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A Journey Toward Contentment

A Journey Toward Contentment

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A Journey Toward Contentment

Lunghezza:
301 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
May 25, 2010
ISBN:
9781449701901
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

A Journey Toward Contentment is designed to help readers see that the Scriptures are alive and active. The inspired Word of God is love letters written with you in mind, from the heart of God. These love letters will activate your soul to bring comfort, encouragement, tenderness, and rest. You can find contentment through the journey of life when you understand that your strength comes from God. Faith is the foundation of your contentment, when you comprehend that you serve an all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good God. Your faith must be tested, so you grasp the depth of His love and faithfulness to you, His child, whom He made with meticulous care. May you hold fast to the encouragement of the Scriptures and treasure the living hope, the anchor of your soul. His kingdom is coming!

May each woman who embarks on this journey learn to live loved. For when we are filled and flooded with God, then we have learned to be content in whatever circumstance or situation that comes into our lives (Ephesians 3:19).

Pubblicato:
May 25, 2010
ISBN:
9781449701901
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Robyn Joy has been guiding women in the study of God’s Word for almost thirty years. She is a mentor and lay counselor for women and a board-certified biblical counselor with the International Board of Christian Counselors. She loves to share her own story through teaching and speaking. It is her story and life experiences that inspired her in writing this study. She resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her three children, where she teaches pre-kindergarten and conducts support groups for mothers who need encouragement and comfort in the journey of parenting. She is presently in school to obtain her license in special education.

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Anteprima del libro

A Journey Toward Contentment - Robyn Joy

5/18/2010

Dedicated to

My Three Precious Children.

Crystal Lett—my firstborn, bubbling, energetic, strong-willed child. I thank the Lord for the gift He gave to me through you. The Lord taught me how deep love can be when He placed you in my arms. He taught me flexibility and that there was more to life than a to-do list. Thank you for walking with me through the mountaintop and valley experiences of life and seeing past the mistakes of a first-time mom. I pray for you and my special son-in-law, Jameson, every day. Place your lives in the victorious right hand of God and watch Him work in marvelous ways on your behalf. Let Him be real in your life!

David Snell—my one and only inquisitive, persevering, and courageous son. My love goes deep for you, as it has been proven and tried by many curves and turns throughout your life. Through the many struggles, I have often admired your will to go on and to not give up. The Lord has taught me through the gift of your life that I must place you at the feet of Jesus, the one who loves and cares for you more than I do. I pray that you will cradle yourself in the strong arms of the Lord and watch Him work things out as you journey on this earth. Let Him be real in your life!

Amber Snell—my fun-loving, social, and carefree daughter. I thank the Lord for bringing you into my life to teach me that even in the darkest of times there can be laughter and joy. I love your companionship and free spirit, and I thank the Lord for showing me that life is meant to be lived to the fullest as I watch you live out your days. I pray for you that you will grasp more and more that the fulfillment of life is yet to come, when we will celebrate in the very presence of God Himself. Let Him be real in your life!

I documented these verses a month after Crystal was born: Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Thy works to another, And shall declare Thy mighty acts (Ps. 145:3–4, NAS).

Acknowledgements

I thank the Lord for His constant guidance and direction in writing this Bible study. It was a joy to write and I learned so much in the process. I knew in my heart that the Holy Spirit was steering my thoughts as Scriptures and words would come to my mind. The Word of God is active and alive, and I was keenly aware of that as the book was birthed one page at a time.

I would also like to thank John Stark, a very gifted counselor and friend, who saw me in my brokenness and pain and was willing to journey through the healing process with me. His gentle guidance coupled with his personal relationship with the Lord helped me to walk through many painful experiences, seeing God’s faithfulness in every situation. I am eternally grateful to you, John, for your support and encouragement which inevitably lead to the writing of this study.

I would like to thank two special friends and my dear mother who so faithfully worked through each lesson, guiding and encouraging me along the way. Their insightful comments were invaluable in giving me direction in the final writing of the manuscript. From a grateful heart, I would like to say thank you to: Leah Canady, Jodi Coleman, and Heather Conrad.

Here are their comments:

"Unlike many Bible studies that are long on stories and short of Scripture, A Journey toward Contentment is an in-depth examination of Scripture, driven from the author’s passion and faith in the Lord. While Robyn does at times share from her own experiences, she never takes away from the reader’s personal journey or the biblical truths of contentment."

—Jodi Coleman

Contentment. When I read this word, its meaning comes to mind, yet I’ve never quite paused long enough to look closely at how I might wrestle with this issue in different aspects of my life. This thought-provoking, reflective study has guided me to His word, opened my eyes to both recognize and acknowledge the sin in my life, and comforted me with the hope and truth that only the Lord’s power brings. What a powerful tool in igniting both growth and reflection as we learn to rely upon His grace that is sufficient for us.

