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Posts Tagged ‘necessities’

Content or Coveting

January 17th, 2015

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV.

EDL Contentment graphic

Coveting is the enemy of contentment.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “content or coveting.”

The world surrounding you is incurably materialistic yet increasingly discontented. Commercial advertising fosters discontent, until you not only want more, you think you actually need more. Never confuse luxuries with necessities or desires with needs. Your Father promises to supply all your needs, but not all your wants. Paul was clear, “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV. Of that you can be absolutely sure.

The complication comes when you covet what you see others have. Coveting is a wicked thing, causing you to envy others to the extent that you would prefer you were so fortunate, and ultimately that they were not. The Bible speaks wisely and practically, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with what you have.” Hebrews 13:5 NKJV. Coveting is the enemy of contentment. Contentment is the cure for coveting.

The Bible states a sure and simple truth, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 NIV. Paul’s reasoning is also simple; “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8 NIV. Know when enough is enough. Discontentment leaves you vulnerable to covetous desires, insatiably wanting what you do not have and begrudging what others enjoy. “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10 NIV.

That is the reality that corrupted the bliss of the Garden of Eden, “When Eve saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eye, and desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Genesis 3:6. She saw; she desired; she took. That is a formula for a spiraling regression to discontent. Instead, may your heart pray, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your Word.” Psalm 119:37 NIV.

Years earlier, my friend, Campbell, shared a wise and invaluable lesson with me: the heart cannot desire what the eye has not seen. Looking produces longing; longing creates a need to possess. Having too little money is not your biggest problem; the real dilemma and one that touches every soul is when you covet what others have, thereby loving money as a necessity for supplying your desires without reliance on God.

When you covet what others have, you will eventually doubt God’s willingness and ability to provide your needs. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”  2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV. It is simple; present every need to God in prayer, trusting Him to give you whatever is wise for you, consistent with His will, and in His time and manner. Paul found contentment to be a lesson learned, ”. . in any and every situation . . whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Read Philippians 4:6-7, 11-13 NIV. Imagine your life satisfied and content.

Today, my prayer for you is that you avoid struggling to have things you don’t need.

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Sufficiency

October 7th, 2013

“As your days, so shall your strength be.”  Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV.

God’s sufficiency is proportional to your daily necessity.

My thoughts and comments today are about “sufficiency.”

Some days can feel overwhelming, too tough and too long. Problems can seem unrelenting, clouding perspective and challenging perseverance. Burdens are exhausting and worry is fatiguing. There are times when you are unsure if any strength remains. In 2000, when my Mom was in hospice care for seven weeks, I felt absolutely drained. My heart was heavy; my soul was weary. There was a tiredness I had not known before. Day by day, I felt more and more emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually depleted.

Then into my growing darkness, God spoke. No, it was not audible; at that moment, I was too fragile for that. Into my weariness, God spoke this life-giving truth, “As your days, so shall your strength be.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. In those seven weeks, I was strengthened and sustained daily by God’s words to me. Later, I found those words in Moses’ final blessings to the tribes of Israel, just before his death. In blessing Asher, Moses said, “As your days, so shall your strength be . . the eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:25/27 NKJV. Reliable commentary on this verse explains God’s promise as two-fold.

(1) In God, your strength is sufficient for the extent of your days. David’s personal testimony is this: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Psalm 37:25 NIV. Whatever the length of your years, God’s strength and supply neither diminishes nor is exhaustible, and is provided life-long.

(2) In God, your strength will be appropriate to the content of your day. God’s strength and sufficiency is proportioned in its graces and comforts to your daily necessity. “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:5 NIV/1:8-10 NKJV.Whatever your trials or difficulties, God always gives ample grace to support you in them and bring you through them.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread . .” Matthew 6:11 NKJV. Bread is representative of the all basic requirements of daily life – all that provides, nourishes, enriches, and sustains life and well-being each and every day. Supernaturally,God provided manna to Israel with instructions. Read Exodus 16:16-23 NIV. Daily, God provided enough. Notice particularly, “. . Everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.” Vs. 18 NLT.

God’s supply is always sufficient. The lesson to be drawn is that God’s provision is always ample, yet your efforts without His blessing and provision will lack. See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NKJV. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work . . that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV/Ephesians 3:19-20 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you find God’s grace, love, and power sufficient.

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Wants and Needs

August 12th, 2010

“God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

“The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all they earn.”

My thoughts today are about “wants and needs.”

