The Remodeling Project
Anyone who has ever taken on a remodeling project knows that there is much prep work to be done in order to ensure a final product that is functional as well as aesthetic.
Awhile back I took on a project involving retiling a bathroom floor. I had to remove the plumbing fixtures and a water filled radiator to begin with. Next came the removal of the old flooring and creation of a new subfloor in order to provide a level surface on which to lay the new tile. This required measuring, cutting, and mortaring to the floor below and then securing it with stainless steel screws to prevent possible future corrosion. Finally, after all of this prep work, I was ready to begin actually laying the new tiles. Now that the project is finished, we have a safe, sturdy, floor to walk on that is also pleasing to look at.
In the same way our lives in Christ require a sturdy foundation upon which to tread. One of the key ingredients in this process is study of the His Word. There are many ways to approach this. But the ones involving shortcuts and minimal prep time are generally not able to provide the sturdy foundation necessary for a lifetime of tread and wear. A vigorous study of the Bible takes time and effort. However, it is well worth it in exchange for a foundation of truth upon which one can tread for a lifetime.
Those who seek speedier and more entertaining forms of Bible study may wind up with an attractive looking product, and the process will certainly take far less time. But without a firm foundation underlying all, eventually what appears to be a stable surface will begin to shift. Small cracks will begin to appear. As one walks on this “truth” without a strong subfloor, it becomes evident that it is insufficient to support the weight of all of life’s great issues and concerns.
When it comes to study of the Word, skip the shortcuts and the gimmicks. Take the road less traveled. Build a firm foundation. Find a teacher or a class dedicated to a methodical approach. This way you will not have to spend time filling in the cracks because of flaws that were not evident at the time. The quick fix society in which we live runs counter to this approach, but the distinction here is important. If we cannot sacrifice the time necessary to prepare our hearts and minds to receive God’s eternal truths as revealed in His word, can we then sit back and lament the “crackpot theology” that seems to have taken over to a large degree our churches and our nation? The answer seems fairly clear…….
bibles (Photo credit: fancycwabs)
“The Bible is not inerrant, but the eternal truths contained within it are”. If you are a student in either of my Bible study classes you have heard me say this before. What do I mean by this? There seems to be a lot of bickering among Christians and non-Christians alike about the Bible and whether or not we are to take it literally. We have a tendency to get hung up on wording. We labor over minute points. What I know for certain about the truth in scripture is this. The Bible, first and foremost, is the love story of an almighty and eternal God for His people. It begins when that dream is but a spark in His eye, a hope yet to be born. As the pages unfold, we find a story of astonishing depth and breadth- of incredible majestic heights and plunging depths of betrayal. Had these sacred truths never been recorded by his people in this endearing and enduring form it would be nonetheless The Truth in all it’s resplendent beauty.
However, it is this Truth contained within the pages which make the Bible a sacred text, not the way in which the story is particularly worded or told. Any time we as human readers of it attempt to change this revealed truth into browbeating legalism, we are guilty of destroying the sacred Truth in Love that the text is meant to reveal. Indeed, it is not the words on the pages themselves as they are written or expressed that are sacred, but rather the heart of God as revealed to the reader which comprises the holy and sacred. Just as Christ said of the Sabbath- man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man. So the message of the Bible was not designed to make His children a slave to legalism and restricted interpretations of other men, but rather to free them in truth and love to live a life redeemed by His grace. May each of us remember as we search and study scripture that it is not the text itself that we should revere, but rather the heart, mind, and soul of Love who created The Word Eternal who is worthy of all our praise. Amen.
Inexpensive brick and pavers path entry, backdoor, $1 dollar each (Home Depot), total cost $4, Seattle, Washington, USA (Photo credit: Wonderlane)
Life in Unexpected Places
Have you ever noticed that no matter how tightly placed stone pavers are that somehow grass manages to spring up between the hardscape? I am certain this is never intended, but it happens as seed and water flow in after a rain. Grass begins to grow unobserved at first. Soon, the unwanted and unintentional grass shooting up with its’ greenness and vitality seems to have more life and function than the cold stone pavers.
This is indeed how Life is. Life in the Kingdom of God manages to grow and flourish almost in spite of us. We are unforgiving. We neglect the reading of Scripture. We avoid gathering with the saints. We misuse resources from God intended to help the Body of Christ and use them for other lesser things. Our hearts are much like cold stone pavers.
But somehow, by the grace and the hand of God, growing between these intentionally placed hard hearts, grows the occasional disciple who has managed to hear the voice of God in spite of everything. This one sees the unseen beyond this life of plenty, and knows that he can never be satisfied with merely the things of this world. He manages to grow and thrive as the grass between the stone pavers….
This lone life and voice is raised above and beyond the trained perfection of music played and sung by the majority present. From its unschooled tones erupts the perfect song of praise, hauntingly beautiful, precious in His sight. Here in the church of Laodicea amongst the stone cold pavers, Life Grows! Amen.
They speak with such eloquence. A team of busy ants working behind the scenes puts together, with great care and experience, every sound bite and graphic in order to convince us of the correctness or the incorrectness of each issue they are addressing.
Little by little these modern day TV evangelists who start our day have convinced us that everything is either right or wrong (depending on the political leanings of their particular network) and as long as we buy the products of their advertisers and live within the boundaries of political correctness all is well.
If, over time, we allow ourselves to be lulled by the sound of their perfectly modulated voices, their perfect coifs and clothing, and their slick presentation of the “facts” we may find that we have gradually lost the ability to think for ourselves.
Be wary of those who would shape your world view. What world are they referring to? Certainly this one, not the next. Their overreaching, overarching concern is always and only for the things of this world. As such, there is no concern for the fact that each and every last one of us stands condemned before a Holy God. In fact- their mission is to convince us that such a belief is pure nonsense. They drone on and on day in and day out, and if we are not careful, we find that their secular world view has replaced our Biblical one. With out lifting a finger Satan has driven The Gospel from our hearts and minds with the assistance of the smooth, practiced smiley faces of morning news network anchors. These purveyors of political correctness, demopublicans who proffer meditations on nothingness, have stolen the righteousness born only of God from or hearts and replaced it with a world view without purpose, without passion, and without praise. Where will we turn the next time the towers fall?