I am always blessed to sit under the ministry of Jeff Hlavin! These are some of my notes from his message Calvary Assembly of God on Sunday, but you really should watch the whole message.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)
There are at least two possible perspectives about the meaning and the application of these two parables:
First Perspective: Jesus is the One who finds and seeks.
The field is the world, and Jesus paid the price for the whole field/world to be His.
Second Perspective: We are the ones doing the discovering.
Jesus provides Himself as the Treasure of treasures. So taking up our cross to follow Him is not a morbid thing. There is overwhelming joy because of the extravagant treasure that is ours when we do so!
1. It’s about our response to discovering His Kingdom.
2. It’s about our appropriate response to His Kingdom.
3. It’s about the whole-hearted appropriate response which the Kingdom of God requires.
4. It’s about the value of His Kingdom.
5. It’s about the primacy of His Kingdom.
Both individuals are alike in that…
Oswald Chambers mastered the art of stimulating deep thinking and introspection with just a few short statements. Run Today’s Race is designed to be read each day for a full year. Trust me, the short seed thoughts you read each morning will keep you thinking all day long. Check out my full book review by clicking here.
“It is a great moment when we realize we have the power to trample on certain moods, a tremendous emancipation to get rid of every kind of self-consciousness and heed only one thing: the relationship between God and myself.”
“It is easy to turn our religious life into a cathedral for beautiful memories, but there are feet to be washed, hard flints to be walked over, people to be fed. Very few of us go there, but that is the way the Son of God went.”
“Prayer with most of us is turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communion with God. It is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says—‘Every one that asketh receiveth.’”
“There is only one purpose for your life, and that is the satisfaction of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“If there is the tiniest grudge in your mind against any one, from that second, your spiritual penetration into the knowledge of God stops.”
“We have judged our fellow men as sinners. If God should judge us like that we would be in hell. God judges us through the marvelous Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
“God delights to put me in a place where He can make me wealthy. ‘Follow Me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.’”
“The more complicated the actual conditions are, the more delightfully joyful it is to see God open up His way through.”
“When we try to reserve our strength it works out in weariness. Spend to the hilt all we have got and God’s recreating power is greater than all the expended power.”
“My personal life may be crowded with small, petty incidents altogether unnoticeable and mean [commonplace], but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God and when I stand and face to face with God I shall discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed.”
“Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.”
“One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.”
“As long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor until he does. The mainspring of [the Apostle] Paul’s service is not love for men but love for Jesus Christ.”
“As long as the devil can keep us terrified of thinking, he will always limit the work of God in our souls.”
“By prayer and Bible reading and meditation, the drab life (drab externally) has glorious holiday hours with God in which the soul is restored even in the valley of deep darkness.”
More quotes coming soon, so stay tuned.
“One of the greatest mercies God bestows upon us is His not permitting our inclinations and opportunities to meet. Have you not sometimes noticed that when you had the inclination to a sin there has been no opportunity, and when the opportunity has presented itself you have had no inclination towards it? satan’s principal aim with believers is to bring their appetites and his temptations together….” —Charles Spurgeon
“In a very real sense, we are what we love. … What we treasure in our heart will be what we seek in life and what we become in fact. … What we most love, therefore, tells us something about the condition of our hearts. If the best part of our spiritual and physical energies are invested in making a good living—if being materially well-off is the treasure we seek—then this will be evidence of a heart which believes it can only be satisfied by the enjoyment of things and the realization of every whim.” —T.M. Moore
“Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins. So let us turn our eyes fixed on the precious and very great promises of God. Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight—to live by faith in future grace.” —John Piper
“This third Person is called, in technical language, the Holy Ghost or the ‘spirit’ of God. Do not be worried or surprised if you find it (or Him) rather vaguer or more shadowy in your mind than the other two [Father and Son]. I think there is a reason why that must be so. In the Christian life you are not usually looking at Him: He is always acting through you. If you think of the Father as something ‘out there,’ in front of you, and of the Son as someone standing at your side, helping you to pray, trying to turn you into another son, then you have to think of the third Person as something inside you, or behind you. Perhaps some people might find it easier to begin with the third Person and work backwards. God is love, and that love works through men—especially through the whole community of Christians. But this spirit of love is, from all eternity, a love going on between the Father and Son.” —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Max Lucado reminds us of the original terrorist.
Lenny Esposito shares 3 problems for atheism.
Good reminders: 5 things married couples should do every day.
[VIDEO] George Will explains campaign finance “reform” in a way I haven’t heard anyone else say it—
“The message that needs to be shouted from the houses of high finance is this: Secular man, you are not nearly hedonistic enough! Quit being satisfied with the little 5 percent yields of pleasure that get eaten up by the moths of inflation and the rust of death. Invest in the blue-chip, high-yield, divinely insured security of heaven. Devoting a life to material comforts and thrills is like throwing money down a rat hole. But investing a life in the labor of love yields dividends of joy unsurpassed and unending: ‘Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. [And thus] provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail.’ (Luke 12:33)” —John Piper
When you are reading your Bible, you can be praying your Bible too. Here are 4 prayers for Bible reading.
A good reminder from George Whitefield on what will cause Christianity to flourish.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading Purple Fish (you can read my book review by clicking here), and now I’m looking forward to sharing with others about this eye-opening book. To start with, here are a few quotes from the author of Purple Fish, Mark O. Wilson.
“We write off people too quickly as lost causes when we thought to consider them lost treasures instead.”
“In God’s grand redemption story, we humans are created for good, broken by sin, redeemed by grace, and sent to bless and heal.”
“The love of marriage, joys of childhood, and peace of home are all snippets of Eden, pointing to our original creation.”
“Evangelism is simply how followers of Jesus interact with the world. It’s not a program or a project; it’s a life.”
“God loves us too much to waste our painful experiences. He salvages our shame and redeems our regrets. The place of great pain becomes the place of great gain. When Jesus steps in, His healing touch changes the entire outcome. Jesus mends us to send us—joining Him in the greatest adventure on earth. Salvation joy overflows. We can’t help but share this with others.”
“We are more inclined to look up when things are looking down. … Painful experiences open the soul’s windows. … Christ stands as the solid rock for those overwhelmed by uncertainties.”
“Someone who crosses boundaries without permission is trespassing. Stepping into space where hospitality is not extended is rude and intrusive. When it comes to faith sharing, there are several layers of permission giving, and you should not trespass beyond the area you have been invited to enter. Knock gently and then follow the hints from the other person concerning how deep the conversation goes.”
“If you start with lost, then your job is to set them straight. That means you know something and they don’t. In other words, you assume you’re smart and they’re stupid. But when you start with hurting, your job is to bring healing. … When we begin with healing, we follow the Jesus path and find a strong connection. Distressed people will avoid you if they perceive you are trying to change or correct them. If, on the other hand, through kind words, gentle touch, and understanding, you bring healing and grace to their painful situations, they will seek you out.”
“Does our worldview leave room for the supernatural? Is God truly present and active in our lives? Can He really guide us by the Holy Spirit? If you only listen to your rational side, the answer is no, and you won’t see much in the supernatural department. You’ll accomplish good things, of course, but won’t experience anything marvelous. Those who believe in miracles are much more likely to experience them.”
There’s a quote from Becky Pippert right near the beginning of Mark O. Wilson’s book Purple Fish that sets the tone for the whole book: “Christians and non-Christians have something in common: we are both uptight about evangelism.”
My question is: why? And that’s Mark’s question as well. So Mark uses a candid look at his own journey of discovery, personal stories, thoughts from Scripture, and insights from others to slowly, surely change our paradigm about what “evangelism” really means for a Christian.
The idea of a “purple fish” relates to a fantastic treasure (but you’ll learn more as you read this fascinating book). Let me also add that Mark Wilson is a fisherman, and uses tons of fishing analogies that other sportsmen will really relate to. But whether you enjoy fishing or not, there is so much to appreciate in this book about how Mark makes Christians excited about sharing their faith every single day.
I’m looking forward to reading and discussing this book with lots of other folks!
Finally! President Obama met with Naghmeh Abedini about her imprisoned husband. Pastor Saaed has been held illegally in Iran for far too long!
Dave Barringer has some good advice for married couples in 8 Things To Evict From Your Mind.
“A quiet time with God is very similar to a special date. Denalyn and I like to go to the same restaurants over and over again. When we’re there we remember special moments we’ve shared before. Our hearts open up. We talk to each other. We listen, we laugh, and sometimes we cry. I love those times! So does God. A quiet time with God is very similar to a special date. Here are some tools to help you keep your date with Him special. Select a slot in your schedule and claim it for God. Take as much time as you need. Your time with God should last long enough for you to say what you want and for God to say what he wants. Bring an open Bible—God’s Word, His love letter to you. Bring a listening heart and listen to the Lover of your soul. Make sure your date with God is on the calendar, and do everything in your power to keep it special!” —Max Lucado
“Are you seeking day by day to live above worldliness, the love of the things of the world, and the ensnaring greed which they nourish? Remember, it is for this that you have been enriched with the treasures of God.” —Charles Spurgeon
Some great information: Understand The Same-Sex Marriage Issue.
“All paths lead to God, but only one path will present you before God without fault and with great joy. Pick a path, any path—it will take you to God. Trust me: you will stand before Him one day. You will meet your Maker. You will see the face of Christ. There are many ways up the mountain, but only one will result in life instead of destruction.” —Kevin DeYoung
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.
Our Broken Treasures
It is a revelation of pure joyousness in which the child of God pours into the Father’s bosom the cares which give pain and anxiety that He may solve the difficulties. Too often we imagine that God lives in a place where He only repairs our broken treasures, but Jesus reveals that it is quite otherwise; He discerns all our difficulties and solves them before us.
We are not beggars on the one hand or spiritual customers on the other; we are God’s children, and we just stay before Him with our broken treasures or our pain and watch Him mend or heal in such a way that we understand Him better.
From Christian Disciplines
I think we sometimes forget the infinite capacity of our Heavenly Father. He is All-Loving: no one has ever—or can ever—love more completely and deeply than He does. He is also All-Powerful: there isn’t anything that limits His potency. What an amazing combination! If God were only loving but not powerful, we couldn’t be sure He was able to answer our prayer. If God were only powerful but not loving, we wouldn’t be comfortable about bringing our concerns to Him.
But He is Both! And as such, we should have such rock-solid confidence that He not only can answer prayer, but that He wants to answer prayer. He answers, as Oswald Chambers says, in ways that reveal more of His nature to us, so that we can understand Him better and better through each answered prayer.
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
I absolutely love this quote from Albert Einstein —
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
This is so right on. And can be so sad.
I run into so many people that have this terrible message playing over and over and over in their minds, “I’m stupid … I’m worthless … I don’t have any talent ….”
Perhaps we need to find some water for these fishes!
Get it? Instead of trying to change people’s wrong perspective of themselves, let’s get them set up for success. Help them discover where they are a genius … where they are invaluable … where they are talented.
Gotta go… I have a few fishes I need to point to water. Want to join me?