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Shifting Sands

“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 NASB

As a visual learner, the above Scripture passage has been one of my favorites due to the clear image my mind creates when I read it. The destruction that storms bring can be devastating, but a structure built on a firm foundation has a much better chance of surviving.

Last year, while vacationing in the panhandle of Florida, the boardwalk pictured here caught my eye. It literally was out in the middle of the sand dunes with no beach in sight. Over time, and I’m sure many windy and wet storms, the entire topography had changed. The sands had shifted leaving the boardwalk tattered, abandoned, and useless.

As I thought of how out of place the boardwalk looked, the above Scripture passage came to my mind. Jesus is speaking these words to the crowds. They begin in chapter 5 of Matthew with the sermon on the mount and continue to the end of chapter 7. His teaching covers everything from personal relationships to false prophets and everything in between. His instructions are clear and simple – act on/do/follow/obey – my words, and you will stand. Disobey and you will fall; and great will be the fall.

To withstand the storms of time, one must have a sure foundation. That base is Jesus Christ. In my experience, it’s the consistent, less severe trials of life that chip away at our foundation leaving us vulnerable and unprotected. Like the boardwalk, one day we find ourselves ragged, vacant, and ineffective for the kingdom of God.

But praise God, all is not hopeless. There is forgiveness and cleansing with Jesus. He can bring transformation like no other. Return to Him and let Him rebuild and renew you for His glory. Make it a priority to spend time with Him, to learn His ways from the Bible, and to put them into practice. Those shifting sands will be replaced with a firm foundation that will cause you to stand!

[Digging deeper – Luke 6:47-49;1 Corinthians 15:1-2; James 1:22-25]

 

Standing firm because of Him,

Beverly <>< 

 

 

Photo Credit: photo by Beverly Lussi

 

Good Intention—Bad Idea

“They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart.”
2 Samuel 6:6. NIV

In 1885, Karl Benz gave our world the first gasoline powered automobile, and manufacturers have tweaked his confounded contraption ever since. More than three-quarters of a century later, Ford Motor Company tried to rally baby boomers with the slogan, “Ford has a better idea,” and replaced the “o” in Ford with a light bulb to symbolize inspiration and encourage sales.

Free enterprise has made our nation great, but a product that has “new and improved” stamped on its package doesn’t always mean it is. How often have you tried a new and improved version only to return to the tried and proven one? Some things are so timeless, recognizable, and ingenious that it doesn’t make sense to try and improve them. It’s hard to perfect the paper clip, a #2 pencil, Post-It-Notes, chap stick, or the fork and spoon—although some have made a stab at it with the spork. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

During the reign of Israel’s King Saul, the Ark of the Covenant (a gold-covered wooden chest made to house the Tablets of the Law and seat the Glory of God) rested in the home of his son Abinadab. When David became king, he vowed to return the Ark to the Holy city of Jerusalem. Instead of the Levites carrying it with poles on their shoulders as God had initially instructed Moses (Exodus 25:12-14), they attempted to transport the Ark by a Philistine method and placed it on a new cart. When the oxen stumbled, Uzzah, the son of Abinadab, took hold of the Ark to steady it. Instantly, God in his anger struck him dead with fire.

Whoa! God’s response to Uzzah’s good intention seems harsh, but no matter how innocent, his irreverent act violated God’s command not to touch the Ark. Thankfully, we live in the day of God’s grace, or any one of us could go the way of Uzzah. “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15). We must continue to revere God and honor his Holy ways.

When was the last time you failed to heed God’s instructions? Became impatient with his timing? Tried to help him out? For me—it’s not been that long. 2 Samuel 6 with its “hands off” message quickly came to the forefront. Regardless of what I thought—I didn’t have a better idea.

I heeded God’s warning. Not because I feared an untimely demise, but because I knew meddling would hinder the work of the Spirit in my situation and result in the death of God’s best.

No matter how good our intentions, attempting to tweak perfection is always a bad idea.

-Starr Ayers

Grasping the Victory Part 5

“So they worshipped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy”
Luke 24:52

Well, the stunned disciples finally grasped the victory that was theirs! If this is the first day you have joined us this week I hope you can go back and read Monday-Thursday. It will make today’s Dose so much more meaningful to you!

We have witnessed this week how going through a struggle lets us experience God first hand – it lets us see Him at work in our personal life. If the disciples had not experienced such extreme hardship – extreme emotional turmoil – such doubt and failure in their own actions – they couldn’t have experienced such victory either. They would never have appreciated that victory or the ones to come.  They also would never have been able to “grasp” and accomplish their mission.

 It’s the same way with us, dear one.

Remember that four year long struggle I shared with you on Monday? It was one of the hardest struggles I have ever faced. Yet, though it lasted so long and was so emotionally taxing, even if I had the opportunity – I would not go back and change a thing. If I could go back and totally avoid the struggle and keep all the enjoyment the struggle caused us to lose – I wouldn’t. I never thought I’d say that because it doesn’t make sense. There will come a day, when the time is right, for us to share the details of that story, but believe me when I tell you it was gut wrenching.

But without it, we would have missed experiencing God’s faithfulness – and “grasping” – comprehending it for ourselves.   All those days when we asked, “God, where are you in all this? Are you really there at all? If we could just see your hand at work…….” Day after day, month after month, for four long years we wondered if His hand was at work at all in that struggle. But we kept on believing because the Word said to – very weakly most of the time – but we didn’t give up calling out to Him. We tried to handle the struggle and its consequences according to the teachings of His Word – and it was very hard. But in the end, His truth won out – His promises remained true. I wouldn’t give up experiencing that for the comfort and material blessings of times past for anything.

You know that struggle you are facing now?  Yes, that one – without going through it you will never be able to experience the victory to come. Believe me my friend – you don’t want to miss that. You don’t want to miss seeing the hand of the God of the universe at work in your heart and life in a personal way.  There is no greater joy, no greater wonder in this life.

Jesus said “ ….. in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”

Believe Him. Grasp His power to overcome. Grasp His promise. Comprehend who He is and what He wants to do in your life. When you do, your life will never be the same.

 Until next time……….

Your traveling companion,

Brenda

 

 

photo credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photographer/morcomm-45474