Tuesday, July 31, 2018


LUKE 13:6-9

Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

Susie: The nation of Israel is often represented by a vine or vineyard and sometimes as a fig tree. Jesus is now addressing not only individual responsibility and accountability but the response of Israel as a whole as well. 

Susan: The fig tree in this parable does not have any figs on it even though it must be mature enough to be expected to bear fruit.

Susie: Just as individual Christians are designed to bear fruit—both the “fruit of the Spirit” and the fruit of other lives led to Christ, the nation of Israel was to be fruitful by being a blessing to all nations. Instead, the Jewish nation had become exclusive. Rather than bringing other nations to the true God, they isolated themselves.

Susan: The Jews were arrogant toward outsiders rather than serving as a light to draw them to the one true God. God had intended them to be a blessing to the nations.

Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. . .

Luke 13:7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

Susie: Three years was enough time for the fig tree to reach maturity and bear fruit, but it was empty.

Susan: Therefore, the owner’s attitude is that the fig tree should not waste space in his garden. It should be cut down and something else planted in its place. However, the gardener had a different idea. The gardener, like our Lord, believed in second chances.

Luke 13:8-9 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:  And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Susie: The gardener proposes working with this fig tree a little longer. He plans to loosen the soil and place dung (fertilizer) around the roots. Then he will give it one more year in which to thrive and bear fruit.

Susan: Father God is the gardener. We learn in John chapter 15, that God tends His garden by selective pruning in order to increase production (Don’t I know this?!) Sometimes He does completely uproot and cast out those who have never taken root in Jesus. However, He is not hasty in doing this.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Ponder this and Apply it: You may have a friend or loved-one whose behavior makes it tempting to give up on them totally. However, as long as God leaves them on this earth, there is still a chance for them to turn to Him and allow Him to completely transform their lives. Continue to pray for them and, as the Lord leads, to share with them. This does not mean you should become their doormat, but that you should seek the Lord in your interactions and continue to be a reflection of His grace. Think back on the second chances the Lord has given you! Praise Him for His steadfast love and grace!

Sunday, July 29, 2018


LUKE 13:1-5

Susie: Luke’s gospel is the only one that records this episode in Jesus’s ministry. In the modern world, people tend to attribute tragedy to God having a lack of interest in the world below, being a harsh God, or there being no God at all. However, in the ancient world, people often thought tragedy was a direct judgment of their god or gods against evil or disobedient people. By bringing up the following incident, the people were indirectly asking Jesus if these Galileans were killed because of the judgment of God against them.

Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

Susie: There are no historical references to this exact violent, politically charged act outside of the Bible. However, there are numerous historical accounts of similar atrocities of Rome against its conquered peoples. It has been suggested that these people may have been Jewish zealots, seen as seditious by Rome, presenting sacrifices in the temple when Roman soldiers annihilated them.

Luke 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

Susie: A more recent question might be, “Were the people who perished in the Twin Towers due to the work of terrorists worse than all the other New Yorkers?” I believe Jesus would answer, “Of course not!”

Susan: Neither did God target the Coptic Christians killed when their churches blew up due to suicide bomber attacks on Palm Sunday, 2017. Praise the Lord, the believers who were killed during worship were immediately ushered into God’s presence to remain joyfully with Him for eternity.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Susan: Jesus was making the point that for those that never repent and turn to Him, when life comes to an end on earth, it will be terrible and permanent. Each person is accountable to God and responsible for his or her own choice in responding to the gift of salvation offered by Jesus.

Susie: Jesus takes their thoughts away from whether or not these Galileans were being punished and re-focuses their attention on their own mortality. Death is certain (unless the Lord returns), and the question is whether or not we will be transported to the Lord’s side or condemned forever to be separated from Him in Hell.

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series at www.biblegateway.com

Mortality is evidence of the presence of sin in our world (Gen 3). More important than the timing or cause of death is this: only repentance can change death from a tragic end into a bridge to a new kind of life (Lk 3:8; 6:24-26; 10:13; 12:58-59; 15:7).

Luke 13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

Susie: Jesus raises another example in which the people were victims of some type of natural disaster rather than being attacked by others. A tower fell on them, but it was not deliberately taken down by an enemy.

Susan: The final death toll from Hurricane Katrina was 1,836, over half of which were senior citizens, grandmas and grandpas. (https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-hurricane-katrina) Was this tragedy a direct result of their sins? Of course not!

Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Susie: Again, Jesus turns the crowd’s attention back to the more important question of whether or not they are each prepared to face the day of their earthly death, whether it be sooner or later, tragedy or “natural causes.”

