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Subject: 5 Secrets of Contentment
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unquiet1 16.09.11 - 10:11am
Is It Possible to Be Content?

''Content[ment] makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.'' -Benjamin Franklin.

TRUE to that proverb, many have learned that contentment cannot be bought like merchandise. No wonder that contentment-an inward feeling of satisfaction-seems elusive in a world that fosters a desire for more possessions, greater achievements, or the life enjoyed by others!
Have any of the following affected you?

Advertisers bombard you with the message that contentment is only one more purchase away.

Competition at work or at school encourages you to measure your worth against what others are able to do.

People lack appreciation for what you do for them.

Friends make you envious of what they have.

Your fundamental questions about life go unanswered. *

unquiet1 16.09.11 - 10:13am
Faced with such challenges, is it really possible to be content? The apostle Paul referred to ''the secret of being content.'' At times, he had lived with plenty and at other times, with little. He was admired by his friends but mocked by others. Yet, he said that he had ''learned to be content whatever the cir tances.'' Philippians 4:11, 12, (New International Version). Contentment is a secret to those who have never taken steps to attain it, but as Paul stated, it can be learned. We now invite you to consider five secrets of contentment found in Gods Word, the Bible. *

unquiet1 16.09.11 - 10:15am
SECRET 1: Love People, Not Money and Possessions

''The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things.''(1 Timothy 6:10).
Advertisers pressure us to be discontented with what we have. They want us to slave to gain money so that we can spend it on newer, better, bigger items. Money is seductive, and we can easily fall in love with it. However, the Bible warns that a person who loves riches will never be content. ''A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver, neither any lover of wealth with income,'' wrote King Solomon.(Ecclesiastes 5:10). WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Imitate Jesus, and learn to love people more than things. Jesus was willing to give up all he had, even his life,because of love for people. (John 15:13) He said: ''There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.'' (Acts 20:35) If we make it a practice to give to others of our time and resources, people will respond in kind. ''Practice giving,'' Jesus said, ''and people will give to you.'' (Luke 6:38) Those who pursue money and possessions cause themselves pain and suffering. (1Timothy 6:9, 10) On the other hand, true contentment comes from loving and being loved. Why not evaluate whether you can simplify your lifestyle? Can you decrease the number of possessions you have or are seeking to acquire? If you do, you may find that you have extra time and energy for the more important things in life-helping people and serving God, who gave you all that you have. - see Matthew 6:24; Acts 17:28.

unquiet1 16.09.11 - 10:17am
SECRET 2: Love Resist the Urge to Compare Yourself With Others

''Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But dont compare yourself with others.'' -Galatians 6:4, (Contemporary English Version).
We may like to compare ourselves with others - sometimes with those who have less than we have, often with those who are stronger, wealthier, or more talented than we are. Either way, the effect is negative. We mistakenly assume that a person's worth is determined by what he has or what he is able to do. We may also stir up feelings of envy and a spirit of competition.Ecclesiastes 4:4.
Try to see yourself as God sees you. Allow his view to influence your sense of self-worth. ''Mere man sees what appears to the eyes; but as for Jehovah* he sees what the heart is.'' (1 Samuel 16:7) Jehovah gauges your worth, not by comparing you with some other human,
but by reading your heart, examining your thoughts, feelings, and intentions. (Hebrews 4:12, 13) Jehovah understands your limitations and urges you to respect them too. If you measure your own worth by comparing yourself with others, you will end up either haughty or chronically discontented. So modestly accept that you will not excel in every endeavour.-Proverbs 11:2.
What specifically must you do to have value in Gods eyes? He inspired the prophet Micah to write: ''He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?'' (Micah 6:8) If you follow that advice, God will care for you. (1 Peter 5:6, 7) What greater reason for contentment could there be?*Jehovah Gods name as found in the Bible.See psalm 83:18

unquiet1 16.09.11 - 10:19am
SECRET 3: Maintain an Appreciative Attitude

''In connection with everything give thanks.'' (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
We are surrounded by people who are haughty and unthankful, attitudes that can rub off on us. (2 Timothy 3:1, 2) In addition, we may feel compelled to cram more and more activities into our already hectic lives. We could become so burdened by problems or engrossed in pursuing our own interests that we do not have time to appreciate what we already have or to express appreciation for what others do for us.
Make time to meditate on the good things you now enjoy. Granted, you may feel overwhelmed by problems. But consider the example of King David. He at times felt crushed, his heart numbed by trials. Even so, he prayed to God: ''I have meditated on all your activity;
I willingly kept myself concerned with the work of your own hands.'' (Psalm 143:3-5) Despite his trials, David maintained an appreciative attitude and remained content.

