Discernment: What do you Treasure?

Treasure ChartQuestion: What do you treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Social media is an excellent tool for exchanging ideas, promoting projects, or promoting self. It very clearly magnifies what is most important to us. For some, its business and culture that are core values, for others its politics, for others it is God and His statues, and yet for others its family and friends.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37

Part of the Christ centered life is the ongoing evaluation of what matters to us…the most. God wants to ensure that He has our complete heart. He wants no competing idols. Though we may not be worshipping a golden calf like the Israelites (Exodus 32), we may be unknowingly worshipping the various idols of life.

In college and/or professional school many of us learned about the benefits of time management. Some of us even received presentations on the Time Management Pie Chart or what I call the Treasure Chart. The purpose of the chart is to help us identify where our time goes or Biblically speaking what we treasure. It’s a simple visual tool to help us identify what really is number one in our daily lives. For example, if our Treasure Chart shows that 50% of our pie is allocated to social media, 25% is allocated to school, 10% is allocated to sleep, 10% is allocated to socializing with Christian friends sans Abba focused, and 5% is allocated to God (i.e. worship, accountability groups/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer), we could clearly see that despite our strong feelings that God is number one in our lives, our Treasure Chart hints that our time may actually be skewed towards other things and not God.

Question: How do you identify what you Treasure the most?

Take an inventory of how you spend your time using the Treasure Chart
For instance, in one 48 hour period you spent 8 hours watching television, 4 hours gardening, 4 hours on social media, 16 hours sleeping, 3 hours eating, 8 hours clubbing, 2 hours cleaning, 2 hours working out, and 1 hour honoring God (i.e. worship, accountability/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer). Then simply divide the number of hours you spent on a particular task by 48 hours. That will be the percentage of time you spent on that particular task. The task(s) with the highest percentages suggest these are the tasks you value or Treasure the most.
Examine your use of Social Media
Look back at your postings over the last one to six months and examine if the majority of your picture and/or article postings on Social Media promote the Gospel of Christ Jesus, your “smokin” hot abs of steel, your incredible lifestyle, or political happenings.
Ask a Biblical friend and/or mentor
These individuals know you the best and live a lifestyle that is a walking billboard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are the Biblical counsel referenced in Proverbs 15:22. They will be honest and help steer you towards the Cross.
Ask God
You cannot underestimate the value of prayer and Bible study with God. Daily ask God for wisdom and He will answer as James 1:5 declares.

There are many more ways you can examine if God is the number one Treasure of your heart. The key is that you take steps to identify where God lies. Some of you are thinking, “We all spend more time sleeping, eating, and working in a day than we do Bible study or prayer. Does that mean sleeping, eating, and working are number one in our hearts?” NO! God actually values work (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Proverbs 31), as it is necessary for earning fruit to maintain the home and supporting the Kingdom. God also values sleep as it is another opportunity for Him to communicate to us (see Psalm 16:7). God is simply asking us to be aware of how we use our time and take the necessary steps to bring Him to the top of our Treasure list. One can work while demonstrating the Believer’s lifestyle of service and love. One can clean the home while meditating on God’s scripture or silently praying to God about the days ahead. One can use social media to share the Gospel of Christ Jesus via words of strengthening, encouraging, and comforting others (1 Corinthians 14:3).

God repeatedly declares that Believers should treasure nothing above Him, not even parents or children (Matthew 10:37). So the challenge to each Believer in Yeshua is to ask yourself, “What do I treasure?” and then the take all the necessary steps to make God number one. AMEN

Abba, we confess and repent of all the idols of the world we have placed before you. We lay the idols of work, of self, of husbands/wives, of friends, of children, and of materialism on the altar and thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth for sacrificing yourself for us. Holy Spirit come and transform us from the inside out. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. AMEN

Photo Credit: FE
Related Post: Pastor Joe

Discernment: The People God Uses

sadDo you feel you know who the “right” persons are to do Kingdom work? Do they have the right credentials, right training, know the right people, live in the right neighborhood, wear the right clothes, and are a part of “right crowd” of “leaders of tomorrow”? Where do these assumptions come from? Are you absolutely sure you know who will do God’s Kingdom work?

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

Are you open to God? Are you open to God using circumstances and people who don’t fit the image you have imagined? What if God chose someone who did not fit “The Checklist”?

