When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. Lao Tzu

 

As Christians, we need to check our hearts a lot more often. Because many times, Christians can go through the motions and keep doing the “Christian thing,” but something has crept in their hearts and is hurting them and others.

Proverbs 4:23 says, Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (NLT). Notice that it doesn’t say somebody else will guard your heart. It doesn’t say God will guard your heart, your neighbor will guard your heart or your pastor will guard your heart. It says you need to guard your heart. You’re in charge of guarding your own heart. Realize that it’s pretty much a full-time job because we don’t know on any given day what’s going to come up. You don’t know what somebody may say to you that may hurt you, disappoint you or let you down. Then suddenly, there’s a wound in there that needs to be dealt with.

Since you just don’t know, you have to constantly be working with the Holy Spirit to keep your heart right.

Let’s look at Contentment:

Most of you would agree that contentment is a heart thing. Right? Well, that’s how I feel. I also feel. I also feel that we are most blessed when we are content, grateful and satisfied in him and have peace in the journey we are currently in and where He is leading us. God is pleased when we stop comparing our journeys with others and we are most content and satisfied in Him.

Let ‘s look at social media for example:

Social media can be a wonderful place to connect, learn a thing or two, be encouraged and share ideas, but it can also be addictive and a dangerous place to subconsciously engage in “comparison living”. I’ll admit I’ve used #blessed with previous posts. It’s definitely not always a bad thing, but when it is used as a “humble brag” to impress others… that’s where it gets tricky. How many times have you gotten on social media, perfectly content with the vacation you just had or the new pair of shoes you just bought? But then you see someone else’s Tahiti vacation or designer shoes and suddenly you want MORE. Or you feel confident and energized after a great workout until you look at those Instagram fitness accounts with all the right lighting and all the right angles. We can’t control everything we see, but we can control how we react to it. Choose to focus on the REAL blessings in your life instead of someone else’s #blessed.

The secret to overcoming comparisons?

Contentment is so far removed from many Christians that it seems that they will never be able to find it or be at peace. However, contentment is not something that must be searched for and found. It is an attitude of the heart. Once the attitude has been modified and all has been transferred to God, contentment will be evident.

So what is Contentment?

Contentment is being grateful for what we have. Maybe take a break from social media for a while. Unfollow accounts that aren’t building you up. We CAN tailor our news feeds to show us what we want to see. Learn to be happy FOR other people without coveting. If you can’t work at it. Stay true to your values and don’t let others (who you don’t even know!) dictate how you spend your money or time or think about yourself. Lastly, watch who & what you are following, what you post, like and share, check your motives friends! Are you building or tearing down? Is it building you or tearing you apart?

The Bible says satisfaction comes from doing your best, not comparing yourself to others: “Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else” (Galatians 6:4 LB).

Take an envy self-examination. Do you compare your life, your home, your husband, your kids, even your lawn, to other people? This exam may reveal some surprises and show you that there are more important things to do than compare yourself or what you have to others.

When you strive to be the person God made you to be, you’ll find real meaning, purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction. You can’t focus on your purpose while looking at other people.

Dr. David Jeremiah, one of my favorite Bible teachers, the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon pointed us in the direction of true contentment. http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/turning-point/listen/

Contentment Is…
I believe the most complete passage in Scripture on this subject is Philippians 4:10-20. The amazing reality about this passage on contentment is that Paul wrote it while in prison for his faith. Here’s his key thought: “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…[for] my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (verses 11,19).

1. Contentment is learned behavior. We learn to be content like babies learn to walk. And such an unnatural disposition is only by supernatural grace. With a spouse, good friend, or small study group, you must learn to resist, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the discontentment of our age; or you will be swept up in it and live an agitated life.

2. Contentment is not dependent on circumstances. If Paul can learn to be content regardless of circumstance, we can, too. The same Holy Spirit who indwelt him indwells us. The same fruit of the Spirit  peace and self-control  that were manifest in his life can be manifest in ours.

Discontent desires more  bigger, better, faster, newer, more comfortable. That is deception. If you are not content in challenging circumstances, the contentment you think you feel in other circumstances is not contentment but simply your satisfaction that things are momentarily the way you think they should be.

3. Contentment is a state of being, not a state of doing. Our flesh only feels content when we are doing. Being, however, does not end  it is not tied to activity. Paul said he had learned to “be content,” not “do contentment.”

4. Contentment is based on the riches of God in Christ Jesus. The Bible says that everything we need to complete our journey from earth to heaven will be supplied by God. Therefore, everything we feel discontented about is likely not something we need in order to make and complete that journey.

There’s nothing wrong with possessing things. But there is something wrong if we can’t be content without them. May God speak to your heart and help you seek, and find, contentment in Him.

