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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Centre County PA red barn (photo by Greg Schneider)
Our friend Greg Schneider shared this photo of a red barn in Centre County, PA

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"Living For The Eternal"

"For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out" (1 Timothy 6:7). "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart" (Job 1:21).

Today we continue our series on experiencing contentment based upon the Apostle Paul's teaching in 1 Timothy 6. Yesterday's teaching asserted that we will experience contentment when we focus on pursuing godliness.

In today's verse Paul calls to our attention two universal bookends we all experience as part of life's journey; birth and death. This verse teaches the transitory nature of life and  the futility of anchoring our hope in temporal things.

We experience contentment when we focus on the eternal, not the temporal.

Newborn baby
"For we brought nothing into this world." Headline rumors are circulating that Kate who married Prince William this last summer is expecting a baby. If this is true, you can be assured that we will get regular reports about this pregnancy with plenty of details. The birth itself will be international news. In a remote village in Africa a woman will also give birth the very same day as Kate. But we will hear nothing of this baby, let alone details regarding the progress of her pregnancy. The birth itself will take place virtually unnoticed by those outside the family. However one thing is certain: neither of these babies will bring anything into the world! A baby is born not only penniless, but even without a pocket to put pennies in!

Hearse with U-haul
"And it is certain we can carry nothing out." We regularly receive news of some notorious person dying but of course scores of people die every day, mostly unnoticed apart from their family and friends.

When attending a funeral it's not unusual to see a Bible placed in the hands of the deceased in the coffin, testimony to what he or she really valued in this life. In recent years we've seen baseball gloves, Nascar caps, cowboy garb, etc. indicating what that person valued. But one thing is certain; they really aren't taking the items with them! The material things that bring pleasure in this life or make a person wealthy hold no value in the world to come.

When we have a heart of contentment we view our material possessions and resources from an eternal perspective. We can't take material possessions with us no matter how much we value them, but Jesus taught that we can start building our treasure chest there, even while we live here below: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).

Our material treasure will not pass from this life to the next, but the investment we have made to the kingdom of God through our service and use of our material resources will last for eternity. We can carry nothing out - but we can "send ahead" eternal blessing and reward through the wise use of our time and resources right now!

Steve and Marla Cole
Bible teacher Steven Cole in his commentary on 1 Timothy observes, "If you are living for the eternal, not the temporal, you will experience three facets of contentment:
* Freedom from greed;
* Freedom from anxiety; and,
* Freedom from circumstances as the basis for happiness.

Today we encourage our readers to live for the eternal!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying womanDaily Prayer: Father, would You show us through Your Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures and by the examples of committed believers what it is to live for the eternal. It seems that we indulge with the world far too much and it prioritizes our time, finances, and interests. As we love You more, we love the things of the world less. We see them for what they really are - temporary, broken, and/or sin-ridden. As we fix our eyes on You the things of this world grow strangely dim. We want to spend more time with You which will direct our thoughts and affections toward heaven. We want to deposit our investments there so that our treasure chest is growing with rust-proof, moth-proof, and thief-proofed treasures that last for all eternity.  In the Name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  In writing the prayer today I considered the investments we make on this side that will grow our lasting treasure chest on the other side.  I'm reading a book by Christian author Amy Parham who tells this story:

"I think about a woman named Teresa who created a scholarship fund that paid my way through Bible College....she went to my church.  When I was in high school, her husband died in a tragic accident. They had three young children.

Sometime after, Teresa used some of the money she received from his life insurance policy to set up a fund to help people who wanted to go into ministry. I was one of the recipients. Teresa could have used that money for her own needs (now a single mom with very legitimate needs of her own), but she wanted to sow into the lives of others. I am so grateful that she gave me the opportunity to learn more about God and His Word. The time I spent at that school changed the course of my life.  I will be forever indebted to her act of kindness [and generosity].  Who knows where I would be today if I hadn't received that scholarship?..."

Daily Encouragement Readers, as we grow in godly character; as we sow into the lives of others; as we give generously of our time, our knowledge, and our resources; as we endure patiently with others and remain joyful in hope we are truly building a treasure trove in heaven and finding satisfaction within on this side.

Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of ChristianBook.com (Our ministry receives a small commission from any resources purchased using a link from our site.)
This Christmas many of our readers will be shopping for gifts that have spiritual and lasting value. We would like to suggest several that we have found to be a blessing both personally and as gifts to others:

It's no secret to regular readers that we enjoy the hymns. This two CD collection is outstanding, as we have been enjoying these in our van!  
The collection includes "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus", one of the songs we feature today as a musical supplement.

Hymns 4 Worship: Amazing Grace, CDHymns 4 Worship: Amazing Grace, CD
By Various Artists / Provident Music Distribution
Hymns4Worship - A LIVE Worship Experience features top artists 4HIM, Israel, Sara Groves, Paul Baloche, and others singing favorite hymns such as "Just As I Am," "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," and "How Great Thou Art." From the creators of Songs4Worship comes the ultimate video collection of favorite hymns that worshipers will cherish.
Ordering information

We've featured Shannon Wexelberg often in our suggested list of music the past couple years. Weeks ago we purchased her Christmas CD, "Love Came For Me" and have been enjoying not only the traditional Christmas hymns but also her original music, meaningful lyrics, and powerful vocals.  The title song, "Love Came For Me" is a message for every redeemed follower of Christ.  She also includes a beautiful song, "The Magnificat" based on Mary's song of praise in Luke 1:46-48.

Love Came For Me CDLove Came For Me CD By Shannon Wexelberg / Discovery House
Shannon's personal and passionate music will transport you to the heart of Christmas! Includes an exuberant rendition of "Joy to the World"; the breathtaking splendor of "O Holy Night"; piano arrangements of "Silent Night" and "Good Christian Men, Rejoice"; plus "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus"; "Angels from the Realms of Glory"; and original compositions "This Child" and the title track
. Ordering information

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.

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"  Video  Michael W. Smith with violin introduction.

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"
 Video  Piano instrumental with orchestra by Greg Howlett

"My Jesus I Love Thee"  Video  Avalon

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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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