Content

I’ve talked a little about being content before.  I find that many people I know, are just not content.  What is being content?  Let’s pull out the old dictionary and look at the meaning first.

con·tent

   [kuhn-tent]  Show IPA

adjective

1.  satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
2.  British . agreeing; assenting.
3.  Archaic . willing.
verb (used with object)

4.  to make content: These things content me.
noun

5.  the state or feeling of being contentedcontentment: His content was threatened.
6.  (in the British House of Lords) an affirmative vote or voter.
The basic meaning, being satisfied with what you have.  So, you are not content if you are wanting of something that is not a basic need, such as food.  But if you want special food, you are not content.  If you want a fancy house, you are not content.  If you want a better or faster or bigger anything, you are not content.  So, why aren’t you?
Why are you not content with the car that gets you to work and back?  Why must it be the expensive car that costs more, and makes your daily life more difficult because of how much it costs?  Why are you not content with your simple little house that meets your needs?  Why does it have to be a huge house that you don’t use all the rooms and just creates a place for clutter?  Why must you have a 50 oz steak, instead of a simple 3-4 oz piece of meat that will fill you up fine with that lovely salad and veggies?
I had a dear friend recently that while I would not say that person was overly extravagant on things that they purchased, did have  a few things that probably weren’t a necessity.  My friend got into a situation where the money coming in was significantly dropped, due to an error on the side of the government.  My friend was not at fault in anyway.  But it took about a month to straighten it out, with about 80% less income than the family was used to.  Talk about tightening your belts.  After it was straightened out, my friend came to me and said that it was amazing what they found out they could do without when they were forced to realize that they could only afford the minimum to live.  And my friend stated that they were all far happier for it.  The stress was lifted because they knew they couldn’t afford such and such, and they didn’t need it, so they just didn’t buy it.
I went to lunch with another friend of mine that found that same lesson out years ago, and we were discussing a field trip that our church was doing for the seniors in the church.  Because there was extra room on this trip, my friend was invited to come along.  She turned them down.  Not because she didn’t want to go, but because it was going to cost $30 and that is money she could use to buy clothes for her kids as they outgrew the old ones.
Priorities, where are yours?  Are they centered on you and what you want? Or are they centered on the bare necessities of life.  (I now have the Jungle Book song going through my head)  Think about it.

Preservation

Knowledge, wisdom, preserving both, discretion, all important things.  So important that they are discussed multiple times in the bible.  I thought I would look at a few verses where they are all mentioned.

Passage Proverbs 2:8-11:

   8He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

   9Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

   10When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

   11Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

He keeps the paths of judgement.  Judgement is:

judg·ment

   [juhj-muhnt]  Show IPA

noun

1. an act or instance of judging.
2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
So, He keeps the paths of judgement, as in he is the one that has the ability to judge.  He preserves the way of His saints.  Saints probably doesn’t meant what you think it means.
Cultural Dictionary saint definition

In Christianity, a holy person, living or dead; a person who has been saved ( see salvation). Saint  is the French word for “holy.”Many churches reserve the title of saint for persons who havedied faithful to their Christian commitment. 

Most believe that Saint is the Catholic belief in Saints, a holy person.  For most of Christianity, the title saint refers to someone that has been saved.  This statement is saying that He preserves the way of those who are saved and follow Him.

9Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

Through this, we will understand righteousness, and judgement, and equity, yes, every good path.  Righteousness has gotten a bad rap.

right·eous·ness

   [rahy-chuhs-nis]  Show IPA

noun

1. the quality or state of being righteous.
2. righteous  conduct.
3. the quality or state of being just or rightful: They came to realize the righteousness of her position on the matter.
Most of the secular world has put a negative connotation on this.  Much of the secular world tries to imply that those that are righteous are full of themselves.  When in actuality, they are just right with God.  So, those that keep the paths, will understand righteousness, judgement, and equity.  Most understand that equity is referring to what is fair.  Yes, these are good paths.
10When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
When this wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul;
  11Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

dis·cre·tion

  http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swf [dih-skresh-uhn]  Show IPA

noun

1. the power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice: It is entirely withinmy discretion whether I will go or stay.
2. the quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one’s own actions or speech; prudence or decorum:Throwing all discretion to the winds, he blurted out the truth.
So, the quality of being discreet shall preserve you.  Understanding all this, will keep you. Keep refers to guard; protect.  So, this will protect you.  It doesn’t say that you won’t experience heartache, or difficulties, just that when you follow the path, you’ll be protected.
God Bless!

