Can you honestly say you are “content” both, inside and out?
What is “Contentment”?
Where do we find contentment?
Should fleeting environmental circumstances affect our contentment?
Should we rely on personal pleasures or perishable possessions to fuel our contentment?
Apostle Paul seems to share the answers to these questions in Chapter 4 of his letter to the congregation at Philippi.
The secret to un-wavering contentment can be found in Paul’s statement:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
The key word in this scripture is: ALWAYS. Here the word always is used to mean “completely and infinitely rely upon” the LORD (Jesus).
Just as we all made the decision to have faith in and believe upon our Lord (Jesus), we must also remember to rejoice (or find our Joy) in Him at all times. No matter the environmental or emotional circumstances that happen often and inconveniently in this earthly life.
Rejoicing (to have joy or be joyful) is not a right nor a privilege; it is a choice. I think my personal relationship with Christ is what allows me to be joyful in all circumstances; pain, and suffering included.
How often do you contemplate your purpose in the life you have been given? Do you know what your purpose is? Are your priorities positioned in a way that allow you to fulfill your purpose? Often times I feel like a rudderless ship tossed about on a sea of choices. It is the variety of these choices which cause my purpose to be swayed by my selfish pleasure seeking desires. Do I condemn myself for focusing my purpose inward through fleeting accomplishments, accolades, and worldly goal attainment? No. I give myself permission to be human. However, being human does not excuse me from reevaluating my purpose as life tosses me to and fro. But, how do I reevaluate my purpose? As a Christian what measuring device do I use to find the purpose that truly fulfills my soul? Many times in my life I made the mistake of thinking the “Free Will” I was given was so I could discover “MY” purpose, but it wasn’t. The free will I was given was given for use in service; service to God and other mini-me’s who bear His Image. Service to God and others is a rudder to my torrent soul; it leads me always back to my “Father.” On an Enlistment Poster Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) It is God’s will that provides me with my purpose, and His will, will, be done on earth as it is in heaven!
(The comments below were spoken by Matt Chandler and Kyle Worley from “The Village Church” in Texas).
The problem with an unhealthy involvement in politics stems from expecting too much from politics, Worley contends.
“If our hope is in Christ and the kingdom of God then we’ll be able to expect from modern politics what it can deliver and not expect more than what it can deliver,” Worley says.
Ultimately, if we’re putting too much hope in the next president rather than Christ and his kingdom, we’re going to be disappointed and disolusioned, the church leaders agree; politics will never be able to deliver the hope that God can.
Chandler adds to this argument, suggesting that Christians can use their “faithful presence” to shape their culture and therefore shape politics.
It’s also important for Christians to remember that ultimately, God is in control of the political process. “The Lord’s at work in this political process,” Chandler says. “He’s not panicked or nervous – He already knows who our next president is.”
Most often we associate this word with the Catholic community or with certain denominational affiliations. Under the Law, associations and affiliations were the cornerstone for the Levitical priesthood. However, today, with thanks given to our Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel he has charged us with, we are all priests. Peter even said so in (1 Peter 2:5). Old Testament priests and New Testament priests are quite different. The Old Testament priests talked about the Messiah to come, whereas the New Testament priests, that’s US, talks about the Messiah who has come. You don’t have to wear clerical collars or an ornamental robe to be a New Testament priest. And, God knows you don’t have to be perfect. All you have to do is believe, receive, and share the SON with others. Unknown to themselves, many Christian men and women have went to their graves as fully qualified priests. Know this in your hearts: Man, denominational or not, has no authority to qualify YOU as a priest; only God through his Son Jesus Christ can do that! If you fully believe and receive that you have been saved by Jesus, and that He lived and died, and He was resurrected by the Father then you are a priest of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ. Christ chose you, and He qualified you!! Let NO one tell you otherwise.
This is a friendly reminder of a law that was signed by President George W. Bush in 2003. This Law is called the CAN-SPAM act of 2003. This law was designed to stop the barrage of unsolicited marketing emails inundating our personal email accounts. These type of emails are called SPAM. This is a bit different from the “Spam” I grew up with. The Spam I grew up with was a wonderful concoction of delicious pork pieces. I became very fond of this product. The difference between the Spam I enjoy and the SPAM I don’t is a matter of choice. I consciously choose the tasty pork loaf, however, I did not choose to be slammed with a million emails. Emails, whose only purpose is to tempt me to purchase or subscribe to something which provides nothing fruitful or uplifting. Spamming is actually a subversive attempt at mind control. Did you know that Satan is a “Spammer?” He SPAMs by slamming our minds with unsolicited negative thoughts.
Friends, don’t lose hope, and don’t lose heart. When it comes to unwanted SPAM we do have a choice. Because of the CAN-SPAM Act, by-law an “Unsubscribe” or “Opt-Out” button must appear on any unsolicited email or electronic advertisement. Yes! Great freedom comes from clicking the unsubscribe button. It isn’t easy to find, it is usually at the bottom portion of the email and is often in very fine print. I do not covet power on a regular basis, but in this instance, it feels pretty good to shoot down menacing advertisements with one click of the mouse. Ok, sometimes it takes two clicks.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul actually talks about “unsubscribing.” However, Paul hopes we would be strong enough to unsubscribe from unsolicited negative thoughts. In Philippians 4:8-9 Paul gives us a list of things to mediate on. Things like: Love, Truth, Holiness, Righteousness, Nobility, Purity, and Virtue.” When we mediate on these things we subconsciously unsubscribe from their polar opposites. Sure, it takes some effort on our part to meditate on these things, especially since we are bombarded everyday with their opposites. But, if we do as Paul asks great mental weights are lifted off of our minds. Remember, whether it is an unwanted email or unsolicited thought we always have the choice to “Unsubscribe.” Take charge of your thoughts, you are the only one that can.
My house used to have a closet with a locked door. I know this because I locked it. Prior to closing off this part of my house I used it for the storage of vibrant and wonderful things. The most radiant thing I used to hang in this closet was hope. When hope was in the closet of my house the door was never closed. Each day I welcomed hope with open arms and open mind. I felt such comfort and peace having hope in my house. Then one day hope packed its bags and left. Why did hope leave? Where did it go? Upon noticing hope was gone, I ran frantically through my house looking for hope. I burst through the front door and feverishly combed my property looking for hope, but hope wasn’t to be found. I sat for a moment to collect my thoughts, all the while wondering, where did hope go? Finally, I resigned myself to thinking hope may never return. I became angry and that is when I shut and locked the closet door. I, and no one else closed the door to hope.
Now, years later, I discovered what happened to hope. You see, hope got tired, tired of watching me in agony. “What agony,” you ask? Well it seems, year after year unmet expectations kept piling up in the living room of my house. Every day, when hope was in my house I insisted on taking it for a walk past the living room. Hope noticed the sadness in my eyes as I obsessed about the ever growing pile of my unmet expectations. Finally, hope could stand it no longer, it packed up its belongings and left.
After being without hope for a while, I began to think, maybe I should unlock the closet within my house just in case hope desires to return. I really wanted to make hope feel like it was welcomed to return. I unlocked the door and pushed it open. When the closed door was opened light cast itself across the floor, and in the light I noticed a handwritten note. Here is what the note said:
“I hated to leave but you left me no choice. I truly loved the days when you would greet me and embrace me each and every day. But, when you started obsessing about unmet expectations, and forgetting about me I had no choice. I’m hope, and I can’t stay where I am not the center of your attention. I promise, one day, I will return. When you want and desire me more than your unmet expectations, then, I will return. Sincerely Yours – HOPE!”