Day 12

Day 12 – August 19th, 2021 – Susan Moeller

Psalm 16:9-11 

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

It’s amazing that this is the word I was given to reflect on because I’ve recently learned these lessons. I encourage you to read all of Psalm 16 and especially verses 1 and 8. At the beginning of Psalm 16, David asks God for protection. In verse 8, David states
that he KNOWS God is always with him and he won’t be shaken. I’ve been a Christian for a long time and though I’ve always believed this, there have been times in my life that, instead of being contented with who I am or my situation, I became complacent, that is, feeling calmly satisfied with my own abilities and situation to the point that it prevents me from trying harder and sometimes even remembering God is my refuge. 

This past year, many of us, while stuck at home, resigned ourselves to a more sedentary life. Day to day, we did less and accomplished less. We became complacent. This passage speaks so loudly to me because this year a cancer diagnosis dramatically changed my life. It showed me that I had been complacent in my relationship with God and urged me to a new place: one of contentment. A bad medical diagnosis forces you into the stages of grieving and I was no different. During this time, God spoke to me urging me to come closer, to stay with Him. He encouraged me to lean in and rely on Him. I learned to find ways to be glad, to search for God even in the tough moments, in the pain. He gave me peace. I learned that God wouldn’t abandon me and that my provision and security did not come from a good diagnosis, but instead came from a God who shows me the path of life. He is the source of gladness and the fullness of joy for me. I came to wonder how anyone could navigate the same journey WITHOUT God at the center. This diagnosis taught me to seek joy in God’s presence, in the midst of trial, to be content that God is my security. Like David, we need to confess that God is always with us and we won’t be shaken. Friends, find joy and rejoice in the security that only God can provide. 

Lord, please show us your provision and fill our hearts with gladness! Help us to find joy and security in knowing that You are always with us. Help us to confess that with you on our side, we will not be shaken. Help us to break free of complacency and find contentment and the fullness of joy in Your presence. When we fall short, Lord, lift us back up and assure us that you won’t abandon us. Only you, Lord, can show us the path of life as we walk with You. Amen. 

Day 11

Day 11 – August 18th, 2021 – Annette Honeycutt

Proverbs 3:5-8: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Contentment – the state of being satisfied and at ease in one’s situation, body, and mind. 

God’s Word tells us to be content in all our ways. His word simply asks us to trust Him, and we will be provided with all we need. In a world that continually seeks “trophies” to satisfy our secular desires, contentment is often equated with happiness. Feelings of happiness accompany contentment; however, happiness is unknowingly dependent upon earthly circumstances and possessions. We blindly devalue the feeling of contentment by not fully trusting God in all circumstances, for all that we need. Jesus commands us to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness without worry, and He will provide us with our needs, and more! This is the only source for true contentment. 

Hebrews 13:5 tells us to keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”. Money, possessions, and relationships can bring temporary happiness, but putting them before God will lead to discontentment and the insatiable desire for more. Instead, trusting in God will bring us the feelings we desire – which only He can truly provide. 

Trusting God can be difficult when facing seasons of turmoil or dissatisfactions in job or relationship statuses, so we must remember that God always knows what we need and when we need it. John 36:11 says, if they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. Therefore, we must make the daily decision to push past earthly desires and difficulties in order to fully trust God and receive all that we need, as He is the only source for our strength, guidance, contentment, and needs for the rest of our days. 

Prayer: 

God, I thank you for blessing me with more than I need or deserve. I pray that you will show us how to live content and wanting for nothing. Help show us a worry-free way; a life of trusting you completely in all circumstances. I pray that you will guide me in sharing my contentment with others, so that I may serve and obey you for the rest of my days. 

