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“To be content as a result of some external thing is like warming a man’s clothes by the fire.  But to be content through an inward disposition of the soul is like the warmth that a man’s clothes have from the natural heat of his body.”

~ Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

 

Yep.  I’m going through this book again.
Why?
Because I still desperately need to learn the art of contentment 🙂

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…”
”No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”

~ Luke 16:10a, 13

 

This is closely connected to the heart of contentment for me.
I always think that if I have more, life will be better.
I miss the fact that God tells me to be faithful with however little/much He has given me, and to not put my trust in earthly riches.
Contentment chooses God as a haven, not money.
Praying that God will teach me this 🙂

ocean

“It is a saying of Luther: ‘The sea of God’s mercies should swallow up all our particular afflictions.’
Name any affliction that is upon you: there is a sea of mercy to swallow it up.
If you pour a pailful of water on the floor of your house, it makes a great show
but if you throw it into the sea, there is no sign of it.
So, afflictions considered in themselves, we think are very great,
but let them be considered with the sea of God’s mercies we enjoy,
and then they are not so much,
they are nothing in comparison.”
~ Jeremiah Burroughs

First things first.  Vicky showed me this recipe for granola bars, and I might have to disown her as a friend because of it. 

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These are too easy and too good to have in my baking repertoire.  They seriously take no effort whatsoever.  Literally, you layer the ingredients and then throw it in the oven.  That’s it.  They are called Granola Bars, and I’ve determined they can only be thought of as such in the sense that they:
a) contain granola and
b) are cut into bar shaped portions. 
They really should be called A Heavenly Dessert (that you really should quickly share with a friend or else risk devouring it all by yourself).

Want the recipe?  Here it is!

Second things second.
I am still reading Jeremiah Burroughs’ book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and I came across some particularly good quotes this morning.  It really is changing my perspective on how enslaving discontentment is, and how freeing contentment is!
Today’s passage was on gratitude and how discontentment colors everything we see in light of what we DON’T have, as opposed to what God HAS given us.
Here are just a few quotes.

By murmuring and discontent in your hearts, you come to lose a great deal of time.  How many times do men and women, when they are discontented, let their thoughts run, and are musing and contriving, through their present discontentedness and let their discontented thoughts work in them for some hours together, and they spend their time in vain!  When you are alone you should spend your time in holy meditation, but you are spending your time in discontented thoughts.”

“Unthankfulness is an evil and a wicked effect which comes from discontent…Men and women, who are discontented, though they enjoy many mercies from God, yet they are thankful for none of them, for this is the vile nature of discontent, to lessen every mercy of God. It makes those mercies they have from God as nothing to them, because they cannot have what they want.”

“I remember an excellent saying that Luther has: ‘This is the rhetoric of the Spirit of God’ he said, ‘to extenuate evil things, and to amplify good things: if a cross comes, to make the cross but little, but if there is a mercy, to make the mercy great.’  Thus, if there is a cross, where the Spirit of God prevails in the heart, the man or woman will wonder that it is no greater, and will bless God that though there is such a cross, yet that it is no more: that is the work of the Spirit of God; and if there is a mercy, he wonders at God’s goodness, that God granted so great a mercy.  The Spirit of God extenuates evils and crosses, and magnifies and amplifies mercies; and all mercies seem to be great, and all afflictions seem to be little. 
But the Devil goes quite contrary, says Luther, his rhetoric is quite otherwise: he lessens God’s mercies, and amplifies evil things.  Thus, a godly man wonders at his cross that it is not more, a wicked man wonders his cross is so much: ‘Oh,’ he says, ‘none was ever so afflicted as I am.’  If there is a cross, the Devil puts the soul to musing on it, and making it greater than it is, and so it brings discontent.  And on the other side, if there is a mercy, then it is the rhetoric of the Devil to lessen the mercy.  ‘Aye, indeed,’ he says, ‘the thing is a good thing, but what is it?  It is not a great matter, and for all this, I may be miserable.’  Thus the rhetoric of Satan lessens God’s mercies, and increases afflictions.”

