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 on: March 28, 2017, 09:32:48 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
Job and Friends

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.” (Job 2:11)
When this epic poem begins, Job is wealthy by any standards (Job 1:3). He was likely a tradesman, something of an import-export businessman, with vast livestock and wholesale food supplies, equipping distance caravans for himself and others.
His friends lived at different points across the Arabian Peninsula. Eliphaz was from Teman, a city in the northern part of the land later known as Edom. Bildad was from Shuhu, somewhat south of Haran near the southern borders of what is now Turkey. Zophar was from Naamah, which was likely located to the east in the south of Canaan. Elihu, the young man who speaks later in the book, was from Buz, in northern Arabia.
These men came to comfort Job from some distance, but although they had a strong conviction about a Creator God, they struggled with a “works” salvation, continually accusing Job of having a secret sin of some sort. But God had said, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8).
In his own defense, Job insisted that everyone knew of his godly behavior. “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me. . . . I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind. . . . I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth” (Job 29:11-17). Would to God that each of us could have the same confidence in our behavior. HMM III
Adapted from The Book of Beginnings by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.

 on: March 27, 2017, 08:54:30 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The Land of Uz

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.” (Job 1:1)
Uz was a son of Aram and a grandson of Shem (Genesis 10:22-23). Shem’s first son, Arphaxad, was born two years after the Flood, and his remaining sons would have been born in some reasonable sequence thereafter, probably around 36 years apart (Genesis 11:10-26). It is unlikely that Aram, Uz’s father, was born past the first century after the Flood. The events at Babel took place during the fifth generation (the generation of Peleg), and Uz would have been alive then.
The land of Uz is later associated with the territory of Edom (Lamentations 4:21), which is near the area southeast of the Dead Sea, toward the upper reaches of the Sinai Peninsula, east of Egypt and just north of the Red Sea. Although that area is not very pleasant now, at the time of Abraham it was “well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar” (Genesis 13:10). Quite likely, this was one of the more beautiful spots that was safely away from the rule of Nimrod and farther away from the climate shifts that were leading to the coming Ice Age.
We must guard against seeing the message in the light of our own experience, education, and entertainment. When we read that Job had vast herds of “camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household” (Job 1:3), our first reaction is to reject that as pure exaggeration since we “know” that that whole area is desert and could not possibly support that kind of lifestyle. Perhaps we need to “let God be true, but every man a liar” when we approach the words of Scripture (Romans 3:4). HMM III
Adapted from The Book of Beginnings by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.

 on: March 26, 2017, 08:58:27 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
The New Heavens and New Earth

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
There is a glorious future awaiting the redeemed. Although God’s primeval creation of the heavens and the earth is eternal (note Psalm 148:6, etc.), these are now groaning in pain under the effects of sin and the curse. When the Lord returns, they will be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into . . . glorious liberty” (Romans 8:21), and God will make them all new again, with all the scars of sin and death burned away by His refining fires (2 Peter 3:10).
There are four explicit references in the Bible to these “renewed” heavens and Earth. In addition to our text, which assures us that they will be so wonderful that this present earth and its heavens will soon be forgotten, there is the great promise of Isaiah 66:22: “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.” Thus, that heavens and Earth will remain eternally, and so will all who dwell there, with their true spiritual children. Note also that both God’s “creation” and “making” powers will be applied to the new heavens and new earth, just as they were to the first (Genesis 2:3).
The third and fourth references are in the New Testament. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). Not only will no sin be present there, neither will the results of sin and the curse. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; . . . And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:1, 4). HMM

 on: March 25, 2017, 10:35:02 AM 
Started by Soldier4Christ - Last post by Soldier4Christ
His Word Is with Power

“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” (Luke 4:32)
God’s words, whether spoken by Jesus or written in Scripture, are indeed full of power, and it is noteworthy how many and varied are the physical analogies used to characterize and emphasize its power.
For example, consider Jeremiah 23:29. “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” The fire analogy is also stressed in Jeremiah 20:9, when the prophet became weary of the negative reaction against his preaching: “Then I said, I will not . . . speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
God’s Word is also called a sharp sword wielded by the Holy Spirit. As part of the Christian’s spiritual armor, we are exhorted to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Even more significantly, perhaps, it is compared to light, for light energy is really the most basic of all forms of energy, or power. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path.” “The entrance of thy words giveth light” (Psalm 119:105, 130). The first spoken words of Christ our Creator were “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).
But no earthly form of power can compare to the power in the words of the One who is Himself the living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is actually “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). HMM

 on: March 24, 2017, 05:00:01 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
The Sculptor's Work!
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1920

        One day many years ago, as I was walking along in the suburbs of a city, I came to a large shed with wide-open doors. My attention was attracted by the sound of blows; and as I came near the door, I saw some workmen at the back end of the shed busily at work. Near the door on a small platform stood a large irregular piece of stone. Standing by it was a man with a large chisel in one hand, and a heavy mallet in the other. As I looked he walked up to the stone and began to knock great pieces off it with chisel and mallet. I paused to watch him — my curiosity aroused to know what he was doing in his apparently aimless work.

        As I watched, he continued breaking large chunks and pieces from the stone; and so far as I could see, he was just simply breaking it to pieces. I wondered what he wanted such pieces of stone for. But presently he began to kick them out of the way as if he had no use for them, and so I wondered still more what he was doing. After a time he stepped over to his work-box, took another chisel and a lighter mallet, and began to knock off smaller pieces of the stone. For a long time this continued. I could not tell what the outcome would be. So far I had seen nothing but destruction. From time to time he changed tools — but still he cut away pieces of stone in the same seemingly aimless fashion. At length he began to cut depressions into the stone here and there.

        A long time I watched him, still wondering. At last he made a few quick strokes on one end of the stone, and I saw the outline of a head appear. A few more strokes, and I exclaimed within myself, "A lion!" I watched until the head became more distinct and life-like. Then under the quick strokes of the biting chisel, one paw appeared, then another; and as I watched, the whole figure took outline, and I knew that what seemed to be only an aimless work of destruction — was instead the skilled work of a sculptor.

        I had seen only the block of stone — but within that block of stone he had seen the beautiful figure of the king of beasts. The work that seemed to me to be without purpose, now proved to have been full of purpose. The pieces of stone cut off were merely so much waste-material that hid the beautiful statue.

        I knew now that what would be left of the stone after the sculptor had completed his work would go to adorn some fine building and to be looked upon and admired by many people. No one had admired it in its former state. It was only a block of stone, unattractive and of little value. But it would now be a thing of beauty to be treasured. Yet that change could take place only when the sharp steel had smitten away all useless parts.

        I went away thoughtful. I realized that that was a great allegory of life. The great Sculptor sees in every Christian, no matter how rough and irregular, great possibilities. Whereas we can see only the exterior, he sees within the potential image with which he would adorn his glorious building above. Man was created in the image of God — but that image is now obscured by sin and its results.

        And so the divine Sculptor must do with us, as the sculptor did with the stone. He must bring to bear upon us — the sharp chisel of affliction, of disappointment, of trial. It seems that these things will destroy us. It seems that these things are evil, and we shrink from them. Some think that God is not just toward them. Some cry out in pain. Some mourn and lament. Some cry to God to stay his hand. And many, oh, how many rebel! They cannot see what all this sculpting means. They feel that it is all wrong. Sometimes they murmur against God and their hearts grow bitter; but all the time, the Master Sculptor with his sharp chisel of pain, is only carving his own image in their natures and characters.

        You want to be in his image, do you not? You desire the beautiful lines of holiness, purity, truth, meekness, faithfulness, and kindness to appear in you. You want to be a part of the adornment of the heavenly temple. If you would be not a mere block of stone without form or beauty, but the image of the Creator — then you must let affliction do her work sculpting on you — that is only one way. Christian character comes only through affliction. If you shrink and murmur or if you rebel — then your character may be marred forever.

        Do not thing that God will let your life be ruined. He wants you for the adornment of his palace. So when affliction comes — the pain of sorrow, of bereavement, of temporal loss, of being reproached and having your name cast out as evil, of being wounded by the tongue of slander — in whatever form affliction comes to you, hold still; bear it patiently; it will work out in your life God's great design!

        Would you have patience? Then you must have many things to try your patience.

        Would you have meekness? You can obtain it only through endurance.

        Would you have faith? You must meet and overcome many obstacles.

