What is an example of being content?

What is an example of being content?

What is an example of being content?

 you know  ever since i was a little kid i've  always wanted to be  an athlete but the problem was i was  never really good at  any sport in particular when i tell you  i was the last one picked for the team  i'm not kidding actually but i did go  out for football when i was in high  school i was a pretty fast  runner and so i went through all the  training  and i even shaved my head which was hard  because  i had really cool surfer blonde hair  i had like a nice little wave that i  would do this all the time you know  and to sacrifice that hair to be in the  team i thought well it's worth it i'm  going to be on the team and i shave my  head and like literally the day after  i'm called into the principal's office  and they said  you can't be on the football team i said  why not they said  your grades are too low my response is  okay  could you have told me that before i  shave my head  but you know one thing i was pretty good  at was running  i could outrun most people uh not long  distance running though  sprinting was what i was better at  whenever there would be a race  i would be ahead of everyone but of  course i would quickly  lose steam and then people would catch  up with me and sometimes they would lap  me  and periodically turtles would pass me  but i was good with that initial  burst of steam uh but you know the  christian life is really  a long distance run and it's something  we engage in  each and every day and you know there's  a lot of people want to get out and run  but  a lot of people don't follow through  even after they buy  running shoes which are very expensive  now by the way  in case you haven't noticed i read that  87  of those who buy running shoes never use  them  87 percent hey check out these running  shoes  have you gone for a run no but i walked  from my car to starbucks  and i'm looking good right so you know  that's how it is  in real life now i am not n

aturally the  kind of guy that wants to go  have a workout that's the thing i want  to get out  of doing it's so bad i don't even like  to jog  my memory it's you know but the last  week i  i was at the gym and i was stretching  and i was bending and i was lifting  and i was just getting out of the car  that's what's so sad about that  but no seriously though i i go to the  gym  uh seven days a week i do yeah it's on  the way to krispy kreme donuts just  i go by the gym i should say all right  well anyway  but you know if you want to be a real  athlete you have to be committed  you have to work at it i read that the  average olympic  athlete works out four hours a day  310 days a year for six years  to compete for the goal and then once  if you are selected to be on the olympic  team which is a great honor of course  uh you know you have to discipline  yourself and  a very important thing you must play by  the rules you know it's a funny thing we

have sort of a trend i think in  children's sports especially today where  they say  you know we don't really keep tabs on  who's winning  because everyone's a winner by the way  that is i don't think that's a good  thing to do for kids  because that's not the way it is in the  real world okay  we give kids you know trophies for  showing up  it's a participation trophy okay news  flash  in the race of life god wants us to win  he doesn't want us to just show up it's  not just about running  it's about winning and you know when  they say everyone's a winner that's  actually not true  everyone is not a winner there are  losers in the race of life  because they bail or they break the  rules or they don't finish what they've  started  god wants us to win in this race first  corinthians 9 24 it says  remember in a race everyone runs but  only one person  gets the prize so run in such a way that  you will win  every athlete practices self-control  th

ey do it to win a prize that will fade  away  but we're doing it for an eternal prize  so i discipline my body like an  athlete training to do what it should  otherwise after i have preached to  others i myself  would be disqualified and we could  illustrate this with a lot of examples  of  athletes who maybe won an olympic event  but it was found out later that  that they'd been um using steroids  or in some other way they broke the  rules and so  they even had their gold medal taken  from them on some  occasions well anyway we want to run  this  race of life and we want to run it well  so there are things that sort of  slow us down in the race of life  things that impede our progress what are  they let's go back now to philippians 2  and look at verse 14 and 15  and i would point this out complaining  and bickering  can hinder us in running the race  let me say that again complaining and  bickering  can hinder us in running the race of  life an

d also  impede our happiness and joy  look at verse 14. paul says do all  things without complaining  and wait a second i have to take this  jacket off i can't do it  i'll just do this because i'm hot  okay we're done all right here we go  look at verse 14 and 15 do all things  without complaining and disputing  that you may become blameless and  harmless children of god  without fault in the midst of a crooked  and perverse generation  among whom you shine as lights in the  world  another translation of 14 and 15  goes as follows do everything readily  and cheerfully  no bickering no second guessing allowed  go into the world uncorrupted a breath  of  fresh air in this squalid and polluted  society  provide people with a glimpse of good  living and the living  god i love that translation now when  paul uses the word complaining  a better way to translate it would be  murmuring  it's not speaking of loud boisterous  screaming but rather low-toned

discontented muttering does that make  sense  so it's not a person who says i don't  like what's going on it's more the  person who's like this  i don't like what's going on until  you're like do you like what's going on  i don't agree with that do you agree  with that don't you know they're always  complaining  sort of like popeye remember popeye ever  watch a popeye cartoon  he's always muttering  what is he saying no one knows but he's  muttering right that  that's the idea here you know and that's  how some people are they're always  muttering or complaining or or  jumping to conclusions i'm amazed how  people will jump to conclusions  you know the only exercise some  christians get is running down  others and jumping to conclusions they  think they heard something which maybe  they didn't hear at all  or they misinterpreted it then they'll  build a whole case  on that thing that really uh wasn't even  true  and then they'll get angry about

it and  this can fester and go on for a long  period of time don't let that be you  heard a story of a man who decided to  join a monastery and become a monk  and he had to take a vow of silence and  at the end of the year he would be  allowed to appear before the head priest  but he could only say two words so after  one year of being in this monastery the  monk said  bed's heart another year passes he  meets a head priest and he says food's  cold  after the third year he comes before the  head priest and he says  i quit the head priest says well it's no  wonder  since you've arrived you've done nothing  but complain  but people are like this and i found  that people who liked  him complain are never happy to keep it  to themselves they kind of want to  spread it around you know  what do you think if you agree that that  we should do that  i don't think this is right and that's  just the sort of person they are  but yes verse 14 says do all thi

ngs  without disputing  this speaks of arguing  an argumentative person is always  looking for fault and wrong  with others they're always looking for a  verbal  fight do you know any argumentative  people  i do they're just looking for a thing to  get upset about they just go from  conflict  to conflict the bible is saying don't be  that person and this is the very  opposite in fact of what a christian  ought to be  because first corinthians 13 says love  believes the best of every person  but some people believe the very worst  about every person they think their  motives are always wrong and they're  second guessing and challenging it and  then we are to also be blameless look at  verse 15  be blameless and harmless children of  god without fault  in the midst of a crooked and perverse  generation  by the way the word blameless means to  be unblameable  unblameable in other words  people can't blame us because we don't  do  things wrong it spe

aks of moral  integrity  manifesting itself externally  of course jesus modeled this for us he's  able to turn to his accusers in  john 8 46 one day and say to them  can you prove me guilty of any sin if  i'm telling the truth believe me  why don't you believe me in other words  he's saying hey  what have i done wrong what sin have i  committed well there was none at all you  say well that was jesus  yeah but what about daniel the prophet  he was a guy just like  us and he was such a godly man that when  his enemies wanted to trip  him up because they were jealous of his  power in influence  with the king we read in daniel 6 4 his  enemies couldn't find  anything to criticize or condemn because  he was faithful  always responsible and completely  trustworthy  we are to be blameless and the second  word that is used here is be  harmless and a better way to translate  this would be  inexperienced in evil i like that  inexperienced in evil this  is

not a stupid person this  is not a naive person this is a person  who has simply not  chosen to be experienced in evil  this is the person who maybe when the  dirty joke  is told they don't get it uh  what oh sorry your mind isn't perverse  like everybody  else right so this is the idea  and we are to be without fault number  three it says in verse 15.  this means no blemish or indication of  disease and  you say oh greg you know this is nice  you stand up there behind your  stupid light up pulpit and you tell us  these things you know but i can't live  at this level  and besides god loves me and accepts me  it is lit up tonight isn't it  yeah okay um  because it is a line of pulpit right you  see god accepts me and god loves me just  as i am god knows my heart  so i don't have to live at that level  hold on that can be an excuse  yes god accepts you as you are but did  you know  he doesn't want to leave you that way  see a lot of times in the na

me of god  accepts me as i am  we continue in a path of maybe  sinfulness  or we never grow spiritually and we just  rationalize it by saying  well god accepts me and loves me as i am  but god  wants you to grow up spiritually god  wants you to become more  like jesus and remember we already read  in philippians 2  it is god that works in you both to will  and do of his good pleasure  god will not ask you to do anything he  will not give you the power to do  the calling of god is the enabling  of god and if we live this way  verse 15 says we'll shine his lights  in this perverse world if you really  want to see  a light shine brightly turn it on in a  dark place  let me put it another way you ever see  someone check their texts  on their cell phone in a movie theater i  don't care how far away they are  it's noticeable and quite honestly it's  distracting  so in the same way when we're a light  in a dark place we really stand out from  the crowd

and people notice us for sure  but it's very important verse 16 says  holding forth the word of life so  i may rejoice in the day of christ in  other words  you don't want to just be a good example  and not tell people  why you're living the way that you're  living so someone might say to you  you know i notice you're you're a happy  person you're a kind person  you're always serving others what is it  about you  why do you live that way well i i  believe in  you know having a strong family and  living by a set of morals really where  do you get your morals i i believe  tell them where you got them i get them  from the bible and by the way i wasn't  always this way  in fact that was the opposite of this  before but christ has come into my life  and thank you for that compliment  but anything you see in me is a result  of my relationship  with jesus christ see we want them to  know why we are the way that we are  and that's what uh is being said h

ere by  paul in philippians  holding forth the word of life  okay so having said that now let's shift  gears and talk about  this race we are to run very familiar  words in verse 12  of philippians 3. paul says not that  i've already attained  or i'm already perfected but i press on  that i may hold  lay hold of that for which christ has  laid hold of me  brothers i do not my count i do not  count myself to have apprehended  but this one thing i do forgetting the  things which are behind  and reaching forward to the things that  are ahead  i press toward the goal for the prize of  the upward call of god  in christ jesus therefore let us as many  of us  are mature have this mind and if any of  you think otherwise god will  reveal this to you so i started with the  idea  of the race of life we're all in this  race  we need to run this race to win we've  got to play by the rules but what  principles do we learn here  about running the race of life i

