Tag Archives: Contentment

When Is Nothing Enough?

contentTo tell you “I struggle with contentment” could quite possibly be the understatement of the year. And while there is a spiritual truth in the fact that we should be constantly growing toward Christ and never content with our spiritual state, there’s also a very humanistic ideal that nothing is enough. What an oxymoron! How could nothing ever be enough?

I’ve heard it again and again that God put the emotion of desire in our hearts, but the first mention of desire in scripture is in Genesis 3:6 where woman saw that the tree was “a tree to be desired to make one wise,” and so she took the fruit. Well… that didn’t end very well for us did it? Obviously there are boundaries for which our desire should or should not be acted upon. The world tells us to “go for the prize,” which I guess that’s okay if it’s the “prize of your high calling which is Christ Jesus” spoken of by Paul to the Philippians, but what about the desires in life of a non-spiritual nature. It’s where guilt enters the picture for me.

I am blessed beyond ridiculousness when it comes to having the desires of my heart met. And yet I have things in life that seem to be out of my reach at all times. Spiritually speaking I feel like I need to “drain the swamp” in my own life and get rid of some things that have me bogged down and fighting to stay afloat. As you can tell, my mind this morning is a battle between the principalities of the air and the Holy Spirit within. God set me on a journey and in this present state of mind I feel like the path is a thick brush that I’m having to hack my way through; I’m so tired from hacking away at it that by the time I get to a clearing I collapse… and the brush has time to grow again. Dramatic? Yeah, I guess so. But that’s life too, always dramatic! So I determined this morning to slow down… not let the monotony of life take the few minutes that I have this morning, and make it mayhem.

Hebrews 13:5-8

Look at what you have

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Looking around my home this morning I can tell you that there are things I want. I can also tell you that there is nothing I need. That statement can lead a conversation in two directions: covetousness or contentment. One will lead to a feeling of resentment and the other will lead to a feeling of resolve. It’s not hard to see which conversation is healthy, but we know it’s not that simple. It would have been healthy for me this morning to have oats and toast for breakfast, and yet I chose a cherry ®Pop Tart. Healthy isn’t as convenient is it?

Look at Who can help you

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

My time lately hasn’t been mine. And I’m not speaking of the time I spend serving others… although that is a decent portion of it. But I speak more to the time that I spend trying to figure out life. Oh my stars! It’s insane how much time I waste pondering what to do, what not to do, what I should have done, how I’ve failed, how I’m going to fix my life… Ha! And then I read verse 6 and see “the Lord is my helper.” Boy, have I missed the mark.

Look at who you’re listening to

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

I spend way too much time listening to Satan and his minions tell me I’m a failure to which I reply, “Yes, yes I am.” Why do I do that? Because it’s convenient. I can go there and it costs me nothing. But in order to hear the positive words of positive people that God has sent into my life I have to put forth an effort. Read the word of God, find a sermon podcast, etc. Church is a no brainer for me. I wouldn’t even consider not going to church, but come Monday… it’s Satan’s playing field.

Look at the Real Reality

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day3, and for ever.

Back to my first thought, “how can nothing be enough?” The reality is, no “thing” will ever create contentment. Only Christ leads to contentment because He never changes. There’s always an upgrade on the things of life, but it gets no better than Jesus. So this morning as I try to make sense of the chaos I call life I need to look:

Look at what I have – Jesus (all knowing) He understands where I am

Look at Who can help – Jesus (all powerful) He understands what I need

Look at Who I’m listening too (all present) He understands I am weak

Look at Reality – Jesus is all. He Understands

21 Ways to Have A Healthy, Happy Day

chick romans 12

First and foremost, get out your Bible and trust only in its Word. Everyone else could be wrong. Including and especially me. I’m the Jesus Chick… not Jesus. As I laid in bed  this morning, I opened the Bible app on my phone and began reading Romans 12; I then bounced out of bed like I’d already had coffee and hurried down the hall to write my thoughts on what God had shown me in His word. If only you and I would take heed and hang on to every breath of His word like a school girl crush we’d be so much better off!

Romans 12

1          I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

It’s only reasonable, when given any thought at all, that we serve God with our entire body. He’s the Creator and Maker of the universe and specifically you and I. He holds our very breath in His hands and has the power to speak life and blessings into existence. Our bodies: everything we put into our mind and body should be holy and acceptable. God is looking through your eyes… what does He see. What did you feed on spiritually (if anything at all) and physically that was going to help you have a healthy, happy day?

2          And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

God desires us to prove that He is Who He says He is. He’s challenging us to be spiritually and physically prepared for this day by ingesting His Word and foods that you’d serve to Him if He sat at your table. Or on the couch… as in the case of myself this morning while eating Special K Fruit & Yogurt. Would God have approved… oh I thinks so! Possibly not of my breakfast yesterday.

3          For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

It’s a common colloquialism in West Virginia to hear someone way say “they got above their raisin”, meaning they forgot where they came from. While putting life into perspective today, I only need to look out my window at the autumn colors of West Virginia and I am reminded that this is the season of life that I’m in. It causes me to get serious about what I need to accomplish today for the sake of eternity. As a child of God, He has gifted me with this day… what am I going to do with it?

4-8        For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

What gifts did God give us? Don’t say that He didn’t give you any… because if you do you’re a fibber and in serious trouble. You possibly are comparing your gifts to someone else’s (I speak from experience on that one); but God said that we are many in the body of Christ, but our gifts differ according to the grace we are given. God did not give me the grace of a dancer but He gave me the gift of music so that I might play and someone could dance a jig. That for me is life in perspective… use what He gave you, don’t wish for anothers.

9-10     Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Dissimulation. Ironically another word for it that is so fitting in this season of West Virginia is “camouflage.” You’ll find few homes in West Virginia without several pieces of camo apparel hanging in their closet. While concealing yourself in the forest is great for deer hunting, it’s a terrible idea when hunting souls for Christ. Our love should be visible to everyone we meet. How’s that working for you? Keep away from things that drag you down and cling to the things that encourage you… the paths you cross today need to see a happy, healthy you!

11        Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Whatever your job is, do it well. If you’re a secretary, serve God there. If you’re a stay at home mom, serve God there. If you’re retired…. Well… you get the picture.

12        Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Be happy. Troubles come, pray and go on.

13        Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

See a need, fill a need. That’s God’s way and if it’s done with the spirit of Christ’s giving the blessing received in returned is like a little dose Christmas every day of the year.1

14        Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

I’m quickly reminded when I get ready to lash out at someone that I am responsible for Christ hanging on the cross. If I allow myself to soak in that thought there’s no way I can sulk about anything.

15        Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

The world needs to know that Christians can identify with what they’re facing today. We need to celebrate with the people in our lives, and when they struggle we need to be there too. Don’t just be a sunny day saint!

16        Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Rich, poor, beggar, drug addict, Sunday School Teacher, Preacher, Doctor, Lawyer, Factory Worker or unemployed; we all come to the cross the same way. We have nothing to present but the bodies we were given, naked and unworthy. Humbling …

17        Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

I won’t say it easy, but  God says it necessary. Even if you’re wronged, do right

18        If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Bite your tongue, put your hands in your pockets, walk away, count to ten or do whatever else you can to keep the peace. Only, with God’s stamp of approval is it okay to get huffy. Make sure it’s God’s stamp…

19-21   Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst,      give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

God WILL take care of it. Smile, walk away and believe it.

And there you have it. Twenty one verses of healthy and happy

How much do you own?

divine real estate

I need to share a story, totally stolen from my Pastor’s sermon yesterday, which I’m sure he stole from someone else’s sermon which they stole, and so on and so forth; just a vicious cycle of thievery but a great illustration none the less…

There was a wealthy, farmer in Texas who owned a large and productive ranch but he didn’t know Jesus. He invited the local pastor over one day, and desiring to impress the minister he walked him across his well-manicured lawn. He pointed to the east and told the man of God, “Look out there Pastor, as far as you can see to the east, I own it!” Then he pointed to west, and proclaimed again, “And Pastor, as far as you can see to the west, that is mine too,” he boasted proudly! He did likewise to the north and to the south.

