What Are You Building Out Of?

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I Corinthians 3:10-13 (KJV) “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth hereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

What would you prefer to have your building made out of? The choices are gold, silver and precious stones or wood, hay and stubble. The rich building materials represent things that aren’t easily found, they are rare, they last, and they have value. They can be tried by fire and retain their beauty and form. The others are easily found building materials, quite common actually. During those fiery trials…they burn up. In a stiff wind or a storm, they blow away. The wood here isn’t big oak logs, but more like the twigs of the “Three Little Pigs” story. These building materials are easily corruptible. They rot, they mold, and they lose their strength over time.

The bible uses the word “stubble” quite often. Some versions replace it with the word “chaff.”
In Isaiah 5, Isaiah talks about the wicked. Verse 24 (NASB) says, “Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble and dry grass collapses into the flame, so their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 40:23-24 (NLT) “He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff.”
Isaiah talks about sorcerers, astrologers, soothsayers and the like in Isaiah 47:14 (NIV). “Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by.”

That is our poor building material; let’s take a look at the better stuff. Proverbs 3:13-15 (NIV) talks about wisdom. “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”

The temple was full of these precious building materials. All of the wood, which was the best of the best, was still covered in gold, silver and bronze. All of the articles were made of the same metals. The ephod had twelve precious stones. (Exodus 24, I Kings). Heaven is a wonderful place. The Bible tells us that the streets of the city are gold, the walls are made of twelve precious stones and the gates are giant pearls.

Now, we who are now in the family of God, who have made Jesus our Lord, are building. Jesus and his plan of salvation is the foundation. What building material are we adding to this foundation? Are we building what will remain? What has eternal value? Or will it be burnt up in the flames? It all depends on our motives and whether or not we are hearing from God, or just doing what seems right to us. All good ideas aren’t God ideas.
Getting rich so that we can buy more toys: Stubble.

Allowing God to prosper us so that we can use it for the Kingdom: Gold.
Singing on the praise and worship team so that others can see us: Twigs.
Singing on the praise and worship team so that we can lift up Jesus and give glory to God: Rubies.
Are you getting the picture?

Book Review for “Gods and Kings” -Christian Fiction

Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin was a great Christian fiction read. It tells the story of a time in the history of Judah when they had turned their backs on God and even brought false gods into the temple. It includes biblical history with creative fiction and spans a few generations. There are more in the series and I will probably read them all. Lynn Austin knows how to tell a good story. I give this book 4 stars.

http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Kings-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B004X7B8QQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1373985011&sr=1-1&keywords=gods+and+kings+by+lynn+austin#_

Consider Solomon

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Solomon was given the royal title of King. He wasn’t his father, King David’s, firstborn son. He was the son of Bathsheba. David and Bathsheba committed adultery while she was married to Uriah the Hittite. David had him murdered in battle and married Solomon’s mother. David and Bathsheba conceived a son in their sin. After the man of God corrects David and he repents, the child dies. Then along comes Solomon.

David’s desire was to build a house for God. But due to his “bloody hands” and because he was a “man of war”, God couldn’t allow it. In his place, Solomon spent seven years with literally hundreds of thousands of men to build the temple, using the finest stones, lumber and precious metals. If you read I Kings and II Chronicles you can see the splendor. David designed it. Solomon built it.

When Solomon was to become King, God asked him to ask for whatever he wanted. As a new young King, with big shoes to fill, he asked for wisdom to rule the people. God was so pleased that He gave him the wisdom as well as riches and honor. In all time, Solomon was the wisest and richest man ever to live. A great beginning.
So what happened after his coronation and the building of the temple that takes us to Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, Where he exclaims “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the teacher. “Utterly Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

I believe chapter 11 of I Kings explains the heart of the matter.”Solomon loved many foreign women.” It’s not just that he married them, when it was forbidden by God, “You must not intermarry with them, because they surly will turn your hearts after their Gods.” No, the real issue was his heart. He “held fast to them in love.” And sure enough, “as Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to God, as the heart of David, his father had been” (verses 1-5). He ended up following other gods, including Molech who demanded they sacrifice their children by fire.

It’s pretty simple, really. God knows what is best for us. When we listen, things are good. When we don’t things aren’t so good. Sure bad things happen to all of us; after all we live in a fallen world that is under Satan’s control. But do you want to face them alone, or go through them with God on your side. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

What do you love more than God? Who do you love more than God? You might not have 700 wives and 300 mistresses but what takes your attention away from Him? What comes first? Whatever it is, you better get your priorities straightened out. Otherwise you’ll end up like Solomon screaming, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” We’ve all been there, hind-sight and all of that, thinking “that was a waste”. Solomon went from dedicating the temple where God showed up in such a way, physically, that the priests couldn’t even stand in his presence, to building places of worship for false gods, and he was the wisest man ever…

I like to think that I am pretty smart. I like to think that I have a pretty good relationship with God. But if Solomon in all of his wisdom and glory could fall so far…

Priorities. We all love our families, our Churches, our hobbies, interests, some of us our jobs, etc. But we need to love God best, or as my granddaughter used to say “the most-est”. Now, we don’t do that by “working” ourselves up like an actress getting ready to film the big love scene. Instead it’s something we work at, and work towards. Build a relationship that nothing else can replace or compare to. Choose God, first and foremost.

By the way, Solomon recognized his error and set his priorities straight, but how much time was wasted? What kind of example did he set for his son’s who were destined to rule? Read the rest of Kings and Chronicles. Things didn’t work out too well for his descendants, most of whom “did evil in the sight of the Lord”. What example do you want to leave?