You might have heard about the ‘gift’ of singleness. Many Christians feel it is more of a curse. Our society, and even our Christian society as well, can offer an unbalanced view on things and inadvertently pressure singles into thinking that WE ALL must find a husband or wife. If we choose to listen to God‘s will and choose not to marry, others quite often feel the need to offer up unwanted and unneeded sympathies to the single. Singleness is often mistakenly seen as biblically inferior to married life. Singleness might even be something which embarrasses the single person. But that’s not what the Bible teaches.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the bible actually calls singleness as much as a gift from the Lord, and then some. 1 Cor. 7:32 NKJ~ “But I want you to be with out care, He who is UNMARRIED cares for the things of the LORD- how he may please the Lord. 33~But he who is MARRIED cares about the things of the world-how he may please his wife. The UNMARRIED woman cares about the things of LORD, that she may be holy, both in body and in spirit..But she who is MARRIED cares about THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD-how she may please her husband. For I want you to serve the Lord, UNDISTRACTED.
Singleness gives us freedom to serve God without having to think about a husband or wife, and means we’re just seeking to serve God first and no-one else. It is not a requirement from the Lord, and it is not the will of God for most, more the exception to the rule for those that can endure this gift. This is not to suggest marriage is not good, or godly, as the Bible clearly states it’s also a gift, and how else could God grow His family. Often times marriage and/or children can cause complications in life and also in all sorts of ministry when in all likelihood singleness may not. It is true, God said it is NOT good for man to be alone, this is why the single should be diligent in cultivating godly friendships with others. Of course, this current gift of singleness, does not mean that at some later point God may will to you the gift of marriage; but at the moment if you have the gift of singleness, treat it as the precious gift that it very clearly is.
Matthew 6:19-34. This will be the scripture we look to here in Part 5.
“Do not store up for yourselves wealth here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and burglars break in and steal. Instead, store up for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth or rust destroys, and burglars do not break in or steal. For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also.”
It’s important to note the word wealth here means: An abundance of something that fills what is desired or needed.
The amassing of “things” is the caution. It begs to question the “buy in bulk” mentality. Though there are clear Biblical accounts of being instructed by God to “store up” years worth of grains due to coming drought and famines. Yet, in each case there was a clear indication by God to do so – this should not be a “norm”. It points up to Matthew 6:9-13, which is the prayer Yeshua (Jesus) instructed us to pray (we will cover this in detail soon 🙂 ). “Give us the food we need today.”
This subject is highly charged and gets confusing especially when one lives in a “wealthy” nation such as the USA. More than one TV verses a TV being considered “a need” at all…and so on. The words “here on earth where moths and rust destroy and things that can be “taken away” or stolen” these are usually skipped over. Why? Well, simply albeit not so welcomingly put, anything that can be worn down or moth eaten or stolen is an earthly wealth. Anything can be stolen – whether its in abundance or not, just ask anyone who has lived in a disaster zone, one loaf of bread is considered “wealth” at such times. Its therefore important to note verse 21.
“For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also.”
It begs a question: So what IS wealth in heaven? This question is a heart question and invites upon asking – God – to answer. Why? Because only God would know what heavenly wealth is! Unless you “know” someone who’s been there and can ask them! Yeshua – was – and did answer. Lets listen. 🙂
Verses 22 – 30 Yeshua (Jesus) speaking – emphasis mine
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light, but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can be a slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and money.
Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life – what you will eat or drink; or about your body – what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds flying about! They neither plant nor harvest, nor do they gather food into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to his life?
And why be anxious about clothing? Think of the fields of wild irises, and how they grow. They neither work or spin thread, yet I tell you that not even Shlomo (Solomon) in all his glory was clothed as beautifully as one of these. If this is how God clothes grass in the field – which is here today and gone tomorrow, thrown in an oven – won’t he much more clothe you? What little trust you have!”
So what is Yeshua saying here? Lets take the word slave and define it. A slave is one who services another, whatever is asked by the master the slave does. A slave is not guaranteed pay or provision – though typically “provision” is considered the “pay”. Here again the heart questions: “Am I a slave to money?” “If so, what does it ask me to do, give and be?” “Does it dictate the gifts or wealth of heaven I’ve been given?” In other words, “Do I serve it more than it serves me?”
