Where your Treasure is…

Matthew 6:19a” Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal…”

“Where your Treasure is….”

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five.
Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a
circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. “Oh please,
Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box
and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little
girl’s upturned face. “One dollar and ninety-five cents. That’s almost $2.00
if you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you
and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself.
Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp
dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and
counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share
of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if
she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma
did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough
money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and
grown up. She wore them everywhere, Sunday school, kindergarten,
even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went
swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet,
they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she
was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and
come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished
the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?” “Oh yes, Daddy.
You know that I love you.” “Then give me your pearls.”  “Oh,
Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white
horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail.
Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite.”
“That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.”  And
he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s
daddy asked again, “Do you love me?” “Daddy, you know I
love you.” “Then give me your pearls.”  “Oh Daddy, not my
pearls.  But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one
I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can
have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”
“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one.
Daddy loves you.” And as always, he brushed her cheek
with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny
was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian style.
As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and
one silent tear rolled down her cheek.  “What is it, Jenny?
What’s the matter?” Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted
her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it,
there was her little pearl necklace.  With a little quiver,
she finally said, “Here, Daddy.  It’s for you.”

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind
daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store
necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his
pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand
of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.  He had
them all the time.  He was just waiting for her to give
up the dime store stuff so he could give her genuine
treasure.

What are you hanging on to?

Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break
in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures
in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where
thieves do not break in and steal. For where your
treasure is there your heart will be also.”

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The Beauty of being Empty…

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must  decrease.”

Matthew 5:6  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”

The Beauty of being Empty

We spend a lot of time trying to be full.  Full of happiness, full of love, full of a positive self-image, the list goes on and on.  We try to fill our wallets, our stomachs, our closets and our time.  I wonder though, instead of focusing on trying to be full, should we be working to empty ourselves?  How can we refill with what is good if we do not first empty out all that is wasting valuable space inside of us?  When I ask this question, I gain a better understanding of John 3:30, “He must become greater, I must become less.”  In order for me to be filled with God, I must step aside and make room for Him to fill me.  I must empty out all that is wasting space and make room for something so much bigger and better to change me from the inside out.

That sounds great….but what does it mean to be “filled with God?”  When I try to make myself happy through making money, shopping, eating, etc., I am focused on a temporary fill that provides a false sense of happiness that only leaves me feeling emptier in the end.  I find myself thinking thoughts like, “If I just had ______, I would be happy or if I only had ______, my life would be better.”  However, it is only a matter of time before I am finding myself thinking these same thoughts with different desires.  At times, we can be unaware of a void in our life. Poet, Antonia Porchia states, “we become aware of the void as we fill it.”  It’s good to take a life inventory every once in a while and ask ourselves, am I making conscience choices with the way I spend my time, money, etc. or am I trying to fill a void in my life that can only be filled by God?

In fact, when I stop to think about it, I realize that it is often having “things” that cause me to feel empty!  Just when we think we have the cutest shoes ever made, we see someone with cuter shoes.  After getting the latest smart phone, it seems like the next day a newer version hits the market.  Even our relationships can cause us to feel empty.  People will, not can, but will let us down.  As hard as we try, we cannot please everyone and we will let others down as well.  I think if we are being honest, we would all agree that there are times when we check Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to catch up with friends and we find ourselves feeling jealous or “less than.”  When we are feeling like something is missing, it is a great time to challenge ourselves to fill that void we are experiencing with something positive, and there’s nothing more positive than God.

God doesn’t want us to feel empty, but He will allow this miserable feeling so we will be motivated to refill and find happiness that we never imagined we could experience. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better or emptier before we fill up. Romans 15:13 says, “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.”  True joy and true peace can only come from one place, and it is not the mall or a special person in our life. God can and often times does put people in our lives who we experience joy with and who help us through difficult times and that is awesome!!  But those blessings are extras in our life and not what we should attempt to fill our lives with.

Challenge:  Identify one thing that you try to fill your life with that isn’t God.  Then, to help fill your life the right way, make conscience choices regarding the everyday, small choices you make.  Examples would be the words you say, the music you listen to, the way you treat your family……and make sure to fit God in by talking to Him throughout the day and reading what He has to say to you in the Bible.

So, the next time you are thinking that being empty is so terrible, remember the empty tomb and what a wonderful blessing that is to us all.  Take some time today to empty out what’s wasting space in you and fill up with something worthwhile!

Mat 28:19, 20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

 

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Answers to Prayer…

I Cor 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

P.U.S.H!

When everything seems to go wrong,…just P.U.S.H.!
When the job gets you down,…just P.U.S.H.!
When people don’t react the way you think they should,
…just P.U.S.H.!
When your money looks funny and the bills are due,
…just P.U.S.H.!
When people just don’t understand you,
…just P.U.S.H.!
P.U.S.H. is an acronym for “Pray Until Something Happens”

And remember there are more answers to prayer than yes. No and wait are also answers! Why is that?  Well, it is because God will answer your request based on His will for your life and not your will for your life. Listen to the best example of praying in God’s will that we have. It is Jesus praying just before He went through the terrible pain of crucifixion for our sins…………

Luke 22:42 “saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

1 Thes. 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

One big key to understanding God’s answer to your P.U.S.H. is to evaluate all of the options, even the one(s) you would not choose. They may be what God’s will is…..

Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.”

Finding Absolute Truth…Yes there is…

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

 Malachi 3:6a “For I am the Lord, I do not change;

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 Finding Absolute Truth….

For all you scientists out there and for all the students who have a hard time convincing these people regarding the truth > of the Bible…here’s something that shows God’s awesome creation > and shows that He is still in control.

Did you know that the Space Program is busy proving that > what has been called “myth” in the Bible is true? Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore Maryland > and a consultant in the space program, relates the Following > development:

I think one of the most amazing things that God has for us > today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland. They were checking the position of the sun, > moon, and planets out in space where they would be 100 years and > 1000 years from now. We have to know this so we won’t send a > satellite, up and have it bump into something later on its orbits. We > have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite, and > where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down.

They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the Centuries > and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put-up a red signal, > which meant that there was something wrong either with the information > fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards.

They called in the service department to check it out and they asked, > “What’s wrong?”  Well, they found there is a day missing in space in > elapsed time. They scratched their heads and tore their hair. There was > no answer.

Finally, a Christian man on the team said, “You know, one time I was in > inSunday school and they talked about the sun standing still.” > While they didn’t believe him, they didn’t have an answer either, so > they said, “Show us”.

He got a Bible and went back to the book of Joshua where they found > a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with ‘common sense.’ > There they found the Lord saying to Joshua, “Fear them not, I have > delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand > before thee.”

Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy and > if darkness fell they would overpower them. So Joshua asked the Lord > to make the sun stand still! That’s right, “The sun stood still and > the moon stayed—and hastened not to go down about a whole day!”

The astronauts and scientists said, “There is the missing day!” > They checked the computers going back into the time it was written > and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that > was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes-not > a whole day.

They read the Bible and there it was “about (approximately) a day” > These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still > in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes you’ll still > be in trouble 1,000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found > because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.

As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARDS. > The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out > the Book and read these words in 2 Kings. Hezekiah, on his deathbed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going > to die.

Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof.  Isaiah said “Do you want the sun > to go ahead 10 degrees?” Hezekiah said “It is nothing for the sun to > go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backwards 10 degrees. > Isaiah spoke to the Lord and the Lord brought the shadow ten > degrees BACKWARD!

Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes! Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes > in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day > in the universe!

Isn’t it amazing? Our God provides all the truth and direction needed for our lives. All we must do is believe and seek!

References:

Joshua 10:8 and 12, 13; 2 Kings 20:9-11

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

If God said it, I believe it and that settles it……!

One Sacrifice is Acceptable for Sin…

One Sacrifice is Acceptable for Sin….

Satan’s biggest lie is that we are good enough to work off the penalty we place upon ourselves when we sin. The book of Romans and other passages of scripture note that the penalty is spiritual and physical death (Rom 3:23, 6:23) The most urgent question for each of us should be. Can I atone for my sins or does it take someone other than me to make atonement for my sins?

Isaiah 64:6 “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is Eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The lie that we can work off our sins has another wrinkle. Maybe some organization or church can do it for me. What does God say?

Heb 10:11,12,14 “And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. For by ONE offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

Another lie is that we must have someone to go between us and God when we ask for forgiveness of our sins. Again, what does God say? Who is the Mediator for me to go through to reach God to obtain forgiveness for my sins?

I Tim 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

The question of the ages is whether the church or my deeds can replace the sacrifice needed to wipe my sins away.

II Cor 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Eph 2:8,9 “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest anyone would boast.”

Have you first recognized your sin and then Who are you trusting in this morning for forgiveness of those sins?

If I had my life to do over…

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?

It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanished away.”

If I had my Life to do over!
by Erma Bombeck

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was
stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “GOOD” living room and worried
much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the
fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his
youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it
melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about
grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more
while watching life.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical,
wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished
every moment realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the
only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later.
Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you” … more “I’m sorry”… but
mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look
at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

I would tell all my friends that I need and love them and that my life would
be empty without them!

So where does sin that causes death come from?

Gen 2:15,16 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, you may freely
eat of every tree of the garden; But of the tree of good and evil and
blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of
it you shall surely die.”

We all partake…
Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

And as with all actions there is a result..                                                                                   Rom 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”

The good news with the rest of the verse…
Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved.”

Government and my vote…

Government and my vote!

A good reminder!   Pray for all men.  Especially in another election year.

I Tim 2:1,2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Submit & Pray for those in Government. Regardless of whether you voted for them or not.  It may be even more important when they have values that do not line up with what we know to be God’s values!

Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

When is the last time you prayed for those in authority whether you agree with them or not? If we don’t agree with all of their policies it is not an easy thing to do but it sure changes your focus and attitude towards them. Maybe that nasty politician is a sinner like me and needs the same salvation that God’s grace gave to me!

Try praying for them and see if your heart is not changed  ………not your values but your heart attitude! And remember God is in sovereign. So those in office cannot do anything that God does not either direct or allow.

The end result will be the 2nd coming of Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Thes 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.