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Friday, November 28, 2008

Junco bird
I follow Doris High's blog and particularly enjoy her nature photos.
In light of today's topic I thought I would inject a little humor by wondering what this bird may be thinking.
However Christ has answered this question!
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"The Foundational Promise"

"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.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:5,6).

Yesterday we passed an interesting sight that lends to the color of our area. A group of about ten Amish teenage boys was walking up Main Street in our town.  Apparently they were hanging out together after attending their customary Thanksgiving celebration. Of course they were identifiable by their black pants and jackets and as we drove closer we could see their distinctive haircuts.  We were simply observing the walkers when Ester exclaimed, "Daddy, look!  They're listening to iPods with their headphones." All of a sudden their distinctiveness blended into the sameness of other young Americans listening to the latest electronic gadgets (and not just young, but many of us).

The Amish of course are known for their attempts to live a simple life but having befriended many, in our nearly eight years here in Lancaster County, we find that they certainly have the same struggles with materialism and worldliness as we do in the larger culture. It is a bit incongruous to see a group of teenage Amish girls standing around piddling with their cell phones (probably text messaging each other) or a quaint buggy passing by with a stereo system blasting out rock music. My favorite is the story of an older Amishman who had hidden a big TV so he could watch the football games.

Today here in America is a day devoted to materialism; Black Friday. Early this morning Ester headed off to her job at TJ Maxx, excited and a bit apprehensive about her projected busyness through the day.  

How much is enough? Just a little more!

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

Line on black FridayHow 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 typically the top sales day of the year for many stores. Scores of millions are out shopping as I sit here preparing this message.  Sadly, some stores did not even choose to honor a day officially set aside for giving thanks yesterday.  Instead they kept store hours attempting to ring up large sales for those who just couldn't wait for bargains the next day!

The writer of Hebrews calls us to, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." The real issue is being content with what we have, which is really one of the greatest blessings in life. Frankly this does not read as I would expect it to or even necessarily desire. I would expect the promise to be something along the lines of "For God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" which of course is a very valid promise found elsewhere in Scripture (Philippians 4:19).

But here in Hebrews the call to contentedness is based on this foundational promise; "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'."  The basic foundation of contentedness is the realization that God's presence in our lives is enough.

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 thrills with things, but leaves us with long-term dissatisfaction within ourselves and in our relationships. Help us to enjoy material things but to place a higher value on greater pursuits such as growing friendships, solid marriage relations, developing godly character, giving without receiving in return, and other worthy goals. We will be content as we rejoice in the fact that whether we are in want or whether we have plenty You have promised that You will never leave us nor forsake us.  What a treasured promise for the believer in times of need and in times of prosperity. We are content when we realize our all-sufficiency is in You, Lord. You will never leave us nor forsake us and You will meet all our needs according to Your glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  We illustrate the problem of discontent with Black Friday shopping day but also acknowledge for many it is a fun day from work and a time to save a bundle of money on purchases intended for Christmas presents.  It has become a traditional shopping event for those who don't mind crowds or standing in line. We prefer to stay home on this day!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Enough" Audio

"Everlasting God"  Audio

Doris High's photo blog

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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