Monday, July 4, 2011

Mining for Gold

Aerial view of gold mining
There's a lot of interest in gold and silver these days, as the economic crisis grinds along. Many have chosen to invest in these precious metals as a way of protecting their assets. Gold and silver have always been considered valuable. But there is something even more valuable than either of these. The Word of God teaches us that wisdom and the knowledge of the Lord are of greater value.

Hidden Deep in the Earth
In the book of Job, we read: "Surely there is a mine for silver And a place where they refine gold. Iron is taken from the dust, And copper is smelted from rock. Man puts an end to darkness, And to the farthest limit he searches out The rock in gloom and deep shadow. He sinks a shaft far from habitation, Forgotten by the foot; They hang and swing to and fro far from men. The earth, from it comes food, And underneath it is turned up as fire. Its rocks are the source of sapphires, And its dust contains gold. The path no bird of prey knows, Nor has the falcon's eye caught sight of it. The proud beasts have not trodden it, Nor has the fierce lion passed over it. He puts his hand on the flint; He overturns the mountains at the base. He hews out channels through the rocks, And his eye sees anything precious. He dams up the streams from flowing, And what is hidden he brings out to the light." (Job 28:1-11)

A gold mine
This is a great description of the lengths that men go through to mine gold, silver, precious metals, and stones. These things don't normally lie on the surface. You've got to search for them and dig for them. Wisdom, understanding, and the knowledge of the Lord are a lot like that.

Where is Wisdom?
Job went on to say: "But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says, 'It is not in me'; And the sea says, 'It is not with me.' Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, Nor can silver be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, In precious onyx, or sapphire. Gold or glass cannot equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold. Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living And concealed from the birds of the sky. Abaddon and Death say, 'With our ears we have heard a report of it.' God understands its way, And He knows its place. For He looks to the ends of the earth And sees everything under the heavens. When He imparted weight to the wind And meted out the waters by measure, When He set a limit for the rain And a course for the thunderbolt, Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.'" (Job 28:12-28)

No matter how far you search the earth or sea, you will not find wisdom or understanding. Job teaches us that we don't know their value and they cannot be found in the land of the living. You cannot put a price tag on them. They are priceless.


A gold nugget
That's why we are exhorted by Solomon to search diligently for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. He wrote: "If you seek her [wisdom] as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God." (Pro 2:4-5). So there's a quest you need to undertake personally in your own search for wisdom.

But where should you search? Well, according to the apostle Paul, we can find them in Christ "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col 2:3). That narrows it down for us considerably. You can't get any more specific than that. It's like having one of those old pirate maps with the "X" on it marking the spot where the treasure is buried.

You don't need to go to Eastern mystics or New Age teachers. You simply need to go to Jesus Christ. Call upon His name, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Begin reading the New Testament Bible and ask God to show you the whole Truth.

If you already know Him, then go to the Word in prayer, and the Lord will give you wisdom. If you have never read the New Testament, begin there. But also supplement your reading with books like Proverbs. You can supplement your daily reading with a chapter in proverbs corresponding to the day of the month, and complete the entire book in thirty days.

Of course, knowing the Lord is not simply reading the Bible. It's a relationship with your Maker. You also grow in this relationship through worship, prayer, fellowship with other believers, being equipped for works of service, and receiving instruction in the Word. Another way you will grow in your relationship with Him is through serving.

Let me encourage you today to seek after wisdom from Jesus Christ through a personal relationship with Him. Then you will become one of the wealthiest people on earth.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Resurrection Outworking in Us

How many of you know what kind of processor you have in your PC? Unlike in the 1980's, today many people do know.

For example, mine is an Intel processor. How do I know? Well, there's a sticker right on the outside of the case that says, "Intel Pentium 4 HT inside." Intel processors played a central role in transforming the PC.

In fact, it was the tiny processor that drove the rapid increase in the performance of computers. Today, the Intel Core i7, clocks 3.2 GHz, which is incredibly fast!

Although the processor was only an individual component of the computer, Intel wanted the consumer to know it was inside. So the Intel Inside® Program was launched in 1991. They marketed this single component directly to consumers. Now Intel is one of the top ten known-brands in the world, up there beside Coke, Disney, and McDonalds.

Intel wanted the consumer to know what was inside their computer. Likewise, the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, wants believers in Christ to know the treasure we have inside.

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Co 4:6-18)

I’d like us to consider the practical outworking of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in our lives.

Resurrection Power Inside
Because of His resurrection from the dead, we have Resurrection Power Inside! I should mention that this parody use of the Intel logo to the left is not to be confused with the actual Intel logo. The resurrection power inside of the believer is not for sale and it never will be. You can't buy it. And it's more powerful than any computer processor man could ever produce!

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. God has shone in our hearts. Jesus is the Light. He’s inside!

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. The resurrection power I'm talking about that we have inside is of God and not ourselves. That’s real treasure!

Life Inside
In addition to resurrection power inside, we have life inside. We are constantly being delivered over to death. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

Ever wonder why bad things happen to God’s people? Paul had many hardships (listed in 2 Cor 11:23-29). He said, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure. In our hearts we felt the sentence of death.” (2 Co 1:8, 9a). He was hard-pressed on every side. (2 Co 4:8).

As believers we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. The Lord allows these things, so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Co 1:9). “We carry around in our body the death of Jesus.” “We are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake.” As a result, the life of Jesus is manifested in our mortal flesh. It's a new life! An eternal life!

Death works in us, but life in you. The apostle Paul had a great perspective regarding his afflictions. He wrote, “So death works in us, but life in you.” He saw every one of his hardships as being for the benefit of others.

If you are not seeing life coming forth in others, maybe death is not at work in you.
Is death working in you? If so, it will bring life to others. “Those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him…” (5:15) Are you living for yourself or for Him who died for you and was raised again?

“For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.” 2 Co 13:4. There's always this weakness-power, life-death paradox in the life of the believer.

Faith, Hope and Grace Inside
In addition to life inside, we have faith, hope and grace inside.

Paul said, “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak.” We believe, therefore we speak (v.13) – That’s faith!

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Real faith produces actions. It is because we believe that we speak. If you believe, you will speak. “You will be my witnesses…” (Ac 1:8). You will speak to whomever the Lord wants you to speak to. You will speak wherever the Lord wants you to speak. You will speak whenever the Lord wants you to speak.

“Knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.” He who raised Jesus will raise us (v.14). That’s hope!

We have the hope of the future resurrection of the dead. We’re not planning on dying, we’re planning on living forever in glory. “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.” (2Co 5:1-4). God has pledged it with the deposit of His Spirit, so it’s GUARANTEED (5:5).

“For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.” Grace may cause thanks to abound (v.15). That’s grace!

How often do we wonder why we are going through something? Sometimes the Lord says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” As Paul saw it, all the things that happened to him were for the sake of others. The grace of God inside of us, enabling us to go through these things, spreads to others. It causes more and more people to give thanks for the gracious favor granted to us in answer to the prayers of many (to the glory of God).

Putting it All Together

Now that we have considered the practical outworking of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in our lives, we can see that because of His resurrection from the dead, we have:

  • Resurrection Power Inside (Jesus Himself, the Light has shone in our hearts)
  • Life Inside
  • Faith, Hope and Grace Inside

It’s a great treasure we have in earthen vessels. Let’s continually dial up that awareness.
Paul put it like this: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Co 13:5).

Let’s encourage one another in our hardships. Don’t lose heart. They’re producing something.

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Co 4:16-18)

We may not be able to see what God is doing inside our hearts, but it’s eternal. On a scale, that glory far outweighs our temporary afflictions.

Look not at what is seen, but at what is unseen – that which is eternal.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's Note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Main Directory. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.