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Monday, January 5, 2015
"When Strong Winds Blow"
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"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).
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
Powerful, howling winds beat against our house throughout the night and continue even today. The winds come from the west and in our front bedrooms the noise was very loud. It seemed as though they were slamming right against our house. It has settled down some but remains quite breezy even as we write this message.
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 known 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 solid foundations which calls to mind the old adage, "A house is only as good as its foundation."
As I listened to the howling winds last night the phrase from the daily text came to me, "The winds blew and slammed against that house." which prompted a consideration of today's passage.
This illustration 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. Yesterday our pastor made a point that we must get our guidance not from Hollywood but the Holy Word.
Christ speaks of two different types of builders in Matthew 7: one designated as wise and the other foolish as He concludes the Sermon on the Mount. The distinction between these two builders was the foundation upon which they built. Jesus describes one foundation as built on the rock and the other built on the sand. Both were subject to identical storm conditions but only one stood firm; the one that "had its foundation on the rock."
The first foundation built by the wise builder is likened to one hearing Christ's words and putting them into practice; the second foundation is built by the foolish builder and is likened to one hearing Christ's Words but not applying them. 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. In studying today I especially noted that phrase "and great was its fall"
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." When our home was built I am thankful that consideration was given to strong winds since we have a large open farm field across from us with little to break the powerful wind! Last night those strong winds did not damage the structure of our home though it did blow off some stuff, even breaking a couple decorative items.
As we begin another year the winds will surely blow and beat against our spiritual house (Paul refers to our bodies as a tent). Some of you may be enduring tremendous winds of opposition and trial as you read our message. We must be sure that we are building our foundation on the Rock. In 2015 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. But you will! 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.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily 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 everlasting 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).
Over the weekend we enjoyed a delicious lasagna dinner with Walter and Randi Waldvogel in Peach Bottom, Lancaster County. Just two years ago they relocated from Long Island to the rural farmland area in Lancaster County and have become our friends through this ministry. Pictured with them is their newest addition, Conan, a very friendly and perky Pomeranian pup*. Her scent remained on our clothing which made our dogs quite curious about our whereabouts when we returned home that evening.
* Stephen's note: Brooksyne does most of the editing and gets many chuckles from reading my lyrical boo-boo's so today I had a chuckle when she initially identified the dog as a "Polynesian pup" (rather than Pomeranian!)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock" Video Travis Cottrell
Someone recorded and posted a 4 hour video of howling wind!
I suppose I like unusual sounds and here's a 30 second video of the distinct sound of sleet hitting the brittle oak leaves on the trees in front of our house this last Saturday morning.
Today's photo quoting a part of the hymn "The Solid Rock" is from "Gospel Hymns for Daily Strength" Facebook page. This page has many beautiful photos based on hymns and gospel songs.
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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