Abiding, Affliction, Bible, Destruction, Fire, Foundation, Judgment, Scripture

FOUNDATIONS

MICAH 1:6 

“For I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the open country, planting places for a vineyard. I will hurl her stones down into the valley and lay bare her foundations.” 

I had the privilege recently to tour some ruins of a Roman bathhouse just outside of Estaban, Albania. When we arrived at the site, I could not see anything. There was a small path leading up from the gravel road past a house and through a small opening. There were some workers that had started clearing the overgrowth on the path. I could have driven right by that spot and never seen the ruins. They had been there for @2000 years but had no real value today. 

Micah is telling the people of Israel that God is about to make Samaria into “a heap of ruins.” The great city which they were so proud of would be reduced to rubble. He would expose the foundations for generations to come, just like those Roman bath house ruins. God’s judgment is real. 

APPLICATION 

On what are you building your foundation? On whom are you resting? If you are building on anything other than Jesus, your walls will crumble. Those stones that were laid 2000 years ago for that Roman bath house were laid bare for all to see. I literally walked on stones that the Roman soldiers walked on. But those stones were good for nothing. They had crumbled through the centuries. 

However, when we build our life on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, we can withstand all time and trials. No wind or storm or rain or fire can tear down walls built by Jesus. When we set Him down as the chief cornerstone in our life, all the rest of our lives are resting on Him. 

My life has had some challenges. For the sake of time, I will not enumerate them. But at the age of sixteen, I placed my trust in the One who cannot be torn down. He has kept me through all these years. I may have some chipped stones in my building, but my foundation is strong. Praise Jesus! 

Thank You, Lord, for giving me a sure foundation in Jesus Christ. 

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Advocate, Belief, Bible, Confession, Destruction, Foundation, God's Will, Judgment

DEMO TIME

AMOS 7:8

“And the LORD said to me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ And I said, ‘A plumb line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Behold I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel. I will not spare them any longer.’”

When a wall is found to be out of plumb, there is only one thing to do if you can’t get it into plumb. You have to tear it down. Sometimes you can pull it back into plumb. That will take some pulleys or belts. You won’t be able to pull it back and set it straight by yourself. You may have to resign yourself that you have to tear it down and start over.

God is telling Amos in today’s verse that Israel is so out of plumb that He is going to have to tear them down in order to build them back up. It won’t be pleasant. There would be pain involved. People may question it. But God knows it has to be done.

APPLICATION

How far out of plumb are you? If God held a plumb line up against you, what would He find? That’s why it is so important to come to Him daily (for me, minute by minute) and confess our sins. By doing that, we are essentially “replumbing” our spiritual lives. We need that constant rebuild.

But when we have gone too far, God has to resort to a more severe method. He may just have to tear you down to build you up. None of us want that, do we? We want it to be a pleasant experience.

I only want to be plumb. I want to meet God’s standards for my building, not the world’s. I could be collapsing, and the world would say I am fine. Wow! Don’t trust the world’s architects and contractors. Trust the One who knows how to use the plumb line.

Thank You, Lord, for holding Your plumb line against me. Reshape me in Your image.

Standard
Bible, Choices, Cleansing, Completeness, Consequences, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Discipline, Encouragement, Foundation, God's Will, Judgment

PLUMB LINE

AMOS 7:7

“So He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand.”

My dad was a great carpenter. I have mentioned that before. He had the ability to build just about anything. He was meticulous. He never hurried a project. When building a wall, he made sure the walls were plumb. He used a level most of the time, but he had a plumb line that he occasionally used, just to make sure.

The Lord used a plumb line in this vision He showed Amos. You see, God is a perfectionist. He will only allow to stand what is perfect and whole. Israel had gotten out of plumb. They were leaning the wrong direction. The Lord knew He had to tear them down in order to build them back straight.

APPLICATION

He will do the same to us. If we claim to represent Him, He demands that we stay in plumb. We can’t lean crooked. When we do, we put the whole structure in danger. If we lean too far or too long the rest of the building can collapse. We are part of a larger structure than just ourselves.

People are watching us. They see how we live our lives. If we lean out of plumb, we endanger them. We could cause them to reject the teachings of Christ because of the way we live. Our leanings could crush them.

O beloved, we are called to be God’s workmanship. 1 Corinthians 3:10 says, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, but someone else is building on it. Each one should be careful how he builds.” There you are. We have to be careful. Use the plumb line. Make sure your walls are stable.

Lord, help me to build straight and true. Let whatever I build be built on You.

Standard
Anxiety, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commands, Commitment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Following, Foundation, Holiness, Mentoring, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Submission, Surrender

NOTHING NEW

1 JOHN 2:7

“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

One thing I hate is when someone changes the rules in the middle of the game. Don’t you? I mean, if you have rules, just stick with them. It’s really not fair to make adjustments based on someone’s lack of following the rules. Nor is it okay to lower the standard just because someone has trouble measuring up.

