God, Where Are You??

DrRvrBdI’m troubled most when God is quiet. When living water seems to have dried up. Consider Psalm 77:7-9…

Will the Lord spurn forever, & never again be favorable? 8 Has His steadfast love forever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His compassion?

When God is silent I get anxious. I start questioning… wondering and wandering… my mind tends toward discouragement. I identify with the uncertainties of what is written in the Scripture above. What about you?

Intellectually I know God is omnipresent. It’s the personal sensed favorable presence of God I/we need. We are like the little kid scared by thunder at night who crawls into bed with his mom and dad for safety. God’s “stuff” (Material blessings) mean nothing in comparison to His felt presence. Houses, land, money, and men’s recognition is crap compared to everything this world offers (Don’t get offended, Paul said it first in Phil 3:8. “Rubbish” is better translated “barnyard dung.”).

Therefore there are other Scriptures I go to which answer Psalm 77’s questions…

You who have made me see many troubles & calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. 21 You will increase my greatness & comfort me again. Ps 71:20-21

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? 9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Ps 56:8-11

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock & my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Ps 62:1-2

You (God) who have made me see many troubles & calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. 21 You will increase my greatness & comfort me again. Ps 71:20-21

What I feel (God’s absence) is not reality (God is present). Sometimes He causes us to feel absence of His presence to long more for Him and be satisfied with His presence above all things.

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It Could Be Worse!

chJoyProverb… “I complained about having no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

Do you have a house? A car… clothes… food? Then you have more than Paul did! 1 Tim 6:8, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” He was content with no TV… no internet… no air conditioning… no camel or donkey… no electricity… no retirement… no pillow… no health insurance… no roof over his head. This was a man who was beaten and then sang in the dungeon (Acts 16:25)! He was chained between two guards in prison and wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS…”

Take a few minutes and be thankful. If you are a believer, consider your name is written down in heaven. Anything more is icing on the cake (Especially considering we deserve eternal condemnation)!

Being thankful, rather than complaining, is pure Bible. Consider…

Eph 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out-of-place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Eph 5:18 Be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Col 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

1 Thess 5:18  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Remember… it could be worse…

Happiness And Your Heart’s Desire…

unhappybernieHappiness is having what we want. THE primary motivation for everything we do is happiness, YET…

No one alive is wise enough to know what is best for them (Jer 17:9), in fact… We never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us (Tim Keller). And yet we are consumed with getting what our heart desires, which is 99% of the time selfish to the point of hurting, attacking, and maiming those around us (Ja 4:2-4).

We are so self consumed that we pervert Psalm 37:4 to say God wants to give us what WE want. We are so focused on our own heart we even try to make our desires sound godly in hopes of tricking God somehow using Ps 84:11, Mt 6:33, and Ro 8:31-33 as our arguments. So we preach, teach Sunday School, go into ministry, tithe, go to church, and 10,000 other things thinking God will award us for good behavior.

Just one problem… that philosophy is not only wrong, it is heretical and un-Biblical! The message of the prosperity gospel is wrong.

Consider what is taught in the Scripture…

The first step is radical generosity, giving all we have to others for their good and not accumulating things for ourselves (Mt 5:42; Mk 10:21). This includes our life, freedom, and possessions (Lk 9:23; Heb 10:34). And doing so for God’s glory (1 Cor 10:31).

Then we adjust our heart to be in line with God’s will for us rather than our own. Our “good” in Romans 8:28 is conformity to Christ of Romans 8:29. Instead of coveting things of this life (1 Jn 2:15), we are to hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mt 5:6) which is conformity to Christ. Making us more like Christ (Which is our ultimate good) is not left to chance because God’s Spirit intercedes for us at that point (Ro 8:27). And so when we pray we are confident that God will help us (Heb 4:16) as we pray these things according to God’s will (1 Jn 5:14).

As a result of the last two paragraphs, God eliminates our anxiety and grants His peace. THIS guards and protects us in Christ (Phil 4:6-7). When our heart is set on Jesus and heaven, THEN Psalm 37:4 is fulfilled.

Staying Content

There are few greater blessings in life than to be content.  Paul wrote he had LEARNED to be content.  You’d think we’d learn more of the secret to being content ourselves.  You’d think over time and by experience we’d learn the things that cause us to be dis-content.  Here are a few suggestions in outline form regarding contentment to contemplate

Take seriously what is written in Scripture about the cause and effect of our actions.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Guard closely what you allow into your heart. 

Proverbs 4:23 Keep (Guard) your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Psalm 101:3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.

Run from the disordered loves of your heart.  In other words, keep God #1 in your life!

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

Make corporate worship, prayer, and Godly meditation a priority in your life. 

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true… honorable… just… pure… lovely… commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned & received & heard & seen in me—practice these things, & the God of peace will be with you.

Remind yourself often of God’s truth… don’t forget what you know about God.

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

2 Peter 1:12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.

Bullet Points To Help For Contentment

Regular reading and meditation on Scripture (Ps 119:11).

Regular self examination (2 Cor 13:5).

Quick to repent with restitution (Acts 26:20)

Someone to be accountable to.

Prayer!  “God work into me… 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a and Galatians 5:22-23.”

Money And Contentment? Testimonies…

No amount of money will make up for a lack of contentment.  Think… ponder… reflect… meditate…

John D. Rockefeller once said, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.”  He also said, “The poorest man I know is the man who has nothing but money.”

Cornelius Vanderbilt added, “The care of millions is too great a load . . . there is no pleasure in it.”

Millionaire John Jacob Astor described himself as “the most miserable man on earth.”

Despite his wealth, Henry Ford once remarked, “I was happier doing mechanic’s work.”

C.S. Lewis once commented, “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who only has God.”

John Piper recently tweeted, “The millionaire who feels superior to the poor Christian does not grasp that the Christian inherits everything” 1 Corinthians 3:21.

Paul said, “If we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:8).

It is recorded that Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

Which most describes the desire of your heart?

Are You Content?

Given the last two days posts (Click & click)… consider…

Contentment is a state of absence from worry, fear, anxiety, and trouble. Contentment balances awareness and concern of potentially troubling events with an indomitable inner peace that is not bruised or dented by the rocks thrown by life.  A person who is content laughs at the troubles that come their way because their perspective on life is seated in heaven.  Contentment is a whole life matter and does not exclude any area of life.  Contentment be true for us in all except one area of life.

Contentment is a state of being… a perspective on life… an inner quality that does not come in a pill.  Contentment can’t be reduced to a mathematical formula.  Contentment isn’t a virus that can be caught from someone else.  Contentment is a gift.  Contentment is learned.  Contentment is the product of reflection.  Real, true, and lasting contentment is from God.

Contentment is a quiet and settled state of being that is convinced of God’s absolute sovereignty in the events of life.  Contentment is the assurance that God is in control and that whatever happens (Or is happening) is ultimately for His glory and the person’s ultimate good.  When a person is content to the degree I’m suggesting, the thing they desire most is God’s glory and therefore WHATEVER results in that… no matter what it is… brings them joy and thus they are content!

Are you contentWith what has happened to you for God’s glory?  With what is happening to you for God’s glory?  IS God’s glory most important to you… OVER your own personal desires, wishes, goals, and physical comfort?  Do you desire God to be honored in all things regardless of what they cost you in this life?  Do you PASSIONATELY DESIRE God’s will over, before, and in place of your own will?

When those things are THE desire of your heart, THEN you will be content… and wonder why you didn’t live, think, and believe that way sooner.