VIDEO Obedience: Now or Later? – Wise and Foolish Builders


But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? Luke 6:46

Young children learn quickly what disobedience is—the failure to carry out a parent’s instructions. A concept that is harder to grasp, but nonetheless important, is the notion of delayed obedience—carrying out the task later instead of when the parent expects it to be done. It’s simply a matter of priorities: the parent’s versus the child’s. Children learn this important life lesson: Delayed obedience is the same as disobedience.

When the Israelite exiles began returning to Jerusalem from captivity in Persia, their priorities were misplaced. Instead of focusing on rebuilding “God’s house,” the temple in Jerusalem, they focused their attention on building their own pleasant dwellings. And the prophet Haggai took them to task for it (Haggai 1:9). Their attitude had been, “We’ll build God’s house, just not right now.” When it comes to giving to the Lord, we can slip into delayed obedience: “I need to use God’s tithe for a few months to cover some bills, but I’ll make it up later.”

As the prophet Samuel told King Saul, God loves obedience better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). That applies to all of our obligations, including giving.

Obedience to legitimate authority is one of the fruits and evidences of Christian sincerity. Charles Hodge

The Wise and the Foolish Builders, Luke 6:46-49 by J. C. Ryle

A Time for Beauty

A crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning.  Isaiah 61:3

One January morning I woke expecting to see the same dreary midwinter landscape that had greeted me for several weeks: beige grass poking through patches of snow, gray skies, and skeletal trees. Something unusual had happened overnight, though. A frost had coated everything with ice crystals. The lifeless and depressing landscape had become a beautiful scene that glistened in the sun and dazzled me.

Sometimes we view problems without the imagination it takes to have faith. We expect pain, fear, and despair to greet us every morning, but overlook the possibility of something different ever happening. We don’t expect recovery, growth, or victory through God’s power. Yet the Bible says God is the one who helps us through difficult times. He repairs broken hearts and liberates people in bondage. He comforts the grieving with “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).

It isn’t that God just wants to cheer us up when we have problems. It’s that He Himself is our hope during trials. Even if we have to wait for heaven to find ultimate relief, God is present with us, encouraging us and often giving us glimpses of Himself. In our journey through life, may we come to understand St. Augustine’s words: “In my deepest wound I saw your glory, and it dazzled me.”

By: Jennifer Benson Schuldt

How can you turn to God when you’re in trouble? What rewards can come from this practice?

Faithful God, give me the faith I need to make it through today and help me to see You at work as I face adversity.

To learn more about helping people, visit

Sunday Reflection: God’s Blessing in Our Emptiness

It’s our natural tendency to fill things when they’re empty. If we buy a new house, we might fill it with furniture to make it feel more like home. At a restaurant, waiters return to the table to ensure our glasses are full. If we feel empty, we might try to fill the void with food, clothes, devices, vacations, degrees, job titles—the list goes on and on.

Jesus seeks out and blesses the poor in spirit, the lowly and powerless. But only those who are empty can fully receive all He has to give. If we come to Jesus that way, He promises to fill, nourish, and shepherd us.

Think About It
• Do some areas of life—health, schedule, relationships—feel emptier than others? Try thinking in terms “rich or poor”—are you richer or poorer in relationships? Do you have a deficit of time or plenty to spare? What does it mean to surrender each of these areas to God and invite Him in?

• In the Beatitudes, Jesus teaches pursuit of a different kind of emptiness—a renouncing of the things we depend on in this world. In your life, what would be in this category? Do certain talents or abilities seem to define you? Make a list of everything that comes to mind and offer each one to Jesus.

A Great Reward

“Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6:23)

Sometimes great rewards are promised to those who help locate dangerous criminals, or to those who win a lottery, but such pecuniary rewards are trivial compared to those awaiting all the faithful servants of Christ. The “great reward” promised by Christ in our text is specifically for those believers who willingly have endured hatred and ostracism, reproach and slander “for the Son of man’s sake” (v. 22).

