Categories
Christian Blog Discipleship

Unless the Lord Builds

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Psalm 127:1 (NIV)

As I’ve mentioned before, my wife and I are compulsive watchers of the HGTV (Home and Garden Television) network.

The other night we saw a rerun of Holmes Makes It Right that gave me nightmares! If you haven’t seen it, the show stars Mike Holmes, a veteran contractor and home inspector, who helps homeowners fix major issues with their properties.

On most episodes Mike runs into even greater difficulties than expected. Invariably, it turns out an unqualified person did work on the property that was not up “to code.” Such shoddy craftsmanship poses a hazard–hidden inside walls or under floors for years. “Just one spark,” says a scowling Mike, “and the whole house could have been ruined.”

Heaven has a reality show as well. It’s called, Unless the Lord Builds the House. On the show, God, the veteran creator and life inspector, helps people fix major issues with their lives. Invariably, His clients find more personal problems than expected. The Lord, however, is not surprised. The work was not done to Biblical code and has been a hazard–hidden inside hearts and minds for years. “Just one prayer,” says a smiling creator, “and your whole house can be saved.”

The apostle Paul was also a builder, of sorts. He told the Christians at Corinth they were “God’s building,” and that Jesus Christ was the foundation– (1 Corinthians 3:9b,11)

He also admonished them to be careful about their choice of building materials. The Corinthians could build on the foundation of Christ with high quality items (gold, silver and precious stones) or inferior items (wood, hay and straw). And the quality of each believer’s work would be tested by God on Judgment Day–with 🔥 FIRE!🔥– (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

This is where my nightmare comes in. After watching Mike find the hidden dangers caused by inferior craftsmanship, I dreamed that night about my own house–with gaping holes in the brick veneer. I woke up just after a home inspector told me the damage was due to substandard building techniques.

Of course, in my waking hours, I made the connection –remembering Paul’s builder analogy–and thought about my own spiritual house.

Yes, the Lord builds the house, but you and I have a hand in it too.

May we be competent craftsmen.


Photo by Nick van den Berg on Unsplash

Some material in this post was reused from Daddy Knows which originally published on June 16, 2019.

Categories
Christian Blog evangelism

Why Cover That Up?

Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

As I’ve mentioned before, my wife and I are big fans of the HGTV (Home and Garden Television) network. We’ve watched so many home renovation shows we should be experts by now–at least in theory!

The other night we were scratching our heads, along with Ben Napier from the show Hometown. Underneath some puke green colored kitchen linoleum he discovered solid oak floors! “Why would you cover that up?!” asked Big Ben with a bewildered look.

Jesus feels the same way about His followers covering up who they truly are. “You are the light of the world,” He said. “A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

Have you ever tried to dim the light of Christ within you? Regrettably, I have–in order to fit in–and it felt like covering up solid oak floors with puke colored linoleum.

The Hometown episode brought to mind a woman I know who collects and sells antiques. She has an amazing eye for finding old furniture that just needs some love. One time, she discovered a complete Ethan Allen dining room set painted lime green! Underneath the paint, she found (you guessed it) solid mahogany.

However, it’s a bit of a somber story for the Antique Lady, as the local’s call her. She explained that, once beautifully aged hardwood is painted over, you can NEVER restore the original finish. The untouched table and chairs–with their original patina–would have been worth twice as much if they had not been painted.

Jesus feels the same way about His followers decreasing their value to the world. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” (Matthew 5:13)

Have you ever turned down the volume (so to speak) of the godliness within you? Unfortunately–in order to blend in–I have, and it felt like painting over vintage mahogany.

Now, as much as ever, may we bring out the God-flavors of the earth and let the love of Christ shine through our lives. Jesus is the Light of the World and we are expected to carry a torch. Our good deeds for the glory of God are a reflection of Him.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

John 8:12

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine.

Categories
Christian Living

Postage Due

The faculty prayer group at my school meets every Tuesday morning. Last week, one of my colleagues brought three cards for everyone to sign. Two were get well cards (for other faculty members), and one was a sympathy card for a teacher who recently lost her father.

The dozen or so people who attended our prayer group that day signed the cards, but there was still plenty of room left for more well-wishes. So I asked one of our assistant principals to help spread the word to the rest of our faculty. She sent an email inviting everyone (over 100 staff members) to sign, and left the cards by our head principal’s in-basket.

When I picked up the three cards two days later they were completely covered with handwritten words of encouragement! All that was left to do was to put them in the mail.

But I forgot to bring stamps.

“Maybe I have some in my desk,” I said to myself, hopefully. Now, I’m one of those people who stuffs their desk drawers full of anything that might even REMOTELY be needed in the future. But did I save any stamps?

I foraged through the drawers one at time—rooting around like a frisky ferret. Nothing. Finally, I checked the top middle drawer. And right there in the tray, next to the paper clips, were some first class forever stamps.

Wanna guess how many?

Not two, not four but THREE. Exactly the number I needed! I said a joyful, “Thank you, Jesus!” and got those letters in the mail.

Where God guides, God provides.

The Lord knew all along when I would need those stamps. I can’t even remember when I left them in that drawer! But they were still there when the time came.

I’m not saying the creator of the universe is like a gumball machine. But He DOES get the job done—especially when His glory is at stake (Isaiah 48:11b).

It’s impressive that God also used three people, who each filled distinct roles, to make this ministry opportunity happen. One thoughtful teacher provided the cards, our assistant principal got out the word, and I put them in the mail.

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Do you have any “three stranded rope” friends in your life? I hope so. Humans (especially Christian ones) are designed for interdependence—not just with God, but also with each other (Romans 12:19).