Friday, March 30, 2012

When You Get in Hot Water

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.   It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen.  He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.  Soon, each of the pots came to a boil.  In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and in the last he placed ground coffee beans.  He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.  In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners.  He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl.  Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her he asked. "Darling, what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  He then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard- boiled egg.  Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee.  She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
As she sipped the coffee, he explained that each of these items had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.  The carrot went in strong, hard, and brittle.  But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile with its thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior.  But after sitting through the boiling water, it became hardened inside. The ground coffee beans were unique however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. It’s unknown whether the daughter got the message but it seems pretty clear what the message is. 
Are you the carrot that seems strong and tough, but pain and adversity have caused you to lose your strength?  
Are you the egg, which started off with a soft heart and fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a divorce, or a layoff you have become cynical?  Your shell looks the same, but are you now tough with an unyielding spirit and heart?
Or are you like the coffee bean?  The bean changed the hot water.  As a matter of fact, it reaches its peak flavor at 212 degrees.  When the water gets the hottest, it just tastes better.
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Scripture to Claim:
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Forgiveness Fence

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
Matthew 6:14-15
Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.
Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work" he said.  "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?"
"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor; in fact, it's my younger brother.
Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - - an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow."
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the posthole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."
The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.  The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.
About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.
The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all -- and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched.  "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder.
"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

Why is it so difficult to say those words, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”  Perhaps just as difficult to say is a sincere, “I forgive you.”  None of us goes through life without at some point being on both sides of the situation.  Sometimes we are the one hurt; other times we are the offender.  Hurts and wrongs alter relationships, sometimes forever, unless we learn how to build a bridge of forgiveness to the other person.  The great carpenter, Jesus, is ready and willing to build a bridge whenever and wherever it is needed!

Scripture to Claim:
Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:13-15

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:2

It’s that time again…break out the cleaning supplies!  Sweep up the cobwebs, throw open the windows and let the sunshine in.  Once a year we clean in spaces that only get cleaned once in a while.  We hit the high spots and clean out from under the bed and in all the dark corners.  These are the areas that no one really sees when they come over to visit.  The places that are easy to hide. 
I know there are dark corners and top shelves in my heart that need a good spring cleaning too.  These are the areas of my heart that I can hide away, or at least I think they are hidden away.  They are never hidden from God and even if I think they are hidden away from everyone else, if they aren’t cleaned out once in a while they will begin to mildew.   Even when I try to ignore it, I am aware of it just as I am aware of the layer of dust on the top shelf that I know is there.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Psalm 51:3
Spring cleaning goes beyond normal everyday cleaning.  It's a major project for home revitalization: to make everything new by removing dust and dirt, to make sure everything is in good repair, and to put things in order so you will have everything in your household in working condition for the coming year. Some of the tasks for spring cleaning our heart might include:
·      Cleansing of the past – failures and setbacks we have swept under the rug
·      Cleaning out attitudes tucked away in the attic – hurt feelings, anger, resentment
·      Confession of hidden sin buried in the basement where no one goes
·      Cleaning of the unforgiveness staining the living room walls
The Ultimate Mr. Clean
Jesus is the ultimate Mr. Clean.  He is the only one who can cleanse us and make us white as snow.  We just have to ask Him and be willing to be transformed; willingly to let go of the old stuff and welcome the renewal.  Sometimes change is hard even when it is for the better.  Sometimes we don’t want to let go of bitter feelings we harbor.  We hold on to hurt and anger just like old clothes we have outgrown.  (Or that have gone out of style!) Clean out the closet!  Give Jesus all your hand-me-downs and make room for a fresh, new beginning.  Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Psalm 51:7
What a wonderful feeling when the ‘Spring Cleaning’ is complete. Rejoice in your success and move forward with new energy and a renewed spirit.  But recognize that life is a series of seasons, and at some future date, you will return once again to ‘Spring Clean’ your soul for further growth and renewal.  Life is a process, not a moment in time, as is our spiritual journey.  We continue to grow from the time of our birth until we leave this earth at the end of our lives.  Spring is a time for renewal; a time to celebrate and grow. Does your soul need ‘Spring Cleaning’?
Scripture to Claim:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Families aren't failing

