GET YOUR "WANTER" FIXED
When my wife was a young girl in Austin, Texas, Carlyle Marney was her family’s neighbor, pastor, and friend. One of his off-hand remarks about being content became one of her family’s enduring expressions: “Dr. Marney says, ‘We just need to get our wanter fixed.’”
It’s so easy to want more than we need and to become more focused on getting than on giving. Soon, our desires dictate our choices.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus in the city of Philippi, he told them, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content . . . . I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil. 4:11-12). Paul was saying, in effect, “I’ve had my ‘wanter’ fixed.” It’s important to note that Paul was not born with contentment. He learned it in the difficult circumstances of everyday life.
During this season of the year, when shopping and buying often take center stage in so many countries and cultures, why don’t we decide to focus on being satisfied in our present circumstances? It may sound difficult, but Paul, when talking about learning to be content said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (v.13).Help us, Lord, to learn contentment when life is
rough. Protect us from believing the lie that
having more will bring us happiness. May we be
content with what You have given. Contentment begins with having fewer wants.
My Rainbow in the Cloud
December 6, 2013
I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth —Genesis 9:13
It is the will of God that human beings should get into a right-standing relationship with Him, and His covenants are designed for this purpose. Why doesn’t God save me? He has accomplished and provided for my salvation, but I have not yet entered into a relationship with Him. Why doesn’t God do everything we ask? He has done it. The point is— will I step into that covenant relationship? All the great blessings of God are finished and complete, but they are not mine until I enter into a relationship with Him on the basis of His covenant.
Waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that. But God won’t do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. It is a question of faith in God–a very rare thing. We only have faith in our feelings. I don’t believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that I know I have it. Then I say, “Now I believe.” There is no faith exhibited in that. God says, “Look to Me, and be saved . . .” (Isaiah 45:22).
When I have really transacted business with God on the basis of His covenant, letting everything else go, there is no sense of personal achievement— no human ingredient in it at all. Instead, there is a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and my life is transformed and radiates peace and joy.
Obeying God Requires Taking a Risk
“After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.’” (Matthew 2:19-20 NIV)
As uncomfortable as it was for Joseph to move his family to Egypt, imagine how scary it would be for him to obey God’s command to come back to Israel. It was like going back into the jaws of the lion. He was going to take Mary and Jesus back to where his son’s life had been in danger. But because Joseph trusted God and what he was saying, Joseph took the risk and went there because he knew that was the right place to be.
The Bible says, “Even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you” (Psalm 56:3 CEV). Notice this verse says, “when I am afraid” not “if I am afraid.” We may want a life of no fears in this world, but that only happens in Heaven. In this life, we’re all going to face fears of one kind or another.
We have some big fears and some little fears. We fear the future, what’s going to happen with our jobs, our family, and we fear little things like whether we said the right thing to someone, whether that presentation went well, even fear of making a phone call.
In all of these situations, you have a choice to make. Are you going to let the fear control you, or are you going to take a risk of faith because you know you have a God who loves you?
That risk of faith could mean going someplace you’ve never been before or forgiving someone you thought you couldn’t forgive. It could mean leaving your job. A risk of faith could also be praying about something or deciding to trust God with a situation or a relationship you’ve held tight in your hand.
Talk About It
"Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11 (NIV)
A few years ago on a flight to Michigan, I had the distinct privilege of meeting AJ. He was sitting in the row in front of me and made sure to welcome me the minute I took my seat. It didn't take long for AJ to make everyone around us aware of how excited he was to be on this plane.
His voice was loud, his exclamations seemed a bit child-like for a man his age, and his stuttered words made it difficult to completely understand him.
But one thing was unmistakable to me: his passionate embrace of the magnificent.
As we rose into the sky he clapped and bounced in his seat. His eyes were wide as he turned to the man sitting next to him and exclaimed, "The clouds are huge!"
That's when the nudging on my heart started. This gentle prodding to ignore the task-oriented part of me that wanted to work and tune out what was going on around me.
Embrace this moment Lysa. Notice him. Notice Me.
And that's how it is when God wants to get my attention. He interrupts my self-centered thoughts in such a startling way, it can only be Him. He sends my train of thought off the well-worn tracks and suddenly I find myself bouncing along in a meadow full of unpredictable adventure.
Because there is something about God everywhere, every place we look. My mind parked itself on 1 Chronicles 29:11, "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." (NIV)
Everyone else on the plane looked tired from their travels that day.
But not AJ.
He saw what no one else did. We were in a fast moving tube, taking off from the ground, flying through the clouds, being transported from one place to another many, many miles away in a matter of minutes. Minutes! Not days or weeks or months but minutes ... oh what would people a hundred years ago have thought of this feat?
And there we all sat, bored. Not even bothering to look out at the clouds and notice. Too focused on the task at hand begging for our attention.
We'd lost our passionate embrace of the magnificent. Our appreciation for noticing God and His provision had been strangled by what the world begs us to pay attention to.
But I'm not interested in what the world classifies as important. I'm interested in where God wants to point my focus. I'm interested in humbling myself in childlike awe of all that He is.
When we landed, AJ's excitement reached a new level. He clapped and whooped and rushed into the aisle of the plane tripping over others. When he spotted his mom waiting for him at the end of the jet way, he got even louder pumping his arms into the air telling everyone that was his mom! That was his mom, right there! There she is!!
His mom's face reddened but kept the sweetest, gentlest look as she embraced her son. She sweetly pressed her finger to her lips signaling him to quiet down just a bit.
That's when I reached her. With a lump in my throat and tears cresting my eyes I touched her shoulder, "Your son is amazing. Really, really amazing."
How might we remember to embrace the magnificent on this ordinary day?
Dear Lord, I praise You today for Your magnificence in all things. Humble me as Your child and guide me as I follow hard after You instead of the world. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering some meaningful Christmas gifts this year! Check them out by clicking here.
Reflect and Respond:
Take some time to write down five ordinary things that you appreciate. Then, list reasons why these ordinary things are actually special blessings from the Lord.