Command of Christ #18

This week's command is one of those sayings that many people don't realize came from the Bible. Have you ever heard, 'Treat others how you want to be treated.'? Well this concept is straight from the mouth of God and was emphasized when Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye would, that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets" (Mt. 7:12). The command is shortened to 'Do Unto Others.'

It is interesting that the command starts with what we would want, rather than thinking of what others want. It is pretty easy for me to think up all the things that I want or how I want to be treated, or the rights that I think I deserve. And I all too often forget how others around me would want to be treated and honoured. This command is shown throughout the Bible and is why Jesus said, '...for this is the law and the prophets.' We are to love God more than anything and show it by loving others as ourselves. "Jesus said unto them, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).

So here is a list of common ways that we want others to 'do unto us,' and how we can flip the focus from ourselves to others.

-Shown love: Who can say that they do not want to be loved? It is a desire that every human know that someone cares about them and know that they are precious in someones eyes. I Peter 1:22 says, "..see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." As Christians we should show love to others constantly, and not just to those who loved us first, but even to our enemies.

-Honored: Many of us like to be honored and recognized. It is amazing how one word of praise can change your whole day and even encourage someone for the rest of their lives! It is tempting to only praise those who we like and those who we want to favor us. We should be attentive to the good character qualities of those around us and be diligent in praising them, no matter who they are.

I remember I went to a restaurant and there was a busboy who was doing his job so well and way above what the others were doing. The restaurant was busy and he was clearing tables quickly and efficiently, while it seemed like others were daydreaming and moving slowly. This busboy even got on his hands and knees to wipe up the floor under a table after a baby had been there. I was so impressed, because I used to buss tables and recognized what a good job he was doing. As he walked by I praised his good work and his diligence; his face lit up, said thanks, and kept on working. A few minutes later he walked over and said, 'By the way, you just made my day!" I felt very happy that I could encourage someone with just a few words and that it would have such an influence on someone! I was so blessed by just doing what I would want someone to do for me!

-We also like to be forgiven: It is indeed a horrible feeling if someone is angry with you...especially if they are mad even after you have tried to reconcile. Let us be diligent to forgive, just as Christ has forgiven us. "Forbearing one another and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye" (Colossians 3:13).

-Prayed for: Some of the most encouraging words that I can hear are, "I am praying for you." It shows that someone is willing to invest their time, spiritual energy and thoughts on you. Don't be afraid to ask people how you can pray for them, even strangers!...and then don't forget to pray!

-Encouraged: This goes along with honoring/praising others, but encouragement can involve more than just praise. We are in a battle and sometimes we get weary; it is so encouraging to talk with fellow Christians about life's struggles and encourage each other to press on. A simple note, e-mail, or lunch out can be just what someone needs to lift up a heavy heart. If God prompts you to reach out to someone, do it right away, you never know how much they may need it at that moment!
"...exhort one another daily while it is still called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).

What are some other ways that you like to be treated?

-Am I treating others the same way I want to be treated?
-Who has God brought to mind that I could honor?
-Do I realize that what I do for others I am doing for Christ also?

"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Gal. 6:10).

Some notes adapted from IBLP's Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

Command of Christ # 17

Hello! This week's command is to 'Ask, Seek, Knock.' Jesus said, "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8).

This command is talking about prayer and shows that God wants us to pray to Him. I once heard that the average Christian prays for about 3 or 4 minutes a day. That is a very sad statement. God desires us to come to Him in prayer and seek His hand for what we need. God often times gives us needs and trials so that we come to Him in humility. However, we often fill our 3-4 minutes with mindless prayers or even selfish requests, not considering that God is desiring to commune with us personally. So how do we come to God and ask Him in a Biblical way? The Bible speaks a lot about prayer, here are some important points to consider when we ask, seek, or knock:

-If we want our prayers to be powerful, we need to be right with God. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).

-We are to ask in faith. Meditate on the incredible greatness of our God and realize that He is able to move mountains if we have faith in His ability.

-Ask according to His will. It is hard to always know what God's will is, but there are things that we can be sure are His will and as we study His Word and know Him more, we can discern what we should pray for. For example, you may not know whether it is God's will for someone to be healed, but you do know that God should get the glory. So you could pray that whatever happens, God would be glorified in a powerful way. "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him" (I John 5:14-15).