f you're  taking notes here's principle number one  and we put all of this on the screen so  you can write it down  you must be dissatisfied with where you  presently are spiritually  you must be dissatisfied with where you  are  presently are spiritually paul says in  verse 12 it's not that i have attained  or i'm already  perfected another translation of verses  12 to 14 would go as follows  i'm not saying i have it all together or  that i haven't made but i'm  on my way reaching out for christ who  has wonderfully reached out for me  friends don't get me wrong by no means  do i count myself an expert in all this  but i have my eye on the goal where god  is beckoning us onward to  jesus i'm off and running and i'm not  turning back you see paul  was satisfied with christ but he wasn't  satisfied  with himself so he's saying i have a  long ways  to go do you realize that about yourself  do you think you have a long ways to go  are you thinking n

ot me man i've arrived  well i'm sure you've made a lot of  progress since you first believed but  oh my it seems to me the more you know  the lord the more you realize  that you have a lot of changing to do  and if anyone could have thought  that he had arrived it would be the  apostle paul  i mean this is a man who has led  countless people to christ  he's established churches he's written  epistles and yet he is saying i have so  much to learn and so  far to go can you imagine a group of  christians sitting around with the  apostle paul  someone might say well you know what god  inspired me to share  something with someone today another  might say  the lord led me to give the gospel to  someone today and paul could say well  god gave me inspired letters called  epistles  that make up half the bible that will  last forever  oh wow okay you win  i don't think paul would have ever said  that but i'm just saying for a point  think of the compariso

n  someone could say oh i heard god speak  to me once another might say well i  sensed his presence  as we were worshiping the other day and  paul said well actually i died  i went to heaven and then i came back  from the dead to write more epistles oh  by the way did i mention i  raised someone from the dead i mean who  can top this guy  this guy was at the top of his game but  yet he  says i have so far to go and it's just a  reminder that no longer how long you've  known the lord  no matter how long you've known the lord  i should say there's always room  for growth and i think one of the  problems is we become satisfied  with where we are and one of the reasons  that  you might be self-satisfied is you're  comparing your  running without of other christians  see the other day i did a race with my  grandchildren they all wanted to race me  we want to race papa and uh i thought  wow this i could lose today because  a couple of them are getting

older but  uh we'll give it a go so we picked a  spot  my wife went a ways away three feet nose  further but  so we're all getting ready to run and we  take off and  and i beat them and uh and you know now  that's so what i beat a bunch of  grandkids you know that's  kind of sad i should have let them win  but  it was game on okay  but that's the point i beat children in  a race okay  so i can say i'm pretty fast yeah i beat  old christopher he's four years old  so what now if i race with someone who  was  younger and athletic i would have done  horribly  if i would have raced against an  athletic runner  if if hussein bolt came over and we had  a run together  uh i would have done horribly  so my point is simply this if i'm  comparing myself  to people much weaker than me i'll  always seem like i'm doing better but if  i compare myself  with other people who are really running  well i'll see oh man i have a long ways  to go  and that's what'll h

appen well i'm not  as bad as that guy well he died a year  ago i know i'm not as bad as him  try comparing yourself with someone  that's doing well  see that sense of self satisfaction is  not a good thing  paul did not compare himself with others  he compared himself with himself  and with jesus christ the plan here is  progress  not perfection we will never be perfect  ever point number two get rid of extra  weight  in the things that would hinder you get  rid of extra weight  and the things that would hinder you  verse 7 what things are gaining me i  counted loss for christ yes i can all  things lost for the excellence of the  knowledge of christ my lord  for whom i have suffered the loss of all  things and count them as  rubbish that i may gain christ  paul's saying look i'm looking back on  my life i was a pretty accomplished guy  you know i was raised in an incredible  family  i studied under gamalio i i knew  culture i knew languages i kn

ew  scripture  i was an intellectual i was an orator i  was a great debater  that stuff to me now it's rubbish  that's sort of the british word i love  the word rubbish just rubbish  absolute rubbish actually the word that  paul uses here for rubbish  is uh translated from a word that means  excrement  if you don't know what that is i'm  talking about poop folks that's what i  mean  so we could put it in another way dog  dung if that makes you feel better  but you get the idea right that's what  it is to me all these accomplishments  it's like dog dung and the doggy bag who  cares about it i don't want it anymore  and then he says but i'm i'm laying  aside this weight  hebrews 12 says lay aside the weight and  the sin  that so easily besets you and the race  of life we don't want  excess baggage when we're running this  race this  is hard for me because i am the rich the  original pack  rat i over pack i don't even want to  admit this but i will

when we go on a trip i take more stuff  than my wife  i do and it's just stuff it's just  things you don't need like you know we  may need a vacuum cleaner let's  put it in the suitcase and and we need  this and we need that and you know so i  have all this stuff now sometimes my  wife doesn't have a jacket  and she i don't have it well i have four  on my trunk so  aren't you glad that i'm a pack rat  tonight right  but um so you know when i i check in my  luggage  i always cringe when they put it on the  scale because i know it's going to weigh  too much and they're going to look at me  give me that look like loser and then  the x then the little tag that says  heavy  extra heavy which is their way of saying  you are so lame we hate you you know so  i over pack i take too much stuff that's  just the way that i am well in the race  of life we want to run as  lightly as possible  so you need to ask yourself periodically  as you're running this ra

ce as you're  walking with christ  is there someone oh is there something  that's slowing you down see if i'm on a  diet  and i'm hanging out with a person that  likes to eat pizza and mexican food  24 7. they're a bad influence on me  it's better if i'm with someone else  who's on a diet maybe even the same diet  and will kind of hold each other  accountable but i'll tell you what  if i'm watching someone else eat it's  torment to me okay  i want what they have so maybe there's  someone who's a bad influence on you  spiritually you know you're trying to  walk with god but when you're around  them they're saying oh come on  chill out relax let's try this let's do  that  they're not a good influence or there's  something that's slowing you down  maybe it's something you're doing that's  impeding your spiritual performance  in the book of genesis we have the story  of abraham  god told him to leave his homeland and  go to a land that the lord would

reveal  to him  and also to leave his family and abraham  obeyed sort of he brought along his  nephew lot  he was like a spiritual dead weight on  him  and it caused a lot of friction and a  lot of problems and  finally after a conflict developed  abraham and lot parted ways and then the  lord spoke  to abraham again my point is lot was a  bad influence on abraham  and is there someone that's a bad  influence on you or even worse  are you a bad influence on someone else  don't be that person be a good influence  because we're running the race and we  want to run the race  well we want to run from what is wrong  we want to run toward what is right and  we want to run with like-minded  people what is the theme of the book of  philippians  happiness yes that's the title of the  series  happiness paul refers to it many times  with different words rejoicing joy  etc and if you want to be a happy person  there are certain things you should do  and the

re are certain things  you shouldn't do someone sums it up  perfectly it says  happy or blessed happy is the man who  walks not on the council of the ungodly  or stands in the way of sinners or sits  in the seat of the scornful so if you  want to be a happy person  don't hang around on godly people who  influence you to do ungodly things  but happiness is not comprised merely of  what we don't do  it's also comprised of what we do do  i didn't mean to say do do but you know  what i'm saying because someone's  focusing he said do do yeah okay i did  you caught me so i don't walk in the  counseling of the ungodly i don't send  the way of sinners  but instead i get into the word of god  it says his delight  is in the law or the word of the lord  and in it does he meditate  day and night so if you want to be happy  stay away from  godless people doing godless things  leading you away from god  and hang around godly people and get  into god's word tha

t's what we're doing  here  tonight so periodically i have to ask  myself the question this thing that i'm  doing  is it a wing or is it a weight is it a  wing  or is it a weight is it speeding me up  or slowing me down is it building me up  or is it tearing me down  and check this out what may be a weight  to one may not necessarily be a weight  to another  lay aside the sin or the weight and the  sin that so easily beset you  see one thing might slow one person down  more than it slows another person down  like we have different metabolisms right  and some people can eat whatever they  want and never gain weight  i hate those people no i don't i love  them because i'm not to hate i am to  love i love them but i  i'm upset they have that metabolism  i want their metabolism i mean i used to  eat things when i was younger  had no effect on me i after church when  we were starting our church many years  ago  there was a takeout restaurant i've  men

tioned this before called nuggles  anybody remember noggles wow a lot of  you  it was really good it was really good  take out mexican food so they had a  thing called a macho combo burrito this  thing was so stinking big  it was the size of a sleeping bag okay  it was just massive burrito  and so after church i would eat it and  even when i'm preaching  i'm getting toward the end of my sermon  i'm thinking macho combo burrito much  become a burrito  preachers think these things trust me uh  i'm so  yes i want the lord to bless but much a  couple burrito too you know  so i'd be done with church i'd drive  over i'd order the macho camo burrito  eat it fantastic no issues no problems i  couldn't even look at a macho cama  burrito today  i'd gain weight looking at it and for  sure i would get  acid reflux from eating it late at night  i've gone from acid rock to acid reflux  it's  a very sad thing but then somebody else  could go and eat that and it

wouldn't  affect them at all i say that's not fair  well i don't know if it's fair  or not but you just need to know what  you can do and what you can't do  okay so just because they can do it  doesn't mean you should do it  and so you have to ask yourself is that  thing slowing me down  number three in the race of life we must  run with the  right motive run with the right motive  paul speaks of only one receiving  the prize running for the gold if you  will  i mean i don't think most olympians want  to win the bronze i mean the bronze is  great i'd be thrilled if i won the  bronze  but the gold's better everybody knows it  silver's good too but the gold's best  because if you win gold you get the top  position and they play the national  anthem of your country  so you run for the top award  but our primary motive is not running  for an award or a reward  but there are rewards promised to  christians  but our primary motive is found in  philipp

