Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The True Treasure

Do not store up yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

In today’s world we are bombarded with ads that tell us to buy more, want more, do more, and be more. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make our lives easier and better but when we put material things and our personal accomplishments ahead of God, we are worshipping idols.

Idol worship did not end in the Old Testament. An idol is anything or anyone we make more important than God. When we put possessions, job, money, or even our family and friends our most important priority we make them idols. God blesses us with gifts to show His love to us but too often, we replace Him with these blessings.

How can we use these blessings on earth to store up treasures in Heaven? I will explore three ways we can have treasures in Heaven that will last for an eternity. First, we must treasure Christ. In John 3:16, we read that God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son to pay the penalty for our sins. Can you imagine such love?

The second way is to use the gifts and talents God has given us to glorify Him. He has gifted each of us with talents we can use to further His kingdom. Some of us can sing, others are gifted teachers, and still others’ hearts are touched to write of His love. We have different gifts but all can and should use them for His glory.

Finally, when we spread the gospel to other people, we are storing treasures that will not rust or decay. We are called to be missionaries. We may not be called to a foreign mission field but our own communities are fertile soil for spreading the good news. Sometimes our own families and friends can be ministered to. I lead my own children and grandchildren to Christ. Nothing else I have accomplished can match that. Jesus has commanded us unto spread the news and there are plenty of opportunities to let others know how great our God is.

By storing up treasures in Heaven we are assured that these treasures will not be destroyed by moths and vermin or stolen by thieves. How great is that?

Recently in church I heard as sermon based on these scriptures in Matthew 6. As I was listening, this poem began to run through my head. I wrote it down while it was fresh in my head. It expresses how easy it is to let “things” in our life crowd out God’s place in our hearts.

My True Treasure

I bought a new car today,

Such a beautiful ride.

Church time came and went

And I pushed God aside.

I bought a new house today

Oh what a beautiful space.

Church time came and went

But I was not in my place.

I got a raise at work today

To make my bank account grow.

Church time came and went

But I did not go.

Now the car is filled with rust

And the home was taken away,

When my good job was lost

And the bills I could not pay.

One day the Lord spoke to me

When I got on my knees to pray,

He said, “My child, I’ve been right here

It was you who went away.”

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Great Possum Caper

One day my husband fixed a leak under the commode in my bathroom. Being the handyman he is, he is, he cut a small hole in the floor to make it easier to reach the pipe. Fine--no problem—leak fixed. Now he will fix the hole and life goes on, right? Wrong! He decided to leave the hole for a few days to make sure the leak is really fixed. Now that few days has turned into months. Although it is a small hole, I have tried my best to conceal it but there is just so much I can do to make a hole in the floor attractive. Now fast forward about six months. The hole is still there even though I have done all I can to conceal/decorate it. A hole is a hole and it is still there.

One night I stumble into bed exhausted after transporting four kids to four different activities as well my daily struggles of running a household with four kids. Around 2:00 in the morning my little dog woke me up with frantic barking and yelping. I forced one eye open to see him jumping up and down on the floor by my bed. He looked at me as if to say “I’m trying to protect you, now come on and do your part.” When I did manage to stumble into the bathroom, I was instantly awake. There between the commode and the waste can was a possum! Pugsley, my dog had him trapped. I could not move because I was totally in shock until Pugsley barked again as if to say, “See, I told you. Now get rid of it. I’m tired and want to go to sleep.”

Frantically, I woke up my husband and screamed, “THERE’S A POSSUM IN MY BATHROOM! GET UP AND KILL IT!” He looked at me as though I had totally lost my mind. “Ok, get me something to use to kill it,” he calmly said. I ran to my grandson’s room and came back with a ball bat. I gave the bat to hubby and jumped on my bed and covered my eyes. I could hear the battle raging on the bathroom. “HISS!” “POW!” “KA-POW! “BOOM!” finally all was silent so I opened my eyes. There on the floor lay the lifeless body of the intruder. I picked it up carefully by the tail, placed it into a plastic bag and ran to throw it into the outside garbage can. I was finally able to fall to sleep but the bathroom light was left on for the rest of the night.

