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Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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"More Than Enough"
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4:11).
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.
We regularly receive emails from Erik, a young follower of Christ who lives in a Muslim country in the Mideast. He describes the conditions of his life, which are barely imaginable to us. We know in his country, like most Muslim countries, Christians are brutally persecuted. For Erik life is very hard.
I consider how a source of anxiety in my life is really a form of false entitlement to that which God never promised. As we look ahead we have certain expectations about what we want to happen in our lives, so much so that we must be on guard concerning our feelings of entitlement to this.
All though our life we (Brooksyne and I) have experienced peace and prosperity compared to so many in the world. Yet we are not entitled to this based upon any specific promise in God's Word. Actually a Bible verse rarely considered as a promise states, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Indeed scores of earnest believers have lived and are now living under conditions far worse than we have ever lived under. Dare we consider ourselves better or more spiritual than they? Hardly!
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 the temptation to Adam and Eve was that the outstanding beauty and provision of God in the Garden was not enough. That lie led Adam and Eve to believe that God was actually withholding the best.
Today we have an overabundance of things promising to fulfill; a special place that promises to be better, a new item that will thrill, and for many someone else to be that special person.
All believers do well to take to heart the Apostle Paul's confident assurance expressed in the daily verse: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." He wrote this from prison and yet he exudes a deep, abiding peace and assurance so lacking in our world today, even among many professed believers.
I typically read this in the sense of contentment with material possessions but Paul is referring to "whatever the circumstances" not just material things. Other versions translate "whatsoever state I am" (KJV), "whatever situation" (ESV). The New Century Version states, "I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens."
Today I want to experience the contentedness that Paul speaks of. I want to resist a false sense of entitlement so common in our age. After he spoke of this contentment Paul wrote, "I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:12,13).
And all of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You never tried to pull the wool over our eyes, but clearly presented the harsh reality that we will have troubles in this life. This resounding message was spoken through the many prophets, the disciples, by Jesus Himself and was portrayed plentifully in the lives of those who walked in Your ways. Help us not to be surprised or frightened when trouble comes knocking at our door, for it is evidence that Your Word is truth and it gives us opportunity to trust and rely upon You in the good and the bad, in that which is known and that which is uncertain. Faith that is not tested is faith that cannot be trusted, so we pray that we will remain faithful in the testing of our faith, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Today's message has been developing in my heart for some time. As we observe conditions around us several sources of anxiety surface such as the following and I need I reject the faulty sense of "entitlement" to the source. I share this because I feel others will identify and thus may find this helpful.
Healthcare: We see the forthcoming changes in the healthcare system and wonder what this mean in regard to healthcare in the next 8 years while we still buy private insurance (we are self-employed) and then wonder what Medicare will look like. Of course even with the availability of excellent healthcare we can worry about what can go wrong with our bodies, especially as we age!
Current workload: Our family income is derived from our joint ministries in Daily Encouragement Net and chaplaincy. Instability in the economy can affect either of these sources.
What about Ester: She has special needs and no siblings to care for her. We want to do our best to see that she is cared for through her adult years. What will the "safety net" look like in years to come?
Retirement: When you hit your mid-fifties you need to be thinking some about retirement years! Will we be able to work part-time to supplement Social Security and what retirement savings we do have? (We don't have a defined benefit pension!) What happens when we can no longer work? Will Social Security even be available given the economic mess our country is in?
The state of the country and the world: We can see so many signs of moral decay in America and growing tensions all over the world. We want the peace and prosperity that comes from a society built on a Biblical foundation. "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3).
The coming changes to the church: We love the church, both our local church and the Body of Christ. But we see a terrific test of obedience ahead due to the rejection of God's moral standards. Will the church remain faithful or "evolve" with the world?
The "rapture" entitlement: I believe in a future event as described in 1 Thessalonians 4 often called the rapture. I don't recall hearing about the rapture in my childhood or teens though Brooksyne certainly does and I'm aware that it was a teaching many were intrigued with in the seventies. I realize I may have a sense of entitlement in being raptured out of this life while times are still good! But I consider all who have suffered for Christ in previous generations and in our own. Am I any better than them? Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in these events and want to live with a sense of expectancy. But I'm not entitled to having it happen to me so I can avoid persecution and hardship.
How do I sum this up? Of course God calls us to personal responsibility. But these verses (and many others) needs to be regularly reinforced in my life:
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6).
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).
"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"My Faith Has Found A Resting Place" Video Bobby Michaels
"Enough" Video Chris Tomlin
"More Than Enough" Video Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
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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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