Mat 7:24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.
Mat 7:25 And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock.
Mat 7:26 And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
Mat 7:27 And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall.
“On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand…All other ground is sinking sand.” Remember that song from Sunday school? How little we realize that so many things, even in our Christian life, that we base our actions, thoughts, and beliefs on can be sinking sand – the wrong foundation.
I invite you today to examine your foundation. Is all you do and believe truly based on His Word – His truth? Or is there another foundation, such as a modern philosophy, speculation, experiences, feelings, or another man’s teaching perhaps even mixed with a bit of scripture that you have as a foundation for what you do?
We can be so comfortable in a lie that is built upon sinking sand that we become blind to it and don’t want to give it up! It has become a safe place for us. It feels good, and there is no reason for us to even examine if this is the true foundation.
Oh, but then, God has a way of rocking our boat, when we least expect it. Suddenly our foundation begins to fall apart, and though we don’t at all want to look at it honestly, we are forced to. We are forced to question if indeed we have built our house on the wrong foundation, when we thought it was solid. All other foundations that are not the true Rock of Jesus Christ, will indeed one day come crumbling down. There is no doubt about it. We can get by with it for a while, until the storm comes and tests it.
The most painful experience in our Christian lives, is to discover that what we thought was that rock solid foundation, was not at all – but another all along! Several times in my own life, I trusted in what other “authority” figures told me, and based my actions, beliefs, and happiness on that. It sounded very spiritual and true! Yes, and they were the experts of course! It sounded factual. Oh yes, I would not, as a Christian have accepted it if it didn’t. But I was ignorant of His Word and His ways yet in these things. God has so much grace for us in our ignorance. And He knows we would stay there, comfortably if He did not allow the storm to come and crumble that false foundation we are putting our trust in and clinging to.
So how do we know that our foundation is solid? Is it truly Jesus Christ you are building on? Is it truly His Word of truth? Or is it bits and pieces of the Word taken out of context mixed with something else from the world. Or perhaps it is simply some half-truth or speculation based on some “authority” and not the Word of God at all. What does the Word of God say about our life, our sanctification, our daily living, and our being molded into His image? What does it say about our source of significance, happiness, and security? What does it say about Jesus Christ, who He is, and what He is to be in our lives? What does it say about righteousness, faith and hope?
1Co 3:9 For of God we are fellow-workers, a field of God, and you are a building of God.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let every man be careful how he builds on it.
1Co 3:11 For any other foundation can no one lay than the one being laid, who is Jesus Christ.
1Co 3:12 And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble,
1Co 3:13 each one's work shall be revealed. For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try each one's work as to what kind it is.
1Co 3:14 If anyone's work which he built remains, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If anyone's work shall be burned up, he shall suffer loss. But he shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
Those foundations that are not Jesus Christ, you can be sure, will be torn down and exposed for what they are. But let us, now, look into the Word of God, and search our hearts, and let our foundations be exposed to His light and be examined, to see if they were of Christ, before that time. If we bring them before Him always, and let them be tested by the fire of His Word and purified now, it will save us much pain later.
It’s a serious thing, to try to lay another foundation other than Christ! Those false teachers and so-called “experts” who do this have serious consequences for messing with God’s holy temple…His body of believers! We are a building being built together for His dwelling place. Let us take care then, that the foundation is the truth.
1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1Co 3:17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God shall destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.
1Co 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool so that he may be wise.
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, "He takes the wise in their own craftiness."
It does us good to examine our foundation. All we believe needs to be brought to His light. Every source of teaching that we receive needs to be examined by His Word, before we allow it to become a part of the foundation we stand on. Let us do that today.
Dear Lord, search our hearts, know our thoughts, know our ways, see if there be any wicked way in us that would lead us from the true foundation of Jesus Christ. If we are building on sinking sand, show us clearly dear Lord. Sometimes we become too comfortable with it to see it until You allow it to crumble. Help us to know You alone as our solid Rock, and build on nothing else!