It’s not a pleasant thing to have less than you feel you need. The problem is that too often your own estimation of how much you need is cushioned on the side of having extra. In general, we all want more than we probably need. It seems so obvious, but let me state my position clearly: the Bible does not promise that God will supply all your wants; God does promise that He will meet all your needs. Wants do not determine need. “God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV.

God’s promise is not a license for you to put yourself in need from excessive spending or improper stewardship, and then bring your voluntarily assumed obligations to God for payment. Of course, you cannot knowingly get yourself in debt unwisely and then expect that God provide what you lack. The promise to meet your need applies to the necessities of everyday life, not the niceties. Necessities are food, drink, clothing, and shelter. Jesus said, ”So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing . . Your Heavenly father already knows all your needs.” Matthew 6:25-33 NLT.

Let’s consider excessive spending. Easy credit has put more people in financial jeopardy than any other single thing. It is not the borrower who benefits from credit; it’s the lender. Solomon wisely wrote, “The borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NIV. It is simple practical wisdom that you cannot spend more than you have without getting into trouble.

God has a promise to Israel and a goal for you: ”The Lord will bless you . . you will lend money to many nations, but you will have no need to borrow from any; you will have control over many nations, but no nation will have control over you.” Deuteronomy 15:6 NLT. Borrowing forfeits control to someone other than God. Having no need to borrow; that’s God’s hope for you.

Credit is fueled by financial impatience to have what you want, the seed of which is often a lack of trust in God to know what you truly need and provide it when you need it. People often have the process reversed, bringing to God the needs they have created, when God wants to bring to you what you need. And then people wonder why the promise doesn’t work the way they wish it would.

My Dad quoted to me what became a basic, financial understanding for a young teen, “If your outgo is more than your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.” I do not assume that was original to him, but it was how he lived and taught me to live. I’m the better for it.

Stewardship has four dimensions to balance: earning, spending, saving, and giving. Care for the first two properly, then saving and giving are much easier to do; fail the first and the others are less possible. The wise do not spend before they earn, or more than they earn, nor all that they earn. That is how God meets your needs, and provides you the extra for saving – to bless you family’s future, and giving – to the Kingdom of God, and others. See Proverbs 11:24-26 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you trust God to provide all you need.

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Rollover Minutes

November 13th, 2009

“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NLT

“In business they say, ‘ Time is money’; in life, money is time!”

My thoughts today are about “rollover minutes.”

In any given day, you have only so much time; use it wisely and use it well. A prominent cellular company promotes their company’s service plan as having rollover minutes, which as you know means that any minutes not used in the billable month can be carried over to the next months. Real life is not like that; real life has no rollover minutes. Any minute wasted or not used purposefully is gone, unrecoverable and lost forever.

How many days and years God grants you may vary from one person to another, but everyone gets the same number of minutes and hours in their day; you can’t buy more or borrow extra. Really, when you think about it, it is not about how many minutes you have but about how well you use them and for what you trade them.

The author of What To Do Between Birth and Death: The Art of Growing Up writes, “You don’t really pay for things with money; you pay for them with time.” Have you ever thought about it that way? You only know the real cost of something by calculating how much time you traded out of your life in order to buy that. In business they say, “Time is money.” In life, money is time!

You spend a significant part of your life working for money in order to trade that for things you need or want. Some of those things are necessities, things you have to have. A few of those things are luxuries, things you want to have whether needed or not. I wonder if your purchases would change if you calculated how much of your life you were trading for that thing you thought you could not live without – things that will soon be broken, lost, or be replaced by a supposedly new and improved model.

I think I am pretty careful about how I spend money, but I realize that I am not always as careful about how I spend my time. Really, if I am not making the most of my time, I have failed real stewardship.

The Bible advises, “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NLT. Apparently, you are not growing in wisdom until you are successfully making the most of the time you have. See Matthew 6:19-21 NIV.

Maybe the first, and most important thing about using time wisely is investing in things eternal before temporal. Jesus told the story of two men whose lives touched. One enjoyed many things for which he had traded his time on earth until in eternity he found himself in torment wanting some comfort though none could be given him. The other had meager comforts in his lifetime, but somehow made the most of his time and was received into God’s presence upon his death. Read Luke 16:19-28 NIV. Which used time wisely? Your flesh is temporal; your soul is eternal!

There is a simple but haunting question Jesus asks, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:37 NKJV. You won’t get any rollover minutes. Use the ones you have wisely.

My prayer for you today is: rememberthis, time is brief then gone; eternity is forever.

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