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Archive for the tag “Treasure in Heaven”

Order of Priorities

“We are accountable to God for what He has given us and how we use it for His Kingdom.” Pastor James MacDonald laid it out for the ones listening to his message this past weekend. God gives us our gifts and talents to help the Body of Christ. For those who have mercy, there are people in the Body who need mercy. For those who have the gift of encouragement, the Body needs that encouragement. For those who have the talent of singing, join the choir or the worship team. For those who have the gift of administration, the Body needs someone to organize and manage.

We all have opportunities that we can fulfill because God has equipped us to do it. If the Body is lacking something fundamental, then someone has not stepped up and stepped into the role. As we take care of each other, unbelievers will notice. God expects us to use what He has given us. This is my take away from the message on Luke 19:11-27. Jesus also said that we are to shine our lights and not hide them under a bushel. I know there is more that I could do in the Church Body. How about you? Have you stepped up?

Time is not an excuse for not serving in the Body of Christ. If you don’t have time, then the priorities are wrong. It’s important to know what God expects of us. We have been given freedom with boundaries, which are for our protection. We are free to use everything we have been given by God; but like our money, we are to give to the Body of Christ first. Maybe I’m stretching the point too far, but it’s really important to know that God wants the best for us and the best starts with giving back to Him first – money, talents and gifts. It all comes from Him for our use; but how we honor Him with it is essential. The more we have, the more He expects from us.

One more thought about money. I get that we don’t have to live by the “tenth” rule since it was Old Testament rules. God said to bring the whole tithe (means a tenth) into the House of God – it pleases Him for us to do so. But if we no longer have to live by the Law of Moses, how much more should we give because we are living under God’s grace? A tenth of all we have is nothing in comparison to what He has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ! A tenth is the least we should give. Grace is more generous than the Law.

In Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, Mark wrote about God being our Senior Partner (Day 36). He wrote about a man in his late 90’s who decided on day one of his business that he would give God 51% of the business. He wanted to honor God from the get-go. At some point the man felt convicted about keeping 49% for himself. The parable of the merchant who found the pearl of great price and sold everything he had to obtain it changed this man’s perspective. At that point, he became a salaried employee and put everything else in God’s Hands. This man truly believed God and God blessed his company.

That’s pretty shocking, isn’t it? But this man believed that the treasure in heaven is more essential than any treasure that could be had here on earth. It was deeply convicting to me. I remember the story of the woman at the temple treasure who put in two mites, which was all she had to live on. She believed God. Can you imagine doing that today? I can’t, but what does that say about me? Mark’s last point for that day was “What we keep we ultimately lose; what we give away we ultimately get back.” He wrote that “if we don’t hold out on God, God won’t hold out on us.”

We will all be accountable for everything God had given us. I could also mention our bodies. It is the first of the year when most people have a resolution to get healthy or lose weight. I believe also we will be accountable about how we took care of God’s temple – our bodies. I know, you know it. But sometimes we need a little push to do what’s right. This might be your push to change a few things this year. If we want different results, then we have to do something different. What are you going to do different this year?

It’s never easy to do something different, but it would be the best thing for us. God hasn’t changed. He still provides for us even in this day and age. Let’s trust Him to do mighty things for us and through us as we put Him first this year. Are you up for it?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

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Life and Death

Over the last month, death has been on my mind. I have had a few people die recently that have touched my life in some way. None of them were close friends or family, but all of them died suddenly. Maybe they had been sick in one form or another, but death is just always just one last breath away. We never know when death will come to claim us. God says He has numbered our days. We are just a fine mist; here today gone tomorrow.

For much of my life, I have lived it by just drifting through. I didn’t accomplish much. I lived just getting by. I lived going from weekend to weekend; from paycheck to paycheck. I worked so that I could live. But is that all there is to life; to just get by? Or is there something greater to obtain? Climbing the corporate ladder to success, but where does that really get us? I watched a program recently that showed a woman’s closet that was three stories tall. She was showing all her valuables stored in this closet. I wondered if that is what success is all about? A closet full of clothes and accessories? There’s got to be more, right? A couple of weeks later, there was a news report that the lady had a break in and some of her most valuable possessions were stolen. Imagine that? I am not judging this woman’s heart or her possessions.

After this report, I thought of where our treasure is placed. We are told in Scripture to store our treasure in heaven, not in the earthly things that can rot or be stolen. What we store in heaven will grow in abundance. Thieves cannot take away what is placed in God’s hands. Jesus said nothing that is put in God’s hands can be snatched away. I’m sure He was not talking about material possessions but the things that God treasures the most – people. His love is so great for each one of us. But most of the time we give very little thought to Him. We just drift through this life without real thought or purpose. But we are made for more. Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Is my life full?

Did those who died recently, did they have the fullness that is promised in Jesus? I don’t know their stories. I don’t know what was in their hearts. I don’t know if Jesus was fully contained within so their lives reflected His love outwardly. That is not for me to judge; but I have to look at my own heart and life. This is for me to discern. This is for me to look and judge my own reflection – is Jesus evident in my life? Am I living with purpose and dedication to what Jesus wants to do through me? This is my time to reflect as I consider my own mortality. I want my life to touch others in a way that gives God the glory. I want to be a reflection of Jesus. I want to make a difference here so that I may gain treasure in heaven. This will be a successfully full life here. This I want desperately because there is a desperate world out there that needs to see Jesus. There isn’t much time left. My days are numbered. And who knows when Jesus may come again. I need to be busy; I have said it too many times; I need to make it count and do it.

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:14-16

Giving All

I went on the mission trip hoping for a revelation while I was on it. But there was no revelation while I was there. God has been at work in one area of my life for a while now. He has been showing me over the last couple of years my struggle to give complete control to Him. As I am writing this post, I am fully aware how much I need to trust Him in my finances. I look at my bank balance and see very little in it. Yet, I have so much more than those in Honduras. I park my car in a garage that is bigger than many of the cement houses where the villagers actually live.

One thing that is becoming evident as I consider my trip: I am so truly blessed, but it’s not for my benefit. I saw so many needs while I was there. I didn’t feel like I did very much to help while I was there. I left feeling I should have done more. Two things that keep popping up in my mind are: the treasure is in the field, and the Acts church – the first church – gave so no one would be in need (Acts 2:45). Both treasures are heart issues. Where do I put my treasure? Am I willing to give even if I have to sell something in order to give more? Giving obtains true treasure. The treasure is in the field but also, the treasure is stored in heaven.

Job told us in Scripture, we come into this world naked, and we will leave it naked (Job 1:21). Everything we have is God’s; we are just stewards of His possessions. As I passed hills throughout Honduras, I was struck with the thought: God owns cattle on a thousand hills. On the flight into the country, I noticed there is no border from the sky. You cannot tell when you are flying from one country to the next because there is no physical border from the air. God only sees two kingdoms: His and Satan’s.

There seems to be a distribution problem in His kingdom. I saw pastors in Honduras that are living on next to nothing doing God’s work, but barely surviving to support their families. I don’t think this is God’s distribution problem; it’s ours. God has given us blessings here in this country to help care for those in His kingdom elsewhere. Jesus taught so much more about money than any other topic because He knew how much money could hinder our walk with Him. Our hearts need to be right in order to be a better steward of what He has given us.

I don’t feel like I did much to help while I was in Honduras. Maybe it’s not about what was done there, but what I can do here to help those in need there. God is in the process of realigning my heart. My treasure is in the field and in heaven. The question is: Am I ready to give it all for God’s glory?

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21

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