Think about what others have done to help you, and express appreciation for their efforts. Jesus set an outstanding example in this regard. For instance, when his friend Mary poured expensive oil on his head and feet, some asked: ''Why has this waste of the perfumed oil taken place?''* Those critics felt that the oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus replied: ''Let her alone. Why do you try to make trouble for her?'' Then he added: ''She did what she could.'' (Mark 14:3-8; John 12:3) Rather than focus on what Mary did not do, Jesus expressed appreciation for what she did do.

Some appreciate the family, friends, or other blessings they have only after those are lost. You can avoid that sad outcome by reflecting on the good things you now enjoy! Why not make a mental or a written list of the things for which you are grateful?

Since ''every good gift'' originally comes from God, we do well to express our thankfulness to him in prayer. (James 1:17) Regularly doing so can help us maintain an appreciative spirit and cultivate contentment. - Philippians 4:6, 7.

*In the first century, pouring oil on a guests head was a gesture of hospitality; pouring oil on the feet was an act of humility.

unquiet1 16.09.11 - 10:21am
SECRET 4: Choose Your Friends Wisely

''He that is walking with wise persons will become wise.'' - Proverbs 13:20.
Our friends will either add to our contentment or undermine it. Their attitudes and conversations are bound to affect our outlook on life. -1 Corinthians 15:33. Consider, for example, the Bible account of 12 men who returned from an expedition into Canaan. The majority of them ''kept on bringing forth to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out.'' Even so, two of the men spoke positively about Canaan, calling it ''a very, very good land.'' But the negative attitude of the ten spies spread among the people. ''All the assembly raised their voice,'' the account states, ''and all the sons of Israel began to murmur.''(Numbers 13:3014:9). Likewise today, many people ''are murmurers, complainers about their lot in life.'' (Jude 16) It is difficult to remain content in the company of friends who are never satisfied.
an*lyze the conversations you have with your friends. Do your friends often boast about the things they own, or do they constantly complain about what they do not have? And what kind of friend are you to them? Do you strive to make your friends envy you, or do you encourage them to be content with what they have?

Consider the example set by David, who was to become king, and Jonathan, the son of King Saul. David had been living as a fugitive in the wilderness. King Saul felt threatened by David and wanted him dead. Although Jonathan would normally have been next in line for the kingship, he had become one of Davids close friends. Jonathan recognized that God had appointed David to be the next king and was content to support his friend. (1 Samuel 19:1, 2; 20:30-33; 23:14-18).

You need friends like that, ones who strive to be content and who have your best interests at heart. (Proverbs 17:17) Of course, to attract friends of that sort, you need to display those same qualities yourself.(Philippians 2:3, 4)

unquiet1 16.09.11 - 10:23am
SECRET 5: Satisfy Your Spiritual Need

''Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.''(Matthew5:3).

There are thousands of different religions, many of which teach conflicting ways to satisfy your spiritual need. How can you know which one teaches the truth and truly pleases God? Some prominent authors assert that belief in God and devotion to him is illogical, even harmful.Macleans magazine summarizes the views of one prominent atheist this way: ''This Christian concept, that there is something beyond science and beyond our senses . . . devalues the only life we have and makes us too pro ne to violence.''
Examine the evidence that God exists. (Romans 1:20; Hebrews 3:4) Do not let anyone discourage you from looking for answers to important questions, such as the following: Why are we here? Is there life after death? Why is there so much suffering? What does God require of me? Finding satisfying answers to those questions is fundamental to your gaining lasting contentment. However, do not blindly accept what others tell you. Gods Word encourages you to use your ''power of reason'' to prove to yourself what is acceptable to him. (Romans 12:1, 2)
You will be rewarded for your efforts. If you make time to study the Bible and apply its practical counsel, you will avoid problems, lessen anxiety, and increase your enjoyment of life.

That is no idle promise. Millions of people from all sorts of backgrounds have benefited by learning the truth about God and his purposes. As you benefit from applying the Bibles wise counsel, your devotion to God will deepen. Why not accept the invitation to study the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses? If you do, you will likely find yourself agreeing with the apostle Paul, who wrote: ''It is a means of great gain, this godly devotion along with contentment.'' (1 Timothy 6:6, footnote.)

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