Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Psalm 119:1-8

Your Word Is a Lamp to My Feet

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Be Content

Murmuring, dissatisfaction, discontent

(J. C. Ryle, "Be Content" 1885)

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with such things as you have, because God has said--Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

These words are very simple. A little child might easily understand them. They contain no high doctrine; they involve no deep metaphysical question; and yet, as simple as they are--the duty which these words enjoin on us, is of highest practical importance to all Christians.

Contentment is one of the rarest graces. Like all precious things--it is most uncommon. To practice contentment, is very hard. To talk of contentment in the day of health and prosperity is easy enough; but to be content in the midst of poverty, sickness, trouble, disappointments, and losses--is a state of mind to which very few can attain!

The fallen angels had heaven itself to dwell in, and the immediate presence and favor of God--but they were not content. Adam and Eve had the garden of Eden to live in, with a free grant of everything in it excepting one tree--but they were not content. Ahab had his throne and kingdom, but so long as Naboth's vineyard was not his--he was not content. Haman was the chief favorite of the Persian king--but so long as Mordecai sat at the gate--he was not content.

It is just the same everywhere in the present day. Murmuring, dissatisfaction, discontent with what we have, meet us at every turn. To say, with Jacob, "I have enough," seems flatly contrary to the grain of human nature. To say, "I want more," seems the mother tongue of every child of Adam.

Paul's direction ought to come with power to all our consciences: "Be content with such things as you have," not with such things as you once used to have--not with such things as you hope to have--but with such things as you now have. With such things, whatever they may be--we are to be content. With such a dwelling, such a family, such health, such income, such work, such circumstances as we now have--we are to be content.

Ah! reader, if you would be truly happy--seek it where alone it can be found. Seek it not in money, seek it not in pleasure, nor in friends, nor in learning. Seek it in having a will in perfect harmony with the will of God. Seek it in studying to be content.

You may say, that is fine talking--but how can we be always content in such a world? I answer, that you need to cast away your pride, and know your deserts, in order to be thankful in any condition. If men really knew that they deserve nothing, and are debtors to God's mercy every day--they would soon cease to complain.

Let me tell you why there is so little contentment in the world. The simple answer is, because there is so little grace, and true godliness. Few know their own sin; few feel their desert; and so few are content with such things as they have. Humility, self-knowledge, a clear sight of our own utter vileness and corruption; these are the true roots of contentment.

Let me tell you--what you should do, if you would be content. You must know your own heart, seek God for your portion, take Christ for your Savior, and use God's Word for your daily food. Contentment must be learned at the feet of Jesus Christ. He who has God for his friend, and heaven for his home--can wait for his good things, and be content with little here below.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lord, Help Me to Love...

Elyse Fitzpatrick has the following prayer in her book, Helper By Design. It shows how great our Father's love is for us and how we need His intervention of grace in our hearts to cause us to love as He does. This is my prayer today...may it be yours as well.

Oh Lord, You who loved me when I was unworthy; You who had laid down Your rights as Eternal God and humbled Yourself to become a man and be confined to a fleshly body; You who were rejected by the very ones You came to save; You who suffered humiliation and dreadful pain and separation for my sin that You bore on the cross; You alone know what love is! Help me now, for I see in me a great lack and even an apathy about being like You and loving my husband the way that You do. Please flood me with your love and cause me to love him because of You and to be perpetually consumed by thoughts of You and of Your wonderful wedding day to come. For Your glory and in Your power I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Word For Wednesday-- Proverbs 3:1-11

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
In the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.