Searching For A Vessel

Author Unknown
FoodForThought - InJesus.com

The Master was searching for a vessel to use; On the shelf there were many - which one would He choose? Take me, cried the gold one, I'm shiny and bright, I'm of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and lustre will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!

The Master passed on with no word at all;
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;
I'll serve You, dear Master, I'll pour out Your wine
And I'll be at Your table whenever You dine,
My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,
And my silver will always compliment You.

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,
It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.
Here! Here! cried the vessel, I know I will do,
Place me on Your table for all men to view.

Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear,
My transparency shows my contents so dear,
Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,
And I'm sure I'll be happy in Your house to abide.
The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said,
But I'd rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

Ah! This is the vessel I've been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.
I need not the vessel with pride of its self;
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;
Nor the one who is bigmouthed and shallow and loud;
Nor one who displays his contents so proud;
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;
But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly. There's work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you.

Underdogs and Earthen Vessels

By Dennis Bratcher
The Voice


Since I am a guest here in Kansas City for a few days, I felt some kind of obligation last Saturday to participate in the ritual of watching the KC Chiefs play Miami. I figured the better part of diplomacy, especially since I watched part of the game with some diehard Chiefs fans, would be to root for the Chiefs. And I enjoyed the game.

Actually, though, I am not much of a sports fanatic. I'm not the kind of fan who has a favorite team that I follow through the season. I usually just happen onto a game and become interested. I stumbled onto the Peach Bowl from Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. At the time I tuned in, Auburn was thoroughly dominating Indiana and the score showed it.

Now here is where you'll find out why I could never be a true sports fan. In a matter of minutes I had started vicariously playing the game on the side of Indiana. Why Indiana? Simply because they were behind. You see, that's how I choose teams. I root for the underdog.

I'm not sure whether it's an odd quirk in my personality or whether it's something from my rural western Oklahoma heritage, but I have great sympathy for the underdog. The person who really doesn't have much going for them. The person who might have made it but just doesn't have enough going for them to win.

The Biblical Perspective

As I have studied the Bible, I have noticed that perhaps my tendency to cheer the underdog is not so strange after all. I have gradually come to the realization that most of the people who play key roles in the Bible could be described as underdogs. People who really didn't have much going for them. People who really didn't have it together enough to come out on top.

Childless women. Old men. The youngest sons. Cowards. Stutterers. Daydreamers. Shepherds. Murderers. Slaves. Prostitutes. In fact, I have realized that here is one of the central truths of the entire Bible, what I call the "theology of the underdog."

The Bible presents this "theology of the underdog" from a variety of perspectives. Let's look at just one of those perspectives, presented in the form of a warning. The passage is from the Book of Deuteronomy (8:11-18). This book is a sort of condensation of the theological pilgrimage of the Israelite people.

8:11 Take care that you do not forget the LORD your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 8:12 When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 8:13 and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 8:14 then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 8:15 who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 8:16 and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 8:17 Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth." 8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today. 8:19 If you do forget the LORD your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.

After the Israelites left the harsh life of the desert, they settled down in the more stable environment of Canaan. There they faced new and more subtle dangers. As the ragged band of slaves had fled the tyranny of Pharaoh, God Himself had fought for them because they could not fight for themselves. But as they settled in the land they had less and less need for God to fight battles for them.

They had wandered homeless in the desert for 40 years and God had taken care of all their needs. But after settling in the land they could build their own houses and raise their own food. The people who had earlier depended on God's cloud and pillar of fire for guidance and God's manna for daily survival now had military overlords, fortresses, and storage cities. The people had once looked to Yahweh, the God of the Fathers, the God of the Mountain, the God of the Desert, the great warrior God for help and deliverance. But now, settled comfortably in the land, they sacrificed to Baal, the Canaanite god of rain and fertility, and to Ashtoroth, the earth goddess, so the crops would grow and the livestock would produce.