        Our graces and virtues can be brought to view in the solid structure of Christian character — only by long and continued chiseling. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (1 Peter 4:12). "Which IS to try you" — did you ever notice that? It does not say which 'may' try you — or which 'probably' will try you; it says, "Which IS to try you." That signifies that it was 'intended' to try you. It was meant for that purpose; it does not come by accident.

        Trials are necessary. If you are ever to be what God wants you to be — then you need trials, you must have them; you can never be strong or patient or meek or brave or possess any other virtue God wants you to have — unless you stand the test. "Many shall be purified, made white, and tried." God will do the purifying — and he will also see that we get our "trying." "After you have suffered a while," Peter says, God will "make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you!"

        The chisel pain must do its work. Even Jesus was "made perfect through suffering." Let us bear it manfully, yes, joyfully — knowing that it will leave its mark upon us, even the mark of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will bring out the beauty and richness of the Christ-life, and fit us to be in His presence forever!

 on: March 24, 2017, 04:57:58 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
The Final Retrospect!
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1920

        There is a new grave in the cemetery today. An hour ago the sad-hearted mourners, with fast-falling tears, looked for the last time upon that familiar face. The light has gone out of the eye, and the sound of the voice is stilled forever. "Finis!" has been written at the close of his life's story. He no longer is.

        A few days ago he realized that the end was drawing near. Before that he had looked forward, and it seemed to him that his life might run on for years. But it was not so to be. The death-angel drew near, and he heard the sound of its coming wings. He then began to look backward, to see his life as a completed whole. He could now see life in its true light; for life does not appear the same when we look back upon it from the end — as it does when our gaze is turned forward in the busy hurry of the days of health. When one is brought to the brink of the grave — then life takes on a different aspect; it appears in its true perspective. We are usually so absorbed in the present — that the past and the future have little place in our thoughts. Most lives are lived, not according to any plan or purpose — but according to the fleeting influence of the present moment.

        Reader, you and I are on the path to the cemetery! Some day, and it may not be far off, we shall look back over our lives from the end. Day by day, often with but little thought — we are building the structure of our lives. Yesterday we laid the foundation of today — and today we lay the foundation of tomorrow. Unless we lay a good foundation and build well thereon — when we look back upon our lives at the last, we shall find much to regret. The wood, hay, and stubble of selfish works and selfish purposes will be burned up in the fire that will try every man's work!

        How much of the selfish element enters into most lives! The ambition, the labor, the planning — is all for self. If self prospers — then what else matters? If self has ease and comfort — then what do others matter? If self is pleased — then is not that enough? Self seems to be the mainspring of most lives — is it so in our own? When we come to look back at the last — then we shall find no pleasure in viewing our own selfishness or its fruits. We shall not desire to retain it in our memories. We shall see that whatever was done through selfish motives, was time and energy lost.

        When we look back — shall we see bitter words, unkind deeds, and unfaithfulness to God and man? Shall we look back upon broken promises? Shall we look back upon friends who trusted us and were disappointed? Shall we look back upon wrongs to our fellow men, and sins toward God? It seems to me that the keenest regrets that ever come to a soul on earth — are the regrets that come to him who, during his last hours on earth, has to view a misspent life.

        How many have said, "Oh, if I could live my life over!" Alas! that cannot be. My brother, my sister — you can live this day but once. You will look back in time and eternity — and see this day just as you lived it. Not only today — but every day, when it is today, holds the same momentous responsibility. Let us live today as faithful to God and man, as true, pure, just, and kind — as we shall in the last day wish we had lived. Do not think that tomorrow you will live better, and be more kind and true and gentle. Today alone is your day; tomorrow is out of your reach.

        There was one of old who looked back over his life and summed it all up in these words, "Vanity of vanities — all is vanity!" He was rich and wise; he was a mighty king, and had great honors; but he lacked that good conscience that comes from a life well spent. He had not held back his heart from the enjoyment of any pleasure. He had given free rein to his desires. He had lived a life of ease and luxury. He had but to speak — and he was obeyed. But, alas! when he looked back, there was nothing in the scene to give him pleasure. It was only "vanity and vexation of spirit!"

        There was another man who looked back and who told us what he saw. His circumstances were very different from those of King Solomon. He was a prisoner. In a little while, the sword of the executioner would sever the frail bond of life. He knew the time was near, and these are his words, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith!" His words are a shout of triumph — there is in them the exaltation of final victory! There is no tinge of regret — there is no tear of sorrow.

