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Monday, May 2, 2016

Sign near Columbia PA 4/30/16

"Attaining Great Gain"

Message Summary:
May God give us all a resolve to be content, thereby attaining great gain!

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

Witness sign, Lancaster County, PAAs we pass through rural Lancaster County we see many signs with either a Scripture text or inspirational saying. That includes the one in our lead photo which we passed on River Road south of Columbia Saturday evening. Brooksyne saw it first and it reminded her of a song our friend Mike Book wrote based upon this passage many years ago. (Link to video of song below.) We turned around to get the photo and, upon closer observation, I must say I was impressed at the resourceful use of the bungee cords in attaching the mailbox. It sort of demonstrates authenticity in contentment!

Let us consider contentment, a virtue that the majority of us have yet to attain. Even when you have it you may find it easily slips away. Today's brief text is easily memorized,
"...Godliness with contentment is great 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 there are those who sure seem to be "in it for the money" and for some religion has paid off handsomely.

Today's tiny verse is power-packed. Most 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 is a greatly needed virtue in our time, though God will always have a remnant who walk in a manner that honors and pleases Him. Godliness indicates we will have a "God-ward attitude" of reverence and respect. We will do that which is pleasing to God so that it becomes a way of life for the godly person.

1 Timothy 4:7
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 that 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, whether we live or die, we belong to Him. This godliness is profitable for all things impacting us in both our present life and our future eternal life.

Paul is simply presenting the two choices Jesus spoke of 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 deceptive lie, "That which God has provided is never enough". His lie to Adam and Eve was their first temptation with deadly consequences. Essentially, by tempting them to partake of the tree of life, he told them that the breathtaking beauty in the Garden was not enough; that human companionship was not enough; that God's provision was not enough; and that God's authority was meant to be questioned.

Faithfulness plaque

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."

Pastor Steve Coles of the Flagstaff Christian Fellowship (a church I hope to visit this summer while in Arizona for a chaplain's conference) wrote, "God has called His people to a life marked by contentment. Contentment comes from having the right priority--godliness, not gain; and the right perspective—the eternal, not the temporal. Jim Elliot, who was martyred at 28, wisely wrote in his journal when he was a 22-year-old college  student, 'He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.' You can’t keep the things of this world; you can’t lose the promises of God regarding eternity. Order your life in line with that truth, and you will know God’s contentment."

May God give us all a resolve to be content, thereby attaining great gain!

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. We thank you for those who model contentment by living 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.

Ken Leaman retirement 4/29/16
Friday afternoon we went to a retirement party for Ken Leaman, one of the owners we work with in our chaplaincy service. Ken started JK Mechanical, an HVAC company in the late seventies, and over the years built the business up to where it presently employs about 100 people. This photo shows Ken (right) and his son, Chris, who is the new owner of the business.

Ken Leaman retirement 4/29/16
The various departments presented Ken with "creative" parting gifts. Our favorite was the large sheet metal elbow duct which Ken was instructed to wear as a safety helmet on the golf course where he spends his leisure time! His head will be protected from any stray golf balls - Tim even demonstrated it with a "stray" golf ball and Ken did just fine with his helmet protection!

Connie at birthday party 4/30/16
Saturday evening we attended a surprise gathering for our friend, Connie Hess, who is having a significant birthday milestone. What a delicious spread her family provided for those in attendance.

Patrick Weber commissioning service 5/1/16
Sunday morning we attended church in the Lehigh Valley to participate in a commissioning service for Stephen's nephew, Patrick Weber, as lead pastor of Faith Community.

Patrick Weber commissioning service 5/1/16
Brothers in prayer.  For just a few minutes yesterday Stephen and Pat shared the same platform, a rarity over the many years of their pastoral/ministerial calling, since we've always lived a long distance apart and both pursued pastoral roles over those years.

Patrick Weber commissioning service 5/1/16
Yesterday District Superintendent Stephen Tourville led in the commissioning prayer for Patrick who is now the lead Pastor at Faith Community in Easton, PA. Stephen's brother, Pat, has now officially retired from his 24 years as lead pastor though he will continue as Visitation Pastor.

Note: We have had several rainy, dreary days limiting our scenic photo opportunities! However I've been tracking our nest activity daily under our barn overhang eve. Last week I shared this photo.

Mother Robin on nest 5/2/16
Just prior to publishing today I went out and saw that the mother bird was on the nest.

Baby Robin in nest 5/2/16
After startling her I carefully peeked into the nest by standing on a foot stool, raising my arms and pointing my camera down.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Mike Book
"Godliness With Contentment"  Video   Mike Book  We have attended the same church with Mike and his family over the last fifteen years. He has written a number of very thoughtful songs and some that are pretty funny.

Yesterday a country church in our area had a "Tractor Day" service where farmers drive their tractors to church and the entire service was tractor and farm themed.

Mike and several other friends are in a group that sang and Mike wrote a special themed song titled "Life is like a Farmer's Parcel" Video  (the tune is from another song with a similar theme.) Pardon the poor audio on this video. I had just learned to use the video record function on my "smart" phone and apparently kept covering the tiny microphone with my finger.

"Satisfied"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"Enough"  Video  Chris Tomlin

Flagstaff Christian Fellowship

Finally today:

We often work independently at first then edit each other's work. This morning I was working on the daily encouragement while Brooksyne was working on a shorter radio message, neither of us at the time knew what the other was working on. When she sent me her radio message I see we have the same topic on our hearts this morning! The following is her one minute radio message:

Never Enough

In New England we saw a boat named “Never Enough” which made us think there must be a story behind the name. But this name could also be a descriptive nickname for those of us caught up in the unsatisfying “Never Enough” state of mind.

A “Never Enough” mentality is by default a troubling thought process that keeps us focused on what is missing rather than what we already have. We may become fixated with the desire for more stuff, more food, more education, a better job, more of this and more of that.

To break such a counterproductive and unsatisfying mindset we must be intentional in learning contentment and parking our thoughts there. It will keep us focused on what is already ours so we can appreciate that which God has already entrusted to us.

Paul wrote “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Never Enough is never enough, period. But the riches of Christ are eternal and satisfying. Think on that great blessing today.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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