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Monday, April 4, 2011

Mascot Roller Mill
Mascot Roller Mill
Built in 1760 along Mill Creek in eastern Lancaster County. For nearly 250 years it has stood the test of driving rains, a rising stream, and howling winds.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: Yesterday we began a period of Scripture reading and welcome all Daily Encouragement readers to join in as we read through the New Testament over a 40 day period. During this period the daily encouragement messages will be based on the Scripture portion that is assigned for that day (or, as is the case today, on a Scripture portion read over the weekend.)
  • Yesterday's reading was Matthew 1-7 beginning here. (For those who may want to participate but did not yet start)
  • Today's reading (April 4) is Matthew 8-12 beginning here.
  • Tomorrow's reading (April 5) is Matthew 13-18 beginning here.
(These links will open to the selection to be read and a built-in listening device.)  More information of the Scripture reading plan is below the daily message.

"These Words Of Mine"

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash" (Matthew 7:24-27).

We live in a rural area with a large open field across from us on the west. Periodically we have strong winds of 40-50 MPH along with pelting rain that beats against our house. I have occasionally drawn spiritual truths from our windy location over the last nine years we have lived here and want to do so again today.

I'm sure that everyone reading, regardless of where you live, has experienced heavy rains and high winds and the potential danger that accompanies such inclement weather conditions! Christ's parables deal with pertinent themes that would have readily connected with His initial listeners. His stories also have a remarkable cross-cultural and multi-generational impact. In fact some 2,000 years later we still build houses on foundations and any construction worker would tell you, "A house is only as good as its foundation."

The daily Scripture portion is the final point that Jesus makes in His "Sermon on the Mount." Although "these words of mine" may apply to all that Jesus said in His ministry, it seems that they would especially apply to His words in this sermon in Matthew 5-7. However, I also believe we do well to consider this application to the entirety of God's Word.

Christ speaks of two different types of foundations in Matthew 7 as He concludes the Sermon on the Mount. 

A simple outline for today's passage is:


Two types of foundations are contrasted: the first foundation is likened to one hearing Christ's words and putting them into practice; the second is likened to one hearing and not putting into practice.  The foundation is what a house is built upon and of course Jesus is really talking about our lives here on earth. The house is analogous to our life in this illustration.

Jesus describes one foundation that was built on sand and another that was built on rock.  Both were subject to identical storm conditions, but only one stood; the one that "had its foundation on the rock."

Both houses faced the very same storm. In fact identical wording is used.  "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house." But one stood and the other fell. The difference was not the ferocity of the storm but the veracity of the foundation.

Our Lord's great emphasis in this teaching is that we are to be like the one whom He calls "a wise man." In the daily grind of life the winds will surely blow and beat against our spiritual house (our life).  Some are enduring tremendous winds of opposition and trial as you read this message.  We must be sure that we are building our foundation on the Rock. Let us determine that we will both hear His words and put them into practice!

Today, you may or may not be facing howling winds in your life. We don't know the precise time they will arrive but they most certainly will. We, as God's people, need to pay careful attention to the words of Jesus and, equally important, we must put them into practice. By doing so, we'll not be blown away but will stand on solid, unshifting ground when the tidal waves of opposition beat against our foundation.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father in heaven, we ask You to help us apply Your teachings to our lives so that our foundation will be unshakeable and storm-proof when the howling winds and surging rains beat against us. The foundation of this world is temporal and growing more and more decadent, so we choose instead to build our lives on the eternal foundation of Your Holy Word, as You teach us all throughout Scripture. We also ask you to increase our faith and understanding during this focused time of reading through the New Testament over the next forty days. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planYesterday (April 3) we began a forty day program of reading through the New Testament and we encourage Daily Encouragement Net readers to consider joining in as we read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This takes about 30 minutes per day. We will provide a direct link to the Scripture portion to be read and listened to each day (and several links for the weekend daily readings).

The daily encouragement message for each weekday during the forty day period will be based on a portion of the text in the Bible reading for that day
(or, on Mondays this may also be from a Scripture portion read over the weekend, as is the case today.)

Here's an overview of the plan I have prepared with practical tips (pdf)

Here's a schedule for the entire 40 day reading period along with discussion questions. This is especially suitable to bookmark during this period as it contains links that will open directly to the passage to be read for the day.

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planBible.is is an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful. For those who may prefer the KJV it is available. For international readers there may even be a version available in your native language. Just click the small tab directly below the Bible.is logo on the top left to see available versions. 

This Bible reading plan is a partnership of Daily Encouragement Net and Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry which provides Bible listening resources all over the world. We will share more about this ministry in future messages.

Daily Encouragement on Facebook Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Solid Rock"  Video   4Him  

"American Dream"  Video  Casting Crowns  Ester suggested this song, especially because of this stanza:

So he works and he builds with his own two hands
And he pours all he has in a castle made with sand
But the wind and the rain are comin' crashing in
Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands

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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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