Treasures of the Heart

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What is it in your life that you treasure? Is it somebody? Is it something? Some experience in your life? What is it that you treasure? Dr. Stanley explains that out of all the people who had many things to treasure, Mary, the mother of Jesus is certainly one of them.

 

 

start your day off. Right with the free in touch, devotional subscribe today. Think about treasure. What comes to your mind? Well, most people would say well money, prosperity rich is all of those things come to mind. Well, if the only thing that comes to your mind, when you think about riches is material things, you must be very poor because the best things in life are not material. Best things in life supersede the material. Best things in life are higher quality than all of that. But on the other hand, there are some material things that are good and God is a good god and he gives us what we need much more than we deserve. Much more often times than we expect. Or anticipate treasures, treasures? What is it in your life that you treasure? Is it somebody, is it something some experience in your life? What is it that your treasure? And in this message, I want you to think about that. What is it in my life that I really and truly trashed that is hold it dear. I hold it close. I protected. It has high value to me. I love it. What is it that you really and truly treasure in life? Well, of all the people who had many things to treasure, marry the mother of jesus is certainly one of them. And it’s interesting in the scripture that two times, twice she mentions the fact of treasuring what she’s heard? What she’s seen? What she’s experienced? Treasured in her heart, quietly holding it there pondering and thinking about it, examining it and enjoying it. So I want you to turn if you will, to the second chapter of luke. And I want us just to read a couple of verses or so here. So set the stage and remember that jesus at this point has been has been born. And the angels have announced to the shepherds about what’s happened. And the scripture says in verse 15 of the second chapter, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, let us go straight to Bethlehem then and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us. So they came in a hurry and they found their way to mary and joseph and the baby as he lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about the child and all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But mary treasured all these things pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen just as had been told them. And then again, the scripture says a little later on, And we’ll come to this. The scripture says In verse 51 of Luke’s same chapter and he went down from with them and came to Nazareth. And he continued in subjection to them. And his mother treasured all these things in her heart. So I would ask you again, what is it that you treasure? You hold dear to you, that you do not want to let go. That you’d like to think about it, that you pondered in your heart. And I want us to look at the scripture here and ask that same question and to think about it from the perspective of what mary held in her heart and what she treasured in these experiences. And so to understand really what was transpiring in her life, You have to sort of understand the society in which she grew up in what was going on. And you’ll remember in this particular chapter here, in the first chapter of luke, when the angel came and spoke to her, here’s what she said, she said, how can this be since I am a virgin? Now, I wanna just make this clear, the bible makes it very clear that mary was a virgin. And once in a while you hear somebody say, well, the bible doesn’t really mean virgin. Like we think of virgin. Yes, it does. It means a woman or a young lady who has had no sexual experience within the man. And in every single case, in the bible where the word virgin is used, it never refers to a married woman. So when mary said, how can this happen? Because I’m a virgin, she was saying, I’ve never had that experience with a man. And so what she couldn’t understand is how could God bring her to this and say, here’s what’s gonna happen when I’ve never even had any kind of relationship now. Think about this, it was the practice in those days when it came to marriage, that the father of the broad chose the husband. And so at what age, anywhere from 12, 13, 14, 15 years of age, a young lady, it was ba trolled. That is in our terminology, she was engaged to the man she was going to marry. And this engagement lasted for one year. And after that, and there has been no no sex during that year, and the responsibility of the bride to be was to keep herself pure. And his responsibility was to prepare a house, a home for them. And then after one year, uh they could be married. And what they did is they had a big festival uh for the marriage for seven days. Now, if you can imagine as a dad, your daughter is going to get married. And so they said, well, you know, we’re gonna party for seven days, that would be a little bit expensive. And in those days, of course they were rather poor. Most people were at that time. And so when a marriage took place, it was, it was a big deal. And this engagement period for example, was very serious, much more serious than engagement, that people give somebody a ring today and they’re, you know, two weeks later, they get mad and give it back. But none of that kind of doing is going on because an engagement was as legal as a bonding marriage. In other words, the only two ways you got of an engagement was either by death or divorce. And so when two people were engaged to each other, this was this was serious business. And so mary, if you remember this mary has her father to choose who this man is going to be. So we think