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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Elizabeth Farms Christmas trees, Lancaster County, PA (photo by Mike Martin)
Our friend Mike Martin shared this photo he took at Elizabeth Farms here in Lancaster County. In the course of our travels we expect to pass this farm today along Route 322 near Brickerville Pennsylvania.

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"Wants Or Needs?"

"But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" (1 Timothy 6:8).

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 experience contentment when we keep our focus on the eternal.

We experience contentment when we properly distinguish between needs and wants.

In today's verse
Paul calls to our attention two foundational necessities regarding our material existence; food and clothing. It would seem to me that there are basically three material needs people have regardless of where they live; food, clothing and shelter. However generally when the Scripture teaches on foundational needs the two are food and clothing. (See also Matthew 6:25)

So much of what we spend money on does not fit in these categories although we may reckon them as necessities. Indeed many are essential to maintain the type of lifestyle we are accustomed to and can easily believe we are entitled to. But just consider all the ways we use our current resources and then reflect on the attitude expressed in our daily text,  "If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."

The teaching of Scripture has not changed, even in the modern era, regarding what is foundationally needed. It is up to us to honestly seek the answer to the question, Is this a want or a need? Wants aren't necessarily bad but we must be able to make the distinction or we will most certainly live in a state of discontent. Select your words carefully when you say, "I really need..." in light of today's Scripture!

A heart of contentment must be a humble heart, a heart which can be content with simple things. Bible teacher David Guzik points out: "Most all of us become jaded over the years, and our over-stimulated culture is effective at producing this in us; things that used to satisfy us are no longer good enough. The constant hunger for more and more, for more and better, for new and improved, is just plain ungodly - and we need God to deal with us on this one!"

Let us purposefully pursue a heart of contentment by thankfully stating, "If I have food and clothing, I will be content with that."  In doing so we are far more likely to see the remainder of God's abundant material provisions as blessings and not entitlements!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, there is nothing that we have need of that You do not supply. Your benevolent nature gives us far more than we need and abundantly provides pleasurable and comfortable material possessions. Help us to know the difference between that which is essential, such as food, clothing and shelter, from the inessentials that make life a bit more comfortable and eases our work load. We are indebted to You for all that we have and want to be careful to share with those who have less. We thank You that Your divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of You who has called us by Your own glory and goodness.  Amen.

We received word that a friend of ours from a previous church we served passed away yesterday. Herbie Basso was a very colorful Italian who had a wonderful voice and great skill on the harmonoica.
Before we moved from New England he and his wife, Cecelia, took us to an authentic Italian restaurant in the Federal Hill section of Providence, Rhode Island (Little Italy). I remember Herb eating Escargot. This is among the numerous fine memories we have. Herbie's voice and harmonica along with violinist Laura Silvia, the daughter of a pastor friend of ours from Wyoming, can be heard in this version of Silent Night. (mp3)

One of my fondest
memories is when I went to Boston to see him in the hospital after he had open heart surgery and Ester, who was about 7 at the time, went with me.  Herbie invited us to watch a video about his rehab and recovery.  Ester who was being disciplined at the time had been told by Brooksyne she couldn't watch any videos solemnly informed me, "Daddy, I can't watch it. Mommy isn't allowing me to watch any videos."

Today we want to share a response from a reader, with her permission. We have never met her  (like most who correspond with us in regard to a message), but we feel her message is a stirring testimony and instructive to the body of Christ as well:

Reader's Note:  With the Christmas season upon us, and the world's focus on buying and getting the best gifts, it makes it harder to be content.  I have an illness called MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities)  It has "forced" me to be with less.  Anything with chemicals and many new things can't come into our house due to the smell of the "new"  Due to my illness, my husband lost his job to care for me.  Before all this, we were quite well off, and  had a good "nest egg" already at the age of 40.  Now, 4 years later, we are not in need, but we can't have and do what we once could (due to illness and lack of funds). I am confined to home, especially now during the winter.  The perfumes and "scents" keep me from going into other places.  This illness has taught me to rest in God and in God alone, with so much "taken away".  Thankfully, I am feeling better health wise, but in order to stay that way, I need to avoid the many things I am sensitive to.  Some days I feel very alone and very isolated.  We have moved, so my friends are not nearby and it is hard to make friends when you can't go out with them!  I just wanted to share my story and make contact.  Thank you so much for your ministry, these daily encouragements truly have been just that, an encouragement.

A follow up note the next day shed further insight: It has been a tough road, some days are harder than others, but I have really learned I need to keep focusing on God, and it is Him who gives me strength and the courage to keep going. We have 2 beautiful daughters (10 and 12) that He blessed us with through adoption. They too have some needs. God is using me in their lives in a mighty way, including homeschooling (so thankful I am well enough to do that).  Both my husband and I believe God will use what we have been through to help others and to encourage others.  It seems to give "purpose" to this trial!  We know the power of prayer and knowing others are praying means so much. Again, thanks for your ministry, for your e-mail, and your prayers.  My husband thanks you  as well.  He just finished remodeling a house for me that is chemical free--what a blessing of a husband he is!  I am able to do more on my own again, so now it is time for him to find work --- easier said than done in today's economy!

Perhaps the Lord will lay this family on your hearts so that you will remember them in prayer.

Are you Christmas shopping online?

Christianbook.comDaily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com. Any orders placed to Christian Book Distributers using this link or any specific product link to a recommended resource in a daily encouragement message will help our Daily Encouragement ministry through a small commission on the sale. Thank you for considering using these links when purchasing online through CBD! Tip: If you are regular CBD customer consider bookmarking this link and using it whenever you shop. 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:

Note: The first link we shared yesterday was a collection of hymns and was sold out when we checked later in the day. Our apologies. It is available as a DVD.

Hymns 4 Worship: A Live Worship Experience, DVDHymns 4 Worship: A Live Worship Experience, DVD
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.

Song List:

  • The Solid Rock
  • He Leadeth Me
  • What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  • Take My Life And Let It Be Consecrated
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • Softly and Tenderly
  • I Need Thee Every Hour
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
  • It Is Well With My Soul
  • Just As I Am
  • I Surrender All
  • My Jesus I Love Thee
  • There Is A Redeemer
  • How Great Thou Art

Love Came For Me CDLove Came For Me CD By Shannon Wexelberg / Discovery House
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. 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

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing WellNearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well
By Billy Graham / Thomas Nelson
We both are reading this book and sensing the earnestness for which so many love Billy Graham. He writes, "When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural but growing old with grace is a choice." 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.

Today's Suggested Music 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 helpful when Scripture is set to music and in many cases this becomes the basis for memorization.

"My Shepherd Will Supply My Need"  Video  An Isaac Watts hymn I don't recall ever hearing before sung by a group called "Anonymous".

"Manna from Heaven"  Video  The Worship Network

"He Leadeth Me"  Video  Candi Pearson  The fiddle on this is worth the listen!

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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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