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Recently my dad shared with me an article bringing to light the issue of the people God uses. An inner city student with autism from a single parent home, did what many think is impossible. He became the salutatorian of his high school class, mastered four languages (fluent), and on track to study mechanical engineering at one of the nation’s best science based academic institutions. Man says that “inner city” kids are trouble, are all in gangs, and should be avoided. Man says that children with autism have no hope of academic success and should be prepared for a group home for the rest of their lives. Man says that children from single parent homes don’t even have a chance compared to dual parent home children. However, God in the power that only He can display declared that this inner city student with autism from a single parent home is exactly capable of all things according the Kingdom of God. This child is a walking miracle and a sign post to the Body and the world that we cannot assume we know who God will use for His purposes.

In Acts 5, there is a story of the apostles being placed in jail by the religious leaders and during the course of the night they were released by an angel of the Lord and charged to teach in the temple the next day about the Believer’s life. The following morning the religious leaders and guards checked the prison house and found all the locks secured as they were placed the night before. They were confused as to how the apostles got out and into to the temple where they were teaching. The leaders ordered that the apostles be brought back to them. Upon the apostles arrival, they were immediately chastised for having continued to disobey their human orders to not teach about the Believer’s life. Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus who you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given those who obey Him” (Acts 5:29-32).

Now rather than recognize God’s work in these individuals and surrender to God, the leaders turned to anger and planned to kill the apostles. One of the religious leaders, Gamaliel, could see God’s hand at work in these individuals and could see a disturbing pattern in those who worked against the apostles.

‘But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be over thrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”’ Acts 5:34-39.

In God’s perfect universe, there are no right credentials, right training, right neighborhood, right clothes, right family, or right crowd that can do His Kingdom work. Our God is the God of love and inclusion. He uses even the most tarnished or challenging individuals to do great work. In fact, God believes so much in this principle that more than one of Jesus’ descendents were considered tarnished or challenging by historical and modern day moral standards (Tamar, David, Rahab). Coincidence?

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Discernment: Heritage and Healing during the Holidays

trailoftearsI don’t know about you but my earthly culture of origin loves its identity.  I’ve always known my heritage from an early age and placed high value on it.  As I’ve grown into adulthood and in my faith I have come to know my heritage as a daughter of Eternal Papa.  I am one of the many daughters adopted into the eternal family of Christ.  My prayer is that we all would vest our heritage in our heavenly eternal family.

I don’t know about you but almost every month I get asked, “Where are you from ?”, “Did you grow up in the states?”, “Where are your parents/grandparents from…originally?”.  I never really identified myself as ethnically ambiguous but I guess in a country of many Nations and with a mixed heritage of many African nations, I guess it might be a bit confusing for someone trying to figure out my heritage.  I suppose I would rather have someone ask my heritage than stare and not ask.  Well earlier this year I was asked one of these questions by an older Somali man.  I gave him my usual “I am from America.”  He persisted in asking the nation of origin of my parents and I persisted with “America”.  He then persisted in asking the nation of origin of my grandparents/great grandparents and I persisted with “America”.  Then he flatly asked “Where in Africa is your family originally from?”  He was certain my family was from or near Somali.  I then shared that my family is from America and we don’t know where in Africa we are from actually.  He like many who have asked me this question persisted that I should find out.

Well minus one story of thousands of Africans non-willfully being brought to the Americas and mixed amongst each other, it’d be pretty hard to pinpoint exactly my true ethnic nation of origin.  There are some rare times when I am curious but that curiosity passes as my joy in my eternal heritage takes over.  Who can beat the eternal and royal heritage of the King of King, Lord of Lords?!  So the following story is about the Heritage of Americans and the Believer.

I agree that some of this country’s original immigrants (i.e. forefathers) were Believers.  Many worked tirelessly to get my forefathers freed from slavery.  But I also know that some of this country’s original immigrants (i.e. forefathers) were not Believers.  One that kills, steals, and destroys in the name of religion does not understand the Faith and is not my forefather.  Forefather is a powerful word that assumes the heritage and inherited “stuff” (good and bad including generational sins) to you.  One observation about this country is the varied views of how it was founded.  There are some of us who believe it was founded by Christians.  There are some of us who believe it was founded by European Explorers (sans the Christian faith).  Ask a Native American about who they believe founded the U.S.A and your answer might be different?  Ask a descendant of the American slaves (African American) about who they believe founded the U.S.A. and your answer might be different?  I think the view of the heritage of America will depend on your heritage and forefathers.  If your forefathers were Native Americans, you would likely claim the founders of this country came thousands of years ago from Asia to the American continent.  If your forefathers were African slaves, you would likely claim the forefathers of this country were also Native Americans who were pushed out by European explorers seeking a new land.

