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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Morning farmview with faith statement
An early morning view in Lancaster County from behind our house.
(click on photo to enlarge)

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"Building On The Rock"

To build a godly life,
let God be the architect and His Word the blueprint.

"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 these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall" (Matthew 7:24-27).

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

As of April 3rd, we have lived along our country lane for eleven years and continue to enjoy our rural setting in spite of the periodic "natural fertilizer" smells which we now have. We are blessed with good neighbors up and down Kraybill Church Road with a remarkable degree of stability, having the same neighbors along our section of the road that we had when we moved in except for the house south of our home. 

Our neighbor Jerry has lived his entire sixty years on the family farm featured in our opening photo which is on the corner of Kraybill Church Road and Donegal Springs Road. I met Jerry
shortly after we moved here when some heifers from a local farm had gotten loose and we had a role in rounding them up!

He and his wife are now building a new home just four doors up from us. Their son, his wife, and grandchild will be moving into the farmhouse that Jerry will be giving up, thus keeping it in the family.

We visited at the construction site several days ago and Jerry explained that in excavating for the foundation they came up against a large boulder that had to be removed by dynamite. Jerry, knowing my interest in Bible teaching, quipped, "The Bible says it's a good thing to build a house on rock." He also told me he had considered leaving the rock so his grandchildren would have a built-in rock climbing wall when they come to visit!

Excavated rockI was home the day they used the dynamite and stepped outside to watch when I heard the warning whistle. The explosion shook a bit and created a lot of rising debris and dust at the site although it really sounded more like heavy duty firecrackers. It apparently did the job based upon the pile of huge rocks I saw yesterday afternoon, as well as the evidence that they were proceeding with the footers for the foundation.

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. He concludes the message that we know of as "the sermon on the mount" with an illustration from His work as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). In fact some 2,000 years later we still build houses on foundations. Any seasoned construction worker will 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 kinds of builders
  • Two kinds of houses
  • Two kinds of foundations
  • One severe storm
  • Two different outcomes
The two types of foundations are contrasted. 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."

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 them into practice.  The foundation is what a house is built upon and of course Jesus is really talking about our lives here on earth in this illustration.

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 of you 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 spiritual house.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father in heaven, we ask You to help us apply Your teachings to our lives so that our foundation will be unshakable 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. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Four Foundations That Will Stand!

1) The solid foundation of Biblical authority. "The grass withers, the flower fade.  But the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).

2) The solid foundation of Jesus Christ.  "According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:10,11).

3) The solid foundation of the church. "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:19-21).

4) The solid foundation of the apostolic doctrine. "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42).  "Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).

Some Lancaster County Spring photos

We had a beautiful warm spring day yesterday and will share several photos of our travels in the course of our chaplain visitation as we drove through Lancaster County between the companies we serve.

Newborn lamb 4/10/13
A newborn lamb staying close to Mom.

Amish buggie 4/10/13
We visited with some Amish friends for a few minutes before the wife and two of her children left with her sister and child to make a family visit. Five total in this buggie!

Amish bench wagon 4/10/13
This wagon is used for hauling benches for church services from one home to another. Our friends just had a church service in their home with some 150 gathering!  See here for a description of an Amish church service we attended several years ago in this home.

Amish clothesline 4/10/13
We enjoy the colorful clotheslines on Amish farms and yesterday it seemed that just about everyone had their laundry out. This clothesline was attached to the Purple Martin Birdhouse on the far left, so we hope the birds didn't make deposits over the laundry. By next week we expect the large tree behind the line will be fully leafed.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock"  Video  Travis Cottrell  A beautiful medley that will lift your spirit. This is how I like church singing! A great example of tying in an older more familiar hymn with a newer song.

"The Solid Rock"  Video  

"I'm Standing On the Solid Rock"  Video  Homecoming series

"Castles In The Sand"  Video  Booth Brothers

"The Wiseman Built His House Upon the Rock"  Video   Psalty's Songs For Li'l Praisers This is a good way for children to learn the Bible verses.

"Parable Of The Two Builders"  Teaching article for further study

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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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