ians 3 10  paul says that i may know him and the  power of his  resurrection and the fellowship of his  sufferings  being conformed to his death that's our  motive  that i may know him the amplified  translation which is  an expanded greek translation states  that verse as follows paul speaking  my determined purpose in life is that i  may  know him then he defines what that means  that i may progressively become more  deeply  and intimately acquainted with him  perceiving and recognizing  and understanding the wonders of his  person more strongly  and more clearly that i may know him  our mission statement at harvest is  knowing god  and making him known paul say my  determined purpose in life  is to know him notice he says it's to  know him he doesn't say it's to know  about him  now you need to know about god but that  should not take the place of  knowing god we know a lot about a lot of  people  we have a celebrity obsessed culture  today  y

ou know media breathlessly follows  they're every step  here's the celebrity coming out of  starbucks here's a celebrity  going to lunch here's a celebrity going  to rehab here they are  going to lunch and back to rehab and to  dinner and back to rehab and  here they are and aren't they wonderful  and look at them  and you know so we watch them and maybe  we follow them  on facebook we say yeah i'm friends with  them on facebook i know them  you're not their friend they have 10  million  followers or friends you're not their  friend i know  you have a picture they posted you're  not their friend  you know about them and i fear that a  lot of people know about god  instead of knowing god they can say  things about god  even say things from scripture but is  there that deep  fellowship and relationship with him  jesus said many will say to me on that  day lord lord did we not prophesy in  your name  in your name did we not cast out demons  in your

name did we not  do wonderful miracles and then jesus  says i will say to them  i never knew you you workers  of iniquity i never knew you they knew  about jesus  but he didn't know them at all number  four  paul had a clear objective and focus on  life  paul had a clear objective and focus on  life verse 13  this one thing i do  david of course had it as well we  brought this up when we looked at his  life recently  he said one thing have i desired of the  lord that will i seek after  to dwell in the house of the lord all  the days of my life  mary of mary and martha fame also had  this  one thing in her life the lord came over  to their home for a meal  and martha was frantically trying to  prepare something in the kitchen  and she got upset because mary wasn't  helping her  and so she complained to jesus and i  love what the lord says martha  you're so upset about all these details  he says there's only one thing worth  being concerned about r

ight now  and mary has discovered it don't take it  from her  martha i appreciate it i love your meals  you're a fantastic  chef but you know what mary's kind of  tuned into what really matters right now  we're talking together so  if you were smart you'd tick off the  apron and sit down  and listen in i'm sure you'd learn  something so sometimes you know we're  all frantic and all these things  we're doing many things let's not forget  the one thing sometimes the many things  can take the place  of the one thing and as i've often said  the main thing is to keep the main thing  the main thing principle number five  we're almost done here don't look back  don't look back have you ever tried to  run and look over your shoulder behind  you  more than one race has been lost when  the person who was in the lead position  could not avoid the temptation to see if  that other person was there and boom  they hit the finish line  or the ribbon just a littl

e bit before  so we can't look back paul says in verse  13 forgetting the things that are behind  and reaching forward to the things that  are  before what does that mean  to forget does not mean to fail to  remember i mean there are things that i  remember that i can't necessarily  forget when paul uses this word  uh forget it means don't be influenced  or affected by it  any longer i read an interesting article  in the paper about a group in new york  city  that decided to shred their regrets  for new year's so they brought photos of  ex-boyfriends bad medical reports  stacks of unpaid bills they put them all  in a giant  shredder in times square where a garbage  truck would cart them off forever  and in the article one person was quoted  to say i feel liberated  after shoving a photo of her ex-fiance  with his new girlfriend into the  industrial size machine  the article says another lady visiting  from ecuador  sees the opportunity to banish

three  unpleasant thoughts  her high cholesterol her high blood  pressure and her bills  so that's fun but guess what  the pills still have to be paid and you  probably still  have high blood pressure and your  boyfriend  is still with that girl now you can  shred all you want it's a nice sentiment  but it isn't going to change anything  but when the bible says we can forget  these things that means we don't have to  be influenced  by them any longer and to be effectively  forgetting something i must first be  forgiven there can be no forgetting  without forgiveness  for the bible says in ecclesiastes 3 15  god requires  that which is past because god forgives  and forgets  we can do the same let me say that again  because god  forgives and forgets we can do the same  because the lord says  their sins and iniquities while i  remember  no more now this does not mean that god  is having a lapse  in memory what god is saying is  i'll no longer hold

your sin against you  in other words your sins no longer  affect your standing with me  or influence my attitude toward you let  me say it again  when the lord says your sins and  iniquities will i remember  no more he is saying that your sins  do not affect your standing with me or  influence  my attitude toward you to forget means  we break the power of the past  by living for the future  put things behind you jesus said  remember  lot's wife why should i remember lot's  wife  ah because she made a big mistake you  remember her story  god was delivering lot and his wife and  his family out of sodom and gomorrah  which he was judging and the angel of  the lord said come on this is the way  out and  don't look back all right  so they're walking away and now god's  judgment is reigning on the city and  quite honestly  that would be very tempting to look at  okay so we might say god's being a  little hard on  lot's wife i mean she looked back yeah

she looked back and the bible says  she became a pillar of salt so she's  like walking along she looks you know  frozen in time like one of those people  of pompeii  that were caught in the explosion of  lava from  i think mount vesuvius uh but anyway so  this is lot's wife looking back but it's  interesting because the phrase that is  used for her looking back means  to look with longing it was deliberate  it's not just oh wow no it's like  i'm looking and i'm gonna look if i'm  supposed to or not  it's intentional have you ever looked at  something with longing  coming back to krispy kreme  have you ever walked in there when the  signs lit up and see those little  glistening  donuts come that little conveyor belt  here they come first thing you know they  go in the little grease thing get kind  of cooked and then  now the glaze they come from this way  you just wait for them it's amazing  and you look with longing at least i do  or you go to t

he pet store and you see  that cute dog  oh i want him you look with longing or  you walk through the mall and you see  the cute outfit in the window  you look with longing or you look at  something else  the idea is that's what she was doing  don't look  back jesus said no man having put his  hand on the plow  and looking back is fit for the kingdom  of god  so look if you're going to run the race  of life you need to put the past behind  you stop living  in the past don't revisit the so-called  good old days  because that's what defeated israel in  the wilderness  remember they say oh we remember the old  days back in egypt when  you know we used to eat garlics and  leeks and onions and all we have is a  stinking manna we're so sick of it  garlic sleeks and onions man their  breath must have stunk  but they had sort of taken the life of  bondage in egypt under the whip of the  pharaoh  and and sort of imagined it as  the greatest life ever when

it was the  worst life ever and sometimes you know  when we've turned our back on our old  life or we're walking with christ  the devil will come to you and maybe  bring back one of those memories or he  had a little fun  hey remember that time that this  happened you're like  i remember yeah my old girlfriend oh i  remember my old girlfriend i'm gonna  look her up on facebook  who's that old lady nope  i'm as old as she is don't live in the  past  live in the moment and look to the  future  the devil won't remember of the misery  you used to have  he won't say hey remember that time you  know you drank a lot you  threw up all over the place remember  that no  hey remember that time you were so  despondent you actually thought of  killing yourself remember that no he  won't remind you of that  he'll remind you of a few fleeting  pleasures because the first step to  going back is looking back  you see so forgetting the things that  are behind  an

d reaching forward to the things that  are before let me add one other thing to  this forgetting  the past it's also for getting past  victories and by that  i think it's a good thing to reflect  back on what the lord has done  but listen to this sometimes successes  are harder for people to get over than  failures  what do i mean by that success says oh  man we had this great success  it was just fantastic go get good but uh  that was then and this is now  and i'll have people come up to me and  say oh man remember the old days the old  days  jesus movement days remember those days  those are awesome days  remember that it was so great yeah well  just remember hey you know what  that was like over 40 years ago  god's doing some amazing stuff right  here right now and i'm excited about  that  and i'm looking forward to what the lord  will do  so let's sum up and conclude number one  you must be dissatisfied with where you  are number two get rid

of extra weight  and things that would hinder you  thirdly run with the right motive fourth  have a clear objective and focus  five don't look back one last point and  i'm done you must press  on even when it gets hard in the race of  life  if you want to be a happy person press  on when it gets hard  hey you'll be happy after you win the  race oh you know when you're you're  running a race  and if it's a long distance run and  you're in the last lap it's like your  arms and legs are made out of  rubber you feel like your heart is going  to burst out of your  chest you can't even imagine finishing  this but somehow  you press on and then you win and then  you know what  it was all worth it wasn't it even  though you  wanted to walk off that track even  though you wanted to quit  that race press on  verse 13 i pressed toward the goal for  the prize of the upward call of god  in christ jesus the word that he uses  there for pressing  comes from the

greek word agonizo  can you guess what english word we get  from that  agonize yes sometimes it's hard  sometimes it's painful but what's that  expression no pain no gain  that's true in the spiritual life too to  some degree  yeah the theme of philippians is  happiness and joy  19 times and four chapters paul mentions  joy rejoicing or gladness and that  includes  running and finishing the race of life  paul said to his friends at the church  of ephesus  in acts 20 24 i want to finish  my race with joy finish  my race with joy listen it's not enough  to start the race of life  we must finish it otherwise we've been  running in vain in this last epistle the  apostle paul wrote in second timothy  4 7 i fought a good fight i finished the  race  i've kept the faith henceforth there  remains a crown of righteousness  for me and all who love his appearing  that's the objective you finish this  race  that you have begun  okay let's be honest how many

of you  have a problem  with worry raise your hand up would any  of you describe yourselves as a worry  wart you're very prone to worry  raise your hand up i'm not going to mock  you i get that  we all know what it's like to be gripped  by fear  you know the feeling when your blood  goes cold shiver down the spine  here standing up on the back of your  head for me that's singular i  only have one hair on my head uh your  stomach sinks your mouth goes dry  what amazes me is uh people will pay  good money  to be frightened you know we'll go to  that scary movie  because we we want to be scared out of  our wardrobe we'll go on that  radical roller coaster i pretty much  gave up roller coasters  a while ago i'd gone to magic mountain a  few times and those are not  roller coasters they're those are  torture devices okay  uh and i saw i'm not going there anymore  i'm just going to go back to disneyland  you know and  i'll ride the rides there and then

