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Mind Games

You know, I’ve been thinking. I think I would have done a lot better in school if I would have concentrated more on my schoolwork. I know, what an epiphany. It was just so easy for me to daydream. Especially during the holiday season like we are in now.  I had sugarplums dancing in my head from Thanksgiving until the New Year. I could not wait to see what was going to be under the tree Christmas morning. It was hard to concentrate on schoolwork when there were so many other important things like the toys I would get, or as I got older new clothes or even my desired class ring.

I noticed though as I have gotten older things really have not changed much. I still have trouble concentrating on the here and now. I would love to bypass Monday through Thursday so I can get to the weekend.

It is not only the idea of being free with my time, but it also has to do with concentrating on what the Lord has called me to. I can get so caught up with the politics of our world. The desire to have stuff, to experience the things of this world. The truth is these things are not necessarily bad. It becomes bad when these things consume us, when they take over our thoughts and ability to concentrate on what we should really be concerned about.

Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” The question is, what is it that really captivates our thoughts on not only a daily basis, but also on a minute-by-minute basis? We just heard from the Lord from the book of Revelation 22:6 that the word of God is true and faithful, and the time of the rapture of the church is coming soon. How would our lives change if this thought were in the forefront of our minds instead of on the back burner? Would we live any differently? Would we begin to have a sense of urgency? How would we treat the lost? How would we treat one another? Let us keep our minds upon the things that are above and let us not lose any sleep over what is happening on this earth.



Erased

It has been quite a few years ago, but Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a movie called Eraser. This movie was about federal agents that put and protected people in witness protection. Granted it was Hollywooded up, but the premise was that they were able to erase your past, who you use to be and make you into a different person. They created new social security cards and driver’s license. They got the people new careers and such. The idea was the old person no longer existed.

I am sure there are probably days we all wish we could do that. To get away from our past, especially all the horrible mistakes that we have made. The times we put our foot in our mouth, or accidentally hurt someone’s feelings and wish we could just hide under a rock.

Then there are the times that we are faced with God’s word and what He has to say about sin. I specifically think about the sin I’ve committed. It is embarrassing and painful to be reminded of all the things that I personally have chosen to do and what it does to the heart of my God.

This is true as well when I preach. There are times in just about every sermon that the sins we choose as man comes up. It is then I look out and see the look of pain and hurt in just about everyone’s eyes as they think about how foolish they were and wish with all they have to be able to do it all over again. The sad truth is that we cannot go back and change those things.

Now if I were to stop the blog here it would be such a bummer. The good news is that there is another part of this situation we find ourselves, and that is the Lord chose to step out of eternity to come and rescue us. He chose to die upon a cross and not just take the punishment of our sin but chose to forgive us of all our sin. Wait, let me quote what the Holy Spirit has to say in Romans 4:7-8 as the Apostle Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2, “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.

The question you must ask is this, have you ever asked Jesus to forgive you of all your sin and make you into a new person? If you have you have the promise that your sin is no longer remembered in the memory of God. When the devil whispers in your ear or the preacher hits upon that deep dark secret that you wish you had never done and hope no one ever finds out, remember you are forgiven. It is okay to remorse over such things. It drives us to never sin against the Lord in such a way again but rejoice for you are a child of the King of Kings forever forgiven and those sins are no longer remembered. In God’s eyes they no longer exist.



Value

Over the last couple of months my wife and I have been enjoying going to an auction just about every other Sunday. What is it about an auction that draws people? I think for some it is just watching people. Let’s be honest, some people get caught up in the will to win and pay a crazy amount of money for a tin of buttons just because somebody else was bidding against them.  I have watched Ball jars full of marbles go for insane amounts of money. Maybe they think they found the ones they lost at some point in their lives. I think the truth is that just about everyone is looking for that one great deal. Whether it is something they desire for their own personal want or need or are looking for that opportunity to resell the items to make money.

The trick is to know what things are worth, so you know if your making a good deal or not.

Yet, there are those times you think you are making a good deal but then you get the purchase home and find that it doesn’t work, it is broken, or it wasn’t exactly what you thought it was. We learn from such things, we investigate more, study those items more to make sure we don’t make silly purchases again.

There are some choices, some investments though we cannot afford to miss on.

Jesus poses that same question to us in a spiritual context in Matthew 16:26, “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?” All of us have a short life span in which we have been given the opportunity to invest into something. What we have Jesus calls our soul. We can invest our soul into the things of this world. We can ignore Jesus and chase after the things that are temporary. We all see it, the selling of a soul for power, prestige, wealth, beauty, and notoriety. The problem is that all of this is temporary. You will lose every bit of these things at some point. Jesus asks, what do you gain if you receive all these things, yet you lose your soul? In the auction of life, this is a poor purchase. What I do know about auctions is that every item that comes up on the block belonged to someone else at some time. What you have forfeited your soul for will also end up belonging to someone else as well.

This does not have to be. Jesus said come to me all who are wear and heavy laden and I will give you rest. That if anyone would call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall be saved. This beautiful gift my friends is something that we can never lose, nor can it be taken away from us. It is the eternal investment. Is there anything that you are working so hard to achieve that is worth your soul?

 



Wasting Away

I’m not sure when it happened. You know that day you get out of bed and the first word out of your mouth is ouch. Maybe it was not a word, but more of a grunt. That day you look in the mirror and your face has started to look like the road map of a major cosmopolitan city. It is then you come to the realization that yes, you are getting older. For me it was when I had a parishioner come to me after a service to let me know that you can buy stuff to fill in bald spots. I really appreciated such wisdom. Yes, I know I have what a lot of guys affectionately call the dreaded crop circle on the top of my head. There was a day I had a beautiful thick mane of hair. Now I have platinum highlights that I did not go to a beautician for. Then comes the day you turn 50. Okay, let’s keep moving with the blog.

The truth is that we cannot keep from getting older. Sure, if you have the money for surgeries and tucks and such you can pay to keep looking younger, but that does not negate the truth that all of us are getting older. If we are not careful, we can begin to get depressed because of this truth that no one can hide from. The Lord reminds us of that many times in His word.

We could reminisce about the good old days and get bummed out. Yet, Paul reminds us of something wonderful in II Corinthians 4:16-17, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” The point Paul is making is that yes, we will get older. Our get up and go will get up and go without us someday, but this is all temporary. There will be a day when we will receive new bodies that will never wear out, we will never lose hair, and best of all we will never ever have to diet again. There will be a day that in our glorified bodies we will be able to see the Father face to face. I know that these days have been tough but hang in there. No matter what happens there is a guarantee that better days are coming. Stay faithful and keep your eyes on the King.