Cultivate Contentment! (February)

“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.”

(Hebrews 13:5)

Almost every Queen or King of old had his/her own taster. A taster was a trusted servant who ate some of the food and drink served at the royal meal to assure that it was not poisoned. If the taster died, or grew ill, the King knew the food or drink was poisoned.

Once, a young King was having his coronation feast. The banquet was abundant, with rich breads, delicious dishes, and luscious desserts. But, the King was looking forward to eating the main masterpiece, a towering Cherry Chocolate cake. His servant cut the first piece and handed it to the King’s taster as was the custom.

The King fussed at having to wait for his own piece, so he told the servant to give him not only the taster’s piece, but another one as well. “Oh, King,” the taster warned, “If you value your life, don’t eat that cake before I do!”

“But I must eat it,” insisted the King eyeing the cake, “surely it is safe.” The King ate two pieces, but the masterpiece had been poisoned, and it cost the young King his life. If the King had been content to wait until he had been served, he would not have had these deadly consequences.

You may be thinking, “How does this apply to me, it is almost too unrealistic to compare to my everyday life. A King in a castle, to a girl in a farm house?” But the same spirit of discontentment demonstrated by the young King, is the same we find in our heart today. It is the same ever-present, always-unsatisfied discontentment we are often plagued with in our Christian walk.

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King Solomon, in the book of Proverbs wisely stated concerning discontentment, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” Many times when we recognize discontentment in our lives, but ignore it and it takes deeper root in our life. Discontentment is a stumbling block in our path and brings consequences!

Have you ever awaken in the middle of the night, finding that you were very thirsty? You decide to make your way to the kitchen faucet for some water, and while walking through a hallway stumble over a basketball your brother forgot to put away after dinner? This is how discontentment is in our walk with the Lord. It is a hindrance to our faith and trust in His will for us.

The only way to free ourselves from the entanglement of a discontent attitude is to pray for strength. Pray for contentment when you are given your-not-so favorite meal at breakfast. Pray for contentment when you hear that your friends’ mom is expecting a baby. Pray for contentment in just about any situation that comes up. Prayer is the best to deal with the discontentment that we face daily. Prayer is acknowledging that you are committing a sin when you are discontent, and asking Christ for help to conquer it.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:9)

Jesus assures us in Matthew 7: 11, of his answer to prayer, “If ye then, being evil know how to give gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Jesus explains that if even us sinful humans can understand the joy of giving good gifts to ones we love, then why should we as His children, be hesitant to ask Him for good gifts such as contentment? May we pray for the good gift of contentment as we walk with Christ!

Here are five practical steps to developing a more content heart!

  1. Count your blessings. See how many things you can give thanks for in one day!
  2. Trust God with every detail in your life, even if it is not what you would like to happen. He has a purpose and plan for you.
  3. Seek to be a blessing to others wherever you are. Smile to them and give an encouraging word!
  4. Guard your thoughts. When an ungrateful or discontent thought comes to mind, immediately take it captive and cast it away! (2 Cor. 10:5)
  5. Study God’s heart and will for you in His Word. You will be amazed at all He has done for you in Christ, and begin to see how important it is to Him that you are content and submissive to His circumstances for your life today!

Sisters, let’s challenge one another to cultivate contentment in our hearts today!

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
(1 Timothy 6:6)

-Guestpost by Lily B.


Choose Joy! (January)

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by Laura L.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
{2 Corinthians 4:17-18}

A gray, dreary day...or was it my outlook? In the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, we see that in spite of struggle and failure in us and around us, we can find joy and it does not come from ourselves or surroundings…it comes from the Lord.

By God’s mercy, we were granted the blessed gift of walking with God in His presence each day. Because of this fact alone, we can rejoice and live cheerfully every moment. Even the moment that when your family gets a flat tire and everyone is hungry and some are complaining. Ever had those moments where you just didn’t think surely you had to be joyful, and that it is ok to be grouchy?

God does not want His children living like this. When life is stressful and you feel like flying off the handle, consider this. In the light of eternity, how much does this current petty stress matter? Wouldn’t it be better in eternity to have been cheerful, trusting the Lord, rather than grouchy?