—Heather Conrad, author of the blog Heal the Wound

A thorough study in Scripture concerning contentment. This study relates to all walks of life and is challenging, and very encouraging. A ‘must’ study for any age group.

—Leah Canady

A very appreciative thanks to West Bow Press for their guidance and encouragement in the publishing process and their special care of the manuscript.

Introduction

Dear Sisters in Christ,

Welcome to A Journey toward Contentment. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share this study with you. This study was birthed from my own experiences of walking through the valleys of life. The Lord did such a remarkable healing in my life after many tragic ordeals that I count it a real joy to be able to share with you what the Lord has been teaching me. Through the writing of this Bible study, I watched the Lord work in marvelous ways as He guided me through the writing of every page. I stand in wonder and amazement as I behold what the Lord can do through His children. I have prayed for you throughout the process and can hardly wait for you to learn and grow through the study as I have in the journey of writing it.

• There are ten weeks in the study, with each week divided into five days. Each day takes about thirty minutes to complete. When appropriate, answer the question in first person—using I, me, and my.

• At the beginning of each week, the verse quoted is your memory verse.

• There is a journaling assignment at the end of each day and is very important that you spend some time reflecting and writing about what you have learned. You do not have to be a writer to journal. Journaling is simply putting your thoughts and feelings down on paper.

• The study is designed not only for your own personal growth but also for use in small group gatherings. These discussion groups will help you further process the information and be a source of encouragement and comfort as well as accountability.

I pray that as you read and write through these pages, you come to enjoy His divine presence in your soul. May you stretch your mind and heart to comprehend the full dimensions of His abundant love for you. I pray that you will learn to live loved! For when we are filled and flooded with God, then we have learned to be content in whatever circumstance or situation life brings our way (Eph. 3:19, AMP).

Enjoy the study! The Scriptures are your love letters and will lead you into His very presence where you will find comfort, encouragement, tenderness, and rest. Please e-mail and share with me some of your experiences as you work through the study. I would love to hear from you (snellrobyn@aol.com).

In His love,

Robyn Joy

Chapter Summaries

Week 1—Contentment through Strength

Week 2—Contentment through Prayer

Week 3—Contentment through Our Uniqueness

Week 4—Contentment in our Relationships

Week 5—Contentment in Serving God

Week 6—Contentment in God’s Provision

Week 7—Contentment in Our Emotions

Week 8—Contentment through Faith

Week 9—Contentment in a Sovereign God

Week 10—A Journey toward Contentment

Week One

Contentment through Strength

"Be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your

union with Him]; draw your strength from Him

[that strength which His boundless might provides]"

(Eph. 6:10, AMP).

Day One—We Are on a Journey

Day Two—Strength for the Journey: Armor of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness

Day Three—Strength for the Journey: Gospel of Peace, Shield of Faith

Day Four—Strength for the Journey: Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Spirit

Day Five—The Battle is the Lord’s

In the Valley He Restoreth My Soul

He leads me beside still waters,

Somewhere in the valley below;

He draws me aside to be tested and tried,

But in the valley He restoreth my soul.

Reference: Dottie Rambo. Rambo Music, Inc. International. 1970.

Day One—We Are on a Journey!

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Phil. 4:11–13, NAS).

Contentment is learned. It is a process of learning to surrender the control of our lives over to the control of our Heavenly Father. It is gaining an eternal perspective on our lives whether we are on a mountaintop or in a deep, dark valley. Contentment is knowing deep in our souls that all is well. Contentment is having that satisfaction that our lives are placed in the hands of our Heavenly Father, and therefore we do not need to be disturbed or disquieted within our hearts. Paul was able to say that in every circumstance in his life, he had learned to be content. He had learned to rely on God’s sovereign control over his life.

Let’s look at Paul’s journey.

Some Mountaintop Experiences

Look up the Scripture passages below and note where Paul had the opportunity to learn contentment through a mountaintop experience.

Acts 9:3–6 and 17–19:

Acts 9:19–22:

Acts 13:1–3:

Acts 13:47–49:

Acts 16:5:

Acts 19:11–12; 20:

Paul had some awesome experiences in his journey with the Lord. Paul’s salvation experience was one of great significance, as he had previously persecuted the church. God took this man who had jailed and killed many of His followers, redeemed him, and commissioned him to proclaim the gospel to the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul saw the church mightily grow and prevail. Paul was able to perform many miracles through the power of God.

Some Deep, Dark Valleys

Let’s look at an important passage of Scripture to catch a glimpse of Paul’s valleys as he journeyed through his life with the Lord. Write down those valleys as you read.

Second Corinthians 11:23–33:

Paul states that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstance he was facing in his life. Through these deep, dark valleys, Paul learned to rely continually upon the strength of the Lord. Paul understood that this strength was renewed daily, and God’s grace was sufficient to see him through the valleys of life.

