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Bad Habits

There are a lot of people out there who may not be accustomed to living anywhere but a lie. Not just criminals or thieves, but ordinary people. And that’s the way the Israelites lived when they fell away from God.

The description God gives of Israel at the time of Jeremiah 9 is shows how the Israelites lived in their lie and their sin. He describes it as a place of deceit and lies (9:4-6), with people who act one way and are another way at heart. They live without honesty or truth–and so many people live their lives this way:

With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets a trap for him.” Jeremiah 9:8

Sound like you or someone you know? It’s easy to get caught up in this. God said, “…it is not by truth that they triumph in the Lord.” Living the lie means you’re not living in God’s truth. It means you’re denying him and living the way you see fit. But there’s always consequences.

I have a saying: “It’s not karma. It’s life.” The Israelites became like they were because of their own actions–because they weren’t following God’s plan. And how did that start? You don’t follow God’s commands in the little things, and it keeps getting bigger. It grows.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Call it the inverse of the conditional, but Matthew 5:8 makes it clear that without a pure heart, you won’t see God. The tiniest sin can escalate to blind us from seeing God, and that’s exactly what happened to the Israelites.

That’s why, every time we sin, we need to remember God has redeemed our sins, and ask him for forgiveness and redemption for our actions, so our heart will be pure. It is because of our sin that we blindly make mistakes that end up hurting ourselves.

Jeremiah 9:13 should have new meaning for you now. As God is talking about the terrible place that Israel is to live in, he says knowingly:

It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.”

End those habits before they start. Ask for forgiveness, and ask that God will help you succeed next time.

We Are Treasure Hunters

Who wouldn’t want to be a treasure hunter? Of course, in saying that, I’m reminded of two things: Indiana Jones, and that episode from “Psych” where Shawn is following his Uncle Jack’s treasure map. Either way, being a treasure hunter is awesome, and we all know it. It involves modern greed, ancient secrets, plots and mischief of all time periods, danger, and the thrill of the hunt (and being hunted, too). But how does being a Christian add up to that? It’s not quite that literal.

In our walk with God, there is treasure to be found that is more incredible to discover than anything that Indiana Jones ever uncovered. This treasure is treasure which has the power to change our lives for all eternity. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

First we need to know a little about just how important this treasure is. Just because it’s not the lost whatchamacallit of the South American Amazon doesn’t mean it’s not worth searching for.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.”” Matthew 13:44-45

Have you ever seen something that you wanted to just sell everything you owned to buy it? Or have you ever wanted to do something so badly, you almost wanted to give up and drop everything else to do it? The people in these two short parables did just that. They knew what was really valuable.

Yes, now I’m going to pull out the story of the rich young man and tell you to sell everything you have. And then I’ll try to stop being too sarcastic with you, because that’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m talking about is spiritual. This is something that comes straight from God. When we find true inspiration, love, wisdom, hope, peace, and prosperity that the Lord offers us freely, then we have found the greatest treasure of all.

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Isaiah 33:5-6

This treasure in the Lord is so great that it will change your life forever. The following verse from 1 Timothy says the treasure God gives us enables us to “take hold of the life that is truly life.” This treasure is a couple of things. It’s eternal, and in a number of verses, we are told that riches are stored up in heaven for us. (While that seems far away, God’s gifts will be better enjoyed eternally than just for our short lives! See 1 Peter 1:4 in context) Also, God’s treasure is all the things that we are blessed with by him, and enrich our lives to make them something they never could have been without him. Then, we’re truly living.

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19

Many treasure hunters in the Hollywood titles think that true life is fame, riches, women, or perhaps other selfish gain. But we’re searching, seriously, for the treasure that lets us take hold of the life that is truly life. Dictionary.com’s 4th definition of “life” is this: “4. a corresponding state, existence, or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul” . Most people’s existence is, for lack of a better term, existential. God wants our lives to be so much more.

I want to wrap this one up by saying briefly how to search for this everlasting treasure, because by now I know you’re interested. To find God’s treasure,  you have to find God. Pray and pour out your heart, listen to his heart for you. Pursue the Lord in your life, every day, and every hour–and seek out the treasure of true life.

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