More Precious Than Silver or Gold

(From Acts 3)

Peter and John went up together to the temple at the ninth hour, which was the hour of prayer. There was a man laid daily at the gate, lame from his mother’s womb, who asked charitable alms from those who entered there.

Seeing Peter and John about to enter, he asked alms of both of them, too. Then Peter, with John, looked directly into his eyes, telling him to look at them; and he began to tell the man of something else that they could do.

That through faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he could rise and walk–a far better gift than silver or gold. Then Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. He received strength in his feet and ankle bones upon Peter’s hold.

The exact words that Peter said to the man were “Silver and gold have I none…” Then he’d told him of that which he did have to give–a gift of healing, through the name of Jesus, God’s Son.

The man who’d been lame began leaping, walking, and praising God at the temple’s “Beautiful” Gate. He entered the temple with them, and Peter went on to share with the people that it was the power of Jesus’ name that had changed that lame man’s fate.

Excerpt from Acts:
“Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, and faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.'” Acts 3:11-16

Peter continued, saying that Christ had been crucified by them in ignorance, but that He had fulfilled all that the prophets had foretold. Now, forgiveness of sins and salvation could be theirs through Jesus–again, a gift from God far greater than silver or gold.

P. A. Oltrogge

Scriptures, New King James Version

You can read of a similar miracle, which took place in our time in Jos, Nigeria, and other miracles at http://www.oralroberts.com. Other encouragement on healing at http://www.awmi.net, http://www.kcm.org.

As Simon Peter may have Remembered

I once said to the Master, Jesus, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”  Yet, I was forgiven by Him and blessed to be a part of His Father’s redemptive plan.

I remember when Andrew came to me with some news that truly amazed–that by way of John the Baptist, he had found the Messiah who was to be praised!

Jesus became our teacher, and we left our nets to follow Him.  This meant leaving our daily livelihood, so we weren’t simply doing so on a whim.

No, we knew that this was big.  We began to see many miracles taking place–miracles of healing, provision, and protection were wrought by Him, revealing to all God’s grace.

The lame, the blind, and the deaf were finding that the Master was always willing.  We disciples saw Him calm the sea during a storm that had been frighteningly chilling.

Another time, faith arose within me to walk towards Him upon the sea.  He quickly saved me from sinking below the depths when fear had gotten the better of me.

Once, Jesus took me with James and John on a destined mountain climb, where He was transfigured before us–Elijah and Moses appeared at the time.

I suggested that three tabernacles be built for each, not knowing just what to say.  Then a cloud came around us with a message from God on that remarkable day.

It was the voice of His Father in heaven, telling us that this was His beloved Son, and that we should listen to Jesus–His raiment was white as no launderer could have done.

Just as quickly as it had begun, the experience ended and we were alone.  We often could expect the unexpected–such was His ministry’s tone.

HIs raising of Lazarus from the dead wasn’t envisioned by any of us disciples, though.  Imagine our reaction when we saw death reversed to loose Lazarus and let him go.

I once gave the Lord the use of my boat, for Him to minister from to those on shore…only to be given back the catch of a lifetime–He gave back to us always more!

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” I declared to Him one day.  He said His Father in heaven had revealed that truth to me about the Son, who had taught us all to pray.

At the Passover meal, I was taken aback when Jesus came to me to wash my feet.  I allowed Him, though, for He said to be a part of Him, it was a duty I needed to let Him meet.

What a blessed remembrance, to have spent that time with the Lord in the upper room…before His betrayal and crucifixion and eventual resurrection from the tomb.

Of course, I felt remorse for my own denial of Him–my boasted loyalty and support having failed.  But afterwards, I came to my senses, realizing that I was one…for whom, to the cross, He’d been nailed.

We disciples were so happy when He appeared to us after His glorious resurrection–and later were so glad to spread the news that Jesus is Lord…by the promised Spirit’s direction.

I loved to tell of Him throughout the following years and was always looking toward…that time of my reunion with Him, the Master and Teacher whom we all had adored.

P. A. Oltrogge

On an Evening Walk Outside of Bethlehem

I was taking an evening walk, when I saw some shepherds in a field.
Then I saw a light surround them–they trembled, their fear revealed.
The light grew brighter, and it became an even more glorious light.
Then I realized that we were all seeing an angel on that night

He came and stood before the shepherds–I was able to hear him some…
something about there being good news and that a Savior had come.
Next, to my absolute amazement, suddenly the night sky was filled
with what looked like an army of angels–a scene with which I was thrilled!

They shared a message of peace on earth, with their voices raised,
proclaiming now good will toward men and that God be praised!
They greatly were rejoicing, but then suddenly disappeared from sight–
Later, in town, the shepherds confirmed to me all that I’d seen that night.

