Treasures In Heaven

Matthew 6 19.png    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up from yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasures is, there your heart will be also.           Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus tells people that we must avoid the things that can be spoilt by moths and rust. In the East, the clothes a person owned made up a large part of that person’s riches. But Jesus says it is foolish to set your heart on these things because the moths can get to them where they are safely stored away and destroy their beauty and value. Possessions like these things have no lasting value.

The Hebrews were very familiar with the expression “treasures in heaven.” It meant especially two things to them. They believed that the good deeds someone did on earth, became a treasure in heaven. Jesus said that possessions selfishly hoarded, would be lost, but that which was given to others in goodwill, would become a treasure in heaven. The early Christian church lovingly took care of the poor and the sick. They believed: What we keep, we lose, and what we give, becomes a treasure for us in heaven.

The Israelites believed that a shroud had no pockets. The only thing people could take from this world at their death was themselves. Everything that was precious to people here on earth, would mean nothing to them in the hereafter; it only made them unwilling to leave this world. If people’s eyes were fixed on eternity during their stay on earth, the things of this world would have little meaning for them and they would leave this world with joy because their eyes were always focus on the things of God. 

Jesus never said that this world was unimportant, but he emphasized over and over again that its worth was not in itself, but in where it would ultimately lead to. This world is not the end of life, it is just a phase on the road to eternity. Our eyes must constantly be fixed on the final goal: eternal life.

The truest end of life, is to find the life that doesn’t end.           Anonymous 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

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God’s Gift Called Grace

Ephesians 2a.pngBut because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast.                                                 Ephesians 2:4-9

John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement, grace was the powerful process by which believes came to experience God and know God’s salvation. Wesley believed grace was ever present and influential in believers coming to repentance. He believed grace could lead believers to love God with all their being and to love neighbors and the world as they loved themselves. Mr. Wesley understood God’s grace as a unified piece, but teaching he defined grace as having three aspects; prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.

Prevenient Grace: Is the grace that comes to us even before we know God. God showers it upon all people whether they are aware of it or not. Through prevenient grace, God takes the initiative in beginning a relationship with us. Prevenient grace is God’s way of showing us that no matter who we are or where we are, God is already there ahead of us, waiting for us. God’s prevenient grace precedes us wherever we go.

Justifying Grace: Brings a big change to the relationship we have with God. Through justifying grace we begin to realize and trust (have faith) that we are restored to relationship with God. We come to acknowledge our sinfulness and trust that we are forgiven by God’s grace. Just as justifying text in a document aligns it a certain way, (right or left-justified) justifying grace aligns us with God through Jesus Christ. This is when “God reaches out to a person with accepting and pardoning love.” This change includes feelings of peace, hope, and joy. Such as experience “may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning, yet it is part of an ongoing process.”

Sanctifying Grace: Prevenient grace is God meeting you at every corner. Justifying grace is God reaching out to you with love. When you say yes to the invitation of justifying grace, you turn a corner in your faith journey. One of the most controversial teachings of the early Methodist movement was that it is possible for us to realize Christian perfection in this life, perfect love, loving perfectly. Wesley called this process “going on to Christian perfection,” or sanctifying grace. This part of grace challengers believers to go deeper in faith, to love the world more energetically, and to keep growing in the knowledge and love of God. For Wesley, God’s sanctifying grace led believers to have their hearts “habitually filled with the love of God and neighbor. For you, this might mean coming to understand your life as more and more focused on living by faith. Faith becomes the center out of which you live. Little by little, God’s sanctifying grace uncovers more and more of God’s image in you. As one who has been forgiven, you become more forgiving. As one who is loved, you become more loving. Wesley emphasized that we are continually filled with God’s love, we are led more fully to acts of mercy and works of justice.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends npoty