Limitless

1 Kings 7:13-14
“Now King Solomon sent and brought Huram from Tyre. He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So he came to King Solomon and did all his work.”

Solomon’s reign was the golden age for Israel. David’s exploits had created peace, which allowed for the economy to flourish and the nation to go through a building boom. Across the landscape, Israel was building lavish structures for the king and his kingdom. When it came time for the plans to be enacted and the work to begin, Solomon brought in a skilled builder from Tyre named Huram. The text gives us three interesting details regarding this man. First He was filled with wisdom, second he was skillful, and third he was the son of a Jewish woman and a man from Tyre. Tyre was a Phoenician city on the Mediterranean coast north of Israel. This meant it is likely that Huram was the son of a believing mother and unbelieving father. Like Timothy, he would have grown up in a mixed home. This often creates confusion in children, but in this case, he grew to be mightily used by God for  the kingdom, by using his talents for the Lord.

Many of us are faced with less than ideal situations in which to follow Christ. For some, their spouse is not following Christ, or they have a prodigal child. For others, they seem to be the lone believer at work, and others live in an area without a strong bible teaching church, to help them walk out their faith. This passages provides great encouragement; knowing it is possible to accomplish great things for the kingdom, even when we are faced with troubling and trying experiences.

Let’s take a page from Huram’s book and not let our difficulties limit our commitment to Christ.

Pastor Jim

 

Return 

Zechariah 1:3
“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,”’ says the Lord of hosts.”

After seventy years of captivity Israel was allowed to return to the land and begin to rebuild their broken down Temple. Millions had been taken captive and only a fraction returned to get the task started. Even those who returned had become discouraged and had forsaken the work. It is in this setting that Zechariah declares,
“Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,”
For some, returning to the Lord actually involved a change of their current location. If they were going to be obedient, they would need to pack up their stuff and make the long journey to Jerusalem. For others, returning meant getting back to the work in which they were once involved. Life had taken precedence over serving the Lord, and it was time to get things back in their proper order.

What about you? If God’s word is going to have its proper place in our lives, we need to examine how we should respond to its exhortations. In this case, we are exhorted to return to God. For some, that means we need to get back to the work in which we were once involved. I have noticed, over the years, that many families start out serving the Lord together, but as the kids grow and life gets busy, they begin to wane. Soon they are not only neglecting service, but even begin to neglect fellowship all together. Don’t wait until tragedy strikes, before you will reevaluate your spiritual leadership in the family. Take the necessary steps today to return to the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

Model Home 

Proverbs 14:4
“Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;
But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.”

A few years back, when we were looking to purchase a home, my wife and I spent our days off going to open houses and visiting model homes. It was easy to tell the difference between the two. The model homes were immaculate. The decor was thematic, the furniture and carpets unstained, and the walls were noticeably unmarked by crayon, ink pen or dirty hand prints. At first glance, I would feel envious, for our house looked nothing like that. Our carpets showed evidence of four boys, who were incapable of wiping the mud off their feet before entering the house. The walls bore the evidence that they had not, in fact, washed their hands before or after dinner, and the couches proved that cups with lids are no guarantee against things being spilled. I would look at the model and think to myself, “Wow, wouldn’t it be nice if we could keep our house looking like this.” However, after a little consideration, I realized, there was an explanation as to why the model home was so clean and our house, well, not so much. No one lived in the model. It was a shell, four walls that contained furnishings, but no life.

Solomon is expressing that same thought in another way. Simply put, he is declaring that at times, life is messy. If we try to avoid the mess, we may, in turn, miss out on living. Many of us work very hard to be comfortable, and we avoid anything that disturbs that comfort. We neglect getting more involved in church, because it may mess up the kids schedule, or we fail to commit to serving the Lord, because it will conflict with our comforts. Our goal should not be living in comfort, but living to please the Lord. There are times when God will ask us to do things which will disturb our routine, or force us outside of our comfort zone. Part of His reasoning for doing this, is our personal growth. It is in those times when we are most uncomfortable, that we look to the Lord the most. When we feel like we can handle things, we press on in our own capacities. It is when we realize we have no experience to lean on, that we find ourselves crying out to the Lord.

Keep in mind, that while stepping out and serving Christ may make life a bit messy, there is great, even eternal value in everything that is done faithfully unto the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

A Healthy Home 

Proverbs 4:3-4
“When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: ‘Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.’”

Solomon is giving us a brief glimpse into his home life. In these verses we learn he was raised in an environment of love. He proudly refers to himself as his father’s son and the only one in the sight of his mother. Whatever cultural experiences he might have had being the son of a king, his parent’s love for him was clearly evident. We also see, Solomon was raised on the Word of God. Although David carried the responsibility of caring for the entire nation, he did not neglect the responsibility of caring for his own son. He took the time to instruct Solomon in the ways of wisdom and the Word of God.