You see, their temptation was that the further in time the people got from the harsh realities of Egyptian tyranny, the less they thought they needed God. The more self sufficient they became, the more they forgot about the role of God in the creation of their nation. They could almost remember that it was their great army that had defeated Pharaoh. They could almost remember that they had conquered the walls of Jericho. They could almost remember that they had earned a right to the land and could handle their own destiny. It was to this kind of dangerous self-sufficiency that the warning of Deuteronomy is addressed.

Deuteronomy begins with a quick survey of how God had worked in the past. That was a primary way the Old testament community dealt with problems: by looking at the traditions of the past to learn the lessons of history. One feature that stood out in those traditions was that God's presence could be seen in the most powerful and dynamic ways working through the most unlikely people in the most adverse circumstances in the face of the most overwhelming odds. In fact, the Israelites' very existence as a people had depended on God working through the most unlikely persons, the underdogs, to effect deliverance for His people.

Who would have given Abraham two cents for his promise of being the father of a great nation when he was 99 years old and his wife could no longer have children? We would have bought stock in Ishmael's company. But Sarah bore the child of laughter according to the promise of God.

What odds would we have given Joseph that his dream of leadership would come to pass as he was sold into slavery in Egypt, and spent years forgotten in prison? But God used Joseph to save Israel's sons from starvation.

Who would have foreseen that a group of slaves in Egypt could be led from bondage to freedom by a man so ungifted in leadership, speaking ability, diplomacy, and plain common sense, as Moses? And who would have given that scraggly bunch of slaves much of a chance of even making it to the Red Sea, let alone getting across?

Such stories do not stop when the Israelites settle in the land.

Who would have thought that a young widow from an enemy people living in a foreign country would be a factor in the royal lineage of Israel's greatest kings? Yet Ruth appears in the Royal Judean line leading to David.

And who would have chosen David to be king? Anyone with a little common sense would know that a shepherd kid, the youngest of the family, who daydreams while playing the lyre and singing to a bunch of sheep would not make a good national leader. But God chose him!

Jeremiah should never have been called as a prophet. Prophets are supposed to be rugged men like Elijah, who can call down fire from heaven at the drop of a hat. Jeremiah was practically a basket case of emotions. But God used him!

And we could go on through the entire Bible. What emerges here, if we listen carefully to the biblical texts, is an understanding of how God works with humanity. The writer of Deuteronomy looked back at the traditions and the path that Israel had traveled and applied the lessons of history to his own day.

What he saw was that Israel owed her existence, not to her power or skill or righteousness, but solely to the grace and power of God working in the lives of the least likely people, the underdogs. The writer understands that the difficulties, the trials, the problems, the total unlikeliness of it all, demonstrated that it could only be from God!

The truth that Deuteronomy communicates is that God wants us never to forget that it is not by our power and our strength that we exist as servants of God, but by his grace extended to the least among us.

How else could we believe that a man who was born to a poor, unmarried Jewish peasant girl in a backwoods province of an ancient empire, a man who was executed by a civil court for sedition against the state, was the son of God?!

Paul is perhaps the most eloquent proponent of this "theology of the underdog." In 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 he writes:

27 God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 God has chosen what is low and despised in the world, things that are not to reduce to nothing the things that are, 29 so that no person might boast before God.

Probably the most powerful statement of this perspective in the entire Bible is in 2 Corinthians 4:7:

7 We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves!

Are we as Christians really underdogs? In a very real sense, yes, because we possess no strength within ourselves. Earthen vessels? Yes! Fragile! Not always pretty! But useful.

Powerless? On our own, yes. With God, by no means!


One of the greatest dangers that we face as Christians, especially those who feel led into some kind of special ministry, is that we are tempted to forget where our strength lies.

We must study and prepare to fulfill our call as ministers, to be the best servants of God that we can possibly be. That is part of our calling in the modern world. But the danger is that the more we study, the more we learn the techniques of sermon building, church growth, evangelism; the more we learn how to speak, to run board meetings, to counsel people; the more we practice the nitty-gritty details of ministry, the greater is the danger of depending more and more on our own abilities. If we are not careful, we can easily develop a false confidence in our ability to get people to come to an altar, or in our expertise to raise money, or in our leadership skills in increasing attendance.

