Tag Archives: treasure

Exodus 25-27; Psalm 90; Philippians 1

Everyone could play a part. From metal workers, wood workers, designers/decorators, fabric tamers–they constructed the Tabernacle supports, curtains, lampstand, table, utensils and the Ark of the Covenant. And if they weren’t a worker in the effort, they could still contribute.

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. (Exodus 25:1-2, NLT)

Involvement was a choice of heart. They worked together, doing their part, bringing their best–in reverence and in love.

Teach me, Lord.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

I have a different translation of Psalm 90:12 on top of a page where I’ve narrowed my focus in the coming months to cultivate areas of my life that need tending. I’m glad to see it here today, reminding me. Reminding me.

You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. (Psalm 90:5a, NLT)

One thing I learned last year in handling my dad’s estate is that what (we) leave behind reveals what mattered to (us). (Oh, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!)

Heart, work, purpose, passion. Paul is in prison. His words are marked with thanks, joy, and faith.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. (Philippians 1:9-11, NLT, emphasis mine)

He looks at where he is and sees purpose–not cause for complaint.

12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. (Philippians 1:12-14, NLT)

I reexamine my position, my posture, my purpose.

27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it. (Philippians 1:27-30, NLT)

Every day, Lord, you remind me I am free. You call me to walk in freedom. You tell me I am yours, my home is with you, my portion is you.

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
    so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. (Psalm 90:14, NLT)

Courtney (66books365)

 

 

 

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2 Chronicles 7; 2 John 1; Habakkuk 2; Luke 21

This contrast of offerings. One to the Lord, overflowing. Joyful.

Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions. (2 Chronicles 7:7, NLT, emphasis added)

Another, selfish gain.

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—
indeed, wine betrays him;
    he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
    and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
    and takes captive all the peoples.

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
    How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
    Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it. (Habakkuk 2:4-11, NLT, emphasis added)

Offerings.

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4, NLT)

This year I felt that time was not my own. I have felt pulled by responsibilities, and often physically and emotionally depleted. It is December, and I wonder where the time went. Oh, but this:

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. (Luke 21:37-38, NLT)

Each day, He still teaches. In the early mornings, I want to be right at his feet. He frames my purpose and gives direction and I am reminded–it is all His anyway: time, talent, treasure. If I feel depleted, will He not fill me again? If I abide in Him, will this branch be fruitless and wither?

I laugh to think that time was mine to keep.

Could my offerings (of time, talent, treasure) ever be so large that the altar I made couldn’t hold them?

Lord, may my offerings to you be given in joy. You are sovereign.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Leviticus 17; Psalms 20,21; Proverbs 31; 1 Timothy 2

In this day, everything seems public. Social media and reality TV have made the private things famous. But as I read about the virtuous and capable wife in Proverbs 31, I know there was no TV crew following her around, spying on and magnifying her every move. The things that were done in this woman’s life were largely done in private, not in front of an audience. She’s always seemed larger than life to me when I’ve read about her in the past, but as I began to study her and her character, she is not a superstar. She is a servant at heart.

There are no adoring fans around her while she’s spinning her wool.

She’s not in it for public approval for stocking her pantry or getting up before dawn to plan out a day.

She’s savvy, crafty, generous–and true to how she’s wired, making the most of her time, talent and treasure.

And her fashion? Yeah, she’s got dresses of fine linen and purple; but she’s also clothed in strength and dignity.

A friend invited me into a 31-day character study of Proverbs 31, a book called Famous in Heaven and at Home by Michelle Myers (not compensated to mention this book). It took my attention off all the to-do’s and revealed the heart behind it–one of kindness and love.

My days can feel overwhelming if I look at all the items to check off on my list. But if I consider the why behind the what, the burden lifts and there is joy and contentment. Why am I doing the things I do? To love my family and friends. To honor God.

Lord, always help me to keep a right perspective when approaching my tasks. Then I will see the hidden treasure. Help me to be true to who you’ve made me to be–not seeking approval of man, but finding freedom and joy and abundance in living my life for you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Numbers 26-29; Luke 2

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go up to this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people.’ ” Numbers 27:12-13.

Moses knew that his time on earth was growing short as he looked over into the Promised Land that he would never enter. What did he feel? Sorrow? Remorse? Gratitude? Peace? I am not sure, but I imagine that he considered those long years of toil and duress, deliverance and wandering. God was making and molding his people all that time and all the while calling Moses into an intimacy with Him that terrified others. What did Moses treasure his last hours on earth? I think it was his friendship with God, his family and friends and his love for a stubborn people.

Luke gave us a peek into Mary’s head and heart:

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

“But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:19…51

The wonder of God made man, her son Jesus, must have filled her right up to her last days and carried her through the darkest of times. Jesus taught about treasures:

” Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

What I ponder, what I treasure defines me. It fills me, be it positive or negative. Painful times may come, as they did for Moses and Mary, but that which they treasured is what I remember them for.

Lord, capture my heart and attention so that you are my treasure. Cause me to “ponder” and wonder at who you are and how you move. Keep my affections from wandering off to places where they don’t belong. May I be filled with your joy and gratitude for what is real, what is true, You.

Klueh

 

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Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

When he walked into the room and saw me, his face lit up. He walked into a room of family and friends and it was his birthday celebration, and yet when he looked at me, his face lit up. I saw it and held that image in my heart.

“Did you see his face when he saw you?” my husband asked. Oh, he had noticed it too! And then my tears.

It was my dear friend’s 75th birthday, and all I could do was cry. He made his way around the room, greeting guests, but he spent the longest time with me. He pulled up a chair next to me, and we were head to head, and he talked to me like I was the only one in the room. I cried because I loved him so much. I couldn’t hold it back, and I tried–I mean, who cries through parties?! He calls me his daughter, and he and his wife treat my family like we are their own.

