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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Faithfulness plaque
This plaque hangs above the door in our dining room.

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"Godliness With Contentment"

"But godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6).

Coming down the stairs one morning, a British gentleman by the name of Lord Congelton overheard his cook conversing with one of the other servants. “I would be perfectly content,” the woman declared, “if I just had five pounds!” (W
orth about $25 at the time.)

After pondering the matter, Lord Congelton decided to help his long-time employee. He pulled her aside later in the day and gave her a five-pound note. The surprised cook thanked her employer profusely, whereupon Lord Congelton departed.

But once outside the door, Congelton paused to see what, if anything, the woman would say. Surely, he reasoned, she would express her thankfulness to God. A second or two passed and Congelton heard the woman cry out, “Oh, why didn’t I say ten pounds?!”

Yesterday's message was on "Learning The Secret Of Being Content". The remainder of this week we would like to examine four points based upon a section from Paul's letter to Timothy that will provide key guidelines in living a life of contentedness.

1. We experience contentment when we focus on godliness, not material gain.

Just prior to this section Paul addressed false teachers who supposed that godliness was a means of financial gain. I wonder who these teachers were in the context of that time period. In our own day we have those we might say "are in it for the money" and for some religion has paid off.

Today's tiny verse is power-packed. Many view the experience of "gain" in life as having more money and possessions. But that is certainly not what the apostle Paul is writing about.  Consider the power of the phrase, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." Paul is urging Timothy in the brief section that follows to consider genuine gain.

"Godliness refers to the act of being pious and living a good, reverent life toward God and others because of what Christ has done in us" (Richard Krejkir).  Godliness is a dying virtue in our time, though God will always have a remnant who walk in a manner that honors and pleases Him.

Earlier in this letter Paul wrote, "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:7,8). This expresses the infinitely greater value of godliness over any degree of financial or material gain. As a result of this godliness we have the inner peace of knowing that we are right with God and that whether we live or die, we belong to Him. This godliness is profitable for all things impacting us in both the present and eternal future.

Paul is simply presenting the two choices of masters Jesus gave in Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." Notice there are only two options that our Lord gives. You cannot choose both. Money is what you make it—a master or a servant.

From the beginning Satan has tormented the human race with the lie that what God has provided is never enough. At the very heart of Satan's first lie and temptation to Adam and Eve was that the breathtaking beauty in the Garden was not enough; that human companionship was not enough; that God's provision was not enough; that His authority was meant to be questioned.

Today we have a growing allure toward more wealth and possessions which we've been told will make us happy. But contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want (which will always be changing), but the realization of how much you already have and finding satisfaction with that.  It's realizing and acknowledging that, "All I have needed Thy hand hath provided."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, when I get overly anxious about having the latest gadget or the newest fashion I usually overlook the fact that I have so much already at my disposal. So much, in fact, that I struggle to properly manage my possessions and can be overwhelmed with clutter. Thank you for the people who live with less so that others can have more; more of the basics of life and the provisions needed to reach others with the Gospel message. Contentment from You cannot be packaged and sold, but it can be a way of life as we align our priorities in accordance to Your will. Teach us the great gain we experience by setting our heart's affections not on this world's changing and peril-stricken economy, but by storing up treasures in heaven's economy where eternal riches never perish, spoil or fade. May that precious truth help us find contentment in a non-content society.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Fret not for want of earthly things, they'll never satisfy;
The secret of contentment is to let the Lord supply. —DJD

Today's Suggested M
usic and Supplemental Resources

"Godliness With Contentment Is Great Gain"  Video  A song based upon 1 Timothy 6:6 written and sung by our friend Mike Book. We find it so helpful when Scripture is set to music and in many cases this becomes the basis for memorization.

 Video  Chris Tomlin

"You Make Me Lie Down In Green Pastures"
 Video  Don Moen

A highly recommended read:

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing WellNearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well
By Billy Graham / Thomas Nelson
Many people, even Christians, fear growing older. We don't like to think about losing independence and control in our lives, but perhaps learning to accept these changes is the first step in dealing with them. After 93 years of living and decades of Christian service, renowned evangelist Billy Graham writes to encourage people of all ages to live with purpose and grace in Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. Graham also discusses the importance of building strong foundations in relationships, facing life's transitions with trust, and understanding our glorious hope in Jesus. Join Billy as he shares the challenges of fading strength, but still standing strong in his commitment to finishing life well.

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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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