Tag Archives: treasure

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 4

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. -Luke 2:19, KJV

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The song “Mary, Did You Know” asks several questions about what Mary knew about her newborn Son before He grew up.

For most of those questions, the answer is basically “yes.” She may not have understood the full depth of things nor known of the specifics of how it would happen, but she thought about it.

She and Joseph wondered at shepherds and wealthy foreigners coming to visit this baby of hers. She heard prophecies about this boy growing up to bring peace and healing to faithful people of God, taking over the government, and suffering for the sins of the world.

And what does she do hearing all of this?

. . . but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. -Luke 2:51b

May we be a people who treasure God’s Word in our hearts and minds, pondering them and sharing the good news that Jesus has come to take away our sins, as prophesied, and is prophesied to come again for the full redemption of His faithful servants.

Lord Jesus, give us a love for Your Word, teaching us to memorize Scripture and share Your love and forgiveness, as well as Your immanent return.

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Vanishing Profits

Proverbs 21:6

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. (NIV)

I have worked with many dishonest people.

When I sold cell phones for a time, I worked with someone who was not afraid to stretch the truth to sell a phone.

“Of course you can set your own music as ringtones!” He would say for a device that does not play music.

“This phone will give you a signal everywhere you go!” He would say for an older device using old technology.

“You can return this anytime you want during your contract!” … Just not true after 30 days!

“I did not know you were their salesman!” He would say to the rest of us after putting a sale in his name.

Initially, he had great sales numbers. It looked like he was going to earn a great commission.

Unfortunately, most of his sales came back after customers realized they did not get what they wanted.

This meant his supposedly high commission was, in fact, quite low. Sometimes it was because the higher-ups in the company figured out he was stealing sales, and they would send the commission to those of us who earned them.

Taken Away

In Luke chapter 19, Jesus shares the parable of the minas, in which a nobleman travels and leaves his money in the care of some servants. Some grow his money while he is gone, but one simply hides it. Those who grew the money were given much responsibility, while the lazy one had everything taken away and given to the better servant.

In Matthew chapter seven, He shares that there will be many who speak and act in His name, but Jesus will tell them “I never knew you.” They are the ones who did everything for personal gain.

The reason these are all related is that in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus tells us to store up treasures in Heaven. We cannot store up treasures in Heaven if we lie through word and deed. If we do, all we think we have stored in Heaven, God will say “All the good you think you did is worthless, because it was a counterfeit.”

In this life or the next, we can lose everything through our dishonesty and selfishness.

Gracious God, forgive us of our deceitfulness and selfishness. Give us Your truth, and help us to be honest and grace-filled.


A New Pickle

Proverbs 10:2 

“Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.”

Stolen Treasure

In the summer of 2002, I was a volunteer room leader at Manville Camp. The speaker that year was Rev. Robert Pickle. This is a man few would expect to be a Christian by just looking at him. Rev. Pickle is over six feet tall with a pony-tail all the way down is back, he rides a motorcycle and has tattoos all over his body, and he is an ex-con.

Yet this is a very large man with a very large heart for Christ, a man who cries whenever he thinks of God’s amazing grace in his life.

He related a story to us that summer:

He was a wanted man … but not in the way most people would like. He was in a very violent motorcycle gang. He grew his own marijuana, made his own drugs, and had many guns and knives. He was not afraid to use those guns and knives, either. He had killed dozens of men. He made a lot of money from drugs and stealing. In his own words, “I stole money through wasted lives and from stores and people.”

Because all of his money came from drugs and stealing, he could not spend most of it in case it came from cops or could be traced from a robbery. He ended up burying millions of dollars around his property. He was arrested one day (another great story, I promise you!), and he is certain there is still at least hundreds of thousands of dollars left unfound on that property.

He could not spend the vast majority of the money he had. It was practically worthless.

New Treasure

Rev. Pickle loves to share his story because he was a self-made millionaire who could spend none of it. His treasures were literally laid up in the earth.

Now, he knows his treasure is in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). He knows he has been made a treasure in Christ (2 Corinthians 4). He knows that if Jesus Christ had not sought him out to make him righteous through the blood of Christ, he would be dead today.

That is the real point of today’s verse:

We can only find our righteousness in Jesus Christ. He is the only way we can find life.

