Thursday, December 11, 2014

Godliness with Contentment

1 Timothy 6:6: "Godliness with contentment is great gain."

Sermon over.  Now application...ouch.

Verses like these convince me that I can spend an entire lifetime walking through the Word, and never ever be able to fully put It into practice.  Godliness is one thing, contentment another.  Let me chew on the second piece today though.  Because isn't the grass always greener on the other side of the fence?  Don't we always want to be number one?  Don't we always want to win?  Don't we always want to get the highest scores, the best stuff, and work the hardest at work to be awarded or appreciated the most?  Don't we want to be the person at church who the pastor leans on and goes to whenever he needs something?  Don't we want to be the better spouse, the better child, the smartest guy in the room?

But The Lord says that contentment is key...that we should toss all those other yearnings and desires in the trash can because they do not satisfy.

Should we be excellent at what we do? Yes.  But that should not be our end.  We shouldn't do anything out of selfish ambition, but instead be truly humble (summary of Philippians 2:3).  But aren't we taught and trained to set a goal which usually has some great value to us (selfish goal) and then put everything we have behind it so that we can obtain it?  This happens all the time in sales and is pretty much the basis for most advertising...showing things we "have to have" to get us to buy.  But isn't that the exact opposite of the sort of life God calls us to?

Be content.  Stop chasing after anything but God.

What if nearly everything we think, we feel, we do, and we say is counter to the yearning of the Lord?  We need a heart transplant.  We need a brain transplant.  We need the Lord to transform our lives.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Coming back to start again

It is s good thing that Godis faithful, and that He is faithful no matter what Matt does.

I've spent much of the last six months studying through scripture as I have worked through a great resource called "Learn the bible in 24 hours."  As I have read through and learned, I see the same story repeated all through scripture:  Israel becomes close to the Lord and then wanders away and God continues to pursue her always.  He has made a commitment to her forever, that no matter what she does, she will be His people.

I see that same commitment by God to me as I have chosen to walk with Him through the years.  I, just like Israel, continue to go through cycles of pursuing Him and His path and then changing course slowly and drifting towards Matt's path, finding myself lost, then returning to Him again.

For years now, a verse that has become a great anchor to me in these times of getting lost.  Jeremiah 6:16.  It is a promise and a curse.  And both are blessings from the Lord.  This is exactly his love for his people.  "Stand at the crossroads and look.  Ask for the the ancient path, the godly path where the good way is; walk in it and you will find rest for your souls."

After several weeks of sleepless nights and a mind that is constantly running as if the whole world depended on me- which I sometimes arrogantly believe it does-rest for my soul sounds like the greatest gift in the world.  Maybe you can relate?

We're entering for most of us the busiest time of the year, giving us plenty of opportunity to get off track, miss the point, and end up tired and worn out.  This isn't the ancient path, the good way.  This is the way of the world, the way of American life in 2014.  I encourage you to also seek the ancient path.  Because the next part of the verse tells us how God is faithful to get our attention when we don't turn back to's not a pretty picture.

It's much better to fall on The Rock and be broken and humbled than to have The Rock fall on you and be crushed under it's weight.  And with a promise of rest for your soul if you choose and walks the godly way, why would we ever choose another way?  May we return to the Lord and cast off the worldly way.  May we choose to live not for ourselves, what we can gain, get, take, but instead what we may do to serve and love others.  May we continually be crucified with Christ so that we no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in us.