Lost yet wonderfully recovered ∙

LLost yet wonderfully recovered ∙

Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king. – 2 Kings 22:10

2 Kings 22:11-19

 11 When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.

 12 Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest . . .

 13 “Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

 18 Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Regarding the words which you [Josiah] have heard,”

 19 “because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD.

2 Kings 23:2-25

 2 King Josiah went up to the Temple of the LORD with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets– all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the LORD’s Temple.

 3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD’s presence. He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

 25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.

One of the great challenges of our time is losing things. Our cell phones, our keys, our wallets seem to get misplaced all too frequently. In the 1992 movie, Medicine Man, Sean Connery plays Dr. Robert Campbell a researcher looking for a cure for cancer in the biosphere of the Amazon jungle. He has a breakthrough and then he misplaces it. He exclaims, “I found a cure for the plague of the 20th century, and now I’ve lost it!”

What could be worse than losing the cure for cancer? The answer depends on your value system. What is most valuable to you? What is your most valuable possession on earth?

For children of the King, a highly cherished possession is a copy of the Word of God itself. How would you feel if you lost it?

During the dark ages of the evil, apostate kings of Judah, many valuable or highly esteemed things were misplaced, lost, or stolen. But the most tragic loss was when the scrolls of the Scriptures went missing. Possibly one of the evil kings such as Manasseh or Amon had tried to destroy copies of God’s law. Perhaps some of them had been hidden like the Dead Sea Scrolls to protect them. But for all practical purposes, they were lost to the people of Israel.

Can you imagine what it would be like to Not have access to the Word of God? In the privileged modern age of printed and digital media, we can hardly envisage it.

At any rate, what was lost, was now found. After decades of darkness, Josiah became king. It was during this time, that a priest found missing scrolls of the Scriptures. The law of Moses was stashed away in the temple area. It was read aloud in Josiah’s presence.

Something remarkable happened! First, Josiah was utterly shocked. Apparently, Josiah had never heard the word of God before. Can you imagine? His shock quickly turned to shame and remorse over the Nation’s rebellion and defiance of the Father. His remorse became tears, tears of joyful sorrow. Joyful sorrow is a very unusual emotion that hearing the living Word of God produces.

Josiah humbled himself before the Lord. The 7th century BC Reformation began.

2 Kings 23:3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD’s presence. He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

REFLECT & PRAY

“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man” (Dwight L. Moody).

Father thank You for the capacity You given in all children of the King to have loyal love and devotion. Encourage my heart and mind to love You totally and completely.

INSIGHT

2 Kings 23:25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.

Despite several generations of idolatry and rebellion against the Father, somehow Josiah arose as a righteous king. Josiah was a remarkable and unique man. He had a personal love relationship with the Father. He turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses. He lived out the greatest of all commandments.

Deuteronomy 6:5 You must love the LORD your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength.

“You must love the LORD your God!” The Father does not merely desire love, He requires it. The Father is not needy nor lonesome. But He knows for His children to experience His best, they must give their best. The Father desires that the love His children give to Him is like His own. It is not timid, weak, affection. It is a purposeful, robust, enduring commitment. Father asks His children to give devoted and loyal love to Him.

This type of love is readily found in well-trained military dogs. Such dogs are by nature and by training, conditioned to be lovingly devoted to their leader. This is not hard for dogs to do, as pack animals, it is natural for them to willingly follow the leader of the pack. This is expressed in their attentiveness, affection, submission, and fearless action.

Such a dog recently made international headlines. Conan, a Belgian Malinois, assigned to US special forces, aided in the pursuit of the now-deceased leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!

The Father is our undeniable leader. He designed and built into us the capability of following Him and expressing and letting out loyal love. We have the capacity by design. But it is our decision to make.

The content of this love in action is fleshed out through the terms the terms that follow. The Hebrew word translated heart is lev. It is conceived of as the seat of feeling, thought, and intention.

The Hebrew word rendered soul, mind, or whole being is nefesh. It is that immaterial part of our humanity that is the seat of our emotions, passions, and desires.

To do something with all the heart and soul means to do it with the totality of one’s thoughts, feelings, intentions, and desires, that is undivided devotion (Tigay). Being “all in.”

The Hebrew word translated might; strength is meod. When this term is used as a noun, it has the sense of strong or mighty. Such strength may be mental or physical. But typically the term is used as an adverb with the sense of completely, totally, exceedingly, wholeheartedly. In modern Hebrew, meod is the common word for very. So if you wanted to say very good you would say, tov meod.

¯\_()_/¯ 11-12-9

A beautiful thing ∙

A beautiful thing ∙

But Jesus said, Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. – Mark 14:6


Mark 14:3-9

 3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from the essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.

 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked.

 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.

 6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a beautiful thing to me?

 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.

 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.

