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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NOT Content, but leaning on the Lord

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;
Philippians 4

This is another sermon from the dog. Yesterday I made the hard confession that I have been doing it all wrong, thinking me and God could do anything together. If you missed the lesson, here’s the take-away WITHOUT HIM, WE ARE NOTHING. What does any of this have to do with my dog? Well, look at him. I resisted the urge to post video because his snoring is priceless but this here, folks, is the very soul of contentment. I have not been content. I have been in control, I have been composed, I HAVE NOT be patient but have very much worked on giving the appearance of being so, and while I admit to struggling with Paul’s words, there were times when I thought, even briefly, that I have achieved the contentment of which he wrote. 

Jeremiah Burroughs writes about Christian contentment, saying, “Usually when God intends the greatest mercy to any of His people He brings them into the lowest condition.” Ouch. He further teaches that,
 Anxious? Panicked? Remember a dog snoring on the floor and
know that all manner of thing shall be well, in Jesus’ name.
It is the way of God to work by contraries, to turn the greatest evil into the greatest good. To grant great good after great evil is one thing, and to turn great evil into the greatest good is another, and yet that is God's way: the greatest good that God intends for his people, he many times works out of the greatest evil, the greatest light is brought out of the greatest darkness. I remember, Luther has a striking expression for this: he says, 'It is the way of God: he humbles that he might exalt, he kills that he might make alive, he confounds that he might glorify.' This is the way of God, he says, but everyone does not understand it. This is the art of arts, and the science of sciences, the knowledge of knowledges, to understand this, that God when he will bring life, brings it out of death, he brings joy out of sorrow, and he brings prosperity out of adversity, yea and many times brings grace out of sin, that is, makes use of sin to work furtherance of grace.
God our Father “makes use of sin to work furtherance of Grace.” I wasn’t content, and I am not now, but the difference is I recognize where I am and more importantly, where I need to be.

I need to be asleep on the rug in the middle of the room, blessedly assured as Julian of Norwich when she heard these very words from God saying  "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

I tell people this all the time, but I haven’t been listening. Why are we worrying? Our worry serves no purpose and furthermore, we are not in control. We must give it over…and here’s the thing, I really thought I had given it over. I meant well, (Lord, help a well-meaning Christian), but I had it wrong. I even said I was pressing in and letting go. NOT.

I am not content, but having learned that I AM NOTHING, I will trust God. I will trust God the way my dog trusts us. Without reservation. And when I get anxious, or panicked, I will remember that dog snoring on the floor, knowing that all manner of thing shall be well, in Jesus’ name. And that my friends, is a reason to be thankful, to offer prayers of Thanksgiving EVERY SINGLE DAY.

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