Burnt Stones

 Burnt Stones

  St Petersburg, Russia 1996    Peter The Great's Palace
St Petersburg, Russia 1996
Peter The Great’s Palace

I’ve been burnt a few times, haven’t you?

Several years ago we signed a contract for a company to do some work at our house. The work performed was way below the quality we expected but we had agreed on a price so we paid the bill. Burnt! The phrase; “I got burned on that deal” is one we use when we expect one thing but receive the opposite. My experience mentioned above is minimal when compared to relationships people have that turn sour. Broken marriage vows, jobs lost, careers cut short or altered, expectations not met; these episodes catalog the stories of burnt people.

Nehemiah used the “burnt and charred stones” to fortify a city! His adversary, Sanballat, thought burnt stones were of no value for he said: “…  What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” (Nehemiah 4:2 NLT)

When we really get down to it, most of us have come through or are now experiencing the pain of being charred and burnt. Many years ago I thought that I had no future. I was told that I could no longer be an usher or perform other duties in my church. Just pain added to the pain that I was already experiencing. But Jesus, He brought restitution! He took my burnt and battered emotions and gave me brighter days. Years later I preached in three different churches of that denomination and in scores of other churches around the world.

Our Savior makes “living stones” from the burnt and charred ones thrown on the rubbish heap. Never doubt this! Jesus alone will meet us where we are, bringing healing to us. Sanballat saw the burnt rubbish of what he assumed was unusable material. Nehemiah saw the opportunity encrusted in the burnt realities of past experiences!  Jesus sees our possibilities. He sees the precious glimmer of God-given value placed in us? Look for it. Nehemiah did! Then in fifty-two days the rubble of burnt stones were turned into a wall of safety.

Just imagine what God will have us doing if we fully surrendered our burnt, charred dreams and ambitions over to Him. Why wait? 

“The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity.” Leonard Ravenhill

Shifting Towards the Richer Side of Life!

 

Walk Away Demas

Distractions
We all deal with distractions. Distractions can take our

   Home in God's House
Home in God’s House

attention away from our purpose. They rob us of the clarity needed for living an overcoming life.  Talk about a man being robbed of a highly respectful place in history, Demas certainly was! He simply just; walked away.

Demas, although mentioned only 3 times in scripture, characterizes an extremely clear picture of a man distracted. In Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24 he is listed as a fellow laborer in ministry with the Apostle Paul. One of the saddest New Testament scriptures to me is, II Timothy 4:10. “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world and has departed…” Demas exhibited disloyalty to Paul in being distracted by the things of this present world. His distractions pulled him away from the mission and the people that he had traveled with. We do not know if Demas actually left the faith but certainly his influence in ministry ended. How sad.

The Demas example of the progression away from effectiveness began by his growing love for the things of this world. Which caused him to question, “what am I getting?” Then loyalty to Paul no longer mattered and he walked away!

“No one drifts towards holiness” David Jeremiah

I’m continually confronted with distractions, as probably most of us are . How I master the drift where distractions are taking me will determine  the standing I have in my family, my life and ministry. Many have sunk below the waters of living an exemplary lifestyle and sadly others have followed them. The “drift” is always away from the holy life. Therefore I must keep my eye on Him who redeemed me. Never forgetting His sacrifice for me, keeping my faith alive each day to do His will, not mine.

Monday morning quarterbacking reveals that Demas committed a stupid move by allowing a few present pleasures to draw him away from Paul.  He walked away from this giant of the faith who wrote most of the New Testament. Paul, the man we still hold in high esteem some two thousands years later. Demas walked away from it all.

 Will I allow the distractive gleam in my eye, the sounds in my ears or the thoughts in my mind cause me to walk away from my Savior, just for some passing pleasure?  What distractions might cause you to walk away? Demas did not count the cost, we should be more diligent in counting the cost.

Keep on the richer side of life,

Richard