Day 10

Day 10 – August 17th, 2021 – Connie Johnson

Proverbs 14:29-30 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

Have you ever gotten mad at someone about something, only to find out later that all was not as it seemed? Maybe there was just a small piece of information that would have made you rethink your emotional response to the situation. Maybe it would have saved a friendship, a job, or a relationship with a family member. A hot head and a quick temper is a sure sign of a fool but a cool head and self-control is a sure sign of a righteous person. God knows we are emotional creatures. I think He gave Solomon this scripture as His perfect reminder that we need to slow our emotions, get all the facts, and pray for God’s wisdom before we make a decision on where we stand. Anger is not always wrong, there is righteous anger but we need to be sure that our anger is justified. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus compares unjustified anger to murder. The second verse tells us that we can live in contentment when decisions are made with all the facts and God’s holy guidance. Our hearts can be tranquil and content. Anger and envy both have serious results not only spiritually but also physically. When stress levels rise, so does blood pressure, heart rate, you can’t sleep, you eat poorly – you are essentially ‘rotting your bones’. God is always here to guide us and give us wisdom in all situations, we just have to seek Him and listen when He speaks. 

Father, we pray for Your holy wisdom, for Your hand to guide us daily. Pull us back from unjust anger and envy Lord. Help us to live in peace with the contentment and tranquility that only You can provide. We know that we have fallen short of Your expectations and we have sinned Lord. We ask for Your grace and forgiveness. Please guide us and help us be more like Jesus. In Your holy name we pray, Amen.

Day 9

Day 9 – August 16th, 2021 – Michael Lail

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it, rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Fear!  In today’s world, every one of us will experience fear at some point.  Fear of rejection, failure, uncertainty, loneliness, change, loss of freedom, being judged, something bad happening, getting hurt or even inadequacy.  We are not immune to it.  It is a natural emotion and a survival mechanism.

Fear the Lord and you will not be visited by evil.  The “fear” in Proverbs is not being scared of the Lord.  We need to start by understanding some key words in Hebrew.

“Fear” means reverence.  Reverence means: with deep respect for someone or something.  Think of it as admiration or an overwhelming sense of God’s worth and glory.  To have reverence for someone is to know them.“Life” means “to live, have life, remain alive, live forever.”“Satisfied” means “to be fulfilled”.

Using these understandings, we can derive: “To have reverence for the Lord brings us alive, living forever, and we can rest in excess and abundance of Jesus Christ; and when bad things do happen, we know all things work together for good for those who love God.”

When we give reverence to our Lord, we are acknowledging God is our Savior and Jesus has washed away our sin.  He has taken the harm from you and wipes the slate clean by your faith in Him.  In return, He clears our mind and conscience and brings us contentment.  We can start our reverence by accepting the words of Jesus that He is “the way, and the truth, and the life” and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)

How can you practice reverence daily?
1. Treasure His name. Use His name only to praise Him, proclaim Him as the Savior, and pray to Him.

2. Treat yourself and others respectfully. Treating others as well as we treat ourselves (maybe better).

3. Live holy and blameless lives.  Be the light and set apart, through His Word, against a world that doesn’t live in a Christ-like fashion.

A prayer showing reverence for God:

Lord God, Thank You that You are a Holy God who still makes yourself approachable to those who come to You in the name of Your Son, Jesus.  Remind me daily that You are worthy of all my praise, You are the One whose life I need to imitate, and You are the One who deserves my love, allegiance, and worship. Create in me a heart that reveres You above all so others may see You high and lifted up. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Day 8

Day 8 – August 15th, 2021 – Tammy West

Job 36:10-11 

He opens their ears to instruction and commands that they return from iniquity. If they listen and serve him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness. 

Every day brings trials and hardship. The world’s message is “You deserve more”. We think if we have more; we will be happy. Everyone wants to prosper and find contentment.


Job was a prosperous man, blameless and upright. Job feared God and turned away from evil. Even so, misfortune came. Job lost all his children and his livelihood. Did Job curse God? No, Job worshiped God.

 
Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21

Job’s health declined. He had sores from head to toe. His wife was not supportive, and Job’s friends insisted Job’s misfortune was a result of sin. The problem? Job knew in his heart that he was faithful to the Lord. Why was he experiencing such pain and misery? 