        What did it matter if his way had been rugged and thorny? What did it matter that numerous perils had threatened him on every side? The shipwrecks, the scourgings, the stonings, the oppositions, the dungeons, the cold, the weariness, the sorrows — none of them mattered! He looked back over them all; and his soul, glowing with joy, burst out in language of supreme satisfaction, "I have fought a good fight!"

        Not once had he laid down his weapons. Not once had he faltered. Not for a day had he ceased to be true to his Lord. Therefore he could say, "I have kept the faith!" Though many times he might have avoided trouble had he kept back the message of truth — yet how glad he was that in every instance he had been true!

        Sometimes you will not find it easy to do right; sometimes you will have to sacrifice and endure; sometimes you will be reproached and mocked; but when you take that last retrospective view, the fact that you have been faithful will cause you to be glad, as was Paul of old. Then, be true today. Fill today with a full measure of faithful service. Think not of tomorrow — but do the right, in each today — and thus you may exclaim with Paul, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day!" 2 Timothy 4:8

 on: March 24, 2017, 04:54:53 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
Singing in Adversity
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1930

In the time of the child's need, a true and loving parent yearns with sympathy and with an earnest desire to help. The heart of God is more tender than the heart of a mother. His love is stronger than any human love. In these times of tribulation and trouble, of sorrow or care, of anxiety or foreboding — we should remember that he is waiting to take us into his arms and to comfort us with that comfort which only he can give.

The clouds may seem to hide his face; he may seem far off — but he is not far off. The clouds may prevent us from seeing him — but they do not prevent his seeing us. He does see us and he desires us to turn to him for that support in trouble which we need in order that the heavy load may be borne. He desires that we confide in him, and that we pour out our soul's bitterness and longing to him. He expects us to act as men and women who trust him. He expects us to use what strength we have. But beyond and above our strength, is his abundant strength and help ready to supply whatever deficiency there may be in us. He always sees the way out of our difficulties. He always knows just how much grace we must have. He always measures out to us the needed supply we must have.

No one has ever lived, who has not had his times of discouragement, heaviness, sorrow, and disappointment. Care and anxiety come to all. Unsaved people have to bear their own burdens, meet their own adversities, suffer their own sorrows — without divine help. They get through them in some way in their own strength, and we could do the same without divine help. There would always be a way that we could get through somehow. But God knows a better way than we know, and he will help us into that better way. He will give us the strength and fortitude necessary — if we only trust and go forward courageously.

James tells us, "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds." There is a way to do this. That way is the way Paul took. Paul looked behind the tribulations to the outcome. James exhorts us to do likewise. These tribulations all are fruitful. They are good for us. If we bear them as we should — then we shall look back upon them shortly and rejoice that God let them come.

Let us now look at Paul. It was midnight. He and Silas lay in a Philippian dungeon. Their feet were fast in the stocks. Their clothes were torn, their backs were bleeding from the many stripes that had been laid upon them. It seemed that death might be only a little ahead of them. Under these unfavorable circumstances they did not lament — they prayed (Acts 16:25). After they had prayed, they did something else; they sang praises to God. They did not do this for mere bravado. They did not do it to keep the other prisoners awake. They did it because of the joy that was welling up in their own hearts. They were suffering, so they could not sleep; so they spent the time in the very best possible manner. They spent not a moment in regretting what had happened. They did look for the needed help. Their faith reached out to God — and help came. Their souls were filled with joyful praises — and they sang from full hearts.

There were reasons why they could do this. First, they were innocent. They had a consciousness they had done nothing wrong. They had been trying to do good. Now they were suffering for it. There is "rest" — comfort in being innocent under such circumstances, or in any circumstances. A clear conscience inspires to song. So if our conscience is clear, we can rise above our circumstances if we follow the course taken by Paul and Silas.

Second, they were hopeful Christians. They did not look on the dark side. They looked beyond the present suffering and the threatening circumstances. They neither saw the dungeon nor the stocks nor the executioner's sword. They neither felt their galled ankles nor their smarting backs. They looked to God. They saw his approving smile — and they sang praises.

