Tag Archives: contentment

Brody and Jake

IMG_1962It’s been a while since I shared a Brody update.  I can assure you that he is alive, well and full of himself.  I refer to Jake and Brody as “brothers” though the only thing they have in common is that they are both long-hair mini dachshunds.  Jake is 10 years older than Brody but you wouldn’t know it when they are rough-housing around the house.  They do tend to look out for one another, whether they’re penned up, relaxing on the sofa or out for a walk.  They also eat and drink from the same bowls without fighting.

Their camaraderie gets cloudy, however, when treats or toys are introduced into the equation.  I’m careful to give each dog the same item but within minutes each creature immediately wants the other’s prize without letting go of the one they already possess.  It’s a funny thing to watch two dogs vie for the other’s prize but not quite so funny when we look at our own lives and see something similar happening.

I need to be reminded once in a while to be content with what I have already.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

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Be Content: Philippians 4:12

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I find this image to be a picture of contentment, which is probably why I love it.  It has great elements: friends, a favorite pet, a favorite hot beverage all in a relaxing setting.  Wouldn’t it be great if life was served up to us like this on a daily basis?

I find it hard to be content when I’m always on the go, busy with this and that, or striving for material things that never seem to completely satisfy. Apostle Paul’s addresses the subject of contentment in his letter to the Philippians.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

According to Pastor Matt Chandler, contentment is something we must learn.  It does not come naturally.  We can learn contentment from staying connected to the source of truth (scripture), by remembering God’s past provision, and by being grateful for things we already have.

Contentment isn’t a path to complacency, rather, it involves actively striving to be a f.r.o.g (someone who Fully Relies On God).

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Your Life, Your Book

book-863418_960_720The life we live is our story, ours alone.  Many, including yours truly,  have chosen to capture part or all of their story in a book.  If you were attempting to put your story on the printed page, how would you characterize it: love story, adventure, drama, comedy, inspirational, or something else?

If you set out to write this book, what words would appear on its pages?  Where would the material or words come from?  What activities, relationships or experiences have you immersed yourself in that have a direct bearing on your story?

As the pages of your book begin to accumulate it becomes evident that the words need to be organized into chapters.  How does one determine when one chapter ends and a new one begins?  In my story, new chapters corresponded with changes of scenery and vocation, or new relationships and responsibilities.  At other times a new chapter began  when my life headed in a new direction.  Directional life changes can be physical, emotional, or spiritual.

The further along I get in my story, the more I find myself putting emphasis on the spiritual chapters of my life.  I worry less and less about searching for some new thing to experience and instead find myself turning to a blank page and engaging the Savior of my life to help me determine my direction.

My you find peace and contentment on the road you travel in life.  May the words of your book be pages of substance and eternal value.  May you find the meaning of life and experience abundant living.

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These are the words of Jesus found in John 10:10, “My purpose is to give them [us] a rich and satisfying life.” NLT

The Key to Happiness is?

I am leading a group study of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes.  I began our study today with a question.  “The key to happiness is _______.  A simple, fill in the blank answer.  I did get a few great answers from the class, but no one thought of my suggestion.

The key to happiness is a glass of water. 

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Huh?

I proceeded to pour a half glass of water.  As I poured, I posed another question to them, “Are you a glass is half full or a glass is half empty kind of person?”  People from both persuasions participated in a show of hands.  I asked the “glass is have empty” folks, “At any time did you see me empty anything out of the glass?”  I had not emptied anything out.  I only filled it half full.

Hmmm.

I proposed to them that this glass of water represented a solitary persons life essence; their successes, achievements, financial well-being, family, etc.  Everything valued in life.

My questioning continued…So, are we thankful for what we have (water already in the glass) or are we focused on what we don’t have (empty portion of the glass).  The challenge we face is being happy and content with what we already have in our glass.

Aaah!

I poured water into a few more glasses.  Some were filled to the brim, others appeared clearly more than half full.  This batch of glasses, I said, represents a truly blessed society of peoples.  The person with the half full glass, if they continually mingled with the richly blessed group, would naturally start wanting their glass to be filled more.  Contentment, they believe, can only be found with more ________ . (Fill in the blank)

Next, a handful of other glasses were poured.  This time the glasses received varying degrees of water, each much less than half full.  Some glasses with barely enough water to cover the bottom.  If, our half full glass subject mingled with the less fortunate, wouldn’t he or she be more appreciative of what they had in their glass.  They may even be compelled to share some of their water it with the less fortunate.  It is becoming apparent that perspective may have something to do with happiness.

To make another point I poured all the water out of each glass, including the half full one.  “Which glass had the advantage now?” I asked.  None of them.  This, I said happens to each of us. When we die our glass is empty.  Hence the opening lines of Ecclesiastes, “Vanity, Vanity all is vanity!”  Where is the advantage for all our toil?

For my final point, I filled each of the empty glasses to the brim.  As believers in Jesus Christ, life does not end when we die.  Jesus, In John 10:10 said that he came to give us life, abundant life!  This abundant life can be enjoyed in the here and now as we journey through life.

I decided to give the class a homework assignment.  The next time each of you pours a glass, stop halfway and think of something that you are thankful for.  Then, fill the glass the rest of the way.  As you continue to pour, remember the abundant life we have in Christ.

Yes, the key to happiness can be found in a glass of water!

 

 

 

My Heart’s Desire

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Mobility

Yes, I can still move my arms and legs.
But these legs can no longer bear the weight of my body,
Nor, can my hands hold anything heavier than a book.
A call light regulates the pace of my day.
But I have no control over when it will be answered,
Nor, do I hold any assurance anyone will remember to come.
I took simple movement for granted until mobility left me.

Rest

Hour after hour passes while I lay in bed.
But my mind finds no benefit from the idleness that drowns me,
Nor, can my body find the restoration it so desperately seeks.
My eyes are continuously heavy; I’m prone to doze.
But I can’t seem to enter the peaceful sleep I crave,
Nor, can my dreams produce one image of happier times from yesteryear
For years I denied myself rest, believing everything else to be more important.

Contentment

I pursued contentment relentlessly in happier times.
But it could not be found in exhausting my resources,
Nor, could it be attained with busyness, productivity or fraternization.
In solitude, a chorus of “Is this all there is?” constantly mocked me.
Recently disease has stripped me of all I hold dear,
And has left me with nothing save the faith I once considered childish.
Perhaps, I’m my own worst enemy as far as contentment is concerned.

Hope

Self-assurance always kept me from investing in hope.
But brokenness proved the hope I did have was sorely misplaced,
And when death reared its head, nothing on earth could chase it away.
It was then I returned to my faith completely; mind, heart, soul and strength.
Because faith’s stated purpose isn’t “Living to die,”
Instead, God grants me the promise of everlasting life, which extends beyond the grave.
With hope, the contentment I vainly pursued now tugs at my heart as I struggle to pray.