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It’s just a hole – a devotion – 2nd in a series

So once again we come together to talk about God building up our lives and the building up of a house. This time we want to talk about a hole. That’s what I said a hole. I still remember when my dad was building a house being taken out to the property so he could show me a hole. Now let’s take a minute and talk about that hole. The first thing you notice about the hole is its shape. It’s perfectly formed. There is smoothness to the sides of the hole. It’s like someone came along and took out just enough dirt. Not one speck was removed that did not need to be moved. Into this hole would eventually go the concrete to build up the foundations of the building you are building. But that will come later. For now it’s just a hole. But what determined the amount of dirt to remove and how was it taken out. Where did it go? These questions are of course easy to answer big machines removed the dirt and took it someplace we hope to be recycled into something useful.

But what about our spiritual house? You know the one God is building out of our lives for Him and His purpose. Well the good news it’s in the same way your start with a hole to build up a house God starts with a hole in our lives. I know what you’re thinking. A hole. God starts with a hole. Yes He does. The first thing God does is throws out all the things in your life that no longer matter and are not needed. He throws out malice and envy and pride and anger and all sorts of addictions. (Colossians 3:8) He gets rid of the things that have been keeping you from him. Like it’s been said in pop culture, “There is a God shaped hole in all of us.”  We all have this hole and ever since we came to Christ, God has been empting it and filling it with his presence and Spirit. Still in order to do that He must first dig out all the things that are wrong in this place.  How does he do the digging is a mystery for the ages. He digs out of us the God shaped hole that we have been trying to fill with the way the world wants us to fill it. Like the building of a house he does not throw out one piece of dirt that can be used later on. He is constantly throwing out the dirt in our lives, the sin if you will, and replacing it with His purpose and presence.

Into this hole will go a lot of things we will talk about in the coming months. For now let us just thank God that he has dug a hole on our lives and removed all of the things that needed to be gotten rid of.

 

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The House of God – 4th in the series

We have been looking at building a house and to our spiritual houses as well. We have a blueprint and we have built up a foundation. Now it is time to build the house itself.

This is the part of the house that the rest of the world will see and will see every time they look at it. In spiritual terms we call this the fruit of the Spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control, are the building blocks of God, used by him to create a house that He can in fact show the world. These 9 parts of the Fruit of the Spirit build up our walls and shine out to the world proclaiming that we are a house of God. When the fruit of the Spirit is evident in our house, people see Jesus in us. Our four walls are made up of peace, patience, faithfulness, and gentleness.

These walls are calm to those who look upon them. They do not move to the issues and turmoil of the day. They are strong enough to keep us on steady ground during the ups and downs of this life. They show the world that faith in Christ can and in fact does keep us going. We have windows of kindness, goodness and love that show our concern for our fellow man. A door of self control keeps out unwanted guests. Our roof of joy shouts to the whole world that we are the workmanship of God.

It is this house that invites those around us to call upon the Master Builder to shape their lives as well. As people see our deeds, they see what the Word and the Father has done in us (Matthew 5:14-16). The fruit of the Spirit shows the world in our everyday lives that we are workmanship of God. (Or at least it should.) Still each of our houses has problems that need to be tweaked and worked on. As any home owner knows, a house always needs to be worked on. God is the same way with us. He is constantly working on our house until it shines the way that He wants it to. His plan or blueprint is never fully complete this side of heaven. He is constantly working out things with us. So let us tip our hat the creator of our house and give Him the praise that He desires. Then and only then can our house, our very lives, show the world that Jesus is worth it.

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Building a house of God: It takes a plan. – a devotion – 1st in a series

With this devotion we begin a series. I want to take a look at how God builds in our lives. A few years ago we built a new sanctuary onto our church building. During this time I was shown a parallel between how you build a house and how God builds up one of His own. Over the next few months I want to share with you those parallels.

First up is the first step in building. It takes a plan. Plans are important. Without the right plans, nothing will look just the way you want it to look. Anything worth doing takes planning and we are no different. God started with a plan for we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 134:14) God’s plans were very detailed. It included the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7) and the number of tears we would have as well. (Psalm 56:8) God has a plan for our lives and it is very detailed. He even tells us the point to his plans. For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). God started our lives before our first breath (Jeremiah1:5a) working out His plan. His blueprint, if you will, for the lives of His people. He continues to build on that blueprint today.

So what should our response to this be? One of gratitude and joy. For the master builder is building us up. We should also be encouraging others to let God build them up in the manor that He sees fit. We should be spurring each other on to the glory of God the father (Hebrews 10: 24, 25). Trusting in the blueprint that God has a purpose for each moment of our lives. Now I know that this is difficult in trouble times and during suffering moments. Still we need to remember that he is the master builder and it is in his plans that these things happen. When these things happen, He is the master builder and will use them according to His purpose. This is not to say that God wants us to suffer. By no means. God allows us to suffer in order to bring about the greater good. (Romans 8:28). Still as we go through life, we take great comfort in the fact that it all is happening according to the great and wonderful blueprint of our Father’s plan.

 

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Who? Me? – a devotion

When Pastor Schlote approached me about doing an on-line devotion for our web page here at Our Savior, many thoughts went thru my head, the biggest one being “Who? Me?” After all there are better people in the church to write than I. My level of biblical understanding is one that borders on knowledge but is not one worthy of such an important task. After all what I write would not only be read by the congregation but by anyone who came to our webpage and was considering our church. I wondered if asking me might be a mistake. Have you ever felt that way when God asks you to do something? “Not me Lord. I am the wrong color, or nationality or age. They like different things than me. How could I be the right person to witness for you in this manor? There are better people and I can name them for you Lord.” As I worked through the request that Pastor Schlote gave me I found myself thinking of Moses. Moses was told by God to go tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses was not keen on the idea either. In fact he came up with some pretty good excuses as to why he shouldn’t be the one to do such an important task. First Moses questioned (as I did) about his place in the scheme of God’s will. “Who am I?’  (Exodus 3:11) then he called out and proclaimed “What if they do not believe me (4:1) then he pulled up what in my mind is the best defense of things.” O Lord I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue ” (Exodus 4:10) finally he just tells God plainly.” O Lord please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13)

Looking at the words of the great Moses gave me strength. After all Moses could tell God to send someone else and certainly God would understand and do just that. After a week or two I began to feel God working on my heart and to think about it. I re-read the passages that I have just quoted and looked at what God had to say. In each case God was patient with Moses and gave him reasons why it should be him. The Lord did the same to me. He reminded me that I have written in the past and that what I have written has been well received. Finally after a long week of looking and thinking I found myself coming back to the Lord and saying. “I know better people who have better things to say.” It was at that moment that the Lord reminded me of something. The Apostle Peter was once asked to stop preaching the word of God and his response is dear to my heart. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) The only thing this apostle did was speak as God instructed him through the power of the Holy Spirit as to what he had seen. It was God’s mission and he took this fisherman and made him speak. So the truth is correct. I am not the right person to do this work. Not on my own power. Yet and it’s a big YET, With God in my plans and direction I can speak about what I have seen and heard. It is therefore my hope and prayer that these devotions will move you in your walk with God. After all it’s His mission.

Come back each month as I share with you more of what God wants me to share.