We can almost remember that it was our capability that built the church, or our faithfulness and prayer that brought revival, or our great sermon delivery that led to that movement of the Spirit in a service. And the warning of Deuteronomy rings out:

Beware lest you forget the Lord your God; . . .Lest you say in your heart, My power and the strength of my hand has done this.

And the words of Paul sound clear:

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves!

Every time I enter a classroom, every time I stand before a congregation, every time I sit down to talk to someone about the struggle of their life, I feel a deep and profound sense of inadequacy. I feel like Moses as he responded to God's call, "Who am I that I should do this?"

But I also have a confidence. It is not a self-confidence that rests upon my abilities, my schooling, my preparation, my charisma, my personality, or on anything else that I possess. I have worked hard at all these things, yet I know my limitations and inadequacies.

When I realize the magnitude of the task that faces me in ministry, I feel very much the underdog, very much like a fragile earthen vessel. Yet I am still confident, in God. Because I know what GOD has done with underdogs and earthen vessels!


Daniel and the Lion's Den

The Daily Encourager - InJesus.com

"So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lion's den. The king said to Daniel, 'May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!'" (Daniel 6:16)

No question, Daniel got a rough deal. He was set up by jealous, lesser men who wanted him out of the way. It seemed like they succeeded, except for one thing they overlooked: Daniel's trust in God.

The interesting thing, however, about Daniel being thrown into the den of lions is that God didn't deliver him out of the den before Daniel found deliverance in it. Imagine if Daniel had fought against being thrown into the den (which he would have been justified in doing) and gone into the den fighting against it every inch of the way, chances are the lions would have torn him to shreds before he hit the bottom. But Daniel didn't. He accepted his lot and trusted his life to God who shut the lion's mouths.

On more than one occasion I have asked God that if I am not going to be delivered out of my "lion's den" (naming the frustrating situation I'm in), would he please deliver me in it.

Sometimes, like Daniel, God has a lesson for us to learn in our present difficult situation and before he delivers us out of it, like Daniel, we need to find deliverance in it.

Rep. Roilo Golez and many Filipinos are calling on those who cherish freedom and peace “to pray for the safety and life of Ces Drilon and all other who are under involuntary and hostile custody. Let’s pray that God will enlighten and soften the hearts and minds of their captors."

Prayer For Guidance and Protection

At Just The Right Time

By David Langerfeld
The Daily Encourager - InJesus.com

In 2005, I was part of a medical-dental mission team to Latacunga, Ecuador. While preaching one night, my stomach began to hurt. I assumed maybe it was the food or maybe it was the 8000' altitude, but I was confident that it would soon go away after some Pepto-Bismul.

It didn't go away. Later that night, my discomfort turned into immense pain and moved to my right side. One of my roommates, a plastic surgeon, heard my cries of anguish and made a tentative diagnosis. After a confirmation by another surgeon on our team, I had to have an emergency appendectomy the next day.

When I shared this with a relative, he laughed and said, "Well, looks like you were in the wrong place at the wrong time." What a great opportunity for me to share my faith. I told him it was just the opposite. God had everything prepared for me. He had the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

The Right People
First of all, God had the right people - a surgeon, a surgical nurse and a surgical nurse translator who were part of our Medical-Dental Mission Team.

The Right Place
Second, God had me in the right place. If this had happened in the middle of the night at my home in Tupelo, I wouldn't have had a surgeon in the room with me to diagnosis the problem. I wouldn't have had nurses in the next room to take care of me before and after the surgery. I would have been trying to locate someone in the middle of the night to stay with my wife, Lynda, who is disabled.

The Right Time
Third, God did this at just the right time - If this had happened one day earlier, we would have had one fewer doctor and two fewer nurses to work in the clinic on our busiest day of the week. If this had happened just one day later, I would have been in an airplane over the Gulf of Mexico and the outcome could have been much different. In fact, if this had happened one day later, I might not be here sharing this with you.

The Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time
I could write a separate sermon on each one these points, but today, I want to focus on just the last one. Romans 5:6 says, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." The first part of this verse has taken on new meaning to me. "At just the right time, when we were weak and powerless..."

That night in the motel room in Ecuador, I was physically weak and powerless.

But God had already prepared for me...
God had already provided for me…
God had already protected me...

Although I will always be grateful for his physical provision in this situation, it pales in comparison to his spiritual provision. Look at the scripture once again, "You see, at just the right time, when we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."

When I was powerless to save myself.
When I was powerless to forgive myself.
When I was unable to avoid spending eternity in Hell
When I was unable to pay for my sin
Christ paid the price for my sin
Christ died on the Cross for me

At just the right time, Jesus Christ died for this ungodly sinner.

Have you noticed that God works 'At Just The Right Time'? We all tend to become anxious and we want to know what's going to happen, when it's going to happen and where we are going to be when it happens.

We all tend to get ahead of God. We rely on our own plans, our own thoughts and our own abilities. We want something to happen, so we try to force it to happen. We know how it ought to be done, so we try to make it work the way we want it to work. Sometimes, we even wait on God for a little while, and pray about it for a long time, and when he doesn't do it our way, or he doesn't do it as soon as we want it done we go ahead and do it our way.

Remember Abraham and Sarah - God had promised them an heir. Obviously the time for child-bearing had passed for Sarah, and so they became anxious and took matters into their own hands. They ended up having a son by Hagar, their servant. Then look what happened - at "Just the Right Time," Isaac was born.

Move on further in the book of Genesis to Joseph - He was sold into slavery by his brothers. He was imprisoned by Potiphar even when he did the right thing when Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him. He was left in prison and forgotten. Nobody remembered him.

Even when did the right thing once again and helped some fellow prisoners and they were set free, he was left in prison once again - forgotten. Yet, at "Just the Right Time" he is placed in charge of the grain distribution. He is able to help his family and the nation of Israel in a unique and special way, because he was put in charge - at just the right time.

This is only the beginning. Think of all the other Bible characters that were able to accomplish great things, because God did something at just the right time - The 3 Hebrew children delivered from the fiery furnace, Daniel delivered from the Lions' den, Jonah delivered from the belly of a fish, Job, Elijah, David - the list is overwhelming.

In the life of Jesus there are also people with chronic illness or pain that He met "at just the Right Time." Take for instance the woman who had suffered from bleeding for many years and had never been healed, but "at just the right time" Jesus healed her.

Lazarus' sister Martha was so bold that she told Jesus if he had been there, that her brother wouldn't have died. Martha was assuming that the world's timing was God's timing. She felt hopeless and helpless because it was obvious that nothing else could be done because her brother was dead. But at just the right time, Jesus arrived. At just the right time, he did a miracle. At just the right time, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

My personal favorite is Blind Bartimeaus. He was begging outside of a house in Jericho. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. It was the last earthly journey Jesus would make before his crucifixion. Blind Bartimeaus was in the right place at the right time when the right person was walking down the street in front of him. If he hadn't shouted out for Jesus - he never would have been healed. If he had waited for a better time, a more convenient time - he would have missed out on a miracle, because Jesus was never coming to Jericho again. At just the right time, Blind Bartimeaus was healed.

But most importantly, at just the right time, Jesus Christ died for the ungodly. And because of that, we can receive spiritual healing. We can be forgiven for our sin and we can have eternal life.

You may be asking yourselves,
How can I know when it's the right time?
How can I make sure that I'm following God's timetable and not my own?
What can I do to insure that God will work in my life at just the right time?

The answer is simple. It's in the middle of our scripture. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." "When we were still powerless." - That's the key.

If you're here today and you're not a Christian, you have to admit that you're powerless. You have to recognize that you're powerless to save yourself and to turn to the only one who does have the power to save you - Jesus Christ. You have to ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin, to save you and to come into you heart to live in you forever as your Lord and Savior. But it all begins when ready to admit that you're powerless to save yourself and you surrender yourself to him.

