Tag Archives: money

In Search of Contentment, Pt. 5

Find the Supply of Jesus for You. (Vs. 19)

In the context of this passage, Paul was commending the Philippian church members, because they were faithful to send Missionary Paul money to help him further the Gospel and plant new churches.  Paul is the New Testament missionary that most missionaries pattern their ministry after – even today.   Jesus gives a promise to those Christians who are faithful to give to missions work specifically – “God will supply all your need.”

These church folks were content with what money and things they had – so much so that they gave above their regular tithes and offerings to God through their church and gave extra to help Paul and other missionaries.  These people had great faith in God and were not consumed with material gain.  God has said – “I promise that I will give the selfless everything they need in life.”  Do you believe this promise?  Would you give more to missions if God asked you to?

A content person is willing to give more, and because of that willingness, God actually gives him more – to give in return!  It all starts with contentment.

There are several things in life that cannot be bought.  Like the old Mastercard commercials said: “Some things money can’t buy, for everything else, there’s Mastercard!”

  • Good health has no price tag.
  • Good friends cannot be bought.
  • Great marriages are priceless.
  • Great kids are worth every investment you put into them (and more).

Here are some things that only Jesus can supply.

The Peace of Mind. 

Jesus said in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Years ago, Ray Cazis summarized a Duke University study on ‘peace of mind.’ Factors found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability are:

  1. “The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
  2. Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
  3. Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
  4. Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
  5. Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
  6. Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues—love, humor, compassion and loyalty.
  7. Do not expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
  8. Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest on any test for measuring happiness.”

That is a good summary with many biblical applications for our daily life.  Are you living with peace in your life, or is your heart and mind full of anxiety today?  Most of what we worry about will never happen anyway.  Many times, it is the stuff we hope to have or patterns of life we resort to that are contributing to the lack of peace we may experience.

 

 

Please read on the the conclusion of In Search of Contentment, PART 6…

The Value Vs. Cost of A Christian School Education

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Luke 14:28

While you may not be building a tower, every parent is building a child!  The principle of counting the cost definitely applies to how we manage the upbringing and education of our children.  To the Christian parent with conviction for Christian education, there is no monetary value that they would place on a Christian school opportunity for their children. To them it is priceless.

The value of the Christian school far outweighs any monetary cost. The parent with conviction for Christian schooling will find any and every way possible to pay tuition, look for financial assistance, and even change money spending patterns – in order to put or keep their kids in the Christian school.

Everything worth something does cost.  It could cost time, money, energy, and most definitely – commitment.  Schooling always will cost something. Even if a government school education does not cost money, it does cost something.   Not everything is measured by dollars and cents.

So many are the benefits of a Christian school:

  • The reinforcement of Christian values the parents are currently teaching at home.
  • Math, science, literature, and history all taught from an absolute truth perspective.
  • Weekly chapels and daily bible classes to encourage spiritual growth and frame advanced spiritual formation in the heart and mind of the student.
  • A safe place to practice Christianity on a daily basis.
  • Not only is there the potential for spiritual formation, but also social formation. Students can practice their Christianity and relational skills in a formal setting.
  • An atmosphere that reduces, not totally eliminates, a worldly mindset. Kids are kids (still sinners) in any environment.
  • The areas of academic rigor, social interaction, and personal discipline each have high expectations for each student.
  • Teachers who value and love each student, taking the time necessary to engage them daily, pray with them, and encourage good academics while fostering a good attitude.
  • A curriculum developed from a non-secular Christian world view.

These benefits are either practical, philosophical, or spiritual.  None of these benefits are economical.   With benefits like this, you see why parents with a Christian school conviction value the school opportunity so much!  The economic cost is not much compared to the spiritual, social, and philosophical benefits.

It is simply worth it to them. Here are several areas a Christian school convicted parent may change in their life in order to be able to “afford” the Christian school.