They said they’d gone on, as well, to locate the One of whom they were told…
just a newborn baby in a manger, but a divine Child for them to behold!

P.A. Oltrogge

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying. ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” Luke 2:13-14 KJV

“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others–the armies of heaven–praising God and saying ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'” Luke 2:13-14 NLT

Without a Prayer

How can anyone make the decision not to pray unto the great “I AM,”

who wants to be their Good Shepherd and care for them as His lamb?

Jesus humbly came to earth, as told in the cherished Christmas story,

simply to share God’s love, leaving His home up in Glory

He demonstrated unconditional love, serving those upon earth

and told all of us about our need to experience “the new birth.”

Likewise, we can be blessed…by serving as He leads,

knowing we have peace with God through Him–not by our own deeds.

For by grace we have been saved–His grace has been poured out.

Please don’t be deceived by demonic spirits who spread doubt.

The thief (who is the devil) comes only to kill, destroy, and steal…

Jesus came to die for our sins and, as  Divine Physician, to heal.

I can’t imagine the void in a life of one who can’t seem to pray

to the Father in heaven through Jesus Christ, who had so much to say…

on the goodness of God and how, just like lambs, we can always depend–

upon the Good Shepherd’s love for us, from beginning of life to its end.

So don’t be caught without a prayer, one day, before the throne of God–

Put your faith in our Savior and Shepherd, who bears both staff and rod.

Jesus not only was God’s sacrificial Lamb but also trusted, as a lamb,

his Father in heaven, who, from a burning bush had said to Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.”

P. A. Oltrogge

“I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”  John 10:9-11 NKJV

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 KJV

“And God said unto Moses, ‘I Am That I Am,’ and He said, ‘Thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.'”  Exodus 3:14 KJV

“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58 NKJV

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:8

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it,but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  (From John 3:1-21) NASB

The Tomb That Became Glorious

““And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:40-42

from John 20….

At a new tomb, a garden tomb, a great stone had been rolled away–
Just to show that the Almighty Jesus Christ didn’t stay!
Briefly, His body, in linen, with spices, had been placed therein,
But lasting death, for this Man, was not destined to win!

That morning Mary Magdalene came while it was not yet dawn–
Then ran to get Simon Peter when she found that Christ’s body was gone.
Upon hearing this, Peter and John went out and came unto the tomb;
Only the linen wrappings were lying there within its room.

They went away, believing, after they’d seen for themselves what she’d said;
Until then, they hadn’t understood the Scriptures that He must rise again from the dead. Then Mary remained outside the tomb, and while she was weeping, she looked inside again to find two angels, their posts keeping.

“Woman, why are you weeping?” was the question they put to her–
She replied that her Lord’s body was taken–by whom or where, she wasn’t sure.
Turning around, she saw a “gardener,” but didn’t yet recognize
That standing there was the beloved Christ, before her very eyes.

When He said, “Mary,” her eyes were opened to every familiar feature
Of the One she loved, and for whom she’d wept, “Rabboni,” the Master and Teacher.
He had yet to ascend to His Father–so, therefore, He bid Mary go,
To tell the brethren of His ascension–He wanted them all to know!

We, too, can go from the garden tomb, a place that had seen God’s glory,
To tell all the world of what Christ has done–this world’s greatest love story.
“I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God,” Jesus said–
They’re still words that speak of “Family” to those who’ll believe that He rose
from the dead.

At that garden tomb, a much greater “stone” had actually been rolled away…
Of death and darkness, now removed, to reveal the Light of Jesus Christ’s Way!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed–for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.” John 20:8-9 New Living Bible

“And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelations 1:5, 6 NASB

“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelations 1:18 NASB

Focus

by J. Vetter
Guest Contributor

Have you seen those inkblot pictures where you are to pick out the face of Jesus? Depending on where your eyes focus, suddenly He becomes clear–then you wonder why you didn’t see Him at first because you can’t see anything but Jesus! The beginning of “faith” is always to see Jesus. How do we begin? First, have you truly encountered Him? Sometimes the road to real faith is to ask real questions.

For instance, when Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again,” I like the honest response that Nicodemus gave. “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” As Jesus converses with Nicodemus, He speaks one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

We aren’t specifically told in scripture if Nicodemus truly understood, at that time, what Jesus spoke. But in John 19:38-42, he accompanies Joseph of Arimathea in taking away Jesus’ body after His crucifixion and brings myrrh and aloes for the burial, which certainly seems to indicate he believed on Him. My question to you is, “Have you been born again?” Is your faith picture coming into focus? Have you gotten to the place where you can say, “Yes, I see Him”?

