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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snow storm 3/14/17
Our front yard view this morning with heavy snow falling

"Of Storms And Foundations"

Message summary: Today, you may or may not be facing storms 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 storms of opposition beat against our spiritual house and the foundation will stand.

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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).

"The Solid Rock" from "Gospel Hymns for Daily Strength" facebook page)

We are in the midst of a major snow storm in our region and hunkered down today since our appointments were all cancelled. The forecast calls for snow all day long and, based upon the path I made to my barn this morning, we already have about 8 inches. Ester was scheduled to work this afternoon but her store is closed all day.

We enjoy one or two good snow storms every winter season but probably not so much in mid March! However all systems at our house are functioning well and we will just enjoy the beauty of the snow falling from heaven. It's certainly more peaceful in our household than a lightning and thunder storm since Mollie, the border collie is terrified, and to calm her down is no small chore, especially when we lose power! So a quiet, steady snowfall sets up a more tranquil setting outside and calm atmosphere inside our home.

Storms test the structural integrity of a house or building; blowing winds and heavy snow can compromise the quality of the roof. Hail can damage the siding, break windows and leave screens with gaping holes (the kind that flies gravitate to), as we experienced several weeks ago. Of course some people deal with flooding. But the most critical component in a house is the foundation. If the foundation is destroyed it will impact every other component.

Snow storm 3/14/17
We have lived along our country lane for fifteen years and continue to enjoy our rural setting in spite of the periodic "natural fertilizer" smells that were not necessarily considered when we purchased our house, but nevertheless authenticate our rural setting. On the other hand we often get the pleasant scent of baker's chocolate since we're only a couple miles from a chocolate factory. We are blessed with good neighbors up and down Kraybill Church Road with a remarkable degree of stability and neighborliness. Late this morning our neighbor, Leon, and his son Jandon, were over with their huge John Deere tractor snowblower and dug us out but, if the snow continues to pile up, they'll be down again later in the day or evening.

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 they would especially apply to His words in this sermon from 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 (described)
    * Two different outcomes

The two types of foundations are contrasted. Jesus describes one foundation built on sand and another 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 storms will surely come and beat against our spiritual house (our life). Some of you are enduring tremendous storms 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 storms 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 storms of opposition beat against our spiritual house and the foundation will stand.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father in heaven, we ask You to help us to embrace the reason that we must 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. We will come to regret that which consumed our heart, our mind and our time in building temporal foundations, but we will never come to regret building a spiritual foundation comprised of Jesus Christ and His eternal worth. Keep us clear minded and focused so that we are aware of the difference in that which only satisfies us here and that which satisfies us for all eternity. Amen.

Snow storm 3/14/17
The scene this morning from our bedroom window.

Snow storm 3/14/17
Not a very welcoming sight to sit out on our deck, except for snow bunnies!

Snow storm 3/14/17
Front side view

Snow storm 3/14/17
Early this morning I cleared the path to our utility barn.

Snow storm 3/14/17
Leon and Jandon brave the elements to bless their neighbors. It is so heartening to see the strong work ethic among our old-order friends who are also our neighbors.

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).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock"  Video  Travis Cottrell

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

"Castles In The Sand"  Video  Booth Brothers

For Further Study: We appreciate the ministry of Associates For Biblical Research which has this article, "The Parable of the Two Builders" on their website.

Finally today:

The folks over at Babylon Bee have a satire piece that's far too true, "Surgeons Unsuccessfully Attempt To Fill God-Shaped Hole In Man’s Heart"

On a serious note here's a sermon from one of our local churches, Westminster Presbyterian,
with an excellent exposition from Hosea 1 (Audio mp3)

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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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