Phi 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Phi 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
I guess I’ve written in previous devotionals about the importance of rejoicing and giving thanks. But I don’t think I can over state it! Like Paul and Peter, I feel it is something important enough to bring to your remembrance time and time again.
2Pe 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the present truth.
2Pe 1:13 Indeed, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
Why should we have to be reminded to rejoice? Well, for most of us, we don’t practice it naturally. We just don’t bother. We read about the joy of the Lord but go away and grumble about our circumstances. Some people tend to naturally be positive people. They are always up. They naturally look at the bright side of life and are optimistic no matter what. I’ve always admired that kind of person and wished I were like that without trying!
But many of us tend to see the negative part of our lives and overlook all of God’s blessings and fail to put our faith in His promises and delight ourselves in Him. There is an epidemic of depression and suicide in our country. Even as Christians we find ourselves at times in despair, depression, and yes, even suicidal. We’re not immune!
Many times the reason for that depression is because of our own thought patterns. We’ve failed to obey God’s command to rejoice in Him – to delight ourselves in Him. If we don’t feel like it we don’t do it. We’ve learned to live by our feelings. Everything we do is based on our feelings. If we feel like praying, then we pray. If we feel like reading our Bible, then we do. If we don’t then we just won’t! We let our feelings, rather than the Holy Spirit be our motivation for what we do. Self-discipline is simply obedience to the Holy Spirit without procrastination, in spite of our feelings.
I’ve found for my own self, that the Lord has given us the command to rejoice in Him, and delight ourselves in Him for a good reason! We live in this world full of turmoil, sin, wickedness, oppression, etc. He knows what we face here. He knows in our own flesh we cannot endure it. He knows that it is depressing! Jesus also faced severe depression. Did you know that?
Mat 26:38 Then saith he to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
He knew very well that we would also face our own Gethsemane in this world.
But Paul learned the secret of enduring. He learned no matter what the circumstances, we are to rejoice in them. What did Paul do when he was put in prison? He sang Hymns and rejoiced! What did he do when shipwrecked, beaten, and thrown in prison – he rejoiced! He said “in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus”. I’m sure Paul had to learn that in order to continue enduring all he had to to be God’s servant and apostle.
No, we cannot wait until we feel that joy. We never will. We wonder why we have no joy in our Christian life when Jesus promised an abundant life. We seek experiences to somehow lift us to that joy. But the true deep down joy in Christ escapes us. We try to manipulate our circumstances to find happiness, but we find at times it’s there and at times it flees from us.
Paul found that even when there is nothing in this life to bring happiness, even when all things that he had once in this life – his success, his esteem, his friends, his reputation – all was lost, even when misunderstood, persecuted, and beat down, and even when all seemed hopeless before him and he faced death, he found that he could rejoice in the Lord. He found he could count on God to fulfill His purpose in it.
How can this be? It must be something that is beyond us. It must be something that is not dependant on health, circumstances, or dreams fulfilled. It comes from His Spirit living in us and our yielding to Him, by choosing to rejoice in the Lord, and choosing to delight in Him and make Him your joy instead of this world. It comes from exercising faith that God is Who He says He is and will do what He says and we can rejoice in and delight in that hope no matter what. It comes from His Spirit living in us and our yielding to Him.
Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he will give thee the desires of thy heart.
Again, I say, it is a choice! It is our spiritual exercise. We must consciously rejoice in Him. It is a necessity! If He tells us to do it, then it must be up to us to do it.
Well, I tend to look at my house and see the old carpet that needs to be replaced and fret over that instead of seeing that God has provided me with a warm house, a loving husband, food to eat, clean clothes, a bed to sleep in at night…etc. So I find that for me it takes effort to look away from the negative and I always find so many things to thank God for. And when everything seems hopeless and negative than I thank Him for Who He is and that He is my loving Savior Who died for me and all things that come to my life must first pass through His nail scarred hands before they come to me. I know out of His love that He works them all together for my good, so I rejoice in that, and in His hope and in His salvation, and delight in the treasures I find in His Word as I sit at His table and eat of His spiritual manna. I delight in all I find that He has promised me! What riches we have in Christ Jesus! Oh if we would take the time to discover them and delight in them! Nothing else in this world would matter in comparison.
