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Monday, November 26, 2012

Refection on water (photo by Georgia)
I enjoy looking at my cousin Georgia's photos and saw this one that initially appears to be upside down. Look closely and you'll see that it's a photo of a tree reflected in the water!

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Note: We usually write a message similar to today's theme around this time of year. As we transition from Thanksgiving season to Christmas season it seems like a good reminder even for those of us familiar with these Scriptures.

Discontentment - One of man’s greatest sins
Contentment - One of God’s greatest blessings

"The Blessing Of Contentment"

"Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). "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).

Black Friday
These last several days have been especially marketed for shopping; Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and today is Cyber Monday. This year retailers will have the longest "official" Christmas shopping season possible since Thanksgiving was on the earliest possible date in November (the fourth Thursday). For several weeks now we have been seeing a lot of news articles about this, especially with stores opening earlier and earlier and now many open on Thanksgiving Day, a day traditionally set aside for expressing thankfulness within family settings.

This shopping frenzy typically leads to bizarre stories, especially on Black Friday. Bluntly speaking it can also be a day of celebrating greed. Though I know that many of the gifts were bought for others and truth be told, who doesn't like a good deal!

Greed t-shirtHow 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 that which 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. 

From a Christian perspective materialism is defined as “the preoccupation with material things rather than spiritual things.”

How contemporary the daily verses are! Although, surely applicable to the initial readers and to believers in all generations, it seems to especially fit our prosperous times as our lives and houses are loaded with stuff.

For the last several weeks we've been doing some de-cluttering around our place in the process of sprucing up our office and closets - it is truly liberating! I like the name of a recipe book the Mennonites published years ago, "Living More With Less".

The writer of Hebrews issues the challenge to, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." The challenge here is being content with what we have, which is really one of the greatest blessings in life.

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.

Warren Wiersbe, one of our favorite authors, writes that the word "content" actually means “contained". It is a description of the man whose resources are within him so that he does not have to depend on substitutes without. I consider this verse: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).

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 perennial tyranny of discontent!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, so many of us live in a state of discontent when the desire for things consumes our thoughts and actions. We enjoy material things and their day to day function in our lives, but we want to place a higher value on greater pursuits such as growing friendships, solidifying marriage relations, developing godly character, giving without expecting to receive, standing for and giving to worthy causes, especially those of eternal value. On and on the list goes. 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 at all times. We are content when we realize our all-sufficiency is in You, Lord. And You will meet all our needs according to Your riches in glory. Amen.

A thanksgiving perspective from yesterday's bulletin:

Everyday Thanksgiving Prayer
  • Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings, thank You, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.
  • Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank You, Lord that I can see. Many are blind.
  • Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising, thank You Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.
  • Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, tempers are short, and my children are so loud, thank You Lord, for my family. There are many who are alone.
  • Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank You, Lord, for the food we have. There are so many who are hungry.
  • Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank You, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.
  • Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank You, Lord for life.

Mike and Nicole Martin 11/26/12
Mike and Nicole Martin
Yesterday our friend Mike shared a message from Psalm 100 about having an attitude of gratitude. I especially liked a quote from his sermon: "The attitude of gratitude sets the altitude for living."

Harold DilworthIn the course of our chaplain work we visit a variety of people. We serve as chaplains at Longwood Manor, a personal care center, and for some time now have enjoyed visiting with Harold and Betty Dilworth. They have been married 65 years with a strong testimony of their faith in Christ. Harold passed away last week and yesterday we went to see the Betty and the family at the visitation. Their son Dave is a pastor friend. Harold is a reminder of the way many of our seniors have lived their lives faithfully and responsibly and ended well. He served as missionary treasurer in his church for 15 years.

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 so helpful when Scripture is set to music and in many cases this becomes the basis for memorization.

"All Is Well"
 Video  Robin Mark

"Faithful God"
 Video  Laura Story

"My Faith Has Found A Resting Place" 
Bobby MichaelsA stately version of a traditional hymn. "It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me."

"Godliness and Contentment" A short teaching message from R.C. Sproul.

"Learning Contentment" A short teaching message from Crown Financial Ministries.

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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