Rock Solid (Luke 6:47–48)
The futuristic Space Needle spikes from the Seattle skyline. Stretching approximately 605 feet into the sky, its spire pierces the clouds that often veil the earthquake-prone city. Although its height can seem frightening, especially when the Needle sways, it is actually safer than many tall buildings. The architects who designed the stunning structure kept one principle firmly in mind: the larger and higher the building, the stronger the base needs to be.
The Space Needle’s foundation is 30 feet deep, weighs 5,850 tons and contains 250 tons of reinforcing steel. The foundation is as heavy as the Needle, enabling the airy structure to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour. In 2001 it withstood an earthquake of 6.8 on the Richter scale. It is estimated that it can endure even greater shocks because the architects doubled the 1962 building code requirements.
Jesus, the master builder of strong, resilient women, likens our spiritual foundation to a building with a strong, immovable base. In his analogy, he tells of a wise builder who “laid the foundation on rock” (verse 48). We know that sooner or later, floods will come in one form or another: illness, financial problems, a relationship breakdown, societal calamities, terrorism or natural disasters. If we don’t take Jesus’ words to heart and put them into practice, we are on shaky ground. But if we build our spiritual lives on what he says, we can withstand anything that shakes us.
And what strong words had Jesus given his followers? Love your enemies and be good to them (see verses 27–36). Exchange kindness for anger, silence for gossip, a sweet spirit for bitterness. Don’t judge others but accept them as God has accepted you. Forgive, because you have been forgiven (see verse 37). Be generous, and generosity will come back to you when you most need it (see verse 38). Be more concerned with your own purity than about the purity of others (see verses 41–42). Care about the goodness of your heart because your words will reveal, no matter how good an actress you are, what’s really inside (see verses 44–45). The rock solid foundation isn’t an abstract notion. The “rocks,” ironically, are a soft heart and a gentle spirit. And those can only come from the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ.
Taken from NIV Women’s Devotional Bible
A People for His Name
Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. (Acts 15:14)
It is scarcely possible to overemphasize the centrality of the fame of God in motivating the mission of the church.
When Peter had his world turned upside down by the vision of unclean animals in Acts 10, and by the lesson from God that he should evangelize Gentiles as well as Jews, he came back to Jerusalem and told the apostles that it was all owing to God’s zeal for his name. We know this because James summed up Peter’s speech like this: “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14).
It’s not surprising that Peter would say that God’s purpose was to gather a people for his name; because the Lord Jesus had stung Peter some years earlier with an unforgettable lesson.
You recall that, after a rich young man turned away from Jesus and refused to follow him, Peter said to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you [unlike this rich fellow]. What then shall we have?” Jesus responded with a mild rebuke, which in effect said that there is no ultimate sacrifice when you live for the name of the Son of Man. “Every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).
The truth is plain: God is pursuing with omnipotent delight a worldwide purpose of gathering a people for his name from every tribe and language and nation (Revelation 5:9; 7:9). He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the fame of his name among the nations.
Therefore when we bring our affections in line with his, and, for the sake of his name, renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join his global purpose, God’s omnipotent commitment to his name is over us and we cannot lose, in spite of many tribulations (Acts 9:16; Romans 8:35–39).
Streams in the Desert – May 11
We went through fire and through water: but thou brought us out into a wealthy place (Ps. 66:12).
Paradoxical though it be, only that man is at rest who attains it through conflict. This peace, born of conflict, is not like the deadly hush preceding the tempest, but the serene and pure-aired quiet that follows it.
It is not generally the prosperous one, who has never sorrowed, who is strong and at rest. His quality has never been tried, and he knows not how he can stand even a gentle shock. He is not the safest sailor who never saw a tempest; he will do for fair-weather service, but when the storm is rising, place at the important post the man who has fought out a gale, who has tested the ship, who knows her hulk sound, her rigging strong, and her anchor-flukes able to grasp and hold by the ribs of the world.
When first affliction comes upon us, how everything gives way! Our clinging, tendril hopes are snapped, and our heart lies prostrate like a vine that the storm has torn from its trellis; but when the first shock is past, and we are able to look up, and say, “It is the Lord,” faith lifts the shattered hopes once more, and binds them fast to the feet of God. Thus the end is confidence, safety, and peace.
