Saturday, October 28, 2023

Unused Treasure


As Christ's return grows closer with each passing day, it becomes even more vital for us to be good stewards of the time, talent and treasure He has so graciously appointed to us. If we keep these gifts and blessings hidden and unused, we will lose them, as well as the rewards we could receive for using them for His glory. Thinking about that led me to repost the article below.  

I dreamed that a dear sister in Christ, a member of one of the Bible studies I teach, asked if she could see my jewelry collection. She had often admired jewelry pieces I had worn, most of them gifts from my husband Richard or inherited from my mother or aunt, but lately I had not been wearing much jewelry.

I open a drawer in the jewelry box for her to see and am embarrassed that it is dusty. Inside is an antique, silver filigree cross set with an amethyst, that Richard had given me for a special occasion long ago. I had forgotten it was there. The silver is tarnished; the left end of the horizontal cross bar is broken off, and the delicate chain is tangled around the cross.  

As I try to disentangle it, the chain breaks in several places. As I am holding and handling the cross, the silver regains a new luster. It begins to transform, changing shape and growing larger until it is in the shape of a tree with many branches. New amethysts appear like ripe plums hanging from the boughs. My friend and I are amazed and rejoice at the transformation.

When I awaken, I realize that the dream is not about material possessions but about spiritual treasure. In the dream, my husband had given me the necklace, symbolizing Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of the church (Isaiah 62:5; Matthew 9:15; 25:1-10; Mark 2:19-20; Luke 5:34-35; John 3:29;), Who gives us all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).

At the moment we are saved by placing our faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), we become joint-heirs of all His treasure (Romans 8:17), jncluding eternal life (John 3:16), abundant life here and now (John 10:10), and being seated in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1:3).

Jesus does not need us to wear jewelry, for He wants to adorn us with something far more precious – the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4), through which His radiance can shine. The prophet Isaiah compares the robe of righteousness in which the Bridegroom clothes us to the jewels adorning the bride (Isaiah 61:10). If we submit to His will and use our spiritual gifts -- the engagement present He gives us when we commit to Him as Lord and Savior – those gifts will glorify Him and bless others.

When the Holy Spirit enters us at the instant of salvation (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13), He gives every believer one or more spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12). But this spiritual treasure does us and others no good if we fail to use it. If we keep it tucked away in a drawer, it will rust and deteriorate. In the dream, my sister in Christ gently reminded me that she wanted to see the treasure I had been given. Bringing the necklace out of the forgotten drawer was the first step, symbolizing using His gift of teaching to edify others.

The jewelry in the dream was a necklace, appropriate because we are bound to Christ as fellow-laborers by a yoke that is easy to bear (Matthew 11:30). The pendant was a cross, reminding me of how He came to earth in human flesh (John 1:14) to suffer and die (Ephesians 2:16), to be the perfect, sinless sacrifice to pay our sin debt and reconcile sinful man to holy God (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Colossians 1:20-21; Hebrews 2:17).

The left part of the cross bar was broken off, perhaps a reminder that He has separated us from all our sins, including those in our past that Satan loves to dredge up in an attempt to convince us that we are unfit to serve Christ. But we are His betrothed, and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:39). The fragments of chain wrapped around the cross represent those sins, weights and distractions that hinder us from using His gifts to His glory (Hebrews 12:1) .

Centered on the cross was an amethyst (Exodus 28:19; 39:12), a purple gemstone symbolizing His Kingship, for purple is the color of royalty (Exodus 25:4, etc., Judges 8:26Esther 8:15; Proverbs 31:22; and reminding me of our faith in His shed blood to was away all sins (Mark 15:17). Jesus Christ is Wisdom, Who is far more precious than gold, silver, and rubies (Job 28:18; Proverbs 8:11).

