Jesus is Crucified

Matthew 27

Today’s reading is familiar to all of us.  Jesus is delivered to Pilate.  The crowd choose Barabbas.  Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified.  Jesus is crucified, died and is buried.  We know this story.  The disciples also knew this story as Jesus himself predicted his death many times.  In Matthew along, we read:

Matthew 16:21–28 says that Jesus “from that time”, i.e. on a number of occasions, Jesus “began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed …”.

Each time Jesus predicts his death, the disciples do not believe that this event will happen.  Jesus tries to continue to teach them new things.  Matthew 17:22–23 as follows:

He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.[10]

Then, the third prediction in the Matthew 20:17–19 discusses his crucifixion:

Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

The fourth prediction in Matthew is found in Matthew 26:1-2 immediately precedes the plot made against him by the religious Jewish leaders:

“As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Yes, the disciples did not want to believe.  As their leader, friend, hero, they wanted to listen but not really hear what Jesus was predicting.  How could this happen?  When?  What could be done to stop this horrific event?  Yet, as Jesus is foretelling his fate, it appears to the reader that he is calm, almost matter-of-fact.

We also read further into Pilate’s thoughts.  Pilate sat in judgment of Jesus.  I always think about the attitude of each man in this situation.  Pilate tried to push Jesus to talk.  He prodded him to save himself.  Yet, Jesus would not say much.  He just repeated what Pilate said “if you say so”.  Pilate must have been a bit irritated with Jesus for not engaging in the conversation.  He saw that Jesus was at peace with what was going to happen.  Pilate could have released Jesus, but he did not.  He turned the decision over to the crowd.   He gave the crowd the option to release him.  As Pilate lead Jesus out to the crowd, he may not have anticipated the reaction.  The word “crowdsource” comes to mind.

crowd·source
verb
  1. obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.
    Now of course there was no Internet back then, but this crowd seemed to feed off each other.  They could hardly hear Pilate.
    21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

    As we know, Jesus is mocked, spat upon, crowned with a crown of thorns, bruised, and crucified.  There is so much to today’s reading!  What a turn of events.  Jesus is preaching and teaching, healing and feeding thousands.  Then, things turn, for him and for his disciples, for Pilate and also for the crowds who may have even been following Jesus!  Crucified, died and is buried.  How crazy.  How awful it must have been even if he predicted his own death, and all of these events happened in such a short time frame.

Two thoughts as you move from today’s reading into your daily life:  1)  Count every day with friends and family as a blessing as you never know when things might take a turn for you or your family; 2)  Be thankful Jesus died on the cross for us, to save us.

 

Faith and Healing

Today’s reading is Matthew 15.

As I read today’s verse, I was moved by the healing power Jesus provided the people, both Israelites and Canaanites, during his time on earth.  We are offered so many examples of his healing power and the faith people had in him.

In our first Faith and Healing example, a Canaanite woman comes to Jesus asking for healing.  The picture of a panicked mother comes to mind, fully exhausted dealing with her daughter.   25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

She does not know what else to do and appears to be at her wits end.  She needs her daughter to be healed.

22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David,have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

She is crying for help.  She is pleading, trying to draw his full attention by saying “Son of David”.  Jesus in turn does her her plea for help, yet he does not offer healing right away.  He instead questions her faith and questions her further.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

But she continues saying even the dogs need crumbs.  Even if this woman and her daughter are feeling as if they are not worthy, they still have faith and need Jesus’ healing.  Jesus sees her faith and heals her daughter.  Relief.

In the next story of Faith and Healing comes in the form of feeding the 4,000, no, not the 5,000, the 4,000.  This story is not as well known but a strong reminder of Jesus’ powerful time on earth.

30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

It must have been a wonderful seen as person by person, he offers healing power.  He offers healing to each person.  This story does not show discerning between who “deserves” the healing and who doesn’t, he openly offers his healing.  He must have seen or felt the strong presence of faith in the crowd, almost as we do sometimes going to church and feeling the power of the congregation in song and praise.

