Monday, October 20, 2008

Treasures in unusual places.

I have been reading a very cool book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies, and I can't remember if I have mentioned it. Here's my little ad- go to and buy it! It rocks, and is a quick read. The Bible is the best, and this is one of those books that makes you want to read more and more of the Word.
Anyways, it has the best story in it- about a little man from AZ that took an old blanket he had inherited to the "Antique Roadshow". He knew the blanket was old, and had thrown it over the back of a rocking chair the last few years, and thought he would take the opportunity the show provided to get it appraised. Well, the expert is so excited at finding this blanket, and after much ranting and raving, states that the blanket was from the 1840's and had been worn by a Navajo Chief in a photo. The expert proceeds to tell the older man that when he saw this blanket his heart stopped, and that the gentleman had in his hands a "rare national treasure of incredible value and historical significance." Then he states that the value of the blanket was somewhere between 350,000 to 500,000 DOLLARS. Wow- old man cries, looks like he might pass out, and asks to hear the figure again.
It goes on to tell how the old man walks out cradling his "treasure" with security guards and takes it to a safety deposit box. The same blanket he had throw over his chair, and drug into the show as a curiosity, now was a precious treasure. The author goes on to talk about how this is such an example of what the gospel can do- "When God saves His people, bringing us from death to life, He opens our eyes to love and appreciate the supreme treasure that is Jesus Christ. What had once been of little interest or significance is suddenly transformed into something of inestimable value and worth." The Gospel is the one thing that completely and totally transforms us, and deserves protection, study, and to BE treasured.
A pastor, J.C. Ryle, wrote that we can "spoil the Gospel by substitution, by addition, by interposition, by disproportion and by confused and contradictory directions." He said it way cooler than I can, but the gist was we SUBSTITUTE so many things for JESUS and distract our eyes, and thus lose the true focus of the Gospel, we ADD our own prestige and ideas about Jesus, and lose the purity of the Gospel. We INTERPOSE religious habits for true heart repentance and spoil the Gospel, we give secondary beliefs in Christianity a DISPROPORTIONATE amount of importance and lose truth. And we can completely spoil the gospel by CONFUSING and CONTRADICTING the basic directions of scripture with our rules about faith, baptism, Church, Communion-whatever.
This was so eye-opening to me, because everyone knows I am all about the gold stars. Tell me what I need to do to get an A, and yeah, man, get out of my way. I tend to focus so hard on doing it RIGHT, or doing it better, so I can PLEASE God and in all honesty, feel better about myself, I forget that without the basic Gospel of Jesus Christ, every good deed I do is worthless in the Father's standard. Jesus IS my only need, and the only thing of value in this whole universe. Nothing I have, do, or think is as important as that simple fact. The relationship I have with God is my one true treasure, and there is no price that can be placed on it. Oh, what a wonderful nugget- I am the richest girl in the world. :)

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

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