Contentment

contentment road sign illustration designThis can possibly be a tough concept to grasp, given the fact that our culture seems to be quite the opposite.  In fact I feel like my mind is being assaulted with ads saying that I “need” this or I “need” that. When I take a good hard look at how blessed I am, I need to indeed find contentment.

I recently had this discussion with my 14-year-old son. He had a perfectly functional computer, but found one on eBay just a bit better. The only real difference was that the other one “looked better”. I really tried to explain contentment with what he has. I couldn’t make the case, so we’ve gone through with the sale of his and about to receive the “nicer looking” one in the next few days. Contentment can be an illusive concept even for the parents.  Paul speaks to this subject quite openly and bluntly. Check this out…

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 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. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:10-14 NIV)

 

One of the reasons this goes “against my grain” is that ever since I became a REALTOR, I’ve been trying to build my business. I want to continue to grow my customer and client base. If I get content in my business, my income will dwindle away. I also need to be content with technology. I converted to the Mac world about 3 years ago and this was one of the best business decisions I’ve made. I’ve had very little tech issues and when I added the iPhone and the iPad to my arsenal, I am really very well connected with technology. I’m learning to balance contentment with growing my business. I’m learning that contentment is really more a state of balance and simple trust in the Lord. I have to really decide between want and need – desire and necessity.  I think Paul is speaking to the mindset of “always wanting more than I have”.

Christmas and birthday’s is a perfect time to practice contentment. I was reminded of this when several friends got together and instead of exchanging goofy gifts, we gave our money toward a Micro Loan via www.kiva.com. I’m content with what I have, so how can I make someone else’s life better. There is serious joy in giving! I can do this with the Lord’s help.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Harvest Principle

planting gardenThere are principles that we all live by and sometimes we pay little or no attention to them. For example, if we do something nice for someone, we like it when it is noticed.  There are many other principles that I live my life by without a lot of thought because I’ve tried to walk with the Lord daily for many years now.  Some things have become second nature – which is a good thing. The harvest principle is a good principle to live by. Check this out…

 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;

    their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV)

 

If I want to have a big harvest, I must have a big planting season.  The blessing of God on generosity is beyond measuring or finding out.  When I give and the Lord adds His blessing to my gift, it does far more than I can imagine. My giving starts with obedience and surrender. The material possessions that I have are not mine – they never were. All I have is His – I’m just the manager of it.  This makes the harvest principle easier to understand. He owns all – I just manage my portion that He’s given me.

Giving is Godly and Christ-like. I would be wise to realize that I can’t out give The Giver of Life!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Giving Generously

Gift Box opened w blue ribbonChristmas is most definitely a season of giving. More people give at Christmas than at any other time. Our hearts seem more open to giving than at any other time of year.  Giving is a really cool opportunity to change another person’s situation or circumstance.  Paul really spoke into the church at Corinth about giving in his second letter to them. Check this out….

7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:7-12 NIV)

 

There are some simple principles in giving. The first is willingness to give. I shouldn’t give with a grudge – it ruins the gift. I should give with a willing spirit and not compelled by anything but love. The second principle of giving is to give according to my ability. I should not compare my giving with anyone’s giving except my own. I should give according to my means. The third principle is to keep it between the Lord and me. I shouldn’t boast in my giving, because if I do, then I’ve given with the wrong intentions.   The Lord LOVES, LOVES, LOVES cheerful givers. When we give we are more like our Father God, than at any other time or activity. “For God so loved the world, He Gave His only Son…” (John 3:16) I want to be a generous giver with the blessings of God all over my gifts.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Giving

Hand giving moneyI’ve heard about giving back to the Lord since I was a young child. My parents modeled tithing to our local church.  They also taught me about giving. The Old Testament taught tithing to the Lord. The early church taught about giving. I believe that “tithing” and “giving” are related for sure.

Paul teaches the church in Corinth about giving. I believe that tithing is a firm principle taught through out scripture. One really important lesson, I learn in giving is; its about trust in the Lord. It’s about me surrendering what I thought was mine (it really wasn’t) in the first place. Check this out….