Although I had neglected His invaluable gift, it was amazing to see it transform once I remembered and began to use it! Just by bringing the pendant out into the light and holding it in my hand, the silver began to shine, the chains disentangled, and the pendant began to grow and transform from a cross to a bountiful plum tree! If we use our spiritual treasure, it will grow, and so will we. We will become like a tree planted by rivers of living water, bearing much fruit (Psalm 1:3; John 15:2-8).

May we not forget, neglect, and hoard our spiritual treasure. Instead, may we wear and use it joyfully for all to see and be blessed, to His glory!

© 2016 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Rebellion and Redemption: Expulsion from Eden


Like labor pains, the signs of Christ's return are increasing in severity and intensity, including wars, rumors of wars, famine, disease, earthquakes in unusual places, Christian persecution, false doctrine and false teachers, and hatred of others, even the unnatural lack of love for one's own flesh and blood (Matthew 24). All these evils can be traced back to the curse of sin on humanity and on the earth because of Adam and Eve's disobedience to God. Yet praise God, He opened the plan of redemption to whosoever would trust in Jesus Christ His Son (John 3:16), giving us a living hope even in these dark, perilous times. I therefore thought it would be appropriate to repost this from the archives.

The overarching theme of the Bible is that of a perfectly loving, holy and just God creating, sustaining and redeeming His rebellious children. Because He is completely holy, He cannot allow sin into His presence (Leviticus 11:45). Because He is righteous and just, He cannot allow sin to go unpunished (1 Kings 8:32; Psalm 7:11). And because He is love (1 John 4:8), He gave His only Son to pay the punishment for our sins, so that he could shower His children with His infinite mercy and grace (2 John 1:3) and give them eternal life in His presence.

Despite the idyllic, blissful life God provided for Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, where they enjoyed the beauty of His creation, one another, and fellowship with Him (Genesis 1-4), they rebelled against Him.

Satan, in the form of a wise, beautiful and subtle serpent, resorted to his favorite ploy – starting with God’s truth and twisting it into a lie (Genesis 3: 1–3), for he is the father of lies (John 8:44). Eve was deceived and succumbed to the three temptations that are Satan’s signature strategies: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (Genesis 3:5-6; 1 John 2:16).

Before the fall, Adam and his wife were innocent and trusted God, as proven by their obedience. When they disobeyed and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they committed the first sin – rebellion against God’s commandment (Genesis 3:7). They lost fellowship with God and were afraid of Him because they knew they had done wrong (v.:8-10).

Before they had been unashamed of their nudity, as husband and wife should lovingly delight in one another in the sanctity of marriage (Hebrews 13:4). But after their eyes were opened, they knew they were naked and made a pitiful attempt to hide themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3: 7)

God in His mercy gives Adam ample opportunity to confess (v. 9-11), for when we confess our sins, He is swift to forgive us (1 John 1:9). But instead, Adam and Eve both play the blame game. Adam has the audacity to blame God for giving him Eve, and he then tries to avoid guilt by blaming his wife (Genesis 3: 12). Not that Eve is any better – rather than taking responsibility for her disobedience, she blames the serpent (v. 13). 

Sadly, variations of this scenario are too often repeated, even to the present day. This results not only in failed marriages and relationships, but also in worldwide conflict and even war when rulers refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. Rather than acknowledge their own fault, criminals often blame a failed system or their dysfunctional family for their wrongdoing, which is a major obstacle to rehabilitation.

After Adam and Eve's sin, God first cursed the serpent (v. 14). Before he beguiled Eve, the serpent had feet and walked, but after he was condemned to slither along the ground (v.14). But the true object of God’s wrath is not the serpent that Satan used to tempt Eve, but Satan himself. Since Lucifer’s sin of pride led to his fall from Heaven, he has been the enemy of mankind – looking to kill and destroy (1 Peter 5:8). And the devil is the enemy of the seed of the woman – Jesus Christ, Who ultimately defeats Satan. But first Satan bruises His heel at the cross (Genesis 3 15).