Jesus then turns to his disciples and shows his compassion.  He knows people have traveled far to receive his blessing and healing.  He does not want to turn away the hungry and he doesn’t.  This time, he has seven loaves of bread and some fish:

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 

As we look for healing, we can count of God.  He may make us demonstrate our faith such as the Canaanite woman before he heals us, but he does heal us.   He also has compassion and provides the bread (fish) and wine we need through his body and blood offered through communion.

In the last few weeks, I have seen people in need of healing:  a concussion on the soccer field, a friend having sinus surgery, one son struggling with his path, and my ongoing journey with my mother’s failing health.  Faith and Healing.  Two powerful words for us to remember as we face life’s every day bumps.  May you remember God’s healing hand and to have Faith in his actions in your lives.

John the Baptist

“I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

This past weekend, I had the joy of attending church at Highland Park United Methodist in Dallas, Texas.  I was moving my oldest back to college and always take advantage of attending this church when we visit.  HPUMC is a thriving community of churchgoers, including long timers and college students.  We are always amazed at the outstanding choir and at all the baptisms.  Each time we attend, multiple children are being baptized and welcomed into the church.  As we attended this week, it was a refreshing moment to hear these words from the minister, baptizing each child, five in total.  Certainly a renewal of all our own baptismal vows and a reminder of the responsibility we hold as Christians to raise our children and these newly baptized children up in the word of Christ.

Today’s reading, Matthew 3, highlights a key moment in Jesus’ life on earth.  John the Baptist leads the way:

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”[a]

John’s  “baptismal font” is the Jordan River.  He baptizes the people as they confess their sins.  He calls for them to repent.  He continues to preach the word not in a temple but out in the wilderness.  He message is simple, and he is not fancy about this event.  We are told his clothes were made of camel hair.  Yet, he was given such an important job.  He is baptizing the people.

“I baptize you with[b] water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire.

As we move further into the reading, Jesus appears.  John the Baptist believes Jesus should be baptizing him; he is a bit taken aback (as we would be too!).  Yet Jesus asks John to fulfill the scriptures and baptize him.  We all have a vision of these two people standing in the Jordan River.  John about to baptize Jesus.  What a emotional and wonderful moment it must have been.

Continue reading and we find the symbol of the dove.  “…and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

So much meaning is represented in these two verses.  We see the spirit in the vision of a dove and then we hear God praising Jesus and saying he is well pleased.  As we tie together present day baptisms with today’s reading, it gives me peace knowing baptism has given us the gift of repentance.

As I was writing my post, this verse came into my mind.  “Let you light shine before others that they might see your good deeds and give glory to your father who is in heaven”.  It is Matthew 5:16.  Certainly speaks to me as a natural follow on to our own baptisms and discipleship this week.

The Jews and the Gentiles

Acts 13:  42-52

In today’s reading, we have two very different groups of people.  As Paul and Barnabas are teaching, the focus is shifting to the Gentiles and away from the Jews.  As we read this story, we can picture a mass of people, “the whole city”,gathered.  There are opposing forces.  The Gentiles are grasping the word of God.  They are believing what Paul and Barnabas are saying.  They are “coming alive”.  They are joyful.  You can hear them cheering and rallying.  They are believing in eternal life.  They are hearing “these things”.  I interpret “these things” to be the word of God and his teachings.  Paul and Barnabas are preaching, teaching and spreading God’s word.  They are true disciples for the Gentiles and are showing them the way.  What a wonderful scene we can envision in this story.

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

On the other side, we have the Jews.  They are starting to oppose the word.  They are turning away from Paul and Barnabas.  The word “scoff” is used to describe their actions toward the Gentiles.  We read about the Jews’ “jealousy”.  They are definitely struggling and may not know where to turn.  They are not cheering and are rallying against God’s word.  They are misinterpreting “these things” to represent what they want to become.  How sad to see them turn away.  Why do they feel they cannot follow?  How did they become so filled with this jealousy?  God does not want them to turn away.

