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The Art Of Contentment


"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,” so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"
Good Morning my beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day.
We are so glad to have you here with us today. 
C.S. Lewis once said, "Pain insists upon being attended to, God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." 
There seems to be a temptation for those of us who follow Christ to try and defend God. I can assure you, God needs no defending. He is big enough and powerful enough to handle all of this, and more!. Here is what I believe God is saying in this tragedy. There are also many who think God is being silent in a time like this, I do not believe that for a moment. God is speaking, loud and clear, the question is, are we listening?
I believe that God is saying, "This is a tragedy. When I created the earth and all that is upon it, this is not how I intended it be. My heart is extremely grieved." We need to know that God created a perfect world and He is fully aware of what is going on. And His heart is grieved. The free will that lead to a rebellion against God that has affected every generation since Adam and Eve. However, this is not how God intended life to go. And so, God had a plan to win back the world through the death of his Son.
I believe that during the past year and a half,  that we have seen just how vulnerable this life can be. I believe God is saying we need to look to Him for the answers and not the world. He is a compassionate and loving God. And His heart is grieving.
Psalm 39:5, "Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah."
I believe that God wants us to understand that He is all that we need. And, He will never leave us nor forsake us. God is enough! 
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for this rich, wonderful truth in Your Word. Lord, we thank You for the Holy Spirit, who superintended it all. We thank You for this precious time, we have been given, to be together, to study Your Word, help us to cherish every moment. Help us to realize that we have an obligation before the world to live a life, that glorifies You and draws others toward Christ.
Father, if there is any one among us, who has never met You, who have not come all the way to Christ, we ask and pray that You would touch their hearts, soften the hardened places, open their eyes and ears, that today might be that day.
We ask and pray in Christ's precious name
Today's Message: The Art Of Contentment
If we’re going to proclaim our doctrine to the world, we ought to be able to match it with our life. God wants us to witness to the world. If we do not support Christianity by our lives, then in the face of the world we make God a liar, Christianity a joke and Christ a fraud. As Christians, we must be able to live the kind of life that is needful in order for people to listen to what we say. If you cannot order your living in such a way to fit your speech, then you might as well not speak at all.

A Christian who does not live according to God’s standards lives apart from the joy that is his. You can’t sin and disobey all of God’s standards and expect to be a happy, joyful Christian. If you’re living a life that is going against what you know is right, in contrast to God's Word, you’re going to be a miserable, unhappy person. And so standards of living are given not only as a witness to the world, but as a source of joy to the believer. 
If you think that sin is fun, give holiness a try! Obeying God’s standard brings joy. In fact, Psalm 19 says "The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes."
 And Psalm 64:10, "The righteous man will be glad in the Lord and will take refuge in Him;
And all the upright in heart will glory."
Many Christians today, have this strange idea that its OK to sin and since its OK, that you should sin. Ecclesiastes 2:26 says " For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind."
So the principles of God then for the believer have two dominant results: First, a clear testimony to the world. And the second, personal joy. These two are inseparable by the way. Because when you are a joyous Christian, people are going to want what you have. We are to find joy in the salvation of others.
Open your Bibles with me to the thirteenth chapter of the book of Hebrews. Here in Hebrews 13:5-6, God instructs us on a particular aspect of our way of life. If you will remember, last time we began looking at Christian Ethics according to God's standard. We talked about sustained love, sympathy. When we talk about Christian ethics, you could literally go on and on, as there are hundreds of things that as Christians we should or should not do. 
As Christians, we shouldn't need a written list because if we follow the biblical standard, God's standard, it all comes down to love. And, when we love people, there is just certain things we do and things we don't do, because we love the. No one has to tell me not to beat my sons, I don't beat them because I love them That doesn't mean that I don't correct them, if the need arises, but I certainly would never beat them. In other words, love precludes the necessity of all those other rules. Love comes immediately when you’re saved. If a man loves, he’ll never steal; for love doesn’t take, it gives. You see?
Romans 5:3-5 says "And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." 

