Tag Archives: Contentment

How to Pray

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. –Proverbs 30:7‭-‬9, KJV

Do you ever think Jesus felt frustrated with His disciples? They made a few silly statements and asked quite a few silly questions, sometimes immediately after He gave a decent explanation of things.

That has little to do with today’s passage, but for people steeped in religious teachings and Bible readings (well, the tanakh, or our Old Testament) they missed quite a bit.

For example, do these verses look familiar?

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Luke 11:1‭-‬4

Admittedly, it could be hard to miss this little prayer in Proverbs for how important it really is, especially knowing Jesus’ disciples were mostly anything but religious leaders who studied the Scriptures frequently.

This passage, though, does more fully explain what Jesus was telling us to pray:

  • Teach me to be content,
  • Help me control my mouth and thoughts,
  • Keep me from blaspheming you by my actions,
  • Remind me that You are in control, and people watch me when I say I am Yours.

In other words, “God, help me love You and love others.”

It keeps coming back to these two things. Almost like they are great commandments. 😉

Pray for contentment in all things but one: Pray for an abundance of love.

Advertisements

Getting Over Ourselves for the Well Done

Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen. –Proverbs 25:6‭-‬7, KJV

You probably remember the parable of the Wedding Feast as found in Luke 14. Jesus was basically retelling Proverbs 25 verses six and seven.

What are Solomon and Jesus telling us?

Get over yourself.

We live in a very individualistic society that says it’s okay to demand the best treatment and put yourself forward. After all, you deserve it.

But God says “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That means to not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (See Romans 12:3)

Just as Christ, who, though was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be attained, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (See Philippians 2:6‭-‬7)

Likewise, we should not demand our own way or seek prestige, power, or popularity. (I could be a Baptist preacher with alliteration like that!)

No, we should instead put others first and then say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” (See Luke 17:10)

Then our holy King will draw us close on the last day and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”


Cruisin’

car-309544_1280Our old(est) suburban was purchased in 1994, which seems like a long time ago until you consider this particular vehicle was a 1977.  Yep, complete with the two-tone orange/beige paint job—it was known as “the rolling pumpkin” at the mechanic shop.  No computer, no electric windows, and someone even had enough sense of humor to install glass packs.  Man, you could hear me coming down a hill from a mile away!  It idled so loudly that one morning the sonic waves set of the alarm on the fancy car next to it in the high school parking lot. Continue reading


Bloodsuckers!

Proverbs 30:15-16

“The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.”

Leaches

Different sources disagree as to what a “horseleach” actually is, at least in the context of this verse. However, the general consensus is that what this proverb is referring to is a leach of some sort. Either way you put it, however you define it, a leach is a leach.

I am not a leach expert, so what I am about to say about the nasty parasite should not be taken as the gospel truth, but it seems that leaches have suckers at both ends. This could be why this proverb describes the horseleach as having two “daughters” that cry, “Give! Give!

Unsatisfied

Verse sixteen describes four things that are never satisfied. The first is the grave, followed by a “barren womb,” the dry earth, and then fire. All four are linked to the leach, the bloodsucker, that is never satisfied, always wanting more and more.

The grave yards are not getting smaller. As a matter of fact, in some places like Japan grave spaces are rented because space is so limited. Death and the grave keep crying out, “More! More!”

I have known women that cannot have children, yet their desire never goes away. I have watched water get soaked up by dry ground. I have often witnessed the insatiable desire of flames as they burn with increasing fury, yet are never satisfied with what they have destroyed. Perpetual unsatisfaction is a pitiful thing to witness.

I Can’t Get No

Do you remember the old song by the Rolling Stones, “Satisfaction?” In my mind I can hear the famous phrase Mick Jagger repeated over and over throughout the song, “I tried, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried.” And no matter how hard he tried, still he would say, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

But that’s the world for ya’. Nothing in this world has any lasting effects. No thirst is ultimately quenched…no burning desire is ever fully satisfied…no expectation is ever completely realized. Even when people get what they think they want, they find they “can’t get no satisfaction.”

The Well

However, there is hope. There is hope for the weary, the heavy-laden, the lonely, the wounded, the hungry, and those whose thirst is beyond anything a mountain spring can quench.

