Treasures in Heaven

There are many things in life that become foundational to us  like money, careers and family. And, with the advent of this pandemic we have become more clingy to those things that we have to the point where is looking more like obsession than anything else. And, though these things are important and needed we leave one for the other(Mt23:23). Churches are looking more like a past time then a need. We need God’s kingdom.(Mt6:33) We need that relationship with God like if our lives dependent it on.  Jesus said that man can not live on bread alone but he needs the word of God (Mt4:4). Now, there is this need of protection and feeling safe that; at least a great number of, people are not willing to compromise and have become like treasures. Jesus said that when we need to store riches in heaven (Mt6:19-21), but these heavenly riches are not being prioritized as essentials. When the pandemic hit governments made everyone believe that essentials such as  food, water and distancing were the only ones we needed. 

Mark 10:20-22

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

This young man had his religious life in tack along with his prosperity, but his most essential asset that was above anything else was his prosperity. His treasure chest was filled with finances and riches and it was the closest to his heart. His riches could not completely fill the void or lack inside of him, and so Jesus told him that he was lacking. So, the question that comes to mind is, what thing have we taken to fill that void? In order for this young man to fill his void, Jesus recommended that he sold his possessions and give it to the poor. Storing treasures in heaven fills a void that we have, but what are some of the treasures that we can store in heaven? Well, for this young man the act of selling and giving of his riches was one treasure. A sign of obsession and greed is grief, and this young man became grieved when he was told to become detached from his earthly treasure.

Jesus said that people should not practice their righteousness in front of other people, because otherwise they will not receive recompense from the Father (Mt6:1-3); our giving should be discrete. The act of storing deals with releasing with the intent for the purpose of preserving and receiving. Jesus spoke of this guy who noticed that his gains was increasing, and so he decided to tear down his barns and build new ones. And, just when he finished that he felt satisfied with how he was storing, his soul was being requested (lk12:19-21). 

Verse 1

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you  ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

]]verse 2

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 4:4
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’a]

verse 3

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rusta] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

verse 4

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Espanol

 

sadness and joy

We are all prone to displaying sadness in our lives, and for whatever reason that it may come from each and everyone of us react differently to it. Some of us will openly display our sadness with crying and a broken demeaner, but some will do their very best to hide it by behaving angry or extremely happy. Either way sadness is something that none of us can avoid. And, sadness can paralyze one to the point of death. David experienced many days of sorrow (ps13:2). One thing is for sure, sadness tells when something is wrong and it is not pleasing in our lives. Sadness triggers others to try to cheer us up, and it brings out the best on others. It makes the heart better, the bible says (ecc7:3). When something is taken away from us, of which we are fond off sadness will fill our hearts; as what happened when Jesus told his disciples that he was leaving (Jh16:5-6). 

 

John 16:16

16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

 

In God sorrow lasts only for a little while and the reason for this is because we have the Holy Spirit. Normally, according to scientist sadness last 240 times longer then any other emotion. Jesus told his disciples that it was good for him to go, because otherwise he could not send the comforter (Jh16:7). It is through the Holy Spirit that we receive a super natural joy that will automatically turn away sadness from us; it is a fruit (Ga5:22). David said “you turned my morning into dancing” (ps30:11), so he questioned his soul; why are you so downcast, trust in God (ps42:5). There is hope in God that whatever is making us sad it will turn into joy, and Jesus told this to his disciples that that of which they had lost was coming back to them in John 16:22. 

Verse 1

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

verse 2

Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

verse 3

But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

verse 4

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Espanol

 

We all find ourselves fighting battles that arise unexpectedly or expected. Whether, it is a family ordeal, a work problem or spiritual battles come and some we lose and some we lose. But, because most of the times battles catch us unexpected, we put up the dukes and fight without planning or thinking. Without thinking that the battles are the Lords, we engage or run, kind of like in the story of David and Goliath, where we find the king helplessly trying to find a man who will beat the giant, but David knew that the battle was the Lord’s (1Sam17:45). Seeking the Lord in times of battle is how we fight our battles. God has a reputation of being a might warrior whom has never lost a battle, and when the battles are to big for us we turn our trust to him and he will fight. Just like in the times of king Hezekiah when the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem (Is37:5-7) God assured him that he would take care of it. Our battles are not too big for the Lord. He goes before us treading down our enemies and preparing victorious moments for us, and many times we do not even recognize that it was him. God tells through Moses the people that he will fight for them (ex14:14).

