What do you treasure? It’s natural for teenagers to daydream about athletic glory, romantic excitement, pride of possession from owning the right car or wearing the best clothes. Hopefully, as we mature, we recognize what will last for eternity and set our focus on that.
Matthew 6:24 tells us we can’t serve two masters, God and money. Jesus also warns us in Luke 12:14, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
So how does one store up treasures in heaven? I found the following post to be concise and insightful. You may read it here: Treasures in Heaven. Have a great week!
Settling into our family cabin, I determined to start a big crackling fire in the fireplace. After wadding up several sheets of newspaper, I positioned the logs in tepee style to create a nice little vent for the oxygen to fuel the flame. Completely satisfied, and patting myself on the back, my dancing fire lasted for maybe five minutes before fizzling out.
Fortunately, my husband came to the rescue. It didn’t take long before he chipped away several smaller slivers of wood with the ax before tucking them under my larger charred log. With a little poking and prodding, he had a steady flame atop a bed of hot embers in no time. But he didn’t stop there. As the furnace kicked in, he jumped up to crack the front door open for ventilation so smoke wouldn’t flood the room. When the flame dwindled, he persistently stoked it. Thus we, (I), enjoyed relaxing by the warm glow all afternoon. 🙂
This is where my analogy breaks down, at least in the comparison of keeping the flame fueled in a relationship, with only Eric doing most of the work. But you get the picture. It takes observation and consistent effort to keep a good thing going. Whether in marriage, another relationship, or maybe something God has called you to, keep pressing on. Maybe your faith has been waning. Fan the flame with regular Bible reading, prayer, and regular fellowship. Do the work to keep the fire burning.
If you are God’s child, remember that He is on your side. He will not only equip you in the good work(s) He has predetermined, but will also fuel into you the needed wisdom, faith and strength for the asking.
Almost lured to sleep atop his air mattress by the
gentle rhythmic incoming tide, my dad didn’t see it coming. BAM! A random large
wave pelted him downward into the sand before catapulting him onto the shore.
That was the end of an otherwise relaxing vacation, and the beginning of his
Hopefully you haven’t
been literally pelted by a random wave, or regular wave for that matter! But all
of us experience setbacks and storms in life at one time or another. Like that
wave, an unexpected storm barges in with surging winds of adversity, stripping
everything bare, exposing our foundation.
All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented Himself as both the final authority and fulfiller of the Law. He finishes His sermon with not only a call to heed His message, but also to find one’s security in Him (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Jesus tells a story about two men: one who builds his house upon a rock and another who builds his house upon sand. I’m sure you know which house weathers the storm. Jesus calls this builder wise. But the house built on the sand collapses during the storm, and the builder is dubbed foolish.
A good foundation is obvious, but its importance can’t be overemphasized. The strength of a building lies in its foundation. The main purpose of the foundation is to hold the structure above it and keep it upright.
In this parable, Jesus
gives us some wise words about the foundation of our lives: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine
and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the
rock.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat
against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the
rock.But everyone who hears these words of mine and
does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on
sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat
against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Our life foundation is crucial. We will face some storms in this
life, and may even need to rebuild. Sometimes the pressure to heed the world’s
advice and turn away from God’s words hits with hurricane force. At times, our
own feelings bombard us inwardly to do the opposite of God’s will.
But despite these tensions, the wise person will follow God’s words as a result of trust and thankfulness. God will bless the one whose life is built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. As we grow in trust and obedience, He will anchor our “house” in Him so that we are able to weather the storms. It is God who grows our hope and faith. The wise person is like the tree planted by the riverside, whose leaf does not wither (Psalm 1:1–3).
The Beatitudes describe traits that are the heart of the Christian way of life. They are characteristics we should bury deep within our souls. If we are living by the Beatitudes, then we will no longer be like the chameleon who easily blends in with its surroundings. Pursuit of living a godly lifestyle will result in standing out from those who live by the world’s standards.
Living a God-pleasing lifestyle will inevitably bring some hardship. Being different in a godly way will bring persecution.
In some areas of the world, following Jesus carries the death penalty. For those of us who live in the Western world, persecution might result in some form of harassment at school or work, or being bullied.
How does persecution bring blessing? Why would Jesus honor those who experience this pain in the eighth Beatitude? Who will undergo persecution and what is His promise to those who undergo this “honor”?