in terms today, well, you know, I dated this person and I fell in love and falling in love, then I want to get married. Love had nothing to do with it. They could have been in love and there was they could have known each other, but the father could say, I want you to meet your husband to be. And that was it. Whatever he said, that was the law and that’s who she had to marry. And I used to read that and think about that and think about how in the world would that be if somebody else chose my wife, I suppose I didn’t like her look suppose I didn’t like this, suppose this supposed that and so forth. And then I met a young man one day and uh he said I’m going home to be married, this is where you’re going. So he lives in another country. So he told me where he was going and I said, well how long have you known her? He said I haven’t wait a minute you’ve not known her? No, you’ve never seen her. No, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. Everything in me was just having a revolt. And I said you mean you’re gonna marry somebody you have never seen, don’t know anything about. You don’t you can’t love them, you don’t know them. Well that’s the way it is in our country. My father has made the choice when I think about all the things that mary held in her heart and treasured. Um I think about the fact of what she had to say to joseph and the things that she had to explain which nobody would have understood. So when it comes to marriage in those days, serious business and it should only by divorce and only by death could it be broken? And it was a family arrangement. So 13 14, 15 year old girl. Usually we think about Mary, we always see her in pictures and statues as as a an adult woman holding little baby Jesus. That is not the way it was. And so if you can think about dad giving your daughter away to somebody at the age of 13, it’d be pretty serious business. Amen it was very serious business. And it was serious in those days because their idea of marriages, this is for keeps this is for life. I mean 13, 14 years of age for life. And so that’s that’s the context of what is about to happen here. So with that in mind, the bible says that she treasured these things in her heart. So what’s the first thing you think she treasured? Here’s what she treasured. One day she was just doing what little girls in those days did by helping their mother in the kitchen and so forth, and or playing with their friends at that age. And suddenly the Angel of God Gabriel comes to her now. Whether she sees him or not is not the issue. The issue is that he made it so crystal clear. And he said something to her that did not even make sense at first. But here’s what he said to her, he said, greetings, favored one. The Lord is with you. She never forgot that. She never forgot that sound was the sound of heaven greetings. Favorite one. The Lord is with you. The scripture says she was perplexed at this statement, kept pondering what kind of salutation this was! And the Angel said to her, Don’t be afraid mary, listen, do not be afraid mary, but you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear son, and you will call his name jesus, and he’ll be great and explains all about that. And then she says, How can this be since I am a virgin. Never never had a relationship with a man. How can this be? And the Angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you. And the power of the most high will overshadow you. And for that reason the Holy Child shall be called the Son of God. So imagine this. Here she is. A teenage girl just going about her life just like normal teenage girls who were in those days, young teenage girls and she gets this message from God, you’re going to have a baby. How could that possibly be? And then he explains it. She never forgot any of that. She treasured those moments in her heart, probably because she was afraid, as the scripture says she was perplexed. She didn’t understand all of that, but she didn’t understand this, he said, favored one and he said, The Lord will be with you. Now. One of the things that she had to face as a result of that was this, she knew the law of moses and that was if a woman was caught in the act of adultery. And certainly she would have been accused of that having a baby and not having a husband, you stoned it to death. So here’s a teenage girl say 14, let’s just say she’s 14 years of age of 15. And now she’s facing the possibility of being stoned to death, but something she had nothing to do with because the angels said it, she heard it, there was no explanation that there was. What do you mean? the Holy Spirit’s gonna come upon me? And and I’m going to have a child. None of that made any sense. At first the Spirit of God began to help her to understand. But but that’s what she was facing. And then it’s interesting that her friend Elizabeth and part of the family um was six months pregnant and she goes to see her and when she goes to see her the scripture makes it very clear that when she saw her the scripture says, she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth and when Elizabeth heard mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she cried out with a loud voice and said, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb? And then she asked she makes this statement, how has it happened to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me? But behold the sound of your greeting, reached my ears. The baby leaped in my womb. So here she is now and she is pregnant and by the time she gets home she’s three months pregnant. So imagine this, she comes home and her mother is the first one to notice mary what is this. They imagine her trying to explain to her mother and dad that she had seen this vision or heard this voice and this voice said, you’re gonna give birth to a child, this child is gonna be the son of God, imagine