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Friday, May 1, 2009

Meadow View Farm in Lancaster County PA
Meadow View Farm in Lancaster County Pennsylvania

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"God's Solid Foundation"

"Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm" (2 Timothy 2:19).

South Station, Boston
I often made pastoral hospital calls in Boston when we lived up that way. Boston is notorious for traffic and parking problems so I normally drove to the Braintree commuter station outside the city and took the red line into South Station downtown.

At that time Boston was in the midst of a massive public works project popularly known as "The Big Dig".  It has been commonly reported as the largest public works project in human history.  Essentially they rerouted the major freeway through the heart of the city underground.  South Station was right smack in the middle of the work.

Skyscraper foundationWhen I arrived at the station and departed the train I began to think of all the work going on above me as I could feel the vibration and detect the overhead rumblings from scores of jackhammers and heavy machinery.  I had a sense of foreboding as I walked off the train and up into the station at street level!

A skyscraper was being built very near the Big Dig work and only blocks from the waterfront.  The foundation went down about 50 feet with massive steel framework but this is nothing compared to the world's deepest skyscraper foundation.  The Petronas Towers has a foundation that is 394 feet deep!  I was intrigued by all the work that goes into a foundation, particularly since much of it would be below sea level and later unobservable. Foundations are not glamorous but a critically important part of any structure.

I am grateful today for a far more important foundation that the people of faith have in God.  Our daily Scripture portion calls it a "solid foundation".  This foundation stands firm and always will.

The prophet Isaiah twice used the image of a foundation to illustrate the great stability we have in God. He wrote, "He will be the sure foundation for your times" (Isaiah 33:6) and our Lord is "a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed" (Isaiah 28:16).

Get a good grip on today's Scripture portion.  The word, "nevertheless" is significant.  Paul had written concerning some who had wandered from the truth and destroyed the faith of some (v. 18). This is still happening today of course and destroyers of the faith abound. One commentator writes, "The conjunction 'nevertheless' is one which expresses strong contrast. Thus the dismal scenery of man's perversion (2 Timothy 2:16-18) is now set in contrast with the majestic reality of God's protection and preservation."

But "God's solid foundation stands firm."  And it still is.  The great classic hymns express this truth.  Songs like "How Firm a Foundation", "Christ is Made the Sure Foundation" and "The Church's One Foundation", all filled with rich doctrinal teaching, have brought comfort and assurance to believers for generations.  Much of the doctrine we don't learn directly from reading the Bible is often learned indirectly from singing and memorizing hymns that teach in a pleasurable, melodic format.

All of us need to hide this scriptural assurance deep within our hearts. Hide it deep so that you are not easily swayed when the assailing trials besiege you and shake the foundation of your faith.  Or when skeptics attempt to confuse you or belittle your stand for Christ. We just don't know when other foundations in life will crumble, such as our health, marital bonds, a seemingly secure job position, the loss of a loved one, a troubled relationship, etc. 

Read the daily verse slowly several times and accept its truth deep within your spirit: "God's solid foundation stands firm."  It really does.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, my hope is built on Jesus' blood and righteousness.  It is on this solid Rock that I anchor my soul and hold fast until the storms of life are passed.  You uphold me by Your Spirit giving me faith that smiles when skies are frowning, faith that is purified by my suffering.  Firm and fearless, help me to be as I walk the path designed for me.  When thorns at times will pierce me, may my faith be unwavering as I hold to Thee.  Amen.

(Thoughts adapted from hymns, "The Solid Rock" and "Let My Faith Take Hold of Thee")

Brooksyne's Note: Today's message is so very important for every believer, especially those young in the faith.  Yesterday I spoke with a young man who is a newer believer in the Lord.  He was raised in a Christian home with godly parents, but chose to walk in rebellion and got caught up in drugs and all the devastation that goes with it.  I asked him how his Christian walk was going. He grimaced somewhat and then very honestly shared, "Pretty good until something happens."  His girlfriend recently broke up with him which tempted him to go back to the old vices and destructive attitudes.  I reminded him, "If it isn't your girl there will always be something else. "  He smiled and said, "That's just what my mom said."

And it's true….that's why the firm foundation of God's Word must be the anchor for our soul; not our spouse, our job, our title or our family name.  I concluded my conversation with the young man by asking what he does when he's tempted to go back to his old ways.  Thankfully, he has a couple solid believing friends he met as he was recovering from his sinful lifestyle and he calls on them.  I also reminded him of how blessed he was to have a praying mom.

Whatever you need to do, believing friend, to keep standing on the foundation of God's Word make sure you do it.  As the hymn writer wrote, "His hope, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood; When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay." Read the Word, sing the Scripture, pray and be accountable to a godly brother or sister in the Lord.  Never, ever give up!

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

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video  Piano instrumental (I shared this song two days ago but it fits so well again today!)

Exposition notes on the daily text See here for an online commentary I have really appreciated as I prepare these messages (actually it's a compilation of many commentaries).

Ray Pritchard shares these thoughts in an online article on the use of the word "Nevertheless" in daily text:

Do false teachers seem to abound?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Are perilous times upon us?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Do we fear for the future?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Are we worried for our children’s safety?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Do we wonder how the church will survive?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Do we see some falling away from the faith?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Are we tempted to despair?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Could persecution come to us?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”
Do evildoers rise to power?
    The Lord says, “Nevertheless.”

Regarding the "Big Dig"  Here's an interesting photo taken near South Station during the construction of the Big Dig which shows how extensive the project was. And here's an interesting video of the construction. I had an electrician friend who worked on the project in one of the underharbor tunnels (Ted Williams Tunnel) and the project sure provided steady work for several years, unusual for people who work in construction!

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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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