Though I am innocent I cannot answer him. I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
Job 9:15

Withdraw your hand far from me and stop frightening me with your terrors. Then summon me and I will answer or let me speak and you reply to me. Job 13: 21-22


I know that my redeemer lives and in the end He will stand on the earth. After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. Job 19:25:26


I know that you can do all things. No purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2

Job cried out to God. Job took the focus off himself and focused on who God is. Job humbled himself before God. God restored Job’s fortunes and doubled his blessings.

Remember, God is in control of all things. We can find peace and contentment if we humble ourselves before God and trust him.

Lord, Creator, Redeemer, Savior,

You are in control of all things. Help us trust you no matter what happens.

Amen.

Day 7

Day 7 – August 14, 2021 – Samuel Ellington 

Romans 8:26-28 

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I don’t know if today’s devotion will speak to everyone because I’m not sure if everyone is accustomed to what it is I’m talking about or even what to call it. Some say it’s sadness, but that doesn’t quite cover it. Heartache is a little closer. The skeptics call it mental illness—I guess that’s not far from the truth. One of the best ways I’ve heard it described is in a poem entitled The Thing Is, by Ellen Bass. She writes: 

“When grief sits with you, it’s tropical heat thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs…” 

The grief described in these brief lines is how I imagine the situation of Romans 8:26–despair so profound that not even the most well-crafted words can soften its blow. Then God’s Spirit of Holiness comes along “with groaning too deep for words.” 

I can’t help but hypothesize, though, that if words could even come close to these Groanings of the Spirit, they might sound something like this: 

“It’s time to forgive.”
Forgiveness? Isn’t this passage about contentment? 

That’s the thing… choosing to be content is so difficult because contentment is, at its heart, forgiveness. Choosing to be content is forgiving your body for not looking the way you’d like, forgiving your job for not making you a millionaire, forgiving your life for not being what you dreamed it would be when you were a child. Contentment is not stagnation; it is not synonymous with “giving up.” Contentment is exactly what is written in the final stanza of Ellen Bass’ poem: 

“Then you hold life like a face between your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you, I will love you, again.” 

Lord, help me to forgive my eyes for failing me. Help me to forgive You for not conforming to my own plans and ambitions. Help me to forgive my life for not being pink and rosy and glittery. Help me to forgive my life for being real. 

Day 6

Day 6 – August 13th, 2021 – Carl Jackson

Romans 8:24-25

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

We read in the scripture, ‘For in this hope we were saved.’ My questions are, ‘What is hope?”  and “saved from what?’ From a spiritual point of view, my hope is in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’d rather live under a bridge with Jesus, than to live in a mansion
without Jesus. Under the bridge with Jesus gives me hope. I know with Jesus I can
overcome any situation.

In this hope I am saved. I am saved not because I am perfect or good, but because of His grace. Because of His death and resurrection, I can deal with any disappointment that life may bring. My hope is not in my pain, my hurt or my suffering. My hope is in my deliverer, Jesus Christ. He gives me joy when I am sad. He gives me strength when I am weak. He gives me hope when I feel hopeless.

My hope and my faith are in Jesus Christ. I have lived long enough to know that sometimes people will hurt you or disappoint you. But the God we serve will never hurt or disappoint you. You must keep on pushing and leaning on God’s promises. Psalm 30:5 reads,
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”. In the words of Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV) Pray
Until Something Happens (PUSH).

My brothers and sisters, find hope and contentment in Jesus Christ. Maybe you can’t see it or understand it, but you can believe it! God will never leave you or forsake you. ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.’

Prayer

Father God, in the name of Jesus, give us hope in time of trouble. Help us not to lean
on our own understanding, but to acknowledge you in all your ways. Give us peace that supersedes all understanding. Let us find contentment in you. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to write this devotion and to connect with your people.

Amen.

Day 5

Day 5 – August 12, 2021 – Marianne Thompson

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, I am strong.

