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The Key to Finding Contentment

“There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess.”

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We came into the world with nothing and we will go out of the world with nothing.

There may not be a better premise for allowing us to live in complete and total joy in life, if we can understand and embrace it.

The problem is that people agree with this premise in principle because it’s undeniable. When you’re born you have nothing. When you die, no matter how much you had in the seconds before your death, you have nothing again. And yet we spend the entirety of the time in between those two momentsclamoring for wealth and possessions.

Below is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It comes from the great Christian pastor and author, AW Tozer.

“There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets `things’ with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns `my’ and `mine’ look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.”

The answer to this is found written in the book of Philippians, chapter 4, verses 11 through 13. The words of the apostle Paul:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, 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 all this through him who gives me strength.” (As a sidenote, notice verse 13 at the very end there. This is the verse that most people quote when they talk about starting a business or competing in an athletic match. It really has nothing to do with that. When Paul says that we can do all things through Christ, it is in direct context to being able to be content and to live with much or with little.)

I myself have had a lot and very little. I’ve lived in tiny apartments and converted two car garages. I’ve lived on an estate on 10 acres with a half a mile of riverfront, a 500 foot brick and wrought iron front fence, swimming pool and an 1800 bottle wine cellar. I’ve driven beat up all cars across the country and I’ve flown in private airplanes. I’ve stayed in a little roadside motels and I’ve stayed in the swankiest suites in the world. I have found myself wondering how I would make it to the end of the month and I have found myself wondering how I could ever spend all that money. I know what it means to have a little and I know what it means to have an abundance.

And yet joy should never come from what we have. Life has a strange way of ebbing and flowing. I’ve known poor people who are happy and have a joy that most people long for, and I’ve known wealthy people, people with more money than they could spend in 10 lifetimes, who lack joy, peace and love.

Why do we spend so much time on accumulating money and possessions when we all know when we step back from it for even just a moment that those are not the answers at all?

When I hear a poor person lamenting that they wish they had more, I hear someone who doesn’t understand that they came into the world with nothing. When I hear a wealthy person bragging about their wealth, I hear a person who doesn’t understand that he or she will go out of the world with nothing.

Either way, it is a complete missing of the point. Life isn’t about abundance in possessions. It’s about abundance in love, grace, mercy, joy, and hope.

In Luke 12:15, Jesus says, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

I know that I have a lot of people reading this and that they come from a wide variety of financial situations. If you are poor or suffering hardship right now, that’s OK. Trust in God and find love. If you are wealthy and you’re reading this, that’s great, but don’t place your hope in the things of this world. Trust in God and find love.

You came from nothing and you’re on a journey to nothing. We often think that it is on the other side of death that we meet and commune with God but the reality is is that we can meet and commune with God right now.

That’s why “nothingness” is irrelevant, because in God there is everything. From a worldly perspective, we are on a journey from nothing to nothing, but from a godly perspective we are on a journey from everything to everything.

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Chris is the Founder of PolitiCrossing, one of the World's Top 50 Speakers and a member of the Motivational Speakers Hall of Fame. He considers it a privilege to be able to speak to people, help them lead successful lives, become extraordinary leaders and, masterful salespeople. Chris has authored twenty-three books with three million copies in print in 14 languages and over 450 articles on success, leadership, sales and motivation.



 
 
 

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Elections

Let’s Reclaim America’s Optimism Advantage

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On this New Year’s Day, America needs more than a parade and great football games; our people need renewed optimism in living our American Dream. Instead of looking for government fixes or some magical new president who will make things right, we need a kick in the pants to get busy making America work no matter what obstacles we face.

At the 1992 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan shared what he considered the secret of his success as our President: “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.”

Oh, how we need leadership like that in America today. As we start this year, too many people feel powerless. Inflation may be coming down, but high fuel and food prices have taken their toll on far too many Americans. Watching the invasion on our Southern border means too many of our cities are being overwhelmed with no end in sight. We wonder if there is anything we can do but watch. The sense of despair and helplessness is contagious, but so is optimism. What attitude do you spread?

There is more than you think within your control. Every day, you make choices to make your situation better or worse. Studies of optimism find that optimism comes from a track record of overcoming obstacles. If you have had obstacles the last few years and are still making it work, pat yourself on the back. Be a proud survivor, not a victim so many seem to take pride in claiming to be.

Make each day count by starting your day doing one thing to make your situation better. Find one way to cut expenses. Find a way to increase your resources. Make a call or visit to nurture your network of colleagues and friends. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Nurture your faith realizing that God gave you gifts and give thanks every day for the blessings you have. Lest you forget, you’re blessed to live in America. People risk everything to come here, and few want to leave.

Yes, this is an election year, and it would sure be a gift to have a leader who would nurture the hope and optimism of all our citizens. So as the campaigns progresses and you listen to potential leaders vying for your support, ask yourself a few key questions:

Do they want to control your choices or ensure your freedoms?

Do they want to make you more or less dependent on government?

Do they want to increase the size of government and entitlements and the taxes needed to fund them or decrease them?

Do they want to force your children to go to public schools that don’t’ get the results your children deserve, or are they willing to give you the freedom to pick the schools your children need?

Do they disagree with their opponents and state why, or do they demean them and call them names?

Do they want to grow the size of government and its debt, or do they want to decrease both?

Do they believe in the citizens they represent, or do they convey that they are the answer to America’s future?

Do they take responsibility for their mistakes and actions or quickly deny responsibility and blame others?

No President is perfect. It’s easy to promise and a lot harder to deliver. Reagan focused on three things: an optimism based on free-enterprise innovation, smaller government, and lower taxes. He delivered on all but smaller government. As Reagan advisor Arnold Laffer confessed, “When it came to cutting welfare payments and school lunch,…it was very hard. Someone would come over and say, ‘How can you cut school lunches?’ Reagan would reply, ‘I guess you’re right; I’ll tell them not to cut that one.’”

The pressure to keep growing government is tempting and easy to understand, but it is not what America was created for. America’s form of government was designed to protect citizens from an over-controlling, over-taxing government. We need to reclaim that passion for freedom and self-reliance. Our founding citizens wanted the opportunity to pursue happiness, not happiness given to them at the expense of other taxpayers.

The election is months away. So I’m going to borrow on the optimism of Ronald Reagan to inspire us all on this first day of 2024: “I’m not taking your time…to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”

Reagan wouldn’t want us to wait for the next election. We’ve had enough of eloquent politicians who think they have all the answers. We need to believe in ourselves and get busy living our own dreams. Then, in November, let’s elect a leader who will stay out of our way and give “We the People” freedom again—freedom to fail, succeed, and thrive in our own American Dream!
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Faith

Three Cheers for Christian America

Thank you for safeguarding the public and private expressions of others

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Considering all the nations in the world and the dominating religions within those nations, Christianity is the most beneficial. When Christians are in the majority, it is good for everyone who resides there.

Christians during the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, and up to the mid-20th century contributed to much of the world’s turmoil. In recent decades, however, they have been the most accommodating, accepting, and peaceful group. I’m glad I live in a Christian nation and, given the options globally, would not have it any other way.

Best of the Best

Particularly in America, Christians today are tolerant, acknowledging the rights of others. They recognize the right of Israel to exist. They fully embrace Israel’s strategic role in the Middle East.

Too many people on the left who regard themselves as the arbiters of what is right and true, in minor and major ways have been persecuting Christians for decades. They do not want public displays of Christianity anywhere in America. Their agenda is to remove all vestiges of religion in America. They contend that America would be a better, more egalitarian nation.

Just the opposite is true. Those who want to stamp out religion in America don’t understand that our origins and 250-year history is based on Judeo-Christian principles. The cancel culture left seek to reject the U.S. Constitution out-of-hand.

We have encountered leftist groups who shatter statues and historic symbols they deem to be oppressive and part of an old regime that was illegitimate from the outset. Many of these perpetrators hide behind ski masks while regarding themselves as heroes. In reality, they are fascists, seeking to control us.

Leftist enforcers have no idea how intolerant they are and that they are no better than those they seek to diminish. In the U.S., people of all faiths are free to celebrate their faith. If one particular faith, Christianity, was predominant from inception, to today, that does not preclude other religious groups from celebrating.

Congress: Hands Off

Leftists make erroneous statements about the “separation of church and state.” The phrase simply is not contained in the Constitution or any founding document. It appeared in a letter that President Thomas Jefferson sent to a Baptist congregation in Danbury, Connecticut. His note to them was designed to reaffirm that the government would not make dictates related to the church.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So, when it comes to religion, Congress must keep its hand off.

As a nonreligious person, I have nothing against seeing a religious display on public or private property. Indeed, America shorn of religious symbology would be a dismal place. The Ten Commandments on a public plaque? Fine. Christmas trees in the town square? Flip on the lights! A mosque being built in America? Why not?

As long as everyone is tolerant of other religions, such developments represent no threat to anyone. It is those who operate in secret who represent a threat, as are those who wish to vanquish the rights of others to publicly exhibit symbology.

The Option to Sing Along

When I attended grammar school, I was exposed to the annual Christmas pageant. I had the choice to skip the assembly. In each case, however, I chose to enjoy the merriment of the festivities, but not sing along. My young classmates did not require me to capitulate. Nor did I expect them to modify their festival to accommodate me. Would any aware American who moved to another country expect that country to diminish their celebrations to accommodate the newbie?

I’ve had the opportunity to visit 46 of the 50 states, and 73 countries. I have walked through hallowed halls of shrines, mosques, churches, and ashrams. While Christians are being persecuted in many countries around the world, I don’t know of a single instance today where people feel unsafe in a Christian majority country.

So, I say to you, if you are a Christian, in America, please know that large numbers of us support your right to practice your religion.

For All You Do

Thank you for safeguarding the public and private expressions of others. Thank you for helping to establish a climate where non-Christians and others can feel welcome. Thank you for becoming a peaceful, tolerant religion that rightfully serves as a model for others around the globe.

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