Treasures in heaven?

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money
 and be content with what you have,
 because God has said,

   “Never will I leave you; 
   never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5
In 1 Timothy, Paul tells us that money is root of all evils. This statement is verified every day when we hear or read about crimes being committed in order to obtain more money. 
If one is grumbling on one's condition and always thinking  that if one had more money, one's life would be more enjoyable, it implies that one is forgetting God's blessings in our life. 
Does it mean that we must stop working, be lazy ?
 Certainly not, we must remember that our Lord provides,
 let us put our trust in Him.
Jesus himself gives this warning:
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, 
where moths and vermin destroy, 
and where thieves break in and steal. 20 
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, 
where moths and vermin do not destroy, 
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
 (Matthew 6:19-20)
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, 
or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve God and mammon" 
(Matthew 6:19-24).
I found out that the meaning of mammon (more correctly spelled "mamon" from the original language) was a transliteration of a common Aramaic word. It was derived from the Hebrew word that meant "to be established" or "to be certain" ('ãman)1; and thus originally meant "to entrust"2.  In time, the meaning of the word changed from the positive idea of "that which is entrusted"  to the negative idea of "that in which a man puts his trust".
 Depending on who you talk to, the conversation may very quickly turn on money, 
whether people deplore the lack of it
 or on the contrary boast about what they have bought with it. 
Sometimes money can hijack your relationship with a loved one.
 If you are not on your guard, it can rote everything
Do you think that having a good job, a title, a good spouse satisfies you? 
Maybe your aim in life it to become famous,
 you treasure all the certificates that bear your name, 
the articles in the local or national press.
The reason why we always need money is that nothing 
we buy with it gives us lasting pleasure.
 21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 
22 But when the young man heard this statement, 
he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property. 
In Matthew 13:44  Jesus tells us that 
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, 
which a man found and hid again;
 and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
A prayer, Lord, thank you for your Love, thank you for Jesus, our saviour and redeemer. 
Help us to get rid of our material cravings.
 We seek you Jesus, our treasure, Light of the World, our true friend. In Jesus-Christ, Amen


Awesome resurrection!

One thing in life is that the unusual becomes the usual. Flying for instance, we take it as normal. Twenty years ago, most of us did not have a computer. Also, now we all have a mobile phone or the latest android in our pocket. We can get accustomed to things. Monday evening, your young child is shouting 'boo' to you unexpectedly which causes you jump out of your skin. If he/she keeps on doing it all week, by Friday, you won't even react. The unfamiliar becomes familiar. Think about a new car and all the little gadgets, we love them for a while and they surprise us, three months later, we take them for granted. 
We've lived with Jesus for a while, has He become familiar too?
We start with an empty tomb and the disciples are scratching their heads, they are puzzled. By the time Jesus was buried, he had been battered out of recognition, beaten, whipped, bruised, spat upon, a spear stuck into his side. He was a mess and he was dead.The disciples were shattered.
What was unusual was that the strips of linen left there, the only thing that was of value.
We read in John 20 : 6 - 7 Simon Peter arrived after him and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there. 7He also saw the cloth that had been on Jesus' head. It wasn't lying with the strips of linen but was rolled up separately.   Another unusual thing was to admit that they had not understood what happened (v.9) 9They didn't know yet what Scripture meant when it said that Jesus had to come back to life. They are being very honest. Jesus has told them that he would die and resurrect three times, i.e. 18 month before, in the town Caesarea Philippi  Mark 8:27-30, their ears got blocked, they didn't hear it. John is honest. If it was made up, they would have been sitting waiting in front of the tomb!  Something else very unusual to note. Jesus appears to women. This was a patriarchal society where the women were not deemed as reliable witnesses in court. Jesus loves to break the rules. Some suggest that he revived in the tomb but as I mentioned it before, it is out of question, since he had been crucified.  Jesus is not recognised until he says Mary. Why? Raising up from the dead, he has been transformed. Go back to 1 Cor 15: 53-54  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  This transformation is for us in eternity.The New Life is for us today. What has happened at Easter? Death has been defeated, new life is born.
Do we stand by our convictions? Do we draw it to others despite what they say. Jesus brings life! We must be careful not to get too familiar whereby we lose a sense of awe and wonder! Let us share it with others! Let's ask them: do you know what Jesus did ? He rose from the dead ! Isn't it awesome! with the same freshness as more than 2000 years ago.
These are my notes from this morning Easter service, courtesy from Rev S. A. 
My friends, have a blessed Easter. In Jesus' name. Amen. N.