even  last time i was at disneyland i wrote  the matterhorn  which has been there forever ever since  i've been a kid and i'm thinking  does this thing have suspension or what  i felt every bump you know and  and so now i'm on the storybook land  ride where you  go through the mouth of monstron you  just cruise very slowly  but you know we'll pay money to be  frightened we we enjoy being frightened  but  then there's another emotion that is  paired with  fear and that of course is worry  and there's a lot of things that one can  worry about especially  today the state of our country the  safety  of our country the economy  terrorism nowadays we even worry a bit  like  about we worry a bit about war i  mentioned earlier that there was a  number one google search i don't know if  it's still the number one google search  but for a  few moments and number one google search  was is world war  iii close so there are things that are  scary a time magaz

ine did an interesting  article on the topic of fear  and they said the following you might  worry about flying but did you know that  600 americans each year die from falling  out of their beds then there's a fatal  plunge down the stairs  the bite of sausage lodged in your  throat the tumble on the slippery  sidewalk as you leave the house  and those are things you should be  afraid of so i figure well as long as  you don't eat  sleep or go downstairs and walk inside  bucks you're good right  and then there's a fear of sharks have  you heard there's a lot of sharks out  right now there's a video i saw earlier  today  uh it's from the helicopter from the  orange county sheriff's department they  made this announcement these are people  paddle boarding and they they made this  announcer very calmly they said  you are paddling you that are paddle  boarding  next to you are 15 great white  sharks and then they say we advise you  to get out of the w

ater calmly  what i'm out there probably it's a great  day  50 i mean one great white is bad  two is even worse three is just  earth shattering 15 great white sharks i  mean they should have just  i mean maybe put a little more energy  into they were so calm we advised you to  leave the water calmly  they should have just said shark or or  better yet  uh you that are paddle boarding near you  are 15 great  white sharks you are going to die  pray this prayer after me  our father who art in heaven  would be your name i mean that'd be  pretty accurate but uh here's a funny  thing  about shark attacks there's nothing  funny about shark attacks but  an interesting stunt i should say did  you know more people die from taking  selfies and people dying from being  attacked by sharks  that's absolutely true how do you die  from taking a selfie  you take selfies in dangerous places the  most recent i read about  a tourist fell down the stairs of the  taj m

ahal snapping  a selfie so you know there's a lot of  things to be afraid of  in life and then there are personal  fears and worries  fear for the safety of your family fear  that  you'll be able to pay your bills fear  uh that or that fear that you won't be  able to pay your bills i should say  fear for your children so what's  bothering you what is causing you  anxiety  i read that a study was done and people  asked  what do you worry about the most i was  surprised by the answer  it was a nuclear war it wasn't shark  attacks  the number one fear of most people was  my appearance  really my appearance oh you know i may  die in a nuclear blast but  how do i look in this outfit does this  make me look fat  right i mean crazy the things that we'll  think about  there's a lot of things that people do  worry about modern medical research has  proved that  worrying is actually harmful to you  physically  because it breaks down your resistance  to dis

ease  experts tell us that worry diseases the  nervous system  specifically the digestive organs and  the heart  it was revealed that 79 to 90 of all  visits to primary care physicians  are stress related complaints and i just  had one of these incidents i'm a pretty  healthy guy  but i was feeling kind of pressure  around  in my chest and i thought wow am i  having a heart  issue so then i googled you know signs  of a heart attack  pressure around your chest yeah i feel  that shortness of breath all of a sudden  i'm like  slight nausea oh i mean i'm literally  i'm feeling these things as i'm reading  this so i  call my doctor i got to come down there  i'm not the guy that goes to my doctor  over and everything but i had this  little bit of pressure  and uh so i went down they did an ekg in  me he says  you're fine and i walked out there  feeling good again  i'm telling you i psyched myself into it  now if you do feel any of those signs  you shou

ld go see a doctor my doctor  said it was good  that you came to see me but you are such  an idiot no he didn't say that  but uh but a lot of times we psych  ourselves into things  charles mayo the founder of the famed  mayo clinic  said he never knew anyone who died of  overwork  but he knew many who died of worry  isn't that interesting and here's what  worry is because a lot of times we'll  rationalize it well  it's just because i care now listen to  this  worry can actually be a sin  it really can because to worry  is really a failure to trust god  the word worry comes from an old german  word that means to choke  or strangle i was playing with my  grandson today and  he was coming up from behind he's  getting pretty strong and choking me he  thought that was  a lot of fun and i had this no don't  choke  papa you know and that's what worry does  it chokes you  out and it makes things worse  because when you worry about the future  you yoursel

f  in the present let me say that again  when you worry about the future  you yourself in the present  listen worrying does not  empty tomorrow of its sorrow it empties  today  of its strength and that is why jesus  said  don't worry about tomorrow tomorrow will  worry about itself  each day has enough trouble of its own  there's an old fable that's told of a  man who came face to face  with the dangers of worry one day he was  walking toward his town and  and the man saw excuse me one day death  was walking toward his town  it's a fable right okay so this didn't  really happen so you're not alarmed  death was walking toward his town the  man stopped death and said excuse me  what are you going to do dad said i'm  going to go into town  and i'm going to take a hundred people  and the man ran ahead of death and  warned everyone that death  was coming as evening fell he met death  again  and the man said you said you were going  to take a hundred p

eople why did a  thousand people die  death responded i only took a hundred  worry took the rest and that's how  worry works it just whips us into a  frenzy  you could write this epitaph on many  american tombstones  hurried worried buried  you know i kind of like the way  australians view life how many of you  have been to australia  it's a beautiful country and they have  this expression they use  and the expression is no worries mate  so you'll ask someone for directions hey  do you know the way to this place yeah  they'll seem right go on down there and  then chin right over here and  you might see a kangaroo and get into a  boxing match with them you know  throw another shrimp on the barbie and  then they'll say all that stuff and then  they'll say  hey no worries mate no worries mate i  like  that no worries made nothing to worry  about  and in a way that's theologically  correct  it's been said worry is the advanced  interest you pay  on t

roubles that seldom come worry is  the advanced  interest you pay on troubles that seldom  come so what is the cure to worry  i have no idea good night and god bless  all right  there is a cure and it's right here in  the bible philippians 4. let's read it  together  philippians 4 13 and verse 4 paul writes  rejoice in the lord always and again i  say  rejoice let your gentleness be known to  all men the lord is at hand be anxious  for nothing but in  everything by prayer and supplication  with thanksgiving  let your requests be made known to god  and the peace of god that surpasses  all understanding will guard your hearts  and  minds through christ jesus i love those  verses don't you  and by the way paul was not in some  ivory tower  spinning off in practical theories  remember that paul wrote this under  house  arrest he's under house arrest he's  constrained  he cannot come and go as he pleases  and yet the theme of this book the book  of ph

ilippians  is happiness and joy and rejoicing how  can you be happy  under circumstances like that because  circumstantially  paul had nothing to be rejoicing about i  mean he went to rome initially  to be a preacher and he ended up there  as a prisoner and he didn't know what  the future held  you know he might be acquitted and he  might be beheaded  and then if that wasn't bad enough some  of the believers were turning against  them  some were for paul some were against  paul  but instead of worrying paul was  rejoicing and living  in great peace and now he gives to us  the secret  of victory over worry he says don't be  anxious for anything in verse six  by the way the word anxious means to be  pulled in different directions  don't be anxious for anything our hopes  pull us in one direction our fears pull  us  in the other he says don't be anxious  for anything  so what am i supposed to do don't be  pulled in different directions  what do we d

o instead this is very  important verse four rejoice in the lord  always  and again i say rejoice let's say that  together  rejoice in the lord always and again i  say  rejoice so what are you going through  right now what are you facing right now  here's what the bible says you should do  rejoice in the lord always and again i  say rejoice i love how he says and again  i say did you hear what i said  rejoice in the lord always don't by the  way did you hear that again i say  rejoice  just do that you have a craig it's easy  for you to say  standing up there you know i'm going  through hardship he didn't say rejoice  in circumstances always  he said rejoice in the lord always  that's the key  and by the way in the original language  it's a command the lord's not saying hey  you know if you're in a good mood  things are going well if all the bills  are paid and the sky's blue  would you mind rejoicing in me always  although god says  i command you

to rejoice in me always  it's a scriptural command and to not  rejoice  is disobedience to god we justify  worry in a number of ways but in fact  god  commands us to rejoice and you know what  some christians  need to just lighten up a little bit  you know some believers they're just  always down  on something they have no sense of humor  we all know these people like  debbie downer here comes debbie downer  debbie downer hey how's it going oh it's  okay  i just have a burden from the lord  hey debbie downer when's the last time  you smiled i don't know but  i'm just so burdened and here comes  bobby buzzkill right after  debbie downer and bobby buzzkill you  know he loves to quote scriptures out of  context  right scripture's out of context i'd be  like  oh man bobby check out that incredible  swell isn't god  good love not the world neither the  things that are in the world  bobby that i don't know if that really  relates to a nice set of wave

s i  yeah will love not the world hey bobby i  was just sharing the gospel with a  friend the other day  and being out and equally yoked together  with non-believers well  bobby buzzkill i'm not yoked i'm just  talking to him about jesus  for what fellowship does light have with  darkness bobby listen  how am i going to reach people if i  don't talk to them about jesus  come up from among them and be separate  now i'm going to  separate your head from your body bobby  busking  you need to chill you need to lighten up  you know some people just have this  personality then they blame it on their  christian faith this has nothing to do  with christianity  this is because you are a drag stop  being that person rejoice in the lord  always and again i say rejoice  paul had the worst circumstances  imaginable  and he's saying that certainly you can  rejoice  and i can rejoice solomon writes in  proverbs 15  15 a cheerful heart has a continual  feast  no