what the father and mother thought absolutely impossible. She’s lying to us, How could you do this to us? Because they were ashamed uh the man she was going to marry, joseph would be shamed in a small village, everybody would know it very shortly and they’d be looked down upon. And besides that, there’s the threat of being stoned to death. So what do you think? She remembered? What, what is it she treasured in her heart, doing all these things. These were terrifying sort of thoughts, even though she knew that God had said it. And so she she said to the angel will bid unto me even as you have spoken. And so she’s surrendered to that. But remember she’s still a teenager. And secondly, this is her family and she’s about to embarrass her whole family, all of her friends, all of her playmates, everybody’s gonna shun her because she’s destined for death. But here’s one thing she never forgot when she had to tell joseph, he probably felt the same thing. You have betrayed me. You have been unfaithful, You have been disloyal. You have broken marriage vow because engagement was just legal. And finally, at some point, here’s what he said and she could never forget it. She couldn’t forget his voice of the expression on his face when he said mary, I believe you and I love you and I’m still going to marry you, She could never forget that treasure that forever. And while we’re thinking about this, I want you to think about things that you treasure in your life. Do you have more treasures or more regrets? Can you look back in your life and think about how God’s worked in your life, The good things that have happened to you places you’ve been all the things that that are so good in our lives. What stands out at the very tip top? What what is it that you treasure? What is it that you hold very, very dear in your life? And I’m going to ask you that several times because I want you to think about it, scripture says that she treasured all of these things in her heart now. So what happens? He accepts her as his wife and doing so that protects her from being stoned to death. It seems full responsibility. And then caesar, augustus passes his rule that everybody must go to their hometown where they were born and registered. Micah, the prophet said in Micah chapter five verse two, He says Out of Bethlehem will come to Messiah 700 years before it ever happened. The prophet prophecy. The birth of the messiah uh and to be born in Bethlehem. But now they don’t, they’re not putting all that together at this particular point. And so uh they have to go to Bethlehem. That’s over 100 miles. That’s not on the highway. But and also it was riding a donkey sidesaddle, that’s where she would have written now, she’s pregnant. Now we don’t know how many months have passed by, but probably quite a number of months because when she got to Bethlehem, you know what happened? And that is they were trying to find a place to stay and spend the night. Remember this is 100 and some miles on a donkey, 100 mi on a horse is tough. I’ve ridden horses a lot of times in a long ways, 100 some miles on a donkey. Now he’s walking, she’s riding but she’s pregnant when the motels and hotels. What about food? What about the place to stay? And what about all the dangers of those days? And so here they are and people are coming and going going to their hometown and and she’s on her way to Bethlehem. So when they get there trying to find a place, imagine what joseph must have been thinking, I better hurry because I hear I hear what’s going on and so he’s trying to find a place and finally he does. And the man says well I don’t have a room here, but I have my stable out here on my barn or whatever that was with the animals but you that’s all I have, you’re welcome to spend the night there Now, that would be bad enough. But then who delivered the baby? Imagine being a brand new husband and having to deliver a baby. First of all, it’s not yours. And secondly, you don’t even get a chance to name him because he he realized that because the angel also told him that his name is going to be jesus because he’s gonna save his people from their sins. So it’s not his baby, he can’t even name the baby. And besides that he’s had no experience and delivering babies. And jesus comes forth in perfect condition. Imagine this, you’re talking about treasuring something in your heart when she picked him up and held her, here’s what had to come to her mind. I’m holding the son of God, not the son of joseph, but the son of God. And I had nothing to do with this except to bear him. And joseph had nothing to do with him but to help deliver him the awesome moments of the birth of jesus, a treasure in their hearts, they would never forget as long as they lived, it was the worst kind of conditions. It was somewhere else. Unknown situation circumstance and the most important thing I would think in a, in a woman’s life would be the delivery of that baby. So jesus is born and then there in Bethlehem. So they take him to um Jerusalem is about six miles away according to mosaic. Long time of purification, the scripture says they met this man who by the name of Simeon who had been there a very, very long time and he made some comments about jesus and happy to see him and understand who he was. And then he said to mary, but a sword’s gonna pierce your heart. What did that mean? Since she was bringing the birth of her son of God himself? But she never forgot it. A sword will pierce your heart. Now she had no earthly idea about crucifixion of no words. That would be the furthest thing she could possibly think about. The fact that he was the son of God. A sword will pierce your heart. And then there was anna who was there also in recognizing there was something special about this baby. Well it’s about this time that the wise men come and um coming through Jerusalem and asking the