse is!  Although, surely applicable to the initial readers and to believers in all generations, it seems to especially fit our prosperous times as our lives are loaded with stuff. Today, at least in America, it's the top sales day of the year for many stores. Scores of millions are out shopping at this very moment.  Sadly, some stores did not even choose to honor a day officially set aside for giving thanks yesterday.  Instead they kept store hours for those who just couldn't wait for the big sales the next day!

The real issue is being content with what we have (one of the greatest blessings in life) and accepting the undergirding promise of the writer of Hebrews; "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'."  Isn't that great!  If we really understand this promise and embrace its truth we will experience ongoing blessed contentedness.  May the Lord help us all to do so today, this season, and all through life which will help us to overcome the tyranny of discontent!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, so many of us live in a state of discontent when we find ourselves loving things and using people.  It distorts our priorities and gives us temporary excitement, but leaves us with long-term dissatisfaction. Instead of identifying the source of our unhappiness we continue to feed our temporary excitement that comes with purchasing the latest and newest things available.  Help us to pursue those things that do not physically perish or go out of date, such as growing friendships, solid family relations, desirable character traits, giving without receiving in return, and other worthy pursuits. At the top of our list of "must haves" we must have a close walk with You – read Your Word, listen to Your still small voice, commune with You, and walk by faith daily.

You've promised to never leave us, nor forsake us in life or in death.  All the gold in the world cannot buy this precious promise and yet You offer it freely to all.  Help me to ponder this tremendous blessing that supersedes any physical pursuit in my life.  And help me to also appreciate all the wonderful material blessings that You've given me.  Though they really belong to You, You have asked me to be the steward of these possessions.  Enable me to identify those things which eventually become clutter as opposed to those things which are useful to me.   I want to glorify You  in who I am and all that I have.  Amen.

Note: Today's message is one point in a sermon I am working on that will have at least three points. One point, which prompts the title for the other points is, "The Tyranny of the Urgent", which is the title of a small booklet by Charles Hummel which has impacted many.  The other point I am working on is the "Tyranny of the Forbidden" which will address the human condition of having an allurement to that which God has forbidden.

As we prepared today's message two songs come to mind.

Mike Book is a friend of ours who has written some excellent songs with tremendous Scripture-based lyrics. His song "Godliness With Contentment"
is based on 1 Timothy 6:6.  We recorded this right here in our home so it sure isn't studio quality!  Streaming audio   MP3

"It Wouldn't be Enough" is a song rwe really enjoyed as young Christians. As I recall it was made popular by a group called "Truth" This version really sounds 70'ish!  audio

Here's two recommended resources:

65926: Tyranny of the Urgent, 5 packTyranny of the Urgent, 5 pack
By Charles Hummel / Inter-varsity Press

2873: Freedom from Tyranny of the UrgentFreedom from Tyranny of the Urgent
By Charles Hummel / Inter-varsity Press

Do you feel overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it? Hummel's biblical teachings help you better manage your life by making the calendar your friend, staying open to God's guidance, overcoming past mistakes, and developing "inner time" for reflection and planning. His time-tested tips turn struggle into success! Paperback.

Today's Scripture portion can be saved to your computer as a desktop or background image as a reminder.
Hebrews 13:5,6

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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