t a great picture a cheerful heart a  happy person  is always having a great meal an  affected saying  you know it's all about your attitude  and the way that you  look at things any idiot can be happy  when things are going reasonably well  and there are even people that have  things going very well and still they're  miserable  but the christian can rejoice when  things are going well  the christian can rejoice when things  are not going well the christian can  even rejoice  when they're being persecuted listen to  this passage  habakkuk 3 17 even though the fig trees  have no blossoms  and there are no grapes on the vine even  though the olive crop fails and the  fields lie  empty and barren even though the flocks  die in the fields and the cattle barns  are empty  yet he writes i will rejoice in the lord  i'll be joyful and the god of my  salvation  hey we could update that verse along  these lines even though the economy is  bad  and they're

downsizing at work my  insurance rates are up  and the car is out of gas i'll be joyful  and the god of my salvation says it's  not about circumstances this is about  you and god  it's rejoicing in god not in the way you  feel  it's rejoicing in god not in how well  things are going  it's rejoicing in the lord always  i mean look at paul and silas who were  imprisoned for preaching the gospel  their backs were torn open with a roman  whip  their feet were fastened in heavy metal  stalks in acts 16 25 says at midnight  paul and silas prayed  and sang praises to god and the  prisoners  heard them and this happened at midnight  i love that  when you're in pain the midnight hour is  not the easiest time  for a worship service is it nor is the  doctor's office when you're waiting for  those  lab tests nor is a hospital room when  you're waiting  for your loved one who's having surgery  or a thousand other scenarios  i could cite so what are we to do

there  are three steps you need to take  if you want to find the cure for worry  how many of you want the cure for worry  raise your hand okay then write these  notes down  write these words down write praying  write praying the next time you're  tempted to worry pray  instead we need to get into the habit of  turning to god when we feel worry  approaching so it will become a  conditioned  reflex there's a difference between a  normal  and a conditioned reflex a normal reflex  no one has to teach it to you if even  the smallest child  touches something that's hot they pull  back  maybe they scream maybe they cry but  they naturally know to pull away  from something that causes pain you  didn't have to teach your child to do  that  they knew to do that already imagine the  story of the guy who went to a doctor  with two burned ears  two burned ears the doctor said sir i've  never seen anything like this both of  your ears are burned very badly  ho

w did this happen the man said well  doc i was  ironing and my phone rang and i answered  the iron instead of the phone  the doctor said that's horrible i get it  you burn one ear but what happened to  the other  well he called back so  how many of you have heard that joke  before okay how many of you are sick of  the joke you never want to hear it again  how many of you have never heard that  joke you've never heard it  how many of you are tired of raising  your hand okay so  that's an uh you know an automatic  reflex i touch a hot iron i pull back  then there's a condition reflex uh it's  something we learn for instance when we  sing the star spangled banner  we stand up right or maybe when we say  the pledge of allegiance we put our hand  over our heart or when we pray we bow  our head  in reverence we don't have to bow our  head we don't have to close our eyes but  it's an  act of reverence it's something we've  learned to do  and see if ther

e are things that you  learn to do and then later they come  naturally like  do you remember when you first learned  how to drive  i failed my driving test three times  did anybody else fail they're driving  today it was horrible  and i did and i always got the same  instructor and i got so  psyched out and i really had trouble  with that parallel parking  right i remember that but uh and i  remember when i first drove a car  especially  when it was a um you know a stick shift  and manual transmission so you know i  had to think about everything it's like  okay let's see clutch goes  in uh put it in gear  let out gas and then shift with the  clutch in and now  now oh wait break break is  different than clutch don't hit clutch  instead of brake  and you know you're figuring it all out  you're conscious turn right  turn on the little turning signal here  we go turn it on  turn turn turn off the turning state no  you know  okay here we go look in re

arview mirror  you think about all that stuff do you  think about all that when you drive your  car now you just get your car  drive check your cell phone send texts  which you should not do you know you're  running your radio now you're making a  call now  you're eating a burrito sometimes all at  the same time  you're shifting or you've got anime  transmission whatever  but now it all comes naturally but it  didn't come naturally at first  you taught yourself how to do it you say  well greg i have no idea what you're why  are you telling us this  this is how we need to deal with things  that frighten us  we need to teach ourselves to pray it's  not natural  when something scary happens when  there's a threat against your life or  or something is said to you that alarms  you the natural inclination  is to freak out right  but the spiritual reaction should be to  pray  so someone says just happen let's just  pray about it right now let's just  ev

erybody bow our head  let's pray right now start teaching  yourself to do that and here's another  thing  instead of panicking you can pray  instead of worrying you pray you  intentionally place the matter  in god's hands as someone wisely said  quote  when your knees start knocking kneel on  them  often when we face adversity the first  thing we turn to our  friends oh you know i need your help i  need your encouragement or i need a loan  or whatever it is you need  you go and there's nothing wrong with  having friends and asking  for their help but honestly the first  place you should turn is to god in  prayer  oh lord help me oh lord i don't know  what to do here lord i need your wisdom  in this situation and notice that paul  says  in everything by prayer in everything by  prayer verse 6  and supplication with thanksgiving let  your requests be made known to god  notice he does not say in only the big  gnarly things by prayer because you know

what  everything should be brought before the  lord and by the way  nothing is too big to pray about and  nothing is too  small to pray about because sometimes  small things  ultimately turn into big things  you know when our children are small we  we may not pray for them all that much  because we're  watching over them uh you know we of  course hope no harm comes to them and  we're  concerned for them but maybe we don't  pray for them as fervently as  we do when they enter the pre-teen years  because nowadays the pre-teen years are  like the teen years  and they're like little miniature  teenagers already and all these things  are happening with them and  and they have an interest in things  maybe they shouldn't have an interest in  or  they're saying and doing things that  alarm you well you should pray for them  for when they're little  you should pray for them when they're  pre-teen pray for them when they're  teenagers pray for them when

they're  young adults you never stop praying for  your kids  even when they're adults and you're  getting older now  pray for them that they'll take care of  you but  never stop praying that's why we read  that the mothers  kept bringing their children to jesus  they were rebuffed by some of the  disciples don't bother jesus  he's busy do you have an appointment the  mom's  like no we're bringing our kids to jesus  and jesus said you let those little  children  come on to me for such as the kingdom of  heaven are you having problems with your  kids right now  start praying about it stop worrying  about it  start praying about it and get other  people to pray  with you that's what we need to be doing  in  everything verse 5 says by prayer  let your requests be made known to god  and notice it says with thanksgiving  with thanksgiving it doesn't say excuse  me  offered thanksgiving after the prayer is  answered in the affirmative  but rather it say

s in everything by  prayer and supplication  with thanksgiving i think  an excellent example of this is daniel  the prophet  of course allah had been passed that  nobody could pray  to any god except the king and then you  heard about that and he went and prayed  anyway and the bible says that  in daniel 6 10 he he prayed and gave  thanks before his god  what gave thanks it would have made more  sense if we read and daniel screamed in  fear out to god nobody he gave thanks  lord you're in control see when i give  thanks i'm just reminding myself  that god is in control  and the lord's prayer which is really  the temple model and model for all  prayer  jesus said after this manner therefore  you should pray  our father who art in heaven hallowed be  your name  your kingdom come your will be done on  earth  as it is in heaven give us this day our  daily bread  and on it goes but notice the prayer  starts our father who art in heaven  set apart and

glorified be your name  your kingdom come your will be done  on earth as it is in heaven so before i  offer a single  prayer of petition i just acknowledge  the power  the sovereignty of god  and that's important because it puts  your problems into perspective  so in everything by prayer and  supplication with thanksgiving  let your requests be made known to god  what does this mean  supplication is when you pray  for others supplication is when you pray  for others so when you're gripped with  fear and worry i need to focus on god  and others prayer supplication  and thanksgiving here's a way to sort of  remember  how to pray it's summed up in an acronym  a c t s  acts so sort of an idea of how you  should pray a stands for  adoration c stands for confession  t stands for thanksgiving s stands for  supplication so think about this when  you're praying  always when possible start with  adoration  just offer praise to god rejoice in the  lord god'

s in control  then confession confessing any personal  sin  and then thirdly there's thanksgiving  thanking god for all that he's done in  your life  and then supplication where i'm praying  for others so  if you want to find god's cure for worry  it's right  praying and number two it's right  thinking  right thinking look at verse eight  finally brothers  whatever things are true whatever things  are noble whatever things are just  whatever things are pure whatever things  are  lovely whatever things are of good  rapport if there's any virtue if there's  anything praiseworthy  meditate on these things another  translation of that verse goes as  follows  summing it all up my friends i'd say you  will do your best  by filling your minds and meditating on  things that are true  and noble and reputable and authentic  and compelling and gracious the best  not the worst the beautiful not the ugly  things to praise not things to curse  listen to this m

aintaining personal  peace involves the heart  and the mind you have to learn  how to think biblically isaiah 26 3 says  you will keep him in perfect peace whose  mind  is stayed on thee because he trusteth  in thee that's king james your mind is  stayed on god  because your emotions can mislead you do  you know that  you can't trust your emotions people  will say well i you know i just i want  to go with my heart man my heart  and god knows what's in my heart my  heart  stop with the heart let me tell you  something about your  stinking heart the bible says  it's deceitfully wicked of all of all  things above all things  who can know it so don't say god knows  what's in your heart that's the problem  your heart is dark my heart is dark well  my heart says well  yeah but what does the bible say well my  heart tells me it's okay what does the  bible say does the bible say it's okay i  don't care what your heart tells you  learn how to think biblic

ally not  emotionally so it's right praying  and it's right thinking and paul gives  us a very clear focus  on what we pray about now look i've put  this biblical principle to the test  the worst day of our life was when our  son christopher died  in an automobile accident i i mean your  life has changed overnight it's very  hard  to comprehend the death of a child  uh you never plan for it you never play  it out in your mind at least i never did  and i was in the state of shock  initially and i mean that night how do  you go to bed like you know i'm going to  go to bed now  and just wake up tomorrow wait wait what  i'll just have a meal no i didn't want a  meal i didn't want to go to bed  i was just in complete anxiety  like cranked up to a hundred and i  didn't know  what to do i couldn't sleep i'd sleep  for three minutes and wake up i felt  like i was living  a nightmare so i came back to  philippians 4  8. whatsoever things are true and love

ly  and of good rapport  and i sort of set this little what i  call a grit of grace  up a grid of grace and the idea is i  would run  all of my thoughts to this grit of grace  or through  philippians 4 8 and when these thoughts  of anxiety or these thoughts of fear or  these  other thoughts would come into my mind  i'd ask myself the question  is this true but i'm thinking is it true  is it helpful is it pure and lovely  or is it ugly is it the worst and if it  was not pure if it was not true  i would reject it i would say i'm not  going to let that thought in  and i'm going to let another thought  come in in its place  say i don't get what you're saying okay  so a thought comes you'll never see your  son  again you'll never hear his voice again  okay that's a thought how do you refute  a thought like that  wow that's kind of true in one sense but  then i come back with this thought  my son is more alive than he's ever been  because jesus said  i

am the resurrection and the life and  he that believes in me though he were  dead  yet shall he live so this thought you're  out of here this other thought you come  on  in see i replace one thought with  another that's learning  to think biblically it really matters  what you think about  just as it matters what you eat right  certain foods have a certain effect on  you  you know they say there are brain foods  that encoura you know help you think  better and  other things obviously have the opposite  effect the same it's true of thoughts  i let certain thoughts in they can take  me down other thoughts can build me up  because what you think about ultimately  affects what you  do because proverbs 23 7 says  as a man thinks so is he  you remember the first temptation in the  garden was when satan came to eve  and genesis 3 1 says the serpent was  more cunning than any beast of the field  which the lord god had made and he said  to the woman has

god indeed said you  shall not eat of  every tree of the garden notice he  doesn't come  to her and say hi i'm the devil maybe  you've heard about me  i'm going to hell one day i hate you  i want to destroy your life so want to  hang out  who's going to do that nobody comes  suddenly  like a serpent when you least expect it  and the same happens with us he comes  with these thoughts in fact we're told  in second corinthians 11  i'm afraid as the serpent deceived eve  in his craftiness  your mind should be led astray from the  simplicity and purity  of devotion to christ see the devil will  come to you and say  look i know you would never do this but  why don't you just  fantasize about it i know you would  never do this but just  entertain this thought for a little  while because the devil knows the first  step to doing something wrong  is getting you to think about something  that is wrong  and that's why you got to keep the door  closed  to tho

ughts that are harmful and we're  told over in  second corinthians 10 bring every  thought into the captivity  of the obedience of jesus christ so the  next time you're troubled  the next time you're afraid i have a  suggestion for you  try talking to yourself  some of you are thinking now i know  you've lost your mind  you're telling me to talk to myself yes  i am in a way i am  but i'm also telling you to talk to the  devil  just like you talk i'm not talking to  the devil well you can say a couple  things to him  you can say get behind me satan right  you can say i reject that thought he's  the  only person you can legitimately say go  to hell to  and not be in trouble  but the idea is you you remind yourself  of what is true  in psalm 42 the psalmist was troubled  his emotions seemed to be getting the  best of him causing him to cry out  why are you downcast oh my soul why are  you disturbed within me  then he talked to himself and he said  p

ut your hope in god and i will yet  praise him  he's my savior and my god i love that  says man i'm getting down i don't know  what to do hey  listen self remember this so in effect  he  talked to himself he quotes a scripture  out loud he reminds himself  as of what is true because we all have  moments where  we doubt we all have lapses of faith we  all have  moments of despair where you don't  understand what's going  on in your life so you need to learn  how to pray and you need to learn how to  think  and there's one last principle you need  to live  right so it's right praying verses six  to seven  it's right thinking verse eight and the  third and final principle  it's right living verse nine these  things  that you've learned and received and  heard and seen in me  these do and the god of peace will be  with you  look hearing what i'm saying tonight  isn't going to do you any good  if you don't do it right you've got to  do it  the bible s

ays don't just be a hearer of  the word but also be a doer of the word  because if you're just a hearer of a  word you're like a person that looks at  the reflection in the mirror  and walks away and forget what they look  like  okay so the idea is take these truths  and start applying them  in your lives you can't separate  outward action in inward attitude  i mean if christ is really living in you  it should affect you in the way that you  live  it doesn't mean you'll be perfect it  doesn't mean you'll be flawless  but it does mean that people will see in  you results or fruit as the bible calls  it  that would indicate you were a true  follower of jesus christ so it's right  living so god wants us to live right  with him  and then he promises that we will have  peace the god of peace  will be with you he says you see living  right with god results in having the  peace  of god let me ask you  in closing do you have god's peace right  now he sai

d what do you mean god's peace  i mean an inward tranquility an inward  calm a sense that everything is right  between you  and god because the bible says  that the peace of god that passes all  understanding will keep your heart and  mind in christ so  it's like god puts his peace in your  life so  when you don't worry but instead you  pray god says i'll put peace there  and it's interesting because the word  that is used here to describe peace  as a military term where god says i'll  post a century on your heart or a guard  on your heart so when you don't worry  but instead you pray god says i'm gonna  put  sergeant peace in front of the door of  your heart  and he's going to watch over you and  keep those other things at bay  do you have that peace inside listen to  this before you can have the peace of  god  you first have to have peace with god  and the problem is before we're  christians  we're at war with god we're fighting  with god we're

running from god  and there's no peace there's no inward  tranquility that's why  people get high that's why people drink  and that's why people are constantly  distracting themselves  constant stimulation for the brain you  know  because they don't like to be alone with  their thoughts and be reminded of the  fact  that deep inside they're afraid and  they're full of anxiety  and there are a lot of things that  concern them in life especially the fear  of death  and listen if you're not a christian you  should be afraid of death  i'm telling you don't be afraid i'm  talking to christians if you're not a  christian  be very afraid because death  is not the end that's just the entrance  into the afterlife and after that comes  a judgment  you don't want to face the judgment of  god god will forgive you of  all of your sins why did jesus die on  that cross for you 2000 years ago  the bible says the punishment for our  peace  was upon him and by hi

s stripes we are  healed  so what that means is jesus died on the  cross in my place  so i can have this peace with god  i was reading the paper today and i  noted that there is a  24 million new york  lotto ticket waiting to be claimed  so somewhere i presume in new york is  some person walking around with a ticket  in their pocket  in their wallet in their purse who knows  they may have thrown it in the trash  if they can retrieve it and get it in on  time they will win  24 million dollars that's a lot of money  have you ever wondered what it would be  like to win the lottery  i read about one person a couple  actually won 217 million  158 million after taxes one day you  don't have that much money  the next day 158 million  and then the experts or the lottery  officials told these people  take the money and hush because the  moment  it's announced that you have that much  money people come out of the  woodwork i read about one woman named  eve

lyn bayshore  who won the lottery two times she won  3.9 million dollars the first time  and 1.4 million dollars the next time  her observations  she said everybody wanted my money  and then she said winning the lottery  isn't all that's cracked up to me  i won the american dream and i lost it  too  it was a hard fall and i hit rock bottom  end quote  curtis sharp won 5 million in the  lottery and according to the article  he blew most of his cash on booze babes  and bad investments  and he concluded a fool in his money are  soon parted  honey i acted like a fool then there's  the sad story of jack  whitaker you may have heard of him he  won 315 million dollars in the lottery  eight months after his big score he was  robbed of 545  000 in a strip club you know it's it's a  bad idea to go to a strip club okay can  we just establish that  but to go into a strip club with 500 000  in a briefcase  even a worse idea so he got robbed  a month later tra

gically his  granddaughter  died of an overdose of drugs bought with  an allowance that he gave her after he  won  the lottery and a short time later his  daughter  also died of a drug overdose he told  reporters  i wish i'd torn that lottery ticket  up and i bring this up because i think  sometimes we may think man if  i just had that much money i know i  would be content  if i just had this relationship i know i  would be  content and so here's my question are  you  a happy and content person tonight  because the theme of this epistle  of paul to the philippians to the church  of philippi  is how to be happy how to be fulfilled  and how to be  content and you think well if i just had  this i know i would find contentment i  heard the story of a  wealthy employer who once heard one of  his employees say  if i had a thousand dollars i know i'd  be content he said really he  walked over he said you know i've never  found contentment for my money a

nd i'm  gonna  reach in my pocket here and give you a  thousand dollars there you go  and and he walked away and overheard the  person saying i should have asked for  two thousand dollars  right i mean that's uh human nature for  you isn't it  uh experts have proven that getting more  stuff does not bring happiness or  contentment  one psychologist who had done a lot of  study on what brings contentment  concluded quote  if people shoot for a certain level of  affluence  thinking that will make them happy they  find that on reaching it they become  very quickly  habituated and at that point they start  hankering for the next  level of income property or  good health so it just goes on and on  the bible says  hell and destruction is never full and  so is the heart of men  never satisfied but here in philippians  is a man who found satisfaction and he's  sharing the secret  with us now remember that uh the theme  of this book because i've already

pointed out has been joy  and happiness and paul had nothing to be  happy about  he was actually under house arrest at  the time he didn't know how things were  going to turn up for him  he might be acquitted or he might be  beheaded yet in the midst of all of this  he writes in the book of philippians  rejoice in the lord always and again i  say rejoice  so what is the secret to paul's  happiness  and contentment well the answer to that  is  found in a word that is often repeated  in the book of philippians  it's the word mind he uses the word mind  10 times  and also the word think five times add  to that the times he uses the word  remember  and you have 16 references to the mind  so simply paul is telling us we need to  learn  how to think right we need to learn how  to think  biblically we need the right mind  attitude and outlook as we have  god's joy in a troubled world so  let's read together philippians 4  starting at verse 10.  but i re