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“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
{2 Corinthians 4:6-7}

What is this treasure we are given to carry about in these earthen vessels (our bodies)? It is the light to shine on our path, that comes from our knowledge of God’s glory that we see in Jesus. We have this treasure in prone-to-failure vessels—when we realize this light and it brings victory and power in our daily reactions to life’s circumstances, and it will only bring glory to God.

In Titus 3:1, Paul instructs Titus on how to admonish and instruct Christians on this very subject of choosing joy in all circumstances.

“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”

Why? “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Titus 3:3-6)

It is Scriptural to seriously consider our relationships and dealings with others. In these few verses we are admonished to give respect. We are to have willing, servant hearts on the lookout or people to serve. A life free from gossip and vehement ordering with a gentle, kind, considerate outlook. In these verses is tucked a very key ingredient to remaining joyful in life. It is realizing who we really are, and who God is and what He is doing for us, and our responsibility to be a light for Jesus. On our own power, we cannot do this.

Remember we are dusty vessels – but through Christ’s redeeming work in our lives and by His power, we can overcome and live victoriously.

Let us be joyful at all times! God is our joy and our strength!

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
{Philippians 4:4}

-Guestpost by Laura L.

 


 

5 Ways Wise Women Seek Him (December)

by Sarah Bryant

Dear Sisters,

I’d like to be able to sit down and chat with you about life and hear what the Lord has been teaching you! He is so merciful and faithful to teach us new things in this journey of life. I have been thinking about how thankful I am to know the Lord and how important it is to constantly be seeking to know Him MORE. It’s been on my heart to ask you – How is your walk with Jesus? Have you been earnestly seeking Him?

As I’m sure you know, a close walk with and knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, doesn’t just “happen.” It requires a diligent seeking of His face and constant communion with Him. Simply flipping through the Bible for a few minutes every few weeks won’t automatically give us a deep knowledge of God in all of His beauty!

I know how easy it is to get caught up in the busyness of life (especially during the holidays) and in opportunities we have to “serve the Lord” and forget why we are alive. It’s easy to go to church faithfully and do all the right things and talk the Christian talk, yet that doesn’t mean JESUS is the first and highest thought on our heart and mind! Is your  God and Savior your HIGHEST priority in life? What are you doing to seek Him right now? How is your spiritual walk with Him deep down in your heart where no one sees – is it thriving? Are you fanning the fire of a deep passion for your precious Redeemer? Or are you allowing those embers to cool?

Jesus woos our hearts. He saved us by grace; nothing we have done merited that salvation. We love Him because He first loved us. We only live and breath and do any good thing because He enables that and pours out His grace in our lives.

And yet we can’t neglect our part of seeking His face, desiring Him, and turning our thoughts over to Him on a daily basis. Not just once a week at church or when we need Him in a crisis. He commands us, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8) and “Seek ye my face” (Psalm 27:8).

Here are some ways we can earnestly seek the Lord and draw closer to Him. I encourage you to stop and ponder your spiritual walk today and be sure that you are earnestly seeking the Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah, especially during this Christmas season. Don’t let it fall by the wayside! Jesus is the most important thing in life!

1. Seek His Word with Your Whole Heart

Psalms 119:9-10: Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

Psalms 119:27: Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

Daniel 9:3: And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:

2. Cast Aside Everything That Distracts Your Focus on Christ

Philippians 3:8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

What is taking away your thoughts from the Lord? Is it music, media, a friend, or fiction books? It is not worth it!

3. Pour Out Your Heart in Prayer

I Thessalonians 5:17: Pray without ceasing.

Psalms 62:8: Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

Proverbs 15:8: The prayer of the upright is his delight.

4. Ask God to Teach You His Wisdom

James 1:5: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

5. Begin a Bible Study to Learn More about Him

Sometimes it is really helpful to go through a solid Bible study with a sister, mother, or mentor. This sparks great conversation and deeper digging into God’s Word – you’ll learn things you might not otherwise see. (This, this, and this are excellent studies you might consider. These are great commentaries.)

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Sister, I am so thankful for you and your heart to seek the Lord. Will you continue to press forward with me, as we strive to know Him more deeply, in the days to come? Distance prevents us from enjoying a nice cup of tea together around the Word of God, but don’t let that hinder you from grabbing your Bible, a notebook and pen, and diving into His Word right now! 

Remember, a wise woman seeks Jesus — and they find Him!

Pressing on with You,
Sarah Lee

P.S. I’d love to hear from you and what the Lord has been teaching you; leave a comment!

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)


Save 50% off set of Sarah's books - One Thing I Desire and The Family Daughter

Save 50% off set of Sarah’s books – One Thing I Desire and The Family Daughter

Do I Have Rights? (November)


Join us this month for the 2015 GiveThanks!x7 challenge! Each day we will record seven things we are thankful for. Let’s lift our hearts in thanksgiving to the Lord for all of His blessings.

Give Thanks Challenge 2015


Do I Have Rights?
by Sarah Lee Bryant

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“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

In today’s man-centered culture, we hear so much about “our rights.” We are bombarded constantly with this mentality. “You deserve it,” people tell us. And this often subtly creeps into our thoughts, as Christians.

However, God’s Word has something completely different to tell us.

Our life is not our own. As sinners saved by grace, our will has been crucified with Christ on the Cross. It is no longer “alive”—rather, we are to be a living manifestation of Jesus to the world. He died for us that we may live for Him. And so we are commanded to live out JESUS in our life. We do not have “rights,” for we are Christ’s bondservant.

Stop there—what does it mean I don’t have any rights? This goes so much against my nature, that it is almost impossible to fully comprehend. In my mind, I know this is true, because God’s Word teaches this. However—in daily life, I think this selfish mentality surfaces more than I realize.

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Let me share a real life example! Let’s say that a younger sibling was given permission to do something that I have never been able to do before. In my flesh, I feel injusticed. The thought secretly creeps in—Why can I not do that? This isn’t fair! I am several years older but have never been able to do that! I deserve to be able to! 

Yes, it’s humbling to admit that these thoughts actually did come to my mind in this situation. But maybe you can relate.

Only a few seconds after these selfish thoughts surfaced, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind this verse—I am crucified with Christ. And I remembered that in reality, as Christ’s, I don’t have any rights. I don’t deserve anything—in fact I do deserve eternal punishment for my sins, but the Lord Jesus Christ has freely given me new life. Because He gave His life on the Cross, I now live by faith of Him Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

“The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

As I thought on these truths, immediately the Lord corrected my attitude and I realize how selfish this issue was. Previously, in my flesh I felt shortchanged, but now in my spirit, I felt overwhelmingly grateful for this reminder of who I am in Christ. I was able to rejoice with my sibling in their privilege.

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Do you remember that as a daughter of the King, you too are crucified with the Lord? Your desires no longer reign, but your life is to be a living sacrifice for the Lord.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

Being a living sacrifice inevitably means pain and loss along the way. It is not natural. So when you are called by the Lord to die to self—do you remember that you are crucified with the Son of God? Are you willing to give up “your rights”?

Let’s evaluate our hearts together. I’d like to ask you what I have been considering: What do you perceive as your “right”?

  • Is it your personal space?
  • Is it a warm shower and clean body?
  • Is it respect and “fair treatment”?
  • Is it to be able to live without persecution for what is right?
  • Is it a quiet spot for uninterrupted time with the Lord?
  • Is it food you like?
  • Is it complete respect and obedience from your siblings?
  • Is it to have a “godly family”?
  • Is it the right to be able to drive at age 16?
  • Is it to make your own decisions at age 18?
  • Is it to live happily and comfortably?
  • Is it for life/your future to go according to your dreams (even if they are Biblical and good)?
  • Is it a healthy body?

What is it for you today? The world tells us that all of these things and thousands more are your right to have and experience. However, God tells us “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Corinthians 6:19)

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“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

“I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:19)

Are you willing to live 100% for Christ, that the life of Jesus and His will may be played out through your body?