John is telling us that is exactly what God is NOT doing. These words John is writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, agree with everything else God has written. He isn’t changing the rules. He still demands holiness. He still requires obedience. He still expects us to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Nothing has changed.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get out their favorite card or board game and start playing. Every few minutes change a rule. Make up new ones. Talk about confusing! It won’t take long for your children to get very frustrated and stop playing. Why? Because they knew the old rules. They knew what to expect.

Read them today’s verse. Talk about how God does the same for us. He hasn’t changed. He is consistent with His expectations of us. The big difference is Jesus. Now, under grace, He paid the penalty for our transgressions. We are free. That is one change for which we should all be grateful.

The key question, though, is this. Do you know what God requires of you? Do you know how to please Him? It is so simple – total surrender. Yep, it’s that easy. You may say Carl, that’s not so easy. Sure, it is. You just have to die to your own selfish desires and follow Him. Can you do that? You can through Him.

Lord, thank You for not trying to confuse me with new rules for living. I know what You expect. Help me live it daily.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Battles, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Denial, Destruction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Enemies, Following, Foundation, Inspirational, Lies, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

ARE YOU PERVERTED?

2 PETER 3:16

“as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 

I bet that title got your attention, didn’t it? Well, I am not talking about sexual perversion. I am talking about spiritual perversion. The Greek word for “distort” means to twist or distort. It’s in the Present tense which means they are constantly doing it.

Who is doing it? Peter tells us – the untaught (ignorant) and unstable (unsteady). Why do we listen to such people? Their words go totally against Scripture. They take one verse and twist it to make it say what they want it to say. That is so easy to do. You have to take Scripture in context and as a whole.

APPLICATION

Try this with your kids. Get a picture and cover up everything except one small corner. Then ask them to tell you what the picture is. Unless they’ve seen that picture before, they won’t be able to guess. Slowly uncover more and more of the picture until they can correctly identify it.

Now, explain to them that is how it is with Scripture. If they take one verse out of context, they can make it say just about anything. But as they grow in their knowledge of Scripture, the full picture of God’s grace and mercy is revealed. It becomes clearer and clearer. Scripture always compliments Scripture.

Do you battle others who want to argue with you about what God’s Word means? Don’t! Let the Word speak for itself. But you can’t do that if you don’t have knowledge of the Word. Memorize it. Study it. Dig into it. Then and only then can you faithfully represent its truths.

Show me in Your Word daily Your truths. As David said, “I would perish without Your Law.” Thank You, Lord.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Deceit, Deception, Encouragement, Foundation, Judgment, Mentoring, Parenting, Scripture

SHHH, IT’S A SECRET

2 PETER 2:1

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” 

We are wary of false teachers. Any of us who study God’s Word know they are out there, and we stand united against them. Most of them are easy to spot. They say things that go contrary to His teachings. But sometimes there are teachers that are just plain sneaky. Peter warns against them in this verse.

The Greek word for “secretly” is only used right here in 2 Peter 2:1. It means to bring in aside, to enter by stealth. In other words, they are slick. They slide in beside you and whisper these things so smoothly you believe they are true. They sound so good and reasonable. Don’t fall for it.

APPLICATION

Kids love secrets, don’t they? There is nothing wrong with secrets as long as they don’t hurt anyone. But we need to warn our children against those who want them to keep secrets that could harm someone else. Also, if anyone wants them to keep a secret that goes against God’s Word, that’s a huge red flag. The devil is deceptive. He sneaks in through ugly secrets.

Make a pact with your children to not keep secrets from each other. This is so important as they get older. Teens typically don’t discuss much of their lives with their parents. Listen to me – the devil, the ultimate false teacher, loves that. He loves to drive a wedge between parent and child. Don’t let him do it.

Are you grounded enough in God’s Word to recognize these false teachers? Their lies can be so convincing if you aren’t careful. Remember Scripture always agrees with Scripture. It won’t contradict itself. Check out any teacher by His Word. That is the ultimate judge.

Keep me alert, Lord, to those who want to deceive me. Help me protect others from those who want to tear them down.

Standard
Accountability, Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Commitment, Encouragement, Foundation, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Scripture, Submission, Testimony

WELL-PLEASED

2 PETER 1:17

“For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’”

Peter heard these words spoken by God Himself at the time of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-8). At the time he heard that he fell on his face trembling. We would probably do the same if a voice from heaven speak to us. And Peter believed the voice. He listened to Jesus and followed Him.

Let me ask you a question. Is He well-pleased with you? Well, sure He is, Carl. I go to church, give my tithe and try to be nice to everyone. Is that what Jesus did as the Son of Man? No! Jesus surrendered His life as a sacrifice for all mankind. Now, we can’t save mankind, but we can live a sacrificial life for others.

APPLICATION

Have you told your children lately how pleased you are with them? They really need to hear that. Give them opportunities to do things well. Don’t set the bar so high that they can’t possibly succeed. Children need small wins first. Things like teaching them to pick up their toys and bragging on them when it’s done are important.

