Building a house

Proverbs 24:3-4 NIV  “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”

The home of the Christian is a precious place. It is designed, kept and furnished by the fruit of labour and love. It is a home that welcomes others, especially those who are in need and cannot repay. It is full of beautiful systems that enable the people who live there to do wonderful deeds and exercise their God-given abilities for His glory. It exhibits the love between the people who live there and the blessing of the Almighty God and Father of this family. All is kept and clean and presented as warm and comfortable to all who go there. It is a mirror of the heavenly home and points the way to peace and security. 

This home is run and maintained in wisdom, found only in God. As knowledge grows in the person of God and His ways, so the house reflects the honour and rare beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. As time goes by, the beauty of that home is seen and it becomes a blessed place.  

The home of the fellowship of the Saints in this world should also be such a place of comfort, refuge and joy. It is not a part time place of inactivity, but operates as a fully functioning oasis in a sinful world, for Christians and the unbeliever alike. The idea of a special building that is only used once a week, is not a scriptural picture. The temple of old was a full time building that met the needs of the community, physically, spiritually, emotionally, socially. God is able for all things and He calls to us to come to Him and be blessed. Some cite the “Holy of Holies” as only for the High Priest to go into. But after Christ’s once for all offering, the way to God is open and free. We have free access into His holy presence, through the spilt blood. We come in awe and reverence and holy fear, for God is a consuming fire. This awe does not depend on the place, or what we are wearing, but on our understanding of who He is and the forgiven hearts we now possess because of His salvation. 

The Christian’s home with God will be such a breathtaking place, in beauty, joy and worship. All will be there for our pleasure and peace. A home fully prepared in advance of our arrival and one we shall never leave. That home has no boundaries, no pain or sin. It is as every home should be with Christ as the centre and sun and the power of the Spirit freely given. This home is for the wise. This home is filled with all the treasure of God that the Christian has accumulated in this life. Spiritual fruit abounds and our gifts given in love come to full expression. 

Our bodies are the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit. As we progress in the Christian life, so His deep and thorough work is seen in us. The ongoing renewal of our souls and the daily repentance for sins makes us quite different to the unbeliever. The beauty of God in word and deed should be seen in us and the rare treasures of a heart and mind given over to God are apparent. The life of the Christian is so completely different to a worldly wise person. We have wisdom, understanding and knowledge, which furnish us with the rare and beautiful character of the child of God. 

We build our houses. Houses to God and for God. Houses that last into eternity. Houses that glorify God and reflect Him.

Open your mouth

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Psalm 81:10-11 NIV “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.”

God asserts who He is. He is the Lord our God. The Deliverer. The keeper of His promises. He never fails and His Word stands sure. He tells us to open our mouths wide and He will fill it.

This is an analogy using the picture of small birds in the nest who waits for the adult bird to come with their food. When the mother or father come near the nest, they know to open their beaks and receive the food. This is a picture of prayer. When our faith is wide and strong, we pray with large requests. We petition the Father with great asking and know He will answer. He answers more than we could think or imagine. We plead for great mercies, needs, and people who are lost and we earnestly expect the answer. We come into His presence with our sins and failures and seek cleansing and power to live truly. We have liberty and joy as we ask and prayer is real and vibrant. O to live in these days…

Faith asks and the answer brings forth praise. We praise the one who has so loved us, listened to us and answered so graciously. Our heart fills with joy and our mouths open in worship to Him who loves us and has washed us. Praise flows freely from redeemed lips and echoes the eternal praises of God’s people in the eternal home. 

But this is not always so. Too many languish in doubt and disobedience. The mouths are open in complaint and regret. The outpouring is displeasing to God and the Spirit is quenched. We can find ourselves in this pitiful state too easily. The promises are not heeded and the reality of faith is not valued. We do not rehearse the blessings of God and so we disobey and grumble. When our mouths are shut against the Lord, or open in moans and groans, we miss out. We displease Him.

God entreats us to seek His face and enjoy all the pleasures and treasures of life in the Holy Spirit, but we refuse. We prefers dust and the cold comfort of Stoicism. Perhaps the picture of the small birds is not how we see ourselves. We regard ourselves as sophisticated and complex characters. Jesus says, we must come to God as little children. There is no other way to relate to Him. We need Him and are totally dependant on His mercy and provision. 

Put aside our pride and open our mouths wide, and wait on our glorious God to fill us with all good things. 

