Tag Archives: Treasure

Wednesday with John – Expectant

John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. 21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
This is a passage of contrasts: light/darkness, timing/location, testimony/witness, law/authority, and life/death.  Jesus purpose is to be the Light that reveals those contrasts are what make the difference between life and death. Jesus can rightly say “I judge no one” only because the Pharisees have already passed sentence on themselves.  Their human flaw was being willing to die by their own law rather than accept Jesus as the one God has sent to offer them life.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus spoke openly of the truth that His obedience to His Father would explain all those contrasts.  He purposely has chosen this time and this specific place; “I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

What does it say about people?
The choice is simple.  If you let the Law be your judge, don’t blame Jesus if you feel judged.   An expectant heart will…

Is there truth here for me?
This passage is part of the continuing record of the  Feast of Tabernacles.  This week is filled with expectant hope that this very week may usher in the reality of the Messianic Kingdom. There is something interesting about Jesus’s choice to speak in the “treasury.”  The treasury was the same place he’d confronted the money changers previously. Neither the timing or that location was an accident.  It was still the place where people would come to deposit their offerings.  It was also one of the most public places in the Temple. Jesus would have access to a lot of people who had come with those expectant hearts.  It would also give Him the protection of crowd cover to speak truth in a place where there was an expectation of ceremonial respect.  It reminded me of Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Wednesday with John – 3R’s

John 6:53-58 But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”  MSG

What is the general theme of the passage? 
Jesus compares His own body to the bread the crowd sees as necessary nourishment to improve their  life.  His revelation to them is they need more than physical bread.  Their responsibility is to cho0se to believe Jesus when He says “the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me.”  It’s a relationship that requires  remembering only two things — “Bread from Heaven” nourishes life AND that blood of Life establishes a two-way relationship; “you enter into me and I into you” to regenerate life, now, so living beyond beyond life later is a reality.

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Being in the presence of Jesus, God the man and God the Son, is the source of nourishment that will completely regenerate life.

What does it say about people?
“The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day.”

Is there truth here for me?
I would like to know what those people must have thought about what Jesus was teaching them.  Even a shadowy idea of living beyond the life they had would have some appeal right up to “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”  My logical reference point when I read those Words is Communion, so I share the treasure of my heart’s awareness of three things Jesus has given me to remember about the mystery of that truth.

3R’s of Communion
— Responsibility — Revelation — Regeneration—
Responsibility — Choice is my Responsibility. If I give Him the gift of my will and trust in this one small act that lasts just a few moments, He will live up to His responsibility, the promise to continue and complete His work in me.
Revelation — That’s the whole point of those two simple elements of communion. They are physical reminders of the body of Christ in my own body. That little bit of bread or wafer on the tongue is meant to remind me He will nourish His life in me. That small sip of wine or juice is how I remember it’s His life that lets me see my own need through His eyes.
Regeneration — The purpose of these few conscious moments is that Grace is being served with these elements. This is not just a beautiful ritual but a very real connection to the power of Christ to remind me of these things: I’ve chosen to give Him my gift, He will reveal Himself to me, and in me,
and these moments can nudge me one step closer
to what He has promised I will be.

3Rs of Communion 4_25_2022

 

Treasures God Creates our Blessings From

MSG Romans 12:1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Life is familiar, complicated and sometimes even confusing.  I want to honor God.  I want to be faithful.  I want to be obedient.  I want to do what’s right.  I want to be a good citizen.  I want to be a good wife. There’s nothing in that list I have’t failed at more than once.  There are just times when I need to hear: “So here’s what I want you to do…”  

As I thought about the rest of these two verses it reminded me of when our children were small [back in the olden days].  There were little handmade gifts often prompted by a teacher in school, maybe more a duty than the reality of their own hearts at the time.  Sometimes they were made of pieces of crumpled tissue paper in the shape of a heart glued to construction paper and decorated with their own shaky printing.  They were childish efforts meant to express some level of caring.  I saved them for many years and eventually some were returned to their “all grown-up” creators.  It was a way to let them know their simple gifts had been my treasures.