-After we ask, we should be 'doing.' God wants us to ask, but also to seek; we are to be looking for God's answer to our prayer. We are also to knock, which means to 'rap.' We should be persistent in our petitions, knowing they are according to God's will. This sequence of asking, seeking, and knocking is seen in the life of a missionary James Fraser. He cried out to God for many Chinese people to come know Christ as Savior. He felt confident that God had answered His prayer, but it was yet to come to fruition. So he sought (meaning he did something), he didn't just sit around waiting for Chinese villagers to beg him to tell them the Gospel. He poured out his life to get the Gospel to people. Even though he knew God had answered his prayer, he continued to knock. He still was fervent in prayer and continually going to God for his needs and on the behalf of the Chinese people. The result was that thousands of Chinese came to know Christ and started many churches in China. Praise the Lord.

A young girl really wanted a kitten and continued to beg her mom for one. The mother told her daughter that if she wanted a kitten she should ask God for one, and if God gave her a kitten she could keep it. So the little girl happily went outside and started praying in her front yard. Her mother watched her daughter praying in the yard and moments later saw a small kitten fall out of the sky right into their yard! With glee the girl picked up the kitten and ran to show her mother what God had sent. Her mother could not believe what she had just seen!
A few days later the mother was at the store buying cat food when she saw her neighbour in line. He didn't know they had a cat and asked if they had gotten one. She proceeded to tell him the story and he looked at her in amazement. He then told her what he had been doing that very day...As he was outside he noticed a tiny kitten in a tree in his yard. The kitten was stuck and he could not reach it to get the cat down. He decided that he would tie a rope to the tree and to his truck so that the truck could bend the tree enough for him to reach the cat. He drove the truck just far enough to reach the cat and hurriedly jumped out to fetch him, but before he had time to reach the tree, the rope snapped, flinging the tree and sending the kitten flying into the air...

Be assured that God hears our prayers and is delighted to answer when we are asking in faith and humility! Ask for BIG things from God, seek after what He has given, and be diligent in going to Him.

-Do I see times of prayer as times of fellowship with God?
-Are my prayers fervent or mindless?
-Am I asking according to God's will or based on my own desires?

"If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).

Notes adapted form IBLP's Commands of Christ journal and pocket guide.

Command of Christ # 16

Hello! Hope you are having a good week!
This week's command is 'Do Not Cast Pearls." I don't know about you, but I am in no hurry to throw precious pearls out! I don't think many are, so what is Jesus talking about here? Jesus said, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:16).

Jesus is using figurative language here when talking about dogs, pearls, and pigs. In Jesus' day dogs were not seen as cute, cuddly, best friends, but were seen as troublesome and vicious. Other places in Scripture we see that evil men, wicked persons, and male prostitutes are called dogs. Basically, to be called a dog, or likened to one, meant you were evil and exceedingly wicked. I don't have to say much about pigs for you to get a clear mental picture; in general they are pretty filthy creatures.

I am going to quote other Scripture verses to expand the meaning of this command.
Philippians 3:2 "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."

Prov. 23:9 "Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words."

Prov. 14:7 "Go from the presence of a foolish man when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge."

Prov. 9:7-8 "He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man and he will love thee."

God is commanding us to be wise with whom we share 'pearls' of wisdom. Not every person we encounter is ready to hear the words of truth. There are different kinds of fools in Scripture and we are told that some will only bring us grief if we try to share God's wisdom with them (see verses above). We need to be discerning in whether a person is a scorner or is steadfast in his wicked ways. Rather than debating and getting into fruitless intellectual battles with these people, we should pray for them, that their heart would be softened and prepared to hear the truth. We should also be discerning in recognizing the person that is ready and willing to hear, so that we will be ready to give an answer.

I remember telling my boss (who was very liberal) about some things I had learned at a conference. I explained how the wife should be submissive to the husband, and that the husband should love her and treat her in a loving way. He wasn't impressed with what I had learned. He wasn't willing to hear about the things of God. From then on he didn't speak very kindly to me and would make comments about evolution and other topics that were clearly not Biblical. It was usually unfruitful to bring up spiritual matters.

We should be diligent in sharing with others about Christ, but we must realize that not everyone will receive the Gospel the same. Having discernment and discretion will make us more effective and will avoid unneeded strife.

-Am I praying that God will show me who is ready to hear and who I should avoid?
-Have I prepared my own heart by asking for wisdom and discernment?
-Am I prepared to share the Good News with those God brings into my path who are ready to hear the truth?

