"Contentment" Part 1 – Time for Hope with Dr. Freda Crews

welcome to time for hope a ministry of hope for living media church and Bible study time incorporated here's your pastor and host dr. Freda crews I appreciate you join the meal in time for hope I'm dr. Freda crews your host and today I'm going to be presenting something from the scriptures and from my heart without a guest and I have titled it secrets of contentment do you have a what it takes to make me content list probably not consciously but I suspect that all of us have such a list if we will think about it we could think of a number of things that if we have them we feel a degree of contentment and if we don't have them we become discontent in fact I suspect that many of our prayers are nothing more than a I need to make me content list of course the more basic problem is whether or not we are ever content or are we always reaching out for something else that we have diluted ourselves into thinking will make us content contentment can be like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow always chasing for it but never finding it in fact as I talk and pray with people I find very few if any who can say they are content this extends to the world of professing Christians I wonder what the outside world thinks about those of us who profess to have found the ultimate secret of happiness and contentment and yet if they view us at close range they might find that contentment is eluding many of us how can this be true when we have the promises of God to meet all of our needs in this life and more than we can even imagine or dream of in the next life what are the secrets of contentment Paul confidently asserted that he had found at least the secret of contentment and his secret of contentment I am using to include all of the secrets of contentment that I'm going to be sharing with you we read in Philippians the fourth chapter verses 11 through 12 I am NOT saying this because I am in need for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances I know what it is to be in deed 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 won't the author of the book of Hebrews wrote 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 jesus said therefore I tell you do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink or about your body what you will wear is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes Matthew the sixth chapter verses 31 through 34 say so do not worry saying what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear for the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself each day has enough trouble of its own there is embedded in these passages the secret of contentment let's see if we can mine these mountains for the precious jewels that might have gone undiscovered since your conversion if we look at the definition of contentment in our Webster dictionary it is defined as being satisfied then you might quickly ask what does it mean to be satisfied satisfaction requires the fulfillment of a need or want it can also mean to be happy and gratified sometimes information initially raises more questions than it answers and that could be the case regarding contentment if contentment means to be satisfied and satisfaction means having certain needs and wants met and fulfilled then we begin to wonder if we can ever really be content this can be true because most of us have some needs that are never met and did Paul mean that his every need had been met and his every desire gratified when he said that he had learned the meaning of contentment just what did Paul mean to shed some light on this question let's explore the biblical meaning of contentment the Bible meaning is coming from an adjective perspective meaning to be self sufficient or adequate or needing no assistance from these meanings we derive the idea of accepting and feeling adequate to handle our life situation whatever it is at any given time but there is more here inherent in the biblical meaning of contentment we find truth regarding our view of ourselves a person who feels self sufficient and adequate has a positive self-image and whether we like the sound of not contentment involves our opinion of ourselves when we don't feel good about ourselves we are going to be discontent nothing nor anyone can make us content if we are dissatisfied with ourselves the biblical meaning of contentment requires us to have a positive self-image and this might seem strange to you that the biblical meaning of contentment has to do with being self-sufficient adequate and needing no assistance I have interpreted this to mean also that we must have a good opinion of ourselves but what we actually discover that Paul is saying is that he does not like for anything either inside himself or outside himself to make him happy Paul knew who he was and in whom he had believed we read in acts the 27th chapter in the 23rd verse last night an angel of God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and in Philippians 1 the first chapter in the sixth verse being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ although there were situations Paul wished were different he had unrealized goals and he likes some of the comforts and pleasures of this world he was able to accept his life for what it was at any given time with all the resources he had in Christ he felt adequate for any task he knew God was in control of all things and he could trust him whatever happened he had the promises of God to be with him in any and every circumstance he believed God would never leave nor forsake him he had a grip on what mattered and what didn't matter he had learned to differentiate between the temporal and eternal however Paul's contentment did not allow him to sit down and enjoy the status quo instead it proved to be a launching pad from which he was propelled into the space of worldwide evangelism Paul could have been consumed with all the things that could have made him unhappy and discontent he could have moaned in prison about the unfairness of it all he could have questioned God's providence in giving him the calling of taking the gospel to the Gentile world and yet allowing him