As David said yesterday, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters.” With Christ in our lives, we will always finish this life well and enter eternal life.

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You sought us out to make a way for us through Jesus Christ. Draw us close, and show us real Life. Strengthen us in Your Holy Spirit to continually seek out Your righteousness. Help us to finish this life well – with You.


Listen and Receive

Proverbs 2:6-9

“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.”

Verse six seems to be the continuation of the thought started in the first five verses.

Solomon is saying “if you listen to me and seek the wisdom of God, you will find treasure – treasure that is found in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. But the crucial connection is “incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding.”

Listening

One of the hardest things for a child to do is listen to the widom of an elder. If you are a parent, or play one on T.V., then you know that teenagers are the worst offenders. Believe it or not, teens know everything. They have no desire to listen to instruction, especially if if goes against the grain of their vast experience.

But Solomon wants his son to understand that in order to grow in wisdom and understanding, especially without having to suffer needlessly, he needs to listen. And if he will listen to the Lord, wisdom and understanding will come from “out of his mouth.”

Access Granted

The Hebrew word that is translated in verse 7 as “layeth up” is tsaphan (Strong’s H6845).The idea is of something that is hidden, secret, inaccessible, and guarded. This means that true wisdom from God is not accessable by worldy or fleshly means. It can’t be mined or extracted from the soil of life. It hast to be heard.

An attentive, listening ear is all that is required to gain access to the secret treasures of the Almighty. They can’t be bought. They can’t be bargained for. They come at the expense of time and humilty.

Next Level

Much like the video games children (and too many adults with nothing better to do) play, where each level unlocked provides tools to succeed on the journey to the next, the storehouse of God’s wisdom provides what we need for the journey ahead.

Notice how that when accessed, God provides three things: a buckler (shield), divine protection, and understanding. He watches over our paths and gives us invaluable insight into the working of life. But He also give us a “buckler,” a shield, a piece of armour.

What most young people, and adults, fail to realize is that danger lurks aroung the corner. And no matter how straight God makes our path, He still wants us to bear a shield. His wisdom is a strong defense against the arrows and spears of the enemy.

The Buckler

Interestingly, though, the KJV translators used the the word buckler instead of shield. Why? Maybe it’s because a buckler is more than just a static, defensive piece of armor. A buckler was also a weapon. Bucklers were smaller shields which could be used not only to deflect the enemies blows, but could also be used as a “steel fist.”

Never forget that the same shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) which can “quench the firey darts of the wicked” can also be used to fight back. The tools God gives those who listen to Him will not only protect us, but will enable us to advance.

 

(originally published 4/09/12)


Vanishing Profits

Proverbs 21:6

The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. (NIV)

I have worked with many dishonest people.

When I sold cell phones for a time, I worked with someone who was not afraid to stretch the truth to sell a phone.

“Of course you can set your own music as ringtones!” He would say for a device that does not play music.

“This phone will give you a signal everywhere you go!” He would say for an older device using old technology.

“You can return this anytime you want during your contract!” … Just not true after 30 days!

“I did not know you were their salesman!” He would say to the rest of us after putting a sale in his name.

Initially, he had great sales numbers. It looked like he was going to earn a great commission.

Unfortunately, most of his sales came back after customers realized they did not get what they wanted.

This meant his supposedly high commission was, in fact, quite low. Sometimes it was because the higher-ups in the company figured out he was stealing sales, and they would send the commission to those of us who earned them.

Taken Away

In Luke chapter 19, Jesus shares the parable of the minas, in which a nobleman travels and leaves his money in the care of some servants. Some grow his money while he is gone, but one simply hides it. Those who grew the money were given much responsibility, while the lazy one had everything taken away and given to the better servant.

In Matthew chapter seven, He shares that there will be many who speak and act in His name, but Jesus will tell them “I never knew you.” They are the ones who did everything for personal gain.

The reason these are all related is that in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus tells us to store up treasures in Heaven. We cannot store up treasures in Heaven if we lie through word and deed. If we do, all we think we have stored in Heaven, God will say “All the good you think you did is worthless, because it was a counterfeit.”

In this life or the next, we can lose everything through our dishonesty and selfishness.

Gracious God, forgive us of our deceitfulness and selfishness. Give us Your truth, and help us to be honest and grace-filled.