Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘eternal life’

Hold On to What is Valuable


Today’s devotional e-mail from  titw@moody.edu spoke to me. I have included it here for you, my friends.

Have a beautiful day, and let us remember to be grateful for all our many blessings as we remember, “You are blessed to be a blessing.”

 

Today in the Word
December 2018

 

The Gospel of Matthew: The King Has Come
HOLDING ON TO WHAT IS VALUABLE
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | Matthew 19:16–30
In the children’s novel Where the Red Fern Grows, the main character, Billy, tries and fails to trap a raccoon until his grandfather teaches him a foolproof method: drill a hole into a log, place a shiny object at the bottom, and then drive nails into the hole at a downward angle. This allows the raccoon to reach its hand in, but keeps it from pulling its hand back out so long as it is holding the trinket. The trap works because raccoons are too greedy to let go of shiny things.

A raccoon in such a predicament has much in common with the rich young man Jesus encountered in Matthew 19. The man’s initial question indicated his desire for eternal life. But the man’s hold on the shiny things of this world prevented him from pursuing that desire.

When Jesus told him that if he wanted to be righteous he would have to sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, the young man went away sad. And one can understand why. He wanted it both ways: to be defined by his financial wealth and to receive the spiritual riches of eternal life. With his hand grasped tightly around worldly possessions, he could not pursue the heavenly treasures reserved for those willing to sacrifice such things to follow Jesus (vv. 28–29).

Because of the tendency of wealth to elicit such grasping, we might regard it as inherently dangerous. But the deeper danger is the grasping response itself, for we might also grasp after power, status, or other earthly goods (see 1 Tim. 6:10). As we hold too tightly to such things, we find that they are in fact holding on to us and hindering us from pursuing the kingdom of God.

APPLY THE WORD
What earthly goods or status do you most desire? Does your desire hinder you from following Jesus? Pray that God would help you to loosen your grip on anything that might keep you from pursuing His kingdom with your fullest devotion. And give thanks to the God of salvation with whom “all things are possible” (v. 26).

 

If you enjoyed this devotional, you may want to subscribe to “Today in the Word” and receive your daily devotional from Moody, also. Just write to titw@moody.edu.

In addition to giving thanks for my earthly goods, and praying to loose my grip on them, I also am giving thanks today to God for answered prayer. Earlier this month I had an ultrasound that showed a mass in my bladder (Of course, hearing that, we all thought CANCER). The doctor ordered a CT scan to confirm the mass. The results were inconclusive. Yesterday was my appointment with the urologist to get to the bottom of what’s going on “down there.” Friends from far and near prayed for me and for conclusive results and a “fix-it plan.” I felt the love and concern of those prayers. I relaxed, and knew I was in God’s hands. I am ever so grateful for family/friends, their love, and God’s grace. The camera that scoped the bladder revealed NO TUMOR. God is good. All the time!

Accept His Love


 Here are my sermon notes from today’s message

by Rev. Jean Johnson

at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church

in Ennis, Montana…

based on Mark 10:17-31

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“Come Follow Me”

 

The rich young ruler

Appears in Gospels, three.

He must be very important.

Who is he to me?

.

Well, he was told to sell

Everything he owned

And follow after Jesus –

Leaving riches he had sown.

.

Jesus looked at the man

And loved him through and through.

He offered him eternal life.

Has He offered that to you?

.

Yes, Jesus tells us

To come and follow Him.

He loves us even though

His request seems mighty grim.

.

He wants us to relinquish

All the things we have and love.

He asks that we give all

In response to God above.

.

”All” may not be the same

For you as it is for me,

Because it’s all we love so much

That it’s taking away what’s free.

.

Depending on possessions

For comfort and for peace

Takes away the chance for gifts

And blessings that never cease.

.

The rich young ruler

Wouldn’t give up a thing,

And so he lost the chance

To eternally hear the angels sing.

.

Don’t make the ruler’s error.

Don’t miss God’s gifts for thee.

Give up the things that bind

And accept His love for free.

 

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Feeling Buried?


John 12:24-25

“Listen carefully! Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (Eugene H. Peterson’s The Message translation)

In the eye of the storm, Hurricane Florence is burying houses, trees, streets, electrical connections, pig farms, and even people … in their homes, in their cars and pickups, on their escape routes. This scripture from John 12 reminds me that being buried, even if it means death to this earthly life, can result in eternal life – or at least a better life.

But, we don’t have to encounter a hurricane to feel buried. We can be buried by trouble, strife, grief, disillusionment, disappointment, greed. We can be buried by fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of inadequacy.

John 12 asks us to listen carefully. Jesus is reminding His followers that we cannot avoid change – and when we try to do so – when we “hold on to life just as it is,” we destroy life. So, we are told to let it go. Go with the flow. Even the flow of flooding that threatens to drown us. Go with it… float the flood! Know that trouble is guaranteed, but trouble is temporary.

Look beyond the turmoil of today. Look beyond yourself. Look to God for guidance and comfort and direction. Look for others who need you. Serve them as you follow Jesus’ example. God will help unbury you as you help unbury others.

Who can you help today?

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