|Volume 22 Number 3 March 2020||
The past couple weeks have been different from most. I have been reminded of some valuable lessons. About two weeks ago, we woke up to find that water had covered about half of our apartment. The damage to personal items was not that bad, and we are almost back to normal. We only have a few more baseboards and a few more things through which to sort before everything will be back to the way it was. Some things are even better. This incident has reminded me of some valuable lessons that we all need to remember.
Our treasure is to be stored up in Heaven rather than here on earth (Matthew 6:19-21). True treasure is not based upon the amount of riches one has or by possessions he may own. So, a few things got wet and ruined. Things can be replaced. My family was safe. We were surrounded by friends and family. God is still in control, and salvation is secure. Even if we had lost everything we own, we would still have all that we truly need. True treasure is found in Heaven above and resides in our eternal home. God alone is to be worshipped. Stuff is just stuff.
Worry is for the birds. Matthew 6:25-34 shows us just how much God cares for us and all of His creation. About what do we truly have to worry since God cares? If I am being honest, when I calmed down after my few minutes of “What do we do?”, it really wasn’t that bad. The frustration of having to move everything was not pleasant, but it could have been a lot worse. Countless numbers of people deal with problems of a far greater magnitude. Was a little water really worth worrying? We are all going to face problems. Yet, if we will remember Who is watching over us and remember the things that are truly important, it will give us all a better perspective when the bad things do come our way. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God. We are more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8:31-38).
Keep Seeking God (Matthew 6:33). There are so many things in life that fill up our time. I guess that’s part of the problem. We think it’s our time. A lot of our time is spent collecting stuff and worrying about things. We sometimes collect things to the point that our storage sheds need storage sheds. Instead of using the time we have for Him, we end up using the time we have solely on earthly possessions. The reality is, we can’t take any of it with us. Worry won’t add anything to our lives (Matthew 6:27). The time we have on this earth will come to an end (James 4:14). Are we using the time for God? Let us all continue to seek Him and His righteousness. All of the other things, while they may seem important to us now, are nothing when compared to eternity.
An ‘L’ Before an ‘A’ in a Word Can
Make a Tremendous Difference!
I had written an article, “20/20 Vision,” based on what the apostle Paul said to the elders of the church in Ephesus as found in Acts 20:20, which reads, “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.” I sent the article to several individuals and congregations for people to read. There were three congregations that used the article in their church bulletins. Of course, I was pleased because the intent of the article was to encourage Christians to do more personal evangelism while having the Gospel preached from the pulpit in the worship assemblies.
To encourage us all to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to us, I wrote the following: “We desperately need some ‘eye slave’ to anoint our eyes that we may see the fields ‘that are white already unto harvest’“ (Revelation 3:18; John 4:35). He whose eyes are as “a flame of fire” (Revelation 1:14) has written us a prescription that will give us 20/20 vision. The article, “20/20,” had been read several times by the author and others. If those to whom I sent the article found the mistake, they did not mentioned it to me, that is, until a close friend told me, when reading the article, he discovered I had placed an “l” before the letter “a” in “eye salve” as found in Revelation 3:18.
Because we had read Revelation 3:18, when we came to the word “slave,” we read it as being “salve.” We did not take the time to spell the word; we just knew the words were “eye salve.” I am afraid that many of us tend to read the Bible with our minds made up as to what it says. I had a close preacher friend who was studying with a gentleman when my friend was emphasizing a directive of the Lord that was essential in his being obedient to the Lord. My friend asked the man to read 1 Peter 3:21 from his King James Version of the Bible. The man began to read, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also not save us…” My friend asked the man to read the verse again. The man did as he was asked, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also not save us…” My friend saw there was indeed a problem, so he asked the gentleman to read the verse slowly, one word at a time, and he did. When the man came to “…even baptism doth also now save us…,” he stopped. Seemingly, for the first time, when he read 1 Peter 3:21, he realized that the word “not” was not in the verse!
How often it is that we read the Bible with glasses that are tinted with various colors because of the doctrines taught by religious organizations or because of preconceived opinions. We need to read the Bible with clear glasses to understand what God would have us to believe and to do. This can be a real challenge for us all. When we approach the study of God’s Word with honest and receptive hearts, the following words of our Lord will mean much to us. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’” (John 8:31-32).