Seeking Treasure?

Treasures of the Deep
Treasures of the Deep by Laura Kestly

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom & knowledge of God! –Romans 11:33—

One would be foolish to stay in the shallows–Deep calls unto deep.

I recently went to opening day at a large flea market in our area with one of my sons. The excitement of finding something unique, fun or valuable is something we both love.  It’s not always easy as the best ‘finds’ usually require some searching and digging.

We live in very superficial times (concerned only with what is obvious or apparent: not thorough or complete)—from believing “fake” and “really, really fake” news to having Facebook ‘friends’ that we often only know on the surface. Much like fool’s gold—at a quick glance it looks like real gold due to its metallic luster & pale brass-yellow hue but on closer examination it’s only pyrite, an iron sulfide.

The artist Georgia O’Keeffe, known for her paintings of enlarged flowers said this, “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time-like to have a friend takes time.”

Today’s society has little patience or desire to really listen, observe & ponder things beyond the exterior. Our Creator, God has made it apparent to those who’ll look & think past the surface regarding His invisible nature, eternal power & deity through the things that He’s made that are visible in His creation (if we’d only notice) (Rom. 1:19-20; Ps. 19).  It’s only the fool that says in his/her heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). This same fool wouldn’t say of their ‘smart’ phone (comprised of software, hardware, an ability to work with a cellular network, apps & other ’bells & whistles’) that behind it wasn’t a purposeful engineer, designer, maker or inventor, but rather ‘It just happened’.  So then what should a person be called who is surrounded with much more evidence in the natural world like the sun, moon and stars to the intricacy of a beautiful flower or even the complex systems of cellular, mechanical, physical, bio-electrical & biochemical components that allow their own body to function?—perhaps a really, really fool indeed.

               But this is exactly what has happened, “they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds, animals or reptiles…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie (really, really fake news) and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” The consequences of their choices led them down a dark path that leads to death (Romans 1:21-32; 2 Thess. 2:9-12).  “But the folly of fools is deceit, fools mock at sin” (Prov. 14:9) so it’s no wonder that a fool also mocks at the “sacrifice” for sin, the Savior Jesus Christ, in Whom, ironically are hid all treasures of wisdom & knowledge (Col. 2:3). 

               God’s works are great & His thoughts very deep and yet He has revealed them to us though His Spirit, giving those who believe access to knowing the things that are freely given by God. The natural man doesn’t receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them because they’re spiritually discerned (Ps. 92:5; Isa. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9-16).  For whoever draws near to God must believe He exists & that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

For those seeking genuine treasure that can’t be destroyed or stolen (Matt. 6:19-21), Follow this Treasure Map:

  • – – –START @ Proverb coordinate: 2:2-6 & LISTEN: Be attentive to wisdom—INCLINE your heart to discernment—CALL out for insight—RAISE your voice for understanding—If you SEEK it like silver & SEARCH for it as hidden treasures, then you’ll understand the fear of the Lord & FIND the knowledge of God (for the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge & understanding).
  • – – – Always Refer to the KEY as it will be your compass to steer & guide you away from traps & pitfalls and towards the treasure: Memorize 2 Timothy 3:15-16; 2 Peter 2:19-20; Psalm 119:105; Acts 17:11.
  • – – – BEWARE of False Signs, Guides & Distractions (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:3-6, 13, 6:20) & Stay on the plotted coordinate of Proverb 3:5-7.
  • – – – X marks the spot when you’ve accepted THE WAY (John 14:6) & found Christ, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge–the key to life eternal (Col. 2:2-3, John 3:16, Eph. 1:3, 11-14)!

May you believe & receive the great treasure that awaits you in God, through Christ–the riches of His glorious inheritance & immeasurable greatness of His power toward those who believe (Eph. 1:17-21).  

Laura

EVICTION TO RECLAMATION

EvictedA Story of Hope

                Theirs was the perfect country residency. It was really quite the set up–fully loaded with everything they could possibly need. All that was required of them was to make sure that it was taken care of and preserved. The only stipulation that the Architect/LandLORD had been adamant about was for them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. If they did they would forfeit their security (of life) deposit (Genesis 2:15-17).

                They were unaware that a potential, conniving squatter had snuck in and was planning on scamming them into breaking their contract with the LandLORD. In his corrupted, scheming heart it was a ‘no brainer’. All he had to do was make them question what the LandLORD had said & knew they’d forget about the stipulation—and of course that’s exactly what happened (Gen. 3:1-6).