I remember so clearly the day I met Jesus. It was at Easter, and I truly needed an Easter resurrection in my life. I thought that I believed in Jesus, but I needed something more–something viable to give me strength and direction. I went to hear my neighbor’s son-in-law speak at a local church. I saw and heard people praying for one another. I felt love in that place, and I heard a compelling message from this young man about leaving his wealthy family’s brick business to go into the inner city and work with children, some of whom came from poor backgrounds.

The next day, I called my own Methodist pastor, and he came to visit. I found myself spilling out my doubts about the Bible and asking him how we can really know that Jesus rose from the dead. I remember thinking I shouldn’t be saying this to a pastor! He just smiled at me and said, “I’ll pray for you, and the Holy Spirit will show you.” He said a meaningful, though not lengthy, prayer for me and left. Immediately, I picked up my Bible; and when I read the words in the book of John about Jesus, suddenly, I knew they were true. There was a distinct “light” present at that moment and the feeling of love like I had never experienced. For about two weeks, the trees were greener, the sky brighter, and the whole world was bathed in love.

After we are reconciled to the Father’s love through Jesus, we begin to focus on loving Him and loving others, thereby beginning to bear fruit. At this point, it is the Word we focus on–still asking honest questions, because God’s Word tells us in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” Often, the very question you’ve asked will suddenly be answered as you are focusing on the Word.

Remember, it is the Holy Spirit who illuminates the Word, or words people speak, to bring something you are asking for into focus. For instance, some years ago when we were planning to make a move from one state to another, I felt like the Lord said that we were to sell our home “by owner.” As the time got closer to our scheduled move, I began to get somewhat anxious, so I asked the Lord for a confirmation that we really were supposed to sell by owner. Then one day while I was reading my Bible, Hebrews 10:37 was quickened to me, “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.” Now the true meaning of that verse is that Jesus is coming back, but the Holy Spirit used it to speak to me to stay the course–that the buyer for our home would come in a little while. After that, I had peace until the day a real estate agent came and put in an offer. The contract he brought had a closing date that worked out perfectly with the date of the closing on the house in the new location.

If we focus on circumstances or ourselves, we can get discouraged. We’re pretty good at pointing out all our inadequacies and problems, and the devil, who torments, comes quickly to agree with such things. So, I love to often pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.”

Of course, there are those times when our circumstances seem insurmountable–when we can’t see the end and have no clue as to how God will redeem a situation. That is a time to focus on hope. In Hebrews 6:19, the New King James Bible says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus….” It is our soul (mind, will and emotions) that needs to be stabilized. Just think about it–by faith, we can cast an anchor to where Jesus dwells; and then our soul doesn’t drift, but remains steady. We can pray like the psalmist, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)

There are times when our vision gets blurred. Our future looks fuzzy or unclear. It’s time to praise God and go back to the “map”–the Word of God. I remember a shopping trip to a mall once. As I stepped into the area where the automatic doors opened, I had this impression from the Lord,”You could have just been a step away and prayed for the doors to open, but they wouldn’t have opened because you needed to get into the right position.” Suddenly, I realized prayer is not demanding my own way–but stepping into the presence of God and cooperating with Him.

Have you seen Jesus? Are you focusing on Him? If so, then others will see Jesus in you.

The Man Above All Men

Have you met up with Jesus? He’s your kind of Man.
Came down here from heaven, carrying out God’s mighty plan.
He’s still here today, capturing hearts, lives, and souls,
giving all whom He touches much worthier goals.

He doesn’t actually show up in visible form;
but you’re aware of His presence when prayer becomes norm.
And some have had visions or have seen Him in dreams,
and what they remember is the love that He beams.

That’s also reflected in the Words of His book–
the renowned Holy Bible is the right place to look.
You might think you know what could give you life’s best,
but those who follow His lead are on a sure quest.

He wants to increase your every potential,
but living for Him and others is essential.
Dedicating all that you have to Him is not loss–
the best in mind for you is why He died on the cross.

P. A. Oltrogge

From we who’ve believed, to those who yet need to receive…

Knowing God means so much to us; therefore, we want to bear witness
to others we may meet–about Jesus and spiritual fitness.

These days there are websites abounding with true-life testimonies
to the reality of Jesus–which are so different from religious ceremonies.

Please consider searching out ministries available on the internet–
“The Porch of the Lord” is a place to start, but there are many others yet.

They tell of things, such as Easter, when we celebrate the risen Lord–
through Christ’s death and resurrection, our relationship with God was restored.

In our natural minds, we may question that there should have been this need;
but God is just and holy–an understanding we must heed.

He wouldn’t have left us here on this earth without a manual to know
that He’s for real; and through it, the Holy Bible, our faith is able to grow.