The land

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How beautiful is the earth, made so full of life and glory, enervating desire to see it in all its magnificence, but how difficult it is for a single human to do this. The planet is huge and still has many unchartered places and devastating beauty to be uncovered.

How much more wonderful to see and walk the plains of heaven, and climb the majestic mountains of the promised land. Rivers will flow, bringing eternal life to all who inhabit this everlasting place and the mighty sea, that forever ebbs and flows on the shores of every homeland for every saint.

Trees that never fade, fall but forever flourish in spacious forests where God’s people will dwell and be at praise, as the one single day of forever invades each heart and fulfills all prophecy.

A brilliant blue sky that will never darken, through the timeless ages of heaven’s kingdom, where the Prince of Light, reigns for all his children. Beyond the dome above, lie tracts upon tracts of never-ending joyful day, where all can be whole, and fulfill their destiny as Kings and Queens of the eternal ages of eternity. There is more to know than can ever be known and feelings and passions that never stray into wrong, but always lead to delight and new thoughts and ideas leading to endless new things.

All know each other, even as each are known by the Saviour King, as friendship and conversation bloom like a huge garden of never withering flowers. No unkind deed or word raises itself against love, nor selfish intention sullies the redeemed mind. All is overflowing with gratefulness, as every loosed slave, seeks to understand why they were included in the freedom bought with such a price. No regret or sorrow is there, but the soaring mountains of the mind and heart, set free from guilt, shame and maudlin selfish desire to punish and hurt. No unclean thing will bother the mind and every thought and deed a sacrifice of praise and gladness.

None of these blessed people fully knows why they were chosen, but are comforted by the sight of the battle-wounds, etched on the hands and face of their Lord and Master. They are there still, as markers on the face of God. The scars of love remain in that heavenly city, as monuments of grace, for them. They also by their presence, stand and burn in glory as God’s redeemed people. All creatures regard them in complete wonder, at why they are so loved.

Nothing is done for work or toil or need, only pleasure, joy and fun. Imagination is limitless, wisdom made perfect and ambition fully complete in the unending, unfailing works of love.

Praise rises daily through the rivers of light that pass like quicksilver beyond the stars in the vault of golden light, to sing the name of Heaven’s King and bless the love that never yields to darkness. Trouble gone, pain banished and suffering never remembered, as the dance of joy spans heaven’s land and sky and every soul is free.

Dread

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“My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.” Psalm 119:120 NIV

Here is the place of humility and regard for the Almighty God. Here is our true position in relation to God the Father. Here is right thinking and feeling. Here is our place of power and new living. 

All our being is centred on this one point. I stand in awe of you, God and your laws. In this state we will walk rightly, and faith will have its strong anchor in the grace of God. 

The Christian fears the Lord and reveres His holy name. All other fears are far behind this one and the Christian walks this world with a holy boldness in the faithfulness of the Father in heaven. Fear of God is a pure fear. It does not destroy or undermine because it is a right fear. We do not only respect God, but the realisation of who He is causes us to act towards Him with deep penitence. Some say we don’t need to be afraid of God, but that is a foolish attitude. God holds our very breath in His hands and determines our life and death. We should be afraid of the ultimate being who has all power and authority over us and everything else too. 

To know God is to walk with Him in complete confidence and reliance. Our fear becomes a positive part of our lives as we seek to serve God and become like Him in holiness and obedience. There is no fear of punishment or the trials of life that He permits, but a daily knowing that all is well with us. We come before His presence with reverence and joy. We realise who He is and that we have a safe relationship in Christ as part of the family of God. 

This is not only a spiritual fear, but our body should also react to the knowledge and nearness of the living God. The meditation on the person of God should cause us to tremble and to take our place prostrate at His feet. All our being must love the Lord our God and have a deep reverence for His person. The fact that the Spirit of God dwells in our bodies, should cause us concern to act and think rightly. 

As life progresses we grow in this holy fear, as deeper realisations come to us. The law of God makes increasing sense and it’s trustworthiness means more and more to the believer. The deeper we see how this law works in us and others, so we grow in the fear that we might obey it and allow it to overtake us.  

The law of the Lord us always cogent to our lives. We have been redeemed from its curse, but we obey it as it shows to us the beauty of the Lord. God’s law stands forever and is forever true, as a perfect reflection of His person, seen closely by us, in Christ. Some might presume to throw it over in the name of the Spirit, but this can never be. The Spirit witnesses the person of God and all He is. God does not contradict Himself, though others might. Our knowledge and view of God is based in the Scriptures and the Spirit witnesses to us the truth revealed. 