As we view these contrasting styles of what I will call “group think”, it appears easy to me to sway with the Gentiles.  However, in the moment, it may not have been that easy.  The Gentiles were certainly on a upward path and staying true to God’s word and course.  Do we do that in our every day lives?  Or do we turn away, being filled with jealousy?  The next time you are confronted with a situation of contrasting styles, which group will you follow?  Or will you be the leader and stick with your beliefs, morals and values?

As you carry on your day, may you be filled with the positive feeling of the Gentiles.  Don’t let negative feelings take you away from God’s word!

Footsteps

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

As we look at today’s first verse, what are we being asked to do? Follow Jesus. Follow his example. Walk in his footsteps. Love others as he loves us. This is quite a challenge! We think we are following Jesus by being in his word, performing good deeds, attending worship, helping others and generally being a good person. However, it is much harder to perform, especially in this complex world. Every day, we take footsteps and we take missteps. Missteps that lead us away from God’s word and his wishes for us. We become distracted. We lose our focus when we get “too busy”. A bit humbling as it happens to me for sure.

As I reflected on my own actions and today’s word, I thought about how to change the distractions that take us away from God. No quick fixes here. Certainly we as Christians can love one another just as Christ loves us. As Rachel posted yesterday, God looked on us with love and we need to offer that love and grace to others.  Additionally, we could and should be offering up sacrifices. What if we all spent a bit more time each day trying to walk more closely in his footsteps. Would we have an impact on the world we live in? I think we would and could. If we impacted one person each day by showing extra love, maybe they would impact another person. It is a small thing yet could have a big impact.  Love and grace.  (Imagine the wave in a stadium!)

Most of my time reflecting on today’s reading has to do with verse 1 and following in his footsteps.  I envisioned a morning walk in solitude.  My footsteps being small inside of God’s large footsteps.  Footsteps are part of my walk on God’s personal path for me.   For each of us, even if we stop to smell the roses or happen to step on a thorn along the way, God is still guiding us, prodding us and showing love and compassion for us. As we take steps in our daily lives, we are trying to move forward on a Christian path. We are walking. Sometimes we try to run, but oftentimes we are throttled back to a walk, at God’s pace.  On our walk through our days we have the chance to be looking up and out, not down at our own footsteps. Are we walking for our own pleasure or are we following God’s path? If we look up and out, we won’t miss the impact we can have on the world, showing love and grace.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a]

As we walk down this path and further into today’s reading, we are being warned to always be watchful, guarding against temptation.  Are we walking on a cliff hoping we don’t misstep? Are we imitating Christ or getting caught up in gossip, foolishness and deceptive words? Do we misstep into greed? To receive this inheritance of the kingdom of God, we should not become distracted. We need to walk in God’s light.

In today’s reading, Paul simply asks us to walk in God’s footsteps, to follow his word, to imitate him, to show kindness and love to others just as he shows it to each of us. Be like God as you go on your walk today!

 

 

 

 

Are you a sheep?

Are you a sheep?  Or are you a goat?   Matthew 25: 31-46

When you read today’s bible verses, did you categorize yourself as a sheep or a goat?  I could definitely be a better sheep than I am right now as there is more I could be doing to give back of my time, talents and money.

As we dive into the beginning sentences, the vision painted for us is a mass crowd with God dividing us into two camps:  sheep on the right who will be redeemed and saved and goats on the left who will be condemned and lost.  The reading shares with us the characteristics of the sheep.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’   The “king” or God was not talking about himself.  He was referring to others in the world.  Did you give food to those in need?  How about those who were thirsty or needed clothes or needed help or even a hug?  If you see a homeless person on the street, do you walk by or do you give him or her something?

