Meditation by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.”—Philippians 4:11.

HESE words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned . . . to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave—a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree.

Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.

Advertisements

Celebration of our son

I celebrated the life of our dear son Shawn who passed away on March 17, 1998. What a tremendous joy he was to so many. And he left a legacy of life and love that Michael and I cherish to this day. 

Thank you God for Shawn, his sons Mavrick, Jordan and for the awesome circles of family and friends you gave him and us. O Lord, you have blessed us beyond measure.  Thank you for to his sister Coquese, and brother Paul and those who, still to this day, remain part of this endless circle of love. These young men and women (adopted brothers and sisters) who came to us through their relationship with Shawn have enriched our lives. They have never left us, and have kept their promise to make positive life changes.  We and the greater community have benefited from their commitment and their deep and abiding love.  So out of tragedy came “a family and a community united by God’s love.”   As a result Shawn’s light still shines bright.  

It is with deep appreciation that Michael and I extend our thanks and gratitude to all who loved him, and to those who continue to demonstrate their love for us, for his family and for the community.

Image

Birthdays

I recently celebrated my birthday (the entire month), during which I considered the blessings of an amazing husband, phenomenal children and grandchildren, terrific sisters and brothers, wonderful nieces and nephews, adorable aunts, and uncles, and the legacy of parents and grandparents.  I also pondered the blessing of having an enormous extended family and friends from across the country and around the world.  Their lives created splendid gateways, and bridges of faith and love which strengthened, and sustained me, even through some of the hardest and darkest times of my life.  So, instead of looking for gifts, I took the opportunity extend blessings to this community of love.   Overwhelmed with gratitude for each of them I shared “blessings.”  I wanted them to know how deeply honored and privilege I am/was for them being part of my life.  It is already February, and I am continuing the process, which I suspect will continue for some time.  But as a dear friend told me, every day you wake up on this side of glory is your birthday.

Birthdays are fun and special.  We look forward to those milestone birthdays, like becoming a teenager, or that special present.  Like Christmas morning, we wake up and can’t wait for the party, presents, and all the attention lavish on us on our special day of the year.

Birthdays are fun, special and a blessing.    And blessings are gifts as well as promises from God which enable, enhance and enrich life.  In the OT, a blessing was the “essential component to the covenant relationship God has with man and with nature.” He blessed nature (Gen. 1:22), and humans (Gen. 1:28), and mankind serves as vessel of divine blessing to others.  In the NT, blessings became more than material items; they transcend to the spiritual, the eternal and from one person to the body of Christ.  Christ gave us the mandate to share the Good News and equip the body of Christ.  In other words, show others the way to Christ and thereby be a blessing.  Through our gift giving of Christ,  those who are living in darkness can receive and experience a “new Birthday.”  The day in which they become a “new creature”; a “new creation” in the family of God.

Yes, birthdays are truly wonderful to experience and share.  Maybe today is your birthday or the birthday of someone you know.  That person may be just a phone call away, or perhaps gone on to be with the Lord.  However, somewhere on this planet, or within your community is a person who needs you to let them know this is their “special” day – their birthday.  Share the love of Christ by telling them how much they mean to Christ and to you.  Enable, enhance or enrich their day.   Your message may be that “once in a lifetime gift” that will restore hope to their weary soul, and enable them to receive the blessing of Christ.

If it is your birthday, may Almighty God bless you and yours abundantly in health, in knowledge of Him, and in the labors of your hands and heart. May His glory shine upon you, and make your home a safe haven. May His joy be your strength, and protect you from all hurt, harm and danger as you follow the Him all the days of your life.  Happy Birthday.

Loving Eyes

Yesterday, as we prepared to leave to attend our uncle’s funeral, I thought about how we look at each other.  Although we are made in the image of God, we look at each other differently.  There are eyes of compassion, love, judgment, joy, sorrow, pain, celebration, and yes even hate.

Press the pause button for a moment, and recall someone special in your life.  Maybe it is your mother, father, grandparent, spouse, friend, or a child.  Bring that person into your mind’s eye.  What and how do you feel?  Are you smiling, right now?  Does the very thought of that person brings joy to your heart?   When we look at these special individuals, we look at them with loving eyes.    My uncle looked at me with loving eyes.  I knew his look.  It was a look of acceptance and appreciation.  I was valued, and important to him.   Everything about me was okay, and in return I looked at him with loving eyes.

Our Lord looks at us with the most indescribable loving eyes.  Everything about us at divine levels we can’t even imagine is filtered with love.  He looks at you and me with eyes of love – smiling eyes, hopeful eyes-grace filled eyes.  Only His loving eyes could look at us and say yes I will go to Calvary. [John 3:16] Only His loving eyes could see our sins, and love us anyway. 1 John 4:8 “God is love.”  Only Jesus could look at us, and despite our mistakes, flaws, challenges, see the beauty of our destiny with Him.  Jesus loving eyes looks at us daily, and sees God the Father’s crowning achievement in creation with love and compassion.  [Proverbs 10:12 (b) “…love covers all sins.” NKJV.]  What a glorious thing it is to know our Savior looks at us with those loving eyes.

I challenge you to look at others with the loving eyes of Jesus.  It is our role as His ambassadors to demonstrate His love to this hurting world. They need to see His loving eyes through us.  So look at someone with His loving eyes, and let them experience being appreciated, and accepted and loved.

A.C.T.S. of Gratitude

Gratitude and appreciation are elusive things.  The busyness of our lives creates barriers to them.  We rush from one activity to the next, from one person to the next, from one situation to the next. Even technology robs us from hitting the pause button with its endless tweets, dings, bells, whistles, ringtones.  Before we can complete a sentence, or a thought some new piece of information, or news flash breaks in our consciousness and leads us off down the road.   Or even worst, a memory of some mistake, sin, forgotten assignment, misplaced word or a gregarious act steals our peace, and before you know it you’re drifting away.   However, when we do pause from the tyranny of things, or the focus of what should not have happened, and turn our attention to those layers upon layers of blessings, gratitude comes in.  Our heartspace opens,  and joy drives up with peace, love, and the entire fruit of the Spirit. [Galatians 5:22-23].  It is a beautiful thing.

Clipper Creative Art Service

Gratitude makes us truly appreciate the:A=actions made by Our Lord, and others on behalf of us,

C=challenges of life with faith and blessed assurance that all things work together for those who are the called, according to His purposes,

T=triumphs of the journey because of Christ’s gift of salvation,

S=sacrifices Christ made on Calvary because of His great love for us.

Our A.C.T.S. of gratitude causes us to respond in a grateful manner which demonstrates our deep appreciation for this life, and for the life to come.