Saturday, October 08, 2016

Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:44, NKJV

Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Jesus continues His exhortation in Matthew 13 with two very similar parables which express the value of the kingdom of heaven.

Money! We all understand the value of money, do we not? Our world is consumed with the gathering of riches. Could there be, however, something of more value than money? That was exactly the point that Jesus was making in this parable.

Again, Jesus is telling a story that would be familiar to the common people. Don't we all like to hear stories of buried treasure? The very nature of buried treasure is that it is a surprise. This is not something for which we worked for years and years, but rather it is something we found quite unexpectedly. 

If a person finds buried treasure in a field, what does he do? First, he does not tell anyone. Second, he takes all of the money that he has and goes and buys that field, for now, he is the owner of that treasure. Now that is a great story with a perfect ending!

Jesus is telling the common people that that is what the kingdom of heaven is like. Rather than spend all of our lives seeking things of this earth, we need to spend all of our life seeking the things of eternity. The kingdom of heaven, according to Jesus, is greater than all of the riches found on this earth.

Do we, as believers, believe that? Are we spending our lives in service of the King of Kings, no matter what our particular occupation may be, or are we spending our lives trying to amass a great fortune? Unfortunately, even as believers, it is easy for us to get caught up in the wine of this world. We are often much more concerned about how others view us, keeping up with our neighbors, and planning for a great and plentiful retirement. We are less concerned about growing in our knowledge of the Lord, reading our Bibles, fellowshipping with God in prayer, and telling others about Christ.

Is the kingdom of God like a buried treasure to us? If not, let us find ourselves on our knees seeking the Lord Jesus Christ. These fleeting years will soon be past, and then all of us will stand before God Himself. What will He say to us? Will He say, "Welcome my good and faithful servant," or will He say, "Depart from Me for I never knew you."

It is a sobering thought!

Go, now, and by the grace of God, find that buried treasure!

God Bless You,

Friday, October 07, 2016

Parable of the Leaven

33 Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Matthew 13:33, NKJV

20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Luke 13:20-21, NKJV

Parable of the Leaven

The Parable of the Leaven is much like the Parable of the Mustard Seed. I think it is actually easier for us to understand today, however, than it was in the time of Christ.

What is the Kingdom of Heaven like? It is like leaven which is hidden in three measures of wheat.

Those of us who have baked bread understand this completely.  How much yeast goes in a batch of bread? Not very much--maybe just a tablespoon or two. Yet what happens if we forget the yeast? The bread will certainly not turn out very well, will it? 

Once the yeast is in the bread, can we see it? No! However, we can certainly see and smell its effects, can we not? 

During the time of Jesus, there were many religious people. As a matter of fact, the religious leaders made great pomp out of displaying their "righteousness" before the common people. However, the common people could not see into their hearts. They were not able to see if their hearts were ruled by sin or ruled by God, Himself.

Jesus did not have that problem. As the Son of God, He could see into their hearts. While not every single one of the religious leaders was corrupt, most of them were. As a matter of fact, there were so few true followers of God that the kingdom of heaven was like that leaven lost in the measures of wheat.  

Sadly, the same thing is happening in our day. Many of the largest churches of the land are filled with deceit and corruption. We have many religious people in America, but how many true saints of God do we have? 

God knows our heart of hearts. As believers, let us seek to spend our lives living and serving the Lord. Let us pray that we will not be consumed by the things of this world and the deceitfulness of sin, but rather, let us seek the glory of God, alone.

How can we ever be expected to tell the true believers from the false believers? How can we tell if a church is truly serving the Lord? Though we do not have the ability to see into the hearts of others, the Bible does tell us that, "By their fruits, you shall know them."

In other words, true believers seek to live their lives to the glory of God. In their heart of hearts, they seek to grow and to become more and more like Christ. There are many who claim to love the Lord and make a great show of serving Him on Sunday or in church. However, during the rest of the week, they are hard to tell apart from those who live for their own glory.

Let us not be deceived by the wine of this world. Let us not seek our own glory, power, or recognition. It is God we serve. May our lives bear His image in everything we think, say, and do.

God Bless You,

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Ten Years

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1, KJV

Ten Years

Today is just an informal chat. I am actually mostly retired. I am a piano teacher (that's my official day job), but I am slowly "teaching out" my high school students. This year I am down to five students.

I just wanted to let you know, although you probably have already noticed, that I don't always get new devotions up every day. 

I would love to hear from you and am always willing to hear what you would like to have me write in the future. 

My plan now is to continue on with the Parables of Jesus, and then continue with my devotions from the Book of Genesis.

I first began this blog in 2006, so I have been writing these devotions for 10 years! I have truly loved doing this--I am hoping you are half as blessed as I am. We live in a time when it is harder and harder to maintain a closeness with the Lord without being swept away by the culture in which we live.

My prayer for you is that you find the Lord to be everything you need and that you will diligently seek to remain close to Him.

I included Psalm 91:1 at the beginning of this post. I chose that verse as my life verse in 1969 when I was in Bible college. That verse has been so relevant and precious to me all of these years.

Go with the Lord. By His grace, seek to remain faithful to Him all of the days of your life.

God Bless You,

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
Matthew 13:31-32, NKJV

See also: Mark 4:30-32 and Luke 13:18-19

Parable of the Mustard Seed

In the passages above Jesus told another parable—this one is about a mustard seed. The mustard seed, which is one of the tiniest of all seeds, when planted, grew greater than all of the herbs and became a tree. It was so big that the birds of the air were able to come and nest in its branches.

What was Jesus trying to illustrate in this parable? Do not despise the day of small beginnings. Here we see Jesus speaking to His disciples. His words were new and hard to accept. Why? Jesus was speaking against the established Jewish church of the day.

What could they, just a handful of disciples do in comparison to the Jewish church of the day? Yet, God’s kingdom always grew from small beginnings.

Satan has so poisoned the hearts and minds of people that most turn away from the true teachings of the Word of God. Yet, from Abraham and Sarah, who only had one child, Isaac, God’s church grew. The Jewish people, however, rejected God. In the day of the disciples, the Jewish religious leaders also rejected Christ.

How could Jesus actually expect such a few men to go against the established teaching of the day? Jesus was showing them, that though they had a very small beginning, God would grow His church beginning with His small band of disciples.

The book of Acts verifies that, though the church was small, yet it grew surprisingly fast. In Acts 2, we have the account of Peter preaching to the people.

“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." . . . Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:38 & 41, NKJV)

What about God’s church in this, the 21st Century? By the grace of God, His Word has reached almost every country of the world. Indeed that little mustard seed, beginning with the disciples, has grown into a great church, worldwide.

Let us, by God’s grace, remain faithful to Him, reading and studying His Word and speaking to all of those we know about God’s saving grace. Even today, that little mustard seed is still growing.

What an amazing God we serve. In spite of great persecution in many parts of the world, His church is still growing. God guides, protects, and keeps His children. And, when their work for Him is done, He will bring them home to live with Him forever.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,