Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rich or Poor, God I Want You More

I absolutely love it when God speaks to me through every sermon, lesson, song, scripture, cute facebook captioned picture, and so on -- all having the same message!  He knows it takes that much for me to slow down, quiet down and see what He's trying to tell me.  I'm so thankful, however, that He doesn't give up on me, because what He's telling me right now is not something new... He's told me this same thing over and over.  I often wonder why Jeff and I have to tell our kids every single day to hang up their towels and put their dirty clothes in the hamper, but other things we tell them once and they remember, obey and do it??  But, we don't disown them or give up on them because of it...although at times it irritates me to no end.  God doesn't give up on me even though He's having to remind me of the same things yet again.

My women's bible study group is doing Beth Moore's study on Daniel right now.  I've learned a lot about Babylonia and how it was a me-centered society with a lot of glitz and glitter and must-haves.  Sounds a lot like today, huh?  Yup.  One of the last times my parents visited us they said something that included 'you guys live in a very rich area.'  Just stating a fact in a passing statement.  But, I honestly hadn't looked at it that way.  Now, I'm not saying this to brag so stick with me!  I wondered at times since we've been here how we exactly 'fit in' in this area - we aren't rich!  (With money anyway)  As I look back I know I've always struggled with jealousy...it always has looked better 'over there.'  And, now I'm saturated in it.  As I drive to the store I pass house after house that I would have considered mansions a few years ago.  I look at their perfect manicured lawn and pine needle garden, all brick home and sigh.  I walk into the grocery and notice her name brand clothes and purse.  I hear about the private lessons this son or daughter is taking and the third vacation of the year at the beach house.  I try in my own strength to be okay with that and accepting of the place we are in.  Because oh my goodness, how we are blessed!!!  We are SO blessed.  The truth is, there will always be someone who has more.  But to be perfectly content...it takes more than my own strength.  It takes the Spirit's - He's inside me and He is my Helper and wants me to rise above any circumstance I'm in - taking my eyes off of my surroundings and keeping them focused on the One who blesses.  

In the book, "Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith" by Karen Ehman, which I just read for our book group, Karen says this:   "No two ways about it.  True godly contentment is unavailable in microwave form; it needs to be patiently and purposefully cultivated.  We must cease making comparisons and instead embrace our current lot in life - our past, present, and future - welcoming all that God will teach us through it.  Only then we will discover the secret Paul knew -- that true contentment isn't merely having what we want; it's wanting nothing more than what we already have."

Last night a friend from cold snowy Michigan posted this on facebook: 
Sitting on the beach, enjoying it all. Thinking "Gosh, if only we lived here."
Chatting with a local who visited an area of snow. She said "my poor children. I feel like they are missing out on life."
Reality is....we must choose to be happy wherever we are. Or the grass will always seem greener ( or the snow. Or the sand....)
There's some wisdom there, huh?

Today my devotion was centered on the parables that Jesus taught in Matthew 13.  Verse 22 is Jesus telling us what He meant in verse 7 about the seeds that fell among thorns that choked them.  He says, "As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful."  I, of course, have never noticed this and know it was saved for me for this moment this morning.  I hear the word of God but I also care about the world and what is in it and what I have or don't have.  Riches are deceitful - you think they will bring you happiness, but it doesn't last and so then you move on to your next purchase or want.  And worst of all...I'm unfruitful, unable to be used by God, while I'm tangled up in this longing, chasing of happiness through the world.  

Sunday we sang a song at church called "All We Need" by Charlie Hall.   Wow, thank you Lord.  I will declare moment by moment this prayer...it is a daily, conscious choice to be content, keeping You at the center of my focus and desire.  Thank You for all of these little whispers from You lately....

Rich or poor
Rich or poor God I want You more
Than anything that glitters in this world
Be my all, all consuming fire

You can have it all
You can have all my hands can hold
My heart, mind, strength and soul
Be my all, all consuming fire

Because we have all we need in You
And all we need is You
All we need is You

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