Fear of God comes upon us as we understand the destiny of the ungodly. Unforgiven people stand in the courtroom of eternity, totally ruined. Who can imagine the sense of terror they will feel at that time. While they live they are insulated from the consequences of their sin, by the enjoyments of life, and there is no fear of God before them. This is a most dangerous state. God speaks. He wakens the senseless sinner and allows them to feel the monstrous nature of their sins. As they see the holiness of God, they seek a Saviour. This fear of God must be there, if they are to think, feel and act to seek the Lord.

No fear of God is a dangerous position and ends in no salvation and therefore punishment. It is our job to awaken people to their need and tell them of a Saviour’s love for them. This is the motivation of God. His love is not willing that any should perish. He calls to all to recognise His holiness and repent and believe. 

Lord, I stand in awe of your person. I rejoice at your salvation and walk in obedience to your holy law. May I always tremble in your presence with the realisation of who you are….

Protectionism

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Job 5 “Blessed is the one whom God corrects;so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up;he injures, but his hands also heal.  From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you. In famine he will deliver you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the wild animals. For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you.  You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season. “We have examined this, and it is true.So hear it and apply it to yourself.”

Hosea 14:9 NIV  “Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”

In these days on earth there are many critics of high and holy things. The pride of humans has grown so large and strong that we presume to correct the Lord. When we hear something that doesn’t seem to fit into our scheme of thinking, we judge it as incorrect. We read the scripture and when we see something we think is unfair, and pass judgment of what God has said and done. We start from our own perspective and not the presumption that Scripture is holy and true. This is a big mistake.

The media and lifestyles all around us scream a point of view, which people easily seem to imbibe. This idea that everyone is right, is common and central. The Bible talks about that way. Before the days of Kings and Judges in Israel, everyone did what we determined “right” in their own judgment. We are right back there today. The Scriptures are rejected, God is rejected and the blood of the covenant is trampled underfoot. We are in cold and dark days.

The book of Proverbs talks of people who decide their own way to go and behave in a way that seems the right way, but God judges the heart. He sees our true intention that we hide from ourselves and excuse ourselves from. The way we decide leads to death. Yet still we reject God as being too severe and not able to condemn people to eternal punishment. We think the world’s way is fairer and more kindly to us.

We do not know the Lord.

 God wounds and disciplines the people he loves. He makes supreme promises to His people. Our problem is, we do not understand this way with our ungodly mindset. Here are the treasure He promises to those who follow…

  • Nothing will harm you, no matter how great a trouble comes, or how many.
  • He will deliver from all grievous situations, especially in your soul.
  • You don’t need to fear what people say. They will be dealt with.
  • Trouble will come, and you will laugh at it, because it does God’s work.
  • Animals are subject to you. Wild animals are at peace with you.
  • Even the inanimate objects will bow to you.
  • Your possessions are all in God’s care and you do not need to worry about their safety, as God is in control.
  • You will count your children as many. Not just natural children, but the many people you will point to Christ and bring into His kingdom.
  • God will sustain you in old age. Your end of life will be like a harvest of many fruits and sheaves for heaven.
  • When you die, the body may have worn out, but your soul will be in full strength and vigor. You will step over the edge of this life and be full of rejoicing.

This is the heritage of the people of God. What has this world to offer against this?

Think about your life. Are you living in the realization of these truths?

Do you walk in the ways of the Lord your God and thrive in them and love Him?

Or are you kicking against His way. Stumbling alone, unsure and afraid.

Allow Him to lift you up and cleanse your wounds and pour in His healing love to your soul. We are our own worst enemy, because we just won’t bend and bow to Him. The enemy keeps us in that uncertain state. We doubt and so we fear.

“Cast care aside, lean on thy guide….”

“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.” Proverbs 16

May we fear the right things… If we fear God rightly, we will know His power to walk uprightly. Our lives will be pleasing to Him. As we trust in Him, so we realise that Faith is real and God is who He says He is….

 

Smite

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Zechariah 13:7-9 NIV

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the Lord Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land,” declares the Lord, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. 

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God. ‘ ”

This seems a harsh scripture, and yet run through with the mettle of true and living faith. The Lord Almighty, the Father, cries out for His justice to strike in action against one who seems gentle. A carer who tends the very people of God. This shepherd is the Saviour Jesus, one with His Father and close to Him. This Shepherd is the Saviour Christ, the one chosen to lay down His life for sinners. He can bring them to God, because He has paid for their sins, through His suffering on the cross. 