  1. They may buy store brand items instead of brand name items.
  2. They may buy food in bulk instead of prepackaged individual servings.
  3. They may go without soda pop or other high-priced beverages. Some people even resort to being so health conscience and financially savvy, they only drink water.
  4. Some resort to buying what is on sale at the grocery store, even clipping coupons, or scanning receipts for refunds on an app.
  5. Some teach their older kids how to mow lawns and the students save up for school the previous summer. Other seasonal work can assist in this too.
  6. They sell high ticket items such as an extra car, boat, ATV, snowmobile, or camper.
  7. They may cut back on unnecessary things in life such as cable, Internet, newspaper / magazine subscriptions, or cell phone services.  Children and teens have no real need for big cell phone plans. Non-smart phones can cost as little as $10 a month and even then – that is a luxury.  One phone to share is sufficient and not only will cut spending but will also ensure morality and create accountability for their phone usage.
  8. They may take less trips. Less spontaneous trips to the store due to poor planning. Even 2-3 days less on some vacations (in some cases) could pay the entire year’s tuition for one student!

Cost Versus Value.  They do not always match.  Explore your options.  How much of a value is a Christian School Education as opposed to not having one?  What is the true cost?

Any other cost cutting ideas to help pay tuition for a Christian school education???

Please post them in the comments below.

In Search of Contentment, Pt. 4

Find the Strength of Jesus in You. (vs.13)

What an incredible statement: “I can do all things through Christ…” This well-known verse is many times taken out of context or stretched to imply things that it is not truly dealing with.

The doing of “all things” is not accomplished by your own power, intellect, ability, or willpower.  It is accomplished by the power of God.

Being content is a choice founded upon the strength of Jesus.  Many people are in search of contentment but may not even see that the underlying drive in their life is the need for contentment.  They may turn to a relationship in search of being content or satisfied.  They may turn to drugs, vaping, alcohol, pornography, or some other addiction in search of fulfillment.

What happens is the relationship, the addiction, or the perceived “need” then becomes a controlling factor in their life.  Instead of finding contentment, they find themselves enslaved to the “need” for more of their “medicine” or, in reality, poison.

Christianity Today, in their March 2019 magazine, featured the testimony of a former NFL player named Miles McPherson who played for the San Diego Chargers from 1982-1985.  As he tells his story, he had everything a person could want: a well-paying job, a dream come true to play professional sports, the high life of an elite few in the world, playing in the NFL.  But something was still missing in his life.

At a party with many veteran players, the men he looked up to as a child, he was offered drugs.  He said about that experience: “The cocaine that I consumed that night took me by the lapels and forced me into submission.  Soon enough I was completely under it’s control.”

Miles knew several Christians on the team, and they were vocal about their faith and about the power of Jesus to set people free from their sin and addictions.  One morning, after a day and night of drugs, no sleep, and a complete inability to say “no” of his own power to the drugs, he realized that it was Jesus Who had the power for the “no.”  That morning, in desperation he prayed to Jesus for salvation and asked God to deliver him from the power of the drugs.  And God did.

Something changed in him that day.  From that point on, he did not take any more cocaine or other drugs.  God changed him.  In the power of Jesus’ name, the addiction was gone.  Powerful story.

Instead of searching for contentment in drugs, relationships, the workplace, or some other aspect of life, it is possible to find contentment in Jesus.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  All things include contentment.  It includes the power to overcome addictions and to see life in a new “God Dimension.”   Instead of relying on your own power to be a winner, rely on the Lord Jesus.

The Apostle Paul had God’s power in his life to find contentment: in the court house, in the jail house, in a crowded ship, in a church, and in a home.  He found contentment when he was hungry and thirsty as well as when he was full and well-hydrated.  In poor health and in good health, he was happy in Jesus.  With no money or some money, he was content in the name of Jesus.

Ask the Lord for His power to help you find contentment in the midst of your present situation.  With His power, you can have the same life but see it in a whole new way.   God’s power can give a “God Dimension” to you.

 

Please read on to PART 5 of In Search of Contentment

 

 

 

In Search of Contentment, Pt. 3

Materialism is one of the new-era gods of the Western culture. The website becomingminimalist.com reports from various sources the following staggering statistics:

  • “There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
  • The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
  • And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
  • While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (S. Department of Energy).
  • The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing (SSA).
  • British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily (The Telegraph).
  • 1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
  • The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).
  • The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually (Forbes).
  • While the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year (Huffington Post).
  • Nearly half of American households don’t save any money (Business Insider).
  • But our homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the day—eight hours, 14 minutes (USA Today).
  • Some reports indicate we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years ago (The Story of Stuff).