The next section goes on into detail about food and clothing…basic “needs” right? Yet He (Yeshua) gets right to the point in verse 30 at the end. “What little trust you have!” A wealth of heaven? TRUST in God our Father! No amount of money or the lack of it will “buy” this. It can not be eaten, rusted, stolen, or taken from anyone. In others words…ANYTHING that can be bought with money is NOT a treasure of heaven! Nope not even a loaf of bread or a shirt or pants. At the same time Yeshua points out clearly all things bought with money come from God – period. If you have a job, the ability to perform it for a fee – thank your Father for that is where the heart is! If you have eaten today and paid a bill – thank your Father in Heaven because without Him the bill goes into collection and the stomach is empty. This attitude is the light spoken of in verses 22 & 23. These verses are written in the language of the heart.
Lets read on:
Verses 31 – 34
“So don’t be anxious asking, “What will we eat?”, “What will we drink?” or “How will we be clothed?” For it is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Don’t worry about tomorrow – tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough tsuris (trouble) already!”
Notice where the heart gets mentioned? What is a pagan? Someone who does not include God in their thinking, living, or manner of relating. So…you may be tempted to ask; “So what if God doesn’t “provide” for clothes or food?” (Typically this question gets asked when one loses a job, or finances change with economy, or major life changes ex: divorce, injury, death of a spouse, illness) The wealth of heaven being taught here – Trust – says “Well Lord you know my needs…help me trust You!” and even thanks Him for what He has provided, based on verse 32. One must admit it takes a lot of faith/trust to live like that, and if you do – your wealth is indestructible, un-steal-able – unshakably from heaven. What does not feed the body often feeds the heart!
Chapter 7 of Matthew goes on to name a few more “wealth of heaven” elements to the heart. Read it, ask the questions – live from the heart – and find the true wealth of this life there! For this is seeking first His Kingdom and His Righteousness – the rest is negotiable!!
Where the Heart Is? ~ Part 6 ~ Coming soon 🙂
Grace and Peace in Yeshua the Messiah
Only the hand that erases can write the true thing. ~ Meister Eckhart ~
He who seeks God in some external routine will find the routine and lose God. ~ Meister Eckhart ~
How can we ever be sold short, or cheated, we who for every service have long ago been overpaid? ~ Meister Eckhart ~
O faithful conscience delicately pure, how doth a little failing wound thee sore! ~ Dante Alighieri ~
For silence is not God, nor speaking; fasting is not God, nor eating; solitude is not God, nor company; nor any other pairs of opposites. He is hidden between them and cannot be found by anything your soul does, but only by the desire of your heart. ~ Cloud of Unknowing ~
Truth is the highest thing that man may keep. ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~
Reason in man is rather like God in the world. ~ Thomas Aquinas ~
Anyone who is not burning will not be able to set anyone else on fire. ~ Peter of Rheims ~
(Christ speaks) I am concealing myself from you so that you may discover by yourself what you are without me. ~ Margaret of Cortona ~
This morning my soul is greater than the world, since it possesses you, whom heaven and earth cannot contain. ~ Margaret of Cortona ~
Love made me like the hazel trees, which blossom early in the season of darkness, and bear fruit slowly. ~ Hadewijch of Brabant ~
Every creature is a divine word because it proclaims God. ~ Bonaventure ~
Since happiness is nothing but the enjoyment of the highest good, and since the highest good is above, then no one can be happy unless he rise above himself, not by a physical ascent, but by an ascent of the heart. ~ Bonaventure ~
If you wish to know how such things come about, consult grace, not doctrine; desire, not understanding; prayerful groaning, not studious reading; the Spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness, not clarity. ~ Bonaventure ~
Exalted, drawn, and absorbed into uncreated Light, I beheld that which cannot be related. ~ Angela of Foligno ~
Confession must be our own: we must expose no one except ourselves, as far as possible. ~ Ancrene Riwle ~
If you are wise you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than a canal. For a canal spreads abroad the water it receives, but a reservoir waits until it is full before overflowing, and thus shares without loss to itself its superabundance of water. ~ Bernard of Clairvaux ~
We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants: we can see more than they can, and things further off, not because we are keener-sighted or physically distinguished, but because we are being carried high, lifted up by their great size. ~ Bernard of Chartres ~