As I was evaluating options, so many ideas came to mind.  We can always find avenues to perform charitable acts such as serving in a soup kitchen or volunteering at an organization.  Each year at work, we have one day everyone serves.  Various events are organized in big cities and we are expected to attend and serve.  Here is Bloomington, we have worked at Home Sweet Home Ministries, sorting clothes, books, shoes, etc.  The day serves as a way to give back to the community and i s a wonderful way to serve others with your colleagues.  You walk away at the end of the day feeling very fulfilled.  My self check based on this reading is that I should do more of these types of volunteer activities as well as doing more for others.

Timing was perfect for today’s reading for me for another reason.  My son Jonathan (14) is currently in Ripley, Tennessee for his first church work camp experience.  He went to Fellowship of Christian Athletes trip in 8th grade in Missouri with Kingsley Jr. High and loved it.  Then, for whatever reason, when work camp rolled around last year, he did not go last year.  Upon return and throughout his youth group this year, he heard from his friends who went how much fun they had so he plunged right in this year.  They typically are assigned a work group with other churches so you meet new people.  At night all the work groups get back together for fellowship.  As we prepared for the trip and loaded his “work bucket” you could see he was excited but also slightly anxious.  His older brother Matthew (17) who participated when he was a freshman assured him the experience would be both fun and rewarding.  Certainly something he would not regret or forget.  Jonathan is a kind-hearted young man and I know God will allow his good nature and helping hands to show through as he gives back.  I cannot wait to hear the stories!

As you go about your week, hopefully you take the time to be sheep even if it’s “welcoming” or saying hello to a stranger on the street!

Psalm 138

Stay in YOUR Lane

Matthew 20:  1-16

What a great way to start our day!  In this story about “laborers” or every day workers, we are reminded of the real world.  The workers who start at 8 or 10 or 12 or 5 or even 7 all received the same wage.  Does that seem fair?  No.  In our every day lives, does everyone receive the same wages?  No.  Do some people at our same level who might do less work receive the same wages?  Yes.  Such is life.  “Unfair” as it may seem, it is that way.

I love this story as it reminds us that God treats each of us as individuals.  He does not necessarily give more to others than to us.  He treats us as individuals, the distinct and unique individuals he created us to be.   It may seem that he gives more to others, but why are we comparing ourselves to others anyway?  What counts is our servitude and attitude to God, not how we compare to others right?  If he called us all to Heaven today, what would he say about us as individuals?  He wouldn’t just take those with the most years being Christians would he?

I have a friend named J***** whom I have known since before I had children.  Throughout the years, we have stayed in touch as her youngest boys are the same age as my oldest.  We have been through tough times together and bonded over being “single moms”.  When the boys were in fourth or fifth grade, we had an issue with school friends (I can’t really remember what it was about now which means it probably wasn’t that critical?) and were discussing it one day or lunch.  She was asking about how she should handle an issue with other parents.   Should she call to tell the parents what she was seeing and hearing?  I said “you know I just try to stay in my lane”.  The point was I was overwhelmed at the time and was making choices over what I thought was a burning platform and what I just decided wasn’t my business.  We still remind each other of that phrase “stay in your lane”.  If it doesn’t pertain to you and doesn’t directly affect your children, don’t worry about it or be anxious about it.  When I read this parable today, those words came to me “stay in your lane”.  Can you really control how much the master pays others?  If you get upset, will it change anything?  If we see others receiving more than us in the form of money, happiness, travel, etc. should you worry about it or think “how unfair”?  Not really.  You can’t do anything about it.  All you can control is your lane or yourself.  You can make a difference in how you react to the situation God has given you whether it is exciting, not what you expected, or disappointing.  Really you can’t even control yourself; it is God’s plan right?  He decides your path and you can decide how you react.  If you are handed your “denarius”, how do you handle it?  Are you respectful and say thank you?  Or do you pout and say “it’s not fair”?  Great reminder to all of us to work on ourselves, our reactions to situations and our thankfulness to God for what he has already given us.

Psalm 126

Think Again!

