Thursday, August 30, 2007

What State Do You Live In?

3 Keys to the State of Contentment

I am from Texas!

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas…Big D as we like to call it. I am not sure if it’s like this everywhere, but we Texans seem to have a pride in our state that is unrivaled. In fact, in most cases, we are Texans first and Americans second.

I heard a joke that I enjoy telling on occasion… “Did you know that it is rude to ask people where they are from? Why? Because if they are from Texas they will tell you and if not, don’t embarrass them.” Okay… Okay, I know that is corny!

Well, I said that for absolutely no reason because that is not the STATE I am talking about.

The state that I am referring to is more beautiful than any geographic location; more peaceful than any seashore; more joyful than any babbling brook. In this state you will find solace than cannot be found in any mountain getaway.

It is a place simply called Contentment.

The road to Contentment is fraught with obstacles such as ambition, jealousy, and competitiveness.

Many times our flesh will invade this peaceful place and steal us away from contentment. We awaken in the state of Frustration, Anger and Disillusionment. Then, before we know what hit us the moving truck as whisked us away to a terrible place called Bitterness, from where few ever return.

How do we secure our place in this place called Contentment?

The answer to this question is simply stated but not easily accomplished.

1. Seek First the Kingdom

Kingdom mindedness is key to any heavenly “success.” We must realize that we are building THE Kingdom not A kingdom. We must lay aside our own ambitions, dreams and goals for a higher cause. The Kingdom’s cause!

When we spend our time and effort pursuing our own ambition we will continually be frustrated and discontent.

However, when we pursue God and His will, it will lead us to a place of fulfillment.

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

2. Be Faithful to the Task at Hand

Put your hand to the plow that is right in front of you! Stop looking for the “next best thing” to come along. The principle that everyone can quote but few realize the power of it, is…

“thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:” (Matt 25:21).

If we can stay focused upon the task at hand we will accomplish more and God will reward our faithfulness in due season.

3. Refuse to Compare Your Calling, Your Gifts and Your Position with others

The Bible says that if we compare ourselves with one another we are not wise. Many ministers have fallen in the trap of bitterness by constantly comparing their vineyard to their neighbors’. God called you to where you are for a purpose. Work it, love it, and prosper in it until He opens another door.

“...they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise (2 Cor 10:12).”

We must constantly guard the door of contentment because our flesh is given to discontent. If we are not diligent we will find ourselves outside of its walls wishing we could enter in again.

What state do you live in?

As for me, I desire to live in the state of Contentment!

Phil 4:11
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

1 Tim 6:6-8
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Heb 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Daddy, Can I Go Make Some New Friends?"

The other day my children and I were at the park. As I was walking along holding Anna's hand she looked up and asked, "Daddy, can I go make some new friends?"

This simple phrase resonated in my heart. "Making" new friends described the process very well.

Prov 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

There are many people who feel lonely, isolated and alone, simply because they do not realize that friendship is work and close friendships have there costs.

However, the benefits far out way the price.

True Friendship will require us to...

1. Take Risks

We must take the risk of rejection. We must open ourselves up. We must be willing to reveal our weaknesses, failings, and fears.

2. Make an Effort

Close friendships are work. Casual acquaintances may spring up over night but deep friendships have to be cultivated. Phone calls, emails, and trips out of your way must be made to grow and maintain strong friendships.

3. Be Selfless

Selfishness has killed so many budding relationships. Many times we must sacrifice our own desires; our own likes and dislikes; so that a friendship can continue. Selflessness does not mean that you must always give in, but it is the wisdom to know when you should and the meekness to do it.

Good things in life seldom happen by accident. Therefore, deep friendships happen on purpose. "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly."

As my little Anna does on a daily basis, go out today and "MAKE" a friend.

You will be glad you did.

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