The first key to wisdom is assiduous and frequent questioning. For by doubting we come in enquiry and by enquiry we arrive at the truth. ~ Peter Abelard ~
Nobody can fight properly and boldly for the faith, if he clings to a fear of being stripped of earthly possessions. ~ Peter Damian ~
God often works more by the illiterate seeking the things that are God’s than by the learned seeking the things that are their own. ~ Anselm of Canterbury ~
O Christ, the ocean of our forgiveness, allow me to wash off in you the dirt I am clothed in, so that I may become resplendent in the raiment of your holy light. ~ John the Elder ~
The “fall” began with Satan’s jealousy of God. So if you find within you envy or jealousy brews – remember the author of these – and send them back unprinted on the pages of your heart. ~ Lisa VanValkenburgh ~
We cannot grieve except that He has, does, and did so first – so when we feel a loss that wells the soul into agony – we are in His Light…grieving more than the one simple act or incident at a time – but feel a simple small part of the Larger Whole. The grief – even this belongs to Him – flows from Him and it is an anointing! So much we are bathed in Blood. Not less the blood of the physical body – as more the Blood of the soul. There are corpses everywhere – the Holocaust is not at quits, so much more the Blood that covers us. More that, because it transfuses – breathes the life – to cover over the soul in more than second chances. ~ Lisa VanValkenburgh ~
Hallmarks of a true friend:
- When you reach out to them – they embrace you and stand beside you and tip your head up to your Maker.
- There are no such things as impassable distances. Their hearts breach the impossible and touch you no matter where or how they are.
- They listen to the true voice within you. Encouragement in the voice of sorrow and doubt. Embracing the voice of uniqueness and beauty. Not so much concerned with compatibilities in personality and experience – as unity in the pasture we are all placed in and the joy found in hearing the Voice of Our Shepherd.
- They don’t care about your resume, achievements and worldly successes as the hallmark to worthiness. They care about WHO you are without all “the garments” praise-worthy to humans.
- You can trust them most importantly behind your back as to your face. Without the one the other can not be real.
- They commit their talk to only the things that encourage others to believe the best of you.
- They remind you of all that’s truly important in this life. That every soul is empty till Jesus flows through it. That every soul gets lost and He finds them. That getting lost and empty are the hallmarks of being fulfilled and found. That everything means something, not in fate but in purpose. That everything is purposed by His hands and those Hands are infinitely trustworthy.
- A true friend speaks the truth no matter how uncomfortable, with a loving heart always – but knowing that comfort is often found in a “squeezing” or pushing through. They offer to squeeze with you – not for you – to lend their weight to the push not clobber with the truth and then wait till you “get it”. A true friend sticks – not stones.
- A true friend knows the key to having a true friend is BEING a true friend. Even to those who are not true to them.
- A true friend grieves as though the grief is their own. Leaps with joy in their joy. It is not jealous or envious but inspired by the differences they see in people.
- A true friend…they cross your path maybe once or twice in a lifetime. They rarely “look” like you’d expect. They are almost always very different than you at first – until you see they are kindred spirits in different vessels only. They are few – not the norm – and a special gift from God.
- The world says friendship takes two. The Bible says it takes one. The world looks on the outside (common interest, hobby’s, similar circumstances, status, education, wealth, popularity, good looks). The Bible says look to the inside where there is only one requirement – the Love of God – His ways, His word, His perspectives, His interest, His education, His status, and His desires. Jesus came to point the way to true friendship – to His Father. True friends are always “lookin up for each other” not lookin out for each other. True friends know that a Shepherd is “lookin out for us all”, sees all there is to see, and can “look out” for us better than we ever could. True friends just keep lookin up, holding on, and remind us to do the same by example, word, and deed.
- True friendship is a verb – not a noun. It s always in action whether close by or far away – whether its a quiet sitting beside or words of comfort, laughter, or song. It’s always present because as with all things true – it comes from Above, never ends, always hopes, always loves, always trust.
- True friendship starts from within a person first and last…so it never goes without.