Today’s reading is quite interesting as you can look at this parable from two perspectives.  As we read Luke 17:7-10, we can use the lens of the servant and then we can use the lens of God.

“Will any one of you who has a servant[a] plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,[b] and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[c] we have only done what was our duty.’”

From the lens of the servant, he works all day, he works HARD all day and then his master or boss doesn’t thank him but expects more.  The servant may be wrapping up the last task of the day or so he thinks.  Think again!  There is more work to be done!  Doesn’t this sound like our days sometimes?  We work and work, driving kids, fielding phone calls, cooking, cleaning, picking up groceries and then “can you do (X) for me”?  In your mind, you were almost done with all your tasks and ready to relax.  Think again, you child needs one more thing! Sigh….

From the eyes of God, we are his servants.  We are on earth to be disciples, to do good works, to share the word, to serve him and to serve others.  He expects us to carry on and not to stop.  He does not pause in caring for us at the end of the day because he is “too tired” so why should we stop?   He is there watching over us and expects us to serve humbly.  We are not always given gratitude for doing his good works on earth today.  Our gratitude will come with eternal life.

This last part is sometimes hard in our daily tasks.   We try to please people by doing our jobs or we try to go above and beyond to finish a task to perfection.  I know at the end of the last two weeks, I was exhausted, working very hard on a number of projects and had to keep going with not much gratitude.  Sometimes we are thanked and sometimes we are not and that is the way it goes.  I think back to when my children were very young.  They could not even say thank you.  In those moments, my gratitude came from seeing them thrive or seeing them sleep comfortably.  I didn’t expect a thank you at that age.  I served humbly.  As my kids have grown, I have come to expect a thank you and hope I have taught them to be thankful, expressing gratitude to those who do things for them or “serve” them in even the smallest way.  As my oldest entered the business workplace for the summer, I talked to him about carrying on, even if he’s tired at the end of the day, to be thankful he has a job and to thank others even if they don’t thank him. Serve humbly and be thankful to God for all he has given us, even if we don’t see his gratitude right now.  Carry on.  When your day becomes tiresome and when you think you have done enough, think again!   How can we do more to serve God?  Are we thankful for all he has done for us?  Go forward and serve humbly.

For additional reading:  Psalm 114

 

The Parable of the Fig Tree (Part 2)

Luke 13: 6-9

Part 2 of the The Fig Tree.  When I went to write today’s post, I remembered writing about a Fig Tree in the past and went to research my past post.  It was actually quite different than today’s verses.  The past post showed Jesus’ use of power and how he crumbled the Fig Tree.  It was one of Jesus’ very few examples of power in a more negative fashion.

Today’s reading is a different twist on Fig Trees.  In ancient times, Fig Trees were often used in stories as they are symbolic to Israel and are important to the Jewish community.  “Today Israel is full of fig trees – huge, well developed, shady and mature. They produce two harvests of fruit a year, the early crop around Passover time in the spring, even before the leaves have unfurled, and the biggest, best, most juicy fruits come into their own in September, close to the Jewish holidays of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles respectively).”  Read more here.  Fig Trees are just one of a few trees used in the Bible.  Others include the “tree of life” and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil”.  My point here is to pay attention when the Bible refers to Fig Trees.  Take note, important message coming!

Our verses for today are short but right to the point.  The parable is about disappointment and also about patience.  The fig tree owner was not pleased with the fig tree.  He had been waiting for fruit for three years but still had none.  He was disappointed and most likely frustrated with the lack of progress in bearing fruit.  His impatience grew to the point of wanting to give up and cut the Fig Tree down.  In his mind, the tree had been barren long enough. Yet, the caretaker showed great patience.  He asked for another year.  Can you visualize him pleading his case as he lays out his plan for continuing to improve the health of the tree?