Susan: For those who never accept that they are sinners in need of God’s saving grace, those who never accept His free gift of salvation, whatever the manner of their death, it will be tragic. The tragedy is that they die without God. They will continue to exist eternally but totally devoid of vitality, joy, and peace, devoid of all that is good. Therefore, the moral of this passage is to choose Jesus and accept the extravagant gift of love and life that He freely offers to all who turn to Him in repentance, rejecting their old way of self-centeredness and being made new by the power of His Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Susie: The time to turn to Jesus is not “later”—after you get it together or have had all your “fun.” The time is NOW. Do not delay.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Ponder this and Apply it: When people are tempted to judge the victims of an attack or a natural disaster, we need to turn their attention to their own preparedness to “meet their Maker.” We cannot answer the question of why people die in horrible tragedies, but we MUST answer the question of whether or not each of us is prepared if such a thing happened in our own life. Are you prepared? If so, are your friends and loved ones certain they will enter eternity with the Father rather than suffering forever? Evaluate your own relationship with the Lord. Then, if you are securely prepared, be sure to share the good news of how to repent and be saved with everyone else!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


LUKE 12:49-59

Luke 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

Susie: Fire is often a symbol for God’s judgment.

Examples of scripture where fire equals judgment:  Is. 66:15; Joel 2:30; Amos 1:7, 10–14; 2:2, 5; Mal. 3:2, 5; 1 Cor. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8.

Susie: Even though Jesus came to die to save us from judgment, with that free gift of salvation comes strong judgment against all who refuse to believe and accept God’s gift.
Susan: Fire is also symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s power as on the day of Pentecost when tongues of flame alit on the disciples gathered together for prayer (Acts 2:3).

Susie: Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection enabled us to be infused with the power of His Holy Spirit.

Susan: God expressed Himself in the flames of the bush that burned without being consumed as He spoke with Moses (Exodus 3:2)—another demonstration of His power.

Susie: We can avail ourselves of God’s mighty power through our relationship with His Son, Jesus.

Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

Susie: The baptism Jesus referred to was the judgment of God for our sin which was poured out on His Son as the perfect, Passover Lamb crucified in our place.

Susan: Our water baptism is symbolic of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection—His full payment of the penalty of sin for all who would believe and receive the message of the Gospel of redemption.

Susie: It is also a representation of our death to sin and self to be raised to a new life of being fully surrendered to the will of God by the power of the Holy Spirit working within us.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Susan: The Greek word translated “straitened” in the King James can have the connotation of being “compelled.” Jesus was completely focused on His mission and compelled to continue to Jerusalem, to march “cross-ward.”

Susie: His goal was not just to “get it over with,” as we might think. He was determined to fulfill the purpose for which He was born on this earth, the mission of redeeming us. His love for His chosen ones drove Him forward.

Susan: Jesus relentlessly journeyed to Jerusalem in order to become the final sacrificial Lamb, to pay for our sin once and for all.

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Luke 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Susie: Wait a minute here! What happened to “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14)?

Susan: Hold up! Isn’t Jesus the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)?

Susie: Let’s turn to John MacArthur for a little help in understanding Jesus’s words.

MacArthur Study Bible notes:

10:34 not…peace but a sword. Though the ultimate end of the gospel is peace with God (John 14:27; Rom. 8:6), the immediate result of the gospel is frequently conflict. Conversion to Christ can result in strained family relationships (vv. 35, 36), persecution, and even martyrdom. Following Christ presupposes a willingness to endure such hardships (vv. 32, 33, 37–39). Though He is called “Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6), Christ will have no one deluded into thinking that He calls believers to a life devoid of all conflict.

Susan: The word for “witnesses” in Acts 1:8 is actually the Greek word “martus” from which we get our word martyr. This is not to say that we will all come to a martyr’s end, but it is to say that we should all be willing to sacrifice our lives in the name of Jesus.

Susie: Becoming a follower of Jesus, surrendering our will to His, will always involve some type of self-sacrifice—maybe not death but the sacrifice of friendships or family relationships.

Luke 12:52-53 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Susie: When I first joined North Pointe Baptist Church, a member named Al Freedman shared his testimony of being declared dead by his Jewish family when he converted to Christianity. Despite the loss of relationship with his biological family, Al declared that he was now truly living up to his name—he was a “Freed Man.”

Susan: When a follower of Islam trusts Jesus as Savior, his or her own family labels them an infidel and often marks them for execution, an “honor killing.” You can go to www.persecution.com for many examples of modern day persecution of the faithful.

Luke 12:54-55 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.

Susie: The people had become quite adept at rudimentary weather prediction. Jesus contrasts their ability to read these physical signs with their total lack of spiritual discernment.

Luke 12:56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

Susie: They completely missed the fact that Old Testament prophecy pointed to Jesus as Messiah.

