Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 6:20-21’

Contentment and Confidence

October 18th, 2018

The important things in life are not things.  

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Contentment and  Confidence.”

Contentment is not found in how much you have, nor in how much of a surplus you enjoy. However much you have will never be enough, apart from God’s generous provision. Contentment is found in your full confidence that God is your ample provider, Jehovah Jireh. The Apostle Paul was assuring, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

Years ago, I was challenged by a quote attributed to Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher. Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” How much must a person have to be content? That is a sufficiently important question that every person needs to answer honestly and accurately. When is enough enough? Usually, the answer is,  just a little more. Answered correctly, your answer can counteract a latent insecurity and subtle greed that conflicts with your desire for contentment. Insecurity whispers to all of us that we need enough, and then defines enough as more than what is truly adequate.

And even when you acquire what you think are necessary resources and gather more than enough stuff, greed still suggests that you require a little more while falsely reassuring that you deserve the extra you desire. So, a never-ending cycle is created, wanting more while trying to have enough. You work to feel secure, then reward yourself with more than you need. And, the result is a futile search, a never-ending quest for more.

Otherwise, your quest reduces your joy and pleasure for what you have and dampens your gratitude for what you have already received. Striving to accumulate and store more, becomes an insufficient goal for life, ultimately exhausting to the human spirit. Such a limited, material goal misdirects your heart from seeking true wealth which is always spiritual not material. Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also..” Matthew 6:20-21 NKJV.

It is better to have the best of what lasts, than simply more of what is only good for the moment.  More is never enough! My wise and dear friend, Campbell, advised me years ago, The heart cannot desire what the eye has not seen.” Be selective about what holds your gaze too long, lest it fills your vision and captures your desires.

God’s Word is clear, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV. What God provides will always be enough. And what is the personal reward of having enough? Gratitude. Contentment. Sufficiency. Satisfaction. Freedom from the tyranny for more. Appreciating things that money cannot buy.

“Godliness with contentment is a great gain.” Read 1 Timothy 6: 6-11.  I read a sign today that said, “The most important things in life are not things.” That is good to remember. God offers you a greater return, and much more enduring, than the biggest bull market on Wall Street.

“For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – through Him Who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13. It is never your wealth or possessions that provide true security and contentment. Those are found only in God.

Today I pray for you to trust God, reassured that He is your source of sufficiency.

Christian Communications 2018

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Living Responsibly

April 19th, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

To friends of EveryDay Life Ministries: I leave early tomorrow morning from London for ministry in Sofia, Bulgaria, where EveryDay life is also translated and distributed there by Pastor Lusi Arsov and Friends Church. I ask your prayerful agreement with me in faith for fruitful ministry for the teaching times this weekend. I look forward to reporting on the  ministry there and resuming the daily devotionals upon my return home next week. ARR


Much is required from those to whom much is given.” Luke 12:48 NLT

You have gained little, if anything, apart from someone’s gift or grace.”

My thoughts today are about “living responsibly.”

Why are our natures uncomfortable with being accountable? We seem to prefer to answer only to ourselves. But that is not the way life works, is it? You and I have been given much – kindness, friendship, open doors, recommendations, assistance, benefit of others’ experience and knowledge, resources, abilities, and opportunities. You have gained little, if anything, apart from someone’s gift or grace shown you. In one form or another, every gift brings a responsibility to sincerely acknowledge gratefully, as well as a stewardship for what you received. “It is required that those who have been given a trust prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV.

Jesus stated this truth simply and succinctly, “Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given.” Luke 12:48 NLT. You may be tempted to take for granted what you have, without realizing the incredible generosity shown you or recognizing your accountability for its wise stewardship and generous sharing. Jesus made that clear. Accountability is directly related to what you have been given. You are responsible to God and others for what you have received. Be honest in your personal inventory.

Living responsibly means living gratefully toward the persons whose charity was given you. As a child, I was taught that a gift is never really yours until you have expressed sincere thanks to the benefactor. You show true gratitude by public recognition. You don’t choose to and for whom you will be grateful any more than you chose the gift or giver to begin with. For everything you have, you are certainly accountable to God because God is your true Source. But also to some lesser measure, you should embrace an accountability to the supply God chose – an individual, or usually individuals – through which God blessed you, and use their benevolence in a way that honors both gift and giver. Gayle’s and my life, family, and ministry are rich because of those whose hands and hearts contributed to us.

Living responsibly means living generously with what has been given you. God’s blessings and provision are resource for your enjoyment of life, and ministry to others. “You have received freely, give freely.” Matthew 10:8 NKJV. Better to be a channel of continued blessing than a container storing more and more for only yourself. God will bless what you have when He can bless what you give.

Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:20-21 NIV. How do you do that? I think that you best accomplish that when you submit yourself and all that you have to the Lord for His use, purpose, and direction. Simply stated, you have been blessed to be a blessing and received to give. I am sobered to know there will be a day for personal accountability before God. “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God . .” Romans 14:12 NKJV. See also 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you embrace the joy of living gratefully and generously.

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An Upward Glance

December 7th, 2011

“Moses . . kept his eyes on Him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27 NLT

“The upward glance of the eyes seems to drag the heart with it.”

My thoughts today are about “an upward glance.”

In her blog, “Confessions of a Tired Supergirl,” Susanna Aughtmon tells this story, “We have started practicing songs in Sunday School. Last night my two year old nephew, Drew, showed his mom what he had learned. He knew quite a few of the motions to ‘Away in a Manger.’ My favorite was the sign for ‘the stars in the sky.’ Instead of making starburst signs in the air with his hands for the stars, he poked both pointer fingers in the air to the heavens, performing a holy sort of disco. It made you look up. I think Drew has it right. Take your finger and point it to the sky. That upward glance of the eyes seems to drag the heart with it. Slowly think about that last statement. What is pulling your heart, and to where is your heart being drawn? If you don’t watch where you are going you might end up where you never intended.

I think that’s where so many of us get life wrong. Life can easily become misdirected by distractions. Bad things replace the good, and good things displace the better. You can unknowingly settle for the lesser when distracted from the greater. Too frequently your heart wanders where it wants, and you find your thoughts, feelings, and footsteps following. Susanna is right; try it. The upward glance of the eyes seems to drag the heart with it. The Bibles teaches: “We all with unveiled face beholding . . the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV.

Jesus taught the same principle; “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 NKJV. Jesus’ solution for a proper focus is that you “lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven.” Matthew 6:20 NKJV. Choose what is meaningful, profitable, and eternally valuable to you; then live in a manner that draws your heart toward God. Doing so involves your values, priorities, entertainment, friendships, and daily practices.

The privilege and power of Egypt could have been difficult for Moses to relinquish, until he looked beyond “the treasures of Egypt . . Moses kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the One who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:24-27 NLT. He was drawn toward the One he chose to follow with all his heart. The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV.

Paul gave sound advice: “Since you have been raised to new life in Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits as God’s right hand in the place of honor. Let Heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only of earthly things down here on earth . . your real life is hidden in Christ with God.” Colossians 3:1-3 NLT. Set your sights on the realities of Heaven; let Heaven fill your thoughts! Your heart will be drawn in that direction. It’s December, the wondrous Christmas season, and a good time for an upward glance that draws your heart toward the Savior and the joyous celebration.

My prayer for you today is that you set your affections on heavenly things.

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