In the book of John, chapter four, we read about a woman that came to draw water from a well. She was thirsty. But at that well she met Jesus.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.”  But then he said, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).

What is the answer to an undying thirst? The Water of Life.


Deceitful Riches

Proverbs 23:1-3

When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. (NIV)

The Wealthiest

Most if not all people who read this live in or were born in a so-called First World nation. These are the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations.

The standard need of the average citizen here – food, clothing, shelter, etcetera – is usually met.

In fact, today’s passage is probably more of a warning to you if you live in one of these nations, than it is a warning for someone from a Third World nation – a nation of extreme poverty and lack of advanced technology (though they usually have cell phones!) However, it is a warning for all people who have wants and desires.

The same old warning

Everyone wants their children to have a better life than they had … or at least a better life for themselves, so there is always a desire for better circumstances.

However, look at many lottery winners or those who receive large inheritances. They end up bankrupt and sometimes worse than before.

The reason is simple: they fall in love with MORE! They see how nice it is to always have food and things, and they simply want more.

Paul warned us through Timothy about this almost 2000 years ago, but also with advice:

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
1 Timothy 6:9-11

Gracious God, protect our hearts from a love of more of the things and money of this world. Rather, please give us a heart for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and humility!


Why Worry?

Proverbs 21:21

21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

Can’t Take It With You

Most of us have heard the phrase “You can’t take it with you when you die!” This is one of those euphemisms to allude to the fact that stuff does not matter, and the pursuit of things and money ultimately is pointless.

So many people struggle with getting enough or having enough, and their lives only have trouble or emptiness. Either they are always seeking more or greater, or they feel like they are failing to provide or failing at life.

This can even be true among Christians. We all only want to provide for ourselves and our families, to create a full life, so we seek out the means to do that.

Seek first …

However, God tells us the best and ultimately the only way to provide our needs.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:33

When we seek God’s holiness and more of Him in our lives, we will want the things God wants. In the process, God will take care of all our needs. This is not just making sure we have food to eat, water to drink, clothing, and a place to sleep.

In return for our faithfulness, God, in His faithfulness, gives us eternal life, righteousness, and a good name (honor). All of this comes through His Son, Jesus the Christ.

Heavenly Father, lead us by Your Holy Spirit to seek only You. Give us a thirst for righteousness and mercy, that we may not feel the need to worry and to bring glory to Your name!


A Crumby Life

Proverbs 17:1

“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” (NIV)

Struggling Through

I have some friends. These friends are great people, and soon after they got married they moved in with my wife and me.

We had to live together, you see, because I had lost my job, my wife had just graduated and was looking for work, and they had no jobs of their own. The little bit of income the four of us brought in was barely enough to pay rent, the bills, and get food.

And you know: the four of us have so many great memories together.

There were times when we were sharing three-day-old spaghetti, because that was all we had. There were times we borrowed toilet paper from their parents. There were times we had to ask family for money or food just to get by.

But we would play games together, laugh about the silliest things, and share all of our hurts and joys together.

Too much on the plate

Of those friends, his family is great. My wife and I call his parents “our other parents”. Her family makes Jacob’s (from Genesis) look like a finely functioning family. (If you do not know what I mean, go read Jacob’s story in Genesis 25-37!)

Her family squabbles about every little thing (really, it is her sisters who do all of the squabbling), while dad lets them figure it out on their own and mom cleans up the messes. My poor friend (and her mom, really) are the closest to sane in the whole family.

The problem is not that the family does not need to worry about money, because they are doing rather well.

The problem is that everyone is either looking out only for themselves (the sisters) or do not know how to deal with issues well if at all (mom and dad). They just keep heaping everything on until there is an explosion, and everyone is hurt.

My friends prefer spending the afternoon with us walking our dog and cleaning up his messes than a short meal with her family.

The Crumby Life

It is possible to “have it all” and live in peace and quiet. The real issue is that people try to make this life all about themselves, and they take and take and take without really giving back.

We must learn to be content, to seek God and what He has for us, and to share with others more than we demand.

Only then will we find peace.

God of peace, grant us the wisdom to find contentment with what You have already blessed us. If we are eager for more, may it be of more of You and sharing with others. Make us the peacemakers and givers of this world!