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Peter 3:15).

Notes adapted from IBLP's Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

Command Of Christ #15

Hello friends, I will start off by saying that Oregon has to be one of the most beautiful states... I have actually only been to a handful of states, but Oregon is so beautiful!

Anyway, back to the subject of Command #15, which proves to be one of the most convicting commands every time I read it. Command #15 is to Judge Not, "Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thy eye and behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite! First cast out the beam that is in thine own eye and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5). Ouch, that was painful to read.

I think this is such a good command for Christians, because for one we are constantly accused of judging (even if we are just holding standards), and two because we often can be the most critical to non-believers and especially to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The main thing we need to understand is the difference between judging and discerning. Is the following example judging or discerning?:

A family was driving home from church and one family member commented, 'Based on who was put as the new teacher of our class, our church obviously has some serious spiritual needs. His marriage is in trouble, his children are in rebellion, and his clothing and hairstyle are offensive to many people.' (example taken from IBLP's 'Instructions for our Most Important Battle')

To discover the answer let's take a look at the differences between judging and discerning:
Discernment: to test, examine, interpret, evaluate, investigate.
Judgment: to sentence, mentally or judicially condemn, decide, determine.

1) Discernment involves thoroughly examining one's own life before evaluating the actions of another. Judgment 'condemns others for their visible problems, but fails to realize that their attitudes stem from root problems which he himself has not yet overcome.' (Seriously, this is painful to even write about!) Judging is rooted in pride, because we have exalted ourselves above others, to the place of God, where we think we have the ability to know all the facts and judge them. "But let a man examine himself.." (I Corinthians 11:28).

2) Discernment checks all the facts before coming to a conclusion. Judgment makes a verdict based on hearsay. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

3) Discernment 'deals as privately as possible with the problem he sees' and seeks to find solutions for the needs of that person. Judgment is quick to expose the issue and has no interest in helping the person solve deeper issues. This is one of the huge evaluating factors in whether we are judging or discerning. Do we have any desire to meet their needs or are we just condemning them and not caring whether they reach a solution?

Based on these points, the above scenario was judging. We should be discerning, but we need to have the motive of meeting their needs.

Romans 2:1 says, "Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest, for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." O wretched man that I am! This verse is saying that when we judge someone else, it reveals that we have a similar unresolved issue in our own lives. It is basically an alarm that we need to evaluate our lives for this problem.

For example, I had just read about this command and had asked someone if they wanted to listen to a sermon on CD. They said OK, but wanted to finish something up. It was getting late and the activity they were doing seemed much less holy than listening to a sermon so I began to judge them for putting priority on something that I saw as less pious than my CD. God promptly reminded me of what I had been just studying and I began evaluating my own life for how I have but aside more godly pursuits for my own pleasures. I reconciled with God and not even seconds later the someone said they were ready to listen to the CD, even though they were in the middle of what they were doing. The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to teach us!

-When I see a fault in someone's life, is my first thought how I can help?
-Do I see faults in other's lives as a signal to evaluate my own life?
-Do I cut people off when they are doing something I do not approve of?
-Do I use communion as an opportunity to 'judge' myself?

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).

Notes adapted form IBLP's Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide.
Non-Scripture quotations taken from IBLP's 'Instructions for our Most Important Battle.'


Here's a encouraging and convicting poem from Doug Phillips that really blessed my heart. I hope you enjoy reading it too:)


— • —

I am stuck on a conundrum, and it’s making me reflect,
About a troubling weakness, and a character defect.
It’s one that often plagues me, and it plagues some friends of mine,
I’m speaking of the painful message sent when we’re not kind.

The greatest act of kindness in all of history
Was modeled by the Savior while hanging from a tree:
“Forgive them Father,” was His cry, “they know not what they do.”
In those few words He demonstrated kindness pure and true.

He could have said, “Forgive them,” and then let the matter stand.
He could have just ignored them, as He hung there by His hands.
But instead He showed them kindness, by taking up the case
Of wretched hypocrites and fools who merited disgrace.

It’s easy to show kindness when there’s nothing on the line.
It’s easy to be generous to those who treat you kind.
It’s easy to be kindly to the beautiful and handsome;
It’s easy to think kind thoughts when invited to a mansion.

But when you can show kindness to those who want your hide,
Or those have betrayed you to save themselves, then lied,
Or if your act of kindness gets you nothing but a loss,
Then you’ve an inclination of Christ’s wording on the Cross.