I think that must be how God deals with our offerings.  Ordinary life offerings may feel more like duty but they are the reality of our own heart right then.  They don’t have much material value but he saves them to be returned to you.  Our simple gifts are the treasures God creates our blessings from.

“So here’s what I want you to do…
• If the only way you honored God this week was to swallow some critical words rather than speak them…
•if the only way you were faithful was to open your Bible first even though you didn’t really feel the inspiration…
• if you did the right thing even when it wasn’t what you really wanted to do…
• if the whole political environment makes you want to gripe more than pray…
• if after decades of marriage you’re still in a slight period of adjustment…

Those are the crumpled pieces of tissue that are the shape of your heart at this moment.  Add your own shaky words of confession …”and place it before God as an offering…fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”

That’s the blessing that will be returned to you [soorner rather than later I hope].  It’s your treasure “pressed down, shaken together, and running over” to remind you how priceless a childish gift really is to God.  Amen!

The Red Thread – The “One Thing”

Mark 10
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 21… “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Isn’t it odd for Jesus to ask “Why do you call me good?” The reality is even the perfect son of God recognized how flawed the human perception of goodness is…even when it comes to approaching God. We can’t help but evaluate God’s promised goodness by His performance. That’s tricky to navigate in the history of the Bible and in our own lives. Jesus asked the rich young man to do more than make the choice between possessions and poverty. The “one thing” he lacked was the ability to see his treasure was the reality of a future with God beyond his own goodness.

One Last Time…

NASB Romans 8:Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The whole chapter of Romans 8 and especially these verses are part of the treasure of my life of faith. They are the reality of a very special dream I had. I don’t know how much credence you give to dreams but this one changed my life as a relatively new believer more than half a lifetime ago.

Jesus had come to take me to see something with him. I felt secure. I was with him and he held my hand as we looked together at a grotesque museum-like head and shoulders statue on a pedestal sitting alone in the room. It wasn’t until we were leaving and I turned to look again at that ugly thing…one last time…that I saw it was me.

I awakened from the dream with an actual physical feeling of love for Jesus. He loved me enough to hold my hand until I understood that ugly statue was no longer me. That dream became My Love Song for him. There are more lyrics and I hope I still have them written down…somewhere…but this verse and chorus are the response of a full heart I will always remember.

My Love Song
You came to me in a dream and showed me what I could be
You taught me that I could love myself because of your love for me
And now I’m ready to share what I’ve learned
Of how filling your love can be
Through the miracle of love set to music
Flowing from you through me.

This is my love song for you Lord.
I sing it for the joy of loving you.
The words and the music you have placed in my heart
Are the gift that I give now to you.
You are the beat and the rhythm.
You are the lyric and tune.
You are the music singing in my heart
You are the song.

God’s Safety Deposit Box

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The phrase that got my attention this morning is “your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” It’s that word “hidden” that made me wonder – is it the old life, the new life, or both that’s hidden…And why?

Most of us would like at least part of our old life to be hidden. That’s where those “earthly things” before “Christ, who is your life” are. Why would that old life with those scars be worth hiding “with Christ in God?” Why not just throw it away?

How about that “new life?” We get to live with new realities and new options where responses can be based on transformation not old information. Why would we want anything about this life hidden?

Maybe it’s God’s Safety Deposit Box! It’s odd, but those scars may be part of the treasure that has been hidden there “for” your future, not just “from” your past. God has kept you safe and finds valuable purpose in your new life even with scars. They’re your proof that he has kept you safe, and they’re your witness.
√ John 20:27 Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

God’s Safety Deposit Box is where every proof of your inheritance, your treasure, is hidden and protected from loss. It continues to grow and you continue to receive its dividends; the new realities, new options and responses in your daily life.
√ I Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope…4 …an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.