Heart Check

Heart Check

Joe Stowell

Luke 12:22-34

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34

When commuting into Chicago on the train, I always followed the “unwritten codes of conduct”—such as, no conversations with people sitting next to you if you don’t know them. That was tough on a guy like me who has never met a stranger. I love talking to new people! Although I kept the code of silence, I realized that you can still learn something about people based on the section of the newspaper they read. So I’d watch to see what they turned to first: The business section? Sports? Politics? Current events?

Their choices revealed their interests. Our choices are always revealing. Of course, God doesn’t need to wait to see our choices in order for Him to know what’s in our hearts. But the things that occupy our time and attention are telling. As Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

Regardless of what we want Him to think of us, the true condition of our heart becomes clear based on how we use our time, our money, and our talents. When we invest these resources in the things He cares about, then it reveals that our hearts are in tune with His. God’s heart is with the needs of people and the advancement of His kingdom. What do your choices tell Him and others about where your heart is?

Lord, I want my heart to be in tune with Yours. Forgive me for giving it to things of far less value, and teach me the joy of investing my time in opportunities to serve You.

Where is your treasure?

Resisting the Trap

Resisting the Trap
Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Genesis 4:1-8

Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Genesis 4:7

A Venus flytrap can digest an insect in about 10 days. The process begins when an unsuspecting bug smells nectar on the leaves that form the trap. When the insect investigates, it crawls into the jaws of the plant. The leaves clamp shut within half a second and digestive juices dissolve the bug.

This meat-eating plant reminds me of the way sin can devour us if we are lured into it. Sin is hungry for us. Genesis 4:7 says, “If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you.” God spoke these words to Cain just before he killed his brother Abel.

Sin may try to entice us by tempting us with a new experience, convincing us that living right doesn’t matter, or appealing to our physical senses. However, there is a way for us to rule over sin instead of letting it consume our lives. The Bible says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). When we face temptation, we don’t face it alone. We have supernatural assistance. Relying on God’s Spirit supplies the power to live for Him and others.

Dear God, at times I let down my guard and indulge in sin. Please help me to listen to Your warnings and obey Your Word. Protect me from my own impulses and conform me to Your image. Thank You for Your work in me.

We fall into temptation when we don’t flee from it.

Spiritual Invasion

skyline-first-screenshot-aliens-in-los-angelesWhen I think about the word invasion, my mind begins to reflect on movies where aliens come to Earth and take over. Each movie that has entertained me on this level has revealed two things to me. One thing is that the aliens are not coming to sit down and have coffee with us and catch up on the latest political affairs of this world, and they have a weakness.
The word invasion means – an act of invading; especially: incursion of an army for conquest or plunder. Or, it can mean a hostile entrance by force to gain mastery over by forcibly taking one’s goods.

The book of Mark 3:27 makes reference to how a person’s goods can be taken from them. It says, “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” The word bind means to become hindered from free operation. battleship-pic-1

When I saw the movie Battleship, I was quite interested with how it opened up. What really intrigued me the most about the beginning of this movie was the government  discovered a far planet in which they believed life could be sustained on like the planet Earth. They made the decision to send communication to this planet by sending a signal from Hawaii to a deep space satellite that can transmit this signal. The statement that was made after this really caught my attention. One of the astrologers said, “If there is intelligent life out there, and they come here, it’s gonna be like Columbus & the Indians. Only we’re the Indians.”battleship-movie-image-02

This statement caused me to think on how the devil will come and take over our lives. We send communication to him by entertaining all manner of evil. We send long range communication by involving ourselves with online pornography, Facebook wars, bullying, and many other things that does not give God glory. Once we have entertained the devil, he will show up just like these aliens in a movie with one purpose, and one purpose only. That purpose is to invade your life.130416-Trailer39

Many times we attempt to get along with the devil just like these people do in movies by trying to reason with the aliens. We ask the aliens do they come in peace? What can we do to stop the invasion? What do you want from us? Ten times out of ten the aliens want us to die, so they can inhabit the Earth. There is no reasoning with the devil, his mission is to steal kill and destroy (John 10:10). Just like aliens the devil will wipe us out, and leave nothing behind because he has a destructive nature.mos-trailer-11

004_1280x1024The second thing that I learned about alien movies is that they all have a weakness. Most aliens (like in the movie War of the Worlds) only had a time to function in the earth’s atmosphere. The devil also knows that he has a short time to wreck havoc upon the earth (Revelation 12:12).  In the movie Independence Day, the only way that the aliens could be destroyed was to upload a virus to the mother ship. In these movies the military exhausted every measure they knew in an attempt to destroy these aliens but it failed. Independence-Day-independence-day-film-13694719-1280-800As people we use every measure that we know to destroy the enemy with no avail. It’s not until we begin to come together as a people and figure out a way to destroy these invasive creatures. It’s not until we come together with Christ and work with Him to install a virus into the source of this invasion. The only virus that can destroy the devil is a submitted heart to Christ that applies the Word of God. This virus of God’s Word (which is only a virus to the workings of evil because the Word of God will cripple and weaken its hold on our life) will always weaken the invasion that the enemy has launched over our lives (2 Corinthians 10:4-6). The weakness the aliens in Battleship had was sensitivity to light. Christ is the light of the world, and whenever light shows up on the scene darkness has to flee.Sunlight

The crew men and women learned this and exploited that weakness to their advantage. They set up the old rugged battleship in a position to where the sunrise would blind the enemy, and they were able to use the light to their advantage and attack. When the soldiers were in the darkness they could not see the enemy, and didn’t know how to position themselves. Though they learned how to use water beacons to their advantage, it was not as effective as the light. The devil will always attempt to counterattack every move that you make as long as you do not use the light of Jesus Christ to your advantage.
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Jesus Christ is the only person I know that has the power to destroy every alien that invades our life (1 John 3:8). Aliens always come from some other place than Earth. We are the salt of the Earth, and we lose our flavor when we allow the aliens of sin to take over our land. Let’s not negotiate our freedom and peace that Christ has died for. Neither should we lose that freedom to the cares of entertaining the foreign characteristics of sin. Allow the Holy Spirit to engulf your life, so that you can have the proper force field to protect you from the spiritual invasion the devil desires to loose into you life.

Love

 
When we ask the Lord to fill our heart with love, we are asking HIM to put us in situations with people that are considered to be un-loveable in our mind. The Lord knows exactly what HE is doing when He constantly directs us to love someone that is always giving us “The Blues” so to say. This is how the love of God is perfected in us. Remember, He loved us first before we loved HIM. When we were in our sins Christ died for us. Love will always provide a way of escape for those that do not know true love. Let’s not tuck tail and shut the door on love, and remember 1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth