When God Is All You’ve Got

Making Life Work
Read: Psalm 16
Focus: Psalm 16:2

“I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’ ”

When God is all you’ve got, you’ve got it all!

David’s confession that apart from God he had no good thing was not the admission of a desperate person in dire need pathetically clinging to his God. No, this was a bold and delightful a recognition that in his utter dependence on the Lord, he had, as the Apostle Peter recognized a thousand or so years later, “everything that pertains to life and godliness.” Just what did “everything” mean in David’s mind? The rest of Psalm 16 describes it for us:

Blessing (“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup.” v. 5)

Favor (“surely I have a delightful inheritance.” v. 6)

Wisdom (“the LORD, who counsels me; at night my heart instructs me.” v. 7)

Security (“because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” v. 8)

Emotional well being (“therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices.” v. 9)

Invincibility (“because you will not abandon me to the grave.” v. 10)

Satisfaction (“you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” v. 11)

If you are in a place that provides all that—God’s blessing, divine favor, spiritual wisdom, personal security, emotional health, supernatural intervention, and soul-soothing satisfaction, what more could you possibly ask for? Anything else you have in life—material abundance, physical health, relational well-being, even fame and fortune—is just icing on the cake.

If you focus on all the things you don’t have in this world, you will live a discontented life. Of course, that is not to say asking God for the things you need, even the things you desire is not appropriate.  It is—that is, if you ask in accordance to his will. But if you find yourself wrestling with chronic discontent, covetousness and lust for temporary stuff, try focusing instead on all the blessings of just belonging to your Heavenly Father.

I am quite certain that if you will do that, you will come to the place where you realize that when God is all you’ve got, you’ve got it all!

__________________

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” (John Piper)

 

Making Life Work: Gratitude is the path for reorienting your discontent to a deeply satisfying life in God.  And best of all, thanksgiving is something anyone can do. So here is the challenge. For the next seven days, morning, noon and night, practice thanksgiving therapy by noticing all the things you have—even the little things—and then praying gratefully. A thankful heart will change your life—and it will reorient it toward the glory of God.

 

 

 

 

Room For Only One God

Read Psalm 131

Featured Verse: Psalm 131:1

“My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.”

There is only One who is God—and that’s not you! Basically, that is what the King David is saying of himself in this brief song of assent. The Message translates verse one this way:

God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans.

Yet this business of godship is more prevalent than we care to admit. You see, when we fret and worry over matters we can’t control, when we meddle and manipulate to get our plans fulfilled, when we come to God after the fact for help, when we pray as a last rather than a first resort, when we cut corners in our financial stewardship because we can’t afford to give to the Lord’s work, and when we put our hope in government (or anything else) at the expense of our trust in God, in effect, we have removed God from his rightful throne.

There is room for only one God in your life, so let God be God. He has a great track record in that role, you know, and you don’t.

And by the way, when you allow God to be God, good things happen for you:

  • You become the recipient of greater grace. Recognizing God’s rightful role takes true humility (the opposite of pride and haughtiness—Psalm 131:1), which is always the catalyst for more grace. (Proverbs 3:34)
  • You become the recipient of greater security. You put things that are above your pay grade back into the hands of the only One wise enough to handle them—what David calls “great matters or things too wonderful for me.” (See how Paul describes them in Romans 11:33-36)
  • You become the recipient of greater contentment. David says, “like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.” (Psalm 131:2, MSG) Paul says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (I Timothy 6:6)
  • You become the recipient of greater hope. It is by Biblical hope, as Paul teaches, “we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?” (Romans 8:24) “Hope” as Paul says in Romans 5:5, “does not disappoint us…”

Hmmm…grace, security, contentment, hope. I think I’ll let God be God!

“I have one passion. It is He, only He.”
~Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf

Be Careful What You Ask For

Read Psalm 106

Featured Verse: Psalm 106:15

“So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.”

The psalmist begins, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1). So here’s an important question: Do you give only theological assent to that belief, or do you truly believe it in the real world of your everyday life? The acid test that theological belief is congruent with practical belief is the daily manifestation of trust, contentment and gratitude.

Quite often, when the Israelites’ collective belief was put to the test, it failed. In this psalm, the writer details Israel’s sad history of unbelief as God led them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Along the way, God performed some of the mightiest miracles of all time—the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, the Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night, manna to eat every single morning for forty years—just to name a few. At every step, God’s miraculous and more-than-enough provision sustained his people.

