Your Treasure, by Mitch Davis (05/26/13)

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“Loving God” with our lips does not reveal our hearts like our treasure.
It’s when we take a look inside that we truly reveal what is most valuable.

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Hell, by Mitch Davis (11/11/12)

November 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Sermons, Sermons on Heaven & Hell

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Hell, we can’t imagine why a loving, compassionate and forgiving God would create such a place since it seems contrary to His very nature. The fact is, it is THE most terrifying place He has reserved for all those who oppose Him, His will, or His only Begotten Son: Jesus Christ.

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Eternity, by Mitch Davis (04/01/12)

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Be Prepared

The old Scouts motto of “be prepared” has stood the test of time. In whatever endeavor one undertakes, preparation is of the utmost importance. I think of two of the all-time greats in professional football: Peyton Manning and Jerry Rice. When anyone who is knowledgeable about the sport speaks of these men, their unsurpassed work ethic and relentless preparation in plying their craft is mentioned. Peyton Manning, according to the experts, spends more time in film study of his opponents and his own team than any other current quarterback. He understands the talents of his team and knows the tendencies of his foes. When he enters a game, he has a firm grasp on what plays he needs to call without being greatly surprised by what he sees on the field. Jerry Rice had a workout routine during the off-season that made him a superior physical specimen, which complimented his skill as a receiver. When others attempted to adopt his workout, they often felt it too tough, and quit. These men prepared themselves to be the best they could possibly be and the results prove their efforts were worth the work of preparation.

Most of the religious world is under the belief that getting to heaven requires little or no preparation or hard work on an individual’s part. God, they think, requires little or nothing on our part to be saved. God told Israel in Amos 4:12 to prepare to meet their God. It was not for the good but for evil they had done that they needed to be prepared. Are we prepared to meet God in victory or in defeat?

We are not in a battle with the Green Bay Packers. Satan is our opponent. He has proven throughout the history of man’s existence that he is a formidable opponent. In the beginning, Adam and Eve had not prepared themselves for the cunning of their opponent. They sinned. When we are poorly prepared, we sin. Paul wrote the Ephesians about our warfare that takes place with the prince of this world, Satan. In his encouragement to them about putting on the whole armor of God, he told them “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15, NASB). This phrase is in the past tense. We are to do battle with our feet already shod with the preparation of the gospel. When we prepare ourselves, there should be no real surprises when confronted by our vicious enemy; who is not only vicious, but also relentless. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us the devil is like a “roaring lion” prowling around to find someone to devour. Peter admonishes the reader to be sober (clear thinking) and alert (watchful). In other words, be prepared.  

As relentless as the devil is in trying to devour our souls, we need to be that much more diligent in preparing ourselves to preserve our souls. If we are to attain the victory, our preparation is not going to come from any other source than the gospel. Not with self-help books, textbooks, or any other research books; only the gospel which God has graciously given us. It contains the game plan from God to gain the victory. If we will see victory, it will only come through our knowledge and obedience of the gospel. We cannot fight this battle alone. Jesus is the ultimate victor. According to Romans 1:16, He has given us the “power of the gospel” to guide us. He has given us prayer to call on Him “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NASB).

Peyton Manning and Jerry Rice did not read the game plan and automatically have success on the playing field. They studied it until they thoroughly understood it and were prepared to execute it without flinching at whatever the opponent threw at them. Paul told the Ephesians to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17, NASB). It can be understood! To not have the understanding of the gospel by diligent preparation, according to Paul, is “foolish.” Ephesians 5:15 tells us we have a choice to be wise (understand His will) or to be unwise (not understand). It is up to me and you; He allows us to choose. Joshua chose to follow God. God told him to be strong and courageous and He would give him the victory. Joshua and the Israelites were required to fight, but God gave the victory. The victory was attained only by following God’s plan and going to Him for consultation. When they did that, they were victorious; when they didn’t, they experienced defeat.

Let it not be said of us what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 78:8 (KJV) of Israel’s forefathers; “And not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

Let us prepare our hearts with the gospel and have a spirit to be faithful to God. Let us be prepared and enjoy the victory that God promises us through His son Jesus.

