How to Find Treasure

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

Isaiah 33:6

What’s your favorite movie? I am a huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean. I remember quoting lines with a friend who loved the movie just as much when it first came out. We talked about the ship called the Pearl that was the treasure in the movie everyone wanted. My friend bought a car and named it the Pearl. The purple sheen overlaid a white car, so the name fit.

People will do a lot of things for treasure. Some of that activity is not so good: stealing, lying, cheating. In the nonprofit sector, employees will change entire programs and the way people receive services to receive dollars from a particular donor.

Other activities that earn treasure are good: building character, learning patience, growing. The individual activities that make individuals better ripples into the sector. When people in the nonprofit sector become better, everyone gets better: clients, staff, volunteers, and board members. As John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Consider your circles of influence and how when you earn “treasure” how they will also benefit.

Seeking treasure begins on the individual level. But what is that individual to do first? To find that pearl of value, Isaiah says to fear God. Of course, this isn’t the quaking-in-your-pirate-boots fear, a scaredy-black-cat fear. This is respecting God for who He is and what He does in and through you.

Perhaps the better way of saying it is that God:

  • Is a strong place to stand, a sure foundation.
  • Is the wisest and deepest, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.
  • Will show you the treasure map if you are willing to follow His path.

In fact, it could be said that finding God is finding the ultimate treasure. And if that’s the case, then the search for treasure is the search for God. Even in a car named Pearl.

How are you finding God as the treasure today?

After seeking God as the Treasure, find your success principles in a free webinar called 7 Proven Success Principles. You’ll learn how to set goals based on your beliefs and core values on Thursday, May 6 at 5:30 pm Pacific Time. Register here.

Photo by Marin Tulard on Unsplash

© 2021, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Prepare

As seen at the Hope for Haiti blog.

Bridge built for missionaries.

Pass through, pass through the gates!

Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
Isaiah 62:10
This bridge was not here before they came. But when the people heard missionaries were going to come, they hauled rocks for miles, dropped them in the gully, and used concrete to pave the way for the travelers. Will you help them build up more roads so the gospel can reach Haitians?  Pray God raises a banner between nations by building more roads to remote places.
By Mollie Bond

A lot of work, a lot of rocks, a lot of love.

Couch Castles

“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 1:19-20

The two sat with their noses inches from each other. The younger boy’s hair looked like he just came out from under the couch, which he had. The two were inches from erupting into another argument on how their castle of couch cushions should be built. And with the baby down for a nap, it was time to put an end to their stare-down tactics before war erupted and their pretend swords became real swords.

The following day, when naptime came about, the mother wiped down the ketchup glob and said, “You may not build a castle today, find another quiet game to play until Aubrey wakes up.” Both the four-year old and the three-year old pouted with the best of the best pouters. A sigh. “If you play nicely and build a castle together, then you may play in the living room. If you start to argue, then playtime is over for today.  Your sister needs to sleep well.”

The sister immediately latched on to this concept. Without hesitation, she turned to the brother and said, “See? Mom said you have to obey what I say. We build the fort my way.”

Couch Castles (2011)

Photo by Kevin Li on Unsplash

Isaiah is a book that sometimes seems harsh and unloving. However, each warning comes with a firm reason as to why the consequences. God doesn’t lay down the law and call it a day. He explains what are results of doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing. Listening and willfully obeying causes blessing. Rebellion causes swords.

In the story, Mom was sure to explain why arguing would end playtime—Sister needed sleep. Building a fort without arguing would allow future monstrosities in the living room to develop. It’s for the children’s sake that the rules are laid down.

However, I find myself with the same reaction as the elder sister. I take what God has asked and force it into my own ruling. I like to be in control. If there is a blessing, I will rake it’s full worth. I’m not obedient because I want to willingly do God’s desires. I am obedient because I want the blessings; it is my way or no way. My motivation is not willful praise, but of selfishness.

God doesn’t bless me for good works. He blesses loving motivation. He doesn’t want me to obey and then control the blessing so that I get what I want. He wants to bless me because I do things with the proper inspiration. If I choose to do an action for the wrong reason, then the consequences will be dire. The arguing will start, and rebellion leads to the sword.