And they are going to need spiritual wins. That, of course, starts with a firm foundation which you have laid with Scripture and prayer. When they pray for something and see that prayer answered, tell them how pleased you are that they trusted the Lord with that. When you observe them putting their faith into action by taking part in that mission outreach, make sure you tell them how pleased you are. They need to hear you say that again and again.

So, let me ask you again. Is He well-pleased with you? What have you done in the name of Christ to merit that? I am NOT saying we have to DO things to earn His love. He loves us unconditionally. We do things because of His love. And in return we can hear Him say This is my child with whom I am well-pleased. How sweet is that?

I want to please You, Lord. I want to hear those words from You. Forgive me for not being more obedient when You clearly give me opportunities.

Standard
Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Foundation, Inspirational, Modeling, Obedience, Parenting, Perseverance, Safety, Scripture, Surrender

SURE-FOOTED

2 PETER 1:10

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”

I have never worked with donkeys, but I am told they are much more sure-footed than horses. Maybe because they are shorter and lower to the ground. Whatever the reason, they are less likely to stumble in rough terrain. God gave them that ability. Hmmm.

Peter tells us in today’s verse that if we do what God tells us to do, we will NEVER stumble. Did you get that? As long as we are practicing God’s principles and living according to His Word, we won’t stumble. How is that possible? Because He blazes the trail for us. He leads us along the right path even when the terrain is dangerous and wild.

APPLICATION

Why don’t you take your child on a hike this week? Choose the path carefully, but then mix it up with a few challenges. These will require you holding their hand or perhaps even carrying them. Talk to them carefully during these hard spots. Don’t worry, baby, I’ve got you. Don’t be scared, daddy’s got you.

You can see the application here, can’t you? When you get through with the hike, talk about this verse. Explain to them that in the same way you protected them on your hike, God will protect them on their journey with Him. They just have to trust Him to hold their hands and even carry them during the hard times.

Are you walking shakily on rough terrain right now? Trust Him. Call out to Him. He’s waiting to carry you, if you will let Him. When you walk through the valleys He’s there. When you walk along the mountain tops, He’s there. Just look!

O Lord, I praise You for Your strong arms and hands. I trust You to carry me.

Standard
Bible, Blessing, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Foundation, Inspirational, Parenting, Promises, Scripture, Suffering, Testimony

FOUR WAYS

1 PETER 5:10

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

We are going to have periods of suffering. Peter says, “for a little while.” Believe me, when you are going through that time of suffering, it doesn’t feel like a little while. But look what awaits you. Peter mentions four things the God of grace will do in you.

He will perfect you, which means to make you exactly fit so you will be in good working order. He will confirm you which means He will set fast or givesupport to secure or firmly establish. He will also strengthen you. This Greek word is only used right here and means to make strong in order to be able to move in a way that achieves something in the most effective way. And finally, He will establish you or ground and settle you as a foundation.

APPLICATION

When your children are struggling, remind them what God is up to. He hasn’t forgotten them. He is still with them, even though they can’t feel Him. He is about to do those four great things, if they will just wait and watch.

Who doesn’t want to be perfected? I want to fit wherever God puts me. Ask your children that. Ask them if they want to fit exactly where God puts them. I especially like that word “strengthen.” Ask your children if they want the strength to move in the most effective way. It’s kind of like learning those basic skills of a sport so they can move in the best way during a game. God will prepare them for future struggles.

Are you willing to go through the suffering to receive these gifts? When God says He will do something, He will do it. Just remember, He is making you more like Him through every period of suffering. In the depths of suffering, look heavenward and tell the Lord you are waiting for these gifts. He will bring them.

Thank You Lord, for the promises of perfection, confirmation, strength and establishing. I look to You for these gifts as I suffer for You.

Standard
Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Contentment, Direction, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Faith, Foundation, Inspirational, Mentoring, Obedience, Parenting, Promises, Rejection, Testimony, Thanksgiving

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

1 PETER 2:7

“This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,’

You’ve heard the expression that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Well, in today’s verse the phrase “precious value” means what has value in the eyes of the beholder; the value (weight, honor) willingly assigned to something. Peter is telling us that we believers put great value on Jesus being our foundation and cornerstone.

Contrast that with the second phrase directed at non-believers. They may reject Jesus, but He is the very corner stone, the stone upon which the whole building is built upon. They don’t have to believe it, but it’s true. Only time will reveal this to them, either in this world or when they face judgment.

APPLICATION

What do your children hold most precious? Ask them to go to their room and return with their most precious possession. Unless they bring back their Bible, not a single item will last. Explain to them that all physical things are going to perish, pass away. Nothing will last.

That may upset them but reassure them that have (if they are a believer) and can have (if they aren’t) something that will never cease. They have the cornerstone, the sure thing, the never-ending Messiah. Jesus is with them, and they can rest assured He will never leave them.

Are you sure of your salvation? I mean, are you really sure? Which side of today’s verse do you fall on – believing or disbelieving? Make sure of that today. Jesus is here for you. Is He precious in your sight? I sure hope so, because you are in His.

You are precious in my sight. You are beautiful to me. Thank You for being my sure foundation.

Standard