The Treasure Principle (1)

13 10 2010

I recently read and am now rereading a book called ‘The Treasure Principle’ by Randy Alcorn of Eternal Perspectives Ministries.

Here are some thoughts and quotes from the book.

The opening chapter is called ‘Buried Treasure’ and is focused on the parable of buried treasure in Matthew 16. Go and read it now if you are not familiar with it. Randy Alcorn says “Matthew 14:44 serves as a vivid picture of the joy of surrendering lesser treasures to find greater ones.”

He goes on to say “15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic (money and possessions) – more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined.”

“Why did Jesus put such emphasis on money and possessions? Because there’s a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle our money.”

“…our approach to money and possessions isn’t just important – it’s central to our spiritual lives.”

Reflecting on the parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12 he says:- “Jesus knows that money and possessions were the man’s god. He realized that the man wouldn’t serve God unless he dethroned his money idol.”

“No matter how great the value of that earthly fortune, it would be worthless in eternity…it’s exactly this kind of treasure that people waste their lives pursuing.”

“Jesus warns us not to store up treasures…because wealth will always be lost. Either it leaves us while we live, or we leave it when we die.”

“He (Jesus) instructs us to transfer our funds from earth to heaven.”

“According to Jesus, storing up earthly treasures isn’t simply wrong. It’s just plain stupid”

“He wants us to store up treasures. Because such treasures (treasures in heaven) will last.”

The Treasure Principle:-
                                     You can’t take it with you –
                                     but you can send it on ahead.

“If we give instead of keep, if we invest in the eternal instead of in the temporal, we store up treasures in heaven that will never stop paying dividends.”

“As you store up heavenly treasures,you’ll gain an everlasting version of what that man found in the treasure hidden in the field. JOY.”

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Carson on the ‘The Cross at the Center’

5 07 2010

In his book ‘The Cross and Christian Ministry’ makes this comment on p.26

“I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy, by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight. Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry.”





Calvin on the Psalms

21 06 2010

I’m reading a booked called ‘John Calvin – Selections from his writings.’ It is a collection of letters and other writings including the Introduction to his commentary on the Psalms. These writings give some insight into the heart of the man that shows warmth and compassion. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction to his commentary of the Psalms. He calls the Psalms “An Anatomy of All the Parts of the Soul.”

“Although the Psalms are replete with all the precepts which serve to frame our life to every part of holiness, piety, and righteousness, yet they will principally teach and train us to bear the cross, and the bearing of the cross is a genuine proof of our obedience, since by doing this we renounce the guidance of our own affections and submit ourselves entirely to God, leaving Him to govern us and to dispose of our life according to His will, so that afflictions which are the bitterest and most severe to our nature become sweet to us because they proceed from Him. In one word, not only will we here find general commendations of the goodness of God which may teach people to repose themselves in Him alone and to seek all their happiness solely in Him, and which are intended to teach devout believers with their whole hearts confidently to look to Him for help in all their necessities; but we will also find that the free remission of sins, which alone reconclies God toward us and procures for us settled peace with Him, is so set forth and magnified as that here there is nothing wanting which relates to the knowledge of eternal salvation,”





Pitfalls from Packer on Guidance

17 03 2010

J.I.Packer in his book ‘Knowing God’ has a chapter on Guidance. Here is a summarised version of a list of pitfalls to us being guided by God. See ‘Knowing God’ p. 269-271

1. Unwillingness to think. “It is false piety, super-super-naturalism of an unhealthy and pernicious sort, that demands inward impressions that have no rational base, and declines to heed the constant biblical summons to ‘consider’. ‘O that they were wise..that they would consider. Deuteronomy 32:29.

2. Unwillingness to think ahead, and weigh the long-term consequences of alternative courses fo action. ‘O that they were wise…that they would consdier their latter end.’

3. Unwillingness to take advice. Scripture is emphatic on the need for this. ‘The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.’ Proverbs 12:15

4. Unwillingness to suspect oneself. “We dislike being realistic with ourselves, and we do not know ourselves at all well; we recognise rationalistions in others and quite overlook them in ourselves.”

5. Unwillingness to discount personal magnestism. “Outstanding people are not, indeed necessarily wrong, but they are not necessarily right either! They, and their views, must be respected, but not idolised.’ ‘Test everything. Hold on to the good.’ 1 Thess 5:21

6. Unwillingness to wait. “‘Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.”

I would add that prayer is necessary through this whole process.





Packer on Wisdom

16 02 2010

Here’s some quotes from Packer in his discussion on ‘wisdom’ in ‘Knowing God.’

“”For the truth is that God in his wisdom, to make and keep us humble and to teach us to walk by faith, has hidden from us almost everything that we should like to know about the providential purposes which he is working out in the churches and in our own lives.” p.119

“We can be sure that the God who made this marvellously complex world-order…knows what he is doing, and ‘doeth all things well’, even if for the moment he hides his hand. We can trust him and rejoice in him, even when we cannot discern his path.” p.120

“Your part is to use all the good sense and enterprise at your command in exploiting the oppurtunities that life before you.” p.120





Self-distrust

22 01 2010

This is another excerpt from Knowing God that I had to share. The lesson God taught Jacob is surely the lesson we all need to learn and relearn each day.

“Jacob…must be made to feel his own utter weakness and foolishness, and brought to such complete self-distrust that he would no longer try to get on by exploiting others. Jacob’s self-reliance must go, once and for all. With patient wisdom (for God always waits for the right time) God led Jacob to the point at which he could stamp the required sense of impotent helplessness indelibly and decisively on Jacob’s soul.”   Knowing God p.105

Why not replace Jacob’s name with your name?

Then turn to Jesus for grace and strength.





Turning knowledge about God into knowledge of God

12 01 2010

“How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? …we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God….What is meditation?…meditation it the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously preformed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let his truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace.

Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us – as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ…And it is as we enter more and more deeply into this experience of being humbled and exalted that our knowledge of God increases, and with it our peace, our strength and our joy. God help us, then, to put our knowledge about God to this use, that we all may in truth ‘know the Lord’.”   J.I. Packer – Knowing God p.22-23