James 1:2-4

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journeyand cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing. James 1:2-4D

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Finding Contentment in Christ Alone

God's definition of wealth is much different from what we are led to believe in this world. For many years I was believing a lie that the wealth of this world would bring me security and happiness. The Lord has used situations in my life over the past few years to teach me that having money will never satisfy the longings of my heart.

The abundant life that Jesus died to give me is found only in my relationship to Him. Does that mean that God doesn't want to bless me, of course, He does! What good Father does not want to give His children everything their heart's desire, the Bible tells us this truth over and over.  For example in Mathew 7:9-11 Jesus said,

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?    If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

God is our loving Father and He does want to bless His children.  He is also a protective Father and yes, a jealous God.  I've discovered that as I journey along the narrow path, with a desire to make God and God alone my source, that He will not allow things of this world to compete and become an idol in my life.  Often what I think I need or want is not always part of God's plan.  However, I can always operate in my free will and choose to ignore God's handy work.  In the natural, this can look like striving, where peace does not abound.  The word tells us that God will provide a way out of our disobedience to His will for our life, we just have to listen and obey.  Obedience is often hard and like a spoiled kid, we may not want to give up what we want. 1 Corinthians 10:13 shows us just how this works.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Over a year ago I was offered a lucrative job opportunity that would have allowed me to enjoy a good lifestyle.  This was very tempting to me especially after having not worked for almost two years while I cared for the family.  I was behind on bills and had used up most of my savings, and it seemed this job would provide financial security.  As much as I knew this, I did not have peace.  I was learning to walk in obedience, so I prayed and asked God to help me decide.  That night I had a dream where I was walking along a path made of glass stones, as I walked forward each stone would light up and I felt peace in my heart.  God spoke to me in my dream and said, "Laura, let my Word be a lamp for your feet, and a light on your path (Psalm 119:105).  As I continued to walk forward along this path, the peace came as the path lit up.  The moment I awoke I knew that I was not to take this job, I did not have God's peace in my heart as I walked forward.  This happened again with another opportunity, later on, I had the same feeling, so I turned it down.  Eventually, I ended up on a totally different path, I was returning to school at midlife to pursue a career helping the less fortunate.  A much different path than the one I was considering walking on.

God knows me, He knows that when I chose a path, I give it 100% and I can often veer off in the wrong direction.  I can now see how He is working in my life to bring me into obedience to His plan, His will for my life.  For many years even as a believer I ran the show and tried to create the life I wanted, many of us are guilty of this same thing.  Thank God that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and that each day is a new day to continue to seek His face and follow His will for our lives.  May God Bless you richly today (however that looks along the narrow path) as you continue to trust and obey Him.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for loving us each and every day.  Help us as we follow your path to listen and obey.  Thank you for your gentle hand that guides us along the way.  May we follow the plan you have for our lives so that you are glorified.  In Jesus name Amen!