Yet Israel was still dissatisfied. The people griped, they complained, they lusted for other things—they tested God, and their leader Moses, at every turn in the bend. So God decided to put them to the test as well, to see what was truly in their hearts. And here’s how he tested them: He gave them what they incessantly insisted on!

And when the children of Israel got what they wanted, they lustily, greedily, indulgently consumed it until it made them deathly sick—literally! God gave them what their hearts craved until their hearts caved under the weight of their own foolish desires. The Message translation of this text puts a more spiritual twist to it:

“He gave them exactly what they asked for—but along with it they got an empty heart.”

That should stand forever as a sobering reminder that what we desperately want may not be what we desperately need. They are often two different things, and we would be wise to recognize the difference. When we persistently refuse God’s provision, fail to exercise trust in his abundant care, forget to practice contentment in his goodness, neglect gratitude for his love, and greedily insist on what we want, there comes a point when God will say, “fine, have it your way.”

What a sad and scary thing—that we might actually get what we want!

In all honesty, I hope I never get what I want. I don’t trust my own heart, and the desires it conjures up. What I pray for, however, is to get what God wants me to have—all of it—and along with it, contentment in the good and wise provision of the One who lovingly and continually watches over me.

Trust, contentment and gratitude—that’s the acid test of a faith that is not only theological, but practical!

“All our discontents about what we want appear to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.”
~Daniel Defoe

When God Is All We’ve Got

Read Psalm 16

Featured Verse: Psalm 16:2

“I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.’”

David’s confession that apart from God he had no good thing was not the admission of a desperate person in dire need pathetically clinging to his God. No, this was a bold and delightful recognition that being dependent on the Lord was the supreme place of blessing (“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup,” v. 5), favor (“surely I have a delightful inheritance,” v. 6), wisdom (“the LORD, who counsels me; at night my heart instructs me,” v. 7), security (“because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken,” v. 8), emotional well being (“therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices,” v. 9), invincibility (“because you will not abandon me to the grave,” v. 10), and satisfaction (“you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” v. 11).

If you are in a place that provides all that—God’s blessing, divine favor, spiritual wisdom, personal security, emotional health, supernatural intervention, and soul-soothing satisfaction, what more could you possibly ask for? Anything else you have in life—financial abundance, physical health, relational well-being—is just icing on the cake.

Sometimes we get a little discontent when we focus on all the things we don’t have. And of course, it is appropriate to ask God for the things we need, even the things we desire—that is, if we ask in accordance to his will. But if you find yourself wrestling with chronic discontent, try focusing on all the blessings of just belonging to your Heavenly Father.

I am quite certain that if you will do that, you will come to the place where you realize that when God is all you’ve got, you’ve got it all!

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”  ~John Piper

Truly Blessed

Read: Proverbs 10:22

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. (NKJV)

We really ought to spend some time redefining success and reevaluating the heavy price that we always pay to achieve the world’s version of it.  The ladder to success, achievement and prosperity is littered with the empty lives of those who fiercely climbed to the top only to find stress, dissatisfaction and loneliness when they get there.

I think it would be a very healthy thing for you and I to stop for a moment and ask, “why do I need any more than what I already have?  If I didn’t get another raise, promotion, recognition or material thing from this point on, could I be happy?”

According to this proverb, it is what the Lord blesses me with that makes for a rich, full and rewarding life.  It is with what I have at this very moment that I am called to be grateful and content.  It is my duty to look at my circumstances and, while giving all an out effort to maximize what God has given, find and celebrate the immeasurable and priceless qualities of a divinely ordered life.

You see, we already have everything we need for joy, peace and contentment—if we choose to see it!  For instance, Proverbs 17:1 says, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” That reminds me of the parable about a man who lived with his wife, two small children, and elderly parents in a tiny hut.  He tried to be patient and gracious, but the noise and crowded conditions wore him down.

In desperation, he consulted the village wise man, who asked, “Do you have a rooster?” The man replied. “Yes,” The wise man said, “Keep the rooster in the hut with your family, and come see me again next week.” The next week the man returned and told the wise elder that the living conditions were worse than ever.  The rooster was crowing and making a mess of the hut. “Do you have a cow?” asked the wise man.  The man nodded fearfully. “Take your cow into the hut as well, and come see me in a week.” Over the next several weeks, the man, on the advice of the village elder, made room for a goat, two dogs, and his brother’s children.