Kindness is how and why you love your drooling little brother.
Kindness is the way you sit beside your aged mother.
Kindness is showing mercy on a loved one in despair.
Kindness is forgetting your own hurts, to show them that you care.

There are some folks who act kindly, when they have something to gain.
There are others who feign kindness, when hiding their own blame.
There are some who are selective in the kindness that they show.
And others who are only kind to certain folks that they know.

There’s something very ugly when a good man acts unkind;
But before you judge him harshly, keep this one thing in mind:
You too have been quite unloving, unthoughtful, maybe cruel,
And if you hope for mercy, don’t forget the golden rule.

Yes, there’s been enough unkindness on everybody’s part,
That now would be the perfect time to call for a fresh start.
It’s time to think right kindly of the loved ones you call friend,
The way you hope they think of you when you’re feeling at the end.

’Cause the precious few who treasure kindness deep within their heart.
And even when they are hurt by others, always play the part
Of being so truly, deeply wholly, passionately kind,
Are the folks that touch your heartstrings and are always in your mind.

You will meet with many prophets, and with mercies not a few,
You will walk with those hospitable, and charitable too.
You will learn from the diligent, and from some humility,
But to meet a truly kind man, is to glimpse eternity.

— • —

By Douglas Winston Phillips

Christian Heritage Conference 2013!

Here are some photos of the Christan Hertage Conference in Washington, that we went to in April. This year we throughly enjoyed the conference as usual, and especially were encouraged by the speakers, and the times of fellowship with dear Believers.

The great trip begins:) this year we were privileged to travel with members from 4 other families up to the conference, and a highlight of our traveling time was getting to ride in the BIG sprinter van!

Working off some energy from the 4 hour road trip:)

O.k. I honestly don't know how this happened:) Micah.C, Hannah.C, and I had just stopped by the Bible Bee booth to visit with our friends who were running the booth, and before we knew it, this happened:) Oh well! We all have our moments:)

The view of the conference from the balcony! There were over 3,500 people in attendance.

Yvonne always has time for little ones, and she always knows how to keep their attention!

A highlight of the trip....the youth Chorale. This year we sang some wonderful hymn arrangements a classical piece, and a gospel style piece.( that's me up on top in the middle of the picture)

Here you can see Evan and Brad.P singing Bass, and Micah.C singing Tenor.

A hilarious singing exercise that made us Sopranos feel like fish!

Another big highlight of any conference for me is meeting new friends. It was such a blessing to finally meet Madi.A and her sister Grace. (Of course it's always great to spend time with Eden.S too:)

The annual "after conference" fellowship at our hotel was bigger than ever this year, and we all throughly enjoyed countless rounds of rotational volleyball, great food, spontaneous singing, and great times of fellowship.

On the way back home, we stopped half way to enjoy some great burgers with sweet friends at Five Guys.

The long table from above:)

It was extra special to spend time with the C. Sisters. Their encouragement and Christ-like examples are such a blessing.

Hannah.C and Elsie.D were super fun to travel with, and they made the trip extra special.

Yvonne and Victoria.D enjoyed spending time together, and even found a way to have us all get Ice Cream after our burgers:)

I enjoyed getting to spend some time with Mahala.C after not really seeing her much during the conference. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. It seemed like the trip went way too fast:)

Last but not least,the main highlight of this year's conference for my brother Evan and I was getting to play a piano duet of Praise Him, Praise Him, for the Family night performances. After practicing for several months, we found it extremely hard to memorize the piece, and we almost lost hope in playing it from memory, but by God's grace, and thanks to the prayers and encouragement of family and friends, we were able to play the piece from memory in front of 3,500 people. (Unfortunately the recordings we got of our actual performance didn't turn out too well, but here's a link to view the audition video we sent in to get accepted to play)

Evan and I before the performance, waiting back stage to play!

Here's some of my favorite quotes from the conference sessions:

"Holding onto sin and unforgiveness , is like you drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Vengeance is God's to repay. Trust God, He will give you the grace to forgive." Voddie Bauchaum

"We don't do what we do because we will see the rewards in the here and now, we did what we do, because we are trusting in a sovereign God who is in charge of everything. We can trust God, and He can use the worst circumstances to get glory for Himself." Voddie Bauchaum

"We can never overestimate the value of treating our siblings like they should be treated, and giving them support, and value." Voddie Bauchaum

Overall, the Christian Hertitage Conference was a wonderful event that we all once again enjoyed, and we are already looking forward to next's years conference.

