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Summary: A sermon about the providence of God as discovered in the life of Paul.

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Acts 16:7-8 KJV After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. [8] And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

I. INTRODUCTION—THE CHALLENGE OF CONTENTMENT

-One of the most challenging spiritual battles that many face in our generation is that gnawing unsettling feeling of discontentment. It seems that after a while their new toys, new jobs, new cars, new homes, and new clothes all become much less valuable to them.

-If we are not careful, the beast of “more” can rule our lives in such a way that we are never content with the blessings of God. The insatiable hunger for more can choke out all of the potential that God has for us in any situation.

The story is told of a young man who wanted to be a physician and so he spent much of his high school days and early college years preparing for a career in medicine. He took the most challenging classes and the most difficult professors to prepare him to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). For whatever reason he did not have the money to continue his education and had to drop out of school and then he was drafted into the Army to fight in World War II. He spent the rest of his life feeling cheated and was constantly voicing his disappointment to anyone who would listen to him. His chance bypassed him and now his life is filled with regret.

-This young man is not alone. There are many people in life that set their sights and goals on a particular thing and in the end did not achieve whatever it was that they wanted to do. They live out lives of bitter disappointment and rancor but it would do us well to remember that if we could ever start seeing our places in life was the spot where God has placed us it would serve vast dividends to our spiritual wellbeing.

-Contentment is one of best blessings that God has offered to us. Although I have to clarify that contentment is not complacency or laziness. Contentment is determining to be what God wants you to be in the place where He has placed you.

• He knew the challenges before you got there.

• He knew the limitations of resources before you got there.

• He knew the difficult people you would face before you got there.

• He knew of the spiritual attacks you would be under before you got there.

-But He still put you in that place of service for a reason.

A. Jules Levy—The World’s Greatest Cornet Player

Jules Levy has been cited by many as the world’s greatest cornet player but the path he took to it was long, arduous, disappointing but he chose not to let his surroundings drag him down. He was born in 1838 in extreme poverty. When he was twelve years old he came into the ownership of a cornet mouthpiece. For the next five years, he pleaded and begged with his father to buy him a cornet but his father simply could not afford it.

One day they were at an auction and Jules saw a cornet that was moving toward the auctioneers block. It was in terrible condition with its finish almost totally burnished, had dents all over it and the valves were constantly sticking. His father managed to get it for fifteen shillings (about $3) which was almost a giveaway. The normal price for a low-end cornet in the 1840’s was around $50 and Jules now had one that only cost $3.

He promptly went home and began to play it with cheeks full of air not realizing that this was the way to jeopardize any abilities he might have had. He ended up getting sick and spent three months being treated for a severe lung infection. After his severe lung problems, his neighbors encouraged him to find someone to teach him a few lessons.

He managed to make an acquaintance with a very good cornet player in London who took a liking to him. When the man offered to give him a few lessons, Jules readily accepted. After six lessons, Jules appeared to be a very motivated student and the teacher offered to give him six more lessons. However, before the seventh lesson could be taken, the cornet teacher had to leave because he was in the military and his regiment was deployed.

Jules wrote in one of his cornet instruction books that it almost broke his heart because he had just learned to play correctly. When the teacher heard of the great disappointment of Jules, he sat down and wrote out twenty progressive music exercises and mailed them to him. Enclosed was a letter of encouragement imploring the young musician to work hard at them. He spent hours on end in rigorous discipline until he became one of the most widely recognized cornet players to ever play. No one could master the intervals from the highest notes to the lowest notes like Jules could. He could play the highs and the lows and never have a change in the quality of the sound that poured forth from his cornet. Even his most jealous contemporaries had to admit that no one could play with the excellence that Jules did.

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