Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

contentment Archive

Wednesday

7

February 2018

Wednesday Wisdom | Don’t Confuse Complacency with Contentment

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Wednesday Wisdom: Don't confuse complacency with contentment. | See more at hopereflected.com

Wednesday Wisdom: Don’t confuse complacency with contentment

Complacency is rooted in pride, self, and idleness, while contentment is rooted in gratitude, thanksgiving, and active faith.

Complacency says, “Wow, look at everything I’ve accomplished,” while contentment says, “Thank you for all that you’ve blessed me with.”

Complacency fools you with conceit, while contentment fills you with humility.

Complacency tells you to stay where you are, while contentment encourages you to grow in your faith.

The book of Proverbs explains complacency vs. contentment in several verses:

  • “For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:32-33)
  • “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4)
  • “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” (Proverbs 13:4)

Complacent people tend to be more slothful and sluggish; they’re of the mindset that they don’t have to work hard or strive to be better because they think they’re already the best, that they’ve already “arrived”. Content people are thankful for where they are, but they understand and appreciate the value in working diligently and in continuing to grow.

It’s easy to fall into the rut of complacency, but learning contentment is the only way to grow and move forward.

Don’t confuse complacency with contentment.

 

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Tuesday

6

February 2018

Encouragement | Psalm 107:9 | He Satisfies the Longing Soul

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"For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." (Psalm 107:9) Contentment | See more at hopereflected.com

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9)

Contentment. You’ve likely heard the saying, “comparison is the thief of joy“. Similarly, comparison is also the thief of contentment. It’s not until you learn to love what you have that you’ll learn to be content.

David wrote Psalm 107 as a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Thanksgiving is a huge key to contentment. I love Psalm 107:9, which reads: “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” You know that feeling of satisfaction when you’re really thirsty, and you take a drink from a nice, tall glass of water? Or what about when you’ve working all day with little or no time to break for food, and you sit down to enjoy one of your favourite meals?

Having a relationship with God has a similar effect. Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of your soul, and only He can fill your hungry soul with goodness.

If you’re looking for true contentment, consider these suggestions:

  • Keep your eyes on God
  • Give thanks, to God for all He’s blessed you with, and to others when they impact your life
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Focus on the things that have eternal value rather than earthly value

The next time you catch yourself longing, look to God. Only He can satisfy the longing soul and fill the hungry soul with goodness. You’ll only ever be truly content when you know the Lord as your Saviour.

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9)

 

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Thursday

2

November 2017

Hope Reflected | The Grateful Heart

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"That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14 The Grateful Heart | See more at hopereflected.com

The Grateful Heart

Like most holidays, Thanksgiving comes and goes in the blink of an eye. In fact, here we are less than a month after Canadian Thanksgiving, and you’re more than likely already thinking about other things. More than a choice, having an attitude of gratitude the whole year through is possible when you have a grateful heart. So what are the characteristics of a grateful heart?

  1. The grateful heart seeks God regardless of circumstances. “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Take note of this portion of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. He says, “in every thing give thanks.” Not “in some things,” or “in happy things.” In every thing we are to give thanks. Can that ever be a challenge or what?! There are some things and times in which I just don’t want to give thanks! Even in challenging times or difficult seasons, we’re called to give thanks, even if it’s for the little things (because really, the little things are the big things, aren’t they?). Don’t concentrate on the circumstances that will always change; focus on God Who will never change and Who will always be there for you. The grateful heart seeks God regardless of circumstances.
  2. The grateful heart wants to help others. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others.” (Hebrews 13:16) We’re called on several times throughout the Bible to help others. It’s not always going to be convenient, and it’s not always going to be easy. In fact in Hebrews 13:16 “to do good and to share with others” is referred to as a sacrifice. The grateful heart wants to help others. Maybe for some that means lending a helping hand, or for others, it could mean being a listening ear. Whatever the case, we are encouraged in Galatians 6:2 to “carry each other’s burdens.”
  3. The grateful heart is content. “Be content with what you have.” (Hebrews 13:5) The grateful heart remains focused on what it already has rather than looking for fulfillment in other places. I’ve written before about the importance of contentment, and a sure sign of a grateful heart is one that’s focused on all it’s been blessed with. You may have heard the old adage, “the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greenest where you water it.” This wisdom is true. We brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing with us when we leave (1 Timothy 6:7) so where’s your focus? The grateful heart is content with what it already has.

