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True Treasure

Estate (ist`eit) n.
a landed property. The whole of a person’s property, including real estate and personal estate.

This weekend my family attended the estate auction of my grandmother, Beulah Irene Deckard. There were thirty-two acres with a small house and barn. Furniture sat empty along the walls of the living room and bedroom forming a line of memories out the back door into the yard where there were two tents with tables supporting boxes upon boxes of stuff; much of which I did not remember.

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There were several things that would make the people on those antique reality shows drool. I smiled at the thought as my wife and I walked along the tables looking at everything. But then it happened…we walked by a box of wooden shelves and I saw the crescent moon with a stairwell going from one landing at the bottom of the moon to a landing at the top. There were two of them that hung on the walls holding the small knick-knacks that Beulah’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren had made over the years. The sight of the moons that hung on the walls, among countless pictures, waiting to greet us every time we would visit was too much. I lost it. Just as I was able to turn away and choke back most of the tears, we walked toward the tables (plural) of quilts my grandmother had sown by hand.

After the auction was well underway and the real estate had sold, I stepped into the house and found the new owners standing in the kitchen. The wife remarked, as she closed the oven door, how Beulah was known for her cooking, “But this stove looks almost new.” The tears started flowing again as I smiled, “It is. She wore the other one out.”

Matthew 6: 19-21 says, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. When I thought of that scripture, I realized the quilts and meals my grandmother’s hands had made for so many years were never her treasures…we were. Anyone who received either from her was given a gift of abundant love. Her family knew the Gospel because her husband was a preacher. They understood the Gospel because she lived it.

As it turned out, I was able to see my grandmother the day before she died. We had gone down to visit with her in the nursing home. When my mother was ready to leave, she took my youngest daughter and walked outside. I stayed behind another minute because I wanted to pray. When I finished, Granny looked over at me and said, “I want to go home.” That was the first time I had ever cried for my grandmother, because when I looked into her eyes, I was sure she didn’t mean her little house in Gamiel, Kentucky.

In the end, Beulah Irene Deckard left this moth and rust riddled world with her treasures in the right place. We left the auction with a few quilts, two moon shelves, and a lot of memories. But the tears I am wiping away from my face as I write this have a lot of joy in them. You see, I have one more treasure waiting for me in Heaven. I love you Granny and I can’t wait to come home.

 

Article by C.S. Depew

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Hell – What a Concept!

Did you know that more people believe in heaven than hell? Even if they do not believe in the actual existence of the place, almost everyone has their own concept. Some people believe it’s where all the “cool people” go, and that only fuddy-duddies go to heaven. They laugh and joke about the wild parties that take place, and that the “real” party won’t start until once they arrive. Others believe we are living in hell now and that our only escape is by death into heaven. Still others believe that hell is just an exaggerated expression that people use to curse with but that it is not an actual place.

My earliest concept of hell probably came from the things I saw and read. Similar to the perception many people have, comic book and cartoon artists have also described it as dark, cave-like and fiery place where bad people go or spirits reside. Could it be that similar representations of hell have desensitized the general public so much that it no longer has the same impact on the modern world? The Bible describes hell as being much more terrible. You will find it described as a place of “disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), where there will be only “torment and agony” (Luke 16:23-24), an “eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41), that “is not quenched” (Mark 9:44), an “eternal destruction” (1 Thessalonians 1:9), and where the unrighteous will be “tormented day and night, forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Not so good, right?
Several Christians today have grown so comfortable with hell being an expression that they no longer take it as seriously as the Bible says they should. Many prefer not to talk about hell because of the “negative connotations” it often carries. In an interview with Larry King, the author, motivational speaker and pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Joel Osteen, said, “I know there is condemnation, but I don’t feel that’s my place [to talk about it].”
But if Christians don’t talk about hell, what makes the good news of the gospel so good? In fact, during Jesus’ ministry on earth, he spoke about hell as much, if not more than, heaven! (Luke 16:19-31, Matthew 23:33; 25:31-55). The Bible clearly teaches that the punishment of sin and lawlessness is an infinite and eternal death that each person has earned (Romans 3:23; 6:23). It is only after understanding this that the good news is actually “good.”
The good news of the gospel is this: Jesus Christ came to this earth and lived a perfect and sinless life. He shed his blood and died on the cross to to pay for sin by taking God’s wrath upon himself. He was buried in a tomb and on the third day rose again to defeat sin and death once and for all. To be reconciled to God one must trust in the Savior, Jesus Christ, and repent (turn away) from sin. Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Christian, why don’t you share this with others? The bad news is only offensive if you don’t follow it up with the good news. Share Christ with love. Because without the good news, the truth of the bad news would be the end for all.

Article by Michael Waits

@michaelwaits

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