question where is the child to be born? And and then Herod. And then they get together and and Herod says, well, as soon as you find him, what I want you to do is I want you to come tell me so I can worship him also, which was a lie, you want to kill him. And um so they found the Lord jesus mary and joseph not in the stable but now more than likely in our house. And so they presented their gifts gold frankincense America, they had nothing and all of a sudden they were wealthy and so they left and they said, we’re not going back to see Herod, we’re going home another way. And so mary and joseph and baby jesus went to bed that night in the middle of the night. The angel speaks to joseph and says get up, get out of this country and head to Egypt immediately. There’s danger. Well you know what happened? Probably the next day, Herod sent his troopers in and they killed every single child from two years and under in Bethlehem and the whole area around them, Jesus is on his way to Egypt now that too is a very long trip. A very very difficult trip. And they go to Egypt and they stay until Herod is dead and then they come back and they finally end up in. That’s true. And so she’s got all these things to think about about how all this has happened and what There was the big question. She had the answer was this God, why did you choose me? I’m a nobody. I’m just a little jewish girl. Why why would you choose me? And I think all of us have to ask at times why why why? And the answer often times is the same that she got because I made a choice. Sometimes God makes choices in our life that we don’t, we’ll never deserve. We can’t figure them out. We could we couldn’t ever explain why he does certain things that he does, but he does. And so she had to ponder those things then after they come back um we don’t hear a thing. And so the time he gets to be 12, they go to Jerusalem like they would normally do at the passover. And so jesus is with his friends, his buddies and I’m sure they’re playing around this at the other and uh when joseph and mary are looking for, they can’t find him, I can’t find him anywhere. And so three days later they find him. And it’s interesting what mary said when they found him because she said probably what any mother would have said when they saw him, they were astonished at his and his mother said to him son, why have you treated us this way now? She didn’t say because he was jesus oh son, why have you treated us this way? No, she said son, why have you treated us this way? Because she was frightened by the fact that he was not there and she said we have been anxiously looking for you and he said to them, well why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in my father’s house? I’m gonna come back to that verse. They did not understand this statement which he had made to them and he went down with them and came to Nazareth and he continued in subjection to them and his mother treasured all these things in her heart now even though he was who he was, he was continually obedient to his parents. And here’s the reason why the reason he was continually obedient to his parents. And he wasn’t being disobedient when he was at the temple because what happened was he was there and when they found him, he was talking to all the teachers and uh describes the Pharisees and asking them questions and answering questions and they were talking back and forth. And so he was doing exactly what he said. I’m about my father’s business, he was learning and so He went home with him and for the next 18 years you don’t hear a thing Now, you would think that anybody as important as Jesus, even as a teenager now and in his 20’s and yet silence, 18 years of silence, don’t you know, his mother must have said well now and she wouldn’t have said it to him. But if she just said that father, if he’s your son and you have all these big plans, well, when are they going to start? Because what he was doing was watching his father and learning to be a carpenter. Well that had nothing to do with being on the throne of David and all the things that were implied by what the angel had said and what’s he doing? He just being a carpenter. He comes his hands are dirty and nails are dirty and he has to clean up like anybody else. And so this goes on, listen for 18 years, he’s just doing what a boy would do and a young man would do, no explanation from God, he’s just being what he is. And she’s thinking pondering in her heart, thinking about what the angel said, thinking about the birth and thinking about their escape and thinking about the temple and thinking about what he said in the temple. And there was think think think pondering her heart all these things she’s treasured in her heart. And now she’s wondering, well, you know, I wonder how long this is gonna last. Somewhere in this time, joseph dies, God takes him off the scene and I’m sure that God in his purpose knew that joseph needed to be removed. And so it would be jesus and his mother imagine how she treasured this boy. They had other brothers and sisters. Now there are those who think that uh that the virgin mary only had jesus that is not true, very clear in the bible. They had brothers and sisters and so here he is now, but he’s he’s perfect. But but what what what’s going to happen one day he walks into her and he says to her mother my time has come or something like that and I’ll be leaving and don’t you know when he left What she must have thought because now she had him for 30 years and now he’s leaving and she had to know that when he left he would really be leaving. So when I think about all the things that she thought about, I want you to think about some things that she had to consider some ideas, some thoughts she had that are beyond the incidences themselves and so I’m gonna give you a list of, I’m gonna put them on the board here because