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.  Isaiah 51:1-2
Family is a weird thing. Family members don't mean to get on your nerves.  They don't even mean to be your family, they just are. You did not choose them but they did not choose you either. Either way, you are traveling through life together and share a common bond.
Families aren't failing; we are failing the family.
We have been taught that independence is strength and that families are temporary places for preparation for real living, and that maybe once in a while we can get together as a family or when a relative dies.  We have not learned the skill of building families with purpose as we grow through life, of “re-familying” when the family is tom apart, or learned how to make our family life the number one priority in our interpretation of our world.  Intentional building of a family legacy can help.
Four Ways to Build a Family Legacy:
       Clarify Values - As a family, set aside time to talk about and identify your most important values. Values are deeply held personal beliefs, desires and ideals. They are a filter for perceiving the world and acting in it.  Values determine decisions and behavior.
       Create an Ethical Atmosphere - Pay attention to the content of what you and your children hear, read, watch and do. Ethics are principles that define right and wrong. Ethics suggest how an individual should behave. They reveal what is right or appropriate, regardless of personal values.
       Lead by Example - According to the Josephson Institute of Ethics, Everything you say and do, and all that you allow to be said and done in your presence ... reinforces or undermines the credibility of your messages about the importance of good character.
       Tell StoriesTell children about family members and role models who shaped your life.  Discuss historical figures who lived ethical lives.  Tell them about your family heritage and lineage.  Family stories are powerful instruments of passing on values, identity and faith.  Has God pulled you out of the pit?  Has God ever met a financial need for you?  Tell the stories to your children!  We take the “God events” in our lives for granted, but our children will lose the blessing of seeing the Hand of God through our stories unless we choose to pass them down. Who we are is largely defined by the experiences we have had and how we understand those experiences. Families that share stories, stories about parents and grandparents, about triumphs and failures, provide powerful models for children. Parents tell these stories to teach their children life lessons

We have been talking about leaving something behind for eternity, something that will last, more than just a memory, an etched gravestone, or a few treasured family photos. We call that which we leave behind a legacy.  One of the most important responsibilities as a parent is to leave a legacy that lasts; to make your life count for something more than the possessions you accumulate; to live in such a way that this world is changed because you touched someone’s life. You cannot ignore or dismiss the impact of your legacy. What kind of legacy you want to leave is worth taking some time to think about.
We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.   Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas

Scripture to Claim:
For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.  Psalm 61:5 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Family Legacy

O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. (Psalms 71:17-18)
This past Saturday we had our second Parent Summit here at North Side Baptist Church.  I hope you had the opportunity to attend.  We believe family is important and we here at North Side Baptist Church want to do everything we can to equip families to survive these trying times.  A help in connecting and strengthening families is the handing down of a good family legacy.
Family Legacy
Without roots we blow through life as tumbleweeds at the mercy of the winds and end up wherever we are caught.  Family is where our roots take hold and from there we grow. We are molded within a unit, which prepares us for what we will experience in the world and how we react to those experiences.  Legacy tells us we came from some place and are leaving a mark on the future. A Legacy is something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past, something that someone has achieved that continues to exist after they stop working or die.  A family legacy is the overriding impact, influence and/or materials passed down to the next generation from the actions or resources of the generation(s) before. Your family handed down a legacy.  Now it is your family’s turn to pass it on. 
The Four “C’s of a legacy:” (Capital, Character, Conduct, and Convictions)
1.    CAPITALMaterial or financial legacies are the most commonly considered legacies.  When we pass any kind of legacy down, we have to trust the next generation to treasure it.  The problem with financial inheritance legacies is that they are left by one generation and then the next generation comes and spends it all instead of adding to it and leaving something to pass on to the next generation.  Stewardship of capital legacies is a primary lesson to pass on to the next generation.
2.    CHARACTERCharacter is the core of the legacy we will leave.  God isn’t interested in you just having a good reputation; He is interested in you being a godly person!  Who we are, not just what we have, is what remains when we are gone.
3.    CONDUCT How you live affects your legacy.  Our kids learn not from what we say but what we do.  Of all the things that are caught not taught, values are the most learned by lifestyle.  We can say we believe things but unless we live them our children not discover the value of our beliefs.  Change yourself and you will change your children’s destiny!
4.    CONVICTIONSThe greatest legacy a family can leave is the impact of their faith on the next generation.  How dear to you it that your children discover God and find salvation in Christ?  Do your children really know what is important to you?
The important thing to recognize about a legacy is that you will leave one whether you try to or not.  It is the remnant of influence that remains when we pass that decorates the reputation of a family.  All of those who follow will be known by those who knew you through your reputation and values.  Each day that remains in our lives we will write on the hearts of generations to come.  May we cherish our legacy as we write them today.

