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Thursday, September 22, 2011
We stopped by Union Mill Acres, one of our favorite fall produce stands, run by a large home schooling family along Elizabethtown Road. They live along Little Chiques Creek which flooded their crops and produce stand during the Tropical Storm Lee a couple of weeks ago. They lost all their locally grown fall decorative produce. They had to purchase from other vendors to stock their stand. Normally they grow over 100 kinds of pumpkins and gourds.
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Note: Today's message is the second of a three part series on "Tyrannies of the Soul"
"The Tyranny Of The 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.' 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).
Here in Lancaster County we have a large mall called "Park City". It is rather like a city but definitely not a park! Like malls everywhere it's an inside city shopping district. It's laid out like spokes with a center hub that, at one time, had a carousel but I suppose the mall developers determined there was better income-producing potential for that space. Many malls try to appeal to health conscientiousness by providing markers so that you can determine how far you are walking. The walking route in Park City claims to be 2.25 miles.
Malls are an interesting place to take a long walk but not nearly as nice as a country setting or a quaint village! The country scenes remind you of the beauty that is yours to behold – you can't buy it, you don't own it and yet it's yours to enjoy day after day. It's a job to keep up with yardwork, trimming bushes, pulling weeds, etc. so I enjoy viewing outdoor beauty that is maintenance free on my part!
Certainly an intent in the malls that advertise "mall walks" is that in browsing past the storefronts a desire will rouse to want something or more bluntly create a discontent for that which you already have. After all, that is their goal or they would cease to exist.
Yesterday we shared a message titled "The Tyranny of the Urgent" which asserted the oppressiveness of the many demands that come our way regarding our time. The tyranny of the urgent is essentially the oppressive compulsion that I have to do it now. The tyranny of the discontent is essentially the oppressive compulsion that I have to have it now.
The writer of Proverbs shares a timeless prayer concerning this matter: "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8,9).
Crown Financial Ministries defines contentment this way: "If money can't buy contentment and poverty doesn't provide it, what is contentment and how is it attained? Contentment, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean being satisfied where you are. Rather, it is knowing God's plan for your life and having the conviction to live it."
Our daily verse states, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." The preceding verse (v.4) asserts the sanctity of marriage and warns of God's judgment on the adulterer. It seems the writer of Hebrews is connecting the dots and seeing an association between lusting for that which is not properly ours – whether it be a person or money.
Whether you're discontent with the restraints of your marital vows or the restraints of your finances it can lead to wrong attitudes which can easily mushroom into sinful behavior. It's interesting that immorality and greed are often listed together in the New Testament (See I Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5.) Love for money will cause us to have the wrong priorities, develop the wrong kind of relationships, and hinder the generous spirit of giving that God wants each of us to have.
Contentedness is based on two foundational promises:
1) The first basic foundation of contentedness is the realization that God's presence is sufficient to meet every need. "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'." Note that the verse begins "God has said." These are words of assurance given to Joshua in Joshua 1:5. Since God does not change these same words were applicable to the Hebrew believers some 1,500 years later and now to all who belong to Christ some 2,000 years after the Book of Hebrews was written! Money and possessions will eventually forsake us, but God will never forsake us. What a blessed truth!
2) The second basic foundation of contentedness is the realization that God's power is sufficient to overcome all opposition. "So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" This also is a quote from Psalm 118:6,7. The apostle Paul's grand conclusion in Romans 8:37-39 comes to mind: "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
If we really understand these promises we will experience ongoing, blessed contentedness. May the Lord help us to do so today and all through this brief life, which will help us to overcome the tyranny of discontent!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, far too many live in a state of discontent where we find ourselves loving things and using people. It distorts our priorities and gives us temporary excitement with things, but leaves us with long-term dissatisfaction in ourselves and our relationships. Help us to enjoy material things but to place a higher value on greater pursuits such as growing friendships, solid marriage relations, growing godly character, giving without receiving 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 both in times of need and in times of prosperity. We are content when we realize our all-sufficiency is in You, Lord. You will meet all our needs according to Your riches in glory. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Godliness With Contentment" Audio mp3 Mike Book Mike is a friend of ours here in Lancaster County who placed a Scripture from 1 Timothy 6:6 to music.
"His Divine Power Has Given Us Everything We Need" Video Acapella This is a neat way to learn Scripture! See 2 Peter 1:3
"Satisfied" Video Red Mountain Church Video Homecoming series
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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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