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities, and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength) (2 Cor. 12:9–10, AMP).

Write out these verses, putting in your name for the pronoun me and I.

Oftentimes in our journey, the Lord takes us through valley experiences to further His purpose and plan, not only for our own lives but also for the lives of others. While Paul was imprisoned, he penned many of the New Testament books. These books were letters that he sent to the churches when he was unable to go to them.

What is your story?

Please write out your story. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what events in your journey need to be on the page.

Prayerfully journal through your mountaintop experiences.

Prayerfully journal through your valley experiences.

My Story

Let me share with you that I have had many mountaintop experiences in my life. I grew up in a wonderful Christian home, where I was loved and cared for by two devoted parents. I had the privilege of going to church every Sunday where I heard, from a very young age, the Bible proclaimed in truth. I went to a Christian college where I took many Bible classes and graduated with a degree in nursing. The Lord blessed me with three wonderful children. They have brought me much joy and happiness as I have watched them grow and mature through the years. I have also had the privilege of being a teacher of young children for nineteen years. I have led and taught many women’s Bible studies throughout my life and have had the awesome opportunity of watching women grow and mature in their walk with the Lord. And now the Lord is leading me to write this Bible study on contentment, which I count as a tremendous honor and responsibility. Please journey with me as we walk together through this pilgrimage in learning to be content, as sisters in Christ.

On my journey, I have had many dark valleys to walk through as well. In college, I developed an ulcer when I let the pressure and rigorous schedule eat away at my stomach. I miscarried a baby, which sent me into a year of darkness where I could not feel the Lord’s presence in my life—a year of great sadness and loss. My son was diagnosed with extensive learning disabilities, which were going to require many hours of my time and lots of energy advocating for his needs. My son later developed an anxiety and panic disorder, leading him into illegal drugs to try to alleviate his symptoms of great distress. The Lord carried me through major surgery that required eight weeks of recuperation. I was faced with a divorce that would create in me a sense of great loss, shame, betrayal, and abandonment. This was a time in my life when I cried out to the Lord to please take me home, for I did not know how I was going to walk through that valley.

It is through these experiences in my life that I write this study on contentment. The Lord took me thorough the wilderness to teach me and to strengthen me in my walk with Him. It was a time when He pursued me like a lion but with the tenderness and compassion of a lamb. I share this study with you as my dear sisters in Christ and out of a deep sense that the Lord is calling me to write to you out of the depths of my soul. Let us journey together, taking one week at a time as we dissect the topic of contentment.

But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Acts 20:24, 32, NASB).

I give you to the Lord, and I am praying for you as you journey through this study that you will grow in grace and in the living hope, which will lead you toward finding contentment.

Day Two—Strength for the Journey!

In Philippians 4:11–13, Paul stated that in whatever circumstance came into his life, he had learned to be content, whether that circumstance was a prosperous one or a trial, suffering, or a time of great need. We examined our own story and saw that we also have had times of prosperity and times of great need and suffering. As we walk this journey, these circumstances in our lives can create anxiety, turmoil, and unrest. It is so easy to allow our times of prosperity to create a sense of security in our own abilities and strengths, and so we become proud. We forget that our source of strength is our Heavenly Father. In times of suffering and need, our eyes are drawn to the circumstance, and we lose sight of where our comfort lies. We question in our minds the sovereignty of God, His character, His judgment, His grace and mercy, and His strength. We ask the questions why, how, and when.

Contentment through Strength

Look at Ephesians 6:10—whose strength do we depend upon?

This strength does not come from within ourselves. We do not have sufficient strength to journey through life on our own. All our sufficiency comes from God.

According to Ephesians 6:11, How does God provide this strength within us?

God prepares this armor for us, and He gives it to us by His grace. We are in a war! We have to be strong in service, strong in our sufferings, and strong to fight against the evil forces that pull at us throughout our life. This warfare is what causes us to be discontented. These evil forces create anxiety in our hearts.

Let’s look at the armor of God—the whole armor that God supplies!

Ephesians 6:14—What is the first piece of armor?

We have in God’s word absolute truth! We can stand upon His word—it will not fail us.

What do these Scriptures tell us about truth?

Psalm 111:7: _________________________________________________________________

Psalm 119:142: _______________________________________________________________

Psalm 119:151: _______________________________________________________________

Psalm 119:160: _______________________________________________________________

John 1:17: ___________________________________________________________________

John 4:24:___________________________________________________________________

John 8:32: __________________________________________________________________

John 14:6: __________________________________________________________________

John 18:37: __________________________________________________________________

First John 3:18–19: ____________________________________________________________

We find strength in the Lord as we belt His truth around us. His word is truth. God proclaimed His truth to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Proverbs 3:5–6 tells us to not lean on our own understanding or insight, but we are to acknowledge Him, and He will direct our paths. God’s truth will see us through

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