Where Are Your Treasures Buried?

by Kendra Broekhuis

I left my freshly baked cookies cooling on the kitchen counter, the windows slightly opened and the doors locked, so I could run a few errands with our toddler. The scent of peanut butter mingled with the early autumn breeze in a way that said both “delicious” and “welcome.”

Apparently it was too warm of a welcome, because I came home to find many of those cookies missing from my kitchen counter. I assumed my husband had stopped by and grabbed one or six, and reminded myself to flash my Annoyed Wife Eyes at him later.

I put the remaining cookies in a plastic container and brought our son upstairs to lay him down for a nap. At the top of the steps, I noticed a peanut butter cookie lying crumbled on the carpet, and another resting on top of our kids’ bunk bed. I had the eerie feeling I wasn’t alone. My heart pounded as I kept my eyes peeled for anything else out of place. I turned the corner into another bedroom and squirrel. There was a squirrel in my house, stealing my peanut butter cookies and hiding them all the way upstairs.

I ran to get a broom to shoo it out of our house – all the while frantically demanding the mute creature to tell me his secrets: “How did you get in here?!” I chased it downstairs and watched it weasel its way through a hole in our window screen it had chewed for entry. I slammed the window shut and let out a breathy chuckle of relief.

A further investigation would reveal the pesky intruder had stashed cookies all over the house, including in my husband’s stack of t-shirts. Though my neighbors and I joke that our squirrels are possessed by demons, this behavior comes quite naturally to them. Squirrels prepare for winter by storing their nutty treasures all over their domain. What this squirrel got wrong, in my slightly biased opinion, is where he decided to store his treasures.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, besides remembering to replace nylon window screens with bite-proof steel. Jesus encouraged His disciples to make sure they were storing their treasures in the right place:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” {Matthew 6:19-21 ESV).

Jesus wants us to examine where our heart’s focus lies. Do we think of our work and possessions in light of the fact that our lives on earth are as fleeting as a mist? Do we obsessively accumulate stuff, always seeking the next purchase we think will make us happy? Do we constantly worry about the future we know that God has already planned for us? Do we work for our own glory instead of praising Jesus for the good things He has done for us?

When we change our perspective from “for now on earth” to “forever in heaven,” we can learn to hold loosely everything we can see, taste, and touch, knowing it could all be taken away in a moment. We use our earthly possessions to love others and work to glorify God’s name over our own. When we store our treasures in heaven, we value our relationship with the One who has promised us the gift of eternal life with Him – above all else.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

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“When we store our treasures in heaven, we value our relationship with God . . . above all else.” Kendra Broekhuis on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kendre BroekhuisAbout the author: Kendra Broekhuis is an author, speaker, and intentional neighbor living in the city of Milwaukee. For her day job, Kendra stays home with three of her children and misses her fourth in heaven. She recently launched an online community called Mourning Companion where people can safely lament their sorrow and see their grief articulated. To read more, follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @kendrabroekhuis and @mourningcompanion, and at www.kendrabroekhuis.com. Or grab a copy of her book, Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor.

Join the conversation: How do you store your treasures up in heaven?

You Are Never Truly Alone

by Cindi McMenamin

I leaned my head against the window as the plane began to ascend.

How long will I fly alone?  I thought to myself, as I pushed my head harder against the window and felt that familiar tinge of loneliness. Another long flight by myself. Another lonely night in a hotel room. Another weekend alone.

As the plane ascended higher and a layer of clouds covered my view of the high-rise buildings on the ground, I remembered the One who said He’d never let me out of His sight.

David the Psalmist, who must have felt alone at times, comforted himself with a song he wrote about God’s “staying power” and His amazing ability to track us everywhere we go:

If I go up to heaven (if I’m on top of the world and in a place where I think I don’t need You) You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (if I sink to a place where I am helpless), You are there.
 If I live at the eastern horizon (if I move to a place where no one knows me), or settle at                            the western limits (or crawl into a cave where no one can bother me again),
even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, (if I say “I’m in too deep or too dark of a place                        for You to follow”)
Even the darkness is not dark to You.
The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.”                                                                                                                        Psalm 139:8-12 CSB, emphasized words added

I’m comforted knowing that there’s no place I can go where my God will not follow. No place I can seek out where His presence is not already there. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide (as if I’d want to).  He follows me like a shadow. Not only will He never leave, He’ll never let me out of His sight.

What are you facing today that you think you’re going into alone? What are you dealing with that no one else knows about or understands?

The Bible tells us “there is a friend who stays closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 CSB).  And He stands ready to go into that situation not just with you, but before you…leading the way.

Lord, the next time I begin to feel alone, calm my heart with the reminder that there’s nowhere I can go where Your love will not follow, and no place I can venture where You have not already been.

“…for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 CSB

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold), God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her books and ministry, and free resources to strengthen your soul, marwhen God sees your tearsriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

 

Join the Conversation: Where do you feel alone?

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash.

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Forever Grateful

by Pam Farrel

Our preschool granddaughter reaches for my hand anytime we walk. Recently as we walked together, she heard the rumbling of a train nearby and, reaching up for me, said, “Nana, I  ‘fraid.”  I immediately picked her up and gave her a hug. She knows I’m there for her. She knows I will rescue her.

Just as a loving grandparent is prone to do, God uses a variety of ways to let us know He is there for us. In my own life I have seen abundant evidence of His care over the years in our marriage, family, and home. He has blessed me with amazing friends and given me a job that I love. I’ve been privileged to travel to many exciting places and meet interesting, inspiring people.

Of course, my hope in Him goes beyond life on earth to an eternity I know I will spend with Him. I first fell in love with my husband when he explained the meaning of a simple phrase on the front of his leather Bible—“That they may know You.” This phrase comes from John 17:3 : “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (NIV)

Eternal life is a wonderful promise, but the blessing of His presence starts right here on earth, long before I will ever get to heaven. Knowing Christ is to know the one called “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). It is to know the God who said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV). It is to know the God who promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NASB).

While eternity with Him is my future, He has given me many personal reassurances that He is a God for the present as well. I’ve found that remembering God’s presence and involvement in my life has been a key to trusting Him for whatever lies ahead.

  • God heard my cry for help when my abusive father was out of control.
  • God walked me out of chaos through the wisdom of a godly mentor.
  • God sent me Bill, an amazing partner in life and love.
  • God sent food when Bill and I were struggling, poor students.
  • God gave me a bicycle to ride when my car died.
  • God gave Bill and I hope in the face of death, disease, and disappointments.
  • God gave me love when I was angry or frustrated in my marriage.
  • God challenged me to rethink how to run a love relationship.
  • God gave me wisdom when I was perplexed in my parenting.
  • God has always been with me to process my emotions so Bill is spared the drama!

And daily, my Grateful to God list continues to grow.

Do you struggle to trust God for your future? A great way to increase your faith is to begin your own gratitude list. Then take some time alone or even with your spouse or family to review and thank God for all He has done to prove his love, grace and provision in your life. Recognizing Him at work in the here and now will supply confidence to trust Him for your future.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13 NASB

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel is an international speaker, relationship specialist and best-selling author of over 45 books including her newest books: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience . She and her husband, Bill, are Co-Directors of Love-Wise.  Follow them on Twitter (@pamfarrel)  and Bill and Pam Farrel on Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Pam’s book, Discovering Hope in the Psalms  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What has the Lord done in your life that you need to put at the top of your gratitude list?