I have been practising this One Word focus and this is my 5th year. It is no self help word. To know more about how and why I do My One Word, read here.
This One Word sprouted in my Dec church retreat during my 2 hours of quietness alone. Then the Lord started affirming me immediately during the worship and sermon by Pastor Yu. He exhorted us to make it a practice ‘ 要读上下经文’ means we must always read the scripture verses in context the before and after of the verses even after being ‘impressed’ by the Lord. Often, bible verses are randomly quoted and applied. To avoid that, we need to be vigilant in studying the words of God in their context before applying into our lives. His sermon was on Renewing our hearts. This section struck a chord in me.
51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
He showed us an instagram photo trending on ‘falling down’ where items of what you have fall out. He questioned what would be the items stored in our bags? If they all fall out, will you be embarrassed or not? Just like Matthew 13:52, do your heart (storeroom) contain treasures from heaven? The old treasures might be past encounters and experiences kept. Are you still relying on those past treasures? Or do you also have new treasures where you experience God daily?
I promised to do some studying of these scriptures after Pastor reminded us not just take ‘key’ verses for the year, but really dig deeper and know the full context of God’s living words to experience Him fully.
Matthew 13:51 Jesus asked the disciples “Have you understood all these things?” In context, To understand
- the Kingdom of heaven parables
- the eternal and perishable
- the good vs the bad
- the believers and the unbelievers
- the gospel of Christ and His second coming
- judgement day
They said Yes.
Life Application Bible Commentary
‘ Anyone who understands God’s real purpose in the law as revealed in the Old Testament has a real treasure. The Old Testament points the way to Jesus, the messiah. Jesus always upheld its authority and relevance. But there is a double benefit to those who understand Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of heaven. This was a new treasure that Jesus was revealing. Both the Old and New teaching give practical guidelines for faith and for living in the world. ‘
What kind of treasures do I store in my heart (storeroom)? Is it of eternal value? Will God be pleased if I bring them out to show others? Does it belong to the Kingdom value or is it of earthly value?
Something Old: Have I been accumulating valuable experiences with God thus storing treasures of old? Did such encounters with God affect my lifestyle and translating into a living testimony for others to praise God?
New: Am I seeking and accumulating new treasures to store and internalise? Or am I just living off the old treasures from ancient times?
14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
In Matthew 9, it also touches on the calling of Matthew.
According to NIV Application Bible Matthew 9: 17, Jesus did not come to patch up the Old religious system, but rather to introduce a new message of hope through the gospel. This gospel maintains that Jesus Christ, ‘God’s son, came to earth to offer all people forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God. The gospel did not fit into the old rigid legalistic system of religion. It needed a fresh start. The message will always remain “new” because it must be accepted and applied in every generation.’
Isaiah 57: 15
For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
I must remember to humble myself before God and men so that I can be renewed , and revived by our Heavenly Father.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
The call is to set my heart on things above and be content to be renewed inwardly even though we may be outwardly degenerating, be it in health or just aging.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
All these precious promises were sprinkled, showered during sermons, devotional times with God, in worship songs and daily conversations that I have with others. All encouraging me to keep these knowledge and treasure them. I am excited and wonder how God is going to further renew my heart, mind and being in the coming years!
Personal Application: Renew
The Old has past and the New has come. In Race against Cancer post, I shared how I struggled with my past grief and guilt over my dad’s demise. The Lord had begun that new work in me since then. Now, I can say after 17 years that I have finally been released from the past. I will no longer live as a slave to my dad’s memory. He has fully healed and restored me, arriving at peace with my past. From henceforth, my memories of my dad and uncle will be that of how gracious God has been in having them as my family. I look forward to be present for my new family with my husband and kids, more than that, I can enjoy and savour my times with them without my past baggages to influence me.
‘ It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.’
Time does not heal. Only God can fully heal and liberate us from our past.
I was also impressed that ‘ the key to unlocking the new is a foundational knowledge of the old’ (The Daily Walk Bible)There was an ‘intermission’ between Old Testament and New Testament of 400years. God did not speak then. Galatians 4:4 tells us why the long silence is necessary. “4 But when the set time had fully come,God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”
I also have renewed my mindset with regards to my kids especially on what is worth in our academic pursuits.
Let complaints cease, breathe in and out Blessings of Old and New!
For now, this is my simple daily application.
I end off with my One Word illustration. Something Old, the worn out bible, where something New-growth of life and a garden full of treasures sprouting abundantly from our Father’s ancient living words.
My prayer for you and me is to experience Christ deeper and love him even deeper than before.
And a song that speaks on renewing my heart only at a place with Jesus.
For My Other One Word Posts:
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