The secret that cries out to be known

Data leaks and hacking dominate American news. People’s secrets are exposed. Who wants their wrongs published for the world to see?

One secret cries out to be known. Read it in Philippians 4.11-12.

This one is a secret only because so few people know it. God freely offers knowledge of it. But most people reject this secret. They prefer the fake news of Satan, who says that money, power, pleasure, or knowledge hold the key.

But here’s the secret: Contentment comes from living in Christ, serving him, and doing the will of God.

Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!

#contentment, #secrets

Never Content

In summer’s heat, how we complain!
When cold, we gripe and moan!
And solitude’s a torturous bane;
In crowds, we’d be alone.

JRMatheny

#complaint, #contentment, #murmuring, #poetry

A punny, but serious, thought on covetousness and the Christian

As we camp out in the wilderness on our way to Canaan’s land we’re going to have to live out life in a contentment if we expect to stay away from a distracting covetousness in our heart.

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”” (Luke 12:15 – NKJV)

#contentment, #covetousness

stop and smell the… lilac?

The human soul has this tendency toward discontentment. The status quo is not quite enough, no matter how great it may be. This concept is all over the book of Ecclesiastes–the diary of the man who, seemingly to us, had everything he could ever want at his fingertips–wisdom, wealth, power, sex, fame, influence. Yet, as you read his account, you discover one of the most miserable, unhappy, tormented individuals that ever lived. Seems that “everything” turned out to be “not enough.” So he drops these little hints throughout his thesis that man’s purpose is simply to enjoy the lot he’s been given. Why? It does no good to fantasize. As you’re walking past the lilac bush, it’d be an awful shame to waste the moment dreaming about roses.

What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires.
~ Ecclesiastes 6:9

#contentment, #ecclesiastes, #solomon, #stop-and-smell-the-roses, #wealth, #wisdom

Happiness (POEM)

Great thoughts on a topic worth thinking about!

#contentment, #happiness, #poetry, #stuff

Satisfied?

Because of travel in the US, I missed my Forthright editorial this past Monday. When I had a small window open late in the day to write something—if I’d had a head for it—I decided instead to shoot hoops with my sons, whom I’ve not seen in months. Sometimes, work has to take a back seat.

• Carl Sims has produced a new personal evangelistic study, “Sowing the Seed.” Might be something you’d be interested in, with three lessons in a true-false format, and a “Supplemental Studies” sheet. If you don’t have resources to do an evangelistic study with someone, this would be a good option to have. Carl also teaches seminars that would be a good thing to check out. UPDATE: The site appears not to be active yet. Write to Carl at carlssims@gmail.com.

• I appreciate that Hugh Fulford doesn’t shy away today in his News and Views from the truth of relationship with Christ. Even though the truth is often abused, he brings it to the fore in proper perspective.

• From Saturday to Monday, The Missus and I made our first of many trips in these not-so-United States, down to Madison AL to talk with the missions committee and touch base with the brethren there. This follows on the heels of Bennie P. and Siegfried B.’s trip down to visit us in Brazil, from the same congregation, just the week before we came up. We appreciate their good efforts.

• I’ve lost count of the different airlines we’ve flown over the years, both American and foreign. (Won’t even attempt an estimate of the number of flights we’ve made.) But last week I think we flew a new one with U.S. Airways, coming through Charlotte NC. Their promotional price was the big attraction. Was another uneventful flight.

• Riddle me this: A psalmist, speaking of Zion (Jerusalem), said with apparent approval of the Holy Spirit, “your servants take delight in her stones” Psa 102.14 NET. So why did Jesus upbraid his disciples for pointing out the temple construction and tell them no stone would be left on top of another, Mt 24.1-2?