Third, they exercised definite faith. They believed God knew all about their circumstances. They believed they were in his care. They believed nothing could come to them, without coming through his will. So they rested in full assurance of faith in him — and in their tribulations they sang joyfully. Paul taught others to rejoice, and he set them an example. If we face our adversities as he faced his — we too may sing in adversity.

In adversity we sing a different song than we do when we are untroubled. We must join courage to trust. When we do this, we can sing songs of confidence born of our confidence in God's help. We can sing songs of trust which allay our fears. We can sing songs of anticipation as we look forward to the victories which lie before us, and at the crown at the end of the road. We can sing in joyful remembrance of God's former mercies.

The song of adversity is more difficult to learn, than the song we sing when everything is going pleasantly and prosperously — but these songs are no less joyous in the depths of the heart when they spring from faith. In fact they can often be more truly joyous than the songs of prosperity, because they go deeper into the depths of the heart and rise with fuller trust. But no matter how many tribulations we have, if we trust God, we may be "exceeding joyful" in all those tribulations.

 on: March 24, 2017, 04:53:46 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
Singing in Adversity
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1930

Life has its adversities. It must needs have them. Adversity, pain, sorrow, and disappointment — are the lathe upon which God shapes us. They are the grinding-wheel which grinds and smoothes us. They are the polishing-wheel which makes us shine. If we can never be happy until we are so situated that nothing which exists may tend to render us unhappy — then we shall have little happiness in life. Happiness does not come from a life of ease and indolence. It is not the result of the absence of obstacles and difficulties. Happiness comes from triumphing over them. Therefore the song of true happiness often arises from the soul which undergoes many adversities.

Paul understood what life must be. He went through the cities of Asia after he had been stoned and left for dead, "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through many hardships and tribulations, enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). He enumerated the things he suffered in his work for Christ. Doubtless you have read that list again and again. Notwithstanding all this, no one has more to say about rejoicing, being filled with joy, and singing the songs of victory — than does this same sufferer of tribulations.

The Psalmist also knew about tribulations. He said, "I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy — for you have considered my trouble; you have known my soul in adversities" (Psalm 31:7). God did not leave him to himself in his tribulations. Being conscious of this, he could rejoice.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." Did he say, "Mourn and weep because of this"? Did he intimate that they should shrink from them? Did he indicate there was something wrong in them which brought these tribulations? Not so. He had already told them that the world would hate them. Now he showed them that as a result of that hatred of the world, and also as the result of natural conditions in life — they would have tribulations. Did he say to them, "This will take away much from your happiness; you will be sad and disconsolate much of the time; you will sorrow on account of these tribulations; it is too bad you are to have them"? No — he said nothing of this kind. He told them plainly what was to come; then added, "But be of good cheer — I have overcome the world."

Think of the boldness of Jesus in saying this. Just before him lay Gethsemane. Just beyond that, the trials before the high priest and Pilate, and Calvary awaited him. He knew this very well. He knew he must pass through the bitterest of tribulations. Nevertheless he said, "Be of good cheer — I have overcome the world."

What a wonderful example for us this is. He has overcome the world not merely for himself — but for us as well. As the Psalmist pointed out, he knows our adversities. He knows that lying ahead of us there are adversities and difficulties, perhaps dangers, sorrows, and many things to try the soul. He also knows when we are in those things, when they are pressing hard upon us, when we are tempted to bow down our heads and give up. He knows exactly how we feel, how things seem, how the future looks, how the present troubles us. In spite of it all he is saying to us, "Be of good cheer — I have overcome."

Dear soul, Jesus knows all about your troubles. He knows every heartache, every difficulty, everything you must overcome, everything you must bear. Trusting in his grace, relying upon his help — you shall soon find your heart filling again with melody, for the clouds will pass away.

Paul asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Then he adds, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us!" (Romans 8:35, 37).

Speaking of our acceptance with God and our justification by faith through grace, Paul says we "rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2). But are the good things of God all in which we can rejoice? No, for he continues, "And not only so but we glory in tribulations also."

Paul could rejoice in the bad things, as well as in the good things. Why could he do this? Was he a mere enthusiast? Was he a man who shut his eyes to the facts? No, he was sober-minded, consistent, and sane. He looked behind the frowning face of circumstances. He saw the results that follow tribulations. He set them down for us that we might consider them and rejoice with him. "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us!" Romans 5:3-5. That was the secret of Paul's rejoicing.

