Contentment is life saving

Contentment is based on the fear of the Lord. Proverb 19:23 “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil” (KJV) whereas the (NLT) version states “Fear of the Lord leads to life bringing security and protection from harm” It is thus clear that the secret of contentment lies in having to bear good and bad situations without being overjoyous during good times, or despondent because of bad times in life. To my mind, contentment is an equalizer to the swinging pendulum of life. It allows humanity to focus on valuable ends rather than sulking, withdrawing from reality and allowing fear to dominate  ones life.

A contented man is not he who is completely enjoying without facing any odds in life. The focus of a true believer in Christ is in that man or woman of faith who exercises his faith in Christ as his or her redeemer. Nobody can claim to be sinless for the bible tells us “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”Roman 3:23 (NKJV) In Deuteronomy 8:18, it is written “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth….” The high point here is the important situation of obeying the will of God whether favorable or not. When one has developed total dependence on God through Christ, it will be easy to find contentment or solace in HIM . God will not abandon anyone who honors Him, no matter what.

A believer who sins will always be forgiven if he or she would penitently ask for forgiveness. Without self-conceit one is free to ask for forgiveness and to be re-enabled to endure trying moments. A wealthy man with contentment will understand that it was God that gave him the wherewithal to make wealth. If he realizes this fact, he should be prepared to listen to the petition of his employee and put things right if he is guiltless.  The petition of the employee or subordinate should not be considered  as insult, rather  the matter must be investigated or analysed to see the reason why matters went that way. He would never  contemplate usurping other people’s property or right. In sickness and in good health, and in life’s vicissitudes, he would praise God. The bible taught us to pray without ceasing, more so in times of intimidation, oppression, backbiting and many more to be able to maintain our equanimity or contentment.

God changes not and Jesus is there to intercede for all especially for those who love the  Lord. In Philippians 4: 11-12, Paul gave his recipe for contentment thus, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learnt both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Paul topped the thought on contentment that saw him surviving in spite all the sufferings that he went through “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain  we carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into  foolish and harmful lust which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1Timothy 6: 6-10 (NKJV)

 

 

 

 

 

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Lessons From Giving

There is no coin , at least , in our contemporary society that has only one side. Each coin features head and tail sides. The act connotes opposite situations like good or bad. king or the ruled, right or wrong as well as the right or the wrong side. Many people count on the positive effect while some do not care a hoot over revelling on the negative and its after effect. A traditional saying  that one good turn deserves another is relevant to the content of this topic. Let us reflect on why David should search for any survivor from King Saul lineage. It is in order to repay the good turn of Jonathan to him.  Jonathan gave his total love to David. Were it not to be so, King Saul could have killed David out of jealousy, but Jonathan preserved David’s life. Jonathan took a vow with David. “So Jonathan made covenant with the house of David, saying, let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies”. He caused David to vow thus, “Jonathan caused David to vow, because he loved him; as he loved his own soul. 1Samuel 20: 16-17. In the art of giving,  Jonathan gave David series of vital information, otherwise, he could have died in the hand of King Saul who took 3000 soldiers to pursue David, a fugitive. He got Mephibosheth and gave back all Saul’s family property to the “Lame Duck” Mephibosheth. II Samuel 9:1-13  (NKJV)

Back in the early days of life on earth, Abel gave the best of his livestock product for sacrifice to the Lord while Cain was reported to have given farm produce that was not of the best quality. God therefore, did not honor Cain’s offering. Genesis 4: 1-4. Giving is a spiritual investment that draws to the giver positive or negative returns relative to what was given out first. God loves cheerful giver for it to be worthy of being accepted. By all standard, Nabal was prosperous but could not oblige to help his benefactor who was in dire need of food for self with his people and his men of valor. I Samuel 25: 3-11(NKJV). He refused to give and even called David names not befitting neither him nor David. It was Abigail (Nabal’s wife) that quickly remedied the situation otherwise, David could have taken punitive measure against the house of Nabal.