I want you to um I want you to think about this and especially as a mother thinking about what she thought she gave birth to the son of God. This was not just another baby that from her womb came the son of God. The son of God that is God who took upon himself human flesh like any other child except Sinless and was born like any other child. The son of God, not the son of joseph, not the son of me, but the son of God. And she had to be thinking about this. You know, normally I would think this is my son, this is the son of God. So she had to ponder that in her heart. The second thing was this, think about this. Her son would be her savior. What a thought her son would be her savior. Because the more she listened to him probably and talked to him, the more she began to understand his mission in life. How much he told her. We do not know. But certainly he had to have told her many things to maybe prepare her for what was ahead. Maybe he kept a lot of the painful part out. A 3rd thing was this. She had to think about this. She had to exchange her parental authority for his divine authority. That is she had to give up her parental authority. He was God. And now his divine authority was what ruled in that household and what ruled in his life and in her life though the bible says and I didn’t answer it a few moments ago. I want to answer it now that he had to be in submission to her all the years of his life that he was with her for this reason. Think about it carefully. Why did he come? He came for the purpose of giving his life as a sacrificial offering to the father and atonement. His death was a sacrificial death. A substitution. Every death. He died in the place of all sinners took upon him the sin debt of all mankind laid down this life at the cross in order to become our savior. Now watch this in becoming our savior. Watch this carefully. He took our guilt and our sin and gave us his righteousness. That was the exchange he took upon himself our sins. Now, the only way he could do that is to be a perfect son, a perfect child, a perfect man. That is because you see he had to keep the law absolutely and perfectly. That meant he had to be in subjection to his parents all the days of his life until the time came for him to walk away. That is in subjection as far as the way he treated them and so forth. But he had the authority of divinity. He had the authority of God. But in doing so, he still, as long as he was that son there, he had to be absolutely obedient because if he had sinned, he could not be the sacrifice. So he took our Senate across and gave us his righteousness. That is, he took what was bad from us and gave us what was good from him. That is his life and his righteousness. That’s the only reason you and I are accepting the eyes of God is because he took their sin, death. He gave us his righteousness, so that what makes us right in the eyes of God is not what we do. It is the gift of the life of the Son of God. This sacrifice at calvary became our blessing, became our inheritance, became our possession. Another thing I want you to think about is this, he was under heavenly authority, not his parents authority. And yet the bible says he subjected himself that is, he made himself obedient to them. But he was under heavenly authority. Because why? Because he was the Lord. He was the Lord God himself. And yet in order to fulfill the law in order to be what he had to be in order for us to become what he wants us to become. There had to be that righteousness in him that was not blemished by sin? And the last thing I would say is this she gave him physical life and he gave her eternal life. What a thought, when I think about that, she gave him physical life, he gave her eternal life. The things that she treasured in her heart are hard to conceive and especially these ideas and many others that we haven’t even mentioned. Things that have to do theologically and things that have to do with God and their relationship, things that have to do with eternity and the forgiveness of the sin of mankind and her relationship with all of this? And when the bible says she treasured these things, she pondered them. She questioned him. She thought about them. She she held them close and remember this more than likely she never told anybody else all this. They wouldn’t have understood. They wouldn’t have believed that. Have said mary has out of her mind, no God was doing something awesome, not only in her life, but in the life of all humanity. So when I think about all of that, I think about this, who in your life it’s a treasure to you. What kind of relationship do you have with anyone that you could say she is a treasure in my life, he is a treasure in my life, Is it your husband? I hope so. Is it your wife? I hope so. Is it your Children? Is it your grandchildren? Is it your grandparents? Is it your parents? That is who in your life is a treasure? Because of who they have been to you? Because of what they’ve done for you. Because of who and what kind of life they have lived before you? Who is a treasure to you? Now if somebody asked me that the first person who would come to my mind is my mother. Besides jesus my mother, I treasure her. Why I treasure her Because of the love she gave me. That I felt that I embraced that strengthened me, encouraged me when everything else was going wrong I knew she’d be there. She’d put her arms around me and tell me she loved me. I treasure those thoughts. What possession do you have? What is it that you own? That you treasure? You treasure money. Poor soul. What is it that your treasure? Now? If I ask you this morning, do you have anything on you ma’am that you treasure? You’d probably say well yes I do. So you have a diamond And what you see diamonds are just diamonds. But you know why you treasure yours. I hope this is true because of who gave it to you. And because of what he said to you when he gave it to you and when he took your finger and he took that ring and slipped it on you and said you sweetheart or honey or darling or whatever. I just love you. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you naturally. You would treasure that. Is there anything else in your life? You treasure? Do you own something? You treasure? Do you treasure is something that you had to work very very hard for you labored for it diligently and you treasure it. That is it’s very valuable to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. As long as as long as the things we treasure don’t get ahead of God. Well let me ask you this. What about is there any promise? Is there any promise that you treasure? Let me tell you that promise in the word of God that our treasure above all the other verses in the bible Proverbs 3, 5 and six says trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding in all your ways, acknowledge him. He will direct your path. And the reason I treasure that verses. Because for all these years that I’ve been a christian anytime I need to make a decision, that’s the verse I go to anytime I’m in the middle of something that I desperately need the Lord to help me understand our experience. That’s the verse. I go to trust in the Lord with all your heart. That’s not the only verse. But that’s a treasure verse for me. There are many others. But I put that on top. Do you have a treasure verse? A verse that you treasure that just sort of rises above all the rest of them and that you that you just love it. You hold it close, you’re grateful for it. You wouldn’t want to give it up for anything in the world. You have you have any of those verses? Let me ask you something else about a promise. Have you ever made a promise that you treasure? I promised her. I promised him. And the motivation for that promise and the love behind and the loyalty and devotion. Do you treasure that that in your sense of accountability and your sense of integrity, you made a promise and you will keep it no matter what? Well, what about what about places are there are there any places in life places you’ve been things that you visit. Is there anything that you treasure? Think about it. It may be that you treasure the place you were born and maybe you pleasure you treasure. Someplace that you’ve been that you had the most wonderful, unforgettable experience. And I think about how many places that I could put in that category where I’ve photographed that I’ve been there. And I thought, oh God, don’t ever let me forget this. The feeling that you felt what you saw and you see here’s what happens whatever our eyes take in our ears here and our mind is able to perceive it becomes a part of us. and I can visualize some places that I’ve been that are etched in my mind for good. And I can I can think about them and rejoice. I can think about them and smile. I can think about what I was feeling and what I saw and how it affected me. God wants us to fill our minds, our hearts, our lives with things that we treasure. Because you see here’s what happens. They become a part of us, They make up who we are, they make up a character. Our attitudes are greatly affected by them and the way we treat other people. And besides that what we have to share when you think about the places that you’ve been and you come home and and you want to tell somebody. And I think about this often a few times. Not very not very many, very few times that I’ve been somewhere by myself and I’m standing here looking at this awesome, indescribable scene and I don’t have anybody to say to look at that. Can you believe that this is awesome And you’re by yourself. You know what, I can tell you what happened. I feel like something just comes over me, covers me. I can’t, I can’t, I don’t have nobody to say it to places you’ve been because you see what makes the places you’ve been so memorable is what you felt while you were there. I mean asphalt, asphalt, wherever it is or trees or trees and sand and sand and beaches, Beach. But it’s what you felt there. It’s it’s what it’s what you experienced. That’s what it’s what happened to you there. And I think about those places, I think about for example, men who’ve been in the military and you’ve been in the heat of terrible fiery bloody battle. You’ll never forget it. And things happened that you treasure when you saw one man risked his life for another and somebody risked his life for you or you saw someone in need and you risk your life under fire to save somebody else. You’ll never forget it. It’s a part of you moments you treasure. Good things that happened to you. I know what you’re thinking you’re saying. What about the bad things? I’m coming to that because that is that is a part of a treasure. Then I think about periods of time in our life that we treasure. You think about it before you got married and all the preparation and all the fun and all the parties and all the things. All of that was a part of getting ready for marriage. That was a time in your life that you treasure. And maybe those first days are first weeks and months and years and first Children or whatever it might be. There are times in our life that we treasure, what was going on. It may be in building your business, You look back and you treasure those times because you learned a lot. You have to sacrifice. You paid a price. You were, you had to be disciplined to make it happen. And now God has blessed you and honor you for your faithfulness and loyalty and devotion and that you tied your income and God blessed you and you have something that the treasure. But let me ask you this. How many precious moments in prayer do you have the treasure? When I think about that, I think about times that have no equal moments, usually moments and minutes that have no equal when it comes to