joice in the lord greatly that  now at last your care for me has  flourished again  though you surely did care but you  lacked opportunity  not that i speak in regard to need but i  have learned in whatever state i am in  to be  content underline that verse i've  learned in whatever state i'm in to be  content  for i know how to be a base verse 12 i  know how to abound  everywhere and all things and i've  learned both in  being full and being hungry when i'm  abounding and when i'm suffering need  verse 13 i can do all things through  christ who strengthens me great verse  we think we're gonna find that  contentment from a bigger home  a nicer or faster car a higher sp a  higher salary  or maybe a new spouse or a new face  or a new body because the grass is  always  greener on the other side right but real  contentment according to the bible  is not a state of account it's a state  of heart  let me repeat that real contentment  according to the b

ible  is not a state of account it's a state  of heart there's a japanese proverb that  says quote  even if you sleep in a thousand mat room  you can only sleep  on one mat and that's true and as i  pointed out paul  was uncertain about his future  and if this wasn't enough uh  the believers were sort of divided on  paul many would think everyone would  think paul was the greatest thing since  sliced bread  i mean he's like the living breathing  apostle reading  giving scripture to us but some had  turned against paul  some were critical of paul there was  some division about  paul and then others of course loved him  deeply  and so he's facing all of this yet he  has found  this great contentment listen  contentment can come not just because  we have conquered our circumstances but  because we have learned to live  with him i want to say that again  contentment can come  not because we have necessarily  conquered our circumstances  but because w

e have learned to live with  them  i read about a man who had this very  beautifully groomed front lawn  it was just absolutely perfect and then  a heavy  crop of dandelion showed up and uh he  tried everything he could to get rid of  them and nothing worked and so  he wrote a letter to the school of  agriculture  uh telling them all the things he had  tried looking for some advice of how to  get rid of the dandelions  and they emailed him back and said he  where he said what should i do now  and they emailed back this response we j  we suggest you learn to love them  and sometimes we we have dandelions in  our life we have problems in our life  when we say  how do i get rid of this problem maybe  you need to adapt  it was on this very platform that i  interviewed johnny erickson tada  you may recall in fact it's on the radio  today yesterday and  today my conversation with her and as i  re-listened to it i was just stunned by  what she said  sit

ting in that wheelchair is a  quadriplegic  for so many years now she said i thank  god for this wheelchair  i'm thinking wow and the reason she can  say that is because  she has come into a such a deep  relationship with jesus  that she's saying i wouldn't have it any  other way boy you talk about  adapting so i don't know what you're  facing right now i don't know what new  problem has come into your life  but i want you to realize that you can  adapt  to it and you can find a state of  contentment  listen paul says i've learned in  whatever state i'm in  therein to be content notice he says  i've learned  know this contentment does not come  naturally  selfishness comes naturally just watch  children  you can have a child playing with a  couple of toys just as happy as can be  content another child walks in the room  with a different toy  and suddenly that child with the other  toys is no longer  happy right boy i'm sure glad we outgrow  that

aren't you  oh wait a second we don't  what's that saying the only difference  between the men and the boys is the  price of their toys  haven't you ever had somebody say i love  this this is so great  i'm so happy with it and then you see  someone with maybe a newer version a  faster version  and suddenly you're no longer happy with  yours  maybe you go to a store and there's  something there you don't really want it  but there's only one left  and you think i might buy it i don't  think i'll buy it i don't really care  and as you walk away  someone else reaches and grabs it and  suddenly you want it  why because it became more valuable no  because somebody else wanted it this is  human nature let me restate it it's  sinful  human nature but we have to learn  how to be content you have to teach a  child  how to share and in the same way we need  to be taught  we need to learn how to be content it's  interesting the word paul uses here  for i've

learned to be content is a word  in the original language that could be  translated i've attained or been  initiated  it's sort of a phrase that would be used  at the time of by the pagans even  to talk about attaining sort of a hidden  truth so  paul's almost having a little fun with  this and he's saying hey i found the  hidden truth  i've been initiated i know the secret  what is it  i've learned in whatever state i'm in  therein to be  content but but how did you learn this  paul verse 12.  i know how to be a baste and i know how  to abound  in other words how to be low and how to  be high everywhere and in all things  i've learned to be full and to be hungry  to abound and to suffer neem another  translation puts that verse  this way actually i don't have a sense  of needing anything personally  i've learned by now to be quite content  whatever my circumstances  i'm just as happy with little as with  much  or with much as with little i found

the  recipe  recipe for being happy whether full or  hungry  hands full or hands empty yeah i've  learned what paul says  and he wasn't angry when he couldn't  make ends meet at the same time  he he was not uneasy when god was  blessing him with  more than he needed he had found the  balance  it reminds us of what he said in  proverbs  in proverbs 30 verse 8 it the writer  says give me neither poverty nor riches  give me just enough to satisfy my needs  lord  if i go rich i may deny you and say  who's the lord  and if i'm too poor i may steal and  insult god's  holy name listen god knows just the  right amount to give us  in every area of our life okay  so what is the secret of his contentment  it came down  to who he knew not to what he had  the secret of contentment is found not  in what you have  it's found in who you know  hebrews 13 5 says let your way of living  be without  coveting and be content with such things  as you had for he has sa

id i will never  leave you or forsake you when you have  christ  in your life and you're having a close  friendship and relationship with him  praying and digging into his word and  becoming more like him  each and every day you'll find that  contentment because  he is with you this is what david meant  when he wrote  the lord is my shepherd i shall not want  only the person who can say the lord is  my shepherd  can then say i shall not want and if  you're saying to me right now  you're always wanting it always has to  be the next thing the bigger thing the  latest thing or whatever  is the lord really your shepherd have  you really come to know him the way  you need to contentment is not a state  of account as i said  but a state of heart real contentment is  found in making the most of the least  real contentment is found in making the  most of the least  now look what paul says in verse 13 i  can do  all things through christ who  strengthens

me i can do all things to christ  who strengthens me now understand paul  had the very unusual experience of  dying and going to heaven and coming  back to earth again which you know  actually wouldn't be that great of a  thing  i mean can you imagine dying and going  to heaven and having to come back to  earth  you know we often wish our loved ones  who have preceded us to heaven would  come back to us  but they can't and they and i don't  think they would if they could  and i don't think if you were in heaven  if given a choice you would want to go  back  either but here's paul he he dies  we don't know when exactly it happened  we assume it may have been a stoning in  antioch where he was thought of as dead  so maybe at that moment he  entered into god's presence and there he  is and he's welcomed by the lord himself  welcome to heaven paul  well done good and faithful servant lord  it's great to be here  paul i've got some good news and some

bad news what's the good news lord well  you're coming back again  back again yeah that brings me to the  bad news i'm going to send you back to  planet earth  but lord why well there's some believers  down there praying that you will be  raised from the dead  lord don't listen to their prayers  paul might have said they're sinners i  don't want to go back  oh lord paul i have a work for you to do  still  so meanwhile back there in antioch maybe  they're praying for paul oh lord  help paul lord we love paul and all of a  sudden you know the  the color comes back into his face and  his eyes flutter and  his hand turns into a fist and boom he  hit someone i mean that's what i would  have done  like what are you doing praying for me  to come back but he had been to heaven  interesting he didn't write a book about  it so many people have gone to heaven  i'll put that in quotes  and written books about it do you  believe these stories greg  you want

my honest opinion generally no  well don't be a doubter well how about  if i be a skeptic  the only reliable source on the topic of  heaven is the book i'm holding in my  hand  the bible this is trustworthy  someone writes a book and says i went to  heaven i saw unicorns and rainbows and  ice cream you know  wonderful maybe that happened maybe that  didn't happen i have no way  of quantifying your statements  but i know this book is true so i'm not  really going to attach  a lot of importance to what you are  saying but i am going to attach  a lot of importance to what the bible is  saying and here's what paul said he  he went into god's presence he says now  look if i was in the body or  out of the body actually i'm not really  sure  but i'll tell you this i heard things  that that i can't even explain and what  i saw was  paradise he uses an interesting word in  the greek it was a paradise  which was a word that was used to  describe the royal

garden of a king so think of a  magnificent estate  with beautifully manicured gardens that  went on forever  paul uses that picture to describe what  he saw but then he goes on to say  in the book of corinthians that the lord  sent him a thorn in the flesh to keep  him humble  after having a revelation of this kind  and  three times he asked the lord to take it  away and the lord said  my grace is sufficient for you and paul  says so i'll boast of my infirmities  that the power of christ may rest upon  me so are these the words of a madman no  they're the words of a man who had found  contentment and fellowship  with god regardless of problems or  circumstances listen  contentment is not the fulfillment of  what you want contentment is a  realization  of how much you already have let me say  it again listen to this  contentment is not the fulfillment of  what you want  it is the realization of how much you  already  have contentment is underst

anding that  if i'm not satisfied  with what i have i'll never be satisfied  with what i want here's what the bible  says  first timothy 6 6 godliness  with contentment is great gain  we brought nothing into the world will  carry  nothing out so having food and clothing  be content do you have a meal in your  stomach you have clothes on your back  some form of transportation that got you  here to this service  be content stop looking over your  shoulder and say if only i had this  or i had that because i could just as  easily say  why don't you come with me over to the  hospital and we'll visit this person  that is facing cancer right now or why  don't we go over here  and have another conversation with  johnny erickson tata  who has spent most of her life in a  wheelchair and after that  we can go over here and talk to someone  who just lost a child  and you're talking about how hard you  have it look we all have our trials and  tribulations  bu

t no matter what we can find our  contentment and our relationship with  god  be content  again it does not come from what you  have it comes from who you know  there's an arabian proverb very profound  i'll put it on the screen here so you  can take it in  arabian proverb better  to have a handful of dry dates and be  content there with  than to own the gate of peacocks and be  kicked in the eye by a broody  camel is that not awesome  better a handful of dry dates and  content there with  than to own the gate of peacocks and be  kicked in the eye by a broody camel  i have no idea what that means but i  just like  the idea of being kicked by a broody  camel  i think the gist of it's pretty clear  that's a real proper by the way  i think that just if it's clear just be  content with what you have i'm not sure  about what the gate of peacocks is or  who this broody camel is i've met a few  moody camels i've met even more spitting  camels  if you've