A Maundy Thursday Meditation: the last supper

The bible is full of diners from Adam and Eve feasting on the forbidden fruit ending up with blaming each other. During the last supper, Judas deceitfulness is exposed. Every meal can turn into a critical situation. This is the place where people dominate, gossip, exacerbate others. It would take a novelist or a psychologist to.... Cats and dogs don't have a meal and the same goes for the sheep and goats grazing. Learning to share a meal sitting down round at a table is an important social skill. A meal is an essential part of a growing adult. It is a great day for the family when a child is able to sit at a table. Clearing the table and washing up are part of the process. There is a moral significance in meals. Jesus practised what he preached when he was eating with outcasts. An occasion to reflect..


Lenten Meditation 2

Last night, we reflected upon Jesus'arrest. Even though Jesus was totally innocent, 'reasons' were found to incriminate him.
Mainly two reasons: leading a rebellion and speaking blasphemy. We know that the increasing support of the Jews for Jesus, especially when he entered Jerusalem scared the Jewish authority. The charge of blasphemy is not completely false as Jesus was telling the truth: He is God. For centuries, these reasons have been the used by dictators and still are. The circumstances are similar too. The Gestapo and the KGB arrested anybody they suspected to be against their regime.  In countries where dictatorship or fake democratic governments reign, innocents are still hounded and murdered.

In Matthew 26, we read : Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
   52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
 55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
   64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! 


Lenten Meditation

Jesus' agony in the garden of Gethsemane

Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." Luke 22:42

We reflected on the courage shown by Jesus and his total obedience to his Father: not my will but yours

And to strengthen Him an angel appeared to Him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.

~ Luke 22:43-44 ~

Jesus said to them:

Why are you sleeping? Rise up and pray that you do not enter into temptation.

Watch and pray, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. And Jesus went the second time to pray, saying the same words he had said before: My Father, if this cannot pass away, unless I drink it, your will be done. And Jesus came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy. And they did not know what to say to Jesus. Jesus left the third time to pray. And he prayed as he had the first two times, and when he returned to the disciples, they were asleep. Jesus said to the disciples: So far as I am concerned you can continue to sleep for now. Take your rest, for the time for you to be of comfort and assistance has passed. But as far as you are concerned, Look, the hour has come and the Son of man is about to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up and let’s be going. Look, the one who is going to betray me is here.

After he prayed, Jesus found the disciples asleep. He must have felt extremely upset and betrayed. When he needed his friends the most, they weren't there for him. How do we feel when it happens to us? Betrayal hurts so much whether we are children or adults.


The importance of preaching

The following are my notes while we were in Doxey. In a first part, Peter Ensor talked about the importance of preaching. 
Peter's sermon (Acts 2:14-41) is the very first Christian sermon and we can learn a lot from it. There is a quotation from Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899-1981) that comes to my mind: The work of preaching is the highest and greatest and most glorious calling to which anyone can ever be called. Upon learning of Hugh Price Hughes' desire to enter the ministry, his father, a physician  said, "I should rather my son be a Methodist preacher than the Lord Chancellor of England."  John Mott, was a well known missionary statesman. When President Coolidge asked him to serve as an ambassador to Japan, Mott replied, "Mr. President, since God called me to be an ambassador of His, my ears have been deaf to all other calls."

This first Christian sermon resulted in 3000 people being saved. Within 300 years, the Church has captured the soul of the Roman empire so much that the emperor Constantine    converted. In the Middle Ages, all Europe was christianised through the Dominican and the Franciscan friars. Everybody was regarded as a member of the Church. Calvin ruled the turbulent town of Geneva from his pulpit. Everybody would come to listen to him and he
would mould the thinking of people in charge of Geneva. George Westley and George Whitefield (1714-1770) were used by God to bring people into a living faith.   Later on Charles Spurgeon held congregations of 7000 people in London.
After this introduction, we split up in groups to look for the various 'X-factors' in Peter's first sermon leading to the conversion of 3000 people. This was a very interesting part of the day as we met new brothers and sisters in Christ.   


The beauty of the bible

Tomorrow, we are going to spend a day in Doxey Church. The title of the conference ' The beauty of the bible' I find exciting and unlike some other invitation fliers, I haven't lost this one! Will tell you more about it. Blessings to all of you.