Why might there be so much unresolved racial division in the U.S.A.?  I would propose because we have not healed the wounds and generational sins of the forefathers of the U.S.A.  I am reading an interesting book by John and Mark Sandford on Deliverance and Inner Healing.  They presents some really good insights into strongholds that affect larger groups of people including countries.  Their example is Nazi Germany.  There was a concept of an empire spirit that seeks to take over and conquer other Nations.  It seems one root of it could be greed.  Nonetheless, this empire stronghold and generational sins of the forefathers of one group of Nations against others forefathers of other groups of Nations remain unresolved in the land of the U.S.A.  Great wickedness and bloodshed occurred in this land and often in the name of religion.  Great sins were committed against the original inhabitants of this land and other immigrants brought to this land.  I challenge the belief that this country was founded on the Faith.  Telling falsehoods or just occupying land that is inhabited by others is stealing.  Sending blankets filled with small pox to families of Natives with the intention they would get sick and die so one could inhabit the land is murder.  Purposefully taking women from their people in order to obliterate any future ethnic heritage (also known as white washing – done in both the Americas and Australia) is not pure in motives.  Stealing and taking other Nations of people as livestock to build a new Nation that they were told they could not enjoy because they were not human was not Godly and was not Christian.  Raping the same livestock that was also told was not human is not Godly or Christian, and violates Abba’s principles on sexual morality and love.

Yes my friends, this is part of the heritage and foundation of our nation.  There is much healing that needs to take place for our country.  One of the things you learn in the ministry of healing prayer is that before you petition God you clear things up that are broken.  You repent, you cancel Satan’s authority, ask for healing, and then petition/talk with God.  One profound area I learned is the need for us as Believers is to repent and cancel Satan’s authority over us in generational sins, word curses, and inner vows.  Often as Believers we are bound to things that we cannot explain and much of it has to do with bloodline sins.  Sometimes the sins is in the environment or in the land we inhabit.  The prince of the air has reign of this earth and he has no intention of letting this nation be a nation of Beliver’s heritage.  I think our call as Believers is to go back and heal the land, and heal the wounds of the descendants before us.  The descendant victims of the thievery and slavery in the U.S.A. have corporately not healed from the generational sins committed against their forefathers.

Have you heard someone say “Why are Black people so angry?” or “Why do the Natives drink so much or commit suicide so much?”  I’ve heard these statements and maybe the answer is spiritual (generational sin and unhealed land).  Might we consider that the Native peoples are still grieving spiritually the massive thievery committed against their forefathers and their land and culture. Might we consider the descendants of African slaves including my ancestors (African Americans) are still grieving spiritually the massive sins of abuse and thievery of the identity of their forefathers.  Two Nations of God’s people in the Americas have not healed completely from the sins committed against their forefathers.  There is a spiritual bondage and not letting go of the past.  We need to pray for the healing of the generational sins of our forefathers both the offenders and victims.  You may be like my husbands’ family who did not arrive to this land until the early 1900s and have no knowledge or generational linkage to the forefathers of the Native Americans, African slaves, or European explorers but your prayer to heal the land is still needed.  We need to welcome these Nations of the Native Americans and African slaves into the adopted family of Christ.  Though their earthly identity was stolen and great sins were committed against their forefathers (including my forefathers), help them to know that God is the ultimate healer and he is just.  As one of the descendants of the wounded Nations, I can live freely in knowing that my identity is no longer in the sins committed against or by my forefathers but my identity is in an eternal heritage with God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  Please consider this on our American Holidays (Columbus Day, Thanksgiving).

Lord we ask that you would Bind up the wounds and generational sins of our forefathers and loose healing/freedom to each of us, securing our identity in your eternal family.  Thank you Abba.  – Amen

Related Stories: Does Heritage Matter? ; American History
Photo Credit: USG.edu
Resources: The Harbinger