 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

In November 1922, in the Valley of Kings, Egypt, Howard Carter found a flight of steps cut into the bedrock which led to a mud-plastered doorway. On November 26, 1922, Carter made a “tiny breach in the top left-hand corner” of the doorway. He was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place.

Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, “Can you see anything?” Carter replied with the famous words: “Yes, wonderful things!” Carter had, in fact, discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.

On 16 February 1923, Carter opened the sealed doorway and found that it did indeed lead to a burial chamber. For the first time in thirty-five hundred years, the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun was visible to human eyes. The tomb is considered the best-preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

Carter had found wonderful things, beautiful things. Many beautiful things and beautiful acts are found in the Scriptures.

Mark 14:3-5

 3 A woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.

 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked.

 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.

The woman is identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus in John 12:3. Mary brought an expensive alabaster jar of perfume. She broke it and poured it on His head. How did the disciples react? They were aghast! They were disgusted! What a frivolous waste of costly resources. They harshly lashed out. Try to visualize what this temper tantrum looked like.

How did the Lord Jesus Christ react to their vicious, undeserved criticism? Did He answer in kind and return evil for evil? Not at all. I imagine He said something like this, “Calm down guys, let Me put this in perspective.” There will always be poor people and you can take care of them whenever you want, but I am not going to be around much longer. Mary is making the most of the time left. He praises her for her actions.

Mark 14:6, 8

 6 She has done a beautiful thing to me.

 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time

The Lord Jesus Christ found Mary’s actions beautiful and wonderful. The Lord Jesus Christ appreciates the beautiful and wonderful things we do because of our love for Him. To some, even our love for Him is a great waste. Nothing much has changed in 2000 years. People still seem to be able to criticize and find fault with just about anything. But what other people think, should in no way affect our choices.

The disciples judged by appearance, but the Lord Jesus Christ judged by motive. Using their criteria, in their assessment, Mary had done a wasteful thing. But the Father’s criteria are entirely different. In His view, she had done a beautiful thing.

At any given moment in time, our giving is informed by our emotional, physical, and material means. Our ability is fluid. The Father judges based upon our ability and motive. Quantity is not part of His equation. Mary did what she was able to do (Mark 14:8).

What made this Mary’s act beautiful? She did it out of pure, innocent love. Gifts given from loving motives make them beautiful in the Father’s sight. Her beautiful heart made her gift beautiful to the Father.

The woman was responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Did she know why she was anointing Jesus? Did she understand that He was about to die a cruel death? Perhaps. Or maybe she simply acted in faith, not knowing why.

Her act of devotion defied common sense. It was extravagant. It was neither practical nor productive. There was nothing in it for her. She did it for the Lord Jesus Christ. There were no ulterior motives, and she assumed there would be absolutely no payback.

There are two different words for “good” in Greek. One emphasizes on the rightness of the action, the other focuses on its beauty. The second is used here: the woman did not pause to seek moral justification for her action; she simply expressed her devotion to Jesus. Jesus says it was a beautiful thing.

The Greek term translated good or beautiful is kalos. Things which are kalos are intrinsically good, beautiful, or lovely. They are noble, praiseworthy, delightful, fine, precious, or even excellent.

REFLECT & PRAY

When you feel the impulse to do something beautiful for Father, do it. Promptings ignored may result in a thing of beauty being lost forever.

Father may I find beauty in the things that You find beautiful. Remove my callous heart from the equation.

INSIGHT

Sometimes what we give is meager, miserly, and minuscule. Other times we give way beyond our apparent means and ability (2 Corinthians 8:3). Acts of faith and devotion are not about what we desire to be or do. Rather they grow out of who we are and what we are able to do. They do not require moral justification, only affection, and love.

Worth is derived not from the material value of the gift, but rather from the motive and the intent of the giver.

Who recognized and valued the Lord Jesus Christ more, the Mary or the disciples? Her extravagant gift demonstrates that she understood the value of the person to Whom it was given. He is worth every cent. Mary’s extravagance demonstrates that “she alone understands Jesus’ incommensurable worth” (Edwards).

Imagine for a moment that the Father has a treasure box. It is filled with objects and acts of love and devotion. They have no real monetary value, but they warm His heart and recall treasured moments.

There are lots of strange things in His box of valuables: pennies from a widow, myriads of records of wise, self-sacrificial decisions, cups of water, one broken alabaster vase, AVGs (angel vision goggles), bottled tears, blinding scales,  a few shepherd staffs, pictures of prodigals and lost sheep, photos of tear-stained cheeks, bronzed impressions of bended knees, a bronze serpent, a door from the fiery furnace, a breastplate of righteousness, some lion’s teeth, broken tablets, tattered scrolls, a crown of thorns, three spikes, a bloodstained robe, and countless lists of canceled sins.

¯\_()_/¯ 12-05-9

Our dependable North Star ∙

Our dependable North Star

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. – James 1:17

Psalms 136:3-9

 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.

 4 Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever.