What about all of us Christians that are in this sanctuary today? We have to do the same thing. We have to admit that we're powerless to live the Christian life. It is only when we accept the fact that we are powerless that we can have the full power of Christ.

If we can meet our own needs, God doesn't need to meet them, They're already met.

If we can make our own plans, God doesn't need to direct us. We're already going where we want to go.

If have our own resources, we don't need God's resources we're already relying on ourselves.

If we can do it in our own strength, we don't need God's strength. We're doing just fine on our own.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, "If any man wants to be my disciple, let him deny himself daily, take up the cross and follow me."

What does it mean to deny yourself? It means that you have to admit that you're powerless. It means that you have to;

surrender your plans to God's plans
surrender your strength to God's strength
surrender your power for God's power and
surrender your will to God's will.

When you finally admit that you're powerless to do anything is when God will show you his power that he can do everything.

Let me repeat that...
When you finally admit that you're powerless to do anything is when God will show you his power that he can do everything.

Throughout the ages, God has been working at "Just the Right Time". Daily we need to put our faith and trust in God knowing that He works at "Just the Right Time" to supply our needs — and in some cases our desires as well.

Can you think of times in your own life when God supplied your needs at "Just the Right Time"? Take heart. He knew your need then - He knows your need today!

God knows your heartache and your pain, and as He told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, His grace is sufficient for each day. He has not forgotten you.

Just when you need his provision,
just when you need his protection,
just when you need his comfort,
just when you need his mercy and his grace,
just when you need his love,
God will provide it - at just the right time.

Have you gotten ahead of God? Have you made your own plans and then asked him to bless your plans? Have you turned away from God because he hasn't given you what you want when you wanted it? Are you waiting patiently? Are you trusting him? Are you getting ahead of God? Are you trying to force him to speed up his pace?

At just the right time, Christ died of the ungodly. At the just the right time Christ died on the cross for you. At just the right time he will deliver you or lead you through whatever you're facing today. Be patent - wait on his timing - look for his answer - it will come, at just the right time.


Life's Ups And Downs

Author Unknown
FoodForThought - InJesus.com

I lift my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? (Psalm 121:1)

Sooner or later, everyone finds himself in a place where all hope is gone. Illness, often, or unemployment that stretches on and on through month after discouragement month. Divorce, maybe, or the terrifying waywardness of a beloved child. You've tried everything you or anyone else can think of, many times, but you've finally reached the end of your rope.

God is at the end of that rope, as God has been at every point along it. When you've done all you can, all that remains is to turn it over to God. Does this mean that you'll get your heart's desire? No -- if that were so, the millions of people whose families prayed with everything that was in them for a healing and didn't get one would still be alive. You don't know in advance what your help will be, or from which direction it will come. But in unexpected deliverances and in anguished defeat, that which comforts and stays with us is God. Perhaps God will join your rejoicing. Perhaps God will share your sorrow. In your life, you will surely know both of these ways of feeling God's presence.

I think the question we can best explore with God is not so much "What will happen?" as it is "What can happen in this situation?" God is not an appropriate subject for fortune-telling; God is a God of prophecy, of discerning meaning and the potential for good in everything that happens, the good and the bad. Viewing life's ups and downs in this way opens my eyes to possibilities I would never see if I located God only in the those moments in which I got my way.


Fitting In

By Tab and Vanessa Eiler
Kingdom Destiny Ministries International

Many of us are in a season where we feel like we are "building an ark". Our "neighbors" think we're out of our mind as they watch us build this thing we're calling an "ark". "What is that for?" they ask. "How does it work?" they inquire. "Why are you spending your time doing that?!?" Does this sound familiar?

Preparation is a process we must endure in order to produce the "end results" the Father is expecting from us. We cannot lose sight of the necessity of preparation. There may be spiritual "projects" we are working on, that are not meant to "fit" into this "moment".

