March 16

Numbers 33:55 (NIV) 55"'But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.

Moses warned the Children of Israel. He told them they needed to drive out all the inhabitants of the land God had given them. We know from archeology that the people that lived there practiced some very dark religions that included the burning of live babies and lewd sexual fertility practices. God was establishing a nation that represented Him at the crossroads of the world. If the impression the world received was mixed with evil then the message too would be mixed and unclear.

Unfortunately they did not endure to see God's will done in this matter. It caused them many problems, and they were tempted to incorporate the religion of those people into Judaism. It was easier at the time of taking the Promised Land to avoid those areas that were the most difficult to conquer. It was harder for later generations to deal with the descendants of those people.

That principle carries on to this day. If we will deal with the difficult issues in our lives when we are made aware of them, we will save ourselves and our children problems in the future. If we compromise and do not allow the Lord to take full possession of our hearts, our children and we will pay the price later. When the Lord makes you aware of an unsurrendered area in your heart, don't compromise. Deal with it. Make it His. You can justify anything if you want, but you and your children will pay the price. That thing will be barbs in your eyes, skewing the way you see the world. It will be thorns in your sides, causing you to move in directions you would not otherwise.

Consider: They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. Deal with it now.

March 16

Matthew 19:28-30 (NIV) 28Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

After Jesus' exhortation to the rich young ruler, Peter asked what it meant for them to have left all to follow Jesus. First, Jesus promises the disciples places of authority in the coming kingdom. Then He addresses all who suffer loss for His sake. The promise is one hundred times more than what you left and eternal life! The eternal life part would be enough, but there is more. In the kingdom, people will receive a reward for their labor and their loss.

Jesus sums it up by saying His kingdom is often opposite to that of the world. Many of the first will be last, and many who are last will be first. The upside down world of the kingdom promises to do right to those who have suffered loss. If you are following Jesus with your whole heart, you will experience this loss. It may be the forsaking of a career, a friendship, or physical assets. Whatever the loss from following Jesus, let your heart rest assured that one hundred times awaits you. You have sown the physical and you will reap one hundred times in the kingdom. The gospel of Mark adds that you will receive it in this age and in the age to come (Mark 10:30).

Consider: Can you think of any investment plan that reaps greater dividends?