If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:12-13
Buildings are being built all over the world. Each one uses different types of materials to be built. Mud huts are built in some locations, steel buildings are built in many large cities, wooden and brick homes are the homes of choice of many people. Even plastic and glass buildings are built.
The choice of how to build the building, depends on how it is expected to be used and what type of weather it will have to endure. Wooden homes will not survive in locations with hurricanes. Mud homes will not be able to be built in extreme cold climates. Once a firm foundation is laid, choices on how to build the place have to be made.
Lives of people also require a foundation and a building. The world builds their lives on a foundation of self and sin. Believers build their lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Both still have choices to make on how their lives are built.
Salvation comes through faith in what Jesus did, not the works being done. However, God has rewards for people for what they have done with their life.
On the day Jesus returns, all the works of the believers will be tested in a fire to determine their value. Some of those works will be wood, hay and straw. These are works that have no eternal value. Works of ministry for selfish reasons, going through the motions of ministry without the heart in it, worshipping without the heart in it, and many other works. These works will be destroyed by the fire as of no value.
Other works, such as spreading the gospel, giving a helping hand, feeding the poor, loving the hated, and other works that Jesus did, will survive the fire. They have eternal value.
How are you building your life?
Is it with precious stones of high, eternal value, that will survive the fire?
Or are you building your life with things of this world, that are wood, hay, and straw, that will not survive the fire?
Either way, you will be saved, but your reward will be different.
I pray today that you will know what God wants you to do; that you will do things of eternal value for Jesus; that your works will bring glory to God; and that your life will be focused on God and eternity.
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9
The message God had given Jeremiah to speak to the people was not exactly a comforting message. It was one of doom and destruction for a time. Since that was the message, it was not very well received by the people. Each time he spoke, people would beat him, threaten and ridicule him. It was a very hard message to keep speaking.
At times Jeremiah would get frustrated with the struggle of it and choose not say anything. When he did that, his misery increased all the more. God’s word was so strong in his life, that he felt like it was a fire in his bones and he had to say something, regardless of the outcome.
Every person has times in their life where something happens that is so great that they are bursting to tell someone. Most often it is good news that people want to speak about. Things like a new child on the way, a proposal for marriage, a new large promotion, graduating college, or some other event. When news like this happens, it is so great that the person cannot help but talk about it.
God has a message for you to speak to the world. You may not be a prophet or pastor, or any other ‘titled’ position in the church, but God has a word for you to speak to the world. That message is the gospel message of Jesus.
The world is dying and you have the message to keep them alive. It is, by far, the greatest message the world could ever receive. Not every one will accept it. There will be some who will fight or ridicule you when you speak it, yet, you must speak it.
Do you realize how much God has done for you? Do you realize how much God loves the people of this world?
If you have a full realization of those things, God’s word will burn in your heart to tell others. You will not want to see them condemned to hell, because you chose to be silent.
Let that fire out to shine in this dark world. Don’t be silent.
I pray today that you will know what God has done for you; that you will know God’s love for all people; that God will strengthen you to speak His words; and that God’s word will burn in your heart to be spoken.
It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. Isaiah 4:6
Despite the fact that God was in the process of destroying Judah and Jerusalem, He had plans already in store to build it up again. God was going build a shelter over Mount Zion–Jerusalem. In the manner of protection that God gave Moses and the Israelites in the desert, He would be a cloud by day and a flame of fire during the night.
At times, clouds can seem like a bad thing. They tend to indicate rain or storms, and they block the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Yet, they can be a blessing in blocking out the heat of the sun. Knowing that rain is coming can be a blessing for the farmer.
In the same way, a flame of fire can appear sometimes as a bad thing. Seeing flames in a field or on a home is usually a bad thing to be occurring. Yet, flames will also provide warmth. In the night, the flame can keep the wild animals away while one is camping. Burning a field, can often remove the unwanted weeds, diseased plants and cut back the bugs, all of which can be a blessing.
God is over your life both day and night. He provides shelter and refuge for you to dwell in. When you are in His presence, nothing can do anything to you without His permission.
The world is going to try hard to get you to fall and give up on God. The world does not want you to succeed as you follow Jesus. Satan does not want you to be a good witness of who Jesus is.
Yet, God will put a hedge of protection around you that will shelter you in the heat of the day. When the world is putting pressure on you to commit a sin, you can run to God for shelter. When the world is threatening you in the dark to harm you, you can flee to God for refuge.
God will never leave you out in the cold to be destroyed. He is there for you, to take care of you and provide for all of your needs. Trust Him and do what He asks of you and see His great hand of love and mercy.
I pray today that you will know God’s protection in your life; that you will run to God for shelter; that you will know God’s peace in the storm; and that you will not give in to the ways of this world.
“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:6
Keeping up the pressure, James now brings up the dangers of the tongue, or the mouth, what a person says. He gave the examples of a horse and a ship in how they are both controlled and steered by something very small. Then he gave the example of how just a small spark can start a great forest fire. The tongue is just like these examples and can do a lot of control and damage.
There is the old saying of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Most people have probably said this or told someone this. It was the idea that words are just words and cannot do any damage. It is now known that statement is not true, words can do damage.
The mouths of people do a lot of speaking everyday. That is true even of a person who speaks very little compared to most people. The words that are spoken will do one of two things: build up or tear down. They will build up or tear down others and the one speaking.
Often people will speak negative words, words that do not build up and do not trust in God.
How many times have you said that something is hopeless or impossible?
How many times have you complained about something?
How many times have you stated that you are the one who must do something but cannot?
On the flip side, how many times do you speak praise to God for a situation in your life?
How many times do you thank God for someone (even a negative person) that He has placed in your life?
Your mouth will set something on fire. It will be either on fire for God or it will be on fire for hell. It is your choice of words that will determine which fire will be started.
Strive to be on fire for God. Let your mouth set the world on fire for God. Do not use it to destroy.
I pray today that you will allow God to use your mouth to build up His kingdom; that you will not destroy with your words; that you will speak God’s words at all times; and that you will allow God to control your words.
“When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them? But Jesus turned and rebuked them.” Luke 9:54-55
Jesus and the disciples were heading to Jerusalem. At one point they were to pass through a Samaritan village. The people there did not want anything to do with Jesus.
The first thing James and John do was get ready to call down fire from heaven to destroy those people. They saw no reason why the people should not welcome Jesus. Jesus, however, rebukes the disciples for suggesting the idea to call down fire upon the people and then they move on to a different village.
Very often when Jesus or Christianity is mocked or hated by people of the world, the first thing believers want to do is have God destroy them. People of the world will make a rule that goes against God, and believers start praying for their destruction.
Jesus knew the people would be against Him, yet He prayed for them, not against them. God wants to save everyone in the world. If every time a person spoke against God, He was to destroy them, no one would be saved. You would not be saved today, if God were to destroy you for each time you did not welcome Him.
Men like to have judgment right away. They like to have revenge for being wronged.
God will have a day of judgment also, but until then, He has a lot of grace and wants to save people.
Do not seek to get revenge or vengeance on people who speak or act against God. Pray for them. Seek to draw their hearts to God through love and care.
You can also go a different direction as Jesus did. Let the next believer be the witness that they may need.
I pray today that God will give you His favor with the people; that God will fill your heart with His love for the lost in the world; that you will not seek vengeance against those who are against God; and that God will draw others to Him through your witness.