Do you ever feel restless in your spirit? Is there something you want, something you’re waiting for, or something you feel like you’ll never have? Contentment does not come easy, especially when there are circumstances in your life tempting you to want something better. Oh how our hearts love to covet … but Christ has given us the freedom to be content and live righteously.

The following is a prayer for finding contentment written by Kevin Halloran:

Oh Lord, You are my shepherd and I should not be in want,
but so often I struggle to be content and do want;
forgetting that you have graciously provided me with every spiritual blessing in Christ and everything I need for life and godliness.

Thank you for often not giving me what I want
because my desires would draw my heart from being satisfied in You.
Help me to be content in You with what You have given me
and to not be focused on what my flesh wants or the world tells me I should have.

Protect me from coveting possessions or people,
talent or influence, relationships or prestige.
Keep my heart from being anxious for what I don’t have
and make me thankful for the numerous gifts that You have already given.

According to Your Word and steadfast love,
fill me with the joy and satisfaction of contentment in Christ.
Help me learn to be content in any situation like Paul
and to quickly reject the idolatry that dwells beneath the surface of my coveting.

 

 

 

 

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You went through what you went through for a reason. Others are depending on your story to be set free and delivered. Focus on your assignment. #Purpose

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

          Psalms 139:13-16

I recently came across a sentence which said ‘You are hand-picked by God’ on social media this week. Suddenly the spirit within told me that many of us need to hear that and I felt the urge to write about it in todays’ devotion.


What do you mean by ‘Hand picked’? It means ‘Carefully selected’ or ‘Chosen for a purpose in preference to another’. During valentine’s day, I remember seeing an Ad which said ‘Flower bouquet, hand-picked especially for your loved one’. It means that each flower in that bouquet is carefully selected by the florist. He sees the bouquet in mind and plucks some fully bloomed flowers and some buds. He carefully looks for various sizes to fit the group perfectly. He looks for the ones that is beautiful and has a wonderful smell. Though he does not see the person who receives the bouquet, he wants the receiver to enjoy the flowers and bring out the best emotions in her. If you ask, each flower in that bouquet, they will say..”I was hand-picked and my purpose was to bring happiness to the one who received me’.


In our busy lives of shuffling jobs and family, we often forget that we are chosen for a purpose. We forget that we are carefully hand-picked by God and placed in our circumstances for a special reason. We do not realise our value and what we are worth until God reveals that truth to us. God designed you to be a person who you are for a purpose. You are unique and special. God do not see your same potential in anybody else. We are valuable because we belong to Him. So today, if anybody or any circumstances of life are making you believe that you are worthless, I encourage you to remind yourself that ‘You are handpicked’.

I Thank God for my husband, my best supporter and cheerleader. He always try going out of his way to make me smile. Just like my husband, your purpose may be to influence someone around you..to encourage someone who is in need. It may be your spouse, a co-worker, or a total stranger.  You went through what you went through for a reason. God allowed you escape for a reason. Others are depending on your story to be set free and delivered. Don’t be ashamed. You are not here to be popular. Focus on your assignment.

Your purpose may be to direct that one person to Jesus…it might be your husband, your child, you relative or even someone you meet on the road. We never know whom we are influencing in our life until we reach heaven. So let us consider each day to be ‘The Day’ that we meet our purpose. Dr. Charles Stanley often says “When you do something for the Lord, give it your best…as though tomorrow is not yours’. Over the last few week, we have been discussing VALUABLE at our church. What makes us valuable to God and those around? We have learned about our values: Worship, People, Serving, Excellence and Generosity. Our valuables makes us stronger in our walk with Christ. They give us confidence to walk in our purpose.  In a small group my husband and I help facilitate at our church,  we were reminded this week that we serve Christ by serving others. Our gifts, our talents, our processions are from God and our gift back to God is to be good stewards and serve others with them.

The other day, I read an article that talked about John Osteen’s faith. In 1939, in a small East Texas town, there lived a young man named Sam Martin. Every day morning when he goes to high school, he will write scriptures on the chalkboard. Though other kids thought that he was weird and did not associate with him much, he continued expressing his faith silently on that chalkboard. One night, one of his classmates, while returning from the night club, was touched by the love of God. He began to think about the eternity and the outcome of his life. This young man went home and opened his family bible randomly and came across a verse which said “If anyone will open the door, I will come in”. He was reminded of all the verses that Sam wrote on the chalkboard. He approached Sam the next day and asked, “Sam, why do you think I am feeling this way?” Sam replied very simply, “that is God drawing you.” . Sam took this young man to church that Sunday and on that day, John Osteen, Joel Osteen’s father took the decision to follow Jesus and started his faith life. Sam went on to become a pastor, but he never preached to a crowd like John Osteen.
But I believe that his purpose was fulfilled on that day when John Osteen was saved. All of those days, he shamelessly wrote the bible verses on that chalkboard without considering the sarcasms of his friends paid off on that day when John Osteen turned to Jesus. It seems that fifty years later, Sam Martin wrote a book titled
“I Touched One, but He Touched Millions”.

