Saturday, January 2, 2016
No, that’s not Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. The artist painted the buildings he knew, not what Joseph and Mary saw when they were ending their journey to be taxed.
See how far behind I am? I have lots of blog notes from Bible reading while not blogging, and this one surfaced this morning. It would have been most appropriate Christmas Eve, or even Christmas Day, but we were very busy preparing for then enjoying guests.
It wasn’t the Christmas story that I was reading. It was about keeping our hearts secure. I like what I found in Genesis:
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; (Deuteronomy 4:9 KJV)
“Keep thy soul diligently … lest they depart from thy heart.” Don’t forget what happened during our lifetime – and teach them to our children and their children. Have we done a good job of that? Do our children know how WWI and II got started? Are our actions today helping or hindering peace efforts? Do we teach what we’ve learned from the past, or expect the future to always hold better things. Who in 1900 would have foreseen WWI? Who in 1930 would have seen WWII?
But that’s in the hands of world leaders – what about our own hearts?
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23 KJV)
What are your personal life issues? No – don’t tell me or write them here. Acknowledge them for yourself. How do they affect you? how do they affect your family and others around you? Do you believe there is help for your issues? This Psalmist did:
ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! (Psalms 119:1-5 KJV)
There are hurdles to overcome to keep our hearts, our very being, doing good. Even supposing we have fertile ground for good thoughts and deeds to grow, Jesus described what could happen:
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22 KJV)
What care of this world causes the most problem? Maybe the next description, “the deceitfulness of riches”, which reminds me of:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV)
It’s not just money, but the things we believe money could buy that would make us happy – such as rooms in an inn when a stable and manger would do.
For this reason I recommend we look for the riches that not only last a lifetime, but are promised to be eternal. What does it cost us in this world to believe eternity exists?