• God is he “who satisfies your life with good things” Psa 103.5. I underline phrases like this in my Bible. Maybe you don’t need such reminders, but I do. Zophar wasn’t much of a friend to suffering Job, but he got it right about the wicked when he said, “For he knows no satisfaction in his appetite; he does not let anything he desires escape”, Job 20.20. Dissatisfaction is a wicked attitude, be it Israel eating manna in the desert or saints murmuring about supposed lack of this or that in the most wealthy age ever. Do we fight against the sins of our age? Or just reflect them more subtly?

• Speaking of my Forthright editorials, week-before-last I wrote about a Brazilian evangelist who began a new work in a state capital untouched by the gospel, but lost 80% of his support. Guess who emails and sends money? Missionaries on two different continents. Can a heart be broken and touched at the same time?

• People have asked me what I think about “Duck Dynasty.” As if my opinion mattered.  But here is my reply in three words: Remember Pat Boone.

• Read Matthew 6 and then watch some TV. What is the programming about? Clothes. Food. Houses. Cars. Money. What shall we wear? What shall we eat? Where shall we live? How shall we get there? How shall we guarantee our security? Television is the epitome of paganism. “That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about” Mt 6.32 ERV.

• Man and unconverted religious people live and judge by appearances. Even Jesus was judged by appearances, Jn 7.23-24. Those groups or churches which live by appearances have dress codes. Jesus and Peter condemned overdressing. When was the last time you heard a sermon about overdressing? The opposite of modesty is extravagance. This is not an argument for slovenliness, but simplicity.

But living by appearances goes beyond clothing. It has not only dress codes, but behavior codes that have little or nothing to do with Scripture. Such codes encompass use of time, manner of speech, types of sin to condemn or not, religious (in contrast to biblical) patterns to be upheld, human traditions, respect of persons. Conversions in such systems make children of hell, Mt 23.15, rather than children of heaven.

Father, may our faith be genuine, our practice be biblical, our motives be pure, our commitment be true. May we be satisfied with your presence, and you with our service.

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#contentment, #duck-dynasty, #missions, #satisfaction

Psalm 131 What It Means To “Grow Up”

There is uncertainty regarding the author, time, or circumstances of these Psalms, but it is apparent Psalms 120-134 work together, and are called the “Songs of Degrees,” and sometimes “Songs of Ascension.” This Psalm is attributed to David, but also could have been written about David, for it seems to express his child-like humility before God.

Verse 1 defines humility;

Verse 2 describes contentment;

Verse 3 distributes this among his countrymen.

Verse 1: “LORD, my heart is not haughty.” Humility is not downgrading oneself, but accepting oneself in view of God. “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility” (Proverbs 18:12). “By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

“Nor my eyes lofty.” The way up is down, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Paul taught Christians “to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:2). Moses was humble (Numbers 12:3), but God can: “Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted” (Ezekiel 21:26). Every person is a “creature” needing the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16).

“Neither do I concern myself with great matters…Nor with things too profound for me.” “Great matters” are out of my control, and “profound” things are above my head. In other words, everything in this world doesn’t need everybody’s opinion! Facebook or Tweet that! This is not a “head-in-the-sand” approach to life, but a realization that all matters may not be our personal concern. Probably this verse is in the Law of Jesus Christ in Romans 12:16: “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

Verse 2: “A weaned child” has made the transition from suckling to satisfied.  Comfort in the mother’s breast is no longer also the child’s sustaining food. “A weaned child” has learned that life is no longer dependent upon mother alone. The process of maturing has progressed. To be a Christian, one must be “converted and become as little children, [or else] you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Then spiritual progress in the faith is expressed by Peter: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3). Many who do not become Christians have refused the humility of repentance and baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Many of those who have become Christians have refused to be “weaned” from the “milk” of the Word of God. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14). Spiritual growth is stunted without study.

Verse 3: “O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever.” This is a challenge for David’s brethren to move forward in their faith. The church of Christ is thus challenged: “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:3-5).

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #children, #church-of-christ, #contentment, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #gospel, #haughty, #humility, #milk-of-the-word, #obedience, #salvation, #teaching, #weaned-child