Joshua 24:  12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow.

Joshua begins reminding the people of Israel all the victories that God had in advance done for them such as calling Abraham and giving him countless seeds and lands, delivering the people out of Egypt and out of bondage. God had turned the curses from Balaam into blessings for the people of Israel and delivered them from the hand of destruction. Without, the people asking or thinking about it God went ahead of them making a way for them and bringing their enemies down for them. So, Joshua brings all to a stop and encourages the people to throw away all their idols reminding them all that God had done in advance; because he is faithful, and questioning them who will they serve (Josh24:14-16). The idea that God goes before us taking out our enemies and preparing our victories is amazing. Isaiah tells us that God will go and make the crooked straight that he will break the bronze gates for us (Is45:2).

What do we normally do when our world is turned upside down? Who do we question, God? In fact, the majority of us at some point or another during the tribulation we direct or indirect question God as to why those tumultuous moments. No one wants hard times, and if we had the chance; of which some do we get to run even though we would still not be able to escape. Luke tells us in Hebrews 12:8 that if we do not undergo hard times or discipline we cannot be his children; God’s children. We should not be too surprised when hard times come, I mean who isn’t, after all we are not all that different (1Pt4:12). When God wants to shake us up and call unto our attention he does so in many ways especially with tribulations and trials. Paul tells us that we should rejoice in trials, because they produce patience (Rom5:3-4). Hard moments come no matter what, and we cannot escape, but it is preferably that we stand.

Acts 8:1 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Back in the times of the early church since a great growth out broke, many of the members we getting content and were not out reaching to neighboring communities. So, God allowed a critical persecution to erupt to the point that we noticed the death of Stephen and the rise of Paul the persecutor. The members of the church could not stand the persecution and so they fled preaching the gospel everywhere they went; except for the apostles. And, so I questioned why did the apostles not leave the city, were not they too persecuted? The apostles learned first hand not to run when they were persecuted for the cause of Christ. They saw when Jesus stood up face to face after healing a man who was invalid and laid near a pool to the religious and conquered (Jh5:16-18). The disciples also saw when the religious people confronted Jesus about he claiming that he was the bread of life and that they needed to eat it if they wanted to enter to the kingdom of God (Jh6:41-44). Jesus set an example of still standing after the persecution when he mentioned John the Baptist as a reed in the desert (Mat11:7-9). The promise that tribulation or hard times is secure (Jh16:33), but if we stand they will pass.

When we were kids we used to play hide and seek at picnics and on the street where we used to live. Every kid in the block loved to play with hide and seek. We used to hide under cars, climb trees, slip into backyards, between houses; there was not a place we hid within our neighborhood. And, the last kid found in the game of hide and seek was the winner. There is something intriguing about secret things to man. We love to search out things that are not uncovered to us, that is why we have NASA. When God gave wisdom to Solomon the first thing that he did was search out matters about foolishness of the wicked (ecc7:25). The quest to find things is at the center of our hearts. So, when we are sick, because we do not know why we are sick we begin a quest to find out what we have and we do not stop until we find an answer. Take for instance the women with the issue of blood (Mt9:20), that she spent all of her money trying to find a cure and it wasn’t until she decided to touch the hem of Jesus’ clothes that she recovered.  God loves to hide things from us.

Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
    to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

Because God knows our every needs and that we love to search things out, he tends to make us search by hiding. It is to his glory to conceal a matter. Now, he knows how long we can endure searching and that is why he said that to him that seeks he will find (Mt7:8). The scriptures tells us that nothing hides from God, even those secret things we keep (Jer24:23); they belong to him (Deut29:29). Now, a component to helping us find out the secret things of God*(Mt6;6); say your healing, is prayer, Amos says that God reveals his secrets to his faithful (Am3:7).  When God conceals a matter it is only for us to recognize that he is in control and therefore, it is in his hands. 

Being apart of the Kingdom of God is essential especially since the promise for entering is eternal life with God. But, in order for one to really be apart of something complete knowledge of that thing is important. So, if you were asked how do you or anyone goes to heaven? What would you say? Many if asked what do you have to do to go to heaven, the answer they say is maybe be good, do good to others. But, in order for anyone to go to heaven they have to see what is it like and with many error religions out there, the taste for the kingdom; well, it’s just not there. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (ps.34:8), the bible tells us. How do we know the difference between the kingdom of God and all the other kingdom? There has to be an experience or an identifier or something that tells us this is it. Jesus told Nicodemus that no one can see the kingdom unless he is born again (Jhn3:3).