Scripture to Claim:
Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.  (Deuteronomy 32:7-9)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Moses the Reluctant Leader Part 4

Part 4 - “Submission or Obedience”
Exodus 4:13-17
God has challenged Moses with a great task.  Moses tries to hide behind His inability but God tells Him that He will not call Him to something that He doesn't equip him to do.  Moses reluctantly agrees and God is not happy.  He desires more than mere obedience.

  I.     Moses' Excuses vs. God's Provision 3:11 - 4:12

·             When I Doubt My Abilities I Trust in God’s Presence.  3:11-12

·             When I Doubt My Intelligence I Trust in God’s Revelation  3:14-21

·             When I Doubt My Influence I Trust in God’s Power 4:1-9 

·             When I Doubt My Speaking Skills I Trust God’s Spirit  4:10-12

While men seek better methods, God seeks better men.
God does not always call the equipped but always equips the called.
It is the Holy Spirit that touches the hearts of men and speaks the message they need to hear.

·      A Necessary Provision 4:14b-16

God provided Aaron to be the spokesperson. But Moses was held responsible for the message.

  II.     Moses' Consent 4:13-17

·      A Reluctant Acceptance 4:13

Moses felt compelled rather than inspired to serve.

·      An Angry Response 4:14a

God desires more than just obedience from Moses;  He wants a partnership not a puppet.
There is a difference between Submission and Obedience.
Submission is relational while obedience is practical.
Submission is an inward condition of the heart while obedience is an outward response to authority.
The primary motivation of obedience is often fear while the primary motivation of submission is love or respect.
Obedience vs. Submission = Transaction vs. Transformation  Romans 12:1-2
Transactional leaders - believe that people are motivated by reward or punishment.
Transformational leaders - believe people are motivated by personal transformation.
Respect vs. Fear Motivation
Respect is earned and maintained through trust. 
Submission - When I realize God has a will for me, and that I am being called to some form of obedience.
Obedience - When I finally find the strength to follow God's will.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Stir up, Retain, and Guard. Part 3.

“Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”  2 Timothy 1:14
What is this treasure?
In the passage above, we are called to guard the treasure which has been entrusted to us.  What is this treasure?  Is it money?  Is it success?  Is it our life?  No, the great treasure given to us is the Gospel message itself!  Paul was very concerned with Timothy holding fast to the teachings he had learned, and guarding them against false teaching.  Why was this so important?  Paul had a sense, a vision of the Gospel as a treasure which was being passed from one generation to the next, and he knew the price of that message becoming watered down, or polluted by secular thought.  His instruction to Timothy therefore, was to guard it through the Holy Spirit! 
On your mark, get set…Guard!
How do we guard though?  In his letter to the Philippians, 4:13 Paul wrote: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  Similarly, he wrote to Timothy to draw upon the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit in guarding his treasure!  We guard on multiple fronts:  We strive to discern what is sound Biblical teaching and learn from teachers who “rightly divide the word.”  We take stock of the varied influences that affect our daily walk…the books we read, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the places we go and the company we keep.  Earlier in Philippians chapter 4, verses 8-9, Paul offered the following counsel: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  This too is guarding the treasure entrusted to us.
Guarding against what cannot be seen
We are remiss if we do not keep in mind that we are to guard against the attack of the Adversary.  Satan.  How do we do this?  Very simply, we resist.  Apathy, confusion, dissention, and other deceptions…these are but a few of the weapons the devil may use to cause our guard of the treasure to be let down.  As you have likely already discerned, many of the duties in guarding are battles fought in the mind.  Our spiritual opponent knows that we are vulnerable there to his suggestions and planted frustrations.  But how vulnerable are we really?  The evil of the opponent is not strong, but it is persistent.  His power is only that of suggestion.  Temptation.  Offering alternative truths.  Sowing seeds of doubt.  Satan is not too great an opponent, but we are inclined to believe that he is greater than we can endure.  This, however, is not true.  As 1 John 4:4 reads: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  Resistance is NOT futile.  In fact, James instructs us in James 4:7 to: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” 
Full Time Guards wanted. Inquire within.
Finally, it’s important to mention that guarding is not a part-time job.  We are to be ever on the watch.  We are to take the preservation and communication of the Gospel message very seriously, and commit to it for life.  As a baton in the relay of faith, once it is in our hand, we are to carry it faithfully for all of our days, taking care not to surrender or drop it.  Paul tried to emphasize to Timothy the seriousness of the task of guarding the treasure.  He wanted Timothy to get it.  I think he wants me to get it too.
Scripture to Claim: “'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Revelation 3:11