What acts of obedience is he asking of you? Will you do it willingly, or begrudgingly? Will you tell others to do it for you, or to obey what you want? Take today to focus on what God has for you, and then do it for his sake out of love.

© 2011, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.

Two Arms

“See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him.  See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.  He tends his flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”  Isaiah 40:10-11

As my aunt continued to flip through the pictures from a recent trip to Yosemite, she kept repeating how she could see God’s glory in each part of nature.  But it wasn’t enough.  She didn’t want to see God.  She wanted to know him.  So he gave her a glimpse in the trees.

I saw the picture of the trees, and I though that in itself was amazing.  Of course, how could you miss a 257’ high tree?  How do you picture standing next to one?

The strength these trees have must be tremendous.  The wind whips at speeds through the valley like an Indy car.  Years and years of growth must form these massive trees to be so strong, so unyielding, so

dignified.  These trees are so large; a path runs through one large enough for the travelers who built the hole to pass through…in their stagecoach.

Yet these trees kept dying.  The park couldn’t find a reason.  Their roots seemed widespread, the bark tough.  Plenty of little tiny pinecones, but still, death came to the trees.

Researchers found out the tree root system hovers near the surface of the ground.  Although the roots held the tree and gave it life, the roots were tender.  People stepping above a root with layers of dirt separating the tourist and the root system killed the tree.

Isaiah shows two arms of God, as I heard Pastor say.  One arm is powerful, and has justice and strength.  The other carries the lambs and holds them gently to his heart.

Although the trees majestically ruled the land, their sensitive roots demonstrated a tender side.  God met with my aunt that week, not to show off his creation, but to reveal himself, the hidden side just below the surface.

Today seek out God.  Is he showing the side of justice, or the side of gentleness?

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Stop bringing meaningless offerings!…Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!

Isaiah 1:13a, 16b-17a

The man had on a yellow suit. The deep, Darth Vader-like sounds of his breathing scared me, even more so than the mask covering his whole face. Every year, this man attended our school, and my teacher said he was a good guy. He gave stickers out that took off the varnish of my dresser when I removed them later in life.

We learned to stop, drop and roll every year as the firefighters of our little town taught us.

More than fifteen years later, and I heard the sounds of the oxygen pushing into the firefighter’s mask as I read Isaiah 1:13. God, the ultimate firefighter, expounded the lesson. He tried to rescue the Israelite’s lives by repeating “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” He says,

“…wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.‘ Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 1:16-20).

We fumble, we argue, we flee, we rationalize. But no matter how logical our line of thinking, God makes it clear what we are to do when things get hot.

Isaiah 1:13a says, “Stop bringing meaningless offerings!” Okay, gut check! If you didn’t catch it the first time, allow me to bring to a forte what I believe God is asking. “Stop bringing meaningless offerings!” (emphasis mine). Not put your sin on hold, or wait until it’s convenient, or blame your disobedience on circumstances, or postpone what He’s asking. Stop. Now.

God knows it takes me a few times to really pick up what he’s asking of me. The firefighters came back yearly so the children learned the lesson. After reading verse 13, I continued to lazily read through Isaiah 1, when I saw it again in verse 16b-17a. “Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!” Exclamation point! I get it! I do appreciate he gives me direction on what to do to fill the void. He tells me to stop doing something bad. It’s hard to take away something without putting something else in its place, good or bad replacements. This is a time to choose a good thing. How do I choose a good thing to fill up what I stopped? God then tells me to learn. There’s no better way to learn than to daily be in his word. It’s great to stop doing wrong, but if you don’t learn to do right, you’ll be the dog who returns to his vomit (See Proverbs 26:11).

I don’t want to be a fool, someone who returns to a disgusting habit. Some things are easier to stop than others. God calls us to be “willing and obedient” (Isaiah 1:19). So I have to have some proper motivation on my part to stop. And God forgives me. “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” That’s God’s end of the deal. We can’t clean up on our own. We have to take on the duty to stop and learn. Be “willing and obedient.” Stop. Learn.

Stop, drop, and roll. Stop. No caveats. Drop it. And then roll into God’s grace.

Reason with him about what you’ve done, get over it, and move on. Not easy, but mandatory. Maybe the prescribed way to put out a physical fire is the best prescribed way to put out an eternal fire. Stop, drop, and roll.