Above all, the grateful heart realizes and treasures what is truly important. What’s in your heart? Is your heart a home for our Lord and Saviour? Or is your heart focused on building an earthly empire? Your answer will determine your eternity. The only One who can truly satisfy the human heart is the One who made it. There’s a longing in each heart that only Christ can fill (Psalm 90:14).

Originally published as “The Grateful Heart.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. October 12, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

20

January 2017

Hope Reflected | The Importance of Being Prepared

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the importance of being prepared

The Importance of Being Prepared

An old adage says, “A Saturday well spent brings a week of content.” There is so much truth packed into this little saying, as what you do over your weekend has a lot to do with how your week rolls out. Taking time before the week begins – to prepare meals, study work notes, finish home work, and get ready for any meetings – to prepare for each day can make a huge difference in both your confidence level and also achieving the goals you set!

Benjamin Franklin was famously quoted, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” If you don’t spend time getting yourself ready for the week ahead, or preparing yourself for tomorrow, you’re essentially missing the most crucial step towards success.

The Bible talks a lot about the importance of being prepared. While it’s not always easy, here are just a few things that the Bible says about being prepared:

  1. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. “Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.” Proverbs 3:28 Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination can quickly become a bad habit; choose to practice diligence and make preparedness a good habit. Being prepared is something that we practice daily to bring it into effect.
  2. Trust God, and do your best. “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” Ecclesiastes 11:4 In Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, he says, “Unforseen events come from God; and the man who is always gazing on the uncertain future will neither begin nor complete any useful work: but do thou bear in mind that times and circumstances, the powers of nature and the results to which they minister, are in the hand of God; and be both diligent and trustful.” Just because you don’t know what’s around the corner is no excuse for not being prepared and doing your best. The key is trusting God, Who is in complete control of our future.
  3. Learn from the wisdom of others. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8 Take a cue from successful people. Most successful men and women aren’t ‘fly by night’; they’re prepared, they’re thoughtful, they set goals and they achieve them. Even ants are prepared! Learn from the wisdom of others.

To be prepared, don’t procrastinate! Give thought to what you need to do, write down and set goals for yourself, and then create a plan to achieve and succeed. Don’t postpone things, do your best, and learn from the experience of others. Remember, sometimes the best way to get things done is simply to begin. Being prepared pays off in the long run!

Originally published as “It pays to be prepared: What the Bible says about being prepared.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 19, 2017: 7. Print.

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Wednesday

18

January 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | When you love what you have, you have everything you need

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love what you have

“When you love what you have, you have everything you need.”

In my column, “Some Habits Are Actually Good,” I talked about learning to be content with yourself. You learn contentment when you make the choice to stop comparing yourself to others and competing with others. The grass isn’t greener on the other side; the grass is greenest where you water it.

You learn contentment when you continually give thanks and practice an attitude of gratitude.

You learn to love what you have when you’re content.

So what does the Bible say about contentment and gratefulness?

  • “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13
  • “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.” Hebrews 13:5
  • “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
  • “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.'” Luke 12:15
  • “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:3-4
  • “So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house,” Deuteronomy 26:11
  • “The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” Psalm 126:3
  • “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 118:1

There are so many verses throughout the Bible about contentment and gratefulness. The key to contentment is living with an attitude of gratitude, and the key to loving what you have is learning contentment!

“When you love what you have, you have everything you need.”

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Thursday

3

March 2016

Hope Reflected: Standing Up For What You Believe In

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Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” There is a lot happening in our world today, and everyone seems to have an opinion.

Especially with recent world events, it’s more important now than ever before to be secure in your personal beliefs. With today’s society, it would seem that everyone has an opinion, and the more abstract and obscure, the more popular you become. We live in a world that tends to place more value on the love of money than on human life; where having a whole family is considered ‘weird’; and where being unconventional has become commonplace. These things, among others, have really got me thinking about the importance of standing up for what I believe in.