to end up in prison in short Paul had many reasons at times to be discontent with his station in life and yet Paul said that he had learned the secret of being content whatever these circumstances and situations were I'm gonna leave you at this point as we take a break and I'll be right back the Nexus Thanksgiving yes because those two little words Paul says rejoice in the Lord always and let your gentleness be evident to all the Lord is near do not worry about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving present your requests to God he could have left those words out and we wouldn't have known it the sentence would have flowed but he put those in there yes and even what blessings we may be able to identify during the crisis because maybe you're in the middle of a very difficult situation and you can look all the way around and everything seems to be going wrong but if you turn around again and look well here is something that even right now I can think the Lord for even in the situation I can be thankful for this and we find these little blessings maybe someone has been kind to us maybe we've got a cup of coffee maybe everything is going wrong except well I can think that I'm healthy at least or or someone gave me some money that I needed or there could be a thousand little blessings yes things could always be worse and so recognizing those things and learning to thank God for them in the middle of the difficulty somehow there is a powerful psychological force that pulls our spirits up as we learn to identify and count our blessings absolutely Thanksgiving I'm thankful for what I've received from the Lord that I get more from him he likes he likes our praise and thanksgiving and making sure that he is glorified and magnified and all that we think say and and the next one is is thinking you got into our thought life and it is big when it comes you know not not about worrying and by the way when we say worry that tells me it is extreme anxiety that's the way I see worry yeah something that just pulls your mind apart but verse eight in this passage says that whatever is true noble right godly excellent praiseworthy think about those things and I have a book you and I talked about it once to reclaiming the lost art of biblical meditation and the one thing that has gotten me through many a dark evening or a difficult day has been forcing my mind to go to scripture to quote it to think about it to meditate on it I can't tell you how many times I've woken up in the middle of the night and I've just started quoting the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want or God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble or do not let your hearts be troubled you believe in God believe also in me or Philippians 4 rejoice in the Lord always and it's as we think about God and His Word that sort of it sets the gyroscope and our hearts and it stabilizes us in the thinking part we we have to think what we're telling ourselves you know we if we tell ourselves negative things we're not going to rejoice in the Lord so we need to get in touch with our thoughts and our thinking and see what it's playing the part it's playing in our worry our anxiety this is one of the biggest lessons I've ever learned in my life that sometimes we have to stop listening to ourselves and we have to start talking to ourselves we have to preach to ourselves we have to pick ourselves up and grab ourselves by the by the strap and we have to push ourselves say and start quoting scripture to ourselves yes this is what the psalmist did when he said why are you cast down O my soul why are you disquieted within me he was preaching to himself and we need to do that thanks for staying with me on time for hope I'm sharing with you some secrets of contentment although the Apostle Paul said he had learned the secret of contentment I sometimes wonder what we would have in the scriptures it had it not been for the Apostle Paul he really has so much to give us when we get into God's Word and this is another one of those things that Paul shared with us that was going on in his personal life that I'm trying to share with you for us today so when I think about Paul and I think about secrets of contentment that I've already gotten into with you I think about the question if Paul had given in to the proneness of his flesh to murmur and complain he would have robbed himself of energy and vision instead he chose to trust God whatever his circumstances and to be content with himself and his life at any given time to make this choice Paul would have had to determine that neither the past with his painful memories and mistakes nor the future with its secrets was going to short-circuit his present acceptance of God's providence in his life as we look at the word contentment and Paul are using it and saying he had learned the secret of contentment let's look at it as a noun as a noun contentment means satisfaction with what one has sometimes our biggest problem related to diskant mine is not unmet needs but the problem lies within with what we think our needs are this contentment is often rooted in what we don't have we have real needs and we have imagined needs most of our imagined needs focus on money and relationships much of our discontentment comes from what we want that we don't have the money to buy or what we want from somebody else that we cannot have or get many of us spend a lot of time and energy running after these things concerning our obsession with money and material possessions Paul admonished Timothy in first Timothy the sixth chapter verses 6 through 10 but godliness with contentment is great gain for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it but if we have food and clothing we will be content with that people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs and I would remind you here in the scripture that is it's not saying that money itself cause this but it's the love of money that caused these griefs and then I move on how many persons have spent a lifetime making and hoarding money only to discover too late that it cannot buy happiness and contentment and we can get just as far off base with our imagined