Shield Your Treasure

Having stuff is great. Be it a new grill, a new car, a new house, or more money. We all love our creature comforts. And within prudence, these things connote a blessing to many other people and us. God can even use these things as tools to help people hear the Gospel of Jesus and be presented with the opportunity for salvation.

One thing that always comes with new stuff is the cost for keeping our stuff in good working condition and safe from thieves or changes in economic conditions. One of my grown kids cleaned out all the stuff in his home and reduced everything to a minimum, all the way down to having two knives, two forks, and two spoons. He wanted to reduce his things tax.

First-World Problem

One of the problems for those of us that live in a first-world country is how to protect our money. There are pre-tax savings (e.g., 401K), post-tax savings (e.g., money markets), and an abundance of financial instruments and counselors to design a way for you to keep and grow the money you saved.

Still, with all our careful maintenance and planning, we may lose all of our things. Poof! In an instant, they may be irretrievably gone. I know a person that lost their life savings because thieves broke into their house, found their hiding place, and took all of their money. 

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Let’s turn to 1 Peter 1:3-5 and read:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

The Holy Spirit led the Apostle Peter to speak to the salient points for protecting a thing of value:

God has given us an inheritance

What God has given us is an inheritance. Now I received a very modest inheritance when my dad passed away. Unlike my dad’s estate, we don’t have to figure out how to keep the value of God’s inheritance. Our inheritance from God is beyond valuation. It can never perish, spoil or fade. It can’t happen, but even if our inheritance from God lost half its value, Infinite divided by two is still infinite.

God also addressed the problem of protecting the inheritance we receive from God. Our inheritance is kept in heaven. No thief, government, or natural disaster can cause us to lose what God has provided us.

Okay, so our inheritance is safe, but can you be sure that you will get to heaven to receive this magnificent gift from God? Oh, God has that covered, too.

A Shield

Verse five assures us that “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” If we use the faith God has given us, then we are shielded by God’s power. Let’s take a break here.

I’ve done a lot of work with P&C (property and casualty) insurance. Every insurance company that I’ve worked with either outright says they will be a shield for their customers or they strongly imply it. Even in the latest superheroes movie, they have heroes using shields. The idea of a shield connotes assured protection. It is not happenstance that verse five uses the concept of a shield.

God’s Power Is The Shield!

Now the shield referenced in verse five is not just any old shield. The shield is God’s power! There is no “connoting” needed. The shield that protects our inheritance is the very power of God. Checkmate.

God is so good to us. Each of us is so small and so transient. Psalms 144:4 states, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” We are like a breath; nevertheless, God has elevated us by His love to a place not only of importance to Him, but God has showered us with blessings and an inheritance. Our God is truly beyond comprehension.

Photo by Tim Mielke on Unsplash

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Creation Dances

Watching God’s Creation Dance

I spend most of my time at home, which is fine. I have a great view of our backyard where I watch birds and squirrels, and all manner of Gods creation. Still, for me, outside in wide open spaces is where I see God’s creation dance.

If we look back to the time of Adam, many scholars believe they all lived a nomadic life. A life not unlike that of Adam’s descendants, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

But, when we visit Adam, we also should visit Cain. See, Adam’s son Cain was the first person to build houses and cities. Why? Because of fear, and that fear birthed a need for self-sufficiency. Cain wanted to protect himself, so he made things in which he was willing to place his faith.

Genesis, Chapter Four

Genesis 4: (ESV)
8 …Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 

13-17 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden…Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.

[Cain’s Enoch not the Enoch that God took]

Keep in mind that Cain was the first murderer (v.8). Still, one of Cain’s biggest fears, when confronted by God was, “and from your face I shall be hidden.” (v14) So, even while Abel’s blood is crying out to God (v.10), Cain desired God and God’s heart of mercy is present in His judgment of Cain.

Out of God’s mercy and desire to remove Cain’s fear, God places a mark on Cain so everyone would understand that if you mess with Cain, then you were messing with God. (v15). We don’t know what the “mark” was, and it doesn’t matter.

Now, Cain wanders (i.e., Nod) towards the East (v.16). He finds a lovely place, and unlike all of his relatives, Cain builds a city, and he builds a family (v.17).

Yes, his wife almost certainly was his sister. (you can puck here) However, God didn’t give humanity the law to not marry close relatives for another 2,500 years. And Abraham was married to his half-sister, Sarah. Still, not marrying a close relative has been the law for at least 3,000 years, so it is never acceptable.

Seth Gets Cain’s Inheritance

It is essential for us to know that all the chosen people by God are from the lineage of Seth. Seth was the son God gave Adam and Eve after the death of Able. All of the great things God has done through humanity should have traced back to Cain, the first-born son of Adam and Eve, but because of Cain’s anger, he lost it all. Uncontrolled anger is a drug more damaging than any chemical we can abuse.

Perhaps, the next time you walk outside, you can take a moment to thank God for His marvelous creation. And, in your heart, determine not to put your trust in a house or a city and don’t allow your anger to cost you and your descendants everything God desires for you and them.

In your heart live free, live unencumbered by this world, live joyfully; live a Christian sojourner’s life, and watch God’s Creation dance.

Photo by Jyotirmoy Gupta on Unsplash

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What’s been handed down to you?

One of my wife’s favorite hooks from a TV commercial is one from Verizon. This young guy looks at a cute girl and asks, “Did it hurt much <pause> when you fell from heaven?” Back in the day, I was never that quick on the uptake.

While reading this morning’s “Verse of the Day,” on, I nearly missed the gem sitting all nice and pretty in the middle of this verse. I’m still slow on the uptake. Here’s the verse:

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV)

The important message here is the precious blood of Jesus. That is Paul’s purpose for writing this sentence. Still, there’s an extra gem, sitting there.

Paul writes, “…the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors.” Now, many of us were raised in Jesus-centered families. Our parents, grandparents, and even further back, all served Jesus with vigor. What is the Holy Spirit saying to us?

What I see is that God has no grandchildren. The sin of Adam still runs through my blood as it ran through that of my fathers. From my biological lineage, each ancestor was a sinner, an empty life, which was carried forward in their progeny.

To enter into redemption each one of us individually comes to Jesus and are reborn, but that new birth is non-transferable. Mine is for me. My dad’s was for him. My grandpa’s was for him.

I’m probably failing to communicate what is stirring inside. There is something beautiful and emboldening when I consider that the lives of my fathers (and mother) are testimonies to 1 Peter 1:18-19. For each person looked and saw the emptiness of their mortal, corruptible inheritance and exchanged it for the incorruptible inheritance in Jesus.

For everyone that cannot look back and see Jesus, what a tremendous opportunity for you to begin that legacy. To refuse an empty inheritance and receive God’s gift to you through the blood of Jesus.

There is a beautiful song written some time ago by Twila Paris called, “70 Years Ago”. It fits well with this devotional.

Photo by Jana Sabeth Schultz on Unsplash

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