(Note: Use of the term "project" in this article, not only describes a particular "thing" God has called us to work on, but it is also descriptive of the thing He is doing in "us", thus making us the "project".)

We are part of a process that will "birth" something not yet seen or experienced by mankind. Our work may need to be completed well in advance and placed "on the shelf" to be released at a "proper" time. The Father knows what He's doing and He'll always give us enough information to keep us "sane" and focused while we continue to work on His "project".

Noah must have been laughed at! He must have looked mighty strange building this huge "box" in his front yard! Then, when his fellow countrymen asked how it would be used, and he told them about the rain coming, they must have really thought he was out of his mind! Noah was building something that would eventually float on top of water that would fall out of the sky! Rain had never occurred in the earth's atmosphere at that time, yet God said it would rain... later.

There are "stages" being set in preparation for future manifestations of the Kingdom and there are "props" that must be in place "before" the "curtain" opens. We are the Father's "stage crew". We are a part of His "set design" process. The Father is after excellence. He has given us His all and now He wants our all. It won't be boring!

His "blueprints" have been drawn up long ago. The Father is revealing His plans to us in this hour so that we can build a "product" that will need to be ready "later". The Father is excited! He's waited so long for this moment! It's a moment that will set the stage for a future moment!

At this time, we are involved in birthing something that will become a "now" thing, later. A "prototype" is being established in His name, yet it's our "name" that is receiving all the commentary! We may get frustrated and we may feel like it's too much pressure to build this "ark", but God knows we can do it, otherwise He would have never asked us "to" do it. He is working with us on His project. He is giving us His "meat" in order for us to do and finish His work. The more we embrace the "itinerary" of the Father, the more we will operate in a realm "not of this world". Our life and its associated expressions may appear quite contrary to "the now".

God is shaping our lives and forming us based on His purposes for us. The "now" thing He is doing in us and through us may not be a "now" thing to everyone else. We must be careful not to try to "take the wheel" in order to steer our process in a direction that helps us gain "acceptance with the masses". Our obedience to God may look silly and foolish to those around us, yet our confidence and trust in the Father must endure. When we are confident, we don't need to "prove" to others where we're at or what we're doing for God.

Our lives are the Father's birthing ground for His future events. The nations are waiting on us. There is an earnest expectation for a freshness that will be released through us. We will bring the Father much glory! Many souls will be added to His Kingdom! His name will go forth in a greater dimension! Let's stay in our process and not "abort" His project!

Humanity is counting on us. Today, they may be laughing at us, but later, they will be glad we finished all our "props", when the "curtain" opens.


The Burden of Discontent

By Max Lucado
The Daily Encourager - InJesus.com

Come to me to the most populated prison in the world. The facility has more inmates than bunks. More prisoners than plates. More residents than resources.

Come to me to the world's most oppressive prison. Just ask the inmates; they will tell you. They are overworked and underfed. Their walls are bare and bunks are hard. No prison is so populated, no prison so oppressive, and, what's more, no prison is so permanent. Most inmates never leave. They never escape. They never get released. They serve a life sentence in this overcrowded, underprovisioned facility.

The name of the prison? You'll see it over the entrance. Rainbowed over the gate are four cast-iron letters that spell out its name:

W - A - N - T

The prison of want. You've seen her prisoners. They are "in want." They want something.They want something bigger. Nicer. Faster. Thinner. They want.

They don't want much, mind you. They want just one thing. One new job. One new car. One new house. One new spouse. They don't want much. They want just one.

And when they have "one," they will be happy. And they are right -- they will be happy. When they have "one," they will leave the prison. But then it happens. The new car smell passes. The new job gets old. The neighbors buy a larger television set. The new spouse has bad habits. The sizzle fizzles, and before you know it, another ex-con breaks parole and returns to jail.

Are you in prison? You are if you feel better when you have more and worse when you have less. You are if joy is one delivery away, one transfer away, one award away, or one make-over away. If your happiness comes from something you deposit, drive, drink, or digest, then face it -- you are in prison, the prison of want.

... for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philipians 4:11-13)