Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Learning how to Nurture Contentment

Today was a hard day. I don't like to "air out my dirty laundry" or my "girly moments" but tonight was hard. I was believing lies and those lies were overlapping the truth I have in my life. Thankfully the Lord has blessed me with amazing women in my life that speak truth over me, join me in this warfare and get on their knees and intercede on my behalf.

My beautiful friends sent me scripture to meditate on and pray over my life and I loved it! Some of them were already underlined in my bible and was a good reminder of truth I had once heard, while others were new and applied wonderfully to the current posture of my heart. My precious friend Ashley recommended going to and listening to their Singles Conference (click on the village church link and it will take you there). I had already heard the first session about "Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus" and loved it. So I went and listened to the second session that was called "Nurturing Contentment"... and wow. The Lord is so perfect to give us exactly what we need, exactly how we need it at exactly the time we need it. I was bawling through the entire session--and it was 55 minutes long.

It was hard to listen to, but the truth was radiating through the computer. One of the most powerful things that Beau said was "Because I didn't cultivate and nurture contentment in my singleness then I took discontentment into my family. My role as a husband, father, preacher... all of those were and are still effected by this." That got my attention. I realized that I am not discontent because I am single or because my job drives me crazy this year. I struggle with these issues because I struggle to trust in God. My posture of heart is displaced. Because we serve a sovereign Lord. He IS what is best for me and always DOES what is best for me.

Beau broke it down a little further and defined contentment two different ways:
-The first definition was by Sinclair Ferguson. He said, "Contentment is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition than to belong to the LORD at His disposal."
-The second definition was by Jeremiah Burroughs. His definition of contentment was "Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and Fatherly disposal in every condition."

If we take a look in Genesis 3, the Fall, we see where discontentment is born. Adam and Eve believed the lies the serpent fed to them and sin was established. Sin says that other things are infinitely honorable, desirable and more worthy/satisfying than God. But Jesus has come to save us from our sin. He has come to heal our crippled souls. When we are discontent we show a lack of gratitude and an abundance of arrogance. We believe that ultimately we could run our own lives better and have a better view of what we need and deserve. How ridiculous are we? What makes us think that we are entitled to any of this? When we are so discontent we focus on what we don't have. What the Lord blesses us with often highlights that we haven't gotten what we truly want.

I was frustrated that I let my heart get to this point. So how do we get out of it? We need to first and foremost have a repentant spirit. Repent from those murmurs and grumblings that shift your focus from blessings to discontentment. And then we need to pray and ask the Spirit to teach us how to be content. In Philippians 4:12 Paul is writing to the church and says, "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I HAVE LEARNED the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need." He learned, which means he had to be taught. We should constantly be asking the Spirit to bring sin to the surface and cut that sin out of our lives and replace it with goodness.

I have had the opportunity to have many people write me and tell me about how they are hearing truth from these blog posts. My prayer is that the Lord uses this cry and tough stepping stone in my life to encourage and spur you on as well. I pray that you become content in the Lord and His promises for your life and that you seek Him through every situation. He loves you and has GOODNESS for your life... even if it's hard to see it at the moment.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why do I worry? Why am I anxious?

Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come
In my world and in my life
You give me the food I need
To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why am I anxious?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Chorus (3x):
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

This is so the cry of my heart right now. I am a worrier. I am anxious. I KNOW that God knows what I need... but I don't think that I fully believe He can fulfill those needs. But I need to look to the Gospel and realize the promises He gives me each day:

Psalm 147: 1-11
"Praise the LORD.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
The LORD sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love."

He loves us... and His love is STRONG. He is not a weak God. He is powerful and delicate. He is big and intricate. He is to be feared, but also completely sovereign. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere. He is our Beloved. Our Pursuer. Our Daddy. Our Comforter. Our Lover. Our Captivator. Our Creator. Our Encourager. Our Joy. Our Protector. Our Worth. Our Security. Our Refiner. Our Life.

He is good.