Susan: Their total lack of intimacy with the Lord rendered them unable to discern the signs, the fulfillment of prophecy. Thus, they were unprepared to understand spiritual truths.

Susie: By not recognizing Jesus as their Messiah, they were not ready to face the judgment of God. Jesus urged them to make peace with the Lord by trusting Him while there is still time. He used an example to make this point.

Luke 12:57-59 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.  I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
Susan: Don’t wait for court and place your fate in the hands of the judge. With all that depends on you, makes peace (Romans 12:18).

Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Susie: We have the opportunity, because of Christ, to make peace with God before the judgement. Instead of trying to be as good as we can (which could never be good enough to please a Holy, perfect God), we need to submit to Jesus and trust Him to bridge the gap between us and a God.

Susan: When we commit and submit to Jesus, His righteousness replaces the filthy rags of our sin, and we are then enabled to become His precious jewels (Malachi 3:17), His bride without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27).

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Philippians 3:8-9 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. . .

Ponder this and Apply it: We need to live each day as if Jesus’s return is eminent, as if He may come tomorrow or even today. For those who have placed their trust in Him, that will be a glorious day of celebration for we have been declared clean and righteous. However, for those who have not settled with Him “along the way,” for those who have never surrendered their lives to His control, it will be the dreaded “Day of the Lord,” a day of final judgment. If you have never surrendered your life to Jesus, believing He is the only solution to the separation from God caused by your sin, do so this minute! If you need more information, please email us at Susan_slade@preciousjewelsminitries.org.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


LUKE 12:41-48
(see also Matthew 24:45-51)

Luke 12:41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

Susie: Peter was wondering if the promise of reward for being faithfully prepared applied only to the apostles or to everyone in general. Was the warning about being prepared for them only or for everyone? Although Jesus did not answer Peter’s question directly, He applied the following answer to the faithful (believers) and the unfaithful (non-believers).

Susan: Jesus’s answer shows that everyone is given the opportunity to behave as the trusted servant or the one who proved untrustworthy. Our choices define us.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Luke 12:42-43 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Susie: The master put a servant in charge of the other household servants to supervise them and to be sure they received what they needed at appropriate times. Then he left on a journey. This steward of the masters house would be expected to follow the instructions he had been given meticulously to make sure the master’s household continued to run like a well-oiled machine even when he was away.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

Susan: Jesus expects us to be faithful stewards of all He has placed in our care both as individuals and as His bride, the church. When He returns, those who have been faithful will be rewarded abundantly as God’s cherished children.

Luke 12:44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

Susie: Even while we are on this earth, when we are faithful in the small tasks the Lord assigns us, He will bless us and enable us to do even greater things to advance His Kingdom.

Luke 12:45-46 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Susan: The evil servant, the unbeliever, is not serving Jesus, but is, instead, completely self-serving.

Susie: Rather than taking care of the other servants, he is treating them like his personal slaves and abusing them.

Susan: The evil servant is not nurturing the master’s servants as he was instructed. He instills fear in the servants, expecting them to serve him instead of the master. He is using them for his own purposes while the master’s house becomes run down. He is getting fat and drunk on the master’s food and wine. He is enjoying these things without putting in the work to earn them.

Susie: The master returns suddenly and unexpectedly to find his house in disarray and the one he had placed as steward abusing the servants and being lazy. Jesus says the master will cut this lazy bum in two!

Susan: You can’t bounce back from being cut in two! When Jesus returns for the final judgment, the punishment for those who have never surrendered their lives to Him will be irreversible and permanent.

Susie: The key point here is that the Lord’s return will be sudden and unexpected. Today is the day to turn your life over to Him if you haven’t already because you may not have another chance tomorrow.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Luke 12:47-48 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Susan: Willful disobedience when the person clearly knows what is expected and required carries a greater penalty than disobedience in ignorance of one who has not been taught the Lord’s boundaries.

Susie: Many commentators point to varying degrees of punishment in hell as suggested by the following two verses among others:

Matthew 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Ponder this and Apply it: Many times, we emphasize God’s love as our Father to the point of forgetting that Jesus is also our Lord, our Master. We in the USA are blessed to have the Bible readily accessible and the opportunity to worship and study with other believers freely. We have been given much which means much is required of us. Ask yourself if you are being a good steward of all the Lord has placed in your care—money, time, and knowledge of His word. Are we being faithful to use our blessings to serve our Master rather than just ourselves?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


LUKE 12:35-40
(See also Matthew 25:1-13)

Luke 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

Susie: The men at the time of Christ wore long tunics. When they needed to move freely to do manual labor, they would bring the hem of the tunic up between their legs and tuck it into their belt. We are to be prepared to do the work Jesus has called us to do. The Apostle Peter used this as an analogy for mental and spiritual preparedness.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Susan: The light of Jesus’s presence should be apparent to those who know us. The difference that Jesus makes in our lives should be evident to anyone we encounter as we go about our day to day lives.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Luke 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

Susie: Servants were expected to be on the lookout for their master’s return in order to greet him with torch lights burning.

Susan: We should be waiting expectantly for Christ’s return, keeping ourselves in the word, prayerfully prepared, fulfilling the Great Commission by making disciples.

Susie: We are not to sit idly by until He comes. We are to be about the work of His Kingdom and keeping our hearts focused on Him.

Susan: We should be focused not on our own needs but on our service to Jesus and His people.

Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Susie: As with the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, the Lord is warning us to be prepared for His return. You may remember the story that five virgins were prepare with extra oil for their lamps and five had to go out to buy more oil. The Bridegroom returned while they were away, and they missed the wedding. He ended that parable with this warning:

Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Susan: The Master will reward those who are prepared and eagerly expect His arrival. The faithful servants will be elevated to the position of guests.

Luke 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Susie: The second watch was 9:00 p.m. to midnight, and the third was midnight to 3:00 a.m. Both would be inconvenient times to be ready and watching.

Susan: Unless you are like me and have your days and nights mixed up. LOL. However, those who are diligent will be blessed, favored by the Master.

Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

Susie: Jesus shifts from the homeowner returning to faithful servants to the unfortunate homeowner who went out for the evening and came back to find his house burglarized. Had he known the burglars were lurking, he would have never left the place unguarded. However, I’ve never heard of a burglar calling ahead to schedule an appointment.

Luke 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Susan: Both illustrations underscore the fact that we have no idea of the day, hour, or minute that Jesus will return to earth. In all actuality, only the Father truly knows when Jesus is coming.

Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Susie: The point Jesus was making was that like the Boy Scouts we should “Always be prepared.” This is not a physical preparation such as stock piling food or knowing how to start a campfire. This is the far more important spiritual preparation of being right with God through a relationship with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ponder this and Apply it: Are you eagerly anticipating the return of Jesus or are you fearful of it on some level. If you belong to Him, there is no need to fear. However, I think we all want to be found serving and obeying Him whether He comes for us in death or He catches up to be with Him in the clouds. May we be as excited about His return as the children in this song:

“Fingertips and Noses” by Newsong:

Sunday, July 15, 2018


LUKE 12:29-34
(See also Matthew 6:26-33)

Luke 12:29-30 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

Susie: In this passage, Jesus is describing not luxuries but basic needs.

Susan: This reminds me of the song “The Bare Necessities” from Jungle Book. Only, they don’t just “come to you:” they are provided by our Heavenly Father.

Susie: People of every nation, every religion, seek food, clothing, and shelter. However, we as Christians have the advantage of knowing God will provide them.

Luke 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Susie: Matthew clarifies this by saying to seek God’s kingdom first. In other words, make the pursuit of God’s kingdom your top priority.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Susan: We asked ourselves, “Exactly what is this Kingdom we are seeking?” When we seek relationship with God, everything else necessary for life will be ours.

Susie: Therefore, the Kingdom of God is His sovereign reign in our hearts and over our lives. In this way, the Kingdom of Heaven is here and now, and by seeking that relationship to Jesus as our Savior and Master we will eventually dwell in the physical Kingdom of God eternally.

Susan: Meanwhile, we do not need to worry or fret about our basic needs.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Susan: Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He will protect us, provide for our needs, and usher us into the forever home He has prepared for us.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Luke 12:33-34 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Susie: King Solomon, famous for his wisdom and wealth, realized the futility of amassing worldly riches.

Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 (MSG) Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work! Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.

Susan: We are not necessarily required to sell everything we possess. However, we must use what God has given us in such a way that God is glorified and exalted.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Susie: In reality, all that we think we own was given to us by God and belongs to God. We are merely stewards, managers of God’s riches. I, for one, want to found managing God’s wealth wisely!

Ponder this and Apply it: As Susan and I have been working on Luke chapter 12, we have had an unexpected disappointment. As soon as I received the “bad” news, the announcer on the radio was reminding his listeners that “God has it under control.” When I arrived home, Susan was on the phone with one of our prayer warrior friends who was asking how she could pray for us. This compelled me to immediately turn our needs over to the Lord rather than become anxious about them. Have you had a financial situation that stressed you out? Continue seeking the Lord while you are seeking solutions and trust Him to provide answers. Easier said than done. Believe me, we know. Even though we place our cares on the Lord’s shoulders, we often try to pick them back up and carry them ourselves. We need to prioritize our relationship with Jesus and minimize our worry.