The wise man built his house upon the rock. The foolish man built his house upon the sand. Jesus draws on some familiar language to illustrate the idea of how you build you life. Do you want to build a life that comes to ruin? Build it on shifting principles that haven’t been tried over time to be true. Build it on popular culture. Build it on the fashionable. Build your house on what’s cool today.
Fashion trends come and go, along with fads and gadgets that are popular for a season. Many companies try to build themselves on these passing trends and go under within a month. They try to chase the wind wherever it’s blowing.
Other companies are built on solid ground, stuff or services that will always be needed, and whose demand will only increase with population, like electricity, healthcare, even the internet, which is here to stay. The key, like seeing the internet for the first time, is to judge whether something that looks like a fad will actually become a necessity (like cell phones). That’s tricky, and most people don’t get it right.
So the wise man builds his house on the rock. Of course the only sure rock is Jesus. But what he is referring to here is His message. At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus adds these words about the wise and the foolish. The one who has listened to His words is like the one who builds his house on rock, built to last and built to weather the storms. That tells me that that the truth Jesus tells here is rooted in Himself, because He is a rock in the sense that He can be relied upon, to be steady, but also as an eternal observer of human nature (let alone the Designer). When Jesus says that a certain action is the wise course, He means it. He defines wisdom here as living according to His word. Truer words could not be said.
Enough for today. God bless you all! Have a great Friday!
I’ve always been fascinated with the ability of artists and playwrights to take a story and bring it to life, whether on stage or screen. What begins as words on a page become full-fledged reality with the hiring of actors and interpretations of characters. Yet even here, the actors are not given free reign. The are told and instructed by the Director, who is informed by the larger story to help each actor act according to their character in the story so that the story makes sense.
In turn, we find in Scripture that there is a Director guiding us and leading us on the story He has written. Much as a Director guides the lighting and the staging for a play, so The Director of All is the Father of Lights and gives gifts to us to encourage us to follow His story. When we follow the Direction of God, the story makes more sense. When we take our characters and freely interpret them to our choosing, there is chaos. When we go “off-script” it may be fun for a while, but we find that getting back is much harder. When we write our own story, we find that it is meaningless. God has a much greater story for us to be a part of.
God bless you today, and may you find your role in God’s story.
So Jesus’ instructions for discipleship are actually extremely simple: deny self, take up cross, and follow Him. I have heard these three explained away on many occasions to attempt to mystify them and make them palatable for Western affluent ears. But what does Jesus want? He wants you to deny yourself. This is not some mystical psychological mix of self-love and other-love. This is Jesus saying make Him your priority. Put Jesus as the top of the list. Who is sitting here already, well usually it is self. And self needs to take a back seat.
Take up your cross. A cross is an instrument of execution. It is not pretty. It is not nice. It was the sign of Roman oppression on the Jewish state. Crosses were not Jewish, nor sanctioned by the law. Anyone who was hung (even by nails) was considered cursed. The cross is a sign of separation. You are no longer Jews. You take up the symbol of oppression big to show your dedication (willing to die) and your identification with Christ.
Follow Me. Following Jesus may be physically impossible, for His physical presence is no longer with us. But we can follow His authentic teachings in the New Testament. He is not saying to follow some mystical path to enlightenment. He intends for us to follow His lead, through the cross (baptism) into new life. He intends for us to imitate Him and know the Word. And there is no end to pool of this knowledge.
Discipleship isn’t hard to follow, but it is hard to do. But I encourage you today to take up the cross, even if it’s a literal cross, and follow the Lord Jesus.
By the way, I keep a cross around my neck for this purpose. It reminds me whose I am and Who I am for.
Do you have ears? Seems obvious doesn’t it? But it’s not. Having ears enables you to hear. But there is a vast gulf between hearing and listening. Sounds occur all around us, even if we are deaf. As humans, we have the ability to filter our soundscape to focus in on those things we want to focus on, whether it be someone’s voice, the sound of a door opening at night, a tv program, or the sound of breathing of a dying loved one.
Jesus’ call to ears (calling a part for the whole) is to those who have ears to hear, ears to discern the signal from the noise. His call is to minds that can filter out the junk and the useless and focus on what’s important. His call is for the gospel to find its way in you, the good news that we can stop laboring to earn our salvation, our need to “get right with God”, for God has already paid the price for sin. He both calls us and justifies us.
Bask this morning in the joy that our struggle is over. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, receive His free gift of salvation. But you need to hear it, for “faith comes by hearing”. Listen.
Just a note, a drop of honey in a bitter brew. Lamentations is about the devastation of Jerusalem in the wake of the Babylonian siege and destruction. This verse is the one that says that in the midst of this devastation, we will still trust in the Lord. Wow.
God bless you today.
I hope this word finds you all doing well today. We have a great task to perform today, and I hope yours done with joy as mine is, attending with the local body of believers to worship. If faith come by hearing, then I pray that your messages from God’s word today are powerful and effective unto your faith, that by faith we are saved unto God.
God bless you all today.
in context, our brother David is waiting on forgiveness. He is feeling the iniquity of himself and his nation, and is waiting earnestly, like the watchman for the morning, for God’s grace to fall. There is a poignancy here to his request. He is feeling the stab of guilt and the crushing weight of sin. Sin is not kind once fostered in your life. It is like a growing gangrenous wound, slowly eating away at your healthy spirit until you feel dead inside.
I wonder if I feel this. It is one thing to be aware that you have sinned, but do I notice the guilt and sense of iniquity that comes along with it? Or have I ignored it, with my conscience seared and burned away to certain sins that I commit so frequently? Lord I pray restore to me my sensitivity to sin, that I may feel that guilt again and seek your forgiveness, that you may cleanse my heart afresh upon my confession. May I like David wait upon the Lord and put my hope in the grace He has promised through His Son.
We have these precious and certain promises, that if we confess our sin, He will forgive us our sin and cleanse our hearts from unrighteousness (1 John 1:7).
My prayer is also for you today, dear reader, that you have not let sin get under your radar by stealth and familiarity. May your eyes be open to sin and alert to temptation. Help us Lord to watch as the Watchman for the morning, waiting for your cleansing blood to move through us and make us clean, unshackled by the sin that so easily entangles us. (Heb 12:1-2)
God bless you all today.