My Daily Journal:
There is an old joke:
There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.
An angel hears his plea and appears to him. “Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you.” The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.
The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.
Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter seeing the suitcase says, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!”
But, the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, “You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through.”
St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, “You brought pavement?!!!”
(thanks to ahajokes.com)
I thought it was so fitting that Jesus used the analogy of a camel. A camel is a beast of burden. But we don’t recognize that the things we carry around with us are truly burdens in the economy of heaven and the things we can see as burdens are true joy. Wealth, prestige, pride, are all burdens that we can’t take with us. They are not going to fit through the portal of the grave, the eye of the needle. But the things I find myself grumbling about having the discipline to do every day, like praying, studying the word, testifying to others, teaching, leading, investing time in worship – these all carry through and bring everlasting joy.
People with wealth have a very difficult time putting God first in their lives. There is so much energy required to maintain and build wealth. Anything we are unwilling to give up is something we value more than God.
Nothing is impossible for God – no matter how hard hearted, while it may seem impossible for them to change – don’t give up on God
100 times as much
homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions
Rom: children=heirs with Christ, if share in suffering also share in His glory
2 Tim: Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Jesus will be persecuted
1 Pete 2: Blessing is in unjust suffering, undeserved but endured for God
1 Pete 4: do not be surprise by “fiery ordeal”, rejoice in sufferings so overjoyed in His glory
Through the joy of communing with other believers. Through the work He gives us to do, such as bringing others to Christ. Through the blessings of prayer, study, teaching, leading, worship