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


Standing Through the Storms

“This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward… “
Hebrews 10:25 TPT

As my best friend and I rode her golf cart around the pond admiring the beauty of the late afternoon, she began to point out the cypress trees in the water and on land. There were small clumps of two or three cypresses scattered here and there, tall, and stately. A variety of trees had once stood among them, but had been removed, leaving only the cypress trees. When high winds struck the area a few years ago, the storm had broken out the tops of all the cypresses except two. The lack of protection and support from stronger trees had proved detrimental.

Looking at those trees made me think about us as Christians; the church; the body of Christ. We need each other desperately! We go through seasons where the storms of life hit us hard. If we don’t have others to surround us and be there for us, we can easily lose our grip.

Discouragement, despair, and defeat have a way of sneaking in when you least expect it. When the wind blows strong and hard, one can feel overwhelmed and broken. Yet, if we surround ourselves with those who will encourage and stand with us, we are more easily protected from the squall of the battle around us.

In First Corinthians, we learn that the body of Christ is not one member, but many (12:14). God has placed each of us right where we need to be within the body as He desires (12:18). The members should care for one another whether there be suffering or rejoicing (12:25-26).

Where has God placed you? Are you paying attention to those around you that are struggling to keep their head above water? You may be that beacon of light to offer hope and healing to a hurting soul. Be available and willing to weather the storm with others.

Maybe you are the one going through the tempest. Never be afraid or ashamed to cry out for help. Others can only stand with you if they know you need them.

God is always there for each of us no matter what. In like fashion, as His body, let us find ourselves “standing firm in one spirit [and one purpose], with one mind striving side by side[as if in combat] for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27 AMP)

[Digging deeper – Acts 2:42-47; Phil. 2:1-4; Col. 4:7-18; Heb. 3:13; James 5:13-16;               1 Peter 4:8-11]

Needing each other,

Beverly <><



Photo Credit: photo by Beverly Lussi

Questions: But, who do you say that I am?

Whether talking with the disciples, speaking in a public forum, or defending Himself before His enemies, Jesus consistently asked questions.  In the four gospels, Jesus asked over 300 questions.


But, who do you say that I am?


Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 

Matthew 16:13-17

thursday_11949107_SA few years ago at a son’s soccer game, a few parents began to talk about the new coach. As people began offering their candid opinions, it became clear that many parents were not happy with his coaching style. Parents were saying that even their kids thought he didn’t know what he was doing. One parent called him completely inept as a coach.

Even though I tried my best to stay focused on the game in front of me, because of where I was seated, the comments felt like they were flying across my lap and over my head. Hoping I could stay out of it all, I remained silent. But alas, one of the parents wanted to know what I thought. After all, my son was one of the older kids who had been coached under the old guard as well as the new.

Frustrated that I could no longer avoid the debate happening around me, I concocted the most noncommittal, sitting-on-the-fence responses that I could. Even though I actually had a very strong opinion about the coach, my great desire to stay out of the crossfire kept me from offering anything substantial.

Mix people with something controversial and a scene like this is inevitable. We often have just two options. We can say what we feel and do our best to defend our viewpoint.  Or, we can try to remain a passive observer by listening without participating. Sometimes our unwillingness to say anything indicates that we really don’t know what we think. Maybe we haven’t felt the need or had the encouragement to formulate our own beliefs.

Perhaps this is why Jesus asks these two questions of the disciples. He gets them to talk about the popular opinions about who He is. As each of the disciples begin to share what the word on the street is, Jesus interrupts them and asks them to shift gears. He wants them to take a stand.

“But, who do you say that I am?” is a personal question that allows each of them to take their eyes off the perspectives of the majority to share what they are really thinking or perhaps even saying to others about who He is.

While I believe times are changing in the U.S., in many ways remaining a passive observer of Christianity is still relatively easy. We can attend a church or go to our weekly Bible study, yet when heated discussions about Christ or Christianity arise, we may refuse to say what we believe about Jesus. If we believe that He is the Risen One, the Son of God, then this impacts just about every divisive topic that is out there these days.

However, it’s far easier to move toward the fence in the middle and avoid exposure than to boldly state our opinions. But, if through a prayer of commitment, we have proclaimed that Jesus is the Risen Son of God and the only way in which we can be saved, then we must live and speak out this answer in a way that is consistent with what we have said before God.

Dear Lord, give us courage to tell the world who we say that you are.