Is it valuable because of its monetary value? Is it valuable because of its relational value? Is it valuable because it is scarce? Is it valuable because it is rare? Is it valuable because its useful? Is it valuable because of its personal nature to you?
If it was money and you lost it all, how would you be? If it was a relationship and you lost it, how would you be? If it were scarce or rare and you lost it, how would you be? If it was useful and you lost it, how would you be? If it was personal and you lost it, how would you be?
What if you lost that but found Jesus? What if you started a relationship with Jesus and it triggered the loss? What if you started a relationship with Jesus and it helped you through the loss? Would you hold onto Him and have the same view as Paul?
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.–from Philippians 3
Paul speaks of this in comparison to who he had been and what he had been able to do with his old position and stature. When we realize that our most prized possession should be a relationship with Jesus, everything changes!
Throughout my life, I can remember moments when God intersected my life, but I kept missing the point that it was about rituals or routines, but that it was all about having a relationship with God! Be it when I was at university and felt the pull to get confirmed. Be it when I was going to be married and felt the pull to get married in the church. Be it going to church after moving into a new place and getting an invitation from a church we kept driving by daily that came in the mail. Be it that moment while at this new church when I realized it was about a relationship and my journey walking with Jesus began and my life has never been the same and many lives including my wife, my children, and those I have the pleasure interacting with on a daily basis thanks to Jesus who never gave up on me and kept knocking on the door to my heart until I opened it up and asked Him in. He has the ability to be with us through the highs and the lows.
He has the ability to bring peace beyond our circumstances — He can calm the storm or He can calm the storm in us or He can give us peace as we walk thru the storm.
Let’s consider this as we look into today’s reading from God’s Word…
Day 19: Bible In One Year 2017
Devotional, Psalm 11, Matthew 13:36-58, Genesis 38, Genesis 39
Today’s devotional (Day 19: Bible In One Year 2017) speaks to this with the following points…
1. The intimate presence of God
2. Knowing God’s Son
3. Experiencing God’s blessing
The intimate presence of God…Psalm 11:1-7
Throughout the Bible, we read of various people who have had to deal with incredible trials and troubles. We read from old testament to new testament how people sometime through their own words or actions and other times created from outside sources ran into troubles. We see though how having an intimate relationship with God makes a difference. In today’s Psalm, we hear from David who was given advice to run away…
1In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.2For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.3When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”4The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.5The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.6On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.7For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.–from Psalm 11
David answers with confidence because he had already run to God with the problem he was facing. His intimacy with God brought him a peace that went beyond understanding! (“In the Lord I take refuge.”) His trust in God starts and ends the Psalm when he finishes with “the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.” He was in the right place and even the structure of the psalm shows how being in an intimate relationship with God is crucial and how it makes all the difference in the world, no matter what is taking place in the world around.
Knowing God’s Son! — Matthew 13:36-58
Do you know Jesus? Have you started a relationship with Him yet? It will be the best thing that ever happened to you, if you will answer that still quiet voice and allow Him into your heart! You will be transformed from the inside out! You will be a new creation where the old is gone and the new has come!
36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. 47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.“Yes,” they replied. 52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” 53When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57And they took offense at him.But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” 58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. –from Matthew 13:36-58
I know this was so true to me when I learned the power of forgiveness. I was in such a hard place, a tough time where forgiveness for the things being done to me was the furthest thing in my mind, but in the midst of it all, Jesus didn’t want to leave me there and through it all I kept reading God’s Word and praying for answers. He had spoken forgiveness so many times but I could find excuses why I shouldn’t until that one day when I was at the end of my rope and extra pressures showed up and so I asked for help with those other pressures, but God knew me intimately and He knew that the bigger problem needed to be taken care of first before the new problem I was asking for could be handled. That day 7×70 came on the radio and God got my attention, Jesus was on message and wanted to break the chains of bitterness, anger, lies, deception, and unforgiveness!
Jesus is worth it! Having a relationship with Him is worth more than anything this world has to offer! It’s about starting a relationship with God and building an intimate relationship with Him!
As you can tell from my initial story I stumbled into this because of the invite to the Christmas production that came in the mail. Some people are searching though and find Him! Today’s reading even speaks of these two scenarios…
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
In the one case the man stumbled upon it and in the other case, the merchant was in pursuit. Not matter which one you are, when you find it your world will be transformed.
It goes beyond the temporary! It goes beyond the material possession! It’s real!
When we find Jesus, we find true joy, true treasure, and greater value than we could have ever found on our own or produced on our own! It’s not all about the money! It goes beyond the here and the now to the reality of what is going to last! It’s a relationship that will never end! It’s an intimacy where we get to spend the rest of eternity with God!
Take a look around you and see what is going on in this world. Do you or people around you ask questions like “if there is a god, why does he let this type of stuff happen” or “why doesn’t he just deal with it now”? In God’s Word we see how God’s grace and mercy speak to it…
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.
–from Matthew 13
A judgment will come! The book of Revelation provides us with insight into that end time! Today’s reading puts it this way…
36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. –from Matthew 13
47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. –from Matthew 13
Judgment is coming! Jesus warns of those who don’t turn to Jesus! those who cause sin and all who do evil! Whether we consider how:
They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Or we consider:
49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So let’s be found in Jesus! Let’s be in relationship with Him so that in the end we can be found righteous in Jesus’ righteousness!
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
So no matter how great or how troubling your times may be, we build our relationship with God and be transformed! We can see this in and through Joseph whose trust was in God!
Experiencing God’s blessing – Genesis 38:1-39:23
The devil is going to try and tempt us from doing what is right! The devil is going to try and see what buttons he can push in order to trip us up! So let’s walk with Him and talk with Him and allow Him to guide our path!
Judah and Tamar
1At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; 3she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.
6Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.
11Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.
12After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.
13When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.”
“And what will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked.
17“I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said.
“Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” she asked.
18He said, “What pledge should I give you?”
“Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.
20Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21He asked the men who lived there, “Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here,” they said.
22So he went back to Judah and said, “I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, ‘There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here.’ ”
23Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”
Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”
25As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”
26Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.
27When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez. 30Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.
–from Genesis 38
Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife
1Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
2The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
8But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
16She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
19When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
–from Genesis 39
We will all be tempted! How we handle it is where we can make a difference! Will you act on it? Will you avoid it? Will you resist it?
Today’s devotional closes with the following point…
Your circumstances may not be ideal. For example, you might feel like you are in prison – literally in prison, or confined like a prisoner in your job, a health issue, a difficult relationship or other circumstances. Yet in the midst of all this, if you stay faithful to God, you can experience his presence with you, his favour in the sight of others, and his blessing on your life. This is the ‘pearl… of great value’ (Matthew 13:45–46). This is your most valuable possession.