We serve a God who turns our greatest weakness into our greatest strengths.  All we have to do is have an open heart, open mind and the willingness to trust in His grace.  Have you ever thought you finally have it all together only to find out you are still in chaos?  Every day I’m made aware of my many weaknesses, whether it is sin, physical exhaustion or stress.  Thankfully in all those instances I have a God whose grace is sufficient and provides me strength in my weakness.  Our heavenly Father says, “My power is made perfect in weakness.”  When we are at our weakest point, God’s grace provides us with strength we would never reach on our own.  God works miracles in those who come to Him broken and desperate.  Daily I’m made aware of how much I need Christ in my life to help me navigate a world where many rely on man-made riches instead of the riches of love, peace and joy that can only be found in a relationship with Christ.  Rejoice in your weakness, be humble and know that our God’s grace is sufficient.  Acknowledge your need for His strength and allow God’s power to work in your life, through your weakness, resting in the faith that His strength is sufficient.  

Heavenly Father, I thank You and give praise for Your grace, mercy and strength in my weakness.  I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me daily of my dependence and need for You.   Let me be a positive reflection of weakness to show what almighty strength can be found in You.   Let me accomplish what You have set before me through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let Your grace always be sufficient.  In Christ’s name I pray.  Amen.

Day 4

Day 4 – August 11th 2021 – T Tringali

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7

For kids, sometimes toys are more fun when they are used improperly. I remember playing with a wooden box with shapes cut out of it. The wooden shapes could only go through their matching hole. There was very little fun in matching the correct shape to its slot, no…no…no!!! My pre-K classmates and I were more concerned with what incorrect pieces we could shove crookedly into this wooden box. No kid wants to put the circle block in the circle hole, we all wanted to try to see who could get the star block in there. Looking back at this toy, I realized maybe I am not so different from my 3-year-old self. I, like the box, have a hole in my heart that can only be filled by the “God block,” yet I try to shove the money block, the social media block, the relationship block, or any other block I can possibly find on this earth (there are a lot) into the spot that is made for God. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 reminds us to keep an eternal view. All of the different blocks that the world adds to our playroom simply will not fill our need and desire for God. The sole block that can fulfill our cavity is Jesus. If we remember to fill our slot with Jesus, we can stop trying to shove the worthless worldly blocks in and live a content life. Paul reminds us that the blocks of this earth are temporary. Eternity with God and a life of contentment is as easy as a children’s toy. Simply match the block to its slot. 

Hey Jesus,

Thank you for this time where I can learn more about you. Thank you for your truth. Help me have an eternal focus. Help me in our relationship to continue to choose you over the false security things of the world. I ask that you remind me today that the hole in my heart can only be filled by you. Help me to choose the right block today so I can find contentment in you. Thank you for all of the many blessings you pour out on my life. I love you God.

Amen. 

Day 3

Day 3 – August 10, 2021 Devon Ragoonath

Hebrews 13:5 

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
 

Contentment brings peace in times of chaos and brings a refreshing calmness to times that are troubled. Being content paves a path of purity and when we give everything to God and rest in His presence, then, we can truly be content or at peace with our lives. Our hearts should always be pleasing to God and our hearts should always seek God first in everything we do. Every situation or problem that life throws at us; we need to learn to be content in. 

But why should we be content with what we have? God has given us more than we need and has blessed us uniquely in an abundance of ways. God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us no matter the temptation or trial that our lives go through each day. We must learn to trust in God, even if others have betrayed us or hurt us, lean on God, and ponder His comforting words. When we become tempted to live a life full of greed for money or a life that follows many kinds of evil, we must be strong and rejoice in God and be content in Him knowing that He has promised us much more. 

Gracious and loving God, we come to you confessing that there are times when we are tempted to be dissatisfied with our lives, but God thank you for placing us right where You want us to be. God, we know that we have a work to do in our daily lives and no matter the situation, help us to be content and at peace to do it. Let our desire for earthly possessions like money, be freed and let us live in Your will and Your way only. God help us to become content with all of our circumstances and be pleased with exactly what you have blessed us with in each of our lives. In Your name and Your name only, Amen.