Tag Archives: contentment

In Pursuit of Fullness

Whether you’re a follower of Christ or not, I bet you’ve heard this verse before:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
-Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

I’ve generally seen this verse used in the context of being strong or able to accomplish great things.  But do you know what it says right before that verse?

The Apostle Paul writes the following in his letter to the church in Philippi:

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 4:10-13 (NIV)

You see, read in context, this verse is really not about being strong or accomplishing great things.  It’s about contentment.

Contentment.  Yeah, maybe 2000 years ago, but in this day and age?  What is that?  In this “gotta have it now”, smart-phone-driven, “just Google it” world that we live in, what value is there in contentment?

Let’s back up a bit.  Earlier this year, before I started back on the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet**, I was really struggling with the concept of “fullness”.   It didn’t seem to matter how much I ate, I was never full.  I was so frustrated that I sat down at my computer and pounded out a big, long rant about the futility of the pursuit of fullness.  I felt better after ranting, but it still didn’t solve my problem.

Thankfully, I remembered the Carb Addict’s Diet, bought the book again (I must have given away my old copy) and got back on it.  Turns out that insulin is one of the most powerful “drugs” available and it’s manufactured right here inside this amazing human body of ours.  I’ve heard it said that food addiction might be the most difficult addiction to deal with because we can’t just go “cold turkey” and stop eating.  It must be managed and it’s crazy hard to do.

I had been on the Carb Addict’s Diet for five years (2008 to 2013) and loved it, but in 2013 I found out that I had a gluten problem.  I was in so much pain that I hired a Functional Medicine doctor and a health coach and I completely changed the way I ate.  If you’re interested, you can read more about it here: Salsa Chicken

Through that whole endeavor, I solved my gluten issue, but I created an insulin monster that was getting harder and harder to tame.  Thankfully, in April 2017, I had enough knowledge, along with a gentle reminder from Jesus, to put myself back on the Carb Addict’s Diet, without the gluten madness, and the insulin monster has once again been tamed.  Thank you, Lord!

But that process got me thinking about the concept of fullness, or the pursuit of filling that “hole in our soul”, instead of living in contentment.  And I came to the conclusion that, on this planet, we are always going to feel a little empty.  We’re always going to want one more thing, one more toy, one more taste, one more nap, one more show, one more laugh, one more hug, fill in the blank: one more, one more, one more.

Vince Antonucci from Verve Church in Las Vegas said that God longs to fill us because He knows that we leak.  No matter how full we are, we leak.  And we need to be filled again.  Vince’s solution?  Go to God and let Him fill you.  But don’t stop there.  Vince encourages us to ask God two questions, every day:

“How do you want to love me today?  Who do you want to love through me today?”

I love it.  I love the focus.  But if I may, I would like to tweak those questions just a bit.  Because I think that asking one time per day isn’t enough.  We lose focus much too easily.  And it seems that the more challenging our day is, the faster we “leak”.  How about:

“Lord, how do you want to love me right now?  Who do you want to love through me right now?”

If we could ask those two questions over and over again, all day long, listening for the answer and doing what He says, what kind of world would we live in?  If we were to let God fill us and then take that love and pass it along to someone else, I bet we’d feel a lot more full, a lot more complete, than filling ourselves by our own devices.

So, let’s do it.  Let’s let Him love us and pass that love along.  Let’s not fill ourselves completely, but leave room for God to fill us.  Let’s not focus on what we don’t have, but instead thank Him for what we do have.  I believe God wants us to want what we already have.  We may not feel like it’s enough, but it is.  We can do this through Him who gives us strength.  This is contentment.  This is enough for now.

King David said it this way, a few thousand years ago.  I think it still applies today:

“Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.”
– Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

** Update from 1-1-18: One thing I didn’t mention in this post is that the Carb Addict’s Diet is the only low carb diet I know of that lets you eat whatever you want for one meal per day (as long as you’re done, first bite to last bite, within one hour).  You eat low carb/ no carb the rest of the day and your insulin levels stay steady.  I am living proof, as a former hypoglycemic.   I hope this is helpful info!  Happy 2018!!

IMG_1731
“The Lord Bless You and Keep You” – Numbers 6:24 on my favorite coffee mug in my 1951 pink and blue bathroom.  I am Blessed and Loved.  And so are you.  🙂
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Money without Meaning

It’s official.  Our $1.5 Billion PowerBall lottery dreams are gone.  All of the hopes and plans for that money, or even just a small part of it, are no longer.  But it sure created a buzz while it lasted.  What would you do with all of that money?

Did you know that Jesus taught more on money than on any other subject?  There are more than 2000 verses in the Bible about money.  That’s more than prayer, more than faith, more than forgiveness, heaven, hell and the Kingdom of God.  Check out some of the “financial” words that God uses to describe His relationship with us:

1) we are redeemed (Is. 44:22, Lam. 3:58, Gal. 3:13),
2) we are reconciled (Rom. 5:10, 2 Cor. 5:18-20, Col. 1:22),
3) our debt is cancelled (Luke 7:41-43, Col. 2:14),
4) Jesus became poor so that we might become rich (2 Cor. 6:10 & 8:9),
5) we cannot serve two masters, both God and money (Matt. 6:24, Luke 16:13).

And that’s just a small sampling.

There’s a hymn that describes the gospel of Jesus this way:

“He paid a debt He did not owe,
I owed a debt I could not pay”
He Paid a Debt by Ellis J. Crum

Let’s take that a step further.  What if Jesus is more powerful than PowerBall?  What if He died so that all of our debts would be forgiven, literally?  What if our mortgage was paid, our cars were paid, we had no credit card debt, no student loan debt, or any debt at all, and all of the food, clothing and shelter we would ever need were provided for us?

Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:24 about not serving two masters and goes on to say:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”
-Matt. 6:25-26 (ESV)

Our heavenly Father knows that we need food and clothing, and He provides them for the birds and flowers.  Why wouldn’t He provide them for us?  We’re so caught up in making money, saving money, spending money, moving money around, worrying that there won’t be enough money, trying to figure out how to get things without money (lotteries, loans, credit cards, getting you to give me something), anxious and distracted.

What if we never had to think about money again?  What if wealth and power and greed had no meaning?  What if I didn’t need to be concerned about what you had (envy, jealously, keeping up with the Jones’s), because I had everything I needed?  What if I were content down to my bones?  What would my life be about?  Would I go to work?  Would I strive?  Would I do anything?  What would define me?

The Apostle Paul says this in his letter to the Romans:

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to a neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
-Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)

What if Jesus is the one who takes away the debt of the world?  What if believing in Him and receiving Him means that we get to see the world through His eyes?  Would our entire focus change?  Would we no longer be slaves to the “stuff that makes the world go round”?  Would we instead be free to love one other, because that’s what Jesus does and that’s what He wants to do through us?  Would that be Heaven on Earth?

The Eastside Vineyard Church started a new series on Heaven a few weeks back.  In Dan Kopp’s 1-17-16 message called Looking (and Praying) Down from Above, he asked two questions:

1) If someone from Heaven could talk to you, what do you think they would say?

2) If someone in Heaven was praying for you, what do you hope they’d be praying for?

Do you think they’d tell us that we should focus on accumulating more while we’re here (“whoever dies with the most stuff wins”?) or do you think they would pray that we would focus on what really matters?  PowerBall or the Power of God?  It’s only by His power that we can truly love one another.  We don’t have it in us.  But if He is in us, we have all we need.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matt. 6:33 (ESV)

There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain
All sufficient sacrifice
So freely given
Such a price
Bought our redemption
Heaven’s gates swing wide
Break Every Chain by Jesus Culture