Command of Christ # 14

Good afternoon,
I am going to confess right off that this command has left me more stumped as I have studied it. Before studying it, I was sure I understood it perfectly, now I am not so sure.
Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). The command is to seek God's kingdom. Simple, right?
The first thing I asked myself was, 'What exactly is the kingdom of God?' *cricket noises*
Was Jesus talking about salvation? or pursuing heavenly things? or the actual kingdom of God: heaven?

From different resources I have concluded that the 'kingdom of God' is generally talking about two things. In order for there to be a kingdom, their needs to be a king. Where there is a king, there is a kingdom, this brings us to the two ways it is used:
1) The kingdom of God that is established in the life of a believer when they acknowledge Him as King of their life. It is a present kingdom or 'sphere in which His rule is acknowledged' (Vine's Expository dictionary). "Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein" (Luke 18:17).
2) The kingdom of God that is in the future tense; it is the kingdom we will enter into with glory and receive the rewards of the trials and tribulations of this life. "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

I believe in this verse, the kingdom of God that Jesus was referencing to was the kingdom of God that is in the present tense. It is the spiritual realm of our lives on this earth. How do we seek the kingdom of God?

1) Become a follower of Jesus Christ. Without making Jesus the King of our lives we are not capable of discerning the spiritual things of God. Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

2) Pursue the things that pertain to God. Make the things of God our priority and let His commands be the driving force of all we do. "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed" (John 6:27).

A boy and his family were vacationing in Florida and spent much of the time by the water. The boy and his brother discovered an oyster bed in some shallow water and spent the day collecting oyster shells. They would pry them open to see if they were alive and would throw back the live ones. The dead ones would not re-close shut; these ones they kept to the side as their 'treasures'. The boy found one especially nice shell but it had a flaw; something was rattling inside and this kept it from being worthy of the 'treasure' pile. It took him five minutes to finally pry out the smooth little rock that was caught inside. Pleased that he had removed the defect, he tossed the little ball into the water. Mid-flight it dawned on him what this little 'rock' had been--a pearl! He made a note of where he thought it had gone in the water and slowly climbed in the water as to not stir up the bottom. He searched diligently, but to no avail, and when he told his parents, they also jumped in the water to help search for the precious pearl, but could not find it. The boy had thrown out the more valuable pearl, so he could keep the mediocre shell.

Often times we too spend our energy searching after 'oyster shells' and neglect the more important 'pearls.' Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Our first priority should be on the things of God, His priorities, and obeying Him. A faithful citizen obeys the laws of the kingdom and honors the king in what they do. As citizens of the kingdom of God, we should be seeking to obey all of the King's commandments.

-What things have become more important to me than seeking God's kingdom?
-What changes do I need to make in order to make God the priority in my life?
-In what ways am I building my life around that which is eternal?

"There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:29-30).

Some notes adapted from the IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide.

P.S. I am still trying to understand the concept of the kingdom of God and the difference/similarities between the kingdom of heaven and all that it entails. Please feel free to send me your thoughts, especially if I am way off in my thoughts about the kingdom of God!

Command Of Christ # 13

This week's command is to 'Lay up Treasures.' If you saw my room you would know that I have this one mastered...O wait, not that kind of treasure??? Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:19-21).

To 'lay up treasures' means to accumulate, heap up, or store up. On earth, it gives the idea of stock-piling goods and riches that aren't really necessary. While there are things that we should own and are definitely needful like clothes, we need to be reasonable. Rather then heaping up earthly things, God wants us to focus on heaping up heavenly things.

C.T. Studd was born into a wealthy family in 1860. His father had owned an indigo plantation and was now retired to a country estate. C.T. Studd went to Cambridge and excelled at cricket; gaining the spot as captain and toured through Europe. He realized, however, the vanity of his fame when his brother fell ill. He said, ""I know that cricket would not last, and honour would not last, and nothing in this world would last, but it was worth while living for the world to come." He began to invest his life in eternal matters and began witnessing to friends. He felt led to go to the China mission field and experienced many hardships for the Gospel. He invested his inheritance in the ministries of D.L. Moody, George Mueller and others and gave up his prestige to minister to villages across the world. He used his life in a powerful way to lay up treasures in heaven rather than seeking cricket trophies or basking in his inheritance. He learned early that 'the world to come' is worth seeking after.