Again Paul tells his experience in 2 Corinthians 7:4, "I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles, my joy knows no bounds." He tells why this is: "God, who comforts those who are cast down, comforts us" (verse 6). "Who comforts us in all our tribulation" (2 Corinthians 1:4). The comfort of God is wonderful. The satisfying, soul-delighting blessedness of it, can be known only by those who have gone deeply into the waters of tribulation. So many in times of trouble, are prone to feel that God does not care for them or to feel that they have offended him. Just when they need him most, and just when he would be most ready to help — they cease to seek that help and feel they must meet their difficulties in their own strength without the help they so much crave.

Right here many are tempted to give up trying. They feel they are unable to overcome or to endure through to better days. They feel that God has forsaken them in their hour of need. Their feelings and their attitude shut them off from that help which God would delight to give them. It is just here that we need to face things squarely. We need to consider God as he is. We need to take a right view of our relationship with him.

 on: March 24, 2017, 04:51:42 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1930

The basis of contentment is simplicity of desire. One of the things that is ruining more happiness than anything else, is the desire to excel others. "We must keep up with the Jones," is an attitude of mind fatal to contentment. It has caused more heartaches, destroyed more happiness, ruined more homes, produced more divorces, perhaps than any other one thing! This strife to excel, often leads people into sin.

The wife would outstrip her neighbors, so she makes large demands upon her husband for money. Thus pressed, he sometimes adopts business methods that are highly improper. In many cases it has led to shame and disgrace. In any event, it leads to unhappiness for both husband and wife and for the whole family. Through envy, jealousy of others, and coveting what they don't have — many people have been brought to bitterness of soul and utterly to hate life. Better contentment in a cottage — than discontent in a mansion!

Very often prosperity in temporal things destroys the happiness which has already existed in a less prosperous condition.

Years ago in one of our northern States, a man engaged in the lumbering business in a small way, built a cozy cottage on the shore of a bay into which he brought his bride. They both worked, he in his sawmill, and she in her cottage — and were both happy. The years passed. He prospered in business and became rich. Then he built a fine mansion in the city and moved into it. After living there for some time and mingling with the society into which his riches gave them entrance — in speaking to a friend one day he said, "We are not as happy as we were in our little cottage on the bay."

A few months ago I heard Charles M. Schwab make an address over the radio. In that address he told of his big house in New York City and of another great house which he owned in the country. He said, "I don't own them. They own me. The only satisfaction I have in them, is that I have enough money in the bank to pay the taxes on them." He has to look to other sources rather than to his possessions, for contentment and happiness.

Contentment is not built of gold or of precious gems. It is not constructed of honors or fame or the applause of the multitude. It does not come from out shining others. These may bring a sort of satisfaction — but not contentment. Contentment belongs to the meek and lowly in spirit. Pride is destructive to it. Arrogance annihilates it. Covetousness curses it. Hatred poisons it. Malice thrusts a sword through it. Contentment can thrive only with the Christian virtues. Faith, hope, and charity abide with it. Peace broods over its domicile. Blessed forevermore is he who has a contented spirit.

So many nourish discontent. They are all the time looking at the things they do not possess — and coveting them. They are always reaching out, stretching themselves to gain something which they cannot attain. They find fault with the things they possess — instead of enjoying them. They minimize the simple good in things. They see all the faults and failures. They often feel that their rights are being trespassed upon. There is a frown in their hearts — and a frown upon their faces.

Who is to blame for all this? The individual himself! He has adopted a wrong attitude of mind and heart. He is facing the wrong way. He has the wrong standard. He cannot be happy. He needs to turn about, face the other way, adopt a different attitude, look at things from a different angle, and set different standards for himself. He needs to learn the secret of the simple life — simple desires, temperate aspirations, bridled ambitions.

In the valley of contentment — is calmness, sweetness of spirit, and rest of soul. Through it flow the peaceable waters of quietness. In this valley, the song-birds joyfully sing. The heart mounts up to God in praise. In it lies the spring of joy which bubbles up in gladsome song.