Such rewards are distinct from salvation, of course, for that reward is given only “to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly” (Romans 4:5). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5-6).

That is, salvation is a free gift, received only through personal faith in Christ and His sacrificial death for our sins. Rewards, on the other hand, are earned by faithful witness and work for Christ. In that day when “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10), many will learn to their dismay that, although they have indeed received everlasting life, they will have very little reward. For “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13)—not the quantity, but its quality and fidelity to God’s Word. Then, “if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved” (v. 15).

We need to remember that one of the last and thus most significant promises of Christ was: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). HMM

Moratorium on Religious Activity

The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

—Proverbs 17:3


I suppose my suggestion will not receive much serious attention, but I should like to suggest that we Bible-believing Christians announce a moratorium on religious activity and set our house in order preparatory to the coming of an afflatus from above. So carnal is the body of Christians which composes the conservative wing of the Church, so shockingly irreverent are our public services in some quarters, so degraded are our religious tastes in still others, that the need for power could scarcely have been greater at any time in history. I believe we should profit immensely were we to declare a period of silence and self-examination during which each one of us searched his own heart and sought to meet every condition for a real baptism of power from on high.   POM094

Lord, I do pray that You would move in the hearts of leaders in churches everywhere to prompt this time of silence and self-examination. Stimulate our hearts and quiet us to hear from You. Amen.


God’s Kind of Love

He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

—John 14:21


God, being Himself God, an uncreated being, deriving from no one, owing nothing to anybody, must necessarily be the fountain of all the love there is! That is why I say that as our God, He must love Himself forever with pure and perfect love.

This kind of love, God’s love, holy and blameless—this is the love which the three Persons of the Godhead feel and hold for one another. The Father to the Son; the Son to the Father; the Father and Son to the Spirit; the Spirit to the Father and Son—the divine Trinity in perfect and blameless and proper love; loving one another with a holy, poured out devotion! The Trinity’s three fountains, eternal, infinite, pouring without measure into each other from the bottomless, boundless, shoreless sea of perfect love and bliss….

God being who and what He is, is Himself the only being that He can love directly. Everything else and everyone else that God loves, He loves for His own sake. EFE012-013

God loved us because of something in Himself, and so if Christ is dwelling is us, we will love because of the Christ within us. HS470


Does God Really Care?

1 Peter 5:7

Many questions well up from the heart of man, but none with greater urgency than: “Does God really care?” In our world, tragedy is written on the front page of every newspaper, etched in the faces of the people we meet, indelibly impressed upon our own memories because we too have known its terror and torment.

Does God look down with uncaring casualness upon man’s calamities? Upon its answer depends not only our faith but our peace and even our sanity.

“Does God really care?” The fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel tells of an occasion when this question was asked of God Himself. The disciples of Jesus were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a little ship. A storm arose, and the water was whipped with such violence that the waves threatened to sink the vessel. Jesus was there but, exhausted by the day’s ministry and teaching and healing, He had fallen asleep. The disciples awakened Jesus and, in voices that probably expressed irritation as well as fear, they asked, “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38).

Storms are a natural occurrence on the sea. And just as surely, storms are natural to life and living. Disaster, misfortune, distress and violence are words which must be used to tell every day’s story somewhere in our world. Life is a serious business.

Happily, the disciples found not only a reason for their question but also a response to it. The Bible goes on to say that Jesus arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Quiet! be still!” (Mark 4:39). The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Does God care? Without directly answering the question, Jesus responded in such a manner as to prove His concern for their safety and His sympathy with their fright.

Does God care? “Anyone who has seen Me,” said Jesus, “has seen the Father”

(John 14:9). And what witness to the deep concern of God would be complete without this sublime truth: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The central truth of Christianity is that God cares. Because God loved, He gave His Son, who, in turn, gave Himself. Trust Him. Face life and all it brings with a positive faith in the reliability and compassion of God. Accept the Apostle Peter’s invitation to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

Bramwell Tripp, To the Point