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“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” - Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT)
My kids have really gotten into playing Jenga recently. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a game where you stack 54 blocks, three by three, into a tower, then remove them from the stack and place them on the top. So as the tower grows taller, it becomes more unstable--and eventually, loses balance. And my kids are not the best with balance. So the tower often comes tumbling down fairly quickly.
And, as kids typically do, they don’t listen to ol’ Dad’s advice. The boys love to pull the blocks from the bottom first. So, early in the game, we’ve got a bad foundation. They can’t seem to understand that what’s down there at the bottom is holding everything else up. So when that goes, everything else follows quickly.
I think our Heavenly Father watches us play the game of life in the same way. He knows what it takes to keep stability on the table. But we often don’t listen.
- This week’s all about taking inventory of our foundation. Here are a couple things to ask yourself. Are you daily spending time in God’s Word? Do you have daily conversation with Him through prayer? Do you have other people in your life to help you when things become wobbly?
"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." - 1 John 4:11 (NLT)
I trapped myself in my own garage once. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I had bought my wife a treadmill and wanted to surprise her by moving it into our house without her knowing. So I had the guys at Sears load it in the van, drove it home and tried to get it up the steps in our garage and into our room… by myself. “Tried,” is the key word there. There are six steps in our garage and a sharp turn into our laundry room. But for a huge box that weighs a couple hundred pounds, that’s not an easy journey. It was so tough that, at one point, I wedged myself under the box and up against the wall. I couldn’t get out.
And I’d like to tell you that I used my brute strength to force my way out within a couple minutes. But I actually sat there defeated for probably 15 full minutes. I wondered if I were in a 127 Hours situation where I’d have to cut off my arm to find freedom. Eventually, though, I made it out with all my appendages.
But here’s the deal: moving a giant treadmill by myself was never a good idea. I failed because I was alone. When I eventually called my neighbor to help me, we had it in place in minutes. It just wasn’t a one-man job. And neither is building a solid foundation for life. If you want to build your house on the rock, it’ll be tough to do it on your own.
- Are you trying to build your foundation on the Rock of Jesus all by yourself? That’s rarely ever done. We’re about halfway through this semester’s Southland Groups. But there are still some open! And if you’ve got folks in your life helping you build that foundation, shoot them a text today and thank them for making that investment in your life!
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." - Psalms 119:105 (NLT)
For a guy like me, there’s nothing worse than wasting time. A while back we took our girls’ bunk beds apart to paint them. And I remember years back when we brought them home from Ikea and assembled them for the first time. It took about an hour to get the whole thing together. But here we were, years later and I had to reassemble them without those instruction sheets. Uh oh. What once took me an hour to do was now a much greater project. I spent about 90 minutes on the floor doing and undoing the same things trying to make it work. I was screwing in a bolt, then unscrewing it after realizing it didn’t work. I was putting five pieces together, then realizing the first one was wrong and I’d have to reverse the process all over again. Then I remembered the Internet. I Googled the model of the bed and Ikea had the instruction sheet right there for me. And I was finished within an hour all over again.
Working without the instructions is a waste of time. The instruction sheet certainly helps, though! Our instruction sheet is God’s Word. And the Bible tells us how to build a solid foundation in Jesus.
- Are you daily spending time in the Word? Your relationship with Scripture is such an important aspect of your journey with God. And the more time you’re in the Word, the better. Reading these devotionals is a stellar start. But don’t just stop here. Head to Bible.com and sign up for a reading plan that dives even deeper into Scripture.
"For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 3:11 (NLT)
One of my favorite shows on TV is Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines. And in every episode of Fixer Upper, you see that they can’t do any of the real work until demolition is finished. Before the new can come in, the old has to come out. The truth is, though demolition seems like it would be fun… it can certainly be the most dangerous. It’s unpredictable. There’s debris flying everywhere. When you start pulling down the studs, there’s a chance the ceiling can come with it. And during demo, you’re always a little unsure of what you’re going to find.That uncertainty can cause a lot of anxiety. And I heard a line during an episode of Fixer Upper recently that stuck with me. And it’s really where I want to focus today.
They got into an old house and the owner was devastated when they found out that the foundation of the house was cracked. That’s a call that nobody wants to get. But the head contractor, Chip, reassured the owners and said, “People always think a broken foundation is the end of the world but there’s really nothing that a lot of work and the right attitude can’t fix.”
Jesus was a handyman. So He knows the importance of building on a solid foundation. But He, more than anyone, knows that any foundation is salvageable. If the truth were known, some of us have inspected our lives, we’ve shined a flashlight into the dark corners, we’ve pulled back the wallpaper and we see a lot of work that needs to be done. I look down into my heart and there’s flood damage. I open up my spiritual walk with Jesus and there are screws missing. I peer into my thought life and there’s mold. I look back at my past and my foundation is cracked. There is a lot of work to be done. But it’s never too late.
"We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you." - 2 Corinthians 1:12 (NLT)
A few years back we had a friend stay the night at our house to watch the kids while Angie and I were out of town. My wife spent hours and hours cleaning, scrubbing and prepping. She bought new sheets and towels. She made a welcome basket with a toothbrush and soaps and gifts. We gave this speech when she got there to say, “What’s ours is yours! Please, make yourself at home. Don’t be shy. Eat whatever you want. Our house is your house!” And we meant it. We were so grateful that she was there. But then... then as we walked out I added this little caveat. “Seriously, we want you to have the run of the house, but… But, you may not want to look in our closet.” And I was thinking, “This whole house is spotless and welcoming and hospitable. But, actually, I took all of my mess, all of my junk and all of my filth and shoved it into that closet. You can have anything you want, go anywhere you want… but stay out of this one little area.”
Man, this is what we do with God. “I want you here, God! I need you here! You’ve got the run of my life. You’re in charge, I surrender everything to you! … other than this one… small… area. Let’s just keep the door closed there.” We need to take a cue from Paul’s words to the Corinthians. We need to open that door and give a sincere look at what’s in there.