Saturday, June 20, 2015

Diamonds in the Pit

 "My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection." 2 Corinthians 12:9
In this passage, Saint Paul gives us a glimpse of his trials and suffering while working for God's Kingdom. He tells us about his "thorn in the flesh", and how he begged God to take it away. And each time God answered the same thing. In another version it says, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." For all of us, there are always good things we can thank God for, and there are also challenges that we either complain about, or see for what it really is.
Pastor Colin Smith likes to tell a parable about a man who was put into a dark pit. This man would have to stay there for only one week, and after that, he would never have to go back there again. The only instruction he was given was that during his waking hours he was to try to make a life and a future. So this man was lowered into the pit. It is dark, smelly and damp. He tries to feel around and his hand hits something sharp like glass and he curses because now he is hurt. He is afraid of moving. He gets depressed, and just keeps thinking of when he gets out and never going back in. How could he make a life and a future in here???? He just counts the days and nights eager to get free.
The last day comes and he is relieved that finally he is pulled out of the pit. He runs out in relief, but then he glances back, and his eyes open wide. The sign next to the pit read: "DIAMOND MINE". He just spent one week in a diamond mine and didn't get anything for his trouble!

 We do not realize it most of the time, but God allows us to go into a dark pit of trials and challenges because there are diamonds to be mined there. Lessons that build our character, experiences that allow us to see God's grace and favor. Sometimes we can discover God's purpose, and enter into a place of confidence in God's love. Other times we just learn that relying on God in times when there is nothing else to depend on, gives us indescribable peace. Yes, whenever we are led into a dark place, let us be sure not to leave empty-handed!

 "Our Father..." Matthew 6:9
In Luke chapter 11, Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. They had been watching Him pray several times, and I am sure Jesus spent a long time praying. Prayer is a hallmark of being a follower of Christ. Can we say we are Christian if we do not pray? Jesus taught a radical prayer to His disciples. Today we take the Lord's prayer for granted. We probably learned it as a child, we hear it at church. But before Jesus, God was seen as quite distant. A dictator even, who required His people to follow very specific laws and commandments about the oddest things. So the prayer Jesus taught His disciples was actually quite foreign and daring.
"Abba." He taught them to call this distant God "daddy". "Our daddy" I can imagine the disciples' reaction when Jesus told them they could speak to the the Father like that. It would be perhaps like a little boy told he can play in Disneyland for the rest of his life. Awe. Disbelief. Joy. And of course, wanting to get inside and start. And yes, prayer should be something we are excited about! If we are not excited to speak to our Abba, then there must be something wrong, isn't there? We must want to speak to Him all the time!

 In a world where family relationships are breaking down, where fathers do not take their role seriously, perhaps it is easy to understand how we do not see God as loving, caring, forgiving, and desiring to get close to us. But if we read the New Testament, we can see how Jesus wants to introduce us to a relationship with God that is radical, daring, and different. We just have to reach that place where we can truly say, "Abba! daddy!"

 "Where your treasure is, there your heart is also." Matthew 6:21
Everyone loves a good deal, a good investment, isn't it? And we hate it when we lose money! The stock market here in the Philippines is quite erratic. When I thought a particular stock was on its way down, I sold a major chunk of it. Within the next few minutes it went up. Now it's way over the amount I sold it! I feel sad because I liked that particular stock and I can't buy it now!
In the 6th chapter of Matthew, Jesus gives us His financial advice, His divine blueprint for estate planning. "Do not lay up for yourselves earthly treasure." Earthly treasure is not going to last, it can be stolen, burned, it can rust and devalue. Instead we should make it our practice to to store up heavenly treasure. We can think of storing heavenly treasure as buying stocks in heaven. The difference is it's not going to devalue, the price won't go down! Whatever we invest is going to go up, up, up! But how can we buy Kingdom stocks? What is of value in heaven?
Jesus told the story of the pearl of great price in Matthew 13. When a merchant found the pearl more beautiful than all the others, he sold all his possessions to buy it. What is it that Jesus was willing to give up everything for? Jesus bought us, the pearl of great price at the cost of His very life! He became a man, left His power and glory in heaven, just so He can give us His greatest gift, eternal life in Heaven with Him.

Saint Lawrence is one of my favorite saints. When asked by the Prefect of Rome to turn over the treasures of the Church, Lawrence went throughout the city and gathered together the poor, the lame, the blind, the sick. Then he presented them to the greedy Prefect. "Here are the Church's treasure!" he announced. The Prefect was not amused and the saint was roasted over an iron grill!
We need not follow Saint Lawrence to buy stocks in heaven, but we should remember that if we use our time, talent and money to bring people to God, we are investing in what God values most!


Linking with

So many WONDERFUL blogfriends 
to discover here!


Thank you for dropping by!
You are appreciated!


  1. Beautiful artwork. I told a friend today about how you paint gorgeous portrayals of scripture right on the pages of your bible. She was intrigued. I am going to share a link to your page with her so she can see for herself.

  2. I am loving your drawings and art. Great job, Patsy! What a blessing it is for us that you joined our Challenge at Word Art Wednesday last week and hope you join us again this week. I want to share the Scripture in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 telling us, ” However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” Have a blessed weekend…

    JO ANN


I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy