Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24
Rubrication (from Latin “ruber,” or “red”) was the medieval practice of colorizing, usually in red, some of the words in biblical manuscripts for emphasis. Fast-forward to 1899 when the first modern red-letter edition of the New Testament was published, printing the words of Jesus Christ in red ink.
If you have a red-letter edition of the New Testament, Matthew 5–7 (except for the first two introductory verses of Matthew 5) are in red ink. That’s because they are Matthew’s record of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount—His lengthy exposition of Kingdom theology based on a proper reading of the Old Testament. He summarized this lengthy teaching in Matthew 7:24-27 by referring to “these sayings of Mine.” Anyone who hears these teachings “and does them” will be like “a wise man” who built his house on solid rock instead of shifting sand. Such a firm foundation will withstand the storms of life.
The key to such stability is not just hearing Jesus’ words but doing them (James 1:22-23; 2:20-22). Build a strong life by not just hearing, but also doing, what the Word of God says.
The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord.Samuel John Stone
Verse of the Day – Matthew 7:24–25 | Life Without Limbs
“Bobbie the Wonder Dog” was a collie mix separated from his family while they were on a summer vacation together more than 2,200 miles from home. The family searched everywhere for their beloved pet but returned heartbroken without him.
Six months later, toward the end of winter, a scraggly but determined Bobbie showed up at their door in Silverton, Oregon. Bobbie somehow made the long and dangerous trek, crossing rivers, desert, and snow-covered mountains to find his way home to those he loved.
Bobbie’s quest inspired books, movies, and a mural in his hometown. His devotion strikes a chord within, perhaps because God has placed an even deeper longing in our hearts. Ancient theologian Augustine described it this way: “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” This same longing was desperately yet eloquently expressed by David in a prayer as he hid from his pursuers in Judah’s wilderness: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
David praised God because His “love is better than life” (v. 3). Nothing compares with knowing Him! Through Jesus, God has sought us out and made the way for us to come home to His perfect love—regardless of how distant we once were. As we turn to Him, we find our heart’s true home.
The Lord is often ignored, reviled, belittled, and denied, but one day every eye will see Christ clothed in majesty and power. John 12:41 says that Isaiah was given a vision of Christ’s glory, and today’s reading records the prophet’s response. On seeing the Lord seated upon a throne in all His splendor, Isaiah recognized the depths of his own sinful condition and cried out, “Woe to me, for I am ruined!” (Isa. 6:5).
Peter had a similar reaction to Christ. When Jesus miraculously filled the fishing nets to overflowing, Peter fell down before Him, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). But the religious leaders of the time responded in a very different way. When they heard Jesus’ preaching and saw His miraculous signs, they became angry and attributed His power to Satan (Luke 11:15).
As believers, we are Christ’s ambassadors in the world, and there are varied responses to our presence. Some welcome the message we bring, while others react with reluctance or even outright hostility. In fact, Jesus warned us this would be the case (John 15:18), but we should never let negative reactions discourage us from faithfully sharing the gospel or living righteously.
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” (Psalm 34:7)
Since God’s angels are normally unseen, we have little appreciation of how intimately they are involved in our lives. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). As in our text, there may well be a protecting angel embracing and delivering us in times of danger. “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12).
Angels are sometimes called on to rout the enemies of God and His people. “Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul…and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them” (Psalm 35:4-6).
Angels are intensely interested in the salvation and spiritual growth of believers, “which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). “For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9). There are even occasions when “some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).
There is “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), beings of great power and wisdom (2 Kings 19:35; 2 Samuel 14:20). They are not omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient, of course, since they—like us—were created by God simply to obey God. “Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20).
Finally, we shall be “carried by the angels” (Luke 16:22) into God’s presence. Then we can better understand and thank them for all the many services rendered to us here on Earth. HMM
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…unto him be glory. —Ephesians 3:20-21
The truth received in power shifts the bases of life from Adam to Christ and a new set of motives goes to work within the soul. A new and different Spirit enters the personality and makes the believing man new in every department of his being.
His interests shift from things external to things internal, from things on earth to things in heaven. He loses faith in the soundness of external values, he sees clearly the deceptiveness of outward appearances and his love for and confidence in the unseen and eternal world become stronger as his experience widens.
With the ideas here expressed most Christians will agree, but the gulf between theory and practice is so great as to be terrifying. For the gospel is too often preached and accepted without power, and the radical shift which the truth demands is never made. POM020-021
Anyone can do the possible; add a bit of courage and zeal and some may do the phenomenal; only Christians are obliged to do the impossible. WOS012
God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.—Isaiah 40:22
The man-centered focus that is creeping into today’s church must be resisted at all costs. Such matters as disciplining children, dealing with marital problems, and establishing proper priorities should be addressed also, but we must be careful that “market forces” do not mold our theology.
It could be argued that our problems are so acute because we are deficient in our knowledge of God. The context in which we think and feel is so limited that it is no wonder our souls feel stifled and claustrophobic. One preacher describes our condition in this way: “We are like Peter trying to walk on the water but becoming so engrossed in the winds and the waves that we lose sight of the all-sufficient Christ who is right there beside us. The immediate environment has blotted out the sense of the eternal.”
This is why I have chosen today’s reading from the magnificent book of Isaiah. The prophet does what a doctor would do upon visiting a patient with a minor sickness and finding the windows shut fast and the room lacking in oxygen. He would throw open the windows and invite the patient to inhale the purer air. “Take a deep breath of the oxygen of the Spirit,” Isaiah is saying in effect. “See how great and powerful God is. Set your problems in the context of His omnipotence.”
We become like the thing we focus on. If we center on man rather than God, then we ought not be surprised if we finish up off center—eccentric.
O God, save me from being an off-center Christian and thus an eccentric Christian—the true meaning of that term. May my primary focus be always on You. Grant it, dear Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel’s armies—you have defied Him. Today, the Lord will hand you over to me.”—1 Samuel 17:45–46a
David was certainly an optimist! Regardless of his circumstances, David could always see God’s activity! A pessimist focuses on the problems, concentrating on the reasons why something cannot be done. The optimist sees those same problems, but he sees them from the perspective of God’s presence.
David was just a young boy when he faced Goliath, an intimidating veteran warrior who frightened even the bravest Israelite soldier. As he prepared for battle, David saw that Goliath was a giant. He heard his boastful taunts. He could not fail to notice his enemy’s weapons: a sword, a shield, and a javelin. David did not barge into the battle unprepared for a fight. He armed himself with five smooth stones. David was prepared for God to grant him victory with the first stone he hurled at the giant or the fifth. David was ready to accept God’s victory, whether it came easily or with much effort.
Optimists do not ignore the difficulties, they are keenly aware of them. But the knowledge of God’s presence prevents them from becoming discouraged or giving up. It is impossible to stand in the presence of God and be a pessimist!
The account of David and Goliath vividly pictures the source of the Christian’s faith—not our own size, strength, or resources, but the power of almighty God. If we focus on our opposition and problems, they will seem gigantic. But as we focus on God, we will see our situation in the proper perspective and be assured that all things are possible with God (Phil. 4:13).