You and me are hand picked to touch someone. We may not get a podium to preach to thousands…but atleast if we get to influence one..our purpose in life is fulfilled. We never know whether that one person is going to touch millions or not. Let us live this day as though tomorrow is not ours. Give our best to the Lord and to others. You alone can do it the way you do it. Like that Sam Martin, let us write the word of God on our chalkboard…may be through blogs, social media posts, Instagram or Facebook….you never know who will read it or who will share it…letters and even through our life…our lives might be the only Bible the unsaved will ever read. You will be surprised the impact you are making…with the hope that atleast one will be influenced. If you are saying in your heart, “I’m not talented or I do not have the resources”, Holy spirit wants to encourage you with this verse…”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. You are born into this world with God’s greatness. His life-giving breath is in you. Let nothing discourage you and make you feel unworthy. You are priceless…paid in full..You are worth Jesus’s life on that cross.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

In Him,
Flore Clark

Joy cometh….Take heart! #Blog

The PAIN that you have been feeling can not compare to the JOY that is coming.” – Romans 8:18
Sometimes, we just need a reminder of greater things that are going to come when we’re just caught up in the mess of the world. A reminder to take a step back and peek back , realizing just how far you’ve come. A reminder to stretch from the piles of work in front of us and to let oxygen flow to your brain again. A reminder to remember who or what you’re working for.
There’s a beginning for everything and not all beginnings are easy. When we first come into this world, we’re pretty much helpless. We can’t fend for ourselves, we can’t feed ourselves and we can’t communicate efficiently. Yet, with proper aid and nourishment, we grow up to be amazing human beings who are able to fend for ourselves and help others. Without a beginning, then we wouldn’t exist! Also, of all the TV shows we’ve watched, most of the first episodes do not compare with the rest of the series since they’re usually awkward and you don’t really know what’s happening. As the series progresses, you get to know the characters more and how they solve whatever gets thrown at them. You find out how they handle certain situations and you think to yourself, I can do that too and that’s when you decide that they’re your heroes- the ones you look up to.
We’ve heard of the phrase, “It gets better.” I feel like this quote goes more into depth about that simple and overlooked quote. The it, your pain, is going to get better, hence, more joy will come your way. Pain and joy are opposing  feelings, but you won’t be in pain for a prolonged time. When you get a cut, you initially feel the stinging pain and it starts to throb after a while.  After a week or so, it goes away and heals. You certainly remember how it felt when you got the cut , but it’s not there anymore. There is healing in the injury process, but the initial pain doesn’t stay. It could linger a little longer than you expect, but it will heal.
Unfortunately, while pain isn’t permanent, so is joy. Joy isn’t permanent, but that’s what contrasts pain and joy. Without the presence of pain, how would you know what joy feels like? If all you felt was joy, would you realize that it was joy? Whatever you’re feeling that’s causing you to trip right now, just know that you’re feeling it just so that the joy you’ll feel would be greater and worth it.
When you’re in the healing process and recovering from immense pain, joy may be so far and so difficult to find. It’s times like these when we’re tested for our patience and perseverance. All we want at that moment is relief and the feeling of joy once again, but it just seems to be missing. After going through a long period of pain and waiting and the time of joy and relief comes, you come through wiser. Those features are worth the wait so that you can encourage others who may also be stuck in the muck of pains.
So, take heart and it gets better. Your breakthrough is coming. Hang in there. Hold on to God’s promises. Trust and embrace your struggles. God is with you. “Weeping may endure for a while but Joy Cometh in the morning.” – Psalm 30: 5  

 

Choose JOY!💕

 I love the idea of being happy for, proud, or in support of women/others doing wonderful things and making their dreams a reality. But most of all I love the part where we get so comfortable in our own journey that we no longer feel the need to envy others for the beauty they have found in theirs. 
Often time, we look at our faith, deeds, actions, and base them off estimation. We look around and judge how we are doing based on how others are doing. What if we pushed that to the curb, and just tried to beat the person we were last week/month/year? What if we stopped comparing ourselves by how others are doing. Start today by being better than who you were last week. Don’t lose your joy by comparing yourselves with what others are doing. Your journey is different. Focus, embrace and enjoy on your progress. Choose JOY!💕