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stir up, Retain, and Guard.

“Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy 1:13

Yesterday, we considered the Apostle Paul’s charge to Timothy that he “stir up” the gift of God within him…To rekindle a cooled faith fire, if you will.  Today, we rejoin that charge where Paul encourages his reader to “retain the standard of sound words” heard from him.
Coffee cans and boxes
I have very fond memories of trolling through my grand father’s shop and garage.  It was a wonderland to me.  Dusty toolboxes and mason jars filled with various cleaners and chemicals.  Carpenter’s tools and other items were carefully stored in their cubbyholes or hanging on hooks.   As I surveyed his workbench, I tried to imagine what he would do…what he would build or fix there.  I was always fascinated not only by the things he had, but by the things he didn’t throw away.  There were coffee cans and small boxes full of old screws, odd bolts and nuts, washers, small bits of copper wire, or a square of tin; even used nails and pieces of lumber.  I asked him once why he kept all of that stuff and he replied: “Well, someday I might need it.” 
My grandfather was not of this consumer age.  You kept just about everything you bought, because you couldn’t buy much.  Flour came in sacks, and the sack could be used to make clothing.  You threw away only that which could not be repurposed.  You retained.
Back to the Future
This day is not that day.  Practically everything in our world is conceived and created with a planned obsolescence.  Cars are not built to last, but be replaced.  We pick our cell phones knowing that in a year or two, we have the option to upgrade, and we mentally factor in the cost.  Computers have a functional life span of only a few years, and must be replaced to stay practical in the workplace and home…even if they are still essentially functional.  We have become a consumer society.
This can bleed into our spiritual lives as well.  Long gone are the days where the people of God had no Bibles, but had to go to the temple to simply have any knowledge of faith at all.  Only the priests had access to the scrolls.  There were no sermons on the radio, no Bible programs on their computers, no teaching DVDs, or MP3s.  No church services on the radio or television…or Internet.  They had to retain every word they could…test every new teaching against the words they had heard before.
We are virtually bombarded by information on every side of our lives.  The Internet has actually become a frequently referenced and largely respected source of information on Christianity, although much of its content is written and edited by individuals who may or may not adhere to our own system of beliefs or values.  I’ve observed that many Christians in our society base what they believe not upon what the scriptures say, or how the church has traditionally stood on an issue, but upon the conclusions of their own conscience and reasoning.  While the Lord has given us great minds and mental faculties, without the guidance of His Word and Holy Spirit, we are quickly lost!
The call is all the more valid for us to “retain the standard of words…” which we have heard and believed. 
Scripture to Claim: “Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

iPads for knee pads

“And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”  Matthew 26:40

The NEW iPad…
Not many days ago, the announcement came to the world that the third generation Apple iPad would be hitting the stores for purchase. And what a revolutionary device the tablet computer has proven to be… Forget that computers once filled entire buildings, and then only entire rooms…and later still, the desktop.  Now, computers don’t even fill the center slot of the briefcase…finding a home in the side pocket instead…more so still – the pants pocket for smart phone and Android users. 