 

I really cannot get enough of this book!  It has been so helpful for me, as this is an area of my life that has always been “under construction.”  God has been using this book to grow me in so many ways, and I know it will be an on-going process, but I’m so grateful for what He’s teaching me!  Many continued thanks to Traci for letting me borrow it 🙂

I was reading in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment again this morning, and this passage so affected me – I pray it encourages others of you as well!

Speaking about how Christ teaches his children contentment:

“He teaches them to understand what is the one thing that is necessary, which he never understood before.  You know what He said to Martha: ‘O Martha, thou cumberest thyself about many things, but there is one thing necessary.’  Before, the soul sought after this and that, but now it says, I see that it is not necessary for me to be rich, but it is necessary for me to make my peace with God; it is not necessary that I should live a pleasurable life in this world, but it is absolutely necessary that I should have pardon of my sin; it is not necessary that I should have honour and preferment, but it is necessary that I should have God as my portion, and have my part in Jesus Christ, it is necessary that my soul should be saved in the day of Jesus Christ.  The other things are pretty fine indeed, and I should be glad if God would give me them, a fine house, an income, and clothes, and advancement for my wife and children: these are comfortable things, but they are not the necessary things; I may have these and yet perish forever, but the other is absolutely necessary.  No matter how poor I am, I may have what is absolutely necessary: thus Christ instructs the soul. 

…So certainly, when the soul is at once taken up with the things that are of absolute necessity, it will not be much troubled about other things.  What are the things that disquiet us here but some by-matters in this world?  And it is because our hearts are not taken up with the one absolutely necessary thing…but when the heart is taken up with the weighty things of eternity, with the great things of eternal life, the things of here below that disquieted it before are things now of no consequence to him in comparison with the other – how things fall out here is not much regarded by him, if the one that that is necessary is provided for.”

~Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

This was so helpful for me to remember!!  God is my portion, and He is enough!  And yet He has given me earthly comforts, and when I grow discontent with those things He has given me, it is so helpful to remember that I have the one thing that is of greatest importance: my soul shall be saved in the day of Jesus Christ!  This is the heart and the character of our God, to grant us not only what is necessary, but what is above and beyond it.  And this is the day He has made – let us be glad and rejoice in it!

Well, my camera is currently out of commission, so all the pictures I was going to post from recent events are not available at this time 🙂 It should be fixed shortly.
So, in the meantime, I thought I’d write about a book that I’m reading and am in absolute awe over. It is not an understatement to say that it is changing my entire perspective on contentment.
It’s called The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

I’m about 45 pages in, and it’s 228 pages total, and I’m wondering how on earth he can possibly improve on all he’s said about contentment already! That’s how good it is!
Traci lent it to me a while ago, and I’m going to have to go out and buy my own copy. I keep going to underline stuff and then realize “this isn’t my book!!! drop the pen!!!” So I’m just going to have to get my own.
Whether you are in a place of relative contentment or not right now, YOU NEED THIS BOOK! 🙂 I’m convinced that whether I’m in a season of trial or in a season of blessing, it is beneficial for me to study contentment. That way, either it will help me through a present storm, or prepare me to face a future one. It is never an obsolete study.
I will leave you with a quote, though it was so hard to choose! I hope it stirs your heart to pursue contentment on an even deeper level than you thought possible, or maybe than you thought you needed!

“Philippians 4:7,9: And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.’ The peace of God shall keep your hearts…The peace of God shall keep you, and the God of peace shall be with you. Here is what I would observe from this text, that the peace of God is not enough to a gracious heart except it may have the God of peace. A carnal heart could be satisfied if he might but have outward peace, though it is not the peace of God; peace in the state, and his trading, would satisfy him. But mark how a godly heart goes beyond carnal. All outward peace is not enough; I must have the peace of God. But suppose you have the peace of God, will that not quiet you? No, I must have the God of peace…That is, I must enjoy that God who gives me the peace; I must have the Cause as well as the effect. I must see from whence my peace comes, and enjoy the fountain of my peace, as well as the stream of my peace. And so in other mercies: have I health from God? I must have the God of my health to be my portion, or else I am not satisfied. It is not life, but the God of my life; it is not riches, but the God of those riches, that I must have, the God of my preservation, as well as my preservation. A gracious heart is not satisfied without this: to have the God of mercy, as well as the mercy.”

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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