This story relates to our lives.  Jesus is the vineyard owner and we are the trees.  Jesus’ patience may run out with us, not necessarily after three years, but it he may ‘move on’ to others.  He may grant us mercy for yesterday, for today, but not forever if we don’t open our hearts for him.  He keeps knocking but will we answer?  Will we confess our sins?  Will we believe?  Do we take advantage of our borrowed time in the right manner?  Will we bear fruit on earth? These verses are short but certainly powerful.  Our lives on earth might be over.  He might not give us another year.  Kind of scary in a way IF we don’t believe.  The good news is he is a patient God.  He does have caretakers watching us, helping us, prodding us along in the word.  He does grant extra time to bear fruit.   A good lesson for us on repentance and on staying ready for his coming.

In case you wanted to read another parable about a Fig Tree, I have included my The Fig Tree post from February 10, 2017   Also included in this post are facts about the fig tree as a fruit again showing how important it was in ancient times and what a source of nutrition it is today, not only to the body, but in the case of the parables, to the mind.

For additional reading:  Psalm 102.

 

Our firm foundation

The Wise and Foolish Builders

When I first read this verse, I thought I should have traded with BJ! It would have been more appropriate for a builder who is very concerned about the foundation of the homes he builds to write on this topic! So, here goes with the analogy and the non-builder in me! I know there are many different types of foundations based on the type of soil, ground, climate, and geographical location.  Some homes have basements, others do not.  I only have familiarity with the poured cement foundation for a home with a basement.  As I think about the type of foundation for homes here in Central Illinois, I always picture the big open hole in the ground that looks so massive. A truck arrives and pours gravel all over the bottom of this hole.  Massive molds are delivered and set up in this big hole in the ground and supported with wood beams or big metal supports.   Then, the cement trucks arrive and pour the cement into the molds. These molds hold the cement in place until it is firm, dry and solid.  It seems to sit for a bit of time to become rock solid. In my lifetime, I have had the opportunity to watch this process take place twice. It is so interesting to me that those cement walls form together perfectly. The perfectly formed walls outline the edge of the house and in the end, hold the weight of the entire house, with all the wood, brick, furniture, people, etc. These walls have to be so firm and so perfect or the house would collapse. I think of homes in the south near coastlines. They are oftentimes built of huge cinder blocks and then the deck or upper floors extend out of the sand with wood beams supporting them. While the cinder blocks seem very solid, it would make me a bit nervous to have these beams in the sand support the upper deck of my house especially with the ever-present threat of hurricanes.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

In today’s verse, we read about building our foundation on rock and not building it on sand that could slip away or be washed away. This analogy to a home is easy for us to make. It paints a vivid picture of how to build our personal homes. Obviously, we want to build our faith foundations on God, his word, his teachings and his way of living. He points out the solid rock he can be and is for us. However, we have to do our part. We have to believe in his word and follow it. We have to read it. We have to build our lives on it. We have to build our walls on this foundation. Even when the weight of the world is heavy upon us, he won’t let us down.  We are strong and have to rely on him in tough times.

One more easy-to-relate to story came to mind when reading today’s verse: The Three Little Pigs. We all know this story. The wolf comes along to try to get the first pig, shouting: “I will huff and puff and blow your house down.” He does. Why, because the first home is built of straw.   It happens again to the second pig, who’s home is built of sticks.   “I will huff and puff and blow your house down.”   The story highlights that the first two pigs were lazy in their preparation. They hastily built their homes so they could sing and dance all day. The third pig spent considerable time on his own house. He wanted to be safe and even let the other two pigs in when their homes had been destroyed. When the wolf comes across the third pig’s home built of brick, he again says: “I will huff and puff and blow your house down.” The wolf does not succeed. The firm foundation and walls are too strong. The brick protected the pigs from harm. I think of God as these brick walls and our foundation. No matter how harsh the wind and the world is, he protects us, and we need to build our faith in him. We also need to take time to continue to solidify our foundation by being in the word.  We have to use this firm foundation in God to survive the storms. He is there for us. He is our Rock and our Salvation.   You can sing “The Church is one Foundation” in your head all day like I did after writing this post!

 

Psalm 90