And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)
This parable of Jesus is just like my mother’s decorating style. Her home is filled with treasures over 50 years old, trinkets she’s enjoyed since she and Daddy first set up house. But sprinkled in with the old are some favorite things that are new – figurines she picked up at a little store in the mountains, or a lamp she bought to go with the new couch. She still treasures the old, but she makes room for the new.
We greatly treasure Scripture stories of what God has done through the centuries, in the lives of people like Abraham and Sarah, King David, Peter, John, and the Apostle Paul. But God is still working today! He is still pouring down blessings from heaven, and what He is doing today is just as treasured in the kingdom of heaven as what He has done in days past. What new treasures is God preparing for you as you serve in His kingdom?
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
God commands us to pray for our leaders, and our nation’s politicians greatly need God’s leadership in their lives. Let’s take some direction from God’s instructions in this passage.
– Pray for all men, not just your favorite politicians. Pray with a pure heart.
– God’s answer to our prayers for our leaders can result in quiet, peaceful lives lived in godliness. Make this the aim of your prayers for our nation, and not just financial prosperity or celebration that your party might beat the opponent.
– Even in the topic of praying for political leaders, God draws a link between God-led leaders and more people being saved through Jesus Christ. God’s desire is that all people come to faith in Jesus, and ultimately that is our motivation in praying for America’s leaders. America needs salvation.
Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. (Psalm 119:24)
What are the testimonies of God? They are the stories of His faithfulness. They are the promises in His Word. They are the words of counsel in Scripture. His Word testifies to us about who He is. When we seek a counselor, we’re looking for someone to assure us that everything’s going to be okay, and to counsel us on the direction we should go. Let the stories and testaments of Scripture assure you that what God has done for others, He will do for you, and He will guide you onto the right path.
Want to know more about who God is? Have you considered a nature walk?
Romans 1:20 teaches, “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” Open your eyes and see His glory and power in all He has made. What can nature teach you about the Creator who also made you?
If I cooked greasy food more often, I probably would actually eat it less. When I sit down at a restaurant and they bring my greasy food on a plate, I don’t think so much about what I’m about to put into my mouth. But if I had to slab that fatty, greasy mess in the fryer myself, I would probably eat more carrot sticks.
Here’s what the Psalmist says about the proud: The proud have forged a lie against me…their heart is as fat as grease (Psalm 119:69-70). What a graphic image of the unhealthy heart of the proud! Pride leaves us spiritually gasping for breath because our sinful pride clogs our hearts. Pray for God to cleanse you of pride so that the pure love of Jesus can flow freely through your heart.
Do you allow yourself to rest? If you’re zealous about serving the Lord, rest can be elusive, maybe even devalued because you don’t want to be lazy. But note that when God spoke to Moses, one of the busiest men of Scripture, God said to Moses, “‘I will give you rest'” (Exodus 33:14). And Jesus said to any who would follow Him, “‘I will give you rest'” (Matthew 11:28). Take a rest. It’s a gift we receive directly from the Lord.
That you…may be able to comprehend… the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:17-19).
We talk a lot about how much God loves other people. We speak of His love to comfort the mourning, to encourage the struggling, to woo the lost…but today, let’s dwell on how much God loves us. Think about it and say it out loud: “God loves ME!”
Many a homeowner has learned this the hard way: what you put off today becomes a much bigger problem tomorrow. The more we neglect one problem, the need for one house repair compounds into several repairs, and sometimes results in permanent structural damage.
God only gives us one body to make it through our journey in this world. If we’re going to serve the Lord with all our might, we’ve got to maintain and repair this earthly vessel. If God is nudging you to go to the doctor or make a lifestyle adjustment, obey His leadership.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
A huge unexpected blessing from God actually shook my faith recently. I was in the grocery line with my children, watching the total creep toward $80 when suddenly the cashier exclaimed, “Oh wow! You’re going to get your groceries for free today!” That good news was quickly followed by me asking how in the world that was possible, to which she explained it was a promotion that allowed randomly selected customers to win free groceries. I was stunned by this gift, and also very thankful that they didn’t haul out balloons and line me up against the wall to take my photo since it was one of those days when I snuck in the grocery store with no makeup!
As I was transferring the groceries from the buggy into my car, I started feeling…I’m so ashamed to say it…guilty. Some poor widow or young family needed these groceries more than me. Some precious struggling pastor’s wife deserved this sweet surprise more than me. Some mother who can barely feed her children…then a voice from heaven spoke into my heart. “Just stop.” Why couldn’t I just accept this gift from God with joy? Why always does the guilt trip have to show up? When I’m winning free groceries, or taking in a power nap, or enjoying a sunset with my husband, why must I kill the joy with this self-inflicting guilt?
Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). If God sends you a sweet gift today, take it. Be thankful. Accept the fact that God loves you, too, and He delights in you.