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Form of Sound Words (2 Tim 1:13)
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Building
Now Playing: What are we building ?
Topic: Laboring
When history records the years of our life, we want to involve ourselves in something worthwhile, and which has genuine value, don't we? The following are a few verses to consider on what we are building in our lives. There will be more on this topic at a later time.

First, consider Abraham: "(v.8) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (v.9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: (v.10) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10).

Next, consider Nehemiah (chapter 4): "(v.6) So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work. (v.7) But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, (v.8) And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

(v.9) Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. (v.10) And Judah said, 'The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.' (v.11) And our adversaries said, 'They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.'

(v.12) And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, 'From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you. (v.13) Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.' (v.14) And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, 'Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.'

(v.15) And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. (v.16) And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. (v.17) They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. (v.18) For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. (v.19) And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, 'The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. (v.20) In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us'." (Nehemiah 4:3-20)

Finally, consider God's desire for our families: "(v.1) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (v.2) It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep. (v.3) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward. (v.4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (v.5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate (Psalm 127:1-5). May we build for Him in our families and among His people, that He might work in blessing!


Posted by dondegr8 at 1:56 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 24, 2004 1:37 PM EST
Monday, January 12, 2004
Diligence
Now Playing: What are we working towards?
Topic: Laboring
When there is something we really wish to have happen, we are inclined to work much harder to see it come to pass. When it really doesn't matter to us, or if we are lazy, we tend to let things "slide". Scripture gives us some good instruction, "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute." (Proverbs 10:24). "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men" (Proverbs 22:29).

We are given very clear instruction on how to apply ourselves spiritually. Joshua told his people, "But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Joshua 22:5). "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3).

We have some good examples recorded, "what woman...if she lose one...doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?" (Luke 15:8). "This man was instructed in the ways of the LORD; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue; whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" (Acts 18:25-26). "The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day..." (2 Timothy 1:16-18).

We are given additional moral instruction for our consciences: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:10-11) "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness, springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:14-15). May we each pay close attention to Solomon's instruction, "My son, attend to my words, incline thine ear unto my sayings...Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:20,23).

Posted by dondegr8 at 4:59 PM EST
Monday, December 22, 2003
Labor
Now Playing: On what are we spending our energy ?
Topic: Laboring
One of the aspects of the holidays we look forward to is more time with friends and family and less time at work, laboring for our employer. Solomon could say "in all labour there is profit" (Proverbs 14:23), but also lamented, "for what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?" (Lamentations 2:22). The warning is given, "Labour not to be rich; cease from thine own wisdom" (Proverbs 23:4).

Paul could write "Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Ephesians 4:28). Likewise, the Lord Jesus warned the people at Capernaum, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you..." (John 6:27) Jesus had said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". (Matthew 11:28)

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are urged, "My beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord". (1 Corinthians 15:58) "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Hebrews 6:10) Paul said to the believers in Thessalonica, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ..." (1 Thes. 1:3)

In seeking to work for the Lord, there will be opposition, as Nehemiah found. "And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, 'the work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye ... unto us; our God shall fight for us'. So we laboured in the work; and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared." (Nehemiah 4:19-21) We have an enemy who will oppose God's work. But we are encouraged, "Now he that planteth, and he that watereth are one; and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are laborers together with God..." (1 Cor. 3:8-9)

Of the martyrs it could be said, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord...that they may have rest from their labours, and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13) For those who seek to be true to Him, it was recorded, "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience..." (Revelation 2:2) May we use our energy and resources to labor for Him! "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest." (Luke 10:2)

Posted by dondegr8 at 1:56 PM EST
Monday, December 15, 2003
Finishing the Task
Now Playing: How are we building ?
Topic: Laboring
Whether a craftsman, a farmer, or someone in an office, there is a strong urge to reach the completion of a task. The personal satisfaction is keen, and the external payback is usually good. In spiritual matters, we have some clear instruction. The Lord Jesus said to the multitudes, "Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28) When the leaders sought to kill Jesus (John 6:18), He said to them (vv. 19-47) "the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me..." (v.36). The Apostle Paul could say forcefully to those at Ephesus, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy..." (Acts 20:24) When he wrote his final epistle to Timothy he said "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)

But what good is finishing what we are working on, if we are not creating something with eternal value? There is a world of difference between "finishing with joy" and "being finished", as a well-known figure encountered this past weekend in Iraq. The Apostle Paul said to the Christians at Corinth, "Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). The World Trade Center was tested and built to withstand the impact of a small airplane, but it still wasn't strong enough.

The Lord Jesus could say to Peter, "upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". (Matthew 16:18) When the apostle Peter wrote his first letter (some 30+ years later) to the strangers scattered abroad, he conveyed the truth which had been given to him. We, as believers in Christ, are "living stones" used to build a "spiritual house". A building is only as good as the foundation and its material. We know the foundation is Christ (1 Corinthians 3), and we are "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". (Ephesians 2:10)

So we are promised "Behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded." (1 Peter 2:6) Are we building on marshland or bedrock, and is our material "wood, hay, and stubble" or "gold, silver, and precious stones" (1 Corinthians 3:12) Paul reminds the Ephesian believers "Ye are...of the household of God, and are being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord". (Ephesians 2:19-21)

Shortly after the time of Noah, the "whole earth was of one language...and they said, go to, let us make us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name..." (Genesis 11:1-5) But Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, could say "the Name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe".(Proverbs 18:10) The man after God's own heart, the psalmist David could say, "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock, in Him will I trust; He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour...I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised". (2 Samuel 22:2-4).

Read all of the chapter, it is so breathtakingly beautiful, what a resource we have in seeking to build our lives in a world of shifting sands and useless investments. "If a man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." (1 Corinthians 3:14) After we "finish", there is something which the Lord "shall give" to "all them also that love His appearing". (2 Timothy 4:7,8) May we be found among them!

Posted by dondegr8 at 7:33 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 9:19 PM EST

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