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 Living joy

Turning the Key

Photo by Jaye Haych on Unsplash

I was intrigued recently with something DeborahMarie wrote on her blog, Great is God’s Faithfulness. The title of the post was, The Key to Life, and it was all about the choice set before God’s people in Deuteronomy 30:19-20.

Moses challenged them to love, obey and commit totally to God–to choose life over death and blessings over curses. This choice would be the key to life, but God would not make it for them.

OK, I thought. I have the master key to life, but it’s useless until I stick it into a lock and turn it. What motivates me to do that?

I found the answer in another devotional the next morning. Glenn Packiam, writing in Our Daily Bread, shared an article called, Costly Joy. The scripture he spotlighted was Christ’s parable of the hidden treasure.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” — (Matthew 13:44)

The author then connects the dots to reveal the secret of unswerving motivation:

“Joy drives change–not guilt or duty.”

Glenn Packiam

BINGO! The Joy of the Lord inspires us to choose and use the key to life.

There’s a great example of this in action in Nehemiah chapter 8. The wall around Jerusalem had just been completed, and all the people came together to worship God. These folks hadn’t been to church or heard the Word in a long time. So when the scribe Ezra read from the Law of Moses, the congregation fell under conviction and began to weep. But Nehemiah said, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

According to the book of Hebrews, it was this same kind of joy that gave Jesus the strength to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

It may have been Friday night, but the Lord knew Sunday morning was coming!

You and I have read the book: God wins.

And winners go out in joy and are led forth in peace (Isaiah 55:12).

“Joy is the reason; surrender is the response. The treasure of knowing Jesus is the reward.”

Glenn Packiam

Whose Joy?

This joy that I have

the world can’t take it away

It belongs to God.

Categories
Christian Living grace

The Power of Weakness

I was a bit puzzled with a recent post on the The Clean, Good Life called How To: Pick Something to Improve On. The author, Matcha, challenged me to list my strengths and weaknesses–in order of magnitude–and then get to work on my biggest weakness.

Wait a second! Most self-improvement experts say to focus on improving your strengths, not weaknesses, I said to myself–only half convinced.

Ok, I’ll give it a shot.

Strengths (high to low): kind, genuine, congenial, empathetic, open and gregarious.

Weaknesses (high to low): approval addict, overly sensitive, insecure, impetuous and conceited.

I understand, reading about me gazing at my own navel is not particularly engaging, but please read on.

Conducting this exercise wasn’t easy–especially the part about admitting my weaknesses. But I think I see what Matcha is getting at.

Considering my shortcomings not only made me aware of my frailties, it invited me to confront them.

The apostle Paul had such an aha moment when he prayed for Jesus to take away his greatest weakness–something he called his “thorn in the flesh.”

As you no doubt recall, this is how Christ responded:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul responds by saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (2 Corinthians 12:10) He then comments that, for Christ’s sake, he actually DELIGHTS in weaknesses.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. – (2 Corinthians 12:11)

I’ve read these verses of scripture many times, but after Matcha’s improvement exercise, they took on new meaning.

Because God’s power is made perfect in weakness, His grace is always sufficient!

You and I don’t have to fear our weaknesses or avoid them. On the contrary, we should delight in them–knowing that His strength is perfect.

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone.
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.

Steven Curtis Chapman

Maybe you’d like to try Matcha’s exercise? What are YOUR strengths and weaknesses? And how will you get to work on your biggest weakness (besides taking Paul’s advice)?😇

Photo by Daniel Mingook Kim on Unsplash