Christ, Our Treasure

Christ, Our Treasure
At the center of growing intimate with God is becoming increasingly convinced that Christ is worth more than anything else. 
In Matthew 13:44 Jesus proclaims, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
In America, we have so much and it’s so easy to fall in love with all that comfort can give. For some of us, our families are most important. For others, it’s our job that is regarded above all else. But whatever false-alters we are prone to worship at, the Bible is clear that God and His priorities must become our everything.
So the question is, what about Jesus makes Him greater, more attractive, and worth more than all else to you? 
I challenge you to make a list of those things that would remind you of Christ being the treasure worth selling everything for. After you make the list, put it somewhere that is visual so you can be reminded often of who you are living for and why He’s worth more. 
This may also have the side affect of reminding you why spending time seeking Him in His Word is one of the most valuable things you get to do today.

God’s Victory over the Flesh

The flesh is a mighty villain bent on our destruction. But our God is greater. The flesh would blind us and have us believe that all that is temporal is exactly what we need, when the truth is God is our greatest need. The flesh prods us to settle for the scraps from Satan’s table, when God would have us eat at His bountiful feast. 
The flesh is interested in here and now. The Spirit of God is interested in eternity. The flesh cannot help but be the selfish fool that it is. This is the war against God that is raging on inside each of us. It is the war that rages on in the world. 
It is good for us to know how the flesh strategizes to war against the life of God in us. But God bids us to stand and fight by the mighty power of His strength (Eph. 6:10). He promises that He has “given us all we need for life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3-4) Jesus himself told us that we should not lose heart, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). But not just the physical world, 1 John 5:4-5 makes it clear that those who live continually trusting in Christ, will overcome world (and it’s desires). 
Christ has won and made us fellow victors with Him! Let us practice trusting in God and He will continually give us victory over the flesh.

Trusting In Our Sovereign God

When we go through trials we have two choices as to how we perceive them and deal with them. First, we could see that Satan and all the spiritual forces of darkness hate us and we could spend all our time whining and getting angry because we are hated by those who hate our King. 
Our second option is, we could see trials in light of the promises of God in His Word and His sovereign plan for good in our lives.This is what we know about what God is doing through the trials our lives:
James 1:2-4 – “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. Let steadfastness have it’s perfect work that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.”
Romans 5:3-5 – “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your path straight.”
To trust in the Lord in times of difficulty, even when life feels impossible, is the greatest faith builder in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Believing that God is sovereign is massively important when we feel there is nothing else in life we can hold on to. Satan and demons mean us evil, but God is using all of it to work together for good. He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6-8). He has promised to strengthen us, help us, and be with us (Isaiah 41:10). He has already won the final victory and proclaimed us more than conquerors with Him (Romans 8:37). So let us trust in the Rock that won’t move (1 Samuel 2:2), and He will have His perfect way in our lives. 
Glory be to our King!

God’s Grace in New Seasons

New seasons can be great! New School year, new job, new town, newly married, new baby… etc. = Yay!
But new seasons can also be weighty and stressful. And I am not about to give you the churched up, “Just trust in Jesus and everything will turn out perfect,” because let’s face it; God’s grace is not concerned with giving us perfect circumstances.
But here is what is helpful in new seasons when we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders… 
Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
And just as God told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
When we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders and incapable of doing anything about it, let us cast it upon the One who can actually handle the weight. And when we are fearful of what is coming, we can spit in the face of fear because the Almighty God is with us and will help us and strengthen us. And when we feel weak and wonder where God is, we can trust that God is merely using our weakness for His glory and our good… for His power is made perfect in weakness.
Though it would be foolish if I only encouraged us to “trust Jesus and everything will be alright;” it is wise for us to acknowledge that our God cares about what we are going through, He will help us, and His grace is always sufficient. 
Let us rest in His promises in the midst of stress filled new beginnings.

Two Inspiring Women

Two incredible women of God passed away recently. Bettie Steel and Martha Harvey loved the Lord and people until their dying breath. And now they are enjoying the splendor of their King in Heaven.
I wanted to share just a couple things I about these two women, because when someone inspires you to live more fully for Jesus, it should be talked about. 
If I was to describe Bettie in three adjectives, it would be Christ-centered, authentic, and guileless. Bettie was the type of person who followed Jesus and everyone knew it. Not because she was in your face about Him, but more because He was the greatest thing that ever happened to her. Also, Bettie never pretended to be anything that she wasn’t. She was consistently Bettie. It was part of her charm. Last, she never held back from telling the whole truth. And she never had an agenda of her own. She was genuinely loving and truth-filled all at the same time. 
Bettie enjoyed serving and caring for others for the glory of God. Over the last few years she wasn’t able to get out much, but figured out a way to serve others even in feeble health by making blankets for those in need. In speaking with Bettie a week before she passed, she told me, “Now Drew, as you preach, make sure the people know that our God is personal God who loves people. They can just talk to Him like we are talking right now and God loves them and listens to them…” Then as tears welled up in her eyes she said, “Make sure they know that God loves them.”
Is there a greater request a Christian can make of another Christian? I think not. 
The second to pass away was Martha Harvey. She was a lady who lived to serve Jesus and others. In fact, inside the pamphlet we got at her funeral, they typed Martha’s purpose in life. Martha once wrote, “This is my purpose: 1) To trust Him, 2) Treasure Him (Above All), & 3) to tell of Him.” 
Though I did not know Martha as well as I knew Bettie, from what I knew about her, she seemed to have a unique and mysterious mix of gentle-loving-kindness, dry humor, and spunk. I mostly came in contact with the gentle and loving side of her. But one story told at her funeral relayed the spunky side of her. For on one occasion while her husband was serving in the military, she punched a Colonel in the face, rendering him unconscious, because he chewed out her husband more than she thought was appropriate. I couldn’t help but chuckle while admiring such spirit and loyalty for her family.
Martha poured out her life serving others through the Hope Welcome Center ministry. For those who don’t know what that ministry is about, I encourage you to check out their website. What an incredible ministry to those in need that the world would naturally forget.
Both of these ladies will be missed. But it is such an amazing joy to know that their pain is gone and they are rejoicing in heaven now! What a blessing they are in our memories. Glory be to God for the lives of Bettie and Martha!