Declaration

I’m going to focus again.  And I mean really focus on my intent to focus more on God.  To do this, I’m going to go ahead and read through a Psalm, well, part of one.  Psalm 19 to be exact.

Psalm 19

   1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

   2Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

   3There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

   4Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

The heavens, meaning the sky, universe, declare the glory of God.  Really, if you just look up into the sky, specifically at night, how can you not just love the beauty that is there.  I watched a video once of Louis Giglio ‘playing’ the songs of the skies.  You can watch it here. It’s really a fun video, though a little long at 14 minutes.  Now, along the lines of the skies declaring the glory and appreciate the beauty that is out there…. the next part of the verse says that the firmament.  Let’s stop there, the word firmament is not used often, so, I’ll provide the definition:

fir·ma·ment

http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swf [fur-muh-muhnt]  Show IPA

noun

the vault of heaven; sky.
So, the firmament sheweth, or shows his handywork.  Who’s?  God’s of course.  Looking at the heavens, the sky, you can’t help but see and appreciate His work.
 2Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
Day unto day, meaning day after day, they uttereth, or expresses audibly, and night after night, shows knowledge.  So really, look at it, truly look at what He’s created.  It’s all around you.  Just look and you’ll see it.  How can you not appreciate all that is around you, all the beauty.
3There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
This verse is saying that there is no where that their voice is not heard.  If you think about it, you see a bird flying, and it’s just amazing that this animal is able fly.  This was done by design.  Look at a tree, realize that trees defy gravity and bring the water up from the ground to the tips of its branches.  Amazing, just amazing.
 4Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Their line, and I believe that this refers to lineage.  So, their line as it goes through the generations, through all the earth, meaning EVERYWHERE.  Their words go to the end of the world.  Again, everywhere.  In them, in his creations, he set a tabernacle for the sun.
What does tabernacle mean?

tab·er·nac·le

[tab-er-nak-uhl]  Show IPA noun,verb, -led, -ling.

noun

1. any place or house of worship, especially one designed for a large congregation.
So, in his creation, he has provided a place of worship, for the sun.  The sun is often considered the center of our universe (yes, I understand that there is dispute on that), but if you think about it, the sun is our primary source of light.  For a Christian, Jesus and God are to be the center of our universe, and the bible tells us that he is the light.  I think it’s a great comparison, and really keeps true to the words of life, the bible.  Love it when that happens.

Remembering the blessings

Ever have one of those days, that wasn’t horrible, but just wasn’t right?  That was my day today.  It wasn’t a bad day.  The kids didn’t fight too much until it was time for bed.  They were pretty good most of the day.  Work wasn’t horrible, just annoying when you are dealing with application people that think they can get away with saying that when the database went down, the users weren’t impacted, with it’s a database based application.  Pretty normal stuff, just annoying.  The animals are all fine, except the male goat still favoring his hind leg, but that is to be expected.  We got to go to dinner with dear friends at a new place in town.  I don’t recommend going.  Our friends enjoyed it, but I’m feeling sick to my stomach after eating there.  Take that for what it’s worth, since I don’t have great luck at any restaurant.  Received a lovely call from a friend that was just calling to check on me and that was a nice conversation.  Things just feel off though.  Ever have one of those days?

I think this is God wanting me to refocus.  So, tonight, when I go to bed, I shall refocus.  Count my blessings.  They are in abundance.

Good night, and God bless.

Short note

It’s late, I’m tired.  It’s been a long day.  I thought that I would just mention some of the blessings that God has given me.  Today, he gave me life, a wonderful family, a job, a job I can work from home, due to said job, a way for me to pay for the home I live in, the school I take my kids to, and food for the table.  He’s given me some wonderful neighbors that I can visit with and have a wonderful, intelligent conversation. He allowed me to hear a strange dog in the yard ‘attacking’ the livestock so I could go out there and get the dog out of the pen.  The goat is fine, just a scratch, from what I could tell.  Again, a blessing.  Owner of the dog feels horrible, which I’m sad about.  The dog was actually friendly and when I went in to get him out of there, he didn’t snarl, growl, or bite at me.  My belief is that he just wanted to play.  So, again, a blessing.  Today, our annual bonus was announced, it was great, another blessing.  I could go on and on.  These are just the big things.  I’m so thankful.