And what we can accomplish with them is amazing!  We can make phone calls, compose email and other documents, make purchases, take and edit photos, make movies, exchange vital information, surf the internet, play games, and perform a few hundred thousand other tasks using any number of the brilliantly designed applications – many of which can be purchased for less than a dollar!

I find however, that my technological toys and tools can become so entertaining, so enthralling, that the time I would normally take to spend time with the Lord is absorbed by whatever is next, new, and now on the internet.  How do we balance the tools of technology and the heart-cry for spiritual intimacy in our lives?

Hey, Matthew.  Are you awake?
In the scripture passage above, Jesus is undergoing the tribulations of Gethsemane.  His time is growing very close.  He has asked his disciples to tarry with him and pray.  But the day has grown long and they are weary.  Their bodies are seeking escape and rest.  They fall asleep. Twice more he returns to find them in slumber.  When he awakens them, they are repentant, but the hour is now past.  The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.  They had not managed the time well and now, Judas and the mob were approaching. 

Technology Is Not Bad
I think it’s important to make sure and not blame the tools here.  The problem isn’t the iPad, it’s the iMe.  I am the problem.  Maybe you are too.  Our habits, our routines… Days are made up of seconds and minutes.  Months are made up of days, and our lives consist of chains of days and months and years.  How am I spending my time?  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 helps us in understanding that there is an appropriate time for everything.  Verse one reads: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” 

It’s Not About Working More
Technology was supposed to give us more time with our families.  Computers were supposed to help us to get our work done so quickly that we could free up time to spend in leisure.  Well, it didn’t work that way.  Technology has given us more time to do more work.  And then when we finish the work, what is the temptation?  To return to our technology and disappear.  Intimacy with one another, and intimacy with the Lord can be crowded out.   iPads for knee pads… an exchange I am aiming to make much more often. 

Scripture to Claim: “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

Monday, March 19, 2012


“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”  Matthew 16:18

You are the Christ…
“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked; and in response, Peter made the confession that Jesus was the Son of God.  Jesus then replied with the quoted passage above.  An interesting statement Jesus made…that “upon this rock”… ‘the rock’ being the confession Peter had just made…upon that revelation, everything else in the faith finds its footing.  Here, we see that personal confession of Jesus the Son of God is foundational to every one of us in Christianity. 

Let the Winds Blow
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus talks about a couple of other foundations: rock and sand, and he used them to communicate how obedience is foundational to our faith relationship.  Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”  Everyone who hears Jesus’ words, and acts upon them...  This pattern is key to our enduring the storms of this life and the wise will build their house upon this rock as well.

A Communication Foundation
Communication is foundational to just about every aspect of our lives: our jobs, our marriages, parenting, our friendships…without good communication, things begin to fall apart very, very quickly.  This is no less true in our relationship with Jesus.  The great tool God has given to us for communication with him is prayer.  In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, the Apostle Paul lists for his reader several gold nuggets of truth for everyday Christian living.  Verse 17 simply states: “Pray without ceasing.” That’s pretty plain spoken! 

Prayer is foundational to the Christian life.  Really?  Is prayer that important?  It absolutely is!  About what should we pray?  Everything.  When should we pray?  Always.  The curiosity however is that all too often, prayer is relegated to that spiritual duty we exercise before meals, and perform when there are concerns or illnesses amongst the body of believers.  Once prayer is taken care of, we can move on to the important things – like eating, and laughing, or going about our lives, our jobs, our fun.  Sound familiar? 

Remembering that prayer is not simply communication, not only petition, it is the voice of our relationship with the Lord.  It is intimacy and exchange, contact with the loving, eternal, creating, merciful, and compassionate God of the universe!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want my life to be built upon the foundations of your Word, aligned with your blue print for your purposes.  You are the chief cornerstone.  The sure foundation.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit again, and establish your foundational truths in my everyday living.  Amen.

Scripture to Claim: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.”  Isaiah 28:16 NAS

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