 5 Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. His faithful love endures forever.

 6 Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters. His faithful love endures forever.

 7 Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights – His faithful love endures forever.

 8 the sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever.

 9 and the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever.

Mankind has looked to the heavens quite literally for “guidance” for millennia. From the perspective of being planted firmly on the earth, the sun, moon, and stars have “moved” through the heavens in an orderly and predictable fashion. Based upon these observations ancient civilizations often ordered their lives and religious practices. Many well-known ancient architectural constructions provide mute testimony to this fact. Included are such famous sites as Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, and Machu Picchu.

In the northern hemisphere, a remarkable routine plays itself out. Stars at the celestial North of the earth, “move” in an ordered counterclockwise, circular fashion from left to right, around the center. In the center of the orderly procession is Polaris which we call the “North Star.” This star appears to not move at all and therefore people deduced that they would always know where “North” was by finding this star in the night sky.

A bit of clarity is required here. First, the stars do not “move.” Rather, the earth itself rotates on its axis and provides the appearance of stellar motion. The stars are so far away from Earth, that for all practical purposes over short periods of time, they do not “move” at all. But in fact, we now know that all the stars and galaxies are in motion. But the perceived differences are so small, that we never notice them.

The only motion of heavenly bodies that we are capable of noticing with our naked eye, is the movement of the moon, the sun, planets, meteors, and comets. The origin of the word planet comes from the Greek word, planetes, which meant wanderer. To ancient man, the planets such as Mars, Venus, and Saturn, seem to wander, even stagger, through the skies among the ordered and predictable movements of the stars.

In the ancient world, the most permanent and reliable things known to mankind were found in the signs of heaven. The movement of the sun, the moon, and the stars allowed ancient man to navigate his way through his world. But even the most stable thing known to man at that time was indeed variable and unstable.

What then is reliable and certain?

REFLECT & PRAY

“The lights change, but the one who created them never changes” (Barclay).

Father You are absolutely dependable, encourage me to trust You more fully every day.

INSIGHT

James 1:17 All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change

Notice that the word lights is plural. A modern translation has, heavenly luminaries. It does not refer to light itself but rather the lights in the sky: the sun, the moon, and stars. The Father is the source and creator of both light and the lights.

The Greek word translated variation is parallage meaning change or alteration. The Greek expression tropes aposkiasma is frequently translated as ‘shifting shadow’ or ‘slightest hint of change.’ It is literally, the dark ‘shadow-mark’ created by a heavenly body such as the sun, moon, or the earth itself. The moon is eclipsed by the shadow of the earth, and the sun by the shadow of the moon.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

“Unlike the ‘shifting shadows’ that are caused by the sun, moon, and stars, God ‘does not change.’ With him, there is no variation at all. The shadows cast by the sun are minimal at noon, but just before sunset, they stretch out for yards across the landscape. God is not like that. He does not change” (Burdick).

James is stressing the dependability of the Father because He alone never changes. In a world of ongoing fluctuation and change, things seem to be becoming more volatile, the Father who created it all, is the one constant, the firm foundation, the rock upon which we stand, the infinite reference point. Everything changes except Him. He alone is absolutely trustworthy and dependable.

When I did not know the Father, I had nothing permanent and lasting to trust in. I truly wandered in darkness. But then He found me!

O what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget

After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.

O what a tender, compassionate friend, he met the need of my heart

Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling, he made all the darkness depart.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul

When at the cross the Savior made me whole

My sins were washed away, and my night was turned to day

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.

¯\_()_/¯ 6-20-9

Deepest longings

Deepest longings

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. – Romans 8:26-27

Romans 8:22-27

 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.

 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

There are times in life we just don’t know what to say. For some, this can be very frustrating. Being at a loss for words can really pull some people down. Writers often get writer’s block. When we are surprised or shocked, knowing what to say is quite common.

But what about being at a loss for words when it comes to prayer. We are unable to express our deepest longings and desires for ourselves or on the behalf of others.

The Father knows us through and through and is prepared to deal with this exact eventuality despite our limitations. Because of our limitations, He enables us to overcome them.

When we do not know what to say in prayer, the Father always does. Paul the apostle encourages us to pray whether we have it all worked out or not. Rather than basing our prayers on our preparation or feelings, the Father has a more excellent way. He has prepared a remarkable provision to make it happen. The Holy Spirit simply takes over and prays on our behalf.

Romans 8:26 The Spirit helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

What we cannot say, what we cannot put into words, the Holy Spirit does it for us. When it comes to prayer, the Holy Spirit always has our backs. He helps us when we are weakest when we do not know what we ought to pray. Putting it in other terms the Holy Spirit, speaks through us to the Father on our behalf.

The Holy Spirit does not merely pray for us and through us, He prays specifically for Father’s will to be done. We may not know exactly how to pray, because we don’t always know what the will of the Father is. But the Holy Spirit always does. He intercedes according to the Father’s will.

Take a moment to contemplate this. How remarkable is this? We have direct access to someone who knows everything all the time. He always knows the Father’s will. And He is highly incentivized to see it done on earth as it is in heaven.

“Our failure to know God’s will and consequent inability to petition God specifically and assuredly is met by God’s Spirit, who himself expresses to God those intercessory petitions that perfectly match the will of God. When we do not know what to pray for – yes, even when we pray for things that are not best for us – we need not despair, for we can depend on the Spirit’s ministry of perfect intercession ‘on our behalf’” (Moo).

We can only imagine how the Holy Spirit works this out. When we feel weak in our prayers, the Holy Spirit is strong in our place.

“The Holy Spirit does not give armchair advice. He rolls up his sleeves and helps us bear our weakness. That is real help” (Hughes).

REFLECT & PRAY

“Prayer is the divine in us appealing to the Divine above us” (C. H. Dodd).

Father thank You for knowing me so well, that You can express my deepest longings, which I cannot express myself. When my prayers are weak the Holy Spirit is strong in my stead. The Holy Spirit prays to You on my behalf

INSIGHT

“‘Groans’ is the noun form of the verb used in Romans 8:22–23. It refers to the nonverbal vocalizing of deep inward feelings, as in a sigh or groans” (Cottrell).

“In Romans 8:26, groanings are prayers to the Father expressed inarticulately (Zodhiates). The Greek word translated groanings is stenagmos, a noun derived from the Greek verb stenazo, to groan or sigh. It is an involuntary expression of great concern or stress, sigh, groan, groaning (BDAG).

“God is concerned about the trials of His people . . .. Today the Holy Spirit groans with us and feels the burdens of our weaknesses and suffering. But the Spirit does more than groan. He prays for us in His groaning so that we might be led into the will of God. We do not always know God’s will. We do not always know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes so that we might live in the will of God in spite of suffering. The Spirit ‘shares the burden’” (Wiersbe).

“Paul is saying that, because of our weakness, we do not know what to pray for, but the prayers we ought to offer are offered for us by the Holy Spirit” (Barclay).

¯\_()_/¯

Numbering our days ∙

Numbering our days

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Psalm 39:4-5

 4 Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.

 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.

In our 21st century hyperkinetic age, we live for the moment. To live for the moment means to focus on the pleasure one can have in the now, without fretting about possible consequences. It is to concentrate on the present, with little or no concern for the future. Young people often tend to give little thought to growing older. The thought of their death is not a concern.

The hedonistic spirit of our times has captured many people who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.

Some 19th and 20th great thinkers also have little concern for the future, but their conviction was due to the wisdom of their years and maturity rather than hedonism. The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time (Abraham Lincoln). I never think of the future – it comes soon enough (Albert Einstein).

The Father lives in eternity. Time is actually one of His creations. The Father created time to provide sequence for His “time-bound creations.” The Father exists outside of time.

Isaiah 57:15 The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, he lives forever.

“God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God. He has already lived all our tomorrows as He has lived all our yesterdays” (A.W. Tozer).

A Kenyan proverb says, “Westerners have watches, Africans have time.” They track days, but not hours. Whatever deadlines exist are not hurried or driven by stress.

REFLECT & PRAY

We do not know how many days we have left. A successful life is composed of successful days that honor the Lord (Wiersbe).

Father, I have realized that my days are numbered. Enable me to make better choices with the time that You have allotted to me.

INSIGHT

Psalm 90 acknowledges the vast difference between the Father of eternity and finite people. Moses is well aware that the Father’s perspective on time and eternity is totally different from the natural man. Moses had an advantage that only time, age, and maturity bring.

In earlier life stages, adults focus on the here and now, and the near future. They have little concern for what happens after that. End-of-life issues are not on their radar. It is almost as though they think they are immortal.

Moses is past that. As he aged, he became more aware of his own mortality. He sought to work things out in his mind. As he focused on the reality of the fact that his life had an expiration date, he began what we might call today a “self-check.” He wanted to take an assessment of his life and put things in better perspective.

He prayed that he would learn to “number his days.” As we number our days, we become aware of how few there really are. We realize that our time is short and death is certain. Today we would say that our “days are numbered.”

Moses had reached a point in his life where he was now there. Moses realized he needed wisdom, greater skill in his thinking. Going forward, he sought to make the best possible choices with the time he had left. “By reflecting on death, one can learn how to live” (Waltner).

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

What does it mean to number our days? A literal translation would be “to keep an account of the days (already lived).” We are to realize how many are still left. The FRCL version translates, “Make us understand that our days are numbered” (USB).

The brevity of life is touched upon in other portions of the Scriptures.

Psalm 39:4-5

 4 LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.

 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment from your perspective; at best, each of us is but a breath.

Psalms 90:10 Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.

Deuteronomy 32:29 Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would know their fate!

