En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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What Is Truly Valuable to You?

Posted by Scott on May 9, 2008

DadsDevoted!
Valuable!
“We live in a world that knows little about what’s truly valuable. People all around us are pursuing things that have no lasting value. That pursuit is ably treated by Anton Chekhov in his classic short story The Bet. This story gives us great insight into the value system of most people.
The plot involves a wager between two educated men regarding solitary confinement. A wealthy, middle-aged banker believed the death penalty was a more humane penalty than solitary confinement because “an executioner kills at once, solitary confinement kills gradually.” One of his guests at a party, a young lawyer of twenty-five, disagreed, saying, “To live under any conditions is better than not to live at all.”
Angered, the banker impulsively responded with a bet of two million rubles that the younger man could not last five years in solitary confinement. The lawyer was so convinced of his endurance that he announced he would stay fifteen years alone instead of only five.
The arrangements were made, and the young man moved into a separate building on the grounds of the banker’s large estate. He was allowed no visitors or newspapers. He could write letters but receive none. There were guards watching to make sure he never violated the agreement, but they were placed so that he could never see another human being from his windows. He received his food in silence through a small opening where he could not see those who served him. Everything else he wanted—books, certain foods, musical instruments, etc.—was granted by special written request.
During the first year the piano could be heard at almost any hour, and he asked for many books, mostly novels and other light reading. The next year the music ceased and the works of various classical authors were requested. In the sixth year of his isolation he began to study languages and soon had mastered six. After the tenth year of his confinement, the prisoner sat motionless at the table and read the New Testament. After more than a year’s saturation of the Bible, he began to study the history of religion and works on theology.
The second half of the story focuses on the night before the noon deadline when the lawyer would win the bet. The banker was now at the end of his career. His risky speculations and impetuosity had gradually undermined his business. The once self-confident millionaire was now a second-rate banker, and it would destroy him to pay off the wager. Angry at his foolishness and jealous of the soon-to-be-wealthy lawyer who was now only forty, the old banker determined to kill his opponent and frame the guard with the murder. Slipping into the man’s room, he found him asleep at the table and noticed a letter the lawyer had written to him. He picked it up and read the following:
‘Tomorrow at twelve o’clock I shall be free . . . but before leaving this room . . . I find it necessary to say a few words to you. With a clear conscience, and before God, who sees me, I declare to you that I despise freedom and life and health and all that your books call the joys of this world. . . . I know I am wiser than you all. . . . And I despise all your books, I despise all earthly blessings and wisdom. All is worthless and false, hollow and deceiving like the mirage. You may be proud, wise and beautiful, but death will wipe you away from the face of the earth, as it does the mice that live beneath your floor; and your heirs, your history, your immortal geniuses will freeze or burn with the destruction of the earth. You have gone mad and are not following the right path. You take falsehood for truth, and deformity for beauty. To prove to you how I despise all that you value I renounce the two million on which I looked, at one time, as the opening of paradise for me, and which I now scorn. To deprive myself of the right to receive them, I will leave my prison five hours before the appointed time, and by so doing break the terms of our compact.’
The banker read the lines, replaced the paper on the table, kissed the strange, sleeping man and with tears in his eyes, quietly left the house. Chekhov writes, “Never before, not even after sustaining serious losses on change, had he despised himself as he did at that moment.” His tears kept him awake the rest of the night. And at seven the next morning he was informed by the watchmen that they had seen the man crawl through a window, go to the gate, and then disappear.
Some people have to learn the hard way what is of value, and there are some who never learn.”

 