Apparently if you are not content, you are in company with most other Americans.  Could it be said that greed, commercialism, and materialism are some of the biggest sins in America?  Perhaps.  Wanting more is advertised on a daily basis.  Coveting is preached in the public square.  Just glance at any commercial or ad.

The broad way of discontentment seems kind of crowded.  The Lord has the “straight and narrow way” for the Christian to walk in life.  It is not crowded.  Very few people have walked it.  Paul walked it.  Peter, James, John, and Timothy did, too.  The way of contentment is not traveled by many, but every Christian should set the course of his life on this route (Matthew 7:13-14).

If we could find that Jesus is sufficient, it would surely help us to have a spirit of contentment.  Christ alone is sufficient for salvation.  Jesus said in John 6:51: I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Satisfaction is also found in Christ alone.  Psalm 91:16 declares, With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.  Since the Christian has eternal life, I think that qualifies for a long life!  Because of the life we have in Jesus, we can be satisfied in and by Jesus.

From A to Z – what more do we really need?

We are affirmed in Christ.

We are becoming like Christ.

We are called in Christ.

We are delighted by Christ.

We are edified in Christ.

We are full in Christ.

We are growing in Christ.

We are holy in Christ.

We are immortal in Christ.

We are justified in Christ.

We are kept by Christ.

We are loved by Christ.

We are married to Christ.

We are new in Christ.

We are one in Christ.

We are perfected by Christ.

We are quickened in Christ.

We are redeemed by Christ.

We saved, safe, and secure in Christ.

We are taught by Christ.

We are useful to Christ.

We are valued by Christ.

We are whole in Christ.

We are exonerated by Christ.

We are yoked with Christ.

We are zealous in Christ.

 

Please read on to PART 4…

In Search of Contentment, Pt. 2

The Apostle Paul was used of God to write down the Philippians 4:11-19 passage.  Included in this letter is part of the experience of Paul’s life.  Paul was a missionary during the early church years following the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Paul endured tremendous pressure to denounce Christ.  He was faced with criticism and intense persecution on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Ironically, Paul, previously known as Saul, was present at the execution of the first Christian martyr, Stephen in Acts 6. From that moment, Saul became a persecutor of “The Way.”  His story is found in Acts and also in his New Testament letters.  Part of his story is in our text.

As a persecuted missionary traveling the world over, Paul endures great troubles – shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment, public riots, angry courtrooms, and more.

From his example we can learn about contentment.

If this is where to find contentment in the Bible, then where can I find contentment in my daily life?   Are there practical steps to take that can lead to a life of contentment?

Yes!  Here they are:

  1. Find the Sufficiency of Jesus in You. (vs. 11-12)

Jesus is all we really need for life.  Outside of the true necessities for staying alive, what do we really need to grow, thrive, and go through life?

As Paul describes himself, notice the contrasts.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

  • Abased and Abound
  • Full and Hungry
  • Abound and Suffer Need

Paul goes as far as to say that “everywhere in everything” (all things) he chose to be content.  For a man rushed upon in riots, beaten, shipwrecked, and frequently jailed, that is an amazing statement.

Abasement and Abounding.

Abase means “to depress, humiliate, or bring low.” Paul knew the pain of being pressed down by the evil people of his day.  Nearly the entire society was against his teachings and way of life.  Sure, there were converts, and the world was “turned upside down” during the time of the Apostles but 10 Roman government waves of persecution against Christianity began soon after the Resurrection of Jesus.

Beginning with Nero (whom Paul witnessed to) and ending with Diocletian, millions of Christians, over a period of two centuries, were killed in unconscionable ways.