For each of the Father’s children, wise choices flow from knowing the Father’s purpose for their lives and seeking to live out that purpose. Life is too precious to waste on petty, inconsequential, trivial pursuits.

A wise heart is “the prize of the one who knows his own limits because he is aware of the limits of human existence” (Westermann).

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more” (Mother Teresa).

The ironic outcome of looking out for your own interests without concern for long-term consequences, or incidentally, the best interest of others, is played out again and again in the Scriptures. What does not numbering our days nor acquiring a heart of wisdom look like?

Luke 12:15-21

 15 Then Jesus said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

 16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops.

 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’

 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.

 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”‘

 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

¯\_()_/¯ 12-30-9

Just grumble and complain

Just grumble and complain

Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.

 – Proverbs 27:20

1 Corinthians 10:6-13

 6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did,

 7 or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”

 9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites.

 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the destroyer.

 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

 12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.

 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

In 1976 the American movie, Network, showed in movie theaters across the United States. Network received widespread critical acclaim. It was a commercial success and won four Academy Awards. In 2007, Network was chosen as the 64th among the 100 greatest American films by the American Film Institute.

The decade of the 1970s was a time of great frustration, depression, rising inflation, and the oil crisis.

Network sets forth for all to see, the anger and languidness felt by those who have no recourse, remedy, or strategy. It captures the rage and anger of the disappointment experienced in modern life. Peter Finch, playing Howard Beale, an anchorman for fictional TV network, rants “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” He appeals to his audience to open their windows stick their heads out and scream, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

The film resonated with its viewers and marked a turning point in American culture. Peter Finch set the tone. People were unshackled and began to “tell it like it is.”

Anger, frustration, blaming,and lashing out are nothing new. It’s gone on since the Garden of Eden. In the Old Testament, it was often expressed by resentment and murmuring. Old Testament stories chronicle this to encourage us to make better decisions.

1 Corinthians 10:6-11

 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

The Greek word translated crave or desire is epithumeo. Epithumeo means to have a strong desire, a longing, or lust. Generally speaking, it is a neutral term for strong longing or craving. However, most frequently it takes on a pejorative sense and refers to something which is an irregular and inordinate desire, appetite, lust, impure or worldly desires, lewdness. Epithumeo can be thought of it as strong negative desires on steroids

The Greek word translated grumble is gogguzo. Gogguzo means to grumble, complain, mutter, to express oneself in low tones of disapproval. It is an onomatopoetic word, based upon a sound associated with what is named. English words such as growl, murmur, cuckoo, sizzle, and whippoorwill are examples of such.

Anyone can be disappointed or discouraged by circumstances. Many go to the next level and become agitated and extremely angry. But for children of the King, there is a better way to respond.

We can learn the art and practice of taking every thought and emotion captive. We can control what we think and feel, rather than allowing ourselves to be controlled by our feelings and thoughts.

REFLECT & PRAY

Paul compares human reasoning and arguments to military fortresses, strongholds. People erect the spiritual forts to protect themselves and block an invasion from the knowledge of God.

Father so many times I’ve been deceived and misled. Help me to be wise and empower me to take every thought captive to the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ.

INSIGHT

The battle is for the mind and heart: thinking, feeling, wanting, craving, and choosing to be satisfied or not. The enemy of our souls and his minions are actively engaged in a campaign to influence and deceive the children of the King. They use deceit, lies, confusion, uncertainty, and strong negative emotions such as anger, fear, revenge, and hate to achieve their goal.

The ability of the enemy to influence and control outcomes is evidenced by New Testament examples.

One is recorded in the events of the night of the Last Supper in the Gospel of John. The enemy first influences Judas by placing the desire into his heart to betray the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever his motives, Judas had betrayal in his heart. The enemy encouraged his thoughts and plans. Many think that Judas was trying to provoke the Lord Jesus Christ into action and demonstrate His supernatural power as the Messiah, the Son of God, and overthrow Roman rule

John 13:2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, putting it in his heart to betray Jesus.

Then Satan went to the next level and entered into Judas. The Lord Jesus Christ knew exactly what was going on.

John 13:27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

The rest is history. Judas was one of the twelve apostles. Yet he was the son of perdition (John 17:12). No one suspected what was coming, except the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Could this happen to a child of the King? Consider this. While Judas was no child of the King but he undoubtedly opened his heart and gave the enemy an opportunity. Paul warns all children of the King against doing this very thing (Ephesians 4:27).

A second example is found in the book of Acts.

Acts 5:3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.”

Ananias let down his guard and allowed Satan to fill his heart, that is, influence his decisions. He chose poorly and suffered the consequences.

Could this happen to a child of the King? It did. Ananias was a child of the King. Yet, he allowed Satan to take control and fill his heart.

How can we effectively deal with Satan’s attempt to influence and control us?

