Christian

The $64,000 Question

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8 NIV

On July 6, I published a post titled “Where is Your Treasure?” It is based on Jesus’ words,

“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 NIV

Emma posed this question, “Any advice for someone who needs to be able to support themselves financially and yet, also needs to be careful about how much time is spent on working towards (worldly) success?”

That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Let’s examine God’s Word to find the answer.

The Pharisees asked Jesus’s disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11) Jesus answered,

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 NIV

Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6 which explains the meaning of the verse a little more.

“I want you to show love,
    not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
    more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 NLT

I think Jesus is teaching that we can’t live by a set of rules to be checked off. To please God, we must know God, and allow God to change us into the likeness of Christ. Later, the Apostle Paul writes,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

We please God when we seek to be like Him through prayer, Bible study , and obedience.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men . . . It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:17 NIV

That tells me that I should do my job with all my heart, as if I was working for the Lord. If we are honest, conscientious, hard-working, and kind to those we work with, it is a testimony to others. Jesus said,

“. . . let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is . . . giving, then give generously” Romans 12:6-8 NIV

My Thoughts

I believe the answer to Emma’s question is different for every person. Based on my study, here are some thoughts for you to consider as you study God’s Word.

  • We all have responsibilities, some more that others. Some have a family to provide for, others do not. I certainly don’t think the Lord calls everyone to live in poverty. Some are given the ministry of giving. How could they give if they didn’t have resources?
  • We need to be aware of what our spending says about us. If I wear $1,000 sneakers while those around me have holes in their shoes, then something’s not right. I must continually ask God to purify my heart. On the other hand, if I dress similarly to other people I work with, well that seems appropriate.
  • If my job keeps me so busy that I don’t attend church and don’t have time to read my Bible, something needs to change because I am not being obedient to what God has said in His Word.
  • If I make a lot of money, but I am a generous giver, helping those in need and seeking God’s will in giving, well that seems right to me. If I make a lot of money and spend it all on lavish gifts for myself, I need to start reading my Bible!

Prayer

Father, Help me to be more like Jesus. Give me a hunger for your Holy Word and teach me to pray. Create a pure heart in me that I might be pleasing in your sight. I want to know you and walk in love with those around me. Give me a heart like David, a man after your own heart. Then I will know how to walk in your ways and bring honor and glory to your precious name. Amen

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, today. Your thoughts and comments are welcomed and appreciated.

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

The Holy Spirit, Our Helper

I went to my office, laid my head down on my Bible and sighed in defeat, “Lord, I don’t know what to do.” As soon as the words slipped from my mouth, I remembered something that I had read earlier in the day.

When King Jehoshaphat was warned that a vast army was coming against him, he was alarmed and resolved to inquire of the Lord. He called a fast for all of Judah and the people came together to seek God.

King Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly and cried out to God in prayer. He ends the prayer with these words:

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you!” 2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

I quickly found the passage in my Bible and read it over and over. God was telling me what to do: Keep my eyes on Him! I can do that! Immediately my anxiety melted away. My fear disappeared and I felt the comfort only God can provide.

I also remembered, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 NIV

What does it mean to keep your eyes on the Lord? Here are some thoughts.

  1. Acknowledge that you can’t fix this in your own strength. Jehoshaphat knew that he was in for a battle that he was not strong enough to win and he didn’t know what to do. The enemy was getting closer every minute.
  2. When we realize that it isn’t within our own ability to fix the problem, only then can we really depend completely on the Lord.
  3. These kinds of opportunities will stretch our faith and bring us closer to God.

You might be wondering what happened to King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah when they fixed their eyes on the Lord instead of the problem.

This is what the Lord said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. (v15) Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. . . Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”(v17)

“Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. . .Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord . . . ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.’ As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” (v18&21)

Take away: They depended completely on the Lord. They worshipped Him. They thanked Him. They praised Him. The Lord threw their enemies into confusion and they were defeated.

Read more about Jehoshaphat’s battle here. (2 Chronicles 20:1-30)

When our battle is too hard, let us fix our eyes on Jesus. Let us worship His holiness, thank Him, praise Him, and give Him glory. When you read God’s Word, God Himself will teach you and encourage you because He says,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 NIV

Thank you for letting me share my journey with you, today. Comments are welcomed and appreciated.

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

Where Is Your Treasure?

Are we me-centric or Christ-centric? In other words, does what I believe about God focus on what’s in it for me, or does it focus on Christ?

From Genesis to Revelation, everything in the Bible points to Christ and God’s plan to bring salvation to a lost and dying world. The Bible teaches us to die to our old self and become a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says,

“He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

The more I study the Bible, the more I see that it isn’t about how God will make us rich, happy and without hardship in this life, for this life is just a whisper. It’s about our life to come, with Jesus in Heaven. In this life, we should strive to be more like Jesus, love God with all our heart, and love our neighbor as ourself.

It’s easy to get caught up in teaching that is all about this life and finding fulfillment and happiness in the here and now. After all, that’s what people want to hear. It’s very appealing and draws huge crowds. But is that what Jesus taught? In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus told the crowds,

“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.”

This changes our focus from this present life to the life that is to come, with Christ in Heaven. We must ask ourselves this question, “Where is my treasure?”