The adverse winds blew against my life;
My little ship with grief was tossed;
My plans were gone–heart full of strife,
And all my hope seemed to be lost–
“Then He arose”–one word of peace.
“There was a calm”–a sweet release.
A tempest great of doubt and fear
Possessed my mind; no light was there
To guide, or make my vision clear.
Dark night! ’twas more than I could bear–
“Then He arose,” I saw His face–
“There was a calm” filled with His grace.
My heart was sinking ‘neath the wave
Of deepening test and raging grief;
All seemed as lost, and none could save,
And nothing could bring me relief–
“Then He arose”–and spoke one word,
“There was a calm!” IT IS THE LORD.
–L. S. P.
Even though Jacob loves her, Rachel is discontent without a baby. When she sees her sister having children, Rachel refuses to wait any longer.
Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. Rachel named him Dan, for she said, “God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.” Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel named him Naphtali, for she said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I’m winning!”
Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn’t getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Soon Zilpah presented him with a son. Leah named him Gad, for she said, “How fortunate I am!” Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son. And Leah named him Asher, for she said, “What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me.”
Rachel and Leah were competing in an arrogant contest. Racing to have more children, they both gave their servants to Jacob as concubines. This was an accepted custom of the day, but Jacob would have been wise to refuse. He was perpetuating bad relationships between the women. The fact that a custom is socially acceptable does not mean it is wise or beneficial.
There are many socially acceptable choices that have negative effects on others. Society often prioritizes a person’s freedom to choose above considering the impact those choices have on others. The choices of Jacob and his wives resulted in bitterness, anger, resentment, and jealousy among their sons. The rivalry and fighting between Leah’s sons and Rachel’s sons continued years later among the tribes that descended from them.
Think about how your choices might affect others. Will you help them or hurt them? Are you willing to give up some of your freedom to ensure that others do not suffer harm? Are you willing to go a step further and do something that will benefit them?
DIGGING DEEPER 05/11/2015
Teaching Your Child to Honor
Excerpt from Motivate Your Child: Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to do Without Being Told By: Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN
To motivate children to develop new patterns, parents often have to stretch their kids beyond the tendency to be selfish by requiring that they look for ways to think of others. A great place to start is with God’s Word. God designed our world and knows what works most effectively. He has given us principles that will guide our thinking.
For example, Philippians 2:3–4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” That’s a great family verse and can help get kids thinking of ways to contribute to the well-being of others.
Romans 12:10 is our favorite verse for this area of the conscience. “Honor one another above yourselves.” That verse is for all people, not just children. However, honor is one of the qualities learned at home. Eight times in the Bible it says, “Honor your father and mother.” In fact, according to Ephesians 6:1–3, there are two parts to a child’s job description, obedience and honor. God has created a conscience inside a child that can be trained with those two principles. As children learn obedience, they’re learning to do what’s right. As children learn honor, they’re learning to think about others.
STAND BEFORE CHRIST AND SHARE IN HIS MERCY
Hebrews 13:18 ties the concept of living honorably with the conscience. “We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.” The conscience God places inside a person provides an internal satisfaction when that individual does something kind for others. You feel good when you allow someone else to go first or have the best seat. In that moment you often feel a sense of greatness, having risen above the crowd.
That’s what Jesus was trying to teach his disciples when he said to them in Mark 10:42–44, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” In fact, when we consider others or serve others, we become like Jesus. That’s why he added in verse 45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Teresa needed to think about others, become more aware of how her actions were affecting others, and then make some significant changes in how she lived and operated.
Honor is a practical tool for conscience development, and teaching about honor can raise a child’s internal motivation in the area of thinking about others. We define honor in simple terms for children. As we see the concept taught in God’s Word, we say that honor is treating people as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude. That’s a working definition of honor, helping children know how to put honor into practice. Even young children can memorize that definition.
But honor isn’t just for young children. We tell teens that God has hidden within honor the secret ingredients you’ll need to be successful in life. When you treat others as special, it often comes back to you. Let’s take that honor definition, look at its three parts, and discuss how to use it in family life.
Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller