8 minutes reading time (1620 words)

Short Topics II

I have a favor to request. Last Monday, September 16, I struggled through another stroke. The effects, blurred vision in the right eye, speech more slurred than it is now and inability to call up the words that I wanted to use lasted about six hours then they were gone. Felt about “half a bubble off of plum” for a few more days but now I’m back. First, praise and thank God for my recovery then ask God to bless my health. This was exceedingly difficult for me to write but Sunday Gale Crump told me that I needed to open up and let people pray for me. Thanks for the encouragement Gale!!

Contentment

The Hebrew means simply "to be pleased." The Greek brings out the full force of the word in 1 Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5. Contentment (1 Timothy 6:6) is more inward than satisfaction; the former is a habit or permanent state of mind, the latter has to do with some particular occurrence or object.

Webster’s definition: The state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied with things the way they are. It seems rare today that people are content with things in life. Career, finances, home, marriage, children, church, just life, in general, there is much to be desired. Our need for more or better tends to drive us. Contentment isn't getting what we want but being satisfied with what we have.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 that he had learned to be content no matter what. He uses the word "need," which appears to speak to basic physical needs. He also says, "no matter the circumstances". I believe we can take contentment to every blessing God has made for us. He blesses us with all our needs not necessarily all our wants. It’s good to try to better yourself in life but when your lack of contentment becomes an obsession, you are moving into dangerous territory. Don’t lose focus on what’s important, your relationship with God. Be content and wait on God.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 27:14 ESV “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for

the Lord!”

Complacence

Why look at complacence just after writing about contentment? In his book, On The Anvil, Max Lucado writes that we must be careful not to allow satan to lull us into complacence which is quite different from contentment. Read what Max Lucado writes: “Complacence. Life with no questions. Blind acceptance. No probing. No searching. No yearning. We live in a world plagued by complacence. Complacent to God. Churchgoers pack the pews and sing to the back of someone’s head. Fellowship is lost in formality. One, two, three times a week people pay their dues by walking in the door, enduring a ritual, and walking out. Guilt is appeased. God is insulted. Are we so naïve as to think that he needs our attendance? Are we so ignorant that we put God in a box, thinking he can be taken in and out at our convenience? The most deadly trick of satan is not to rob us of answers. It’s to steal our questions.” We must not become complacent with our relationship with God. It must continually grow through fellowship with one another in worship, our own Bible study and prayer,

Is the Bible a set of rules or are a pattern for living life?

God initially gave the law or “rules” which he set forth in the Old Testament. He saw that people would not be successful keeping His laws. He took away the law with the death of Christ. The New Testament sets forth a guide for living a happy life. The Bible does not promise happiness in every situation.

Some writers believe that the Bible is not God’s “how to book” but rather is about what has been done in the sacrifice of Christ. They write that the Word of God is primarily and essentially about the saving revelation of the divine Word of God. No argument from me but Christ’s life while on earth was all about teaching what a Christian life meant. For me, the Bible outlines a happy life in Christ. Follow Christ’s teachings and life will not be perfect, but it will bring overall success and happiness.

Peer Pressure

Years ago, there was a drug presentation for high school students that addressed the peer pressure kids were under to use drugs. It started off using this thought: "I'm not what I think I am; I'm not what you think I am, but I am what I think you think I am". If you take a moment to think about the statement, you will agree that the statement has a lot of truth in it.

As a kid, I remember the pressure started as a dare: "I dare you to run into the fog of the mosquito truck". If that wasn't enough pressure, then the dreaded "double-dog dare" was put into play. Who could resist the double-dog dare? The pressure from other children was out front and almost never subtle.

As we grew older, the pressure seemed to grow into more severe actions. There was helping your best friend by lying to his parents to keep him out of trouble. Then there was helping that person you so desperately wanted to win as a best friend to cheat on a test. Take a drag off the cigarette to be seen as one of the cool people, drinking that first beer so as not to be a dork and finally a giant slide downward by trying that first drug, most likely marijuana. Hopefully, we became more resistant to peer pressure before hitting bottom.

We tend to think of peer pressure just being for children, but those thoughts fall short of the truth. Adults use more subtle ways, like manipulation to apply peer pressure. Your boss says: "Let's get this account no matter what". You know what “no matter what” means. Your best client has a filthy joke he can't wait to tell you. Do you listen?

I did business with a guy, AP, who was the master of manipulation. AP was highly intelligent using his mastery of the language and implied consent to win. He used words like trepidation instead of concern; incongruous for inconsistent and the master of all time was eleemosynary for charitable. It took me over five minutes to find that one in the dictionary. After demonstrating his mastery of the language, AP had you on the ropes, so he went for the implied consent: "Mike, I'm sure that you agree with me that…" AP's ideas weren't exactly illegal but sometimes shady.

Peer pressure or manipulation is why God wrote I Corinthians 15:33 "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." You can't always avoid bad company, but you can be aware and be ready.

Fear

In the deep, dark recesses of your mind or soul do you have fears and doubts? Something that not even your spouse or closest friends don’t know about? Maybe you think God does not know and believe you have been successful hiding them from him. Rest assured God knows and wants you to come to him in prayer about your fears and doubts. He wants to wrap his arms around you and let you know you are loved.

My father’s sister, Auntie, years ago became convinced that she had committed the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. No one understood what Auntie had done and she could not explain it but to her it was so real that she spent considerable time in the hospital.

I have a friend that deals with anxiety and depression most days. She functions quite well but the anxiety and depression haunt her.

I believe these problems are brought on by the devil. He knows where we are weakest both physically and mentally. II Corinthians 10:4 -“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” We need to have faith that God will help us fight all battles. His arms are there for us.

Song: Do You Know My Jesus? “Who knows your disappointments? Who hears each time you cry? Who understands your heartaches? Who dries then tears from your eyes?”

“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.” John Piper

I would like for the writings on the blog to interactive. If you see something in a different light, let me know. Share with me your thinking and why you have that belief. Be nice, kind, and gentle when you share. I may share your feedback on the blog, but I will get your permission first. We can grow by being patient and understanding other's thoughts. This will NOT be a forum for debate. To me, the purpose of a debate is to declare a winner. It's my wish that we help one another in growing our relationship with God!

Send me your thoughts: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks

Mike

Just Like Jesus
Short Topics - I

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