Thursday, August 8, 2013

Christ The Solid Rock

In high school I had seen the destruction of storm waves crashing in on the beach as I literally saw massive sections of beach not only destroyed but washed out into the ocean not to exist anymore. Picnic pads that once were a safe distance from the ocean, were now undercut by that same ocean and faced removal. Then in January of 1994 we lived through an example of the opposite—what it means to have a house built upon solid rock, and I was able to compare it to ones that weren't. At 4:31 in the morning on January 17th in Northridge, California we had a major earthquake, and everything in our house was fiercely tossed and much of it destroyed. But the house itself still stood as did most of the houses in our neighborhood (concrete fences and fireplaces were a different story). Yet just a few miles away, and even further from the epicenter of the earthquake, other houses were utterly destroyed. As I would learn about this earthquake later, what made a lot of difference on the level and kind of destruction was where the house was built. The one we were renting was built in an area of substantially more solid ground, and while the ground moved it also largely came back to where it once was. Yet other houses were built in areas where rather than removing dirt to build they had to add it, and the ground almost became like a bowl of Jell-O (earthquake liquefaction) resulting in the houses sustaining far more damage. Many major earthquakes around the world have had this as a major contributing factor to their level of destruction, including San Francisco and its history of earthquakes.

El Capitan on a smoky day - Yosemite Valley
Jesus said in Matthew 7: 24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Just prior to this, Jesus spoke of our bearing fruit as good trees being distinguished from the bad tree that bears bad fruit. And before that He spoke of the narrow gate and the wide gate. In all three of these Jesus drew a line between lives firmly founded and built up in Himself (even declaring Himself Lord in the context) and ones subject to the whims of individuals and the world which always changes. The only one who does not change in all of this is God. He is the ONLY firm foundation. James tells us in James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

Following the Northridge earthquake we spent nine months trying to reestablish ourselves after the loss of my business. This led to our moving to Oregon, and eventually to my returning to school for my master’s degree in biblical counseling and my joining staff at Calvary Crossroads Church. Since becoming a Christian I sensed that this is what I really wanted to do, but it was not until years later that God brought it to pass, and I am so thankful to Him for doing so. I am also thankful that we had all of the experiences that came prior to this change which added to a rich foundation of God’s faithfulness from which to serve. I am thankful for the years on staff at Crossroads and for the family that we have there. And I am thankful for our next steps which we are trusting in Him to unfold.

Sarah wrote for today about thankfulness as a key to a firm foundation, and not just any thankfulness. For it is more than just finding the thankfulness for the good in the bad, rather it is being thankful to someone and for what that someone has done. Our God is so immensely loving, faithful, and compassionate. He knows what He intends for our lives, and even when times are hard, He gives us the ability to find joy in the midst with the greatest joy being our eternal hope that will not fade and which we can truly know in the depths of our being.

Edward Mote penned a favorite hymn titled, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less,” and the opening stanza reads: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (8/8)

I speak to you from deepest heaven. You hear Me in the depths of your being. Deep calls unto deep. You are blessed to hear Me so directly. Never take this privilege for granted. The best response is a heart overflowing with gratitude. I am training you to cultivate a thankful mind-set. This is like building your house on a firm rock, where life’s storms cannot shake you. As you learn these lessons, you are to teach them to others. I will open up the way before you, one step at a time.

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me. Psalm 42:7 (NKJV)

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Psalm 95:1-2

“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.” Matthew 7:24-25

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