There is joy in giving. Another common saying states that “the giver’s hand is always over and above that of the taker”. The hoarder usually finds (especially food products or electronic items) them to have become rotten or overtaken by new and upgraded products. The giver  gives every room for bringing in new stocks into the store house. The “Giver” is known to be more helpful, purposeful, and generous than the non-giver who spends  money lavishly on ungodly reasons who can be considered guilty of squandermania. Jesus observed that the widow’s mite  was greater than the rich people’s offerings. The widow’s mite amounted to giving all. By it, Jesus stressed the importance of giving in Luke 21: 1- 4. The King of Salem blessed Abraham for giving the tenth of his proceeds from the victorious war he had just fought. The widow of Zarephath in a godly obedience gave first to satisfy Prophet Elijah, the Tishbite and she was blessed: “The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah” 1 Kings: 16 (NKJV)

The Living Hope

A result oriented entrepreneur, business executive, a believer, student studying for academic laurel, parenting couple, and many more need to have a living hope until the set goals and objectives are achieved. We are still on the subject of HOPE as an anchor of our soul if kept undying or alive. All boils down to achieving our goals if we can steadfastly stick the relevant road map with God being the beacon whatever be the ups and downs along the route. Living hope is a recurring impetus to forge ahead, knowing that God is faithful to see us through. Any one with weak or false hope is most likely going to end up being a quitter.

As in Hebrew 6: 19-20, it says,  “But beloved, we are confident for better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in his manner. For God is not unjust to forget your labor of love which you have shown  toward His name, in that you have ministered to his saints, and do minister. And that we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (NKJV). The relevant application of this passage is that we know as Christian believers that Jesus is interceding for us before God. Jesus told his followers that they should feel free to ask for any need of theirs through and  will be granted to them.

Christians have a living hope that makes their ultimate possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believers are looking forward to their salvation or as it is pleasantly expressed “Where will you spend your eternity-Heaven or Hell?” They tend to determinedly work towards it in the hope that the death and resurrection of Jesus has cleared the road to salvation. Christians are training and developing themselves and others to ensure their eternal salvation. It is this living HOPE that kept Apostle Paul going in spite of the suffering he went through throughout  his missionary journeys. Let us consider the  beating and imprisonment he endured. He and Silas were beaten severely and kept in prison under maximum security. Following the expression of the living hope in them, they both held vigil where they sang praises and prayed God loudly.The Almighty God showed forth His acceptance of the worship and responded with an earthquake that broke the stocks on them and yet they refused to escape from custody, Act 16: 18-28.

Hope is always the force behind endurance  and perseverance  as recorded in Thessalonians 1:3 “AS we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ, (NLT).

HOPE IS LIFE SUSTAINING

Hope is life-sustaining. It is absolutely based on trust or faith in God. It is a life-sustaining phenomenon. Conversely, hopelessness is thus essential ingredient that makes up failure, faithlessness and or possibly untimely death. It is therefore to be seen that without hope for better result now or in the future, nothing tangible can be achieved. Strategic planning, or network analysis is based on hope, all things being equal.

This is the psychological reason a doctor treating a patient will always be reassuring the sick patient that he or she would get well; even where there appears to be no medical remedy. He continues to reassure the patient so that the patient may attune  his or her mind to the hope of getting well. Even , if all indices  point to eventual death, the assurance given would more often than not remove the burden of feeling guilty of perhaps confessed or non-confessed sins. Often times, When adequate hope is instilled in the patient, the sick person can easily take solace in Ephesians 3: 20 that says “God is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us” (NIV). Hope can be a means of resuscitating a dying person who can thereafter be able to do great exploits for God and humanity. The Almighty God is for ever faithful to those who hope and trust in him. God’s faithfulness is stressed in Lamentation 3: 32 “Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies” (NKJV)

