Are You Investing in Heaven? Earthly investments stay here when you leave, but eternal investments will be with you forever.
Treasures in Heaven Matthew 6:21
…20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19
Madame Blueberry, Veggie Tales heroine of materialism, loves shopping at the “Stuff-mart.” Her problem, however, is that her treetop cottage soon becomes so overstuffed that the tree collapses under the weight of it all.
We can experience a similar situation. Our families suffer if we place material gain above spouses and children. When the day is done, our energies may be spent and little time may be left to pour out at home.
The strength of the work of Jesus may be compromised as well. The promise of quick credit and plastic cash leaves us in bondage to debt, which disables our support of the kingdom of God. Living for financial and material gain means living for the realm of empty treasures, where “moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19)—leaving few leftover resources to support worthy causes. Sometimes too late, we realize that precious things have collapsed under the weight of our own greed.
Thousands of missionaries retire each year. Who is going to replenish the mission fields? All over North America, our children are growing up just like us, choosing their careers based on how they can make the most money and on what will help them achieve the highest standard of living as quickly as possible. What of the many workers who will be needed to win the world to Jesus? Who will go? Who will support them?
We need to be on guard lest our pursuit of a hollow prosperity threatens to weaken the supply line of eternity. Jesus calls us to live above earthly things, to treasure the eternal things of His kingdom. When we pour our resources into His kingdom, it’s the best investment we can make. No matter what the world may tell us, eternal investments yield better dividends.
- What treasures have I stored up on earth?
- How can I pursue God’s kingdom rather than my own?
|SEPTEMBER 9, 2015
Headed in the Wrong Direction
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
I anxiously glanced at the clock thinking, If I leave now I’ll still make it on time.
This wasn’t a meeting I could comfortably slip into if I were late … because I was the speaker!
Grabbing my purse, I headed for the garage door when I thought I heard bleating. Yes, bleating, as in a noise coming from a very small animal.
What in the world? I have no idea what that is, but I’m late! Trying to put the strange noise out of my mind, I kept heading toward my car. But try as I might, my heart wouldn’t let me ignore the sad sound, no matter how late it was going to make me.
I turned around and made my way closer to the tiny cry. There, next to our backyard gate, stood the tiniest of fawns. This precious little thing couldn’t have been more than a couple hours old, as it wavered on tiny legs.
On the other side of the fence stood the object of the baby’s sorrow — his mother. They were separated by the fence, and the baby was trapped. He couldn’t get to her and she had no way of getting him out of our backyard.
This wasn’t the first time a little one has been born in our yard. I believe deer spot the cool shade of our woods and decide our yard is the perfect place to give birth. But our yard is not as it seems. When the baby is born and the mother hops back over the fence, her fawn is trapped, alone and without care and protection.
Our yard may appear safe and peaceful to an adult animal, but to an infant it is anything but. I wondered: How many times have I unknowingly jumped into a situation I deemed safe only to get caught where I should not have been?Things like:
… Entering benign conversations, where my speech takes a wrong turn and I find myself gossiping.
… Bored or stressed, as I make my way to my pantry only to indulge in foods that harm, rather than help, my body.
… Wanting to guide my child, when I speak words meant to bring discernment, but instead bring damage.
Today’s key verse warns us, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). Sometimes, we can feel like we’re doing the right thing, like the mother deer, when in fact, we’re heading in a wrong direction. How can we know what’s right?
Jesus promised us in John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (NIV).
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide. We need Him. We need His guidance to make wise choices and not become trapped by sin that hurts us and damages our relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit is with us, available all day long, with the wisdom we need to live the rich and satisfying life Jesus wants for us. Our part is to listen for His direction.
After making a few phone calls to animal experts, I was instructed to pick up the fawn and lift him over the gate to safety. He didn’t struggle as I gently lifted him from the ground and delivered him back to his mother. I am so thankful that in my life, as I listen to the Holy Spirit, He too, lifts me up and helps deliver me out of the traps I get myself in.
And yes, thankfully, I did make my speaking engagement just in time.
Holy Spirit, I invite You today, to guide and instruct me. Help me not simply choose what seems best to me, but teach me to listen for Your guidance so I can make wise choices. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Streams in the Desert
“Not much earth” (Matt. 13:5).
Shallow! It would seem from the teaching of this parable that we have something to do with the soil. The fruitful seed fell into “good and honest hearts.” I suppose the shallow people are the soil without much earth–those who have no real purpose, are moved by a tender appeal, a good sermon, a pathetic melody, and at first it looks as if they would amount to something; but not much earth–no depth, no deep, honest purpose, no earnest desire to know duty in order to do it. Let us look after the soil of our hearts.
When a Roman soldier was told by his guide that if he insisted on taking a certain journey it would probably be fatal, he answered, “It is necessary for me to go; it is not necessary for me to live.”
This was depth. When we are convicted something like that we shall come to something. The shallow nature lives in its impulses, its impressions, its intuitions, its instincts, and very largely its surroundings. The profound character looks beyond all these, and moves steadily on, sailing past all storms and clouds into the clear sunshine which is always on the other side, and waiting for the afterwards which always brings the reversion of sorrow, seeming defeat and failure.
When God has deepened us, then He can give us His deeper truths, His profoundest secrets, and His mightier trusts. Lord, lead me into the depths of Thy life and save me from a shallow experience!
On to broader fields of holy vision;
On to loftier heights of faith and love;
Onward, upward, apprehending wholly,
All for which He calls thee from above.
–A. B. Simpson
By: Charles Spurgeon
“I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
There are different translations of these words. One version renders it, “I will shew thee great and fortified things.” Another, “Great and reserved things.” Now, there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers. We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. There are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen: God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which he takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers. Prevailing prayer is victorious over the God of mercy, “By his strength he had power with God: yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us.” Prevailing prayer takes the Christian to Carmel, and enables him to cover heaven with clouds of blessing, and earth with floods of mercy. Prevailing prayer bears the Christian aloft to Pisgah, and shows him the inheritance reserved; it elevates us to Tabor and transfigures us, till in the likeness of his Lord, as he is, so are we also in this world. If you would reach to something higher than ordinary grovelling experience, look to the Rock that is higher than you, and gaze with the eye of faith through the window of importunate prayer. When you open the window on your side, it will not be bolted on the other.
“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment.”
These representatives of the saints in heaven are said to be around the throne. In the passage in Canticles, where Solomon sings of the King sitting at his table, some render it “a round table.” From this, some expositors, I think, without straining the text, have said, “There is an equality among the saints.” That idea is conveyed by the equal nearness of the four and twenty elders. The condition of glorified spirits in heaven is that of nearness to Christ, clear vision of his glory, constant access to his court, and familiar fellowship with his person: nor is there any difference in this respect between one saint and another, but all the people of God, apostles, martyrs, ministers, or private and obscure Christians, shall all be seated near the throne, where they shall forever gaze upon their exalted Lord, and be satisfied with his love. They shall all be near to Christ, all ravished with his love, all eating and drinking at the same table with him, all equally beloved as his favourites and friends even if not all equally rewarded as servants.
Let believers on earth imitate the saints in heaven in their nearness to Christ. Let us on earth be as the elders are in heaven, sitting around the throne. May Christ be the object of our thoughts, the centre of our lives. How can we endure to live at such a distance from our Beloved? Lord Jesus, draw us nearer to thyself. Say unto us, “Abide in me, and I in you”; and permit us to sing, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.”
O lift me higher, nearer thee,
And as I rise more pure and meet,
O let my soul’s humility
Make me lie lower at thy feet;
Less trusting self, the more I prove
The blessed comfort of thy love.