He is singled out for destruction by the sword of God’s justice. Jesus will pay the price that God’s justice now demands. The sword is ruthless in its intent and action. When the shepherd is struck down the people will be scattered and find themselves in a chaotic state with no guide or guard. Destruction is coming and even the small flock of God’s people will be affected.

In the whole land, two thirds of the people will perish, physically and eternally. The remaining third will be put through trials. All God’s people face trials. It is not a surprise. If the shepherd Saviour suffered the consequences of our sin, why should not we face pains as we learn and grow. God puts all His people through the furnace of affliction. No one is spared the ordeal. He knows what He is doing and He understands the effect of trouble on the Christians life. The furnace melts us and our impurities come to the surface where they can be smelted away. Our God watches us in the furnace to make sure we are being refined and at the right moment will deliver us. 

He put us to the test as gold is tested. Gold is put in a bone ash crucible and heated. The impurities are burned away and the silver is extracted using nitrous oxide, leaving behind the pure gold. This is a thorough and careful procedure, to get the pure product at the end. God puts His beloved people through careful processes to extract the evil that clings to them, and make them pure and holy. He will mound our characters according to His will and make us the people we are supposed to be.. 

“My daughter, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves…” Proverbs 3:11-22

If a person does not love the Lord, this process will be too much for them and they will not make it to the end. They will go back to their usual ways and forsake the Lord. The Christian will call out to their Father and seek to see His face in the eternal Word. They will pray and earnestly follow, holding on to the precious promises. As a result faith will bloom and God will be known in a deeper and deeper. way. The Holy Spirit will be daily desired by the Christian and they will call on Him and seek His fullness in their lives. God will answer them and they will rejoice in Him.

God will love His people and rejoice over them.. “they are MY people..” this is ultimate belonging. This is a real felt and known experience… The Christian will say, “ The Lord is MY God,“ and all God’s people will say, “The Lord is our God.” 

There is no other God, and no other pathway to follow. As our Saviour walked that lonely road for us, so may we also follow Him to teach others and spread the good news about the Kingdom.

Wearing out

Luke 12:32-34 NIV

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

“Don’t be afraid..” it’s a recurring theme from the lips of the Saviour. Those who belong to Him, possess the kingdom. God has given it to us. What are we doing with it?

Get rid of the things you possess from this life and give them away to other people who can use them and enjoy them. We take too much to ourselves. We have too much choice. We give in to our desires to have and hold and have become acquisitive. The bar set by this world is to get as much as you can with what you have. But we keep stuff. It’s security to us. It makes us feel we are someone and have a place in the world.

Jesus says, give away as much as possible and trim everything down so that your perceptions are changed and you realise you don’t need that much at all..!

Don’t give way to the fear that you are what you have and more stuff equals more clout. Place your trust in other things -things that last beyond this world.

Worldly purses are never full. They glitter and sparkle, but we can never fill them up enough to provide all our wants. Besides they will ultimately fail, as they are made only for this physical life.

Jesus says, get purses that never wear out and will take your spiritual property into the everlasting kingdom. Train yourself to think heaven rather than earth. Think sharing with others rather than keeping what you have to yourself, especially knowledge of God and how to know Him.

When we serve Christ especially in the spiritual realm, we are saving up treasure in heaven, riches that do not fade over time, but flourish in eternity. The treasure that lasts is not seen by the people of this world and definitely not valued. You will earn it in obscurity and even persecution. This may not just be from the unbeliever, but sometimes from those who profess faith in Christ. They will try to drag you down. You mustn’t mind, because He will provide for you and show you the way.

This treasure is valued by the Christian more than anything else. It doesn’t matter that others don’t see or appreciate, as long as we know we are doing the Master’s business. Even if you are left out of the official recognition, don’t worry, your treasure is safe. As you do what He requires of you, your heart will know it and you will rejoice in the Lord. No one can take it from you or steal it and use it for themselves. No one can steal what you have done and pass it off as their work or mission. You may have to suffer that for the moment, as human hearts are hard, but the treasure is kept safe for you in the heavenly home.

Devotion is to Christ and He marks it. He  divides the motives of all. So, no fear, no clinging onto this worlds trinkets, and keep your sights up… set your heart on the fadeless treasure of God, and you will make more and more if it, for eternity is long…

Women who glorify God