                The LandLORD became aware immediately and the penalties were swift for the tenants (Gen. 3:16-19). They not only were evicted from their home of paradise but forfeited their security (of life) deposit as warned (Gen. 3:22-24) and were sent out–homeless–to live their remaining sentence, with the stain of sin & death on their record, in a very different dark & fallen environment that was filled with toil, sweat and pain. Sadly the fate of their poor choice was even more far reaching–extending to every generation to come (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22). The usurper would be held accountable as well for his part and suffer total destruction in due time (Gen. 3:15; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8). Until then he would be allowed to continue to tempt and deceive mankind (John 8:44, Heb. 2:14, 2 Cor. 4:4).

                “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

                All was not lost as a Savior from on high entered into the fallen world and took on flesh & blood so that through His sacrificial death, He could destroy the devil (the usurper, who was allowed the power of death) and thus deliver mankind, who’d been subject to bondage all this time and make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Though as sinners they were undeserving of this merciful grace—He still died for them.) (Luke 1:30-32, 35, 78-79, 2:11; Heb. 2:14-17; Phil. 2:5-8; Eph. 2:3-5). This Savior/Mediator, though sinless, gave Himself as ransom for all, through His blood so that those who received this offer would become in good standing (as their debt was forgiven) once again with the LandLORD (Col. 1:12, 14, 20, 2:14; Eph. 2:8; 1 John 3:5).

                A promise of a new residence & citizenship in heaven was given to all who believed & received the offer–and once it was received this security (of life) deposit could not be taken away (John 3:16; Eph. 1:13-14, 2:19; 2 Cor. 5:5; Phil. 3:20-21). They received direction & guidance (including ways to protect themselves in their present environment) from a living handbook (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Eph. 6:10-18). These new citizens of heaven know that when their earthly house (their tent), is destroyed, they’ll have a building from God. A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For this they groan as they earnestly desire to be clothed with their heavenly habitation while still being burdened as they wait for mortality to be swallowed up by life (2 Cor. 5:1-4). Their sights have been readjusted on things above, making it bearable for them to walk with endurance & victory in the present fallen world where they walk by faith (Col. 3:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:7-11, 16-18, 5:8).

                So if you haven’t already joined them, consider it so you too can have the hope of a new change of wardrobe from a corrupt outdated body of humiliation to a timeless & gloriously fashioned one like the body of His glory.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that’s written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory!” (1 Cor. 15:42-49, 54). Hallelujah!

Laura

 

Where’s My Hope?

Things Above Colossians 3 2
“Things Above” by Laura Kestly

HIGH HOPES

Having an Outlook that’s Positively Eternal

 March is the month that includes the last phase of winter & also the official beginning of spring. For us in the northern Midwest especially, it’s the long awaited glimmer of hope of warmer temperatures and the bright & beautiful colors of creation reawakening–replacing the frozen snow-covered, brown & barren ground.

THE HOPE OF SPRING ENABLES US TO ENDURE THE REMAINING DAYS OF WINTER.

I often tell people (especially after discussing current events or other circumstances that may be out of my control), that I’m so thankful that I have ‘a Hope’. I don’t mean the kind of hope that has a trace of doubt in it—like, “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow” or “I hope he remembers to bring the mail in”. That’s an “I’m not so sure if it will happen, but I have my fingers crossed” kind of hope—it’s possible but… The “Hope” that keeps me ‘keeping’ on’ and focusing upward is the capital “H” type of Hope defined by “confident expectancy”—as in the fulfillment of a promise. It’s a certain hope (where there’s no trace of doubt) (Heb. 6:19, 10:23; Titus 1:2)!

Martin Luther King Jr. said this, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Finite means having limits or bounds/fixed. Contrarily, infinite means limitless/unable to measure. This type of hope can only come from the Divine. It’s a HIGH Hope placed in a God Who, though He was on High, was brought low so that those (like me) who were low could have a hope on High (Phil. 2:6-9, 3:20; Rom. 3:23, 5:6-11)!

