Be Content

Harry Durgin Facebook

I am not going to list the evils, troubles, and trials in the world, in the US, in your country, in my life. You have a list similar to mine, I’m sure.

What is going on, and what should we be doing?

We need to be praying fervently, of course.

We also have the opportunity to be distinctive. We can live grateful, joyous lives because we are in Christ and know God’s promises. We can make people wonder and ask us how we can have that attitude. We can help them look to Christ.

Contentment

One way to be distinctive as a Christian is to be content.

I published five posts about contentment in 2017 (Current Event Bingo, Be Discontent, Ten Steps to Contentment, When to be Content, and Content in the Mess).

Whatever I learned, it didn’t stick.

Here is a short review for my own benefit, and I hope for yours.

First

Be discontent with your spiritual state. Pray. Lord, I am agitated and uneasy. I know You are in control and that You love me. Please forgive me. Please increase my trust in You. Please help me surrender to Your glorious will. Help me rejoice in the Lord always.

Second

Work on your head, heart, and hands.

God knows everything and is totally in control of what is going on. The world is His. The nations are His. He has holy reasons for what is going on.

For Christians, He is our loving sovereign. His incomprehensible, infinite love for His children means He is with us, sustaining us through our hard times, and uses our circumstances for good.

Study God’s word and absorb these facts. Memorize and meditate on His word. Determine to believe and trust Him. Surrender to His will. Trust is the key for contentment.

Delight in His will. In everything give thanks. Rejoice in the Lord always.

Head, heart, and hands reinforce each other. As you increasingly know God, you increasingly want to serve Him, which brings joy. As your knowledge of Him becomes deeper and permeates your heart and your life, you trust Him more. That brings joy and contentment.

Third

Watch yourself for discontent. When you notice an emotion signaling discontent, confess it and confront it. Intentionally take yourself through the steps in head, heart, and hands.

Pray! Pray! Pray!

Father, You are our almighty, holy God. We know You are working everything according to Your holy will. Thank You that You told us times will get worse as we approach Christ’s second coming. Thank You that You HATE sin, and are the righteous judge. Thank You for your promises to those who believe in Christ. Thank You that You are bring more people to Christ. Please help us totally trust You, what You are doing in the world, and in our lives. Please help walk in a manner worthy of You, and help us let others know about You.

Living in a Fallen World

In our fallen world, we are surrounded by sin. While Christians are no longer slaves to sin, and we are walking, more and more, according to the Holy Spirit, we still sin. Unbelievers continue to be slaves of sin (Romans 6:17), and the whole world groans waiting for our redemption (Romans 8:19-22).

Times are tough. And they will get tougher.

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13)

What should we do?

We need to firmly know, believe, and trust in our almighty God’s sovereignty, and His infinite eternal love for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Do not fear evil tidings

We are told: “He [the righteous] will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112.7)

It is possible

You might want to check out my book: When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready? This book focuses on God’s sovereignty over everything and everybody all the time, and God’s unfathomable love. The combination of His sovereignty and His love for us who believe brings joy regardless of circumstances.

My own book helped get me through a very scary time, even helping me feel giddy with joy about God’s loving sovereignty.

The book also talks about how to live in a fallen world.

Resolve

Let’s resolve to seek Him first. Let’s resolve to bring Him all our anxieties. Let’s resolve to stand firm no matter what.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to od. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippinans 4:6-7)

Rejoice

Rejoice that God has a holy plan and that He is working everything out of the counsel of His will. (Ephesians 1:11)

Bad Mood?

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Are you in some sort of bad mood? Sad? Depressed? Mad? Bitter?

Here’s the remedy: Get your eyes off yourself and focus on God. (This is not saying just to “take it.” If your problem can be improved or is solvable, work on it with the Lord’s guidance.)

But, often, we focus on how we feel to the exclusion of God.

The Prescription

The Psalmist (maybe David) gave us the prescription in Psalms 42 and 43.

Ask yourself why.

But the answer is not in your circumstances. The answer is in God.

The Palmist had to go through several cycles. Despair. Look to God. Despair. Look to God. Despair. Look to God.

Don’t bemoan your circumstances. Rejoice in your God.

What should we look at?

Remember God’s promise that nothing, NOTHING, can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

God:

  1. Began a good work in you by saving you,
  2. is continuing His good work in you, by making you more and more into the image of His Son,
  3. and will bring you to heaven where you will be glorified, holy, and blameless!

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

These whom He predestined, He also called; and these who He called, He also justified, and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. (Colossians 1:22)

Whatever troubles you have now, God brings to good, making you more and more into the image of His Son.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Hard Work

This takes effort. The worse your mood, the harder the task.

Getting your mind off yourself may be a struggle. Like the Psalmist, keep at it.

If you rejoice in the lord, but then fall back into a bad mood, start again.

God is at work in you. Your circumstances are God’s tool.

Press On!

Our Holy God’s Holy Plan

As we assess the world, as we assess our own situations, we must deliberately recognize who God is, and what He plans.

The entire Bible is a story of God’s redemption and sanctification of His people, and His wrath on the wicked.

His plan is in progress, and we can see Him working to redeem and purify. And we can see His judgment on wickedness.

The final chapter is still to come. (See Revelation 20-22.)

God, in His word, warned us. We are told that:

In the last days, difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. (Isaiah 5:20)

Don’t be surprised, rather praise

Don’t be surprised that times are hard. Praise Him for warning us. Praise Him for your redemption.* Praise Him that He is making you more like Christ. Praise Him that His plan is working out exactly as He wills.

Pray

Pray for the unsaved. Pray that people repent. Pray for increased trust in almighty God. Pray for your own discernment.