 

God bless.

Testing your faith

As a Christian, my faith is tested on a regular basis.  We’re warned of this in James.

 James 1:2-8:

   2My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

   3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

   4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

   5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

   6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

   7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

   8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

My brethren, as in, my brothers and sisters in Christ, count it all joy, meaning be happy, when you fall into divers temptations.  As we know from the previous post that I’ve linked, divers means numerous.  So, basically, we should be thankful when we fall into temptation.

Verse 3, knowing this, it is the trying of our faith, working, building patience.

Verse 4, but let patience have her perfect work.  This means to allow the patience to follow through and be complete.  We do this so that we can be perfect… According to dictionary.com, the definition of perfect is as follows:

per·fect

[adj., n. pur-fikt; v. per-fekt]  Show IPA

adjective

1. conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type: a perfect sphere; a perfect gentleman.
2. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement: There is no perfect legal code. The proportions of this temple are almost perfect.
3. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose: a perfect actor to play Mr. Micawber; a perfect saw for cutting out keyholes.
4. entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: a perfect apple; the perfect crime.
5. accurate, exact, or correct in every detail: a perfect copy.
I’m thinking that the correct definition in this situation is the 2nd one of being excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement.  Reason being, humans cannot be perfect. My other reason for believe this is the next statement “and entire, wanting nothing.”  we are to be complete, and want nothing.  The want nothing part is one of the hardest things for people to deal with.  People want things, it’s in their nature.
Verse 5: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
If you lack wisdom, and keep in mind, that if you don’t think you lack wisdom, you probably lack quite a bit of it.  So, if you lack wisdom, ask for it of God, for he gives to us all freely, and upbraideth not.  The meaning of upbraideth is not generally known.  This is not a common word in modern times.  From the website http://bible.cc/james/1-5.htm, it is defined as: “And upbraideth not – Does not reproach, rebuke, or treat harshly. He does not coldly repel us, if we come and ask what we need, though we do it often and with importunity.” And because of this, the wisdom will be granted to us.
6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
So, we need to ask in faith, without wavering, meaning not swaying.  Because if we waver, we are like a wave that goes to and fro, and get tossed around.  We are no longer steadfast and firm.
The last 2 verses work together:

   7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

   8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

So do not think that if you waver, you will receive any thing from the Lord, because a double minded man (one that wavers) is unstable in all he does.  just look at 99% of the politicians out there, I don’t care which party, and you can see that those that waver, generally are unstable.

So, we should be happy when we are brought to temptation as it helps us build our patience, thereby strengthening our faith.  And I know that I am constantly tested and I typically fail in these tests.  But I do try to keep my faith and pray on it constantly.

God Bless!

Gifts

Everyone has a gift.  Some know early in their lives.  Others take a lifetime to figure it out.

1 Peter 4:10:

   10As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

This is a difficult verse for me.  As I was saying to a dear friend of mine today, I have no creativity.  It was forced out of me during my youth. And that creativity was quashed as an adult to a point that I just don’t try anymore.  Why do I mention that?  Because it skews my view on what my gift could be.  I truly don’t believe that I have much ability to do much, and I don’t do well ministering to people.  I never know what to say or do.  Although, I do pray on it daily.

So, 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that everyone of us has received the gift.  I forget how many categories listed in the Bible right now, it’s 7 or 9 or something like that.  I’ll have to research and post on it.  Anyway, so we’re all given a gift, and as such, we should minister to one another. There’s that One Another again, togetherness.  We are to be good stewards, managers, of the manifold, or many kinds of, grace of God.  Wow, that’s quite a bit, specially when you don’t know your gift in the first place.

Now, I may have known my gift, except I didn’t attend those services on Sunday night.  At that time there was no babysitting, so I couldn’t go.  Maybe I’ll have to look into a study on it, so that it will help me find my gift.

How about you?  What’s your gift?