…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
Solomon’s highly impressive CV:
23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom
than all the other kings of the earth.
24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.
25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem.
27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.
1 Kings 10:23-26 (NIV)
Having experienced life’s riches, wisdom, power, success,
as he reflected upon his experiences and blessings in life, Solomon wrote:
1:1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
5:10 Whoever loves money never has enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
This too is meaningless.
5:11 As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
except to feast their eyes on them?
5:12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
permits them no sleep.
15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb,
and as everyone comes, so they depart.
They take nothing from their toil
that they can carry in their hands.
Ecclesiastes 1:1, 5: 10-12, 15 (NIV)
… Life is not measured by how much you own
Luke 12:15 (NLT)
In the midst of faith challenges, the writer to the Hebrews reminds us,
34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
you knew that you yourselves had
better and lasting possessions.
35 So do not throw away your confidence;
it will be richly rewarded.
Hebrews 10:34 (NIV)
In our competitive world of rewards, incentives, accolades, success, … winning,
perhaps, its good to pause now and then, .. from the fast-lane,
and consider our life priorities. Paul wrote:
19-23 … I kept my bearings in Christ …
24-25 You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race.
Run to win.
All good athletes train hard.
They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades.
You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
1 Corinthains 9:19-25 (MSG)
Work hard, compete, be fully engaged in whatever endeavors/work/field/pursuits we’re involved in,
yet rooted in our bearings in Christ.
Paul wrote to Timothy:
Now godliness with contentment is great gain
Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.
1 Timothy 6:6 (NKJV, NLT)
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain
when accompanied by contentment.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world,
so we cannot take anything out of it either.
1 Timothy 6:6, 7 (NASB)
godliness + contentment = great gain, great wealth
and Paul wrote to the church in Philippi,
… I have learned to be content
whatever the circumstances.
Philippians 4:11 (NIV)
“Our contentment needs to be
not in what we expect others to give,
or what we may strive after,
but in what God unfailingly provides
by one means or another”
— Sinclair Ferguson.
If we are honest, contentment is a crown seldom enjoyed, not just by kings but also by the members of the rank and file. It is a significant moment when the searchlight of God’s word penetrates the selfish preoccupations to which each of us is so prone and allows us to see matters from an eternal perspective. When this happens the response will not be the same in every case. In each case it will almost inevitably involve the rearrangement of our priorities. …
… the entrance of God’s word shines light on our priorities.
“I have been saving for many years to buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Several weeks ago, however, listening to the sermon I realized that I should use my financial blessings for God’s work rather than buying a bike in spring. It dawned on me through your messages that I would rather be known as a strong Christian than a businessman who owns a motorcycle, and that I need to strengthen the former before pursuing the latter”
Money can buy:
Medicine but not health
A house but not a home
Companionship but not friends
Entertainment but not happiness
Food but not an appetite
A bed but not sleep
A good life but not eternal life
The heart that covets riches will also often crave popularity, power, leisure and satisfaction.
A discontented spirit is vulnerable to temptation. …
It is not money but the love of money that Paul tells us proves to be the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). How can we tell if our lives are marked by an inordinate desire for riches? Some years ago a friend who is highly successful in his job in the financial markets helped me to answer that question by giving me these points which he had written on the flyleaf of his Bible.
Some telltale signs in the life that is eager for money
Thoughts of money consume my day
The financial success of others makes me jealous
I define success in terms of what I have rather than what I am in Christ
My family is neglected in my pursuit of money
I close my eyes to the genuine needs of others
I am prepared to borrow myself into bondage
I live in the paralyzing fear of losing my money
I hoard it rather than share it
God receives my leftovers rather than my first fruits
Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10). We have already considered Gehazi’s tragic end. The list of those who joined him is not short. It includes Ananias and Sapphira, Demas and one of Jesus’ own disciples, Judas Isacriot. One of the great sadness in the Christian journey is to see those who “as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature” (Luke 8:14) . Let us shudder at the thought of joining their ranks. We must learn to look away to Christ as the only source of true contentment, which is the antidote to covetousness.