When we realize we don’t deserve or have a right to anything, then we are so much happier. We don’t have unmet expectations, and we aren’t disappointed when someone crosses our path or has something we’d like. We realize that we have been given SO MUCH and only have reason to overflow with praise to God for His unbounding mercy! Which, by the way, we don’t deserve!

I would like to encourage you, dear sister, to memorize the following verses from 2 Corinthians 4. If possible, memorize the entire chapter; ask your sister or friend to do it with you. The Lord will bring it to mind as you strive to live all for Jesus.

“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”
(II Corinthians 4:10-12)

You can download this image as a reminder

The Lord knows what trials and situations we need to go through so that we would grow more selfLESS and more like Christ. That we may bear in our bodies the life of the Lord Jesus. Let’s be faithful in the tests that come our way daily, and remember we are here for the glory of God. Life is about Him. It is not about you. It is not about me. It is not about our comfort and pleasure. It is about glorifying our Savior Who has ransomed us with His own blood.

Let’s remember true freedom is found when we realize I do not have rights.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24)

-Sarah Lee


 



Sharing Love with the Lost (October)

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by Andrea N.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”
{1 Corinthians 13:4-6}

If you don’t know her now, she is someone that you probably have known in the past. She is a girl who laughs loudly, dresses inappropriately, and is obnoxious.

While our first reaction may be repulsion, the truth is that she needs love. Most often, love is the very last thing we want to give. Though we may not admit it, to you and me, a girl like this seems irritating, and sometimes just plain wicked!

However, honestly, we are the first to need a change of heart. We must realize that the thing a girl like this needs most is love, and that if we were in her place, we would want someone to reach out and encourage us. But how do we change our mindset from that of disgust, to a mindset of love?

We must first understand that “but for the grace of God” I would be her. It is not of my own power or goodness, but because God in His wisdom chose to place me in a Christian home and give me salvation.

“By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace
which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.”

{1 Corinthians 15:10} 

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I am blessed to work on a church bus route and bring folks of all ages to our church each Sunday morning. Through this ministry, I have been able to meet several girls, and I get to see some of the “why” behind the way they act. I visit her home each Saturday. I have heard her parents yell at her. I have smelled the filth and seen the clutter in her home. All this leads me to realize two things.

First, there is a reason behind her behavior. She is loud, not only to get attention, but also to try to block out some of her world. She dresses atrociously to get attention and maybe just to fit in. She doesn’t even feel like she fits in in her own home. She is clingy because she feels that she has found someone who truly thinks of her as a person and she is starved for that love.

Secondly, I see that she is in desperate need of love. At some point, I had to come to the realization that God put these girls in my path for a reason. He doesn’t want me to turn my back to their need. It is more comfortable for me to stick with my little group of friends, but the Christian life isn’t about our personal comfort. Jesus certainly stepped out of His comfort zone when He died on the cross.

“Above all these things put on charity,
which is the bond of perfectness.”
{Colossians 3:14}

That being said, what are some practical ways we can reach out to these precious souls?

Smile straight at her. You will be delighted at the beautiful countenance you can pull from a seemingly hard, sullen girl. It sends a message that you care.

Take an interest in her. Fire questions until you find a subject she will talk about. Once she starts talking, listen! Try to have an interest in the things she is talking about, even if you don’t have an interest in it! (If the subject is inappropriate, gently lead the conversation elsewhere.)

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After you have won her confidence, you can start encouraging her in the Lord, but do not “preach.” One of the best times to encourage is when she asks you a question. When she says, “Why do you wear skirts?” Explain that you use the Bible as your foundation for everything including dress, or that you desire to honor your parents’ standards, or whatever direction you need to take it. Direct any question into the plan of salvation. If she is saved, a good way to encourage and direct the conversation is to ask about her Bible reading. That accountability is so important.

Let us not be classified is as “Christian snobs.” If others don’t see Jesus in us as His daughters, where else will they see Him? So the next time you feel repulsed by a worldly girl, let me encourage you to try to reach out to her instead. May God bless you as you show His love!

“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”
{Matthew 25:45}

-Andrea N. (19)