These are two key ingredients that must be found in every Christian home. Children need parents that love them, and express that love in such a way, they believe they matter more than anything else to their parents. Certainly, there were times when the responsibilities of the Kingdom took David away from the home, requiring his undivided attention. He seemed to have made a point not to let his children think the Kingdom mattered more to him than they did.

King David had the resources of the kingdom at his disposal. He would be able to provide the best tutors for his children, and send them to the best schools. While it is necessary to have help, we must realize, as parents, we are the primary players in the spiritual development of our children. Sunday school teachers and youth pastors are a huge blessing, and can have a tremendous influence on our children, for the Lord. However, we, as parents, need to make the primary investments of the things of God, into the lives of our kids.

I think the reason it is somewhat difficult to do this, is because of the fact, we cannot give what we do not have. I am incapable of helping my son with his calculus homework, because I do not understand the subject. Some parents are the same way with the Bible. If you do not spend time reading the Bible, you will not have anything to share with your children or others.

The key to investing the things of the Lord in the lives of your children, is taking time to, first, make those investments in your own life.

Pastor Jim

 

This Old House 

Leviticus 27:14
“And when a man dedicates his house to be holy to the Lord, then the priest shall set a value for it, whether it is good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand.”

20140227-074948.jpgAccording to Webster’s dictionary, the word ‘dedicate’ means, “to devote to worship or to set apart for sacred use.” As Leviticus comes to a close, Moses instructs the people to dedicate their homes to the Lord. Since the family is the foundation of society, the key to Israel’s future success was in each and every household dedicated themselves to the Lord.

A few years back some friends of mine purchased a new home. Before the foundation was laid, they went to the site and buried scripture verses in the ground. That is a beautiful picture of what it means to dedicate our homes to the Lord. We want to build upon the foundation of the Word, but we cannot stop with symbolism. If our homes are truly going to be devoted to God, we must ensure that they are a place where, in every way, God is honored. For this to happen, we might need to do some house cleaning and remodeling.

Take a moment to examine the contents of your home. I am not talking about the furnishings or what is in the pantry. Instead, think about the things are being allowed in the home. Imagine if, like Mary and Martha, Jesus was coming to your home with His twelve Apostles. What would you change right now? Are there cupboards that need to be cleaned out of things that have no business being in the home. Are there attitudes toward one another that would cause you to die of embarrassment if they were exposed in His presence? Jesus might not be on His way over for a physical visit, but keep in mind, everything is “open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Christianity should never be reduced to what we don’t do. When we stand before Christ, we will not be examined for what we did not do, but for what we accomplished. Look at your home, is it time for an addition or two? What are you doing to ensure your kids are being trained up in the ways of the Lord? What are you doing to be a light to your neighbors? In what way are you seeking to make your spouse the most loved and respected spouse on the planet?

I think it is time we dedicate ourselves and our homes completely to the Lord and watch to see what great things God will do through it.

Pastor Jim

 

Invest In The Future

Proverbs 13:7
“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”

Solomon is suggesting it is possible to have earthly possessions and yet to possess nothing of true value. At the same time, it is possible to have next to nothing, and have great wealth. He is not saying wealth is evil and poverty is good, but that within God’s economy, some things are of much greater value than others. The Bible teaches us there are three things that are eternal, and investments made in these areas will give a person lasting riches.

First off, God Himself is eternal. Before the universe existed, there was God. He is the un-caused cause that brought all other things into being. He is the source of all life, and the one who holds all things together. He is the one to whom we will give an account when our lives run their course. While it is not wrong to make capital investments and to store up for your family’s future, we must not do it at the expense of investing in a relationship with God. The most important investment we make is a decision to follow Jesus Christ.

Second, the Word of God is eternal. The writer of Hebrews explained that one day the heavens above us and the earth we stand upon, will be folded like a garment and replaced, but the Word of God will last forever (Hebrews 1:11-12). Every promise of God is eternal, and every investment of the Word of God in our lives, will bring eternal benefits. Often, the thing that keeps us from investing time in the Word, is the fact that we do not think it makes a difference. The reality is, when time has run its course, and the things of this life are a distant memory, we will still be reaping the benefits of our investments in the Word of God.

Finally, the Bible teaches us that the souls of men and women are eternal. God has done everything possible for each and every person to spend eternity with Him. He sent His Son to die for us, His Spirit to draw us, and His church to be an influence to win us. When we realize how much others matter to God, and we seek to influence them for eternity, we are making investments that will outlast time. The most important place where these investments are made is within the home.

There is nothing wrong with making earthly investments. There is nothing inherently wrong with riches, or with enjoying much of the pleasures that come with wealth. However, there are things of much greater value than stocks, portfolios, profit margins and real estate holdings. The things that matter most, are the things that last forever. Don’t neglect to store up riches where they really matter.

Pastor Jim

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