ever been to israel they'll  spit right in your face um  but be content with what you have now  verse 13 a  a keeper verse every believer should  commit this one to memory  let's say it out loud together verse 13  i can do  all things through christ who  strengthens me  let's say it again i can do all things  through christ  who strengthens me love that verse  don't forget that verse you might need  it before the night is over  the jb phillips which is a paraphrase  puts it this way  i'm ready for anything for the strength  of the one who lives  within me ready for anything i can do  all things through  christ take out the word christ  and put in another word and everything  fails i can do all things  through drugs and alcohol that  strengthened me  some actually believe that something if  i just had a good stiff drink  if i smoked another joint if i had  another hit  everything will be fine but of course it  isn't fine i just read about a  lead

singer of a rock band that just  committed suicide  and he uh talked about the fact that  he had been using drugs ever since he  was a young man here's a guy with his  fame and his fortune and  and just did a concert last night and  then he took his own life and when are  we going to get the memo  that these people in hollywood have  nothing to tell us  nothing uh we admire them we follow them  on instagram we think  they're our friends and we talk about  them  and and you look at the empty lives so  many of them live  and how some of them become strung out  on drugs and alcohol  some of them take their lives they can't  keep a marriage longer than like a day  and why do we look to them as our  examples these people really have so  little  to offer us i can do all things through  drugs and alcohol no i can't do anything  to drugs and alcohol  in fact they'll make my problems even  worse how about this  i can do all things through education  that

strengthens me  well i have a good education i have my  degree  that i can face anything no not really i  won't do it either as wonderful as a  good education  is how about this i can do all things  through money that strengthens me  well you can do some things with money  but you can't do all things  can you i can do all things through  success that strengthens me  no that doesn't work either i can do all  things through friends who strengthen me  well sometimes friends abandon you don't  they how about this one i can do all  things through politics that strengthen  me  not at all  you can do some things through politics  there is a place for  politics i think it's a great thing when  people want to run for office and help  our country though i have to wonder why  anyone would want to be  in elected office these days and the  political climate  that we're in and and the rancor and the  hostility and the venom that's out there  but  there's some

things you can do but not  all things  but christ fits perfectly i can do all  things through christ who strengthens me  that fits doesn't it haven't you found  that to be true  because no thing or no one  can empower and enable us to do what god  wants us  to do except him it's him  working through us and this by the way  brings the perfect balance  it shows the place of god's power and  man's  response it does not teach the christian  does  everything for themselves nor does it  teach that god does everything for the  christian  it teaches that the power and resources  that we need  are there but i must appropriate them  i can do all things through christ who  strengthens me  it doesn't even say christ does  everything and i do nothing  it says i do all things through christ  but the flip side of that is according  to jesus in john 15  apart from me you can do nothing so on  one side of the coin apart from him i  can do nothing  on the other s

ide of the coin i can do  all things through christ who  strengthens me  i love it it's just the perfect balance  as we learned earlier in philippians  work out your own salvation with fear  and trembling for it is god that works  in you  both who will and do of his good  pleasure so there's god's part and  there's my part  work out my own salvation conveys the  idea of going into a mine  discovering the gold or the silver and  bringing it out  so work it out not work for your own  salvation that's impossible  it's a gift but work it out work it out  in your life but then it goes on to say  for it is god that works in you  both the will and dew of his good  pleasure so god will give you the power  but you must appropriate that power in  your life if you  get the fastest car on the road you know  most horsepower of anyone on planet  earth  if you don't fire that car up and put  your pedal to the metal  nothing's going to happen and a lot of  us ar

e  in this fast car so to speak this  wonderful christian life  with all the resources we need and we  never start the car  and accelerate and god has given you  what you need but you need  to apply it listen to this this might  surprise you  there are some things only god can do  and some things only you can do  some would disagree no god does  everything no no  actually it's not true maybe i should  restate it another way there's some  things only  you can do and some things only god will  do  it's not that he can't but he's given  you a free will let me illustrate  only god can guide god will point me in  the direction say  go there but is god going to airlift me  over there even if i don't want to go i  don't want to go in there lift it over  there you go no  he points i follow only god can guide  only i can follow only god can convict  me of my sin  only i can repent of my sin god will not  repent for me and the problem is we  often try to d

o god's part  instead of letting him do it and by that  i mean  if we know someone is not a believer you  know we get a little impatient with them  and so we start manipulating a little  bit or  or pressuring them too much and actually  make the situation worse  we need to leave it in the hands of the  lord  now we get down to some nitty gritty  stuff as we wrap up the book of  philippians because we can talk all day  about walking with god  being strengthened by him but if it does  not affect the way that we live  and specifically according to paul the  way that we give  it means nothing philippians 4 verse 14  nevertheless you've done well that you  shared in my distress now you  philippians know that in the beginning  of the gospel  when i departed from macedonia no church  shared with me concerning giving and  receiving but you  only even in thessalonica you sent aid  once  and again for my necessities not that i  seek a gift  but i seek the

fruit that abounds to  your account and indeed i have all and i  am abound and i am full having received  from  epaphroditus a friend of paul the things  that you sent to me which were a sweet  smelling aroma an acceptable sacrifice  well pleasing to god and god shall  supply  all of your need according to his riches  in glory  by christ jesus you know we quote that  verse a lot  that god will supply all of our needs  according to his riches and glory but we  need to see it  in its context now i mentioned earlier  getting more stuff  does not bring happiness and contentment  let me make another statement now giving  more  stuff does getting more stuff will not  make you happy listen  giving more stuff will oh yes  some would say oh no no it's all about  getting getting kidding no actually it's  about  giving giving giving jesus said  it's more blessed to give than to  receive or a better way to translate it  it's happier  to give than it is to re

ceive it's a  happy  thing to give and so paul is bringing  this up now as he's talking about these  believers he's  commending the believers in philippi who  were not that well-off financially  for helping him out at a pinch he needed  some help financially he needed food  clothing other things  and uh and he's saying man you guys  came through for me even though you  really couldn't afford to come through  for me and i want to just thank you and  tell you this  fruit is going to abound to your account  verse 17.  it's not that i want the gift but i seek  the fruit that abounds to your account  see what we need to understand is when  we give of our finances to the work of  the kingdom  we invest spiritually and that will be  spiritual fruit  to our account some are very able to do  a lot and they don't do  much heard about a wealthy man who was  approached  about making a contribution to some  cause the urgent need was stated to him  and  and he

said no i know why you think that  i can write you a check for a hundred  thousand dollars  because i'm a man with my own business  and and i have all the signs of  affluence  but maybe there's some things about my  life that you did not know  he said for instance did you know that  my mother  is in an expensive nursing home right  now  they said no we didn't know that sorry  yeah well maybe you didn't know that my  brother recently died and left a family  of five without  insurance wow we didn't know that either  yeah you probably didn't know  that my son who has a lot of faith has  gone on the mission field  and makes hardly any money and he needs  the needs of his family met no we didn't  know  that either and then he says well if i  didn't give any of them a penny why  should i give you anything  oh there's people like this lots of  people  and they miss out on the blessing that's  all i'll say  but i have found that often those that  have t

he least will give the most  and sometimes those that have the most  will give the least  so what paul is saying is hey remember  the work  of the lord you know you set money aside  if you're smart  for taxes you set money aside for  savings  uh and i hope you set money aside for  the lord's work  you know when you go and you get your  latte in the morning as i do  you know you give a tip to the server  the barista  right here's the tip thank you very much  or in the restaurant you give a tip but  then  when we're in church and the offering is  being received you're like mystified by  these weird bags  what what what are these and why are  they here and  what does this mean you're supposed to  put money in them that's what it means  so you can have fruit abound to your  account  so you can be invested in the work that  god is  doing and every believer should  give that's what paul's pointing out and  he's commending them for giving now  with that

backdrop we understand verse  19 which is a very important verse  my god shall supply all of your need  according to his riches  in glory by christ now  understand this verse does not float out  in space  all by itself for every promise  of god there is a premise let me say  that again  for every promise of god there is a  premise  this promise is embedded in the context  of chapter  four what is the context the context is  be content with what you have be  generous  give to the work of the lord and my god  shall supply  all of your needs according to his  riches in glory in christ  now we generally apply this verse to  financial  challenges you know maybe when an  unexpected bill  comes due or there's some financial  crisis we'll  say well the lord will provide because  he promises my god will supply all of my  needs according to his riches and glory  in christ and that's true but it's not  limited to finances  you could apply it in other areas

as  well for instance if your marriage is in  trouble  you could also say my god will supply  all of my needs  according to his riches in glory in  christ hey if you're a single person  looking for the right person you could  apply this verse my god will supply  all of my needs according to his riches  in glory  in christ jesus if there's a need for  maybe a physical healing you could apply  it there as well  my god shall supply all of my needs  according to his riches in glory  in christ jesus and certainly you can  apply it  to your financial need as well my god  will supply  all of my needs according to his riches  in glory  in christ jesus so this has been all  about  happiness and contentment and here's  what we've learned  happiness does not come from seeking  self-fulfillment it comes from seeking  the fulfillment  of others it doesn't come from seeking  self-fulfillment  because then you're like the proverbial  dog  chasing its tail beca

use when you get  what you think will make you happy  you'll just  want something more or you can find it  in your relationship with god and  serving others  happiness does not come from seeking  happiness  it comes from seeking god  when you seek him first in his  righteousness which means his rule and  reign in your life  all these things will be added to you  and what are those things what you'll  eat what you'll drink what you wear  jesus says i'll take care of that for  you you just put god first and you honor  the lord first  and he'll take care of that happiness  does not come from  getting it comes from giving contentment  does not come from getting  it comes from giving listen to this no  one has ever been honored for what he  received  but rather for what he gave think about  it has anyone ever been honored for a  great gift they received no  but they are honored when they gave  something  and that's the point that is before us  listen

you can't take it with you but  you can  send it on ahead and the way you do that  is when you live your life for the glory  of god  and dedicate every aspect of it to him

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