Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

What's Valuable to You?

For the past 5 days, I have watched in awe (as most of us have) as the news reports come flooding in from the "golden state".  California is burning and there are no human efforts that can stop it's force!  

Several news clips from last night have shown families impacted by the fiery devastation. The one hundred foot high flames barrel through with no conscience, licking up everything in its path. A million people have been evacuated; over one billion dollars worth of damage has already been estimated. 1700 homes have burnt to the ground.   Fire twisters appear in the video footage as if something man-made in Hollywood... but this is no fictional story.  Reality couldn't be more unimaginable.  Those affected by the flames stand among the ash, grief stricken that all they have once held dear has perished.  They sift through the blackened soot, trying to find some piece of their lives among the ruins.  My heart breaks for them.


Just like on 9/11, people were rushing to say that the act was one of God Himself.  I do not believe that anyone can positively affirm that God has caused southern California to burn (in judgment or otherwise), but I do believe unequivocally that God allows certain events to take place for a greater purpose.  That's little consolation for those who are being affected by the fires because it's hard to focus on "a greater good" when they are in so much pain and shock.   We need to pray for them and us; but for the grace of God we are not under similar circumstances today.  Tomorrow it could be us!


Lamentations 3:33 says, "For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men."
Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Regardless of what we think about the cause, it is important in these times to draw near to God.  When we draw near to Him, he draws near to us (James 4) .  He is our hope (1 Tim. 1:1).
Romans 15:13 is what I pray for all of those affected by the fires today, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."


There are many spiritual truths that I could relate to what is happening in California.  How the fire, like the affects of sin or even God Himself is no respecter of men.  The fire has touched common folk as well as celebrities.   They sit in the same seat of sorrow today.  Money or lack thereof hasn't kept them from the pain of loss.  Being "good" people or "kind" people  had no bearing to whether they would face the fire.  Likewise, it doesn't matter who you are... sin touches everyone!

The Lord is no respecter of men; we are all equal at the foot of the cross no matter what our economic standing, social standing, political standing... God looks at all of us as His children.

Then there is the aspect of preparation.  Several days ago, I talked about how the Lord was showing us Revelation 18.  The thought of how reckoning could come in one hour has remained forefront in my mind.  In case you didn't get to read it, I am going to post it in a second entry this morning. 
Even though people have been warned that the fire was coming, many of them still failed to react.  I imagine that there really isn't a good way to prepare for something so devastating, but they could have worked to gather some of what they felt was important.  Many didn't even heed the warning to evacuate.   To me the spiritual truth about preparing for the Lord's coming is apparent.  How many Christians in this day and time are being warned continually that the day of the Lord is at hand, yet they are not preparing their hearts and lives.  It goes back to the scriptures in Matthew that speak of the "Parable of the Virgins" (a picture of the church) where half of the women failed to gather the necessary oil for their lamps.  When the bridegroom came, they were asleep and found their lamps in need of oil.  They were not ready!  The door was shut and they were not permitted to enter.  Scripture tells us we must watch and be ready.


During an interview, a man posed a question that struck me.  They were talking about how quickly the flames consumed communities and that many of them had less than fifteen minutes to gather whatever they could and get out.  He said, "You have to decide;  what's valuable to YOU?"

Immediately, my thought was... now that can preach!

Matthew 6:19-20 says, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.

So, I ask all of us today... what IS valuable to you?  If you had 15 minutes to gather from your home material possessions, what would you take?  Would you be stuffing your suitcase full of designer shoes, clothing, jewelry, makeup... or would you be scrambling for pictures, mementos, medicine, etc.
It's worth thinking about.

For me, we have tried to keep important documents in a fire proof box. What are some ideas of what to have in a fire box or fireproof safe?  Shot records, marriage license (if you have one), a copy of your will (if you have one), a CD of important documents and photographs downloaded from the computer, account and insurance information, and some cash.  
I would have everyone grab: our Bibles,  the fire box, our first aid kit and medicines, the kids keepsake boxes, photo albums, the diaper bag, my purse, and the animals (except the fish- they would be on their own)- some clothing and blankets.  With all of us working I think we could gather all of that in 15 minutes.

It probably wouldn't hurt any of us to come up with a list of what we would gather in case of emergency.  There are other forms of emergency preparation lists that you can find online.  My son has put together several emergency lists and evacuation plans for Royal Rangers, which were very much worth the time and have benefited our entire family.

For too many, our possessions define us in terms of social standings and our tainted view of "success".    What are we apart from our "stuff"? 

If you found yourself today like many of the Californians in possession of literally nothing, what would hold value in your eyes?  
Character, life, love, family, and faith in God are among the five most important "possessions" that I could think of today.  Even if we all we owned were stripped away in an instant, these five things would remain.

What IS valuable to you? 

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