The Key to Contentment

In this third part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we land with both feet on the heart of Paul’s secret. What is it that gave Paul the ability to be content in all circumstances? It’s an idea that you’ve probably encountered before. But stay tuned to the end. There just may be more here than you thought there was. Thanks for reading.

The Key to Contentment

Where is your happy place?  Come to mine with me for a minute.  Imagine sitting on the porch of a cabin up in the mountains.  It’s cool, but not too cool.  The kind of cool where you could put a jacket on, but you don’t really need it.  The porch looks out eastward over a majestic valley.  From your post up on the side of the mountain you can see the valley opening up wide below you.  There are a couple of farms down on the floor, carved out among the trees, but everything else is blanketed in deciduous beauty.  It’s mid-fall and the leaves are at their peak color.  And as you look out at the mountain on the opposite side of the valley, the sun is just coming up over its peak.  The air is still and it tickles your nose just a bit, seasoned by the aroma of fall, as you breathe it in.  And you just…sit there as the shadow line slowly recedes across the valley, chased away by the rising sun.  Close by is your favorite person in the world—or, in my case, four favorite people in the world, three of whom are unusually quiet—and together you simply rest in the grandeur of God’s goodness. 

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Digging in Deeper: Hosea 13:10

“Where now is your king, that he may save you in all your cities, and the rulers you demanded, saying, “Give me a king and leaders”?”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

I am not a perfect parent. I am a human one, though. On occasion, one of my boys will want to do something a certain way that I know will not be wise. On these occasion I tell them it won’t be wise. Sometimes, though, they are insistent they want to do it that way. So, I let them. Do you know what happens next? It proves to be unwise. Guess what I say then? Kind of the same thing God says here.

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Morning Musing: Hosea 13:6

“When they had pasture, they became satisfied; they were satisfied, and their hearts became proud. Therefore they forgot me.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Where do you turn when things get tough? I’ve asked that question before. You already know what I think the answer should be: God. Perhaps you do turn there and good for you. Many people turn to something they identify as a higher power when things get tough. That’s not at all unusual. It’s also not what I am interested in this morning. I just wanted to distract you a bit. Here’s what I’m interested in right now: Where do you turn when things are smooth and easy?

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Digging in Deeper: Hosea 11:8

“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? I have had a change of heart; my compassion is stirred!”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

In the world of philosophy, the branch dealing with the making and analyzing of arguments is called logic. We make jokes about whether or not something is logical, but the study of logic is a detailed and complex one. Logicians have explored it at a depth and breadth that will leave your head spinning if you aren’t formally trained. It is a philosophical discipline with which I have admittedly struggled (I can already hear the jabs coming…). But, even I can recognize that what God says here represents a formal logical fallacy. Let’s talk about why.

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Morning Musing: Hosea 10:1

“Israel is a lush vine; it yields fruit for itself. The more his fruit increased, the more he increased the altars. The better his land produced, the better they made the sacred pillars.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you experienced success before? That’s a bit of an open-ended question. What kind of success? There are many different kinds: relational, financial, vocational, social, athletic, parental, life generally. Okay, let me narrow the question in a bit: Have you experienced success before? See what I did there? That’s not really the question I’m interested in right now. Here’s that one: Where did that success come from? Here’s why that matters: If you know where your success originates, you can experience more of it more easily.

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