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

BITTERNESS: This Heart Condition Is Worse Than You Think

I was eavesdropping on a conversation recently (couldn’t help it – I was at the hair salon!) Anyway, one lady was complaining about her husband and another woman. The stylist listened attentively and threw in an occassional “Ohhh!” or “No!!” The complaining lady was really angry (and I could see why!)

I couldn’t stop thinking about what I overheard because it related to the subject of today’s post. When we’ve been deeply hurt and can’t forgive, it will lead to bitterness of heart.

The problem with bitterness is that, even though your anger and resentment may be justified, it will destroy you. Stephen Diamond, Ph.D.,  describes bitterness as “a chronic and pervasive state of smoldering resentment,” and deservedly regards it as “one of the most destructive and toxic of human emotions.”

He says, ” if we repeatedly ruminate over how we’ve been victimized, our “nursing” our wrongs may eventually come to define some essential part of who we are. Take hold of our very personality. And so we’ll end up becoming victims not so much of anyone else but, principally, of ourselves.”

Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

Since a root is the hidden part of a plant or tree, we can think of a bitter root as being the hidden source of bitterness. What is the seed from which that bitter root sprouts in our heart? It’s that tiny speck of unforgiveness, that tiny speck of indignation that we allow to remain in our hearts. It’s that tiny speck of resentment that we justify in our mind.

Let’s call this tree Bitterness. The function of it’s roots are the same as other roots. Roots can keep a tree in place for hundreds of years and nothing can move it . Winds and storms won’t dislodge it!

Secondly, the roots nourish the tree to make sure it keeps growing stronger and stronger.

And lastly, roots can cause trouble when they grow where they aren’t wanted – like when they invade water pipes or sewer systems.

Is it any wonder that God used the analogy of roots when warning us about bitterness? But where He gives a warning, he provides an answer.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NIV

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1 NIV

As we humbly come to Him, seeking His way and His will, God will provide the grace to forgive and let go. Many times, the injustice we must forgive cannot be forgiven in our own strength, but God’s grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) And what is the opposite of bitterness? Contentment, Happiness, Sweetness! That is God’s plan for you.

“Grace be with you all.” (2 Timothy 4:22 NIV)

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

Think You Can’t Hang On?

Is your heart breaking? Are you in deep despair? Is depression crushing you? Even when you think you can’t hang on, God will hang on to you. No matter what life is throwing at you, no matter how weak your faith might be right now, God will hold you fast.

How do I know? I know because He has done this for me. It has been over 60 years since I asked Jesus to be my Savior. Through many trials, through many sorrows, through all my many failings, He never let me go.

He never said, “That’s it! I’m done with her. She’s gone too far now. Enough is enough!”

When I doubted, He held me fast. When I rebelled, He held me fast. When I went astray, He held me fast. When I was in deep despair, He held me fast. When my heart was broken, He held me fast. This is why I love Him and why I praise Him unashamedly.

It is when I acknowledged my own shortcomings, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses that I grasped the depth of His great love and forgiveness and understood just how much I really need Him.

If you are searching for love, forgiveness, and mercy, come to Jesus. His love surpasses all understanding. He loves you, yes you.

Scripture for Meditation

“If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there … Your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:10)

“Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

“You are not your own;  you were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

1st Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

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Christian

When a Preacher Laughs at “Religious People”

With a broad grin, the young preacher said, “I did it because I knew religious people wouldn’t like it!” And the audience chuckled.

I’ve heard this before many times and in different words – preachers poking fun at their Christian brothers and sisters referring to them as “religious people”. It’s meant as a put-down to Christians in mainstream churches and it assures the audience that they have one up on the “unenlightened”.

I must speak out about about this because it should be a red flag. It has certainly become a red flag to me.

What does being religious really mean? According to Websters Dictionary, it means: scrupulously and conscientiously faithful, fervent, zealous.

That sounds admirable to me, but what these preachers are really saying is “religious” people are not in tune with our superior revelation of the Scripture.

In some churches, being “religious” has taken on a whole new meaning. It has become a put-down that comes from a spirit of pride and self-importance and it serves an important purpose. It labels all those faithful Christians who have walked with God and studied God’s Word for many years as people who don’t understand what we understand.

In effect, Christians who might caution you about false teaching are literally disinfranchised from the conversation.

It’s our human nature to want to feel smart. People like to feel like they know more, and have inside information others don’t have. It’s a seduction and it’s the oldest trick in the book.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:1-6 NIV

When I started writing this post today, I really didn’t want to discuss this topic again. (Is that all she thinks about?) So I decided to read for a while, thinking maybe God would lead me in a different direction. Instead, I came across an article that said, “To critics of discernment in general (Oh, discerners are unloving and way too judgmental.), I would say that silence is compliance. ” Pastor Larry Debruyn

If silence is compliance, then I must speak out. If you see a red flag, let it be a warning!

Unsound teaching calls out to anyone with Internet. Hopefully, you’ve never heard these kind of remarks and have no idea what I’m talking about, but if you do – examine carefully what is being taught. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, today. Comments are welcomed and appreciated.

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

Daily Scripture, 6/4/19

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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