I always thought the story of the woman crying at the Lord’s feet was unsettling. It made me uncomfortable.

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. Luke 7:36-38, NLT.

That day celebrating my friend, the tears that wouldn’t stop, the overflowing of love for him–I suddenly got it. I went home that day and cried some more and wrote him a letter from my heart, sat at a desk crying as I realized God’s deep love for me, modeled through a man who calls me daughter.

These Deuteronomy verses are dear to me, and I read them with fresh perspective, being on the other side of a promise–a promised land, with streams and pools of water, of grapevines and pomegranates, olive oil and copper in the hills. In my notes, I write down what stands out to me: (OT) teach kids, land (provision), remember God (praise, love, obey, fear), blessing, he makes a way; (NT) signs and miracles, healing and forgiveness, the woman’s tears, “Your faith has saved you.”

I remember His signs and miracles in my life, His provision, His love for me (adoption and forgiveness of sins).

For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.

“The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you …” Deuteronomy 7:6-7a, NLT.

Father God, thank you for loving me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 42-43; Matthew 13:33-58

…He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you…” Genesis 43:23

When I go into the villages to share the gospel, I often tell a story of hidden treasure:

Every day a farmer goes to the landowner’s fields with his ox and plow to work the land. Every day he guides his ox up one row and down another. It is a boring job that he can do almost without paying attention.

He plows each row, daydreaming about the things he’d love to be doing if he had the chance. Up and down. Up and down.

THUMP!

Shocked out of his fantasies, he wondered what the plow had hit. He left the ox and plow where they stood and walked a few steps back to the spot.

He knelt down in the dirt, and with his hand slowly began moving away the soil. Piece by piece…lump by lump…until his fingers touched a hard object at the bottom of the hole he had dug. He pulled an iron pot out of the earth. It was small, black and dirty. He lifted the lid and looked into the vessel.

He was amazed at what he saw.

He looked around to see if anyone was watching. When he saw that he was alone, he reached into the pot and pulled out gold and silver. He pulled out diamonds and rubies and emeralds and sapphires and pearls and other gems he didn’t even have names for. There was more treasure in the small pot then he could ever imagine.

He quickly put the treasure back into the pot, closing the lid tightly. He put the pot back into the earth. Then he covered the pot with the soil and put a stone above the place to mark it. He walked to the ox and plow and started to work again.

The whole rest of the day he couldn’t stop thinking about what he had found. The treasure amounted to a fortune that he could never earn. He couldn’t just take it; that would be stealing. By evening, he knew what he had to do.

The next day he sold his family cow, and the goats, and the chickens. His sons were irritated when they saw their inheritance was gone. Then he sold all of the things inside his hut – the sleeping mats, the blankets and pillows, even the cooking pots. His daughters were annoyed that they no longer had a dowry. And last, he sold his hut. His wife was outraged that their family was now homeless. Everyone in the village thought he’d gone crazy. But he didn’t care. He knew something that they didn’t.

He took the small amount of money he’d been able to collect to the man who hired him to plow the land each day.

“It’s not a lot of money, but it is everything I have to give. Will you sell this land to me?” He asked.

The piece of land the farmer asked to buy was small compared to some of the landowner’s other plots. Though there was a trickling stream running through the corner of the land, the earth there wasn’t strong or healthy and it had never given a profitable harvest. The landowner thought the farmer was a little peculiar but agreed to the price and sold him the land.

The farmer immediately walked to the field he now owned. He went to the spot he’d marked with the stone and swiftly uncovered the treasure that now belonged to him. He was full of joy at the great gift that he had found. And he couldn’t wait to share the good news with his family.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

The greatest treasure I have ever found is the gift of Christ’s sacrifice for me on the cross, His death and resurrection…salvation. It is what allows me to truly experience joy, and I have given everything I have to have access to that treasure.

And at the same time, I believe that Jesus looked at me as the treasure, covered in muck and miry clay, hidden in sin. He wanted me to be His for eternity, so He gave up everything, sold it all joyfully, so that He could buy the field I was buried in and claim me as His own.

Yesappa, Thank You…

Blessings – Julie (written in Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 Chronicles 35; Revelation 21; Malachi 3; John 20

At eight years old, Josiah was a young king. He lived to be about twenty-six. A large portion of his short life was spent in seeking and serving the Lord. Today’s reading is a detailed description of the Passover. My takeaway word: wholehearted.

18 Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. 19 This Passover celebration took place in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign. 2 Chronicles 35:18-19 NLT.

I am left with a sobering impression: ancestors who had done evil; Josiah’s desire to seek the Lord; his obedience to God; his wholehearted living.

Malachi 3 speaks of the Lord’s coming, of his call to return and repent. I hear the bewilderment of the responses: “When did we ever leave you?”; “How did we ever cheat you?”; “What have we said against you?”

14 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’”

The Lord’s Promise of Mercy

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name.

17 “They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Malachi 3:14-18 NLT.

Its antonym is lukewarm. Half-hearted. Grudging.

Josiah’s ancestors were known by how they lived, and so was Josiah.

So am I.

Those who seek the Lord and fear him are known by him as special treasure, his children.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. Revelation 21:3-7 NLT.

A Father, my Father.

17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” John 20:17 NLT

This is the God I serve. Nothing, nothing, is worthy of my whole heart but him.

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Purpose of the Book

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. John 20:27-31 NLT.

Courtney (66books365)

**My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has journeyed through the Bible in a year with us in 2013. Plans are already made for next year–I hope you’ll join us for a new reading plan (ESV: Through the Bible in a Year) and new voices joining us here.**

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