MacArthur, John: Alone With God. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1995
I have been studying and meditating and reading through Matthew 6:9-11.  This model prayer or the world calls it “The Lord’s Prayer” is a true model of how we as followers of Christ should pray.  Yet, how meaningless we have lifted up prayers on a daily basis.  Our prayer are full of all our wants from financial security, to health beyond any-ones dreams, to a large house, to a car, to more and more and more stuff.  Why is it that after years and years we have ever figured out that our prayer life is all about God and not about us.  This is the time to spend verbalizing what God wants us to declare from our hearts that is in one accord with His heart.  When Jesus said “ask and you shall receive” He was not saying to ask for all the worldly junk that has no place in the Kingdom of God.  If it is not from the heart and mind of Christ then do not ask for it.  Most of us can understand at least this minimal amount of our prayer life.
Who is our Father in heaven?  Is He an old white bearded man on dusty throne pointing His golden staff in the air sentencing some to death, some to prosperity, some to judgement, some to prison, some to starvation, etc.?  This is what has been pictured for centuries and is not even closely accurate.  Our Father in heaven, who is God Almighty, one part of the Trinity, is our glorious God, most loving Father, protecting Lord, and reigning King!  He is the parent that all of us wish we could be towards our children.  He is the most perfect parent of all. 
In Heaven is the abode of God.  This is an eternal place that exist in continuance and is where God the Father resides.  This is the most royal realms we could ever imagine and I doubt our imagination could even come close to understand what it is like where God lives.  However, we can only catch a small glimpse from scripture of where the future abode of God will be and we will be a part of it.
 Revelation 21:10-27 (NIV):
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadiaa in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 He measured its wall and it was 144 cubitsb thick,c by man’s measurement, which the angel was using. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.d 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
 

 

a That is, about 1,400 miles (about 2,200 kilometers)
b That is, about 200 feet (about 65 meters)
c Or high
d The precise identification of some of these precious stones is uncertain.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Re 21:10-27
Just think this description does not even come close to the splendor of our future eternal home.  For now, we are living in a trash heap compared to the Holy City or New Jerusalem to come.  However, in our prayer life we can prepare ourselves for this future home in heaven.  Jesus left us with this model prayer in order to prepare us, not so that we can dump our laundry list on God everyday and then blame Him because nothing came true on our wish list.   This is juvenile praying. 
 
Some might ask, “What is hallowed be thy name”?  That sounds like a foreign term for movie flick, yet, it is profound.  “Hallowed” means holy and “thy name” is God Almighty.  It is the “Holiest Name of All”.  There is no other name in heaven or on earth that is more holy than Elohim and Adonai and Jehovah and any other name that is strictly reserved for our God.  When we enter into prayer we are speaking to the holiest person that will ever exist or has ever existed.  As a believer in Christ Jesus we have access to the most important being ever.  Do you understand the meaning of this?  You do not have to go through a priest on earth or any other person on this earth….Jesus Christ is our high priest and it is through Him that we go before our heavenly Father.  He wants to hear directly from His people, not from another fallible man on earth. 
As the prayer goes on to ask that God’s will be done.  This is the key to the entire prayer.  This is the key to our prayer life.  We must pray that God’s will be done and not our own.  One of the difficulties that most of us struggle with in our prayer life is getting to the point to where we desire God’s will over our own.  This is a huge nail in the coffin of our Free Will over God’s Free Will.  Our prayer life will go no where as we exercise our will, but rather once we understand that our prayers are to be reflecting the will of our heavenly Father, then our prayer life takes on new meaning that experiences results.  As men we are so result oriented anyway…we have a drive that compels us to get results.  This is a God-given drive.  However, Jesus is telling us how results are achieved here…the achievement is not in ourselves nor is it about ourselves.  The achievement is getting to the point that we prefer God’s will to reign above our own desires and will.  In short, God’s will becomes our will and God’s will becomes the desire of our heart.  It is at this moment we stop bleeding selfishly and start bleeding righteously for the glory of our heavenly Father.  To further the Kingdom of God, our prayers need to reach a higher place that is high above the earthly mindset.
 
We should set our minds on heavenly things in order to be of some earthly good.  The wrong saying is “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you become no earthly good”.  That is incorrect!  If this earth is to improve, believers must become more heavenly minded to be of some earthly good.
What is truly valuable to you?  In your prayer life, what is it that you pray for the most, yourself, your family, happiness, joy, money, job security, groceries, devine revelation, safe travel, an easy life, and so on?  I know that none of us pray for a car accident tomorrow, marrital troubles in June ’08, to loose our job in the Fall!  That would be crazy, but why do we pray in defense of these types events in our lives?  All we need to focus on is God in our lives at any given moment regardless of the circumstance.  Come to grips with the fact that the only thing secure for us on this earth as believers is our salvation in Christ Jesus….nothing else is secure.  We must live the remainder of our life outside of that committment in total faith that God will see us through to the other side into eternity.
 