1 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. (1 Corinthians 16:1-3 NIV)

One really big point in giving is: Everything I have belongs to the Lord! I am simple a manager of what He has blessed me with. Giving becomes part of my management strategy. I personally believe that the tithe (10%) is a great place to start just like is believe a 10% tip is a great place to start for blessing the server who waits on my table.  Years ago when I was a student pastor and some of my students starting waiting tables I became a generous tipper. I believe it’s a principle at stake – to honor others above myself. I also believe what Zig Ziglar has said over the years: “If you help other people get what they want in life, then you can get what you want in life.” (something to that effect)

Giving has changed me. It has changed my perspective and my “wants”. I see people who struggle to have the basic necessities such as food, shelter and water. I want to help with integrity. I’ve learned that giving is not just about money. It’s really hard to be greedy and be a giver. Greedy people want it all at the expense of everyone else.  Greedy people will steal, kill and destroy to get what it is they want or think they deserve.

I don’t like giving to beggars. These are people who evidently want something for nothing. They just want your money and lots of it. They often aren’t willing to work, just beg or pan handle. I struggle to understand that mindset.

I want to be a giver when a generous heart and a passionate mind in pursuit of God’s Will for me and my life. I want to hear Him prompt me to give in certain situations and hold back in other situations. I really want to give him all of me all the rest of my days on earth!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Generous Spirit

The Power of Sharing Billboard Message Donate Give Help OthersThere are people who are very generous with their money, their time and resources. These are people who have experienced the blessing of giving to others. I believe this to be a characteristic given to us by our Creator. He is the epitome of generosity. He is so patient and understanding with me and I’m so stubborn and bull-headed. He is so generous with grace and blessings beyond numbering – yet I still like to hold tightly to my stuff. Jesus spoke clearly and succinctly about generous people. Check this out….

15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15-21 NIV)

Since I became a REALTOR in 2003, I heard a statement over and over that applies here. It goes like this: “Pigs get fed and Hogs get slaughtered”.  In other words, greed can bring about self-destruction.  Being generous is a joyful experience. It’s lots of fun to give without anyone knowing who gave.  There are many generous people in West Georgia. I still get misty-eyed to think of the generosity of people who helped serve our family when my son was diagnosed with cancer. Those acts of kindness made a huge impact on me and my family.

I want to have a generous spirit toward others. I want to help others because the Lord has helped me. I want to be generous toward others because the Lord has been generous to me. I believe GIVING is part of God’s DNA. I am never more like God than when I give.  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Pressing On!
Dwayne

The Best Gift

Gift Box opened w blue ribbonThere are many categories of gifts, but I will simple choose three: Good, Better & Best.  There are times when you’re given a gift and you are simply blown away that the other person put so much thought and preparation into your gift. Then there are good gifts. These are gifts you really like. Most everyone likes to be given the best gifts. If all the gifts I was given were “white elephant” gifts or if they were all re-gifted things the other person didn’t really want, I wouldn’t feel very special – I would feel like I’m the yard sale guy.

The Lord doesn’t like second hand gifts. He wants to be the recipient of our best. He makes it clear in Malachi 1. Check this out….

6 The Lord All-Powerful says, “A son honors his father, and a servant honors his master.” I am a father, so why don’t you honor me? I am a master, so why don’t you respect me? You priests do not respect me.
“But you ask, ‘How have we shown you disrespect?’
7 “You have shown it by bringing unclean food to my altar.
“But you ask, ‘What makes it unclean?’
“It is unclean because you don’t respect the altar of the Lord. 8 When you bring blind animals as sacrifices, that is wrong. When you bring crippled and sick animals, that is wrong. Try giving them to your governor. Would he be pleased with you? He wouldn’t accept you,” says the Lord All-Powerful.
9 “Now ask God to be kind to you, but he won’t accept you with such offerings,” says the Lord All-Powerful. (Malachi 1:6-9 NCV)

I love getting gifts. I love knowing that the other person loves me enough to get me something that is special to them and bless me with it. I’ve loved it over the years when my kids were young and they drew special drawings for Dad. I love it when they watch how I live and move and try to make or buy something that will be a blessing to me for days, weeks and years to come.   A well-thought out gift speaks volumes about the giver and the receiver.

The Lord wants my gifts for Him to be the best. He doesn’t want my left-overs. He wants my first-fruits. He wants the well-thought out and planned gifts. He wants to really high on my gift list.  This is an area that I need to really grow in. When I give generously, I feel so blessed and grateful. There is no way to out give THE GIVER!

Pressing On!
Dwayne