-by Ron Adams

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What Do You Think of Heaven?

What do you think of heaven?

I fear my view of heaven has sometimes messed up my thinking about life on earth. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always thought of heaven as a wonderful place I wanted to get to. However, I’m beginning to think my view of what made heaven so wonderful is fundamentally flawed and therefore impacting my walk with God here on earth.

Last Monday, on my personal blog, I shared a shocking change for me. You can check out the post entitled I’ve Decided to Quit Trying to Go to Heaven and I Urge You to Do the Same. However, that whole concept was taken a step further by Doy Moyer on my Facebook thread.

I just want to share with you his challenging words and say a special thanks to brother Moyer for pointing us all in the right direction regarding our thoughts on heaven:

Ed, I appreciate your thoughts as they cause us to think hard about what we are about. I wonder if part of our problem is how we conceive of heaven. If our view of heaven is that we will live in these great plantation-style mansions and live some kind of a laid-back retirement life doing whatever we feel like, inviting the archangel to be our guest at our perfectly funded parties, then we’ve missed the point. 

Heaven is about God, not about us. The greatness of heaven is found in God’s greatness and the fact that we will be in His presence glorifying Him. Perhaps if we can perceive that better, then what you are talking about can take care of itself. That is, heaven is the full extension of our realized purpose on this earth. It’s not about trying to go to heaven so much as striving to glorify God and live in His presence. By His grace, we can do that here, but the hope of heaven is about being with God and glorifying Him in ways we can’t even conceive of now. I want to go to heaven, not because I get things, but because I can bask in the glory of God and serve Him eternally and without failure. That is the reward.

He also added later:

Seeing heaven as the perfected extension of our purpose here — to proclaim the excellencies of God (1 Pet 2:9) — also fits Paul’s point in 2 Cor 5 — whether absent or present with Christ, we make it our aim to please Him (vs. 9). The rest takes care of itself.

So, the question is, “Why do you want to go to heaven?”

I have to admit, I’m working on my motivation. Doy’s first picture is, sadly, the picture I carried with me for far too long. Now I’m working harder at simply wanting to walk in God’s presence, now and in eternity.

Are you ready to join me on that journey?

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Do You Want the Ends of the Earth or Heaven?

What is your goal in life? Do you want fame? Do you want to make amazing discoveries? Do you want money? Do you want power?

According to Proverbs 17:24, your goal in life is a great indicator regarding whether or not you are a fool. The verse says, “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of the fool are on the ends of the earth” (ESV).

I can’t help but think of Alexander the Great. Here was a man with his eyes on the ends of the earth. He wanted to rule the world and he came pretty close to succeeding, closer than anyone else before him. However, he was a fool. Certainly, he is one of the few men remembered throughout history. His folly is not about military prowess, place in history, or worldly success. His folly is about his soul. What good did world conquest do him? Will being one of the greatest military victors of all time make his eternal damnation any more tolerable? He set his eyes on the ends of the earth, but he was a fool because he missed heaven.

I highly doubt any of us have our eyes set on being ruler of the known world.  Yet, do we make the same mistake? Is our biggest goal for the next year getting the promotion at work? Is our biggest goal increasing our portfolio? Is our biggest goal being famous or rich? If so, we may not be trying to conquer the world, but our eyes are set on the ends of the earth. We are looking for fulfillment and meaning from the earth and the things of the earth. If this is us, we are fools.

Instead of seeking these things, we need to seek wisdom. We need to seek true knowledge and proper application of it to life. It may be that because we are wise, God blesses us with material blessings. Then again, He may not. That is really up to Him. However, if we seek wisdom, we’ll gain eternity. Just as Alexander’s great success will not make his eternal damnation any more tolerable, we need to recognize that if we live out our days as struggling paupers but gain wisdom, it will not remotely mar our eternal bliss in heaven.

How do we start this journey toward wisdom and eternal joy? Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (ESV). Be discerning. Fear the Lord; get to know the Holy One. Maybe you won’t achieve the ends of the earth, but you will receive heaven. I think it’s worth it.

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