Tag Archives: spirituality

Who’s Content?

In doing a small, very unscientific survey, there are several words frequently used to describe being content.  Peace/peaceful, happy, complete, satisfied, and joy are just a few.  The definition that I found in Webster’s dictionary which I think best fits us in relation to the world is:  Rest or quietness of the mind in one’s present condition.  How easy is it to be content?  Sometimes hard…sometimes easy, it depends.  But I have discovered one important thing; the more you have of God and His word in your heart…the easier it is to be content in all situations.

If you look in any magazine, on a billboard, or watch any television you can pretty much see what the world values.  The “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality is still in full swing even with the financial climate we live in.  We need to have everything bigger and better than our neighbor.  We do whatever it takes to get that promotion or raise at work.  We have to be successful to be happy.  –  How false is that?  1 Timothy 6:7-9 states; “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.  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.”  Please know, I am not saying that if you have a nice home, car, high paying successful job that you cannot be content or be a Christian.  But if these are the ‘things’ that you need to be content…you are on a very self-destructive path.

During the past several years many people have taken their own lives and those of some family members because of financial difficulties.  What do these types of actions say about where these people placed their hope?  Are we, as followers of Christ, walking around with the same mind set, yet not taking it to this kind of extreme?  Are we content in our present condition?  Does discontent have any place in our heart?

I have come to the conclusion that there is only one area in my life that I should be discontent in and that is my walk with Jesus.  Why?  Because the goal of my life is to become like Christ not necessarily to be happy.  God does want us happy…but He will do what it takes for each of us to have and grow in His character.  How could we ever become satisfied or okay with where we are in Christ?  Our life with Christ is a moment by moment journey.  We struggle, we learn, we fail, we begin again.  We praise, we pray, we read, we worship, we love Him.  We seek Gods will in our life on a daily basis and ask Him to show us, as we go along how to be content in His arms…His love.  When we love Jesus first and foremost…then and only then are we truly content!

Getting the ‘Chaff’ Out!

isCAAETLF8

Matthew 3:11-12 (AMP)  “I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing you minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins].  But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.”

Our threshing floor is at the foot of the Cross.  Christ’s sacrifice is the instrument which leads to the loosening of the hard outer surface of our souls.  When we ask Him, with a repentant heart to forgive our sins—we are asking Him to loosen and remove the old ’husk’ or chaff of our lives.  That ’husk’ is the world…our flesh woman or man.  It is the part of us that rebels against God.  But that’s only the first step.  Now we have to get rid of the chaff—or our old habits, attitudes and ideas.  To do that we have to spend time in God’s word, spend time in prayer and communion with Him, assemble ourselves together with like-minded individuals.  We need teaching and preaching.  Our priority with Jesus must become the most important part of our lives.  The more we love Him—the more the ‘chaff’ of this world is going to come off.

Yet as I was studying about the winnowing process of wheat as it relates to the scripture above, I came across a very interesting comment about it.  Something I never new and God took it in a whole new direction for me.  That statement was:  “Winnowing is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain.”  Read it again.  Stored grain—that’s us as followers of Jesus Christ.  We’ve asked Him for forgiveness, we love Him and want to serve Him.  We attend church and lift our hands in praise and worship.  But—what about the ‘weevils or other pests’ – what are they?  Weevils and other pests are the things satan uses to get our eyes off Jesus.  They are the things in this world that we allow in our lives.  They creep in when we become complacent or apathetic about our relationship with Jesus.  While we follow Jesus—if we’re not careful we can become complacent and lose our first love.  We can become lukewarm to the things of God.  The Holy Spirit which dwells in us is a consuming fire…it is our helper in this world so that we know what is good for us and what isn’t.  If we sit in ’storage’ and not read God’s word as we should, not pray and commune with Him, weevils or other pests can enter our lives.

Some good questions to ask yourself and for me to ask myself are:  what kind of time are you spending reading and studying the word of God?  How much time do you spend on your knees in prayer or just meditating on who He is?  What kind of people are you spending time with?  Are they followers of Christ also or do they still love the world?  What types of TV programs and movies do you watch?  What kind of books do you read?  There is a great question—WWJD…or what would Jesus do?  Why?  Just imagine if Jesus came down in the flesh to spend a week with you.  As you go about your life, day in and day out for that week, how much of it would you change?  How many times would you change the channel on the TV?  What books or magazines would you put away so He wouldn’t see?  Which friends would you keep Him away from?

The winnowing process from my perspective after this study is definitely a continual one.  For us to live holy lives as God requires we have to make sure that –just because we are followers of Jesus—we don’t stop learning, praying, studying and giving Him all of our very best.  Is it an easy process?  NO.  Does it sometimes hurt?  YES!  But the more we are ’winnowed’, the more we become like Him and the more we become like Him, the more we can show the world His love, His grace, and His mercy.  The old ’chaff’ of our attitudes, habits and ideas need to be winnowed until the become the attitudes, habits and will of our God.  In His will we will find that everything we become and do is for God’s glory…it is to show the world the Savior it needs.

…And For Your Next Dance?

Matt 14:6,8 (ESV) But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod.—Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”

Well you might just be wondering, what kind of encouraging lesson can you get out of those two verses.  I myself asked God the very same question when He gave them to me.  Lust in one and death in another.  But then as I read and reread the story I realized just what God was trying to point out.  INFLUENCE, holding ‘sway’ over someone.  It is something we have, something we don’t think too often about but something we have to be very careful with.

Take the story in Matthew, when Herodias’ daughter danced before Herod (her step-dad), she didn’t just please him…she PLEASED him.  The Amplified version states ‘she pleased and fascinated Herod.’  She was so good that Herod said he would give her whatever she asked.  In discussing it with her mother beforehand, she asked for the head of John the Baptist.  Several questions to ask about this—1 What mother, in her right mind, would use her daughter to fuel the lust of a man? and then—2 What mother, again in her right mind, would use her daughter to murder a man whom she knew was right?  It’s hard to look at this story and not feel disgust at the people involved.

Yet the questions for us to ask ourselves are:  How do we use our influence over other people?  And/or how do the things we do and say influence those around us?  Whether we realize it or not we are being watched; by our family, friends, coworkers, people we see in church, and strangers we encounter everyday.  And if you have declared yourself to be a follower of Jesus Christ, the scrutiny of how you act is watched even more so.  Our words, our attitudes, our actions can all be used to either help someone or hurt them.  Example…you go to church—you take part in ministry—you’re a visible part of the congregation and then someone over hears you speak badly about another person.  How do you think it would affect them?  Or you profess to be a follower of Jesus Christ, yet when out in public (say at work, the grocery store, post office, etc.) you act the same as the person who does not have a relationship with Jesus.  What kind of witness is that to a lost and dying world?

Even though each person is entirely responsible for their own salvation and walk with Christ, we are not to be stumbling blocks to others.  Our relationship with Jesus should be the guiding factor in all we do, say, how we act and react…Jesus should be the ’yardstick’ with which we measure ourselves.  We are only passers by on this earth.  Our ultimate goal is to praise God forever.  And while we are aiming for that, we also need to be very conscious of the impact and influence we have on those around us.  From our children…to the stranger on the street.  The old adage—do what I say not what I do—will only cause hurt and confusion.  The study of the scriptures, a solid and consistent prayer life and fasting will only improve us and make our influence better.  God desires for each of us to have an impact on this world…let’s start with those around us and make sure the ‘sway’ we have on others is only a positive one.  Let the ‘dances’ that we choose be for the glory of God and His kingdom.  Let’s show the world we are different…because they are looking for the HOPE we have already found!