Foundational Truth

 

foundation brickI am not a building expert. I do consider myself a skilled professional in determining the value of buildings, houses and land. I am not an appraiser, but I can do some math regarding the cost of building materials and the cost per square foot.  Another thing I’ve learned to look for in determining the value of a building is the “bones” of the building. On a practical note, you can look in the crawl space at the structure as well as the attic and make some determinations about the overall structure.  When building anything from the ground up, it’s critical to have a good foundation. There are codes to follow as well as common sense. If the foundation is bad, the whole house will have problems in the future.

Jesus is being grilled by the Pharisees and the Sadducees and other teachers of the law. Since He is the Author of the Law, they had no chance to trip Him up. That didn’t stop them from trying. Check this out….

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)

The entire law really comes down to four words in the English language: Love God – Love Others. That is pretty simple. I didn’t say it was easy, but it is simple. The Lord wants to be first place in my heart. He doesn’t want to become second to anyone or anything. After I get that part right, I’m called to love like He loved. He loves everyone. He sees past the rough exterior right into a person’s heart. He loves those who are hard to love and He calls me to do the same. The foundation of my faith is based on these two simple yet complex commands. I find it easy to love God, but difficult to love others. It is easy to love people who love me and it’s easy to love my wife and children.

It’s hard to love weird people.

It’s hard to love hateful people.

It’s hard to love people who hate me.

It’s hard to love people who hate God.

God didn’t put exceptions on love. He commanded me to love. I am still trying to figure out how to love everyone. I will probably be working on that for a while. I’m learning the more of my heart that He has, the easier it is to love like He loves. I’m also learning that when I realize how much He loves me with all of my sin and stupid choices – my heart for others expands. I really want to put these two simple commands (aka foundational truth) into the very fabric of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Good Neighbor

 

Connected Families in NeighborhoodsI have great neighbors where I live and they are family as well. I also have great neighbors up and down the road where I live. When I look at the city where my office is located, I find great neighbors there as well. I had someone tell me years ago that to have great neighbors, I needed to be a great neighbor.

When I study scripture, I find that my neighbor is pretty much anyone. When Jesus told the story of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:25-37, He was defining my neighbor as anyone, not just those living near me or working near me.

As Nehemiah leads the team that is rebuilding the temple and the wall around Jerusalem, he strategically has most everyone involved working on different parts of the wall as well as the city gates. Check this out…

31 Next to him, Malkijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Inspection Gate, and as far as the room above the corner; 32 and between the room above the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs. (Nehemiah 3:31-32 NIV)

There were people doing woodwork and stone work who were really goldsmiths, shop owners and musicians. Everyone was helping everyone. This was definitely a project where neighbor was helping neighbor. There is energy and synergy that is created when neighbors work together. I recently spoke with a guy who went to the state of Louisiana to help some of the flood victims. There were people from all over the United States arriving to help flood victims find housing and to restore their damaged homes.

Our church recently did a series about “How To Neighbor” and we learned that there are multiple ways to be a good neighbor. We had a group visit the VA center, Nursing Home, Pregnancy Resource Center and Department of Family & Children Services to show support and care for people who are in all walks of life and in all sorts of different circumstances. I have a lot to learn about being a good neighbor to strangers in my life. I feel like I’m a pretty strong neighbor to those I know and like. I believe the Lord calls me to be a good neighbor to everyone.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Neighborly Love

Connected Families in NeighborhoodsI’ve had some great neighbors over the course of my life. It’s a bit random whom you end up living nearby or next door too. I’ve also known people who can’t stand their neighbors. They’ve gotten sideways over something and can’t seem to get it resolved. There will no borrowing sugar or milk from one another for sure.

I heard a great parable early on in my adult life. The story goes that a stranger had moved to town and went to the local gas station/garage to get some repair work done on his car. He asked the mechanic what kind of people lived around here. The old mechanic asked him what kind of people where around where the stranger came from. The stranger said that they people where he came from were horrible, lazy and mean. He was glad to be out of there. The old mechanic told the man that that was exactly the type of people from around here.

The story goes on that another stranger came to the same mechanic later that day and he was new to town also. He asked the old mechanic what types of people live here. The mechanic asked him the same question regarding the people where he used to live. The man said that the people where he came from were incredibly friendly and nice. They would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. The old mechanic smiled and said that is exactly the type of people who live around here. The moral of the story: To have good neighbors, you need to be a good neighbor.

The Lord was giving various laws and He included some laws regarding how your treat your neighbor/brother. Check this out…

1 Suppose you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep wandering away. Then don’t act as if you didn’t see it. Instead, make sure you take it back to its owner. 2 Its owner might not live near you. Or you might not know who owns it. So take the animal home with you. Keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then give it back to them. 3 Do the same thing if you find their donkey, coat or anything they have lost. Don’t act as if you didn’t see it.

4 Suppose you see your neighbor’s donkey or ox that has fallen down on the road. Then don’t act as if you didn’t see it. Help the owner get it up on its feet again. (Deuteronomy 22:1-4 NIV)

When Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, I was reminded that my neighbor is not just someone who lives close by. I believe the Lord wants me to treat my fellow man in a neighborly way. It’s not just a “Southern thang” either. The Lord wants His kids to treat others with kindness and respect. He wants me to love like He loves.

Pressing On!

Dwayne