The curse for Eve’s sin is the pain of childbirth and her subjection to her husband (v. 16; Ephesians 5: 20-25), and Adam’s curse is that he must work hard to eat (Genesis 3 17-18) until the day he dies. Sin brought with it the curse not only of hard physical labor, but of physical death (v. 19; Romans 6:23), including eternal spiritual death for those alienated from God.

But the promise of redemption was there in Eve’s seed (Genesis 3: 20). Many generations later, God’s own Son would take on human flesh (John 1:14), be born to Mary – one of Eve’s descendants -- and bring eternal life to all Who trust in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). 
Through His grace and sacrifice, believers are made righteous and freely receive eternal life (Romans 5: 17-19).

The first death occurred in the garden when God killed animals to clothe Adam and Eve with their skins (Genesis 3:21), which symbolized covering, but not removing, their sin, through shed blood. Thus began the “scarlet thread” (Joshua 2:18) of redemption by the blood woven throughout Bible history. The shedding of animal blood for sacrifices commanded by God covered the sins of His people, but only temporarily (Leviticus 4; 3-7).

Not until the perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Himself would believers be washed clean in His blood (Revelation 1:5), their sins removed as far from them as is the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). through His completed work on the cross.

Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, they were marred by the sin of disobedience. If they would eat the tree of life, they would live forever in their sinful, corrupt bodies and would be doomed to hell for all eternity (Genesis 3:22). God had to prevent that so that they and their descendants could ultimately have eternal life in Heaven, so He expelled Adam and Eve from the garden and placed angels with flaming swords at its entrance to guard the tree of life (v.23-24).

Milllennia later, God will finally give His children access to the tree of life. Thanks to His plan of salvation through His Son, those who are born again will ultimately escape their sin-stained bodies and receive glorified bodies that will never age or become sick. In Heaven, in the New Jerusalem, we will eat fruit from the tree of life and its leaves will keep us from getting sick (Revelation 2:7; 22:2,14).

May we lead our lives not in rebellion, but in submission to His perfect will, so that we will ultimately taste the fruit of the tree of life and live forever in His presence!

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Edited, expanded and reposted from the archives

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Household Blessing

Photo by Peter du Plessis 2016
 As we enjoy the cooler weather and begin to prepare for the holidays, our thoughts may turn to fall house cleaning and making our home more comfortable. And as Halloween approaches, with its focus on demonic spirits, may we not neglect the spiritual preparation of our home as a place to honor, worship and serve God, asking His protection over our dwelling and all its inhabitants.

I thought it would therefore be appropriate to repost this from the archives. May all have a blessed autumn.

I was blessed and honored when a dear friend who has gone through many life changes asked me to say a prayer at the housewarming celebration for her new home. Writing this prayer helped me to realize how we can consecrate our lives to Him in all that we do, transforming our home into a holy place of worship where Jesus Christ is Lord, Shepherd, and dearest Friend.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for our beloved sister in Christ, for her sweet spirit in loving and serving You and in welcoming with hospitality and with love all who are gathered here to her new home (Romans 12:10-13; 1 Peter 4:8-9).

May all who enter these doors be blessed by Your Presence and be a blessing to her and to her friends and family, as you have promised that when we open our home to others, we may entertain angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2).

May angels protect our sister, her home, and all who enter it (Psalm 91:9-11), knowing that our true dwelling place is in You (John 15:3-7). May this home be a shelter from the storms and a warm, inviting haven for her and for all her guests. Please keep them safe, healthy, prosperous, and in Your perfect will.

Your mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), and we ask that you would bring your daughter the hope and joy of beginning a new life in this new home. May she awaken each morning refreshed, for You have promised sound sleep to Your beloved (Psalm 127:2).

As she dresses and prepares for each new day, may she remember to put on the whole armor of God to be able to withstand the devil (Ephesians 6:11-18). May she be cleansed in the fountain of Your Living Waters (Revelation 7:17), clothed in Your righteousness (Job 29:14; Isaiah 61:10), and adorned with a meek and humble spirit, which is of great value in Your eyes (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:4).

