For thousands of years men have spent huge amounts of time and money building cathedrals, shrines and monuments to God. Notre Dame in Paris took 185 years to construct, a building that has stood complete for over 600 years. And what is the motivation for such expensive structures? Often it is to capture the attention of God.
After Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, returning captives wanted to build an even grander structure to somehow secure God’s blessings. They were disappointed when the replacement seemed so small (Haggai 2:3). Through prophesy, God stated in Isaiah 66:1-2 that they had it all wrong. “Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,’ declares the Lord. ‘But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”’
Man doesn’t have to build a world monument to get God’s attention. The Lord will listen to people who have humility before Him, who willingly admit their shame and regret for their failures, and who believe His word with all their heart.
This should comfort us, for it is something we can all do. But it should also caution us, to make sure our hearts are healthy. Are you just building monuments with your life, or are you offering God your heart? It’s an important question to ask yourself on this first Sunday of 2016.
One day Solomon thought about the labours of man, and wrote, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Eccles.4:9-10). In his day, most people worked on farms and in the fields where it is hard for one person to handle large animals and heavy harvests. Injuries were common, but easier to survive with friends helping out. Continue reading
One morning in September 2008 Thomas Vander Woude, a retired airline pilot who now kept a farm in Northern Virginia, was working his 26 acres with his 20 year old handicapped son Joseph by his side. When they had separated to do other chores, Joseph walked on a damaged septic tank cover and broke through, falling into the almost full 8 foot deep tank. Seeing the accident from a distance, Vander Woude rushed over to assist his youngest son. Unable to pull him from the tank, he lowered himself into the sewage and treaded beside him to help keep Josephs’ head above the waste, but he was still sinking. Vander Woude then made the decision to dive under the sewage and raise his Down syndrome afflicted son up on his shoulders to free him from drowning. When rescuers finally arrived they pulled Joseph out, injured but alive. His father Thomas though was dead, suffocated under the waste. Continue reading
We welcome everyone who has come to Barrie for our Young Adult Weekend. It is especially encouraging to have Jay, Linda and Jacob Manimtim among us, and of course Jay is our speaker today. The subject of the weekend is something every Christian needs, “A Closer Walk.”
Jude, who was likely the brother of Jesus Christ, had unique insight into this, as one would expect a brother to have. He didn’t brag about his family connection, nor did he act superior to those who had never met Him. In his short New Testament letter, Jude urged us to draw closer to the Lord, and thus avoid the destructiveness of those who would try to harm Christ’s people. Continue reading