John Fox, in Fox’s Book of Martyrs, tells the story of Nero best:  “The first persecution of the Church took place in the year 67, under Nero, the sixth emperor of Rome. This monarch reigned for the space of five years, with tolerable credit to himself, but then gave way to the greatest extravagancy of temper, and to the most atrocious barbarities. Among other diabolical whims, he ordered that the city of Rome should be set on fire, which order was executed by his officers, guards, and servants. While the imperial city was in flames, he went up to the tower of Macaenas, played upon his harp, sung the song of the burning of Troy, and openly declared that ‘he wished the ruin of all things before his death.’ Besides the noble pile, called the Circus, many other palaces and houses were consumed; several thousands perished in the flames, were smothered in the smoke, or buried beneath the ruins.”  He continues:

“This dreadful conflagration continued nine days; when Nero, finding that his conduct was greatly blamed, and a severe odium cast upon him, determined to lay the whole upon the Christians, at once to excuse himself, and have an opportunity of glutting his sight with new cruelties. This was the occasion of the first persecution; and the barbarities exercised on the Christians were such as even excited the commiseration of the Romans themselves. Nero even refined upon cruelty, and contrived all manner of punishments for the Christians that the most infernal imagination could design. In particular, he had some sewed up in skins of wild beasts, and then worried by dogs until they expired; and others dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to axletrees, and set on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them. This persecution was general throughout the whole Roman Empire; but it rather increased than diminished the spirit of Christianity. In the course of it, St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred.”

With this as the back drop, Paul says Christians can be content.  Paul new what it was to be pressed against.  Every Christian who was persecuted in the first and second century learned about being abased the hard way.  With personal experience.

Abounding is the contrast to abasing.  Abounding means to “super abound, be in excess, overflow.”  In spite of the deflating pressure of persecution, Paul said he could abound.  He could still have a “good day” in the “worst of days.”  How is this possible?  It all goes back to the sufficiency of Christ.  Paul relied on Jesus alone to meet his material, physical, relational, and spiritual needs.

Full and Hungry.

Is it possible for a person to be physically hungry and yet content?  Many people get angry when they are hungry.  There is a new term for this: “Hangry!”  I have been hangry at times.  How about you? There were times when Paul, with limited resources and not much food, was hungry yet content with all the rest that God gave to him.

Abound and Suffer Need.

A man with one set of clothes, a single coat he left in prison one time, some parchments to write on, and a few books does not have that much.  In spite of the “lack of things,” Paul saw himself as having everything he needed for life.

Have you ever complained about not having “enough?”  Not enough money.  Not enough room.  Not enough things to do. Not enough. I have said things like that.  Be honest.  Did you say something to that effect in the last 7 days?

 

Please continue in the next posting, PART 3…

Jesus, The First Missionary

Jesus, The First Missionary 

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

Have you ever heard anyone ever refer to Jesus as the first missionary?  Think about this for a moment.  In the above verses, we discover that God sent Jesus to this world on a mission of mercy.   The love of God was manifested or demonstrated to mankind when He sent Jesus to this sinful world on our behalf.   Jesus willingly left Heaven to come to this earth to seek and save us sinners.  He came to rescue us from our sin! In many ways, this is the first mission trip.

While on this mission trip, Jesus identified with mankind when He took on flesh.  With no sin, He took our sin and carried our guilt to the cross of Calvary.  It was there that He paid the price for our sin, taking our death sentence upon Himself.

With Resurrection Sunday (Easter) coming, this is a good reminder for us.  Thank Jesus for His salvation plan finished at the Cross.  Three days after His death, Jesus rose from the dead, proving He is God and demonstrating His power over sin, death and Hell.  Be thankful and stop a moment to praise the Lord for His amazing gift!

When missionaries take the Word of God to other regions and nations, they take the Good News, the Gospel.  Since Jesus is the first missionary and His love for us is demonstrated by His coming to earth) and since the Bible teaches us about missions it is apparent and a good conclusion that the heartbeat of God is missions.

God sent His Son.  He gave us His only begotten Son.  Missions is giving.  Missions is sacrificial.  Missions is the pulse, heartbeat, and breath of God to us people on earth.

Since missions is so important to God, I would suggest that missions should be important to the Christian.  Each church member and each disciple of Jesus, should feel the pulse of God’s heart concerning missions.

Something to consider for your life personally is “do I have the same heartbeat as God?”

Examine your own heart.  Have you ever noticed this:  Some Christians do not like to pray, so they do not come to prayer meeting?  How about this:  Some Christians do not come to missions conferences or attend when missionaries are visiting because they do not want to hear about missions or be challenged to give money to missionaries? I suppose it could be some other motivation to avoid – if they are actually avoiding on purpose. Sometimes people are truly “providentially prevented.”

