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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lighthouse (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Bass Harbor Lighthouse
Bass Harbor, Maine
(Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)

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"Maintaining The Foundation"

"Your prophets, O Israel, are like jackals among ruins.  You have not gone up to the breaks in the wall to repair it for the house of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the LORD.  Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, "The LORD declares," when the LORD has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled" (Ezekiel 13:4-6).

Stone foundation of church in Mastersonville, PAOur church building was built in 1878 and has large native field stones for a foundation. Yesterday I walked around the building and observed these stones.  I considered the initial hard work of the laborers who laid the stone without modern equipment.  Masonry work is hard enough with skid loaders and lifts so I can only imagine how hard it was back then to erect such a strong foundation. Although they built it to last I wonder if they could even imagine that, over 130 years later, a future pastor would be calling attention to their diligent work through such a thing as a computer and sharing it with people all over the world on the internet!

Repointing a stone wallAlthough a stone foundation is among the most durable construction materials and is built to last it still needs maintenance through the years, especially repointing, which is the process of renewing mortar joints in masonry. The joints are the most wear-prone component in a masonry building. Over time, dust, weathering, and decay causes voids in the joints between stones allowing the undesirable entrance of water. Water entering through these voids can cause significant damage through freeze/thaw cycles.   In the process of repointing the mortar joints are cleaned out and packed with new mortar.

Thus far the maintenance needed in our church foundation has been due to the inevitable weathering of the stone and mortar, not due to human destruction or vandalism. Of course in many instances people have to deal with this as well, particularly defacing with graffiti.

Likewise we all have a foundation in our own life, in our church and in our nation. Again I urge our international readers to apply this message to their own nation as I believe what I write is quite similar regardless of where you may live. Also today's "foundation analogy" is certainly not perfect but hopefully will give readers a visual analogy to think about.

I wrote yesterday about the destructive elements chiseling away at the foundation of our nation which is increasingly more like an army of jackhammers. Day by day there are new cracks and efforts to tear the foundation wall down.

But I consider how this has always been the case to some degree. America has never been a 100% Christian nation, although I firmly believe many of the founders were devoted Christians from historical records. They were guided by the Bible and Christian principles by which we have lived for over 200 years.  But there have always been unbelievers and those who are opposed to the ways of the Lord and a Bible-based foundation. All along there have been varying efforts that chisel away at the foundation.

But through much of our history there has been an army just as strong who is at work repairing the foundation, keeping up with maintenance so to speak; preachers standing up for righteousness and holiness, individual Christians earnestly following their Lord, scores of local churches and para-church ministries shining as lights in their communities. It's always been a battle, but for many years the repairers of the wall kept up with maintenance on the foundation.

In my observation the last generation particularly (I suppose I mean my own) has gotten sloppy with the maintenance since the deteriorating foundation can easily be observed. Some cry out, "It's not my calling; let someone else do it"  or they've compromised their faith and choose to look away from the crumbling foundation.

Thank God for those who take up the mantle of faith and boldly declare the truth; the principles based upon the unchanging truth of God's holy Word, not the ever changing politically correct position as deemed by Washington or elsewhere.
Today's text is rather obscure and probably little noticed by most. The prophet Ezekiel is renouncing the false prophets and among the illustrations he uses is, "You have not gone up to the breaks in the wall to repair it."  Now of course there could have been a literal sense in which this was written since cities built walls for defense against their enemies. In the Scriptures there's teaching about repairing these walls, especially in Nehemiah. 

However based on the context, Ezekiel is writing about false prophets so I tend to view his use of the phrase "breaks in the wall" as figurative, similar to the foundation analogy I used above. He rebukes them for their failure to repair the breaks in the wall.

Let us boldly stand for truth and righteousness as we valiantly patch and restore the foundation walls, seeking to rebuild and preserve a godly foundation for our children and our children's children, until our Lord returns. Today may we all seek to do our part in maintaining the Christian foundation!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, You laid in Zion a sure foundation, a Stone.  That tried but proven Stone is Jesus, one whom the builders rejected, yet a precious Cornerstone to those of us who are building our lives upon this Rock.  It is only in Him, our solid Rock, that we can anchor our soul so that it does not drift aimlessly by the strong winds, the fierce storms or rising waters. Nor the mirages that counterfeit the reality of Your timeless truths as revealed to us in Scripture.  Help us to be on guard against false prophets and keep us in maintenance mode, no matter how much we may feel like giving up. For it's not the one who runs the swiftest, nor the one who runs for just a day, but the one who endures to the end who shall be saved.  Amen.

Repointing a stone wall
Inscription on tombstone

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
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In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"The Solid Rock"  Video  Although this is not the tune I am accustomed to singing this song this is a beautiful version.

"Wallbuilders" Website
WallBuilders is an organization dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built, a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined. In accord with what was so accurately stated by George Washington, we believe that "the propitious [favorable] smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation which disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained."

An example of this is a blog article I read from a local pastor in Louisiana who is standing up against the gambling craze.  It's an illustration of one of many who are standing up.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Bass Harbor, Maine (photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)

Today's photo of the Bass Harbor lighthouse is by Howard J. Blichfeldt and is used with his permission. His website is here. Howard desires to honor the Lord through his photography.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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