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Friday, June 7, 2019

Lancaster County farm scene near New Holland 6/6/19 (Click to enlarge)
Lancaster County farm near New Holland
Click to enlarge

"The Ultimate Catastrophic Failure"

Message summary: I was saddened yesterday to see a fallen bird nest and eggs but far, far sadder is the image of fallen lives destroyed by sin and the failure to build on the solid foundation of Christ. That is the ultimate catastrophic failure.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"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).

I thank God for the mountains,
and I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.
For if I’d never had a problem,
I wouldn’t know that God could solve them,
I’d never know what faith in God could do.

Earlier this week we had a strong storm come through. Our lawn had twigs and small branches that had broken off trees strewn all about. Mowing the lawn yesterday afternoon I came across a sad sight. A bird nest had fallen out of one of our big oak trees and splattered on the lawn along with the broken eggs beside it. What was the beginnings of a new bird family was shattered after the nest gave way to the heavy rain and winds that blew and slammed against it.

Fallen bird nest with eggs 6/6/19

Christ's parables deal with pertinent themes that would have readily connected with His initial listeners. His stories also have 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 looked down at the nest and broken eggs a phrase from the daily text came to me, "and great was its fall" which prompted a consideration of today's passage.
An engineer would call this a catastrophic failure defined as "a sudden and total failure from which recovery is impossible. Catastrophic failures often lead to cascading systems failure. The term is most commonly used for structural failures, but has often been extended to many other disciplines in which total and irrecoverable loss occurs."

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.

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. What distinguished these two builders was the foundation upon which they built. Jesus describes one foundation as built on the rock and the other was 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! The mother robin who built the failed nest surely did as best as her instincts guided her. But the foundation was no match for the stormy winds.

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.

I was saddened yesterday to see the fallen nest and eggs but far, far sadder is the image of fallen lives destroyed by sin and the failure to build on the solid foundation of Christ. That is the ultimate catastrophic failure.

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

Praying manDaily 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 everlasting Holy Word, as You teach us all throughout Scripture. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

New Holland traffic 6/6/19
We passed this interesting means of conveyance yesterday near New Holland, PA.

New Holland roadside tomatoes 6/6/19
We saw many roadside stands with fresh home-grown produce, most using the honor system of self-payment. Brooksyne is dropping her money in the recycled sour cream container for the 50 cent tomatoes she purchased.

Val-Co lunch 6/6/19
We enjoy visiting with employees at company breakfasts and luncheons. Yesterday Val-Co provided "make your own BLT sandwiches", a first for us at a company luncheon. Val-Co makes equipment for both pork and egg production (mayonnaise) so we helped their customers.

Tiller work 6/6/19
Yesterday afternoon I tilled the small area in front of our porch where Brooksyne plants her annuals. Special thanks to Stephen, an engineer at Val-Co, who tuned up our Mantis tiller!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Through It All"  Video  Booth Brothers

This Sunday evening we plan to attend a Booth Brothers gospel concert in Lebanon, PA. Any local readers who may be interested in attending this concert and others in the summer "Music In The Park" series see this site. These concerts have no admission charge and a free-will offering is received. The concerts are held in an outside amphitheater in a beautiful setting.

"Living Hope"  Video  Phil Wickham

What is catastrophic failure?  Article

Finally today:

A reader's response to yesterday's message on Embedded Rock; those hardships in life we can do little about and must learn to live with:

I am a Polio survivor, having contracted this disease when I was just four years old. I am now almost 80 and still dealing with the after affects. While for a good portion of my life I lived an almost normal life, but as the years go by, I have had less and less mobility. Now I am either using a walker or a wheelchair to get around. God has given me a wonderful husband who takes care of me. I am so thankful that I have been well cared for, first by my dear mother, who is now at "home" with the Lord Jesus. Now my husband. God is so good to me and I praise Him for giving me to many who care for me in so many ways.

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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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