Monday, October 25, 2010

Where is Your Treasure?

Jesus said, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:20-21). Our hearts and our treasure are tied together. Notice that He did not say, "Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also." That would seem to make more sense. Instead, He reversed it and said "where your treasure is, there your heart will be." Why did He emphasize the treasure?

Here's why. Some people say that they love God, but they never worship Him by giving their money in offerings. They are deceiving themselves. Although we can't see inside a person's heart, we can see where his money goes. To show us where a person's heart is, Jesus points us to where his treasure is invested. Look for the treasure and you will find the heart. Follow the money. People always invest their money in what they love the most. A person who loves golf has no problem spending his cash on golf clubs, golf carts, and country club fees.

My uncle graduated from Georgia Tech. He had Georgia Tech window stickers, rugs, mugs, and a host of other items with the school emblem. He even showed me a plaque that he received from Tech in recognition of his giving $50,000 to the school. How do I know he loved Tech? He gave 50 Grand to the institution. His treasure went to Georgia Tech, and that's where his heart was.

When we cheerfully give our offerings to the Lord, we are laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven. If our treasure is there, our hearts will be also. How much are you investing in eternity? To hear the entire message on how to lay up treasure in heaven, go to:
"Pay Day in Heaven"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Final Exam

When author Rick Howard was attending college, he walked into his classroom after skipping class for nearly 2 weeks. He was ten minutes early for class, and his heart skipped a beat when he saw every student seated with books open, cramming for a test. He nervously asked his friend, "What's happening here today, Jim?" Jim said, "On, nothing special, Rick. Just the mid-semester exam, that's all."

"You've got to be kidding!" Rick responded with a look of horror on his face. "Oh, no," Jim replied. "You ought to come around here more often." Rick knew he wasn't prepared, so he approached his instructor and asked if he would consider postponing the test for him.

His professor said, "Mr. Howard, I can't punish you for missing class for 2 weeks, but you are responsible for everything that goes on here. You must take the exam or you'll receive an automatic failure on the test." Rick's heart sank to his stomach as he stared at the exam, not knowing how to answer the questions.

Are you ready for your "Final Exam"? Judgment Day is not an unannounced test. It is coming. "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). Do you realize you are reading about yourself in this verse? What will this exam be like?

If you are a Christian, God has already taken care of your sins through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. This judgment will be a GOOD judgment, to examine your life to determine your rewards in heaven. The bad things we have done will be burned up, but everything we have done to please the Lord will be rewarded with something magnificent, better than we can even imagine (see 1 Cor. 3:10-15 for more on this judgment).
To hear the entire message on this subject, go to
http://www.churchoflivingwater.net/node/23 and
click on "The Final Exam"

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Animal School

A group of animals started a training school to increase their abilities. They offered courses in swimming, running, climbing, and flying.

The duck always wanted to run fast like the rabbit, so he signed up for running. He got frustrated because he kept tripping over his big webbed feet.
The rabbit wanted to fly like the hawk but nearly broke his leg when he jumped off the ledge.
The hawk wanted to climb like the squirrel but kept falling because he couldn't hold on to tree with his wings.
The squirrel wanted to swim like the duck but almost drowned because she couldn't kick with her little feet.
They all failed because they were trying to do things that God had not created them to do.

The Lord has things for you to do in this life, and He will give you the ability to fulfill your calling. When you are effectively operating in your spiritual gift, it will become "supernaturally natural" for you, like a duck swimming or squirrel climbing. But if you are trying to do something that God has not called or gifted you to do, you will feel as awkward as a rabbit trying to fly!

To hear the entire message on this subject, go to
"Discovering Your Spiritual Gift"
Keep looking up!
Kent

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Fear

When Pastor Max Wilkins was a boy, he went to visit his great Aunt Ruth's house to spend the night. It was a large, spooky old three-story house where the floors creaked when you walked on them, like a haunted house you'd see in the movies.

That night he went to his bedroom on the third floor and climbed into bed. He was about to close his eyes when he saw something that startled him. There was enough light coming through the window that he could see a man standing in the corner of the room!

Max was terrified. He figured the man must have been hiding in the closet when he came into the room. Max decided to lay there and pretend to be asleep, but ready to run if the intruder approached him. All night long he nervously laid in bed with one eye open, watching to see when the man in the corner would make his move.

Max remained still for hours until the sun came up, and as it got brighter in the room he could see that the man in the corner . . . was just a coat rack with a hat on it! He spent all night in torment because he chose to believe his fears.

Fear torments us by making our imaginations run wild. Fear is actually negative faith--a perversion of faith that believes the worst will happen to us. Placing our trust in God is the only way to conquer fear. David said, "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God I will put my trust. I shall not be afraid."

What is it that you fear the most? If you'll trust, you won't worry. But if you worry, you won't trust. It's your choice. If you want to be free from fear, choose to believe that God will provide for you and protect you. Trusting God will make life a whole lot easier.

To listen to the entire message on fear, go to
"Thou Shalt Not Fear"

Keep looking up!
Kent

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who is in Your Dungeon?

Jesus told a parable about a king who forgave a slave of a $50 million debt (in today's dollars). It would take 4,500 lifetimes to pay off the debt, yet the merciful king let him off the hook! You would think that slave would be so grateful that he would forgive all his debtors as well. Not so with this guy. He went a fellow slave who owed him $15 in today's money. When the fellow slave could not repay the debt, the slave threw him into the dungeon (Matt. 18:23-30).

The $50 million debt represents our sin debt to God. When we plead for mercy, the Lord forgives the entire debt! But after we have been forgiven, the Lord expects us to forgive all our debtors as well. If we don't forgive others, we are like the slave who threw the fellow slave into the dungeon, except our dungeon is inside our souls. Everyone that you refuse to forgive is locked up in the dungeon of your soul.

Whenever you think about how they hurt you, you make a trip down the stairs into your dungeon. You pull out your whip and you start lashing the people chained to your walls, trying to make them pay for what they did to you. But every time you whip someone in your dungeon, you feel a sharp pain in your stomach. It's almost as if, instead of whipping them, you are whipping yourself on the inside.

The only way to get free of the torment is to release your prisoners. You need to make one more trip down the stairs. This time, instead of carrying a whip, you carry the key of forgiveness. You unlock their chains and watch them leave your dungeon. It's empty now. You can't explain it, but the sharp pain in your stomach is gone. And then you realize that it wasn't them you set free. It was you!
To hear the entire message on this topic, go to
"Relationships, Part 2, Who is in Your Dungeon?"
Keep setting others free,
Kent