Beaver Ponds and Golden Bowls

by Sheri Schofield

Lady’s slippers, wild iris, and delicate violets decorate our artesian spring’s pathway in the summer months, providing beauty and delight along the watercourse. The spring chuckles as it bubbles down to join a creek in the valley below.

Along that creek lives a family of beavers who have built a series of dams to hold back the water. Animals drink from them. Tiny trout have hatched in the pools. In the latter days of summer, in the fields below the small dams, the grass is green and lush, with fallen trees soaking in the water to provide food for the beaver babies and their parents. If it had not been stored, the water would have dried up during those hot summer days.

Our prayers are like the beaver ponds. They hold reserves of refreshment and nourishment for dry times in the future. The Bible tells us that our prayers are like incense. Aaron was told to offer up the incense for the generations to come. (Exodus 30:7) John tells us that God stores our prayers in golden bowls that are lifted up to Him. The angles mix our prayers with incense that lifts a fragrant perfume before the Lord, and this will become a powerful force on earth one day. (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-5)

Our prayers are not simply for ourselves, though we may think they are. They also store up blessings for our future descendants, like beaver ponds store up water for future needs. Our prayers are gifts to our children, our grandchildren, and beyond.

I remember my grandmother rocking me to sleep when I was a toddler, singing hymns to the Lord over me. Grandma has been with Jesus since I was a child. Yet, the songs and prayers she sang over me still bless my life. I sang those same songs and prayed over my own babies. These songs and prayers are my gift to them, a gift that has shaped their hearts and lives. It is their richest inheritance.

The beaver ponds in the meadow are frozen in places now. Soon they will be solid ice. The beavers yawn and move around more slowly while winter descends on the meadow. The beavers are prepared for winter, too. The water they have stored has produced more trees on which they can nibble. Their dens along the creek are cozy when the beaver family cuddles up together for long, winter naps, secure in their food supply.

In the same way, God stores up our prayers and prepares to pour out answers . . . in His time . . . and nourishes us through difficult days with His answers. He gives these precious gifts when we least expect them.

With Christmas just around the corner, I will write some of my prayers out and store them in my own golden bowl, reminding me of those which hold my prayers in heaven. Someday, when another generation finds the bowl, they will see the gifts I have stored away just for them, and will know that I loved them before they were even born. They will see with new eyes the blessings God has showered on their lives, and they will be filled with wonder and delight!

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matthew 6:19-20, NIV

TWEETABLE
Beaver Ponds and Golden Bowls – Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: What treasures are you storing up with your prayers? What gifts will you put away in God’s golden bowls, saved to bless future generations?

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

TWEETABLE
“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?