-Scott Bailey 2008
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8 Responses to “What Is Truly Valuable to You?”

  1. tharian m kurian said

    Loving brother Scott,
    You have spent your time for at its best by doing this post. One of the worse problems we face today is that the priorities we made in our lives. we are running behind many a things which are absolutely worthless and damaging our entire being. we place colorful but futile things first in our priority and place the essential things at the last or even skip.
    For me this post is helpful to think more deeply about the all time presense of Almighty God in my life whatever the situation I undergo.
    Praying for all those who read this sell all the “possessions” to by the treasure hidden land.
    Keep on writting
    God’s blessing
    tharian m kurian

  2. Eduardo said

    Can You please tell me where did you found this picture of the new jerusalem

    I DO NOT REMEMBER WHERE IT CAME FROM. YOU CAN GOOGLE THIS SUBJECT AND LOOK FOR PICS AND PROBABLY FIND IT. SORRY.

    SB

  3. bestreseller said

    Actually, the New Jerusalem is not a real city that is to descend from God out of heaven some time in the future at all. It is, indeed, the church!

    Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [original translation: ‘born from above’] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).

    The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says to those wanting to leave the faith (the church) to return to Judaism: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Heb. 12:22-24). A very poetic description of none other than the Body of Christ, the universal church.

    “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God [‘from above’, see John 3:5], prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2).

    “Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:9-21:11).

    John continues to describe the qualities and characteristics of the “city,” but there’s no further mention of the Bride the angel was going to show him. In actual fact, John had just been describing the Bride, the church of Christ, portrayed as a holy city in which is the tabernacle of God, and which has already been coming down out of heaven from God for close on 2,000 years now, her living building stones (believers) constantly being “born from above.”

    God bless!

    Phil Meyer

    • Scott said

      Well, I do not see it or read it that way. I do believe the New Jerusalem will be an actual city per Scripture that comes about after the Lord has purged the earth or scrotched the earth of everything…that is where His church, the Bride will return to via the New Heaven/New Jerusalem. The great renewal will take place where the New Heaven and New Jerusalem will be joined together to dwell on this New Earth forever. I have heard many in the faith think that the earth will be totally destroyed into non-existance and a totally new earth created, but Scripture does not support that view point. I have also read in many places where people think the New Heaven or Jerusalem will hover above the New Earth…but I do not agree with those positions either…it will be a totally renewed placed, the New Earth that will be reunited with the New Heaven/New Jerusalem, His Bride as a beautiful picture of God coming to join His people forever.
      Now, I don’t pretend to understand everything. I have gone back and forth on this topic, but the Scriptures seem to support an actual city far more than not. I don’t think it is inconsistant with Scripture to think of both the Bride of Christ, His church and an actual city as well.
      So much to learn on this subject, but that is the best grasp of this subject I have right now and pretty solid on it.

      I appreciate your comments. Oh, the New Earth I speak of has nothing to do with Eckhart Tolle thoughts on a New Earth either…totally different.

      In Christ,
      Scott

  4. bestreseller said

    No problem Scott, that’s your prerogative. Not sure how you say the Scriptures seem to support an actual city far more than not – but that’s fine if you’re comfortable with your view. Most Christians share your view anyway, but in my opinion only because they haven’t really made a study of it. Personally I think it’s more an emotional than objective point of view, but I’ll leave it at that. It’s not going to change the fact that we’re both part of the elect, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

    God bless you!

    Phil

    • Scott said

      I have made a grand study of this and that is why I say what I say. I will reply back with the Scriptural references for you later…I was not prepared to do that in my other reply. You are right to say that many have not made a study of it at all and are simply going off parts of what they have heard over the years, but I have. I never take a point of view from someone else without studying it myself. As 1 Thess 5:21-22 tells us to do, “Test everything, hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” and in Acts 17:11 as the Bereans always took what Paul told them back to God’s Word…”Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” I try to make sure any view point, theology, etc. is in line with Scripture. I know that many can have differing views on this particular subject…wow, the different views.
      You are right as part of the elect, we are redeemed by the blood fo the Lamb, Jesus Christ and someday no matter which way this really happens whether an actual city or not, it will be more glorious than we could have ever imagined and more perfect than our views could invision. Thanks for probing the thoughts this morning.

