Enough

ID 31598551 © Oakdalecat | Dreamstime.com

How much is enough? Advertisers create demand for a product or service—and often, that serves us well. 

But other times, it can feed the flesh. 

Proverbs 30:15-16 reads, 

“The leech has two daughters.
    ‘Give! Give!’ they cry.

“There are three things that are never satisfied,
    four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
      the grave, the barren womb,
    land, which is never satisfied with water,
    and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

We humans don’t make the list except in the family department. God designed man for contentment, a sense of peace and fulfillment undisturbed by circumstance. Satisfaction.

What drives discontentment? Comparison? Our flesh? Wounds? Unmet expectations?

Could it be that our sense of satisfaction is a burden we’ve placed on ourselves? Something feel we must work for?

Scripture challenges that mindset. Take a look.

Matthew 6:25-34 This passage speaks to worry. Birds and flowers simply fulfill their God-given purposes and trust their Maker to meet their needs. 

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33

Psalm 104:27-30 This passage speaks to receiving as all creatures look to God to give them their food at the proper time. 

“when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” Psalm 104:28b

Philippians 4:11-13 Many with plenty struggle with discontentedness, while others in poverty overflow with contentment. Paul speaks to state of mind. Circumstances have no bearing. His focal point is his relationship with God. 

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Will God call you to go without? Maybe. If He does, He has purpose in it, so thank Him in the midst of the challenge for His work in your life. 

If God gives you plenty, what do you do? First, thank Him. Second, hold it lightly. You serve as steward, not owner. Third, give generously as God leads and enjoy the bounty He allows you to keep. 

Paul reminded Timothy: godliness with contentment is great gain. Know when to say enough. 

Suggested activities:

  • Select several objects such as pencils, a bike, and your kids’ favorite candy. When do you have enough of each? Why? What determines the satisfaction point? Need? Want? Function? Flavor?
  • Practice stewardship. Give each child an object (their room, clothes, jewelry) or service (fixing a meal, cleaning, childcare, pet care) to steward. Discuss ownership and stewardship. What are consequences for poor, proper, and excellent stewardship? What do owners deal with that stewards do not?
  • If your home caught on fire, what would you grab first? If everything was destroyed, what items would you miss? What items could you do without?

Stay Hydrated

ID 125181143 © Fizkes | Dreamstime.com

At this point in the summer, I’m wilting. It’s just plain hot and fall seems oh, so far away. My skin wrinkles, my mouth feels like cotton, and my spirit is dehydrated too. 

My daughter recently shared a word picture with me. Imagine the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit at a table with four chairs. The fourth chair is yours. The Trinity sits around the table talking about how They look forward to time with you today. As you walk in the door, Their faces light up. 

Are you as excited to see Them? Or does your spiritual walk feel as dry as Texas in August?

Here are a few tips to carry us through the dog days of summer:

Early Morning: Early morning offers the lowest temperatures of the day, so get outside. Walk. Listen. Pray. Use your senses. What will He show you? 

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . . “ Genesis 3:8

A/C: The Holy Spirit is often symbolized by wind or breath. Think spiritual climate control. Just as heading outside in the afternoon feels oppressive, walking without the Spirit feels oppressive too. Spend some time in front of the fan of worship. Feel the air move and think about how the Spirit moves in our lives. 

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:1-4

Snow Cones: Snow cones are such a treat in the summer. Treat yourself to a podcast, a book, or new music that will encourage you to grow spiritually. Even biblical fiction can give you a new perspective on familiar Bible accounts. 

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103

The Pool: Take time to soak in the Word as summer wraps up. Try a spot you haven’t explored in a while like Habakkuk or 1 John. 

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

Just because the grass turns browns doesn’t mean our spirit has to wilt too. Keep your cool and stay hydrated this August. 

Learning Styles . . . and Your Quiet Time?

Learning Styles

My children tended to learn one of two ways: by example—or the hard way.

God prefers we learn by example.

