Thursday, March 24, 2011

Word Study: Will it Survive the Fire?

1 Corinthians 3:12 - 15: "If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." (NIV)

To begin with, the foundation referenced in verse 12 is the foundation of Christ (verses 10 and 11). Paul then explains there are two groups of people - those who build using gold, silver, and costly stones and those who build with wood, hay, and straw. Our works add to the foundation of Christ. Those who use gold, silver, and costly stones are the ones staying true to the Word of God. They live for the Lord, do what He wants them to do, love Him with every bit of their being. Their works will survive the fire and they will receive their reward.

The other group, though building on the foundation of Christ, have departed in some sort of way. Maybe their teaching is flawed or their time and gifts wasted. Their works will be destroyed by the fire. They themselves will be saved (because they are building on the foundation of Christ), but their works will not.

One day, all of our works will be put to the test. Will my work survive the fire or am I only adding to it? I pray I'm building with gold, silver, and costly stones, but I know I have some wood, hay, and straw in there. I look back and think about all the time I've wasted not doing what He wants me to do. I've watched tv, surfed the Internet, napped and so on. Don't get me wrong - there are times when we should rest. But the question then becomes am I resting because I'm tired or because I'm bored? Am I obeying the Lord or doing what I want?

I also wonder though if it's more than just doing the works? Verse 13 reads "...and the fire will test the quality of each man's work..." Does "quality" refer to our motives behind our actions? In Matthew Henry's Commentary, he writes "There is a day coming...that will show us our actions in the true light, without covering or disguise." If I do a good deed, but do it for selfish gain, then is it counted as gold or wood? I feel it would be counted as wood, since I was doing it for myself and not for the Lord. I didn't do it for the eternal good, but only for my temporary gain.

In the end, God is the final judge. This verse has me re-thinking some of the things I do though. My prayer is that whatever I do, I do for Him - out of love.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Word Study: I'm Living Like What?!?

Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill, cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy, and faithfulness..."

I'll just admit it now - I'm guilty of neglecting the more important matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Last Sunday, my pastor started a series on Jesus. This particular day he spoke of Jesus, the Friend. He used the passage about Zacchaeus (Luke 19) to highlight three types of people: those who are curious and need a clearer view of Jesus, those who show mercy, grace, and compassion like Jesus, and those who hide and distort the true view of Christ. The more he described the group hiding the view of Christ - the religious people - the more uncomfortable I became. Not just because I felt he was talking to me, but because I had the same conviction a few weeks ago.

This past year, I felt I had been going through the motions of my faith. Say prayers with the kids, bless the food, have Bible study with the kids, and so on. Matthew 15:8 says "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me..." I could easily blame it on the move, or the kids starting school, or my husband almost losing his job. But, those elements are all part of life. And even when we are going through tough times, stressful times, or even joyous times, we are to love the Lord with everything we have. If I saved my worship, and focus, and faithfulness to the Lord for the not-so-bumpy times in life, then chances are they wouldn't happen.

So, if I was going through the motions, then how was I hiding the view of Christ? When I go through the motions I lack grace at times. I get grumpy, impatient, selfish. The character of Christ is hidden.

Thankfully though, God doesn't just go through the motions. He is faithful to me (and you!) despite how I act. His Grace is pure. His Love is unconditional. His Mercies are new everyday. And through His grace, love, and mercy, I pray I become more like a Jesus person - allowing His way to shine through while I step out of the way.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Trusting Him Instead of Freaking Out

I am a worrier. This is one of many issues the Lord is changing in me.

There are a lot of things to worry about, but I'm learning that if I freak out about everything then I become overwhelmed. In Matthew 6:27, Jesus says "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" I believe worrying takes away from the life the Lord wants me to live. It takes my focus off of Him and places it on material things I have no control over.

I recently read Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Excellent book. In one of the chapters, he writes that when we worry, then we are not trusting God. That hit a nerve. Then I recalled part of a verse (I believe it had more to do with the Holy Spirit bringing it to memory) "...perfect love drives out fear," (1 John 4:18). Finally, a couple of weeks ago, we had a special speaker give the sermon at church. His topic: fear and trusting God. Okay, Lord, I hear You.

I am learning ways of dealing with fear and worry when they appear. I quote scripture to remind myself God is in control, He loves us, and everything works for the glory of the Lord. I also pray more. I pray to surrender my concerns, and I pray for the situation.

I'm not perfect. I still have my moments of worry, but I'm getting better at surrendering those concerns. I'm finding it is better to use my energy to pray instead of freaking out. Prayer is much more effective. And I am seeing results. I feel peaceful, confident, and hopeful. Isn't that how we are supposed to be anyway? Isn't that what the world is supposed to see in us, as Christians? If I'm running around in a chaotic state, then how can the world see His light? What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 14, 2011


To begin with, let me apologize for not posting anything the last six months or so. I started to write a lengthy explanation as to why I haven't been writing or posting anything, but it sounded too much like a lame excuse. Let's just say it involved rebellion, guilt, and finally obedience.

At one point I questioned whether or not I should write anything. I allowed myself to become empty - living my way (which was pretty much in front of the tv after the kids went to bed) and not the Lord's. No church, no regular Bible study, and only a few prayers (when someone needed it).

Next, I felt guilty. I felt like I abandoned you, my reader. Thank you to those of you who stayed.

Finally, after much thought, prayer, repentance and surrender, I feel this is what He wants me to do. Though at times I question whether or not I should write, He has placed this blog on my heart.

In future posts I want to share what the Lord has been doing in my life. Please know that when I write, I do so with the intent to share with you, not as an expert, but as one living the journey. I am not a theologian.

One final note: Thank you Brian, Melyssa, and Denise for your encouraging words. The Lord used them as confirmation.