Monday, July 16, 2012
Welcome to Day 197 of our Life Journal!
Click here for today’s reading: Isaiah 25; Isaiah 26; Isaiah 27; Isaiah 28; Hebrews 13 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Chapters 24-27, Israel’s redemption through world judgment. Chapter 25 is a song of thanksgiving!
Isaiah 25:1, “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”
25:9, “In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.'”
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”
9, “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.”
Isaiah 27:2, “In that day—“Sing about a fruitful vineyard: 3 I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. 4
I am not angry.”
Isaiah 28:16, “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone
for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed.”
Hebrews 13:5, “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.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?””
Interesting… the scripture, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” is directly related to contentment and being free from the love of money.
The theme of Jesus being our rock continues… (I touched on this over the past weekend, that we are like “living stones” being built into a spiritual house, 1 Peter 2:4-5.)
1 Timothy 6:6 states, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (One of my favorite verses.) Paul passing on his wisdom from personal experience to young Timothy…
Today’s passage from Hebrews echoes that simple-yet-weighty verse, “Be content with what you have…”
Being content with what you have does two things… First, it frees me from trying to keep up with the Joneses. Secondly, it removes a lot of pressure, both socially and financially.
There is nothing wrong with wanting a bigger house or new car, or even clothes with a certain label.
It really comes down to motivation. Why?
We are in the process of selling our house. Just down-sizing… Trying to down-size our mortgage payment. (It’s expensive when you have a family of six!) Now we are officially “empty nesters.” All our kids are grown and have moved out. We just don’t need the home we have…
I have never been much into houses and cars. (I do love my technology, though.)
Bonnie and I lived in a two-room apartment in Manhattan when we were first married. Two rooms, 10 x 14, a kitchen with no cupboards and a nasty bathroom. Oh, and a 35′ hallway… on the 5th floor. (No elevator.)
Then, we moved to the booming metropolis of downtown Eaton, Ohio. My hometown. We lived above a Whirlpool Appliance Center. We had only one car, and I commuted to Dayton every day.
As our family grew, our housing needs grew. I had started a business that was fairly successful, so we were able to purchase our first house after nearly 10 years of marriage. (We had been renting a three bedroom “Cape Cod” in Tipp City, just prior the purchase of our first house.)
I shut down my business in 1996 and went on staff at the Vineyard full time. We sold our house and moved to Beavercreek and purchased our current house… a downsize from our beautiful new home in which we had been living.
But it’s all a matter of perspective… To some, our current house could be their dream house. To others, it’s “just a tri-level.”
It has never much mattered to me where I lived. In college I shared a studio (one room) apartment. Then again in New York. I slept on the floor, on top of three large pillows, with my head propped up by my skateboard!
Contentment has never been much of a struggle for me. Bonnie and I have seen desperate financial times and other times of great financial blessing.
Either way, I have been content.
I have always worked hard, but trusted God every step of the way. We have steadily (for the most part) tithed since the day we were married. At one point, we were able to give an offering of $15,000.00 over and above our tithe. That was fun!
And there were times that when Bonnie did a party and the $55.00 she earned enabled us to put gas in our tanks and food on the table for a few days.
Paul also wrote in Philippians 4:11-12, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances… I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
I’m not saying this is easy. Like most things in the Bible, at times, they are easier said than done.
But again, it comes down to trust. Can I, do I trust in Him. Or do I trust in my own ability, strength, talent, personality, skills? Obviously, those traits can impact our earning potential, along with education and hard work… but one can be poor and just as materialistic, striving to have more.
The issue is never what we have, it always comes down to our heart.
(I know many of you can relate to our story… financial struggle, blessing and God’s faithfulness through it all!)
Thank you Lord for providing for me and my family over the years. You are so faithful!