“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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal …” (Matthew 6:19-20).
That is a familiar passage to us. We know what it says. We understand that we cannot serve two gods, mammon and Jesus. We comprehend that the love of money is the root of all evil. We all feel sad when the Rich Young Ruler turned away from Jesus, rejecting eternal salvation because he clung to his earthly wealth.
But what does treasure in heaven truly mean? What are the treasures in heaven, specifically?
Is Christianity in decline? I think this last COVID year has revealed professing Christians versus true Christians. More and more people are falling away. The Bible shows that that trajectory will only increase as time goes on.
There are not enough genuine Christians. “Genuine Christian” means a person’s faith and belief is founded on the life, death, resurrection, and Gospel of Jesus Christ. He bases his doctrine and teachings on the Bible and only the Bible. Too many people are lukewarm.
It is also true that ‘spirituality’ is on the rise. This is not always good thing however. Only those who base their doctrine on the life, death,and resurrection of Jesus Christ and demonstrate that faith through persevering and evident fruit can be said to be true Christians.
Any doctrine that tickles the ears will be sought by the faithless and weak. It is hard to accept that one is a total sinner, no better than filthy rags. There is none righteous, no not one. It is hard to offer one’s self wholly to God and do only His will. It is hard to set aside fleshly lusts and devote one’s self to Him. It is hard to walk His path and stay within His commands. Hard. Christianity is not for wimps.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” (2 Timothy 4:3)
See, doesn’t this sound just great to a confused person: “God loves you and has a plan for your life.”
Are your ears being tickled? Are you in a false religion? Are you in a Christian church but enduring unsound doctrine from a false pastor? There is Hope! All you need to do is repent of your sin, and ask Jesus to forgive it. Ask for discernment and wisdom. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9).
Don’t we serve a great and mighty God! Let Him restore you to the faith. Otherwise, remembering His promises are true … “This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:5).
We have a Father who gives good gifts. We have a Father who answers prayer. We have a Father who loves His children, and perfectly, too.
If you want peace, joy, patience, etc., then ask. Ask the Father for anything aligned in His will, and He will give it. Not a Ferrari or a million dollars, but any request that honors him and glorifies His name, He will give. It is in His will to give the things that His children need. If you need peace today, ask.
“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts? You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3).
And you see the danger in NOT asking. Staying content in our flesh results in quarrels, conflicts,and indulging our senses. Ask, ASK. Pray today for peace. He will give it.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17)
This is a beautiful passage, with many layered and deep elements. First, Christ uses His believers to spread the fragrance of knowledge of Him. Christ as the ultimate fragrance. The word “smell” can have many nuances, each with their own evocation of meaning. ‘Odor’ evokes something unpleasant, and the word ‘smell’ is simply utilitarian. But “fragrance” is a perfume…that is a sweet and wonderful aroma, evoking lightness and sweetness, as Christ is, of course.
Peter and the disciples had left their fishing professions when Jesus said ‘Follow me’. For three years the disciples saw amazing things like miracles and signs. They heard holy, perfect preaching. They saw crowds swell and they saw crowds dwindle away. They even saw a crucifixion! They heard of a resurrection, too, Mary came breathlessly to the disciples and said ‘I have seen Him!’ Remember, this is the famous race between Peter and John, and John wrote (‘I got there first’), lol. They saw the empty tomb and the folded head covering, and believed. Resurrection!?
Mary was instructed to tell the men to go to Galilee to a mountain He had designated there. (Matthew 28:10). Jesus appeared to Simon a few other times before the lakeside appearance at the Sea of Galilee/Lake Tiberias. (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).
So sometime between day 8 post resurrection and day 40 when He ascended, Jesus made various appearances to Peter and the others. They were told to go to a mountain in Galilee and wait. So they trudged the far distance from Jerusalem to Galilee, it must have taken some time to get there.
Once there, they went to the mountain. They waited. And waited. But Peter being Peter, impetuous action filled, did not wait.
This has been an interesting week, hasn’t it? I’ve watched political events unfold at lightning speed, my mouth metaphorically hanging open. In my 60 years I’ve been witness to some of the most amazing events in history, but this past week, rather since November 3, 2020, has left me speechless.
If the Big Tech Oligarchs have their way we conservatives & Christians will be left literally speechless soon, right? I’ve tried to write essays this week that encouraged, that referenced some events obliquely without delving. I read a tweet from a missionary friend who wrote, “Husbands, guard your wife against information overload. She may not want to hear you constantly talk about how the US is falling.” So true.
I have to guard myself against that, and I LOVE information. The relentlessly bad news, coupled with near-impossible ability to assess its credibility, means I have to push away and do some calming techniques. I’ll lay those out below, but first ICYMI, a recap of the week’s essays:
In my earliest days of my walk with Jesus, I tried to witness to a close friend. She rejected Jesus as God, the notion of personal sin, and God’s creation work because, she said, Genesis shows that God made light before He made the sun, and that’s just illogical. You can’t have light without the sun, she asserted.
I didn’t have an answer to that, except that if God could make the sun He certainly could make light too, and in whatever sequence He wanted.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:1-5).
God used pagan leaders for His purposes. Some were good for God’s people and some were bad. Xerxes, Darius, Cyrus vs Antiochus, Herod, Pharaoh …
I don’t know what the next few days will bring. It might be that God uses the Presidential Administration in ways that seem good to us, or he might use evil rulers that seem bad to us. I say ‘seem’ because even in difficult times God ordains evil for His and our good. (Genesis 50:20). So, there’s earthly good and heavenly good and they are not the same, since God’s ways are infinite and above us incomprehensibly. (Isaiah 55:8).
So I do not know what my immediate future holds, but I know my future everlasting future: it is with Jesus in peace and holiness. Perfect justice reigns, perfect love, perfect relationships. There will be no swamp, no corruption, no evil. Satan and his demons will be writhing in the Lake of Fire under eternal punishment, never to harm or influence anyone anymore.
My friend Ekkie Tepsupornchai on social media said:
“Christians understand they live in a fallen world. Part of God’s judgment involves handing sinners over to greater sins (Rom 1:24-32). However, when we see instances of justice, we should give thanks to God as that demonstrates His common grace even over the same fallen society.”
I don’t have children myself but my primary employment in life has been as an elementary educator, working with kids. I love kids. They are genuine, hilarious, adorable, and challenging. They are also truthful, as anyone knows who has been on the receiving end of their blunt but innocent honesty.
I’m not married anymore, my marriage ended prior to salvation. I don’t have a lot to say about married life and kids and domestic life, unless it’s living on a fixed small income as a single older woman, lol. So I don’t really ever post a lot of “Christian Living” type posts. My writing is usually theological, which suits my autistic mind. But here are a few items I came across close together, so I collected them. They are resources about and for children.
Our school closed for the Christmas Break on December 18. We were supposed to return on January 5, but we are educating the children virtually through screens last week and this week. It’s been 4 weeks since I saw them in real life. We are required to come to the school building but not gather and to wear our masks. I labor in my classroom, alone, attending the many virtual classroom lessons during the day that my teacher leads. In between I clean, organize, and do my paperwork. It’s an in-between time, waiting for the go ahead to bring the children back, but making sure we are productive until then.
I look up from my papers and see empty desks, empty tables, empty hallways. It’s quiet. The day passes slowly. I mark the time, minute by minute. I’m waiting. It’s limbo. It doesn’t feel real.