C.T. Studd was focused on gaining an eternal reward and this was the purpose of Jesus' command: to keep our attention on eternal matters. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1). God blesses us with many earthly treasures, but He doesn't want them to be our most prized possessions. In this passage Jesus said that where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be turned to. What you see as valuable will receive your deepest affection and attention.

We are pilgrims on this earth, journeying to our eternal home in heaven. Since we will be spending a good amount of time in eternity, wouldn't it be wise to store up treasures for then? How exactly do we do this?? If you had one million dollars in coins, you wouldn't throw them in a closet and forget about them. Why not? Because they are extremely valuable! Only when we see how valuable eternal treasures are, will we be able to seek after them whole-heartedly. Search the Scriptures and cultivate an understanding of the immense value in heavenly treasures. When you see how valuable they are, you will desire (your heart will be turned to) doing that which will gain eternal rewards.

Here are some things that will gain eternal rewards:
-Give generously to the saints, to the poor, to the fatherless. (II Cor. 9:6, Mt. 19:21)
-Invest quality time in seeking the Lord (Remember the last command? Practice Secret Disciplines)
-Suffer righteously (I Peter)

There are many more things that will gain us eternal rewards...are we seeking these things? I know for me the cares of this world can choke out the more eternal matters. Let's seek to invest in our 'spiritual bank account' by turning our hearts to what God sees as valuable.

-What personal luxuries or plans can I limit so I can further invest in the Kingdom of God?
-Who can I give to that cannot repay me?
-What is one way that I can invest in eternal treasures today?

"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me" (Mat. 19:21).

Some notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

-Obey and teach God's commands (Mt. 5:19)

A Time to Dance!

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;" Eccl 3:1, 4-5

Well, recently we had a time to dance. Here's some photos of the time:)


Command of Christ # 12


This week's command is to 'Practice Secret Disciplines.' Now Jesus doesn't specifically say, 'Practice secret disciplines,' but He does use 18 verses to emphasize this point (Matthew 6:1-18). He focuses on three main disciplines: giving, praying, and fasting. For each discipline Jesus contrasts the Pharisees' methods with how Christians should go about them. By making this comparison, Jesus emphasizes His main point: seek God's approval over man's approval. Paul confirms this principle in Colossians, "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23-24).

Giving: Jesus said, "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret: And thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:3-4). The word 'alms' means 'pertaining to charity'; it gives the idea of giving money and resources for the poor and needy. The Pharisees did not lack in their giving, but their motive was wrong. They did it to get man's praise and so that others would notice thier generosity. We are to give with the goal to further God's kingdom, not to gain the world's applause.

At one church, not to long ago, there was a family who practiced giving. At church, everyone thought of them as a poor family that did have very much money. They rarely had new clothes and the clothes they had looked old. Their house was quite small and their furniture was out-dated and worn too. Even though this family did not have nice things, every Sunday they would invite a lot of people over from church for a big meal. They would move their table into their small living room and have a big pot-roast dinner for anyone who wanted to come. It wasn't until many years later that people realized that they actually were very wealthy people. The father had a very good paying job and the family had plenty of money to buy whatever they wanted. Rather than being extravagent and making it obvious that they were using their money for minsitry, they did it secretly, so that some did not even know they had money to give!

Praying: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:6). This is contrasted with the Pharisees and hypocrites who loved to pray standing in the temples and corners of the streets. Most of our praying should be done in a quiet place where we are free to focus on God fully. Praying in groups is very Biblical, however, it can be a distraction and source of pride if we are not careful. Have you noticed how many people don't want to pray in front of others? Is it because they do not like to talk to God or thank Him for meals? It may be that we are more focused on others' opinions. Praying in 'secret' regularly provides times where we are not distracted by the fear of man.

Fasting: "When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which seeth in secret and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:17-18). I love the description of the Pharisees who disfigure their faces so that people will notice how 'godly' they are for suffering. Especially for extended fasts, it will be very hard to keep your fast a complete secret. The idea is that we do not 'announce' it so that others will praise our efforts.

-How can I avoid disctractions to my prayer time?
-When I give, is my motive to receive God's praise or man's praise?
-What are some needs tha I could meet anonymously?

"For not he that comendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth" (II Cor. 10:18).

Some notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ Study Guide and pocket guide