The old Pastor without hesitation said, “That’s great!” But pointing skyward he asked “But how much property do you own there?”

There is wonderful humor and great truth in that tale. It will no doubt be one of my favorites for a long time. I get in a whiny way and wish that I had better, and more and greater and in reality I have all that I need and so much more than most that I’m ashamed that I ever complained. The Pastor’s message was right on time for me… they usually are. I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets their eyes so focused on the earth they lose sight of Heaven.

I turned 52 this year, it seems but yesterday that I was 16 and now I minister to 16 year old who refer to me as “Miss Shari” like a saintly old grandmother. Actually that’s a slight exaggeration, they are kind, but it’s quite apparent that the generation gap is looking more like a canyon. My heart breaks for them… because the world is so competitive for their soul. If it competes for mine the way it does at my age, I know, with as young as they are the competition is much steeper.

The world tells them they need the best car, the biggest house, the greatest technology and it’s wrapped up with a bow waiting for them to launch towards it, all with the intention of taking them further and further away from the will and way of God. It is my job as well as every other Sunday School Teacher and Youth Minister to draw their minds to Christ, which we know to be the greater wealth… but Satan is a sly dog.

So the farmer story hit too close home for me because I had turned into a whiny, sniveling brat who had desires that were obviously not of God or He would have already given them to me. And I’m pretty sure He doesn’t give them to me because I have the attention span of a puppy in a room full of squeaky toys. True story. The more bells there are ringing in my life the less time I spend with the giver of all. The difference between the farmer and I is that I own as far skyward as you can see, but I forget to brag about it.

So today I’m looking up… to where my riches lie.

In the book of Luke 24 verses 51-52, Jesus is traveling the last few steps on earth during this era of time:

And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:

He’s coming back folks! The disciples knew it and they not only returned to Jerusalem with great joy, they spread that great joy. Tell someone today about the real estate deal of a life time that they’ll miss out on if they don’t know Jesus!

Just three words away…

Jesus save meIt’s Sunday morning and my heart is filled to the brim with the goodness of God. I understand what David meant when he penned the words…

1 Chronicles 17

19 O Lord, for thy servant’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.

20 O Lord, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

His words encouraged me this Sunday morning and I rejoice that God has made this day for me…and you too! What a privilege to go into the house of God and hear the word of God. It hasn’t changed, though men have tried; God’s message is still going out, day after day, week after week. It is unfortunate that it is still being rejected in the same fashion. There will be a day when many will wish they had taken the time to go to church, especially with their families.

This morning my heart is filled with gratitude, for God has shown His great mercy for this “servant’s sake.” He has given me another day that I might serve in His house and share the gospel with young people who need to know the world’s a liar. This evening if the Lord wills I’ll travel to a prison to share the gospel in song to men who are paying the price for believing the lies of the world.

What’s the lie?

That there is peace, contentment or great gain in anything other than Jesus Christ, that is the lie. Men, women and children seek for it every day only to discover at life’s end they were always just three words away…

“Jesus Save Me.”

Hunting for Happiness

This weekend is almost sacred in West Virginia, some treat it as such, I won’t give that thought much comment other than to say it’s serious business. Millions of dollars of merchandise is sold to make the catch easier and greater and overall make the hunt more enjoyable. And such is the quest for most lives. We want the best, we want it easy and we want it now. We want happy, happy, happy!

As I read the story of the one of the greatest hunters in the Bible this morning, my “Mothering emotions” were at both ends of the spectrum. Yes I was frustrated that he treated his birthright with such disregard as to trade it for a bowl of soup, and Jacob… what a little enterpriser to take advantage of his brother’s weary state to obtain his inheritance. And then the blessing of their father Isaac, what a debacle that was with their own mother conniving Jacob’s way into fooling her husband into thinking Jacob was Esau, thus getting the rest of Esau’s inheritance. My heart broke when I read Esau’s reaction that …he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.  Only to hear his father say “Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.

