Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sand Castles

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a sensible man who builds his house on the rock. Down came the rain and up came the floods, while the winds blew and roared upon that house—and it did not fall because its foundations were on the rock. “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not follow them can be compared with a foolish man who built his house on sand. Down came the rain and up came the floods, while the winds blew and battered that house till it collapsed, and fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 (JBP)
  Have you ever been to a sandy beach and built a sandcastle? I used to do that as a child and then watched the waves come in with the tide and wash away all my efforts until the beach once again was flat. God has called each believer to be kingdom builders. We are to build His Kingdom. However, we have been at play, building with the wrong materials and building what we want to build. God expects much more from each of us. He wants us building on the Rock, Christ Jesus, and He wants us to build something that will endure the storms and waves. What have you been building.
  I was recently disheartened when I read the facebook comment of a young Christian who has slowly become satisfied with the “freedom” she had found in the contemporary church. Coming from a traditional church, she later found herself in  contemporary church with a worship team who led rocky music,  coffee in the foyer, and the comfort of casual dress. She suggested “Close your eyes. God is in heaven rocking out too.” While we are so busy making ourselves comfortable in God’s house, God is grieving that we are building church sand castles. He knows the hard times ahead, the storms and the waves. While His desire is that we follow His commands, His suggestions, His divine agenda—we continue down our merry path of comfort with our sand pails and shovels in hand, totally unaware that change is coming. It is time we stopped pleasing ourselves and got on our faces seeking God with sincere hearts. If we find ourselves caught up in the thrill of entertainment, or the tradition of doing what everyone else is doing, we need to stop, repent, and find the altars once again. If we think we can bring revival on our own terms, we are wrong. Revival never comes because we have found just the right new song, or the new hip sound. It comes when God’s people suddenly see themselves as God sees them, and they are moved to deep repentance. Repentance is never fun. It causes us to root through the closets of our life and dig out all the junk we have hoarded there. Our lazy spirituality caused many of us to fill the rooms of our life one by one with junk we have called valuable and needed. We no longer have room for Christ. We want our way. We want our stuff. We want our comfort zone. God sees it all as trash. If we are to move to a place of sincere repentance, it demands we change, clean out our lives, and face the reality of what we have become. How many people who call themselves Christians, spend little time reading the Word of God, little time praying, little time at church, and little time serving God in their community. They may give as little of their time, talents and resources as possible. Do you refuse to tithe? Perhaps you’ve convinced yourself that this is an Old Testament concept, when Christ clearly taught us that we are to tithe. I suggest you restudy what Jesus taught in Matthew 23:23 He acknowledged that the Pharisees  were busy tithing on the little things like their spices of mint and cumin, while neglecting more important things. He tells them tithing is important but so is justice, mercy and faithfulness. Hoarding what God gives to us is wrong. We need to be givers, not hoarders. James 4:17 tells us, “If anyone knows the good they ought to do, and doesn’t do it, for them it is sin.” In fact it is a form of rebellion. How often do we go to church, hear the Word of God preached, yet return home doing nothing about it. Our spiritual foundations are shoddy sand. We are about to experience great loss. Danger is ahead in our future. But when we build our spiritual foundations on the Rock, when we recognize our need for more than just comfort and beauty, and we dig deeply in the resources of God’s Word, we discover safety, security, strength and a future that lasts long beyond the wind and the waves. Sand castles may be fun to build, but they always end in ruin. Those of us who have built on solid foundations need to teach the younger generation how to build. Safety is not in size and numbers, not in music styles, not in the comfort of coffee or potlucks. It is found only in the things that will last. Even Solomon recognized the fleeting satisfaction of earthly pleasures after building and having all the things his heart desired—all was vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:11) Spiritual strength comes with Christ as our Rock, with repentant hearts, recognizing that in us dwells nothing good. God wants us to be His temple, and He wants to dwell within us through the power of His Holy Spirit. He wants our ears attentive to His voice and obedient to His commands. It may mean that we have to break with traditions. It may mean that we surrender our time, our talents and our resources to His will.
  In our opening scripture you may recall that two families were busy building their homes. They may have been equally beautiful, but something was seriously wrong with one home. It was in danger of falling flat at any moment. In the times we live today, we cannot waste our time and resources on building on a risky foundation. It is pure foolishness. We are neglecting the reality of the coming storms. God demands holiness, and he abhors neglect. We must assess the results of what we have built. In a recent programs “Holmes on Homes,” Mike Holmes inspected the shoddy work of a contractor who was adding an addition to an existing structure. There was so much wrong, he was forced to tear it all down and rebuild from scratch. When our foundation is wrong, we need to change, demolish the structure and rebuild with the plans of our Master Builder. Don’t build castles in the sand. Do it right! Your temple and how it is built is an example to the next generation. Build it on prayer, on the Word, on yielding all you have to the Master Builder. Matthew 7:24-27 "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. 26-27"But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards. (TMB)  J. Johnson

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