We learn the art and skill of taking every thought captive to the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ. By ourselves alone, we are not capable of doing this. But the Father has made it possible through spiritual weapons that he has provided us to fight this spiritual battle for the mind.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.

 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.

The bottom line is that the Father has given us the ability to control what we think and feel. The choice is ours.

What is the opposite of complaining and murmuring? Thankfulness!

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A bit more – my way

A bit more – my way

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. – Psalms 16:11

Psalms 16:1-11

 1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

 2 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

 7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

 8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money is enough money?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.” What makes him problematic, and why he continues to inspire ambivalent reactions, is that his good side was every bit as good as his bad side was bad. Seldom has history produced such a contradictory figure.

Rockefeller may ultimately be remembered simply for the raw size of his wealth. In 1902, an audit showed Rockefeller was worth about $200 million – compared to the total national wealth of the United States that year of $101 billion. Rockefeller’s net worth over the last decades of his life would easily place him among the very wealthiest persons in history.

In many ways, Rockefeller echoes the hunger in our own hearts. Whether it’s directed at one thing in particular or just a vague longing for “more.” But in reality “more” is never enough.

There is a more excellent way. King David found it and lived it. He gives us glimpses throughout the Psalms.

Psalm 16 is a very personal hymn of joy that focuses on the goodness of the Lord. David finds his delight only in the Father and confesses that everything good in his life had come from Him. David expresses a combination of joy, praise, humility, and submission to the Father’s will.

David depended upon the Father to for safety and provision. He needed the Father’s constant care and oversight of all the good things that the Father provided. For David, the Father was his highest good and greatest treasure.

After years of walking with the Father David’s entire perspective on life has been transformed. The Father had formed a unique and wonderful bond with David. David has learned to depend upon Him for he knows that the Father alone is always there for him. He essentially says, “having God, in heaven, is all he wants or needs” (UBS). Other translations provide similar sentiments. “Whom do I have in heaven?  You alone!” (SPCL). “Who in heaven will come to my help except you?” (FRCL).   “You are the only one in heaven who is for me. And since I have you, there is no one else on earth I want” (UBS).

Psalms 73:25-28

 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.

 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

REFLECT & PRAY

Wanting more in and of itself is not a bad thing. Wanting more of the Father is a great and wonderful desire.

Father how I long to have the heart of David. He had such great love for and devotion to You. I know that nothing on this earth will ever satisfy me as You alone can.

INSIGHT

Sadly, the longings of our hearts have sent us on desperate futile quests for satisfaction. David shows us a better way to live. Rather than wanting more things, more wealth, more power, more recognition, etc., he found true contentment was not found “out there.” Rather, David learned to enter into and make himself at home in the Father’s presence.

More than that, David truly delighted in just being close to the Father. Being with the Father was the source of his greatest joy and pleasure.

Psalm 16:11 is unsurpassed for the beauty of the prospect it opens up, in words of the utmost simplicity. The path of life is so called, not only because of its goal but because it is a way to live. It leads into God’s presence and into eternity. The joys and pleasures David speaks of are wholly satisfying and endlessly varied. They are found in what the Father is and what the Father gives (Kidner).

The Hebrew word translated, “in your presence,” is literally in your panim, “faces.” The sense is close proximity, companionship, care, or protection.

Isaiah 30:15 In quietness and trust is your strength.

The Hebrew word translated quietness is hasqeṭ. Hasqeṭ means to enjoy peace based on justice. The Hebrew word translated trust is bithah. It signifies reliance on God. Quietness and trust are evidence of strength, not weakness (Friesen).

At this time in history, the people of Israel were doing everything they could to be self-reliant and independent of the Father. It did not work out too well. Isaiah offers them an alternative that will work. Simply recognize their helplessness and turn to the Father for care and comfort.

It should not be surprising to any of us, particularly when we look deep within ourselves, that the children of Israel refused to trust in the Father’s promises. They wanted to be autonomous and have their own way. They dared to bluntly say “No” to the Father. They would have none of what He was suggesting. Instead, they turned to Egypt for help expecting to be rescued by them.

The Father would have none of that. Rather than such an alliance strengthening them, it would instead weaken them.

Isaiah 30:16-17

 16 But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!

 17 One of them will chase a thousand of you. Five of them will make all of you flee. You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”

Instead of rushing toward their enemies and overpowering them, they would retreat in panic. They would be chased by an undermanned force until they became like a single, scrawny pole on a hill (MacDonald).

¯\_()_/¯

Do you feel lucky? ∙

Do you feel lucky? ∙

Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. – Deuteronomy 30:15

Deuteronomy 30:15-19

 15 Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other.

 16 What I am commanding you today is to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you are about to possess.

 17 However, if you turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other gods,

 18 I declare to you this very day that you will certainly perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.

 19 Today I invoke heaven and earth as a witness against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live!

The movie Dirty Harry, was released in 1971, it was a critical and commercial success. In 2012, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.” It created a whole new genre of police films.

