building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

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Rock and Truth

A couple of weeks ago, my small group started reading the book Adamant by Lisa Bevere. Since the first chapter, I have had this picture in my head. In the first chapter, Lisa writes about the Rock, the Cornerstone of our faith. Somewhere in the midst of that chapter (which I could not find to reference), there was a word picture of being in the rock – not that we stand on the rock, but we are actually planted in the rock. So the picture I have in my head is my feet firmly within the rock – my feet have become the rock.

Lisa’s point about being part of the rock was that if we stand on a rock, any wave that hits us can knock us off; but if we are firmly within the rock, no wave will overtake us. We are firmly grounded and nothing can move us. The book’s tag line is Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions. The rock is Jesus, the cornerstone, the unmovable, never-changing Truth. If we are firmly grounded in the Truth, we cannot be moved by the tides of change in our ever-changing culture.

It’s easy to get off track when we listen to others opinions. It’s easy to get into disagreements based on our perceptions. But when we stand on the Truth, nothing can move us because absolute truth never changes. Absolute truth does not shift. Gravity will always be gravity whether we believe in gravity or not. God will always be God whether our culture believes in this God or not. Nothing changes absolute truth. Lisa wrote “for something to be truth, it must be true at all times.” Jesus claimed to be the truth.

Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). All of these things are true or they are all lies. If Jesus is the way, then there is only one way to God because Jesus said He is the Way. There are not many roads to heaven – only one and it’s through Jesus Christ. If Jesus said He was the way, then He is also the Truth. Lisa said it a better way. “If Jesus lied and misrepresented who he was and he is but one of many ways to the Father, then he cannot be the truth.” She also stated “if he is not the truth, it is impossible for Jesus to be the life.”

We cannot believe half-truths. Actually that’s what Eve did when she believed Satan’s word instead of God’s. Satan is a distorter of truth. It’s impossible to know truth without being in God’s Word. This is the place to know God, to know Jesus and to know the Truth. Satan will deceive us all day long unless we are imbedded in the Truth. Our feet have to be firmly in the Rock. The word picture comes back into play.

Jesus said it better this way – I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5). We are to be planted firmly in Him. The vine gives life to the branches. If a branch is broken, the life force has been removed. Only if the branch is grafted back in will it live again.

When I was in high school, I took horticulture for a couple of years. In that class, I learned how to graft a branch to a different tree. We used apple trees for the process of learning this procedure. We cut one branch from one tree and tied it securely to a cut branch attached to another tree. Eventually, the branches will be indistinguishable. The two will become one. The graft will be complete when the two are one and the branch begins to bear fruit. This is what Jesus said of us – those who are grafted in will become one and will bear much fruit.

We have much to learn from God’s Word. It has the absolute Truth that we need to live by. It will not be a popular decision to live this way because culture is going further from the truth each and every day. Jesus said there will only be a few who will live this way. The road is narrow and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14). It’s not that only a few are allowed to enter. Actually, God’s grace and mercy is for all people, but only a few will follow Jesus and His Way to God the Father. All are invited to follow, but only a few will take up the challenge to do so.

God’s truth does not change. It is an unmovable, invincible, irresistible and unbreakable Rock. It’s time to plant our feet securely in the Rock so that no wave will ever overtake us. Culture will change again. Life as we know it will be different tomorrow. But we can be secure in our knowledge of Truth and in this Rock.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:14, 17

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b-32

Clearing the Land

Recently, I was taking my daily walk. I made my way through the streets of my neighborhood to the new neighborhood adjacent to mine. My heart dropped a bit as I noticed the stately oaks and pines were no more. As each tree fell, I wondered if this was really progress. Does every neighborhood have to be cleared completely of every tree? I was sad to see them fall. As I was homeward bound, I had this thought: every building project has to have groundwork done before the building can rise. Every land has to be cleared; every foundation must be built in order to have a secure footing.

In my season of preparation (as I like to call this time), the groundwork has to be done. The pruning, the fertilizing, the preparation for bearing fruit is essential in order to build a lasting legacy. I don’t have kids so why am I concern with a legacy? There are many people who are watching how God works in my life. Probably ones I don’t even know are watching and those are the ones where the legacy will be planted. My footing has to be secure. My solid rock must be laid before the beauty can rise out of the ashes, so to speak. I don’t know yet the building that is being planned but I know this: Jesus is always building His church. I have felt for many years that Jesus is doing something wonderful in the Body of Christ. There are “dry bones” coming to life. There is an army of Christ’s soldiers preparing for battle. And maybe a woman will be in charge to lead the way – hey, it’s happened before (look at Deborah in Judges 4 and 5).

I’m not saying I will be in charge, but I know God has placed me here in this time, and in this place for a greater purpose than collecting trinkets that will not last. He has a purpose designed for each one of us but the groundwork has to be done. The Breath of God has to be placed in us in order to empower us to do the work we are called to do. We have to surrender to the Holy Spirit as He leads us to make the changes necessary in our hearts. Surrender. I have never liked that word. It sounds so weak. But I have come to realize it takes someone strong and courageous to surrender to another authority greater than our own. It’s hard to do. When we believe we can handle all our own problems, we stand in the way of something greater. God’s plan. It’s the plan that we need to surrender to.

As I finished my walk, the thought of the trees came back to me. I heard a story of the mighty trees of Lebanon being cut for the temple of God in the original building program. The trees were not sad to be cut because they knew they were going to be used to glorify God. They had a greater purpose. I don’t know the fate of the trees from the adjacent neighborhood, but I have a feeling they will be sold for a new purpose. I know many days I sit at a table that was once a tree. I have offered many blessings as I have sat at my table. In a way, I guess the table did have a part in glorifying God.

 “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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