Out of that exercise of rejoicing I find a deep and true joy that is lasting and growing and strengthens me in every battle I must endure in this life. It has kept me through hard things I cannot understand. It has kept me through doubts and turmoil and pain.
I pray today, that if you have not made a regular habit of rejoicing in Him, that you will start today. No matter how down-trodden you feel, and how hopeless, I pray that you will begin to thank Him and sing to Him, and rejoice in Him and delight in His promises for you in your trial and suffering. It will be your strength, and will carry you through it.
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
Our dear Abba, Father, I ask today that You would teach us this lesson, over and over again, until it is our daily habit. I pray You will remind us again and again of our failure to obey your command to rejoice in You and delight in You. Teach us that it was for our blessing You gave us this command! Teach us to exercise that faith in You that will enable us to rejoice in You always. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, amen.
When Jesus Christ entered your heart, as you put your faith in Him to be your Savior, He became your Savior to the uttermost. He knew and understood all that you would need in a Savior, and He made Himself that to you. The following is an excerpt from a sermon by Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel that says it well…
”The bible tells us the name of the true God. God is not His name; God is His title so to speak. It is a designation of Who He is. His name is YAWEH or YEHOVAH, we are not certain of the pronunciation. In the Hebrew text all we have are the four consonants. YHVH, thus they are unpronounceable without the vowels. We don’t have any way of really knowing the true pronunciation. There are those who guess it to be YAWEH but others have suggested YAHOVAH. That is the name of God and the name means the becoming one. So that God becomes to you whatever your need might be. God wants to be everything to you, the all-sufficient one; all sufficient for any and all needs that might arise in your life. So the name of God is used in a compound sense as Jehovah or YAWEH Shalom; the Lord is our peace. He becomes our peace, He becomes our healer, He becomes our righteousness and He becomes our banner.” (From sermon tape #7198, Ps. 98-100, by Chuck Smith)
Heb. 7:25…”Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.” (Amplified)
We need to live as though our Savior were truly our Savior in all circumstances, and in every aspect of our lives – in our sanctification as well as our justification and redemption. He did not just save us from the penalty of sin so we could go to heaven, yet struggle here to live with this body of sin on our own, in our own efforts, trying our best to imitate Him and obey Him. That is not the Christian life. He meant to be Himself the power of our life every day, sufficient for every need, and every trial we face. He meant to be our life, here and now, and to be our joy. Yet so often we still try, even as Christians, to find our life and happiness by other means.
Better to accept the pain and sorrow of this body, and this life – and yet find my life in Him, then to look to fulfill my life by any other way. By trying to do so we short-change ourselves from experiencing the fullness of His Spirit and all that He intends to be to us.
Are you relying on anything other than your Savior to be your security, significance, and happiness today? Then you are not able to fully experience Him now, really, as your Savior to the uttermost. One by one He shows us those things in our lives that we cling to in His place – the place He longs to fill in you. Letting go of them may cause suffering and sorrow to the flesh for a time. We are fearful of giving them up, yet when we, by faith, let go, and ask Jesus to be that life to us in their place, we find an intimacy and fulfillment in our relationship with Him that we had not known. No one can take it away. They can take away all the things in this world we would possess, but they cannot take away what our Savior is in us. He meant to be your life now on this earth and for eternity.
Col. 3:4…”When Christ, Who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
Jesus did not come into your heart to help you be righteous, but to be your righteousness. He will be that in you everyday as you learn to trust Him to be. He did not come into your heart to help you find happiness in this life, but to replace your life with Himself and be your joy and life. He did not come to help you find peace in this life, but He came to be your peace no matter what surrounds you or what circumstances you find yourself in. Those who don’t understand that will always blame God and be doubtful and bitter when things go wrong in their life, when they lose their health, or someone they love, or life does not treat them as they think it should. They are still looking for their “life” in this world, and not in Jesus. They haven’t understood that to accept Him as their Savior is to accept Him to the uttermost as their life. He has given Himself to us to the uttermost, as our all. He offers Himself to fulfill every need we have.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Teach us, dear Lord, and Savior, that You are our Savior to the uttermost, and what this means in our lives more every day. Teach us to be dependant on you for all just as You depended totally on the Father while You walked this earth. Show us those things that we cling to for our life, that we can’t even see ourselves until somehow they are removed from us. When life doesn’t go the way we expected, help us not to be afraid but to remember that You are our Savior in those circumstances and have already gone before us and taken care of us. Help us to rest ourselves in Your perfect care.
”Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.” Heb. 11:1 (Amplified version)
I read the list of these heroes of faith and the impossible odds they overcame in their lives in this chapter and am left in awe. Is this a faith we can all attain to, or for only the strong of heart? Yet when I read closer I find they were men and women with all the same weaknesses and fears as the rest of us. How did they “achieve” this faith? What was it about them that enabled them even in their lowly positions and weaknesses to overcome such things?
I remember a time of severe testing in my Christian life when I cried out, “God, I don’t know if I can believe in You anymore!”
Yet as soon as I spoke the words I knew deep in my heart that I could never stop believing in Him. It was He all along that held me tight, and not I holding onto Him. The faith I had was the knowledge of Him He had given me. When I gave my heart to Him to belong to Him as His dwelling place, He came in to my heart and put within me the knowledge of His being. At first it was a tiny seed, but as He nurtured that seed it grew, like a tiny mustard seed, that soon grew into a tree branching out into my entire being. It is rooted and grounded there. It will keep me, through the worst that I face, when I can’t keep myself. It is the faith He has planted in me. It is the confirmation, the title deed, the knowledge, of His very being and hope of eternal life living in me. Though I cannot see it or always feel it…it is perceived (understood, acknowledged) in me as real because of His Spirit living in me, and because of His Word spoken to me.
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Pe 1:6 In which ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though tried with fire, might be found to praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
All who are born again have received the knowledge of things hoped for – the assurance of God’s eternal life. That is not an effort that we conjure up, but it is God instilled. As we choose to turn to God, He in turn gives us faith. The simplest act of calling out His name is an act of turning to Him…an act of faith. The very weakest faith, the very weakest surrender, He hears and answers and takes it and fills it with Himself and makes real. When the time of our testing comes, by that faith instilled in us, we have the power to overcome. It is not because of our strength, but because of Him. It is not about us, but about Him in us. As we surrender to and trust in what He alone has given us, He will be true to His nature to keep us through the fire, through the storm, through the lion’s den. We will by faith, be enabled to look to another country and keep that ever before us, we will be able to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of this world, we will be able to count on God’s promises, receive God’s blessing, say no to the passing pleasures of sin, suffer affliction – yes, by that faith we will be able to overcome every obstacle that the enemy can possibly bring before us.
”Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:37-39
Our faith is begun and brought to perfection by Jesus, our Savior Himself, and He will see to its perfection. We can never create our own faith. It comes by hearing His Word, and it comes by saying yes to His Word of light. As we say yes, He does the rest. Keep on saying yes to Jesus! No matter how hard it looks, no matter how difficult and impossible the situation, no matter how hopeless…don’t you think Jesus was there before you and saw it all? He said that your entire life was predestined to be conformed to His image. Don’t you think then that He already worked out this problem too? Just say yes to Jesus. Let Him work in you the faith to get through it, the endurance you need, and the way. Cast your faith on Him. Don’t try to work it out yourself. He’ll let you try until you finally realize you can’t and fall. Sometimes the falling is necessary so that we will turn from our own self, and unto Him. If you think your faith is not strong enough, cast it on Him, the author and finisher of it. What He began in you He is able to bring to completion.
Phi 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Abba Father, remind us through these storms and testings that our faith is based on You and Your work in us, not on anything in us. Remind us to look to You for faith when the testing of ours shows that it has not been true faith at all, but only our own striving. Remind us that all we need to ever do is ask and You will freely give all that we need. Thank You, our dear Father, and provider for all You have so graciously given for our complete redemption, here and here after! In the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior, amen!