Dirty Harry starred Clint Eastwood as a San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) inspector. Dirty Harry Callahan foils a bank robbery. He shoots two robbers and holds a third at gunpoint. The third robber surrenders because dirty Harry bluffed him with the memorable ultimatum:

“I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’

Well, do you, punk?’”

Each of us makes choices every day: the color of our socks, slacks, shirts; what we do in our spare time, what we watch or read, the food and beverages we select. Everyone has the right to make their own choice. Some choices are of little consequence. Others are very momentous and life-changing. Some have eternal consequences. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But not everyone has a right to their own Truth (Lutzer).

Ultimately, from the Father perspective, choices are black or white, good or evil, wise or foolish.

REFLECT & PRAY

“We almost always have choices, and the better the choice, the more we will be in control of our lives” (William Glasser).

Father in my lifetime I have made so many poor choices. Thank You that You are my counselor. Encourage me to make better choices, the right choices, the best possible choices.

INSIGHT

In the Ancient Near East, during the time of Moses, when treaties were made and contracts were agreed upon, people would call upon witnesses to their ratification. Often those witnesses were their gods. This practice continues in the modern American justice system where one is adjured to “swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.”

In Deuteronomy, the Father Himself is a partner to the Mosaic Covenant. He cannot invoke anyone higher than Himself as a witness. Therefore, heaven and earth are called as His witnesses.

Consider and recognize, the choices we make determine what we have. If what we have is not what we want, we are dissatisfied and frustrated. How do we get what we want? We have to make better choices.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

The smart move is to gather as much helpful information as possible. We have the revealed truth of the Word of God available to us. We can seek out knowledgeable and wise counselors to enable us to make the best possible decisions with the best possible outcomes.

Proverbs 15:22 Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety in having many advisers.

Proverbs 12:15 Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

The Father created us in His image. We have minds to think with, hearts to feel with, and a will to decide with; and God calls us to make the right decisions. We’re not robots; we can hear God’s Word, learn God’s will, and decide either to obey or disobey (Wiersbe).

Making decisions is not a difficult task. Making the right decisions is another matter entirely. What are the consequences of our actions?

The Father has laid out the most important choices in clear terms that are easy to understand. On the one hand, is life and good, on the other hand, is death and evil. Who really wants to choose death? Perhaps the desperate, the despondent, and the depressed.

Just to be clear, what are the choices? To love and obey the Father is life and good, to reject the Father is death and evil.

Do you feel lucky?

¯\_()_/¯ 12-23-9

Be careful what you ask for

Be careful what you ask for

So he gave them what they asked for, but sent leanness into their soul. – Psalms 106:15

Psalms 78:23-25

 23 But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven.

 24 He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven.

 25 They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.

Somehow it seems that no matter how much we have; it is never enough. We might think that perhaps this is the result of the overabundance of “things” that are available in the highly materialistic, productive 20th and 21st centuries. However, “wanting more” just seems to be part of our human DNA.

Beginning in the Garden of Eden, in an impeccable, pollution-free, idyllic, temperature-controlled, perfectly designed environment, the cornucopia of things provided by the Father was just not enough. Even though every need was satisfied, Adam and Eve still wanted more. Of course, the enemy knew this and developed a scheme, a strategy of temptation. They succumbed.

No doubt some might conclude that both the temptation and the tempter were too great to resist. But that is not the case. No matter how great the temptation, there is always another way. The onus is on each of us to find the way out, resist, and escape.

1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

What other layered, unseen risks were at stake in the temptation and giving in to it? First and foremost, having a relationship with the Father, the living God.

Without regard to the consequences, we all too often trade something precious for short-term pleasure or gratification.

Psalms 78 recounts the story of the children of Israel’s ungratefulness and discontentment with the miraculous provision of the Father.

The children of Israel were in the wilderness. There was limited food and little water for so many. The Father gave them a tremendous, supernatural, miraculous provision: manna from heaven. Manna was an organic health food sent directly from the Father’s hand to them.

Psalms 78:23-25

 23 He commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven.

 24 He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven.

 25 They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.

What could possibly be wrong with manna? In a word, it’s sameness. It was predictable and boring! Manna, manna, manna, every day manna!  Roasted manna, boiled manna, sunbaked manna, barbecue manna, no matter what you do with it it’s always manna.

Numbers 11:18 Oh, for some meat! We were better off in Egypt!

This one sentence overflows with layers of ingratitude, defiance, and rebellion. They desired the “good old days.” The “good old days” of slavery in Egypt? They craved, they lusted after what they did not have. They forgot all of the marvelous and magnificent works of the Father. Ultimately, they doubted that the Father could or would provide for them. They were impatient and unwilling to wait for His solution.