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.” 1 Cor. 10:11 NIV

God’s filled Scripture with good and bad examples:

  • Job’s trust
  • Samson’s lust
  • Abraham’s faith
  • Thomas’s doubt
  • Moses’s humility
  • Pharaoh’s pride
  • Daniel’s commitment
  • Esau’s disregard

Now consider your learning style. What kind of learner are you?

Visual?

Auditory?

Reflective?

Kinesthetic?

Visual: When our kids were young, we had a series of Bible stories on video. Seeing the story brought up emotions, thoughts, and questions I never would have had if I had simply read it.

Auditory: Lots of options here, from dramatic readings to Scripture set to music.

Reflective: Look at the different kinds of writing in Scripture—poetry, history, wisdom lit. Read it aloud. Journal. Look at the techniques used by the different writers: parables, metaphors, humor.

Kinesthetic: Go hands-on. Try different scenarios—potter/clay, bread making. Find an example in Scripture that you can replicate.

Tap your learning style and learn by example.

And if you veer toward the hard way:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13

God promises a way out. Take it.

Workout for the Week: Learning Styles

Memory Verse: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.” 1 Cor. 10:11 NIV

Meditation Passage: 1 Corinthians 10:11-13

Just Do It: Use your learning style in your time with God this week.

Spiritual Growth Spurts

Spiritual Growth Spurts

The people at Chewy must hate me. I keep changing the shipping date for the dog food. Our puppy is growing. Rapidly. He eats more than double what our aging Lab does and has caught up to him in weight.

He’s six months old.

Growth requires fuel, even spiritual growth. Valor gets his fuel from Chewy. Where do you get yours? What should you eat?

God’s Word: Jesus points to spiritual food during His temptation, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NIV) No shortage of flavor choices here! Milk (Ten Commandments) or meat (Romans)? Savory (the historical books) or sweet (Psalms)? Is your spirit craving wisdom? Try Proverbs. God’s Word will fuel every need your spirit encounters.

God’s Will: In John’s record of the woman at the well, Jesus gives another food source, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) God states His will plainly for many things. Love one another. Don’t lie. Pray. His specific will requires time and a willingness to wait for direction: Lord, what do I do about _________? Yet Jesus said that the doing of His Father’s will nourished His spirit like food fuels the body.

God Himself: Jesus offers Himself, I am the bread of life.” (John 6:48) The Bread of Life passage is found in John 6, which includes the feeding of the five thousand. Coincidence? Nah. The gist of John 6 is this: Feed on Me. Or: relationship, relationship, relationship.

Are you having a growth spurt or do you feel stunted?

Are you snacking on devotionals, podcasts, and weekly sermons or eating well-balanced meals of relationship, Scripture, and obedience?

Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week:  Spiritual Growth Spurts

Memory Verse: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)

Meditation Passage: John 6

Just Do It: Fuel the growth.

Change of Heart, Change of Clothes

Change of Heart, Change of Clothes

The breeze from the north this morning whispered of autumn, sweaters, and boots.

But who are we kidding? This is September. In Texas.

While I love my boots and sweaters, they’ll stay on the shelf a while longer. Texans layer as temps swing twenty to thirty degrees in the course of a day, so my shorts will stay close at hand.

God, however, calls for an entire wardrobe change. A change of heart calls for a change of clothes. Paul tells us what to throw out in Colossians 3:5-10 (NIV):

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Can’t you just hear Paul? “Get rid of it. Clean out your closet. No holding on to a few favorites. Out they go.”

Paul tells us what we should put on in verses 12-14:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

My son’s school requires uniforms. Khaki shorts and a polo that is red, white, or blue. It’s easy to figure out what to wear when your options are limited.

Since you can only wear one outfit at a time, limit your options to the good stuff.

The stuff that shows you are His.

Questions:

Why do you think Paul uses a clothing metaphor for character traits?

What clothes best reflect your personality?

Which of your character traits best reflect God?

What needs to go?

What will replace it?

Tweetables:

God calls for an entire wardrobe change. Click to tweet.

A change of heart calls for a change of clothes. Click to tweet.

Clean out your closet. No holding on to a few favorites. Out they go. Click to tweet.

Since you can only wear one outfit at a time, make room for the good stuff. Click to tweet.