Here are three facts about the importance of standing up for what you believe in:

Standing up for what you believe in takes courage.

Joshua 1:9 (KJV) says, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua was the successor to Moses who lead Israel into Canaan (no pressure, right?). In just the first chapter of the book, Joshua was commanded three times to be strong and of a good courage. Standing up for what you believe in takes courage. It’s not always going to be the easiest thing, and it’s not always going to be popular, but standing up for what you believe in shows that you have courage, and courage inspires respect from those who surround you (even if their opinion differs from yours).

 

Standing up for what you believe in builds confidence.

Psalm 3:6 (KJV) says, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” David was fleeing from his son when he wrote this, but he knew that ultimately standing up for what he believed in was more important than finding favour in the eyes of others (even his own son). When you stand up for what you believe in, you build confidence in your character.

 

Standing up for what you believe in breeds contentment.

It’s not always easy to stand up for what you believe in, however when you do, standing up for your beliefs breeds contentment. When we know what we believe in, and we have the evidence to back it up, we can rest content. Timothy says in his letter, 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (KJV) , “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we bought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can nothing out.” When you have a firm foundation, and the evidence to back up your beliefs, you can rest content.

There’s an old saying, “He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” Be sure you have a firm foundation for your beliefs, and that you have evidence to back up what you stand for. The worst thing is to fall for popular opinion, or to agree with the latest headline just because it’s published by your favourite news source. Truly research the answers for yourself. Be your own filter.

 

Originally published as “Standing Up For What You Believe In”. Minto Express. October 7, 2015: 5. Print.

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Thursday

25

February 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Building Blocks – The Blessings of Contentment

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Comparison is the thief of joy.

As a young girl, I was an avid Barbie collector. With each allowance, birthday, or celebratory holiday (or even sometimes just because), my Barbie collection grew to include upwards of thirty to forty dolls, complete with all the accessories – Barbie convertible, Barbie funhouse, Barbie dog – but I can remember specifically visiting my cousin’s house and seeing her collection – which included the enviable Barbie mansion – and thinking, “I really, really want the Barbie mansion. Like, really!” I’m pretty sure every one of us has a similar story from our childhood.

So what does Barbie have to do with contentment? It’s not the Barbie doll per se, it’s the principle of the story. Too often I think we look at our friends and neighbours and – whether consciously or not – start thinking the grass is greener on the other side. But the fact is, the grass is greenest where we choose to water it! It’s important to be satisfied with what God has given us. Not to say that we shouldn’t have drams and goals that we work towards, all I mean is that we need to place value on the blessings that we already have.

So what does the Bible say about contentment?

  1. Contentment builds reassurance. Jesus says in Matthew 6:25 (NKJV), “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” It’s a huge exercise in faith to learn to be content with what we have and not worry about what we could have or how we’ll get what we want or think we need.
  2. Contentment builds trust. When we’re content (read: Satisfied, but not lazy), we’re demonstrating trust that God’s got everything under control. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use common sense or intelligence, just that you’re trusting God to provide for your needs. David said in Psalm 23:1 (KJV), “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Think of what a shepherd does for his flock: He provides and he protects.
  3. Contentment builds joy. There’s an old saying that says “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And how true it is! When we start comparing ourselves or our circumstances to others, we lose our sense of self and quite often are left feeling deflated and inferior. Because guess what? There’s always going to be someone who’s smarter than you, someone who’s prettier, someone who has more money, or a bigger house, or a better car. Fact. Of. Life. So why waste time fretting about it? The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians (4:11-13, NKJV), “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Content people are not always happy people, but content people are consistent, thankful, and more likely to be loving and grateful for the people around them. There’s the old saying that goes, “When we pursue happiness, we flee contentment.” Stop, take a look around, and purposefully count your blessings. Choose something today – or someone – for which you’ll practice an attitude of gratitude.

Originally published as “3 Building Blocks: The Blessings of Contentment”. Minto Express. August 12, 2015: 5. Print.

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