experiences in life of times with the Lord, when he makes his voice so crystal clear and his instructions so very, very clear To understand moments that you cannot describe. Moments you cannot give away in moments. You cannot duplicate. Because every one of them is brand new. What about those moments? You have moments in loving someone moments and playing your Children. What about moments with God. How many of those do you have etched in your mind? How many of those do you ponder? How many of those do you bring back when you’re going through some difficulty? Hardship of pain. We should build into our life those awesome treasures. Their treasures. Because you see what you build into your life. Nobody can take that away from you. Nobody could ever take away from her mother what she felt the first time she held that baby. Nobody could take away from a man, what he felt when they placed on him the silver star for his valor and probably most people who go to college and went to college and had a very difficult time. Nobody could ever take away from them when they called out your name and you walked across the stage and got that diploma and in the process of doing so, you’re caught your mother’s face, her smile, her dream and her fright irreplaceable now, you said. But what about the bad times? Are they treasures? Let me tell you how bad times become treasures because every pain heartache, difficult to trial, hardship, failure. Whatever doesn’t make any difference what it is. You and I know that as his Children, God allowed it. It may have been something that we would never want to repeat again. Maybe it’s something it was our fault or something. Somebody else’s fault, painful, difficult hard you said, Well, how how does that become a treasure? Here’s the way it becomes a treasure. It becomes a treasure because you look back and realize God and his love sustained you kept you held you and loved you right through it. I forgave you over and over again. You treasured because you learned an awesome lesson that has profited you down through the years. Your treasured. Because you know that it equipped you to be sensitive to other people to understand their heartaches and their trials and their burdens. You treasured because you know that it did something to your very character and your integrity by going through that. And while you wouldn’t want to do it again, you wouldn’t take anything for what you learned. Because you realize that you have become more valuable to God in his kingdom as a result of what you’ve been through. Your heart aches and your trials and your sorrows and your tears and your losses and your wins. He takes even the tough things. They can become treasures to us if we will respond correctly and recognize that even bitter things are sometimes the gift of God because he loves us enough not to let us just go along in life, but things that are easy and understandable. So what are the treasures in your life? So I want to make a suggestion to you before you go to bed this very day tonight. Maybe you get your self a piece of paper or a car and a pencil. You’re right at the top of the sheet. I treasure the following in my life. Now would you not put at the top what our treasure most is my personal intimate relationship with jesus christ first and foremost. And then let all those other things follow that. If you can do that, he will help you understand some things you should treasure. And it may be that as you think about them. You may want to call somebody and say, I just want to tell you how much I love you. I want to tell you how much I appreciate you. I want to thank you for what you’ve done for me. I want to thank you for understanding me. Thank you for forgiving me. It just may be that God will use this time. As you look at the things you treasure to encourage somebody else who needs to realize they too have things to treasure and father. How grateful we are. You treasure us and we know that you don’t treasure us because we are worthy because of many good things we’ve done. You treasure us because we are yours and Lord. If we didn’t know any other way to prove it, we could just take one glance at the cross and realize that it’s a symbol of the father’s treasure as he sees us. Thank you, Lord, jesus. But coming into this world in the humble form of a baby, going all the way to the cross to give us eternal life and we praise you in jesus name, your precious name. Amen. Well, you may not be a believer. You may not be a christian. You’re wondering what’s all this got to do with me. Here’s what it has to do with you. You have one hope of eternal life. Only one. You have only one savior. There’s only one truth. There’s only one way and it’s all wrapped up in a very short name, the name of jesus. And until you ask him to forgive you of your sins and surrender your life to him, you’re lost and separated. You’ll never get to heaven apart from him. He said, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father, but by me. And I want to encourage you, if you’ve never trusted jesus as your savior, to acknowledge your sinfulness, acknowledge your waywardness, acknowledge your unworthiness and ask him to forgive you of your sins based on not your good behavior, but based on the fact that you believed him. When he went to the cross and laid down his life, he became your substitute, full payment for your sins that he may give you. In turn his righteousness that he may forgive you of all your sins, make you one of his Children, write your name in the lamb’s Book of life and forever become a child of God. That’s a choice you make. It is my prayer. That you’ll make that choice.

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ABOUT DR.CHARLESSTANLEY Dr. Charles F. Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971. In 1982, Stanley...

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