- True friendship requires a Shepherd…like all things called treasures that last eternity. Like the Michael W. Smith song…”And friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them…and a friend cannot say never because the welcome will not end…”
- We are not meant to experience true friendship with everybody, but we are called to be a true friend to everybody. True friendship isn’t about getting, it’s all about giving. It never counts the cost, tally’s the gifts its given or how often, or compares one thing to another. Its valued for the gift that it is and kept as the rare and special difference it is to all other things.
- I thank You Jesus that You called me a friend, that I have a lifetime and more to learn what that means. To all my true friends…you know who you are…I am honored to call you such…and even more honored to be a true friend to you. I love you all with all my heart.
2011 ~ Lisa VanValkenburgh
Love is rarer than genius itself. And friendship is rarer than love. ~ Charles Peguy
For there is no friend like a sister. In calm or stormy weather; to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands. ~ Christina Rossetti
Thoughts to Ponder ~ 8 ~
Detach yourself from the love of the multitude lest your enemy question your spirit and trouble your inner peace. ~ Doulas ~
A friend is long sought, hardly found and with difficulty kept. ~ Jerome ~
The friendship that can cease has never been real. ~ Jerome ~
It is a candid and ingenuous kind of confession that praises in others what is wanting in oneself. ~ Jerome ~
Pay attention to the reading of the words of Scripture, in order to learn from them how to be with God. ~ John of Apamea ~
I was like a stone lying deep in mud but he that is mighty lifted me up and placed me on top of the wall. ~ Patrick ~
I pray that we may be found worthy to be cursed, censured, and ground down, and even put to death in the name of Jesus Christ, so long as Christ himself is not put to death in us. ~ Paulinus of Nola ~
Christ is born so that by his birth he might restore our nature. He became a child, was fed and grew so that he might bring in the one perfect age to remain forever as he created it. He holds mankind up so that they may no longer fall. The creature he formed of earth he now makes heavenly. ~ Peter Chrysologus ~
Send, O Christ, the Spirit, send the Father to my soul; steep my dry heart in this dew, the best of all your gifts. ~ Synesisus ~
Be thou a bright flame before me, Be thou a guiding star above me, Be thou a smooth path below me, Be thou a kindly shepherd behind me, Today – tonight – and for ever. ~ Columba ~
The virtue of innocence is regarded as foolishness by the wise of this world. Anything done out of innocence they doubtless consider stupid; and whatever is approved by truth, by the worldly wise will be called folly. ~ Gregory the Great ~
Faith has no merit where human reason supplies the truth. ~ Gregory the Great ~
My dear son, when you receive a letter from a friend, you should not hesitate to embrace it as a friend. It is a great consolation for friends who are apart, that a letter can be embraced in the absence of its beloved writer. ~ Isidore of Seville ~
The demons say one thing to get us into sin, and another to overwhelm us in despair. ~ John Climacus ~
Right at the beginning of our converse with God, as we stand before him, would that we would use the humble words of the blessed patriarch Abraham: “See, I have begin to speak in the Lord’s presence, I who am but dust and ashes!” ~ Martyrius Sahdona ~
There is a new wonder in heaven and on earth: God is on earth and man is in heaven. ~ Thalassios the Libyan ~
If you share secretly in the joy of someone you envy, you will be freed from your jealousy; and you will also be freed from your jealousy if you keep silent about the person you envy. ~ Thalassios the Libyan ~
God is a sea of infinite substance. ~ John of Damascus ~
Grant us, Lord, to cling to you, not in our outward beings but in our hidden selves, and may we follow you until we behold your face. ~ John the Elder of Dalyatha ~
No wise man wants a soft life. ~ Alfred ~
The only One who can hold our feet to the fire of Truth without us burning in effigy is Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Because I love the Truth – I think I will trust Him. ~ Lisa VanValkenburgh ~
Words can be weapons. Words can be gifts. Lord I pray for Your wisdom to wrap those I speak rather than load them. ~ Lisa VanValkenburgh ~
You shouldn’t be forced by someone to give up what gives your heart pleasure and Adonai’s heart pleasure too: Acts of kindness, encouragement, and teaching especially when not received well – He counts three times: 1) for doing 2) for not reacting with bitterness 3) for determining to repeat it. ~ Quote from Donita K. Paul‘s – Dragon Quest Series Books ~