Psalms 78:18-19

 18 They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved.

 19 They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness.”

Ponder this for a moment. After all they had seen and experienced, they now shamelessly provoked the Father, putting Him to a test. The challenge was boldfaced and audacious. Can the Father do what they were asking Him to do? Can He, or can’t He? Would He, or won’t He? It was almost as though they were making bets.

REFLECT & PRAY

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough” (Lao Tzu).

Father help me to learn to be content and grateful with what You provide for my needs.

INSIGHT

Their “demand” was granted. They got the short-term gratification they were seeking. They got their wish, but there was collateral damage, unanticipated consequences. With the gift, came disaster: a wasting disease in their souls (Numbers 11:18-20).

Psalms 106:15 He granted their request, then struck them with a disease in their souls.

Numbers 11:33 While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague.

How do we avoid having lean souls, but instead develop strong spirits (Luke 1:80)? The battle is in the mind and heart. We need to be able to say, “enough is enough.”

1 Corinthians 10:6-11

 6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did,

 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

Instead of grumbling about what you do not have, be grateful for what He has provided. Feed on the true Bread from Heaven.

John 6:27-35

 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

 32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven.”

 33 “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

 34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

 35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

They forgot His works, which were the undeniable evidence of the Father’s wisdom, power, and goodness. In so doing they forgot the Father. The Father “makes himself known by his works” (NET).

What have you asked for? Have you received it? Is your soul lean?

¯\_()_/¯ 12-07-9

A solid foundation ∙

God’s truth, God’s solid foundation stands firm (2 Timothy 2:19).

Matthew 7:24-27

 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.

 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.

 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Life is filled with uncertainty. Everyone has the right to choose what they base their belief system and life upon. The choices are almost boundless. How do we make the best choices? On planet earth, there are only two things which will last forever: human souls and The Word of God.

The Father provides a best choice scenario. His solution is rock solid. It is firm, sure, dependable, and steadfast.

What is His firm foundation? The Lord Jesus Christ explained it to us by way of analogy. He focused on prudent and effective building practices. Wise builders seek the best possible foundations for their structures. When we listen to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and follow them, we choose to build our lives upon an immovable, bedrock, firm foundation of truth.

Matthew 7:24 Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.

The Spanish-American war came just 33 years after the end of the US Civil War, and tensions between the North and the South were still high.

On Christmas Eve, 1898, the United States Army corps was encamped near Havana, Cuba. The sentry’s call rang out at 12 AM, all’s well. It was Christmas morning.

From the camp of the Forty-ninth Iowa, rose the music of the old familiar hymn, “How Firm a Foundation.” A baritone voice sang the chorus: ‘How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord!’ One voice after another joined in. Soon some fifteen thousand American army troops were singing! North and South, Protestant and Catholic, were singing together in unity as Americans.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed;

For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

This comforting Christian hymn was first published in 1787 in a hymnbook edited by John Rippon. The Northern soldier knew the hymn as one he had learned beside his mother’s knee. To the Southern soldier it was that and something more; it was the favorite hymn of General Robert E. Lee, and it was sung at his funeral.

REFLECT & PRAY

In good times, the strength of our foundation appears not to matter. But when the storms come, it is another matter altogether.

Father, thank you for providing the firmest of immovable foundations, following the words of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

INSIGHT

God’s truth stands firm (2 Timothy 2:19). The foundation that the Father provides is solid and dependable. Whatever the Father has Himself established cannot be shaken, altered, or moved. The Father’s solid foundation stands firm, because it is solely dependent upon the Father’s immovable character. Failure is never an option with the Father. Whatever He begins is completed on schedule.

The Greek word translated firm or sure is stereos. Stereos refers to something that is not soft and does not yield to pressure. It can be translated as strong, sure, steadfast, firm, immovable, solid, hard, or rigid. The English word stereo is derived from this term.

The foundations which the world offers are uncertain, temporary, and lead to eternal death. The foundation which the Lord Jesus Christ offers is absolute truth, permanent, and provides eternal life.

“Picture these two houses. There may not be much in their external appearance to enable the casual observer to distinguish between them. Both seem attractive and clean, freshly painted perhaps. One, however, has its foundation resting securely on bedrock; the other has as its foundation nothing more substantial than sand.” 

“Only the most severe storm will betray the difference; but granted the storm, the betrayal is inevitable” (D. A. Carson).

The Lord Jesus Christ explains that there are wise and unwise foundations available to build our lives upon: rock or sand. It is one thing to hear, approve, and admire the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. But more is required to avoid disaster. His words must be followed.

Matthew 7:24-27

 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock . . . it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.

 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand . . . it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

The Father offers a firm foundation. The words of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the rest of Scripture, understood and followed, provide solid rock.

What are you building your life upon? Is the foundation you have chosen enough? If not, is disaster crouching at the door?

How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

What more can He say than to you He hath said,

who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,

for I am thy God and will still give thee aid.

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;

for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I will not desert to his foes;

that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯   12-29-9

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