Monthly Archives: February 2014
Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
A couple in California found treasure in their backyard. I don’t mean that they found enjoyment or leisure or the beauty of nature. I mean that they found treasure; and lots of it! To be specific, they found eight metal cans buried in the ground. Those cans contained 1427 gold coins dating from 1847 to 1894. The value of the gold: $ 10 million. That’s 10 with six zeroes behind it. My first thought? Why can’t I find ten million dollars buried in the backyard???
To their credit, the couple does not plan to change their way of living. They plan to give most of the money to the hungry and to other “overlooked causes.” I would probably do the same thing: after a trip to the Bahamas and a new car dealership of course.
Jesus warned us not to live for this world and the temporary treasures that it has to offer. Rather, we are to live for the world to come. In heaven there will not be thieves and rust and moths. Everything will be permanent. The things that we do for the Lord will be credited and accounted for in the life to come. What we do for our self will be left behind and either destroyed, stolen or dug up in someone’s backyard.
Dear Lord, Teach me not to hold onto the temporary things of this life, but to begin laying up treasures for the life to come. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
James 4:13-14: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
Last night I watched my daughter ride rides at the local fair. Not a “real” fair, mind you, just a tiny, yearly one which is set up in a local parking lot. As I watched her have fun with a friend, I realized how quickly time flies; this was the fifth year in a row that we have been there. She is 13 now, which means that she was only 8 when we first started going. Wow. I am amazed at how fast five years goes by.
To make things more dramatic, my mind went back in time to when my previous six children used to attend fairs. They were just little kids, but now they have children of their own. Their mother is dead and I am happily remarried to another woman. Life just keeps on moving and it happens so rapidly.
James compared the brevity of life to that of a “vapor” or “mist” which appears briefly but then vanishes. This morning, while taking my daughter to school, a dense fog was hanging over the valley below our house. When I return home this afternoon, that fog will be gone. Life is like that fog; temporary and fleeting. Instead of presuming that life will continue tomorrow, the Bible says that we should say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
You and I only have a certain amount of time here in this life, and then we face eternity. We need to make as many trips to the fair as possible and we need to prepare ourselves to meet the Lord. If you have not done so, you need to give your heart to Jesus and glorify Him with the time that you have left.
Lord, I thank you for the time which you given me and the moments to spend my life with family and friends. I give my time and my talents to you. I want to serve you with the brief life that I live here. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
The English philosopher Francis Bacon once said, “It is not the lie that passes through the mind, but the lie that sinks in, and settles in it, that does the hurt.”
The Bible declares that once we decide to follow Jesus, we are supposed to “walk in newness of life”. We are no longer allowed to sin. Paul stated that since we have been “baptized” or “buried” with Christ, our old way of living in sin is no longer acceptable. God calls us to die in order that we might live.
Sadly, many believers allow a huge lie to settle into their minds. They listen to the lie of the devil, who says: “God has saved you by grace and forgiven you forever. Now you don’t have to worry about sin, because Jesus has died for it. You can do whatever you want!” These deceived people turn God’s grace and mercy into an excuse to disobey God with no fear of consequences.
They sin with no shame and no regrets, believing that “eternal security” enables them to live like lost people and still go to heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. This lie sinks in and hurts us terribly. Continuing in sin, while abusing the grace of God, results in God’s discipline and a loss of inner joy. The built-in punishments of sin damage our lives and testimonies and keep us from fulfilling our God-given purpose. Our sin hurts other people and it hurts the heart of God. Jesus did not die in order that sin would destroy us. He died in order to free us from it.
Is it normal for a Christian to keep on sinning once they have been saved? The Scripture says: “Certainly not!” Don’t believe the lie. It will hurt you.
Jeremiah 2:13: “For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
When I was about twelve, I had a lamp in my bedroom made of popsicle sticks. It was an ugly lamp and I have no idea where my parents got it from. One day a friend and I were wrestling and we knocked the lamp off my dresser and into the floor. It shattered into what seemed a million popsicle sticks. One by one I glued the pieces back together, but it didn’t work. From that point on, the lamp continued to collapse. One day my mother finally threw the ugly thing away and bought a real lamp. It was broken and could not be fixed.
The ancient Hebrews continually forsook God and turned to the false gods of their enemies. God compared the situation to them rejecting a perpetual stream of never-ending water in exchange for a pool of water which had seeped out of a broken well into the ground. The Israelites had chosen broken gods who could neither give nor sustain life. They had rejected the living God and put their hope in broken things instead.
Our lives are often filled with broken wells which can hold no water. We rely on jobs which disappoint us, relationships which never bring fulfillment and activities and habits which do not bring us permanent satisfaction. In short, we die of thirst. God is patiently waiting to give us things which will last forever, water to quench our perpetual thirst. He wants us to throw away our broken lamps and receive Jesus, the light of the world.
Father, help me to throw away the broken things of this world and receive the fountain of living waters which you offer. Quench my thirst God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Lamentations 3:22-23: “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.”
My favorite hymn is “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, written by Thomas Chisholm and William Runyan in 1923. The verse which inspires me the most is the second one: “Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon and stars in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness, to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”
The prophet Jeremiah, who warned Israel of the impending judgment of God, witnessed the fall of Jerusalem and the exile of God’s people to Babylon. In spite of the captivity of the Jews, the prophet saw the hand of God at work. In spite of horrible conditions and a loss of hope, Jeremiah recognized the mercy, love and faithfulness of the LORD. He acknowledged that God was still in control.
Living for God does not mean that life will be easy. I personally have suffered heartache, disappointment and tragedy. Through it all, the changes of the seasons and the passing of time, I have seen the hand of my God at work. In spite of troubles and hardships, God is faithful. In truth, His faithfulness is great. As you consider your own life, you might consider that through His daily mercies and compassions, God has revealed Himself new every morning. In gratitude to Him, you may find yourself crying out in praise: “Great is your faithfulness!”
Dear Lord, this is my prayer of praise to you: “Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning, new mercies I see; all I have needed thy hand have provided, great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.” Amen.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up: does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Many of you have a “special someone” in your life, a spouse, a lover, a unique friend. Others of you celebrate this day by focusing on family. For some of you, this day can be very lonely. The loss of someone that you love can be very painful and the lack of companionship can hurt very deeply.
The origins of this special day are somewhat sketchy. There were at least two saints in the Roman church named “Valentine”. One of them actually died on February 14. Legend has it that one of them wrote a “valentine’s letter” from prison. Various traditions have developed over the centuries surrounding this holiday.
The point is that love is the greatest thing in the world. Nothing is more wonderful and fulfilling than the love of God, which was vividly and completely expressed through Jesus. This love is greater than faith and greater than hope. Nothing is more powerful than love. And all love, for friends, family and spouse comes from God. He is the source of love and, indeed, He is love.
Dear Father, I thank you for love, especially your love for me. I pray that you will teach me to love others with a love which never fails. Thank you God for the people whom You have given me to love. In the name of Your Son, Amen.