As she leaves these doors, may she acknowledge You in all her ways so that You will direct her paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). As she walks into her yard, may she take time to appreciate the special love notes You write for her each day in Your still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12). May she recognize and appreciate You in the warmth of the sun, the beauty of nature surrounding her home, the sweet song of a sparrow, the grace of butterflies dancing in the air, and a rainbow of flowers sparkling in the dew (Psalm 19:1).

When she returns home, may she find it a special refuge of relaxation filled with Your grace (Isaiah 32:17-18), where there is quiet so that she can be still and know that You are God (Psalm 46:10). No matter what trials she had to face that day, may You give her the peace that passes all understanding as she seeks You in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7), for You are the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

As our dear sister cheerfully honors You with her giving (2 Corinthians 9:7), may her cupboards and closets be well-stocked and full of needed provisions (Proverbs 3:9-10; 21:20), for You have promised to supply the needs of Your children (Philippians 4:19). May every meal she prepares, serves and enjoys here be nourishing and healthful to the body, blessed by You.

As she breaks bread at her table, may all who partake remember that Your body was broken for us (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22), to pay the price for all our sins (1 John 2:2;4:10), so that all those who place their faith in Your death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) will have eternal life (John 3:16).

May this home be filled with Your spiritual and material blessings (Deuteronomy 28:2;; Proverbs 10:22; Ephesians 1:3), with the sound of joyful laughter (Psalm 126:2), new songs of thanksgiving and praise (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 28:7;33:4;40:3) and conversation that is pleasing to You (James 3:13; 17-18).

May this home thrive with the encouragement and support of friends (Galatians 6:2; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12), especially with the Friend Who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), with family fellowship, and with Your Word (Psalm 1:1-3; 119:105). May it be bright with Your radiant light dispelling any darkness (Exodus 10:22-23; 1 John 1:5).

May Your child use her time here wisely and productively, honoring You in all that she does (Colossians 3:23), whether it is a prayer of thanks as she washes the dishes (Ephesians 5:20), or a prayer for wisdom as she balances the household budget (James 1:5). May she be a good and faithful steward of this house and property, its contents, its resources, and all the many blessings You have provided (1 Peter 4:8-10; 1 Corinthians 4:2)).

When the day is over and she goes to bed, may she have peaceful sleep and sweet dreams, knowing that You work all things together for good for those who love You (Romans 8:28). May she experience the joyful anticipation that this could be the night You return to bring your children home, that we would be caught up to meet You in the air (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), and that You would wipe every tear from our eyes (Revelation 7:17).

2 Samuel 7:29 Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.

We thank you for providing this home, these friends, the joy of knowing You, and Your many blessings to our dear sister. We ask all these things in Jesus’ precious Name,


© 2013 Laurie Collett

Saturday, October 7, 2023

The "Convention"

Photo by Laurie Collett 2023

 On our usual beach stroll my husband Richard and I were at first delighted by the privacy and solitude. But then we were a little disappointed that not only were there no people, but there were no birds! This seemed odd given the beautiful weather, calm seas, wide expanse of beach, and a variety of species seen on our previous visit.

But then, about 300 feet away, we spotted what Richard referred to as “the convention.” Droves of winged creatures of so many kinds – sandpipers darting to and fro; shy fawn-colored plovers on spindly legs; stodgy terns in a variety of colors and patterns. Snowy-white cranes spread their delicate wings; oystercatchers with tufted heads and long yellow bills stood on one large, yellow webbed foot; tall blue herons and black and white osprey all lined the beach, intermingling with one another.

Even the pelicans were well-represented. It is not unusual to see these prehistoric-looking creatures on air patrol as they fly over the beach in squadron formation, or floating alone or in small groups as they ride the ocean waves. But this was the first time we had seen pelicans sitting on the beach, as if conversing with their peers!