Finally, he could take it no more, and in a fit of anger, he kicked out all the animals and guests, leaving only his wife, children, and his parents.  The home became suddenly spacious and quiet, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Joy, peace and contentment are already there—it’s just a matter of perspective.  You and I already have a rich and rewarding life—God has made sure of that. We just have to open our eyes.  Notice a few other perspective-generating verses:

“Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.” (Proverbs 16:8)

“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” (Proverbs 15:17)

“It is better to have little with fear of the Lord than to have great treasure with turmoil.” (Proverbs 15:16)

Contentment begins with understanding and appreciating how much you already have.  If you have peace and tranquility in your home…if you are living a righteous life…if you have those who love you…even if you don’t have much else, the writer rhetorically asks, “what more do you need?”

And the answer is: Nothing, really—I only need what God wants to add to an already blessed life.

Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame
of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise
and fatherly disposal in every condition.
~Jeremiah Burroughs

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:

Take a couple of minutes to offer gratitude to God for what you have.  Be specific—and don’t ask for a single thing.  You can do that another time.  Right now, be thankful—it is one of the highest acts of worship

Psalm 131: Room For Only One God

One Year Bible: I Kings 11:1-12:19, Acts 9:1-25; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 17:4-5

Room For Only One God

My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
(Psalm 131:1)

There is only One who is God—and that’s not you! Basically, that is what the King David is saying of himself in this brief song of assent. The Message translates verse one this way:

God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans.

Yet this business of godship is more prevalent than we care to admit. You see, when we fret and worry over matters we can’t control, when we meddle and manipulate to get our plans fulfilled, when we come to God after the fact for help, when we pray as a last rather that a first resort, when we cut corners in our financial stewardship because we can’t afford to give to the Lord’s work, and when we put our hope in government (or anything else) at the expense of our trust in God, in effect, we have removed God from his rightful throne.

There is room for only one God in your life, so let God be God. He has a great track record in that role, you know, and you don’t.

And by the way, when you allow God to be God, good things happen for you:

  • You become the recipient of greater grace. Recognizing God’s rightful role takes true humility (the opposite of pride and haughtiness—Psalm 131:1), which is always the catalyst for more grace. (Proverbs 3:34)
  • You become the recipient of greater security. You put things that are above your pay grade back into the hands of the only One wise enough to handle them—what David calls “great matters or things too wonderful for me.” (See how Paul describes them in Romans 11:33-36)
  • You become the recipient of greater contentment. David says, “like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.” (Psalm 131:2, MSG) Paul says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (I Timothy 6:6)
  • You become the recipient of greater hope. It is by Biblical hope, as Paul teaches, “we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?” (Romans 8:24) “Hope” as Paul says in Romans 5:5, “does not disappoint us…”

Hmmm…grace, security, contentment, hope. I think I’ll let God be God!

“I have one passion. It is He, only He.”
~Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf

Psalm 16: When God Is All You’ve Got

Read Psalm 16

When God Is All You’ve Got

“I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.’”
Psalm 16:2

When God is all you’ve got, you’ve got it all!

David’s confession that apart from God he had no good thing was not the admission of a desperate person in dire need pathetically clinging to his God. No, this was a bold and delightful a recognition that being dependent on the Lord was the supreme place of blessing (“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup,” v. 5), favor (“surely I have a delightful inheritance,” v. 6), wisdom (“the LORD, who counsels me; at night my heart instructs me,” v. 7), security (“because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken,” v. 8), emotional well being (“therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices,” v. 9), invincibility (“because you will not abandon me to the grave,” v. 10), and satisfaction (“you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” v. 11).

If you are in a place that provides all that—God’s blessing, divine favor, spiritual wisdom, personal security, emotional health, supernatural intervention, and soul-soothing satisfaction, what more could you possibly ask for? Anything else you have in life—financial abundance, physical health, relational well-being—is just icing on the cake.

Sometimes we get a little discontent when we focus on all the things we don’t have. And of course, it is appropriate to ask God for the things we need, even the things we desire—that is, if we ask in accordance to his will. But if you find yourself wrestling with chronic discontent, try focusing on all the blessings of just belonging to your Heavenly Father.

I am quite certain that if you will do that, you will come to the place where you realize that when God is all you’ve got, you’ve got it all!

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
—Oswald Chambers