King Hezekiah fell sick to the point of death and God sent Prophet Isaiah to the king to warn him of his imminent death. King Hezekiah with hope and trust communed with God to spare his life because he had been so used to praying and praising Him which He would not be able to do  if he should die. God heard his prayer and asked Prophet Isaiah to go back and announce extending the King’s life by fifteen years. The lesson learnt here was that King Hezekiah kept hope alive until God gave him his heart’s desire,  without doubt, it was the trust that Hezekiah had in God that caused an end to King Sennacherib’s siege when overnight 185000 of his soldiers died of what bible historians described as bubonic plague from rat infestation. In short, if it is fear of anything that is standing between a believer and unshakable hope, trust and believe in God. Just remember the Psalmist that said: “The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid.” Psalm 118: 6. A prayerful believer is a hopeful person because the result of prayers does not manifest instantly like the miracles of Jesus Christ in His healing ministry. Hannah hoped and trusted in God until God opened her womb and gave birth to Samuel.

Deception: Weapon of the Devil

There is deception in many facets of life. If not, there would not have been outcries over small prints in contractual documents especially in some credit cards’ added information appearing in small  prints. Such small prints are no less important than those in bold letters. As soon as one has signed the document, every clause therein becomes binding. Deception was first heard of from biblical events narrated in the serpent’s deception, concerning Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Devil has since then been revising and upgrading its strategies of weaning  human being from God their creator.

Serpent in the narrative stood for Lucifer, Satan or devil. From all indications, I believe it is only the knowledge of creating living and non-living things that God did neither show nor  divulge to him. Assuming he had the knowledge, he could have  started creating  his own supporters or servants to support his fight against God.  Of course, it would have been a mere illusion for him to have thought that he was smart not knowing that God was Omniscient and omnipotent. The serpent (Satan) used the extent of its knowledge to deceive or twist the fact of God’s relationship with Adam and Eve and led Eve to achieve negative result. In Genesis 3 :4-5, Satan gave false assurance based on wrong premise that led to the fall of Adam and Eve; “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'”  With the negative consequence of the deception, blame game started among human beings. Adam blamed Eve and Eve also blamed the serpent, as if each of them was blameless. Then the man said, ” the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. And the Lord GOD said to the woman, ‘what is it you have done?.’  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate”. Genesis 3:12-13 (NKJV).

The result of the deception changed the course of history of mankind until today. By it, we still talk of inherited sin from Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. It is by the second Adam (Jesus Christ the Savior) that we are now blessed with salvation through him who paid the debt for our sins. To take full advantage of salvation, we find in John 10:10 (KJV) the pathway to be followed…”The thief cometh  not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Believers have lessons to learn from Paul’s admonition to Timothy. In 1Timothy 1:18-20, we read how the world seduced Hymenaeus and Alexander away from the gospel with attendant negative consequences. We are all enjoined to hold fast on to our faith and never waver. Not all that glitters is gold. Never be a “drive through” believer.

The lying tongues

Lying tongues are associated with false prophets and teachers of the holy Word of God. I would like to evaluate them as agents of the devil. Mildly put, they are agents of destabilization in the Church of God as of old up to now. They would have studied the Word of God to a reasonable depth. This tends to give them leverage and give them the opportunity to sound convincing. Within their own heart, they have different agenda that lead into turning young or weak Christians from the genuine way of the Lord. To the Almighty God, it is a complete abomination.

They are wolf in sheep’s skin whose sole but hidden purpose is self-aggrandizement, simply put self-seekers. It is not peculiar to Christians of contemporary era but had begun even in Prophet Jeremiah’s historical times. For instance in Jeremiah 14, the bible recounted the sins of the Jews and God decided to punish them with famine. The main reason was sin against the God of Israel. The Lord explained to Jeremiah what he would do mainly because the prophets were not genuine and were guilty of false prophesy. Disaster was looming large but the false prophets, were busy with their lying tongue and perverting the truth as God had made it clear. In Jeremiah 14: 13-14, the bible recorded:  “Alas, Sovereign God! The prophets keep telling them, You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed   I will give you lasting peace in the place.” Then the Lord said to me   “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatrous and the delusion of their own minds. Jeremiah 14: 13-14 (NIV)

In the Churches today, it behoves born-again Christians to avoid the consequences of the act of being false teachers, prophets, pastors, evangelist, bishops, deacons and even the class of Church workers.