Despite the varied composition of the group, it was a cohesive unit, moving together on the shore, where they all stood facing toward or away from the surf, or wading in the shallow water as they hunted for small fish, crabs or coquinas.

The different songs of each variety were distinguishable – the mournful cry of the osprey, the tern’s shrill call, and the excited chatter of the sandpipers. But together the sounds blended into a harmonious symphony.

As we approached, they took to the air, again in unison, swirling around us in a flurry of excitement, offering stunning views of outstretched wings and tails changing color with every spread of their feathers.

“Hope it’s not going to turn into a Hitchcock movie,” Richard joked.

But far from being frightened, I was delighted to be in the center of this avian display of power, grace and movement. It brought back childhood memories of winter vacations on Florida’s east coast, when my grandmother would toss chunks of dry bread into the air for the seagulls to devour and sometimes even to greedily snatch them from our outstretched hands.

As we marveled at this shoreline “convention,” it reminded me of what can be accomplished when God’s people gather together and follow His will. Abraham took the first step of faith by following God on the journey to the Promised Land, accompanied by thousands of Israelites who would take forty years to reach their destination (Genesis 12:1-5).

Moses, obeying God’s instructions delivered from the burning bush, returned to Egypt to deliver the Hebrews from slavery and captivity under Pharaoh (Exodus 3). As they fled together, God demonstrated His amazing power by parting the Red Sea for them to pass through safely, then releasing the waters to destroy the Egyptians who pursued them (Exodus 14).

When thousands gathered on a hillside to hear Jesus preach and see Him heal the sick, He honored their devotion by feeding them not only with the daily bread of His Word, but with abundant loaves and fishes He miraculously produced from a small boy’s lunch! (Matthew 14:13-21).

When Jesus’ followers, and many who had not yet trusted in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15::1-4) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6), gathered to hear Peter preach, thousands were saved and added to the church, as a previous gathering of the disciples at Pentecost had resulted in the Holy Spirit lighting upon each of them like flames of fire (Acts 2).

Yet gatherings of men apart from God’s direction can cause great chaos. In millennia past, men motivated by their own ambition and rebellion against God acted together to build a tower reaching to the sky in their own vain attempt to become divine. God punished this by giving each group a separate language, preventing their collaboration (Genesis 11:1-9).

In modern times, we have witnessed human conventions motivated either by good or by evil. Scripture orders Christians to gather together regularly to worship God, hear His Word, bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and encourage one another, even more so as the signs of the times herald Jesus’ imminent return for His children (Hebrews 10:25).

Members of the church, or body of Christ, come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, with different gifts and talents (Romans 12:5-8). Yet whether Jews or Gentiles, male or female, free or slave, we are all one in Him (Galatians 3:28). The Billy Graham revivals and similar Christian conventions have led to salvation of multitudes of the lost and rededication of the lives of many followers to Christ’s service.

Yet contemporary gatherings of world economic and political powers seem to be ushering in a one-world government, economy, and false religion, all foretold in Bible prophecy as facilitating the rule of Antichrist during the Great Tribulation (Daniel 2; 7; Revelation 17:12-13).

Thankfully, we Christians will not be here to see that, for we will have already gathered in that great convention in the clouds when Jesus calls all His children home at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:52). But then we will return to earth, united as His great army to watch Him defeat Satan’s army of all nations rallying to attack Israel (Revelation 19:11-21).

Throughout eternity thereafter, the church, or body of Christ, will have the great privilege of worshiping Him on His throne, people of all kindred, tongues, and nations synchronously lifting their voices and hearts to honor the King! (Revelation 7:9-10).

How glorious that will be, even more so than the “convention” of birds of all different species we saw unified on the ground, in the air, and in their song, reminding us of God’s infinite creativity, majesty and power deserving of praise from all His creation!   

© 2023 Laurie Collett

Photo by Laurie Collett 2023