The valley of contentment is not a place of inactivity. When we have learned to be content with such things as we have, and in our situation in life and in our circumstances — that does not mean that we lose all aspirations or that all effort ceases. By no means. To be content with today, does not mean to be content with the same thing tomorrow. The right sort of contentment demands continual progress in the lines in which progress is possible. In fact, we cannot be contented not to make proper progress. In the valley of contentment, we are not to sit down idly dreaming away our days. On the contrary — there is a path which runs through this valley, and we are to walk in this path, ever forward, ever upward.

If we would be truly happy, if we would sing the songs of the joyous life — then we must learn the lesson of contentment. We must learn what desires to gratify — and what desires to repress. We must learn what things can bring contentment — and what things destroy it. We must avoid the latter, while we seek the former. We must cultivate our hearts. We must trust in God. Then and only then, shall we have that source of contentment and happiness within, which inspires us to sing the song of glad rejoicing!

 on: March 24, 2017, 04:48:46 PM 
Started by nChrist - Last post by nChrist
From Timeless Grace Gems
Charles Naylor, 1930

Contentment is one of life's greatest blessings. But contentment is not something that can be sent down, nicely wrapped up like a Christmas gift from Heaven. It is a state of mind and heart. It is not dependent upon our situation or our circumstances. Many people are contented and happy in circumstances — where others would be thoroughly discontented. Some people are discontented under the most favorable circumstances. Contentment is a structure we build ourselves. It is a state of mind we develop. It is an attitude toward things which comes to us through careful cultivation. It is something which lives inside us — not something that circumstances and conditions create.

If happiness has not its seat and center in the heart — we may be wise, or rich or great — but never can be blessed.

Contentment is sometimes spoken of as a lazy virtue. Perhaps that is because some people are content with things with which they ought not to be content. We should never be satisfied to permit things to exist, which ought not to exist. We should never be satisfied to be less than our best. There are wrongs which need righting. There are conditions which need improving. There is progress which needs to be made. A sort of contentment that can view these things with indifference, ignore responsibility, evade duty — should be called by an entirely different name. When we have done our duty, met our responsibility, corrected those things that need correction so far as is possible for us — then we may have real contentment. Contentment does not mean surrender to conditions. It does mean being satisfied in the circumstances and conditions which exist, for which we are not responsible.

Contentment is a lesson to be learned. Paul said, "I have learned in whatever state I am therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11). He goes on to tell some of the things he has learned. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (verses 12, 13).

Paul had learned a great secret. It was the secret of adapting himself to conditions, and being at rest in those conditions. He could enjoy to the full, the things that afforded him enjoyment. He could suffer patiently, the things that came upon him to suffer. But whether rejoicing or suffering — he had that inner contentment of spirit — the calmness and peace of which enriched his soul and made quite tolerable a life that otherwise would have been intolerable.

We, too, need to learn the lesson of contentment. The command to Christians is, "Be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:5). Speaking further upon this subject Paul says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having food and clothing, let us be therewith content."

A godly life is productive of contentment — but there are many Christians who at least in some respects are discontented. This discontent produces a constant urge to rebel against things.

It is a singular fact that many of the most contented people are those who live in poverty. In fact, the working people are the most contented of all people. Those who live on the common levels of life, are the truly happy — provided they have the attitude of contentment.

There are many things people desire which can never give them contentment. One man says, "If I had a million dollars — I would be contented." Another thinks if he had political preferment — that would satisfy his ambition and he would be content. Another has another thing to attain to make him content. These things when attained — do not bring contentment.

As already pointed out contentment is a lesson learned, a state of the heart, an attitude toward things.

Riches do not bring contentment. Andrew Carnegie, known to all for his wealth and a man who should have known what he was talking about, said, "Beyond a competence for old age, and that may be very small — wealth lessens rather than increases human happiness. Millionaires who laugh are rare!" Many of us would do well to pause here and carefully study this saying of a wise and prudent Scotchman.

Jesus told his disciples not to be anxious about food and clothing and such things and added, "After all these things, the Gentiles seek" (Matthew 6:32). Possession of worldly things, is a goal set before them by the unsaved. The question asked about a man often is, "How much money does he have?" His supposed happiness is usually rated by the size of his bank account. No greater error in the choice of a standard for measurement of happiness, could be made. The command of the Scriptures is, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." We should put first things first. If we do this — then our needs will be few, and our desires not much greater.

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