Could an avoidance phenomenon simply be and indicator that “my heart is not yet in sync with the heart of God?”  Sure it can be.  Even if you do not like to pray in public, the Lord can develop your heart to begun to pray with no fear or shame.

Even if you have avoided missionaries in the past, the Lord could change your heart – if you let Him.  Most avoidance issues are really a matter of trust.  Do you trust God to hear and answer your prayers? Do you trust God with all your finances, not only your tithe?  Do you trust God to give money to missions? God even gave a wonderful promise to all those who give to missionaries.  He promised to supply each and every need a person will ever have…when they give to missions!

Answer this: Do I trust God with every aspect of my life?  Is the Bible a perfect prescription for the problems of life?  Can I rely on God’s will, revealed in His Word, to truly provide for every need?  Have I trusted Jesus for salvation and been able to fully rest in His promise of salvation to all Who trust in Him?  Do I trust Jesus each day?

The next time a missionary comes to church, get involved.  Find ways to support your church missions program.  Make a missions promise to God.  Clear your schedule to provide a meal, housing, fellowship, or your attendance to encourage a missionary.

Recently, WBC experienced a tremendous Missions Conference.  We were blessed to see 5 people respond to the call of “being willing” to be a missionary if God would call them to that.  We saw the faith of the people in attendance at each service increase.  I believe most people in our church were praying for the conference – and continue to pray for God to send laborers into the harvest.  Some people were sick.  Others had schedules that would not permit them to attend.  A few were out of town.  Many were battled by Satan to not attend.  All who attended contended with work, school, household needs and more.

One girl, in an emergency room, through tears while being stitched up, expressed to the doctor that she was hoping to get home in time to attend the final night of the missions conference.  She did not get home on time to make the start of that particular mission conference service, but she did get there in time to hear the preaching.  I love that heart.  I mean, I really love that heart.

This is an example of the heartbeat of God that we should have for missions.  Yes, Jesus was the first missionary, and if as a Christian we had the same heartbeat, missions would be important to us as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missions, Buildings, and Growth

Missions, Buildings, and Growth

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Does our giving money to missions have a direct impact on the blessings of God on a local church?  Does our involvement in missions have a impression on our own church growth?  I would suggest they are probably very much connected.

As the Apostle Paul was commending the Philippian Christians for their faithful financial support the Lord tells him to add this truth: “I will supply your need.”  The church had support Paul for a long time and have given sacrificially.  In some instances, they were the only ones who were helping Paul on his mission trips.  Paul is thankful and says that “fruit has been added to their account.”  Because they gave to missions – God promised to supply all the needs they had.

God met the needs of the individuals, the families, and the church – because they trusted God and used their resources to propagate the Gospel into all the world through their missionary – Paul.

I recently read about one pastor who had challenged his church in missions giving and the promises made on the faith promise cards were the most ever received in that church.  The church was in a life stage of growth and was needing new land and was hoping to build a new building on the land.  But the pastor knew they could not stop going with the Gospel or stop sending missionaries.  It would be understandable to focus only on your church and the needs that you have.  He understood the church needed to remain committed to gospel missions.

The week after the promises came in, a deacon came to him and said, “I found the land.” After months searching for the right piece of land, they found 15 acres.

The pastor said, “I have asked for the people to give so much to missions, I can’t go ask them for more right now.”  Perhaps other preachers reading this have been there too.  I have.

Around Washington DC, the land is expensive.  It is probably expensive where you live too!  $3 million was needed for that land.  The deacon said, “I will buy the land and give it to the church.”  Incredible.

The pastor wrote that he believed that because the church was faithful to support missions that God, in turn, provided them their new place of worship.

We are blessed to partner with several missionaries and have committed to pray for and send finances to help them further the Gospel into their part of the world.

As we make “Faith Promises” to God about missions giving, please remember God’s promise to “Supply your every need.”  It will affect your life, and our church in a positive way.

I look forward to the day the Lord supplies our new building.  He already gave us the land!  Praise the Lord for that.  Let’s keep giving the Gospel here – and abroad thorough our missionaries.  Let’s see our faith increase during mission conference.

 

 

 

Story found in Bud Calvert’s book: “God’s Passion.”