Luke 6:47-49 (NIV)
“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
We have lived in our house more than ten years. I remember when it was just a few cinder blocks with plumbing pipe shooting up out of the ground. I love it then and I love it now. I can still recall the day I pulled up to find the finishing touches all in place. It was perfect in every way. In awe of the Goodness of God, it seems like the waves of grace move continually over me at the revelation that God is good all the time and blesses us far beyond our comprehension. However, over time, the house was broken in. With kids and pets and life, the once pristine walls and surfaces show a bit of age. If you look closely at the floors, there are tiny cracks here and there as the house has settled over the years. Some houses develop major foundation issues with settling cracks. Others fall into large sinkholes beneath the foundation as the earth moves and shifts with time. It is important the foundation of our life. This house is just a building constructed by the hands of man. The home inside it is a work of God. Sometimes I forget to separate the two. My house is not my family. It is our souls bound together in love and harmony that have grown into the unity we have now. The love expressed by each person has formed a solidified bond that the storms of life and fiery trials could not destroy. The foundation of our home and life is Jesus Christ.
As I have prepared the house to put it on the market, I was more and more aware of the settling cracks that had formed in different places. How long had they been there? When did they begin to come apart? Though nothing major and totally acceptable in sound construction, I am aware of them. I don’t like the way they look. I don’t want others to see them either. I wonder if we form tiny cracks in the foundation of our life when we become comfortable and settle some over life. You know when our pursuit of God becomes a marathon rather than a furious foot chase. When our passion cools to a low boil and our soul simmers with a slight hint of complacency. When other things begin to take the place of time spent bonding with the Lord and spending time in His Presence. I am turning 50 this year. I am seeing some tiny lines and wrinkles that were not there just the other day. While my age does not concern me, but rather a testimony of survival, I am beginning to notice changes in my appearance and even in my personality that seems attributable to the passage of time. I must also examine my heart, my mind and my soul to see if the foundation of my life is intact. I am entering a new season. No, I am not looking back. Nor am I looking ahead, no today I am looking inside.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
It makes me laugh how the Lord leads me into these conversations. This morning, I came to the Lord needing peace. My heartfelt desire was His Perfect Peace. Once you have experienced the Peace of God, it is very difficult to live any other way. You know that there is a better way. It took a huge storm and massive trial for me to discover the Rock I have found in Jesus Christ. He keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. My peace does not come from me or the conditions of my life – but is found solely in the Lord. I know that. I do not always remember it or live according to it but the Truth remains regardless of my response. But sometimes we do not move on to the next verse, which would only make sense that when the Lord offers us something, surely He will tell us how to attain it. Maybe we want God’s Promises but forsake and forgo His Plan. I know because I do it, too.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, THE LORD HIMSELF, is the Rock eternal. Notice how it is repeated within His Statement – for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock. Our life is a building process. We are establishing our existence in Jesus Christ. There is no peace found in life worth having outside of our relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. We can try to find security by being responsible and building a good life for us and our family, but unless we dig just a little big deeper into the true foundation of life, we will be disappointed.
Psalm 27:4-5 (NIV)
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4, one thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life. I love this verse. It is my passion. It is my pursuit. It is my complete undoing. We do not construct anything of worth. God is the expert builder who brings dead things back to life. He is the One who takes all our broken pieces together and displays a masterpiece of beauty. He set me high upon a rock. It is in the day of trouble, trial and tragedy when the foundation of our life is put on full display. When an earthquake hits a city, the expertise of a builder and wisdom of his plan is discovered. Those who built on firm foundations leave behind something of worth. But those who did not take the time to focus on the foundation and connecting every part of the infrastructure will be revealed as homes and offices crash to the ground. This life is temporary. In those moments of shaking, are my feet set high on the rock or am I swallowed up by the cracks in my foundation?
Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh and sent to live among us. To show us a new way, a better way of life beyond our five senses and inevitable death. Those who took the Word and put it into practice are considering wise builders with lives established in Christ that can withstand any storm. It will not fall for the foundation is the Rock. Stay with me…
Acts 7:48-51 (NIV)
“However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things? “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!