  • IT’S a PRECIOUS & BLESSED HOPE that was BOUGHT with a PRICE. A Hope, through Christ Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, for those who were alienated, to have peace with God & citizenship in heaven upon its reception (Eph. 2:12-13; Phil. 3:20).
  • IT’S a HOPE that came by GRACE & through FAITH is received (2 Thess. 2:16, Eph. 2:8).
  • IT’S a SAVING & ETERNAL HOPE (Rom. 8:24, 1 Thess. 5:8, Titus 1:2, & Eph. 2:8).
  • IT’S A HOPE that focuses on the BIG PICTURE—the FOREST (not just the trees). This Hope comes from God’s perspective & doesn’t focus on earthly circumstances that will pass –but on the eternal unseen things that will last (2 Cor. 4:18).
  • IT’S A GLORIOUS HOPE THAT CAUSES ONE TO REJOICE (not be disappointed) even through hard circumstances the future glory outweighs the present afflictions (Rom. 5:2, 5; Col. 1:27; 2 Cor. 4:8-10, 17).    
  • IT’S SUBSTANCE CONSISTS of FAITH/UNSEEN with the NAKED EYE. Through tribulation, perseverance & character it’s produced & must be eagerly waited for with perseverance (Hebrews 11:1, Rom. 5:3-4, 8:24-25).
  • IT’S ENERGIZING: One can endure & abound in this hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, through God’s Word (Rom 15:4, 13; 2 Cor. 4:16).

THE HOPE OF ETERNITY ENABLES US TO ENDURE OUR REMAINING TIME ON EARTH.

Want the shadows to fall behind you? Keep your mind’s eye toward the Son and the things above where HIGH HOPE can be found (Col. 3:1-4, Heb. 12:1-2, Titus 2:13).

Laura  

God’s Love & Public Relations

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  -A.W. Tozer-

If there was anyone who needed better PR in our world today, it would be God.

There has been an all-out negative campaign to spin (overt deceit to manipulate the public) to destroy God’s image. He has been sadly misrepresented and His holy words have been reduced to sound bites, often taken out of context, even by those who profess to believe in him.

For many God is an uncaring, cold, distant & angry Father who could care less about them.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As a child one of the first songs I learned was Jesus Loves Me“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” I loved singing this simple song but really didn’t fully grasp how much God truly loved me until I was much older.

Though ultimately God is incomprehensible (beyond what our finite mortal minds can grasp), He, in condescending love, has revealed and declared certain things to be true of Himself.

Only in the Living Word, and in the pages of the Written Word, can we get to know God.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).

How does “the Bible tell me so” as the song says? (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16)

The love of God is a grand reality. But only by the direction of the Spirit of the Lord can one come to know it. And then it’s not a question of our understanding what God may mean, but of believing what He’s said. In revealing Himself at all God has to condescend to our capacities, using language which must be understandable by us; but which can never fully reveal Himself because that which is finite can never explain the Infinite—Here’s how the Bible communicates God’s love for us:

  • God’s love for the world came in the form of a gift of His one & only begotten Son. For those who receive & believe in this gift– eternal life with God is theirs (John 3:16; Eph. 2:8).
  • God showed His love among us by sending his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him (1 John 4:9).
  • God’s love isn’t manifested towards us because of anything we have ever felt or done—it’s not based on us loving Him first, because He beat us to it & loved us first (even while we were still sinners Christ died for us) (Titus 3:5; 1 John 4:19; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:4).
  • God does not force His love to be accepted. He desires for us to choose Him and the precious gifts He has freely given to us. He grieves, like any loving parent, when we make bad choices and opt to believe the lies of the destroyer instead of Him ( John 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8; Gen. 3:13; Deut. 30:19; Josh. 24:15; Prov. 1:29, 3:31, 12:26; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14).
  • Because God IS self-existent, eternal & everlasting–His love has no beginning or end—it’s immeasurable/infinite & everlasting (Rev. 1:8, Deut. 33:24, 1 Tim. 1:17, Ps. 90:2, Gen. 21:33; Eph. 3:18).
  • Because God IS immutable, unchanging & almighty—His love is pure, true, faithful & powerful (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:17, 10:23, 13:8; Gen. 17:1; Ps. 91:1; Rev. 19:11).
  • God IS patient, longsuffering & merciful (2 Pet. 3:9, 15; Num. 14:18; Ps. 86:15).

Don’t take my word for it. Look in the Bible & see for yourself. Faith comes by hearing & hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith so that you may be able to start to grasp the love of God in Christ & when you do it will affect everything else in your life (Eph. 3:17-19).

Love, In Christ, Laura