      Pressing on in Christ,
      Scott

  5. bestreseller said

    Amen Brother! 😉

    In Him,
    Phil

  6. hugh said

    In response to Scott and Bestseller:

    The question concerning the identity of the New Jerusalem is one of many mysteries concerning the Kingdom of God. Simply put, you are both correct; the New Jerusalem is both a real city while simultaneously it is also the Bride of Christ. As is so often the case, logic tends to interfere with our faith.

    God said His Holy City is an actual city. He describes it to us with actual dimensions and detailed descriptions (Rev 21:11-23) and preceded this by labelling the city as The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife (Rev 21:9). We have a difficult time wrapping our head around that one but we need to choose to believe His Word with a simple faith, especially when it doesn’t make sense. What God says is Truth!

    One of the lessons I’ve learned from my studies of the Scriptures is that when I choose to believe to simply accept as truth that which is obviously a mystery (and Scripture is saturated with mysteries), then the door to understanding can be opened.

    Bestseller refers to the fascinating teaching in John 3 which is one of the greatest mysteries in Scripture. He makes reference to Jesus’ famous words: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [original translation: ‘born from above’] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). These words will not be fully appreciated unless we hear them in context since Jesus immediately adds to this: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    Surely, the contrast in Jesus’ words is obvious. Subsequently we have two options: we can “see” the Kingdom or we can “enter” into the Kingdom of God. Again, we can choose to believe that this distinction is real and relevant or we can choose to pretend it does not exist. Having studied this mystery of the Gospel of the Kingdom for thirty years brothers I can tell you it is very real and most relevant to our salvation.

    It simply is not possible to explain the distinction in this short format but when God illuminates the distinction between seeing and entering into the Kingdom of God, then we also understand how and why the New Jerusalem is both an actual city and the same time the Bride of Christ, the Church.

    I sincerely hope you will take a close look at this mystery as it the very essence of understanding Jesus’ thrice repeated Word in the last chapter of His revelation: “Behold I come quickly.” Another Word of mystery we need to embrace with faith.

    The first time Jesus speaks these words it is as a promise. They are words of blessing: “Behold, I come quickly: blessed [is] he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev 22:7).

    The second time Jesus speaks these words they come as a warning: “behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev 22:12). They are words of warning because of what Scripture teaches concerning our works: none of them count, none are of any eternal value, and none of them can be rewarded, unless they were the works which the Father did first; unless they were ordained in heaven and ordained for us to perform; unless they were birthed out of the Holy Spirit of Promise residing within us; unless they measure up to the Gospel standard Jesus laid out in John 3:21…”he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

    The third time Jesus speaks these words they are a guarantee: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (22:20).

    All of the above mysteries are in essence one and the same mystery. Probably the Scripture which addresses this Gospel of the Kingdom mystery with the greatest degree of clarity and simplicity is Rom 8:9b-11. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

    Off the three scenarios of man’s redemption (and lack of it) which Paul describes in this Scripture we need to recognize that for our body to be dead – while we are yet alive – is not a good thing and stands in contrast to having “the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you.” (Paul uses the word “but” so contrast the two.) This is the same distinction Jesus described in John 3 re “seeing” and “entering” into the Kingdom of God. This is a foundational truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

    John the Baptist, the apostle Paul, and Jesus himself all were very consistent when they summed up God’s redemption work in man and Jesus’ purpose in coming to die for us when they labelled this Gospel of salvation as the Gospel of the Kingdom. Christendom has not focused on that aspect very much and consequently our gospel tends to emphasize the salvation of the soul. Jesus never intended for this Gospel of the Kingdom to remain a mystery but it has. The apostles had a difficult time because the early church resisted this teaching of mystery and found it very difficult. Jesus died on the cross, ascended into heaven, and gave us the Promise of the Father so that the Church could share with the world that it is our Heavenly Father’s earnest desire to redeem all men everywhere: the whole man, body and soul!

    My prayer brothers is that God may give unto us all the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of Him (Eph 1:17) so that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened (Eph 1:18).

    Blessings: Hugh

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