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*Please, if you aren’t saved, or aren’t sure, turn to God, believe in Jesus Christ. See Becoming a Child of God.

Finishing Well

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I am stunned at the effort made by cross-country skiers. Many (most?) of the top finishers collapse after they pass the finish line, gasping for air, unable to stand. They gave it all.

I’m stunned and I’m convicted. Do I work that hard at anything?

At the 2018 Olympics, the USA ladies cross-county team spring won the gold, and the final skier said what kept her going was knowing who was waiting at the finish line. (See Who is Waiting at Your Finish Line?)

Among our goals as Christians should be to finish well. And we have Christ waiting at our finish line.

Each of us has a race set before us (Hebrews 12:1), and we are called to run faithfully and with endurance.

Paul knew he had: “I have found the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

In order to finish well, we must faithfully keep going day by day. We must keep our focus, striving to grow spiritually. Faith is not static. It is either growing or deteriorating.

Our Lord tells us it won’t be easy but promises to help, is with us always, and delivered help. He send the Holy Spirit to dwells in us, and we are in Christ.

The view of the end, where Christ is waiting with rewards, helps us in the effort now.

Press on!

Mission Impossible

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Mission Impossible

Did you ever watch that TV show, Mission Impossible? Yeah, yeah, I’m dating myself. The theme was a covert group fighting evil governments, dictators, etc., etc., etc. The recorded instructions self-destructed after playing the tape. And the covert group were told if they were captured or killed, the Secretary would deny any knowledge of them. And, of course, they succeeding in their impossible mission.

Sometimes we may feel we have an impossible mission. How can we live godly lives, pleasing God, in the difficult situations we are in? How can we keep going? How can we stand up when we are confronted/ assaulted for believing in Jesus Christ?

We’re Not Alone

That covert group in Mission Impossible had to rely on themselves. Our situation is different. We have the Triune God on our side. The Holy Spirit dwells in us. The Father dwells in Christ. Christ is in us and we in Him.

The Spirit of God dwells in you. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us. (John 17:21)

I [Jesus] in them and You [Father] in Me… (John 17:23)

Nothing is Impossible for God

And, of course, for God, nothing is impossible.

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

And, for us, when we are in God’s will, it is possible:

And Jesus said to him, “If you can? All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

God Promises!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)

We CAN Through Him Who Loves Us

We CAN live lives pleasing to God. We CAN keep going in our difficult circumstances. We CAN keep from stumbling. All through Him who loves us.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

Press On!

Remember Your Future

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Believers in Christ are told about their future.

In this world, we will be sanctified, becoming more and more like Christ. (1 Peter 1:2)

We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

We’ll be glorified in heaven, presented by Christ to the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach. (Colossians 1:22)

Day by day, we must remember our future.

Jerusalem did not remember her future, and was destroyed and exiled to Babylon for her iniquities. (Lamentations 1:9)

Christ spoke to us so we would not stumble. (John 16:1)

Our future in this world

In this world we are promised:

Trouble. (John 16:33)

Persecution. (Matthew 5:11)

Discipline. (Hebrews 12:4-13) (But never condemned (Romans 8:1))

We are promised even more:

To be made more and more into the image of Christ. (Romans 8:29)

To have the Lord with us always. (Matthew 28:20)

Never to be separated from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Get Ready

Since we know our future, we can get ready. Trouble shouldn’t surprise us. Persecution shouldn’t be a shock. Sin must be shunned.

Remember the future and get ready now.

And, also, remember bliss to come.

Praise God!

Holy and Blameless

Onomea falls. Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden on Onomea bay. Harry Durgin

The love of God for His adopted children (Ephesians 1:5) is incomprehensible.

He is holy and we are not. Yet He chose to save us, declaring us righteous, and now working to make us into the image of Christ. (Romans 8:29-30)

In this world, we continue to sin, although less and less as we grow in grace.

But our sins, the sins of those who have come to saving faith, do not result in condemnation (Romans 8:1).

Instead, out of love, He disciplines us, leading us to more steadfastly follow our Lord God.

And He promises to glorify us (Romans 8:30).

He promised we will be holy and blameless before Him! (Ephesians 1:4)

Us! Holy and blameless!

And for eternity He will show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus! (Ephesians 2:7)

Holy and blameless! That is going to be us who believe in Christ Jesus, who have received Him as Lord and Savior.

Amazing grace!

Praise Him!

Forget What Lies Behind

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Christians’ goal, our goal, is to press on towards Christ-likeness.

In order to press on, we must forget what lies behind. We must not rest on past successes or let past sins haunt us. We thank God what whatever successes we’ve had. We must confess and repent of our past sins.

We must get with it.

Forgetting what lies behind can be harder than it sounds.

In Philippians, Paul enumerates the reasons he had to put confidence in the flesh, but then said that he was found in Christ because of Christ’s righteousness which is through faith in Him. He counted the past as loss, as rubbish. (Philippians 3)

I am much more apt to have trouble forgetting my sins.

I have to remind myself of two things.

One, when I came to saving faith, my sins were forgiven. And not only that, God put them behind His back, forgetting them, and doesn’t act on them. (See God Forgets Our* Sins.)

Two, I remind myself of God’s promise: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

We must forget what lies behind. We must not let anything in the past (good or bad) interfere with doing the good works God has for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)

Press on!

God Forgets Our* Sins

God forgives

God forgives our* sins when we come to saving faith; when we repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

Christ took the wrath we deserved.

And then God forgets

You have cast all my sins behind Your back. (Isaiah 38:17)

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

God doesn’t remember

Of course, God doesn’t forget in the human sense, but He choses not to remember, not to act on our forgiven sins.

And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 10:17)

God sets us free

So if the Son makes you free ,you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Rejoice!

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*See Becoming a Child of God.