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An Opportunity to Learn

 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
                                                                                                                                                            -Philippians 4:11 KJV
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Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

 

I’ve always liked things in order but the older I get the more important order becomes. Needless to say remodeling is anything but orderly.  One day this past week as I was looking for a clean place to sit I thought about the Apostle Paul and this “contentment” scripture.  When he penned these words he was addressing his lack of dependence on financial support, but Paul wasn’t just content financially, he was content in the basic comforts of life.  He lived in at times dreadful conditions ( prison and shipwrecked just to name two) and not only was he content but he wrote much of the New Testament during these times.
 
The word content is a stoic word, expressing the favorite doctrine of the stoic sect, that a man should be sufficient to himself for all things; able, by the power of his own will, to resist the shock of circumstance. Paul is self-sufficient through the power of the new self: not he, but Christ in him. (Vincent, Marvin Richardson: Word Studies in the New Testament. Bellingham, WA : Logos )
 
Paul was not content because he was self-sufficient but because of who Christ was in his life.  Okay, no more complaining about the dust and disorder, this is a golden opportunity to learn… to be content.

The Inspection…

I mentioned in an earlier post that we are doing some remodeling to our home.  I know this sounds crazy but I am really enjoying it.  I may change my mind in another week or so when they tear up the floor and take off the countertops, but right now it’s really fun watching it come together.  God is using this project to teach me some life lessons.  Here’s the latest…

When you do any type of building or remodeling, there are inspections. I’m sure many of you know this, but this is the first time I’ve ever been involved in a building project, so this was news to me.  The first inspection was before they poured the foundation and now we are waiting on the second one to be able to put in the windows.  So today it hit me– In today’s world a building having a firm foundation and sturdy framing is so important that it is regulated by the government and a person is paid a salary just to inspect these structures. 

While having strong buildings are important and I’m thankful for these rules; what about our spiritual foundation and structure?  

 In Matthew 7: 24-27 in the ” Message” pharaphrase, Jesus shares a parable that addresses the importance of a good foundation…

 

These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living.

They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter

who built his house on solid rock.  Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house.

It was fixed to the rock. “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a

stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed

like a house of cards.”

 

The Bible doesn’t say “if” the rains came.  It says the rains came.  I’m afraid many 21st century Christians are not ready for the rains that are coming.  We have accepted Jesus as our Savior, but we haven’t allowed Him to be our Lord…our house inspector. 

 

Dear Jesus, inspect my “house” today.  Show me where I’m strong and show me where I’m weak.  Draw me to your Word, your master plan for my strong foundation.  –Amen

 

 

 

 

Preparation…

Have you ever thought about how much of your life is in preparation for something else?  Just think of your work day; how much time does it take to prepare for a 1 hour presentation?  Or, how about the time it takes to prepare for some project on your to-do list for this coming week-end?  If you were sitting beside me right now in my special, normally quiet room where I spend time with God you would know why I’m thinking about this…

Today is the first day of our “exciting” remodeling  project.  We have been waiting for this day for five years.  We’re finally getting a screened porch so that we can enjoy our backyard without every bug known to man attaching itself to our bodies.  Today has been a preparation day.  Actually, this whole week will probably be about preparation.  Preparation for this remodeling project includes demolition; complete with a jack hammer and a dumpster in the middle of our back yard.  Even though today has been noisy and messy it’s a sign of progress and I’m excited!

This got me thinking about my  life…

Most of my life has been about preparation.  I know I’m a “mature” woman, but don’t go thinking I’m a slow learner.  I’m in good company.  The Bible is loaded with people who spent their whole life preparing for their “moment in time.”  Three that come to mind are David, Esther, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • David was anointed king at the age of 15 (1 Sam 16: 1-13) and did not begin his reign until he was 37 (2 Sam 1:5)
  • Esther completed 12 months of beauty treatments just to meet the king one time (Esther 2:12).
  • Jesus spent 30 years preparing for His 3 1/2 year ministry

I have had my share of  demolition in my life.  There have been many times God allowed life to roll into the yard of my heart with a dumpster and pulled out the jack hammer.  Now I must be honest, I wasn’t excited then like I am about my remodeling project, but now I know it was in preparation for God’s plans and purposes for my life.  If I could go back and wipe away those times I would say an emphatic “no.”  What I’ve learned is just too precious!   I truly believe all my demolition and preparation are for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).  EVERYDAY the Holy Spirit finds ways to use me because of my preparation time. 

I encourage you today to look at your challenges, struggles, and trials as preparation to be used for the Glory of God!

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