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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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Reflections: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I normally don’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror.  Even when I do to shave or brush my teeth, I take little time out of my day to really look.  But today was different.  I paused and took a long, hard look because today, I am forty-two years old.

Forty-two years ago today, God chose to bring me into this world.  He did so with a plan, a purpose for this boy born six weeks pre-maturely on October third in Covington, Ky.  As I looked at the face staring back at me, sifting through the memories that accumulate, I realized God’s plan would have involved few of the things I had said or done in that time.  Of course, you can argue the experience factor: all the things I have done have molded me, for better or worse, into the man I am today.  And without the Holy Spirit to guide my conscience, I wouldn’t care about the manipulative or hurtful words spoken in anger or haste in the first half of my life.  I could chalk my life up to…well…life, and go on with my day.  But there is something more going on here.  God knows all things, He is God.  Yet He still brought me into this world knowing I would fail Him time and time again.

In fact, as I reflected, I realized that was the one thing I have done with spectacular success.

But God is also patient.  From this day in 1970, He looked ahead 9 years to when I would accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  He knew I would understand the basics of salvation, but it would not be enough to keep me from being overwhelmed by the “eye candy” of this world.  He saw the day 24 years later when I would quietly and prayerfully give my life completely to Him.  He knew the day would come when I said, “Whatever you want, wherever you want me, whenever you’re ready; I’m in.”  I guess I needed the experiences, but only because I didn’t pay attention.  You see, I was brought up in a good, loving Christian home.  I was taken to church every week.  I heard the Word of God; I heard the Gospel, but I didn’t listen too closely.  He gave me every opportunity to be shielded from this world, but I sat oblivious to what was really being said and what was really at stake.

There is still too much of me in the mirror.

As I look at the man in the mirror, I see grace and love.  Not mine, of course, but God’s.  The world should look at me as I am now and see Jesus Christ…but they don’t.  I know there is still too much of me in the mirror.  But He isn’t done yet…not by a long-shot.  The first half of my life I spent a lot of time and energy getting in the way.  I wonder what I’ll see in another forty years as I spend all of my time and energy trying to stay out of His way?

Article by C.S. Depew

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Regrets

Regrets. Failure accumulates as the years roll by and what grows with it? Regrets. You know, those things no one knows. Or even worse, those things that someone well knows. Those things for which we grab the eraser only to find you didn’t write it with pencil but the strongest ink.  How are you and I to deal with regrets?

Paul had regrets. You can sense at various places in the Epistles that they had the potential to haunt him were it not for the fact that he had learned some things about dealing with them. Take for example, Philippians 3. He begins the chapter rejoicing and speaks with passion about a life of serving Jesus Christ. By verse 10 he reduces the focus of his life to the simple idea of intimately knowing Jesus Christ. As he continued it was mingled with reflection. As said before, things that he didn’t really like to think about rushed again into his mind like a wave races across the sand on the seashore.

In verse 12, though a great man, he let us in on the cold hard facts of his existence. He had not “already attained”, which is like saying he hadn’t fully arrived. Nor was he “already perfect”, which is not so much perfection as it is to be complete in his maturity. He was saying, “I’m not finished yet. I’m still a work in progress.”

Then he said “But I follow after”. Compare that to “press forward” in verse 14 since it is the same idea.  In verse 13 he confesses he doesn’t understand everything, but he has one thing down pat. It turns out to be the secret to getting beyond regret.

It’s rather simple:

1. Forget. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin including the very guilt of it that so fuels our regrets.

2. Press on. The meaning is not stroll on down the road, but a vigorous and speedy travel. Reach forth for those things that are higher, higher than the living you did in forming your regrets. It’s the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

As you press on and reach up remember that the One Who called you to this higher call is the One Who best knows, even in vivid color and detail, the things you did that made for regrets. If He knows and calls you still to live for Him, why can’t you go on past regrets today? Let’s take Paul’s secret and use the transforming power of Jesus Christ!

Article by Jimmy Reagan

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