I bet you thought this was the end of my story. WRONG! I pulled into my driveway the next morning after running errands and three kids met me at the car. All three were talking at once. I was finally able to understand their excitement when Christian told me, “Nanny, there is a possum in our garbage can,” “and he is alive,” Alyssa interrupted him to excitedly tell me. “Yeah, he is ALIVE!” Nikolas finished with excitement written all over his face. I went over to the garbage can to see for myself. Sure enough, when I raised the lid of the can, I could see two beady little eyes staring up at me. I slammed the lid down and got the kids into the house after explaining to them to stay away from the garbage can and leave the creature alone.

I don’t know what happened to our uninvited guest. The kids think he escaped and is now living happily-albeit traumatized-with his family. I hope that is what happened, but at least, he is living out his life in my house with my family.

When I was finally able to sit down for my visit with God, I asked Him, as I always do “What doe you want to talk bout today, Father?” His answer came as a total surprise to me. “I want to told about the possum.”

“What about the possum?” I asked in astonishment.

“That was a small hole in your floor, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was a very small hole.” I answered, not sure this conversation was going but definitely intrigued by it.

“Well that possum was able to come into house through that small hole, wasn’t he?”

“Y e a h,” I slowly answered.

“Just like that possum squeezing through such a small unguarded hole in the floor, the enemy can enter your heart through a small unguarded hole in your heart. Just as that intruding animal filled you with dread, the enemy can fill your heart with fears and worries. When he does that you do not fully trust me to care for you.”

Suddenly, I understood what He was telling me. We must always guard our hearts against the enemy that roams around who he cab devour. Satan doesn’t need a door with a flashing neon welcome sign, he enters through a hole he finds unguarded. Don’t make it easy for him to enter your heart. Fill your heart with joy and love and trust in your Heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally and will never leave you unprotected.

Oh, by the way—the hole in my floor has been fixed!

Today’s Whisper:

Have you ever left your heart unguarded? Did the enemy enter in and fill your heart with doubts and fears? Journal about the doubts and fears you had and write out a prayer confessing about them and ask God to come into that hole left by doubt. Just as the enemy can enter our heart God can close that hole with His peace and joy.

Today’s Prayer:

Loving Father, help me to be ever vigilant to guard my heart against the enemy’s attacks. Only you can fill my heart with the peace and joy I crave. Make me ever mindful of your love and care for me. I surrender my heart and soul to you. I know you will never leave me or forsake me. I covet your presence in my life today and forever.  Amen

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Remember When

Think back if you can to a time when children were allowed to pray in school and even say the pledge to the United States flag every morning.  What! You don’t remember this.  Well let me tell you a story about how life used to be in this country.
Families actually had two parents.  If death had separated the parents, aunts, uncles, grandmothers and even the community came together to help the family. Divorces were seldom heard of.  You knew your neighbors—in fact—everyone in the community was your neighbor and all you had to do was ask for help and everyone that was able came to your aid.  Our neighborhoods were so safe, we kids could play outside until 10 or 11 o’clock at night.  We didn’t have air conditioning so we slept with windows open and sometimes even our doors because there was no such thing as crime.  Of course, we had neighborhood drunks and the occasional teen age boys that drag raced down the highway but nothing as serious as today.
If any of us kids caused any problem at school we could expect the punishment to be resumed when we returned home that afternoon.
We were taught to respect our elders and say “yes ma’am”, “no sir”, “please” and “thank you.” If a neighbor needed help with yard work or running errands, we helped without thoughts of “how much are you going to pay me”?  We had chores to do and if we forgot to do them we knew we could expect to have a “memory lesson” that would do the trick. No, we were not abused.  We were taught that to be a member of a family and the benefits that came with that also brought with it responsibility to help the family.  We brought that lesson with us to adulthood.
We were allowed freedom to have fun but we were always held accountable for where we went and what we did.  Although there were no phones our parents knew what we had been doing even before we got home.  That’s because we had “nosey” neighbors that were looking out for us.
We didn’t have video games or even much t.v but we had fun with our family and friends.
Yes, we said prayers and the pledge in school.  We helped each other.  There was no shouts of hate or police brutality no rioting in the streets or teenagers robbing the neighborhood store or beating up the elderly. The leaders of this country knew how to lead the country and be the leader of everyone in the country and not cater to a small segment of the population.
No friends, back when I was a kid, we were taught responsibility by our parents.  Our parents raised us themselves—not nannies, maids, babysitters or the gangs at the corner.  We were shown respect and we, in turn, gave respect to others.
I think this country would be better off if our society today went back to the days when we treated everyone the way the Bible teaches us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself”.