John 3:1-3

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[

Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a member of one of the most religious sects in those times, and he had the earthly knowledge and expectation that the messiah was coming and that signs and wonders were to follow him. Christ’s testimony proceeded him; Jesus rose people from the dead, he healed the sick, and gave sight to the blind, so Nicodemus had all the evidence he needed to be convinced that he was who he was. But, he was intimidated by his religious sect so he came to Jesus by night, Nicodemus did not have the complete experience with Christ because he had not been born again. In order for one to be born again and be able to see the kingdom of God one needs to taste the word, the Psalmist said “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps119:103). Part of the problem with many Christians that come to church is that they have never been born again. God told Ezekiel to eat the scroll and when he ate it, it tasted like honey (Ez.3:3). Ezekiel needed the word in him in order to complete the mission he was called for. It is important that we are born again and that of the water and of the spirit (Jhn. 3:5-6) lest we fall back. Now, being born out of water is a symbolic sign of repentance and being born out of the spirit is more complicated. Being born out of the spirit, Jesus said produces the things which deal with the spirit not the things which pertain to the flesh. But, so many Christians today become engaged to the things of the flesh, and become entangled again with sin. So, Luke tells us that we need to not allow sin to entangle (Heb.12:1), because when we do the sacrifice of the cross becomes void (Heb. 6:3-6).

While the information age is well on its go and we are getting bombarded with it via various means like video, text and audio. Still retention is a problem in education and in everyday life with people of all ages. Forgetfulness, can come due to brain illness, or due to normal everyday problems. For example, transience where you forget things over time, or Absentmindedness when you do not pay close attention to what is being presented.  Then there is blocking where you have the answer in the tip of your tongue, but can’t articulated and Bias which because of your perception belief, experience and prior knowledge of something you have difficulties recalling something (Forgetfulness). Forgetfulness affects what God is going to do in our lives. David questions God’s wonders and righteousness on our memory as a place of forgetfulness (ps88:12). Luke reminds us that we should not be forgetful of doing good because that pleases God (Heb13:16). Jesus mentions the idea of a person who has ears to hear several times in the New Testament like in the parable of the sower Luke 8:8.

Luke 8:11-15
 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

The parable of the sower is about listening to God’s word and things that affect its progress. Jesus speaks to the people most of the time in parables and was expecting his disciples to already be able to understand them; since they were most of the time with him.  Jesus explains the parable depicting four types of listeners. The first type of listener is similar to the seed that fell near the way side of which as soon as they hear the word the devil took it away;  Absentmindedness (v15). Now, how does the devil takes away the word from our minds? Distractions is one of the tools Satan uses to take way the word from our minds. Like it happened to Martha while she was distracted serving people forgot to take part of the most important thing which was the word that Jesus was sharing (Lk10:40). Those whom the word fell on like the rocky road received the word with gladness and lasted until they were tested, but because they are transience did not have any roots they fell away; we need to be rooted in Christ (Col2:7). The word that fell on thorns is compared to those who listen to the word, but because of their bias and cares of life allow it to be choked and do not grow. Last, the seed that landed on good ground they hear the word and no matter what they will make it grow.

Prayer is a powerful resource for the believer. The bible tells us that we should pray all the time, that if we ask anything without doubting we should receive it. Prayer is practiced in mostly all religions in the world.  Prayer is recommended by many doctors as a means of releasing stress and help with some mental illnesses. Now, across the spectrum giving to the needed and making donations also is mentioned in the bible as important, it says that if anyone asks for your coat to give him the clothes off your back too. The bible also says that we should bring our tithes to store house and God will open the windows of heaven and pour blessing on the giver, that God blesses a cheerful giver. So, prayer and giving are of most essential to our relationship with God. Now, both prayer and giving are meant to compliment each other, doing one with out the other is a half way point, and so they should be done together. When prayer and giving are done together they complete the perfect remembrance sacrifice before God to move on our behalf.

Acts 10

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

Now, Cornelius was not a Jew or part of God’s people back in those days, he was just a believer doing what he thought would please God. He spent lots of time praying and giving alms to the poor. Now, the giving of Alms in the NT incorporated three exercises almsgiving, prayer and fasting and Cornelius was doing just that. He spent time praying, giving to the poor and fasting, and Cornelius’ time to receive a blessing not expected. All of Cornelius prayers and alms finally came before God and God moved bring Peter with the word and pouring the Holy Spirit on him and all that believed in his family.

