Categories
Christian Living

Close, But Not Quite

According to our church bulletin yesterday, the first hymn was #407, How Firm a Foundation. But when I turned to that number in the hymnal it wasn’t the right song. So I tried 704—maybe the digits got reversed? Nope. How about 497—because 9 is next to zero? Nada. Okay, I give up. I looked up the the correct number in the back of the book. It was 408. The bulletin was so close—just one page off!

So I started thinking about, “close, but not quite,” moments in the Bible. Remember good King Asa? He “conducted himself well before God, reviving the ways of his ancestor David.” – 1 Kings 15:11 (MSG) The Bible says Asa kicked the male shrine prostitutes out of Judah, and destroyed all the pagan idols the evil kings before him made. He even unseated his own grandmother, from her royal position, because of her idol worship! – 2 Chronicles 15:16

King Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and was fully committed to God all his life. But there’s an unfortunate footnote: “He didn’t get rid of all the local sex-and-religion shrines.” —1 Kings 15:14 (MSG) Meaning, he kicked out the prostitutes, but left their pagan temples standing.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.” Yet kings Asa, Solomon and David, who were all, “close, but not quite,” were beloved by God. This must be partly because, though each of them was imperfect, they respected the Lord and kept trying.

This is the one I esteem: He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”

Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)

A pastor friend of mine has a favorite saying: “Obedience is when you DO.” Kind reader, we can think about , talk and plan to do what’s right in the eyes of God, but if we don’t take REAL action little will change.

It won’t happen if you don’t make it happen

Pastor Ron Bracy

For look at King Asa from a little different angle, please see Repairing the Altar by Chris Hendrix, of Devotions by Chris.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

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 restoration

Lord, Raise the Gates!

A fire sprinkler head broke the other day in the ceiling of a gymnasium at my school. Water came pouring down, soaking the gym floor and flooding an adjacent hallway.

Somehow, the break tripped the fire alarm, causing two huge metal doors to come down on either end of a long hallway. The main wing of the school was no longer easily accessible from the classrooms. The office, library, gyms and cafeteria were all blocked. The only way to get to the heart of the building was to walk around from outside.

Maintenance workers tried all weekend to raise the doors, but to no avail. The building was safe, but the fire suppression system thought there was still a problem. So the doors stayed down.

Here’s a picture I snapped of the hallway. There was this, “The mall is closing now,” vibe about the whole scene.

As the day wore on, with no solution in sight, I heard myself pray, “Lord, raise the gates!” As soon as I said this it hit me, “Hey, that’s straight outta scripture!”

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” – Psalm 24:7 (NIV)

A few hours later, two men from the company that installed the alarm system came to the rescue. They patched into a computer, which controlled everything, and the doors were up in no time!


Has something ever been broken between you and someone else? Between you and God?

In such circumstances the doubts can come pouring down— flooding your heart.

When this happens, the suppression doors often lower as well—cutting us off from others AND God. They’re meant to protect us. And they do…for a time. But occasionally the doors get stuck in the down position, even after it’s safe again.

If anyone wants to reach your heart they must go around the long way.

You want to raise the doors, but it’s complicated. So they stay down.

With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Jesus – Matthew 19:26 (NASB)

Lord, raise the gates!

Here are some of my favorite “Raise the Gates” scriptures. Please share one of yours!


“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” -Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)

“I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” -Psalm 12:1-2 (GNT)

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” – Lamentations 3:24 (NIV)


Photo by Alessio Rinella on Unsplash