It’s easy to open your heart to Jesus, extending an invitation
for Him to dwell therein–the Bible says that then you’re “a new creation.”

We pray that you’ll come to trust, in the Father’s Son sent from above;
your life is very special to Him–may His Spirit help you to sense His great love.

P. A. Oltrogge

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:9-19

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

http://www.kcm.org
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http://www.covenantfamily.cc
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Have you “seen” Jesus?

In Jerusalem, there was a devout man named Simeon, back in New Testament days,
Who’d been waiting for the promised Messiah, in order to give Him praise.

The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon and had revealed that he wouldn’t die
Until he would get to see that One, who was the object of his heart’s cry.

One day the Spirit led him to the Temple and there he saw a child,
Whom He knew, by the Spirit’s prompting, to be the One born undefiled.

Mary and Joseph were amazed to hear what Simeon then said about their boy–
Jesus would cause many in Israel to fall, but to many others He would bring joy.

Simeon warned that many would oppose Him–the deepest thoughts of hearts would be revealed; A sword would pierce Mary’s very soul–a reference to the cross,
to which He’d yield.

Simeon said Jesus was sent as a sign from God, to reveal Himself and be a light
To every nation upon the earth — “the glory of God’s people Israel” was His birthright.

Just as Simeon was speaking with Mary and Joseph, another given to prophecy
came by–Anna, who never left the temple, but stayed day and night, raised her
praises high….

How about you? Have you “seen” the Savior, as these people did who were old?
Assurance and peace was theirs, having seen Jesus, whose life became the greatest story ever told!

P. A. Oltrogge

“Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; For my eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou has prepared in the presence of all peoples. A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
Luke 2:28-32

(Luke 2:21-38 for the entire account of Simeon and Anna)

Who do you say that Jesus is?

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, and others, Elijah, but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'” Matthew 16:13-16

Some say that Jesus Christ was just a man in a world history book,
While others call Him God–so it’s best to take another look.
Assurance of eternal destiny is a topic that’s talked about–
If your answers for that are doubtful, the truth can easily be found out.

Wouldn’t a loving God provide help to find your way?
Yes, through the Holy Bible–it’s where He has His say.
In fact, God wants the news to spread about sending us His Son–
Through Christ’s death on a criminal’s cross, redemption for all was won.

“Why would I need ‘redemption,'” you ask; “I’ve lived a life that’s good.”
Well, we were meant to live holy, but God saw we never could.
He alone is holy, righteous, almighty, and the supreme justice-keeper–
He’s the very source of love, of which there’s none that’s deeper.

It’s an old familiar story that Christ came down to this earth
To fulfill God’s laws and offer every one of us “new birth.”
“In the beginning was the Word,” and in Christ, “the Word became flesh.”
He is that Word, and it’s by Him that our lives can begin afresh.

There’s no other name under heaven that has been given among men
By which we must be saved than that of Jesus Christ, my friend.
Sadly, some who don’t believe still use His name in swearing,
Not recognizing that it’s the Name that signifies God’s caring.

And others, in profanity, speak carelessly, using “hell.”
No one needs to go there, but it’s real and where some dwell.
“On what proof,” you ask, “does anyone stand who emphatically states
That there is really no other way to gain entrance at heaven’s gates?”

The proof is in God’s goodness, confirmed as the Holy Spirit flows,
Through all that’s said in the Bible and as all creation shows.
The Bible says we’re without excuse if we don’t perceive these things–
Please trust the words of Jesus and find the blessing that He brings.

Those who go on to eternity, rejecting the gift of God’s grace
Will miss the joy of one day seeing our loving Savior’s face.
So, simply answer Christ’s question now of, “Who do you say that I am?”
By receiving Him as your own Savior and Lord–God’s sacrificial Lamb.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:12-14

“Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12

“…because that which is known about God is evident within them for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:19,20

“For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12

Be Rich Towards God

Photo by B. Oltrogge

Photo by B. Oltrogge

Please, dear friend, be rich towards God, thinking not only of your own pursuits; But think about turning your heart to Christ and others, putting down good spiritual roots. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his own soul? Helping others spiritually and in tangible ways is God’s plan, in which we’re all to have a role.

Have you spoken to Jesus in a personal way today, or do you just run out to meet the day? A relationship with Him makes a difference for the better–it’s wise to take time to pray. One day Jesus will be coming back in glory and will repay His saints for selfless deeds. Not only for that reason, but for the joy that’s returned, ask Him to show you another’s needs.

God’s not against your having enjoyment of certain things…
But doesn’t want you to miss the fulfillment which living for Him brings.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” Matthew 16:25-27

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared? So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:20-21