relationship needs we can become obsessed with our needs for certain relationships we can believe the myth that a certain person can make us happy and content and spend all our time and energy on such a relationship often we end up disillusioned with relationships in our search for contentment so what if I said regarding the meaning of contentment I have tried to show and say that contentment cannot come from places things people are situations contentment is something that begins inside of us if we are not at peace with ourselves we cannot be at peace with anybody else if we do not have a good opinion of ourselves then we will look for other things that other people to make us feel good about ourselves when we are not content with whom we are and where we are at all times then we have not learned the meaning of contentment next as we move on to contentment I'm going to say that contentment does not just happen it's a learning process sometimes I get the idea from listening to others teach and preach that there are such people as super Christians and sometimes this myth leaves me feeling like I even don't fit into this camp I might add when this is my experience I am discontent because I feel inadequate as a Christian and probably most of us have a tendency to think of Paul as a super Christian he is towards the top of the list of great Saints but he was not always a contented Christian in our text Paul did not say that he had always been content or satisfied with his lot in life or his life situation it was something he said he had learned he indicated it had been a process Christians don't just grow up overnight like Jack's beanstalk they grow step by step as they learn more and more about themselves and about their God Paul taught this in second Corinthians the third chapter and verse 18 and we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory are being transformed I love that are being transformed into his likeness and I like that a lot with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is the spirit and I am so thankful that God has given us and does give us the Holy Spirit when we come to know Jesus Christ and that he can he's very active very active in our lives if we allow and want him to be and certainly with this situation related to contentment Paul said that he had learned the secret of contentment we hear that word often especially in the term secret of success or the secret of happiness a secret is something hidden or unexplained that has mystery about it it also can be a method formula or process something that proved to be a key to a desired in the secret of contentment includes all of the above ingredients in reading our text it seems that Paul had made a diligent search to find the secret of being content whatever his circumstances were as with us he knew from his own experience and from looking around him it was not something everybody knew contentment has a mystique about it he also knew that one is not born content and that contentment does not come automatically Paul learned that he had to actively search for the hidden keys to open the door of contentment learning not only involves knowing something intellectually it includes experience so Paul's process of learning to be content would have included his many disappointments and disillusionment as it does also for us these could have been the result of believing that certain things places people are happenings could make him content and then discovering this to be a false assumption Paul would have had to learn as we do that contentment must be rooted in us and in our relationship with God and I'm going to leave you with that for this week and we will continue next week learning more about the secrets of contentment but I do have something to share with you from a couple of viewers before you ago and the first one has to do with a prayer request that reads dear dr. Freda please pray for me to have a financial breakthrough and for my marriage and career I am thinking about going to Bible College but I need to hear from God to receive his guidance and direction and I encourage you to hang in there until you get God's guidance and direction because you're also seeing that you needed a financial breakthrough and you want us to pray for you and your marriage and career so there are several considerations here we do take these prayer requests seriously and we take each and every one of them up with our Heavenly Father and if you have not sent in yours and would like to we encourage you to do so most often we take them up during our Monday morning worship services here at Bible study time and time for hope and then I have a note of encouragement from a viewer that reads dear dr. Freda I watched your program time for hope it's a wonderful show and I like it very much thank you and I thank you for this word of encouragement it sometimes things get a little tough in producing time for hope and looking after the administration and so forth that it takes to put out time for hope and so I appreciate being encouraged by my viewers and then the next thing that I would in that I would encourage you to do is make sure that you continue with us as we continue our discussion next week on the secrets of contentment but I also encourage you to give some serious consideration to helping us financially if you have not really seriously thought about it or if you have already been helping us we appreciate it greatly but if you haven't we could use your help with the expenses of this ministry so I'm asking that from you and I'm reminding you again that we will be taking up and and concluding our discussion next week on secrets of contentment and I would like to have you join us thank you for watching time for hope a ministry of hope for living media church and Bible study time incorporated we offer a free fact sheet with more information on today's topic call or write us to get your copy today dr. Freitas booklet titled secrets of contentment is available for a donation of at least $5 to the time for Hope ministry any additional donation you wish to send will be greatly appreciated call us at 866-942-6273

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