Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep (Ps 127:1-2, ESV).
This author asserts true success depends upon God’s blessings. He uses examples taken from the family as well as the state to prove lasting protection, stability, peace and comfort depend upon God’s blessings and are independent of man’s attempts to ensure them, guarantee them or attain them using his own abilities. In spite of what this Holy Spirit-inspired writer states, man tends to leave God behind and try to build a happy and successful life using his own feeble knowledge and skills. The result is certain failure!
This is particularly true when we consider what makes for a happy and stable home. Man has wrongly convinced himself happiness consists of doing what satisfies the desires of the moment. Instant gratification is what we desire, and at whatever cost! The outcome is a society plagued with the problems associated with substance abuse, crime, divorce, children being born out of wedlock, sexual perversion, etc. How can the Lord’s people avoid such issues?
Today during the 11a.m. service we will begin a series of sermons designed to help us build a Christ-centered home. I firmly contend our responsibility of being lights to the world involves building strong, God-fearing and obedient families. I also believe we labor in vain if we attempt to build a family without God’s will as our guide. The series will likely span eight lessons and touch upon subjects such as Christ-centered marriages, duties of spouses, children, and the unmarried, and resolving conflict. The lesson topics will be announced two weeks in advance. I hope you will invite everyone you think will benefit from hearing these sermons.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4)
This year we have chosen to focus our vacation Bible school lessons on the day of creation as well as the destruction of the world by flood. We know it is important to begin discussing these events at an early age in our children’s lives. Men consistently and relentlessly attempt to discredit God and deny He exists. Commonly this is done by offering differing theories as to the origins of our world which contradict the Bible account. Our children must be able to see the truth of the matter as presented in the Scriptures. Their faith depends on it!
As we prepare to teach our children and their friends about the creation and flood, it is good for us to refresh our minds concerning what occurred and why. Please consider the following information as it pertains to the significance of the day of creation:
Background- Keep in mind the “day of creation” refers to the entire week of creation. On day one God established day and night, a twenty-four hour period. We have no evidence to prove otherwise. An important fact also to note is God’s eternal nature. Moses said, “From everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psa 90:2). Jesus acknowledged this when He said to the Father, “Glorify me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed” (Jn 17:5). Additionally, we must remember Jesus is God and was involved in the work of creation (Jn 1:1-3; Col 1:16,17). Finally, part of God’s plan, even before He began to create, was to have a people He could love and who would love Him in return (Eph 1:3-6; Rev 13:8).
Significant details– God spoke and this world came into existence at His command (Gen 1:1ff). There was an orderly method to God’s creation as well. In Genesis 1 we find not only God creating something different during each 24-hour period, but there was a definite pattern to the six days of creation (light, sea and sky, land and vegetation; then lights, sea life and birds, land animals and man). Furthermore, God finished His creation. At the end of day six God looked at His creation and deemed it “very good.” Genesis 2:1 says, “thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.”
Important lessons– As we consider the facts and details of the day of creation, God’s nature becomes evident. Creation serves as a witness to the limitless power of God. David proclaimed, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork” (Psa 19:1). Paul stated in similar fashion, “His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Rom 1:20). None of creation happened spontaneously or by accident! We also understand God’s providence when we consider the day of creation. The very fact His work in creation could be finished highlights His providence. It is because of His providence all things hold together (Col 1:17). Finally, the fact God created us in His image (Gen 1:26,27) makes us unique from all other created things. We have a spirit which no other created being has been given (Eccl 3:19-21; 12:7). We are God’s stewards concerning His creation and have been given dominion over it (Psa 8:4-8).
We hope our families will take advantage of this teaching effort and we encourage you to invite your friends to join us as we discover what God’s creation is all about.
Procrastination is a terrible habit that can invade your life very easily. Like any habit, once it takes hold it is very difficult to change or overcome. Years ago I was sitting in my office at the bank, and a customer entered and tossed a wooden coin onto my desk. I picked it up and found inscribed on one side “A Round Tuit.” The point being made was: don’t get into the habit of procrastination by telling yourself “I will get around to it eventually.” I’m afraid we all use this excuse from time to time to justify doing what we want to do instead of doing what we ought to do!
The Bible has much to say about taking advantage of the opportunities we have today. We have been given no promise of tomorrow. James wrote “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’-yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (4:13,14). Joshua understood this same concept as he prepared the Israelites to live in the land of Canaan without his leadership. He charged them to “choose this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh 24:15).
These are but two examples from Scripture which should teach us that today is the day to prepare ourselves for eternity. Paul told the brethren in Corinth, “He says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). It is true that God has continued to this very day to be patient in giving us time to repent (Rom 2:4). However, His patience will someday come to an end. We must not allow the prospect of tomorrow distract us from where our focus needs to be today. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Mat 6:33,34). My priority for today must be to do what is necessary to please the LORD and to serve Him faithfully in His kingdom.
While the prospects of tomorrow can be distracting, our past can also hinder us. Paul looked forward with anticipation to a future resurrection when he wrote, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phi 3:13,14). Because he had a reward in the future, Paul determined not to let anything distract him or prevent him from reaching it—including his past. Although he was formerly “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” and was “foremost” of sinners, he also “received mercy” and became an example to others who would be saved and come to serve the LORD (1 Tim 1:12-15). Equally important for us is to continue to serve God today despite how faithfully we might have served in the past. While encouraging the Corinthians to run the race before them, Paul acknowledged his own potential to be “disqualified” if he did not continue to serve faithfully (1 Cor 9:24-27).
We have already mentioned the challenge issued by Joshua: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” No one can make that choice for you; each person will make his or her own decision. But beware, because putting the decision off until tomorrow is a decision in itself! God’s eternal purpose is to save mankind from the sins that separate him from the Father. He has done everything necessary to make salvation possible for everyone, but He will force no one to accept it. It is up to us to accept it by being obedient to His instructions. There is no other time to do that but now. Now is the favorable time and now is the day of salvation. Today is the day to make yourself right with God!