Good grief is this not dysfunction at its finest from the grandsons of the great Abraham. Why would God allow the prosperity of Jacob at the expense of Esau? I think it goes to the heart of the matter. When we look at Esau’s life, he not only knowingly gave away his birthright, but he also caused his parents great grief by marrying into a Canaanite family (who were strangers to the blessings of Abraham) not once but twice. Esau’s behaviors proved that he not only did not respect the blessings of God, but did not fear the curse of disobedience.

So God allows Jacob, who He knows to be a deceiver, to receive the greatest blessings, although his life was not without heartache as well. Both brothers wanted happiness, but he who received the greater was the brother with a heart for God. The more I read and the more I understood Esau’s disrespect of God and family the less I wondered why the birthright ended up in Jacob’s hand.

I’m always hunting for happiness too. I want that ease of life that comes from the blessings of God. But as sure as my name’s Shari, I’ve likely missed out on a lot of it because I’ve haphazardly handled the things I’ve been given. I guess I have a little of both Esau and Jacob characteristics. In the hunt for happiness it comes down to one thing. Outside of God and His plan we may have “stuff” but we’ll also have strife. It’s only in the confines of God’s will and grace that we’ll have happiness and contentment. None of which have anything to do with “stuff.”

In the conclusion of this story we find peace between the homes of Jacob and Esau.

Genesis 33:9 ~ And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

It’s my prayer that I’ll learn “I have enough.”

Happy, happy, happy!

No Turning Back

Quack pack

In my search for hunting apparel  to wear to Church on Sunday (A statement likely only said in a place like West Virginia) I passed by Tractor Supply and headed to Walmart thinking their sporting goods department would assuredly have the pink and brown Real Tree ® shirt I had set my mind on having. In my defense it was “Sportsman Sunday” in honor of Father’s and we were dressing the part, I truly am not that red neck. Anyway… it was a no go. So I got back in my car, drove back to Tractor Supply, certain that they would have a hunter chick covered… epic fail #2.  So I drive back to Walmart and purchased a Duck Dynasty shirt and then headed home feeling my back tracking had finally paid off. I was ready for church!

Back tracking irritates me!

I’m a “multi tasker” in the worst possible ways. I most always have two projects, or unfortunately two train of thoughts in progress. Praise God for voice activated dictation, because prior to that you would not have wanted to meet me on the road (just sayin’). So to have to go back or re-do anything just grates on my nerves. I want to get two things done at once, not redo the same thing twice! I think it’s godly, after all God doesn’t like back tracking either.

Hebrews 10:38 ~ Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

There it is, plain and simple. No back tracking! At least in the spiritual sense of the words. Proverbs 14:14 says “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” Why does anyone want to go back? Such a complete waste of time. It took me a second to get my mind wrapped around Proverbs 14:14 – and then the light went on… ding ding ding!

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways = self-serving life styles and a lack of dedication to the things of the Lord ends in misery. And a good man shall be satisfied from himself = contentment and great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

I don’t want to appear self-righteous or holier than thou. After all, I am but one step from back sliding myself – as is any other Christian. It just takes one wrong thought, one bad decision, one selfish desire… basically a discontent, unsatisfied heart to back track. So how does one get there? By focusing on self. That single minded nature which is inherently human causing us to want our own way in our own time and putting the servitude of others, not on the back burner, but still in the pantry on the shelf. In a nutshell – we get our eyes off Jesus. We forgot that day of salvation feeling when all we wanted to do was serve God and His people. We didn’t care if we had a dime in our pocket or title behind our name (other than child of God); we were just happy falling into line and doing the next thing that needed done. Woohoo, I just wrote myself happy again! That’s why Apostle Paul could write such encouraging words from behind the bars of a prison. And not a modern day prison, he did not have 3 square meals, possibly not even one; and he certainly didn’t have a television and video game. I started to say no one was offering him a book deal, but God did! How funny is that!

This is my fuel for your fire today. Move forward in your life. Stop looking at past failures and or even past successes. You cannot undo a mistake nor can you live in yesterday’s glory. If you’ve messed up, fix it the best you can or be content with where you are, but move on!

I could have gone home and pouted because I had to settle for something other than Real Tree pink camo or I could be content with my Quack Pack purchase. I know… silly right? Well, so are a lot of the reasons we fail to move forward in our life.