What kind of house will you build for me? We are living stones that need a good foundation to build upon. We have God’s Word. He offers to be the Cornerstone of our life. (Psalm 118:22-23) We try to build a good life with what the Lord has given us. Is it enough? Psalm 127:1-2 tells us that unless the Lord builds a house – we labor in vain. Jesus is the Cornerstone who the builders rejected. Are we still rejecting Him today? We come to Jesus and want a Savior. To build our life with Christ as the Cornerstone requires just a little bit more. We must make Him Lord. He must be the foreman of construction in the process of growth and development. We can do nothing apart from Christ. His Spirit is cultivating the things in us that are needed to firmly establish us on His Foundation…are we allowing God’s Spirit to fill in the cracks and insufficiencies in us or are we cutting corners to ease the cost, cease the labor, and create a comfortable environment?
Matthew 16:15-19 (NIV)
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will be my church. I have read this passage countless times, but I think I missed something very important. When Jesus said, this to his disciple, He was not telling Peter that he was the rock, but that the faith in him was the foundation of growth that would become His Church. The personal revelation of Jesus Christ is only the beginning, but when we acknowledge His Person as Messiah, Son of the Living God and continue to do so day by day our feet our firmly planted in faith which is the foundation of our life in Jesus Christ. Peter was not the rock but the faith evident in his profound declaration. Jesus doesn’t desire parrots chirping back at him but rather confident believers who declare who He is in their everyday life. As we continually invest every bit of time, talent and treasure in building the Kingdom by faith our life will prosper on the firm foundation. Storms will not crush us. Earthquakes will not move us. Every fiery dart from Hell will not touch us. We will be on the Rock that is higher than I. Hannah said it best in her prayer, “There is no one holy like the Lord, there is not besides you, there is no Rock like our God. Are there some cracks in your foundation today? Have little openings appeared in the midst of settling? Are you comfortable? Do you need perfect peace today? Do you want a little rest? To those who believe, the Stone is precious. (I Peter 2:7) He will be the Cornerstone of our life, if we establish our life by faith in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 127:1-2 (NIV)
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Our house has been on the market for many weeks now. People have paraded through it. Agents toured the rooms. Each Thursday for as long as I can remember has been “cleaning day” in our house. For the past month, it has turned into the complete purging of every room and closet. I have noticed things about the house that I didn’t notice before it went up for sale. Many little projects and small repairs that needed to be made. I can note every imperfection. We have not sold the house and I will admit I was a bit discouraged. As I cleaned last night, it was not with the usual fervor but rather just washed, vacuumed, dusted, and the like as I have every other Thursday for years. I am thankful for this house. I know that our days here are numbered. In the waiting, I have grown impatient. I asked the Lord to give me peace today. He gave me more than that as I could see the tiny cracks in my foundation, my faith if you will that needed just a little more Jesus. See my life is not a house or even the people who live in it. It is Jesus. When everything in my life is placed on the Rock, it becomes immovable, unshakeable and everlasting. Everything else has to go. See what it says in Psalm 127, unless the Lord builds my house or my life, it is all in vain. Unless the Lord watches over all transactions and interactions in my life, the “guards” stand in vain. I can get up early and worry if we will have a showing today and go to bed late wondering if this is “really” His Plan, but it too is in vain. God grants sleep (or peace) to those He loves. The cracks in my faith do not make Him love me any less but rather just make room for His Grace to be applied. His Mercy is new every morning to cover my fear, doubt and worry lines that have no place in my life because I have nothing to fear. Perfect peace is a process. The process of moving our life from reality to the Rock. Faith is the process of acquisition that allows us to have perfect peace.
Soon a home inspector will come to examine our house for a prospective buyer, then an appraiser will come to access its worth, Lord let us find favor with man concerning the sale of this house. But more importantly, let the Holy Spirit examine my heart today and fill any cracks in my foundation. Make my faith strong in You. Be the foundation of my life, Jesus. May I find favor with you, Lord. I give myself to You!
Ephesians 2:19-21 (NIV)
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.