… contentment is not just unknown by the stockbroker’s clients but it is also absent in the lives of too many Christian of lesser wealth. Like the children of Israel, we are all too quickly discontented with God’s provision and yearn for the world and its desires (Exodus 16:3; 1 John 2:15-17)
Contentment does not come easily. It is an undervalued virtue, and along with Paul we must learn the secret of being content in any and every situation. When the apostle tells us that he can do everything through Christ who gives him strength, he is referring to the fact that in Christ he has learned to cope whether he is warm and fed or cold and naked. His contentment is not determined by his circumstances, nor is it discovered in a spirit of detachment; rather it is learned on the path of duty in his growing relationship with Jesus (Philippians 3:10).
Instead of coveting what God has given to someone else we must learn to be contented in what our gracious heavenly Father has provided for us. This will not happen in a moment in time. It will take all of our Christian life to learn this lesson. Instead of looking to others to meet our needs, our contentment is to be discovered in learning to live in God’s disposal in an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus.
… one woman wrote, “Years ago I stopped looking to anyone but God, to satisfy me. There is not a man that can love me enough, no child that can need me enough, no job that can pay me enough, and no experience that can satisfy me enough!
— Alistair Begg, Pathway to Freedom, How God’s Laws guide our lives, Moody Publishers, 2003, pg 214-221.
21 Wherever your treasure is,
there the desires of your heart will also be.
Matthew 6:21 (NLT),
The writer to Hebrews wrote:
5 Make sure that your character
is free from the love of money,
being content with what you have;
for He Himself has said,
“I will never desert you,
nor will I ever forsake you,”
6 so that we confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper,
I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5, 6 (NASB)
In the palm of Your hand
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
Psalm 23:1 (NLT)
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said,
Matthew 6:31, 32, 34 (ERV)
31 “Don’t worry
and say, ‘What will we eat?’
or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’
32 That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about.
because your Father in heaven knows
that you need all these things.
34 So don’t worry
about tomorrow. ….
Don’t worry, … your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things.
Paul writing to the church in Philippi, while in prison for the good news of Jesus:
3:1 .. my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord!
3:8 What is more, I consider everything a loss
because of the surpassing worth of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord …
4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
4:5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, (i.e. don’t worry)
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
4:7 And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Peace of God .. heart & mind, … contentment.
4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need,
for I have learned to be content
whatever the circumstances.
4:12 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.
4:13 I can do all this through him
who gives me strength.
4:14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
4:19 And my God will meet all your needs
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
4:20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen
Philippians 3:1, 8, 4:11-13, 14, 19, 20 (NIV)
Paul’s attitude, … walking with a content attitude:
being content …
who gives me strength.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Rejoice!
Do not be anxious in anything
Prayer .. knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … sharing & listening to God
Thanksgiving … a grateful heart for each & every blessing of God, … thankful for the Lord’s blessings of what we have already
present your requests to God … our anxieties, needs, desires, .. & praying for God to bless others
Trusting God who will meet all our needs … whatever the circumstances.
Trusting the Lord who gives us strength … whatever the circumstances.
Receive the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
the peace of God guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires
of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 (NASB)
who satisfies your desires
with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:5 (NIV)
Every good and perfect gift
is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change
like shifting shadows.
James 1:17 (NIV)
6:8 … for your Father knows
what you need
before you ask Him.
7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
to your children,
how much more
will your Father who is in heaven
give what is good
to those who ask Him!
Matthew 6:8, 7:11 (NASB)
Thus, let us
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
rejoice … pray … give thanks …
Not as easy as it sounds, …
one pastor wrote it took him 6 months to develop this attitude (1 Thess 5:16-18) in daily life,
… always, … continually, … in all circumstances
King Solomon’s final conclusion in his book:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 (NIV)
The last and final word is this:
Do what he tells you.
And that’s it.
Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open
and judge it according to its hidden intent,
whether it’s good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 (MSG)
With God’s help,
pray, .. rejoice, .. give thanks,
being content …
who gives me strength.
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
February 25, 2016
Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2017 – All Rights Reserved
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