OVERCOMING TEMPTATION
One needs to draw a clear distinction between test and temptation. Job in the Old Testament is perhaps a very appropriate circumstance that can be used to differentiate what test means as distinct from temptation. In the Book of Job 1: 6-22 the bible made it clear that HE (God)knew Job as a perfect man who would never abandon HIM, the God of all creation. The basis for allowing Satan to test Job was that He was very sure who Job was, it was a means of proving Satan wrong that Satan has not conquered all the children of God; more so that not all his children had allowed pride to ruin their relationship with God. Whereas, Satan’s idea of temptation is seeking to destroy those who stood in complete obedience to God. In Job 1: 6-22 Job was blessed richly and would always make sacrifices to cleanse his children in case they have committed sin against God. The following scenario proves the point. When God called His children, Satan followed them. At a point Satan referred to Job as being reverent to God because of his riches and went ahead to take excuse to tempt Job. God trusted the faith of Job that he would not fail; and therefore allowed Satan to tempt Job whose excellent relationship with God would prove Satan wrong. As far as Satan was concerned he was to tempt or coax or persuade Job to do wrong, or simply put to coax Job into denying God. In this, he troubled Jobs’ life with a series of losses or calamities including loss of all his children and complete destruction of his wealth. Within twenty-four hours all he stood for in life was ruined. His health was afflicted, three friends provoked him so as to denounce God, even his wife asked him to curse God and die as the pain and anguish got to a breaking point. In all, the faith of Job stood unshakened

In another circumstance, the serpent’s deceptive method to cause Eve to sin was by carefully leading Eve to take an action forbidden by God. The popular quote verse from Genesis 1: 1 “Yea, has God said, Yea shall not eat of the tree of the garden?” was the misleading question with Satan’s answer “Ye shall not surely die”, which led to the fall of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3: 1-4 (KJV) Joseph was also tempted with amorous relationship with Potiphar’s wife, but he being guided by God refused the overture Genesis 39:7-23. It landed him in jail and the wisdom of God led him from “From prison to the Palace” of King Pharaoh as the Prime Minister in a foreign land. To Potiphar’s wife, it was an enjoyable offer but to Joseph, it was an abominable breach of trust and heinous crime against God. 

It is crucial to know and watch out for the ways in which Satan has always tempted we humans. He attacks that most vulnerable part of any person in order to make human species sin. According to 2Corinthians 2: 11 (KJV). It says “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are ignorant of his devices”. Briefly, temptation has the nature of “carrot and stick” whereas testing a person has the nature of who is on the defensive mode and cannot be moved?  The barrenness of Sarah did not cause Abraham to stumble in faith. The need for him to sacrifice Isaac to God was the most daunting test of faith. Abraham obeyed and God showed forth at the point of slaughtering the promised child. Testing is thus for evaluating known faith, or standard of living, but more so, faith in God. Is there anyone that is above temptation? Of course, no one is above temptation. Our Lord Jesus was even tempted by the devil. In Matthew 4: 1-11 Jesus used the word of God known to be the sword of the spirit to defeat the devil. Jesus always countered the devil by saying.  “It is written: Man shall not leave by bread alone, but by every word that procedeth out of the mouth of God”. To be able to overcome temptation it is still the precept of Christ we are supposed to follow, because that was how Jesus Christ overcame the devil. The way to corner and defeat the devil using THE WORD OF GOD can be traced to 1 Peter 5: 8-9 where Jesus declared “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh  about, seeking who he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”. 

Let us realize that Satan always shows itself as Angel of light 2 Corinthians 11: 14-15 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” What can we do to overcome the temptation always posed by Satan? Jesus has told us to watch and pray or else we would yield to temptation as in Matthew6: 13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and power, and the glory for ever Amen”. It is reechoed in Matthew 26: 41 that says: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. In 1 Corinthians 10: 12, we are admonished to take heed: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves, but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise. Also in James 4: 7, we are enjoined to; “Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. We should be praying without ceasing.

The bottom line in Ephesians 6: 10-13 (KJV) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”. Praise the Lord.