And in fact, in Colossians 3, Paul says, "Love is the bond of perfection, it ties everything together."
I invite you to follow along with me as I read to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for what the Spirit of God has to say. Hebrews 13:5-6.
"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,” so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"
Contentment is more an issue of our perspective than of our circumstances. Even among Christians, true contentment is not really very common. Contentment, though rare, is not just nice for believers to feel, its actually an implied command. To complain about our circumstances is to challenge the love and goodness of God. By being discontented, it implies that He has not provided us with what we need. If you will recall, in Exodus 17, discontentment was the sin of Israel in the wilderness. God had just miraculously delivered them from slavery in Egypt and He was miraculously meeting their needs, yet they grumbled and complained about their hardships and threatened to return to Egypt.
So,the exhortation of our text may stem from what the author said in chapter 10:34, where he reminded them that in the former days, "For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one."
However, now they needed endurance. Perhaps, anxiety had set after their property had been unlawfully seized. Some were now focused on regaining their possessions, no matter what it required. But, pursuing material things can easily cross the line into loving them. And the love of money or things  is opposed to the love of the brethren , which He mentions in verse 1. So, here, the author calls them to contentment and shows them how to cultivate this rare, but essential, Christian jewel.  
Christian contentment, is that sweet, inward, quiet, and gracious spirit, that freely submits to and delights in our heavenly Father's wise disposal in every condition. In our world today, advertising is designed to make us think that we need their product or service, in order to be happy. In order to develop and maintain contentment, we must first realize that the world is constantly seeking to make us feel discontented. In other words, we have to fight the influence of the world, or its swift current will drag us downstream.
One question that often arises from our text, is should we be unconcerned about material things? As with many biblical principals, there is a balance that we must maintain by holding seemingly opposite truths. On the one hand, the Bible condemns laziness and calls us to work hard to provide for our family’s and our own needs Scripture commands us to manage the money and possessions that God has entrusted to us carefully and to have the foresight and discipline to provide for our anticipated future needs and the needs of others. 
And, on the other hand, the Bible warns us about the dangers associated with wealth. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus tells us "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." However, your motive for seeking more money is crucial.Seeking to meet the needs of your family is proper. As well as seeking more, so that you can give more to those in need is good. However, if you're trusting wealth rather than the Lord for present or future security, you'll soon find yourself off course! By storing up treasures on earth, rather than in heaven, you’ll lose it all. We must be cautious about living in abundance, while neglecting the needs of those who in are struggling.In seeking to find contentment in money or material possessions, rather than in God, you wind up empty handed. So, you must be careful, so that you’re not deceived.
We must therefore, cultivate contentment in the Lord. In other words, you’ve got to guard your thought life and constantly work at developing and maintaining a biblical view of life, material possessions, and of eternity. You must avoid comparing yourself with others, recognizing that God is sovereign and that He has different purposes for different people. And, He knows that if He entrusted you with more money, whether or not you would stop trusting Him and be spiritually ruined. In cultivating an attitude of contentment, we must bow daily before God’s sovereignty, trusting Him to provide for all of our needs, and keep an eternal perspective. Contentment is not simply about settling for what we have, but trusting in what God has promised. And most promising of all: "I will not leave you or forsake you." Of course, God will never leave us because he’s everywhere all the same time. God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.
When many Christians today read, "Be content with what you have," they tend to think as Christians, we have enough. Some may even interpret this verse to mean "Don’t long for more than you need."More often than not, we're being called to be content with what we do not have. In other words, we are to cultivate satisfaction in what God has given us for today.
The word for content is the same word in II Corinthians 12:9, when Jesus says to the apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" To which Paul responds, in verses9-10, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." If God gives you less, then boast in your less, because you will have the opportunity to see more of Him in your less. Our deepest joy does not rise and fall with what we have, but in Whom we have, Jesus Christ.
Greed and the love of money, is comparative to a weed, you can pull it up today, however, it will surely return tomorrow. In order to kill the weed completely, we must acknowledge God’s ownership of all that we have. Jesus frequently used parables in which God is the owner and we are His stewards. 
In Matthew 25:14-30, He said "For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.  Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

“But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’  “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
God entrusts us with resources that we are to use to make a profit for His purposes. If we squander His assets, spending frivolously on things for our own personal use, we are being irresponsible with that which He has entrusted us. We need to keep in mind, that one day, He is going to check the books. Therefore, we need yield all we have to Him, after all, He is the rightful owner. You need to manage it well and take great care of it for Him, and if He so chooses to take it away, that’s His business. So, if we want to be truly content with what we have, we have to be free from the love of money.

God is on his throne. He has not gone anywhere, He has not forsaken us. He wants you to know that you are safe with him, that no matter what happens in life, you are safe and secure in His arms. We can be courageous wherever his hand leads us.

God speaks is speaking to all of us here today, even more loudly than we may think. In His Word, He speaks words of comfort, words of warning but also words of assurance. It is my prayer, that your ears are opened.

In Closing..

When you are tempted to worry about how much you have, set your mind on what He has said in His Word. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead, storing your treasure up in heaven. Giving is God’s antidote for greed. God may be sending you more to help you get some things to make life more comfortable. However, He may be sending you more so that you can use it to bless others, furthering His purposes and plans. However, if you assume that it’s all for you and your earthly comfort and desires, you may be misusing what God has blessed you with. Material things can never truly satisfy our hearts, only God can do that. True contentment comes through building your life on God Himself, not on that which you want Him to give you.
When God gives you an abundance, if your needs are met, prayerfully consider giving the surplus to doing the Lord's work.
Mat it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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