“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 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.” – Luke 6:46-49
Those of us who have grown up in the church or been around the church for years know this story well and have heard it many times. While it is a blessing to have been exposed to scripture over and over so that we learn it well, sometimes we do not give our full attention to the stories we have heard often. When a speaker opens up to a well-known passage we often let our level of focus drop–whether we realize it or not–and are not as present as we could or should be. We must remind ourselves that the Word of God is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible is not just the words God spoke, it is the words God is speaking and will speak, Jesus is the living Word. As many times as we read a passage or hear a story from scripture, that many times we can learn from it and be changed by it.
“How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to get insight rather than silver!” – Proverbs 16:16
This is true for a number of practical reasons.
There aren’t really any specific directives or strategies put forth in this piece. Nor am I making any definitive statements on whether the way we currently do things is correct or not in my opinion. Much of that would be matters of the heart and personal convictions. My only goal is to put forth a few observations that hopefully make us think. Where it goes from there I don’t know. In all likelihood it would be impossible to set forth any more of a directive than to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in each situation guided by the Word.
This illustration seems obvious enough that I will not be the first or the last to think of it or use it. Note: This does have what could be considered minor spoilers, but the movie has been out for a few years.
People have mixed feelings regarding Disney’s movie “Frozen”. Many people like it and some people… don’t. Regardless, I believe that the character Olaf offers a good illustration of a deep truth.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” – John 19:25-27
I wrote about this scene in scripture as part of yesterday’s devotion, but I wanted to take a moment to point out the compassion of Christ that is on display in a separate (and shorter) piece.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b
I used to think that the effectiveness of my prayers somehow depended on me. If I was living “righteously enough” or if I had been following God’s Word closely enough, then my prayers would be “powerful and effective”. I knew that God always heard my prayers, but for some reason I though that the effectiveness of my prayers was basically tied to my good works and avoiding sin. I wouldn’t have said that out loud necessarily, but it was how I prayed and what I expected to happen after I prayed.