Both prayer and giving of alms come with rewards from God and from men. The rewards from men are temporary and can be taken away (Mt. 6:19-21) and can void the rewards from God (Mt. 6:1-4). God’s rewards are sure, they cannot be taken away or lost. God sent the angel to Cornelius and commissioned Peter on Cornelius behalf. Now, God can not be bought (Act 8:20), that is his gift, but he can be moved and with prayer and alms.  Many of want God to move on our behalf and give us what we are asking for, and God might not give us what we are asking but will give us the Spirit which will guide us to what we want.

Persecution comes to everyone, no matter what social class, creed, gender or color moments of despair brought out by someone else or some system will come. Now, persecution usually comes because of one’s belief and though it usually comes from another bodily person, it does also come from our enemy of the soul; a spirit. Persecution or pressure is also a tool that God uses to draw his people to closer to him and to do what he has already planned. There are those few of us that do not respond to well to persecution and will give in and submit, but there are those of us who will press even harder and will not give in. Persecution most of the time will come unexpected and most of the time when all things are fine and dandy. King Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty king of Babylon and had his kingdom running smooth as it could be, even the captives slaves from the Jews were fine. One night the king had a dream, but the dream in the morning when he woke up was completely forgotten. The impact of this dream was so powerful that the king woke up tormented, but the funny thing was that he forgot the entire dream. So, he called all the wise men from this kingdom and tasked them to tell him the dream and the interpretation; something that was absurd for no other king in the history of man asked such a thing. And, so the persecution began, the king ordered to execute all the wise men in his kingdom, for no one could give him the dream and its interpretation; that is until Daniel understood the demand.

Daniel 2:17-18

17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel and his Jewish friends were living calm life at Babylon until the reason for urgency came about. God put this urgent feeling in Daniel and his friends to seek him. It is such as the state of the church; living a complacent and calm life, that now a days God is putting an urgent feeling for what is to come in us. It was as such urgency with the people of Nineveh in the times of Jonah as Daniel, that it took the threat of being destroyed by God through the preaching of Jonah for them to urgently seek God (Jon3:8). The same happened in the book of Acts when the first church was established, that they were calm and complacent with no problems. That Saul (Paul) ordered the execution of Stephan, and such brought out the Christians who were living complacently to go and leave their homes and preach the gospel (Acts 11:19). Paul spoke of this urgency of the day of salvation to the church in Romans 13:11 “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed”.  The purpose of the dream of king Nebuchadnezzar was to develop in him an urgency of the kingdom of God which was coming, like the day of Salvation mentioned by Paul, and it was not going to have an end like his kingdom would (Dan2:44) it will never die. The kingdom of God will never end, but the day of Salvation is really close to come, and so we need to be ready.

 

The quest for honor has been on a decline for years. People today do not really care of what other’s think about them. Honor begins with what others think about you, especially those around us. Honor is given in two fashions; vertical and horizontal . Vertical honor is given to someone as praise and esteem who is superior, where as horizontal is given to someone who is equal. An example of vertical is giving praise and honor unto Jesus by a certain centurion in Luke 7. His esteem was so that he did not count himself worthy to come before Jesus, and this centurion’s servant received healing for act of honor towards the Lord. A man whom Jesus healed along with nine other came and bowed down before him in honor and respect and praise Jesus for the miracle (Lk. 17:15-19).  What causes one not to be honored? Sometimes, the things we say, the way we conduct ourselves, or someone else; just because, cause dishonor to come (ecc. 10:1).

Mark 6:3-4

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

Jesus came ready to show his marvelous earth wonders to his home town, probably excited to see his siblings, their friends and the family. As he begins to speak immediately the questioning of his deity surfaces. And, while his divine jargon is being acknowledge, yet he is dishonored. Jesus’ sisters are part of problem; they were with or in agreement with the crowd. It was so, that he could hardly do any wonders, just several healing by the laying of hands.  There was neither vertical nor horizontal honor displayed towards Jesus at his home town. As prophesied Isaiah “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not”(Is.53:3).  Jesus can do exceedingly beyond what we can think or imagine, but if we can not honor him horizontally and believe then he cannot do (eph. 3:20).  God is our provider. He has made it a point to satisfy you with every good thing, and, so therefore we need to honor him with our substances (prv. 3:9). God is the one who heals all our infirmities (Is. 53:4, 1Pt.2:24).   Honor the Lord.