Is God’s Strong Foundation!

ADVENT 3                STRONG FOUNDATION

All I Want for Christmas: Is God’s Strong Foundation!

One of the most exciting parts of getting ready for Christmas – is making out our Christmas Wish Lists.  This year – we decided that adults should be able to make out their Christmas Wish Lists also.  So as a church family, we are looking at What Do We Really Want for Christmas?

We’ve looked at Jesus’ gifts of Good News, then God’s Happiness that Lasts.  Today we’re going to look at Jesus’ gift of God’s Strong Foundation for our lives.  Jesus came to save us – by bringing to us God’s strong foundation to overcome the storms of life. 

Matthew 1:21 (TLB)    Mary will have a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus — which means Savior — because He will save His people…Jesus Saves Us By Giving Us a Strong Foundation 

We all know that life is going to hit us with storms.  We don’t get to vote away the storms.  All we get to do – is to decide how are we going to deal with the inevitable storms of life?

What do you think is the best way to deal with the storms of life?  You could try to hide away in a concrete bunker a mile underground.  You could get a bubble suit and walk around in a big plastic bubble all the time.  Or you could ask Jesus to give you the strength you need to grow through every storm.

Jesus shows us that He came to give us a foundation that is strong enough to get you through every storm you will ever encounter.   His strong foundation is available for anyone.  All that is required – is listening to His instructions – and then putting them into action.

Matthew 7:24-27    Jesus said, Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears My teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.

Collapsing with a mighty crash doesn’t sound good does it?  60 Minutes did an expose on 58 story skyscraper, the Millennium building, built in 2008 in San Francisco.  The cheapest apartment in the Millennium building was about $2 million.  Definitely not cheap – but you do get to live next to people like 49’rs football legendary quarterback Joe Montana.  The only drawback is that in 9 years the Millennium building has sunk by 14 inches.   The problem is that the builders didn’t go down to bedrock.  58 stories collapsing – does not sound pretty at all.

Collapsing lives are much worse.  Think of some of the collapses you have seen.  Marriages falling apart.  Children wrecking their lives.  Drug addictions.  We see a lot of pain and suffering around us when lives collapse – and the Bible warns us about the worst collapse that we don’t see of people throwing away the gift of salvation and spending eternity in hell.

God became human in Jesus Christ – to give us the gift of a strong foundation.  God doesn’t want your life to sink and collapse.  Jesus offers everyone the help they need to build their lives on His solid rock that will endure for all eternity.

We all need the solid rock – because we are all going to face storms in our lives.  One of the biggest and most painful storms – is the storms of relationships. 

RELATIONSHIP  Storms  

Jesus wants to give you the strength to build relationships that last – and actually grow stronger – instead of weakening, falling apart, and collapsing.  We used to take it for granted that couples would get married, have children, and look forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with lots of grandchildren.

It’s a pretty picture – but it’s no longer reality for most people.  Building lasting relationships – is getting harder and harder.  Only about 5% of couples in the USA are making it to their 50th anniversary.  The average marriage in USA now lasts only about 8 years.  The average co-habitation relationship lasts about 18 months.

The impact of relationships falling apart is tough on everyone – the adults and even more the children.  Jesus came to give us the strength that we need to get through the inevitable storms of relationships.

Jesus shows us that if you want to build relationships that will make it through the storms – the key is building on Jesus’ guidance and power to serve each other.

John 13:13-15 (NLT)    Jesus said, You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and that is what I am.   Since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow.  Love each other as I have loved you

Penny and I have been married for 33 years.  As much as I would like for people to think that I’m perfect – Penny knows otherwise.  I have lots of odd behaviors – and I am pretty strong-willed.  The key to our marriage surviving and growing is not because Penny or I are perfect.  The key is to keep asking Jesus for the strength we need to serve each other.

If you go into a relationship asking – what are they going to do for me?  Your chances of lasting success are pretty low.  If you go into a relationship asking – how can plugging in to Jesus’ power help me to serve them – especially when I don’t feel like it?  When you build your relationships on Jesus’ power to grow in serving each other – your chances of building relationships that lasts is very high.

Jesus wants to help you see that you can overcome the storms that try to destroy your marriage and your family – by growing in serving each other – and Jesus wants to help you make it through the storms that will hit your finances.

FINANCIAL  Storms

We would all love to have a crystal ball – and know exactly what is going to happen to the economy and the stock market.  The truth is that the only thing anyone can know for certain – is that the stock market and our finances are going to go up and down.  We can’t stop the roller-coaster – but with Jesus’ power we can make the best of the ride.

The apostle Paul – started his adult life as a leader in the Jewish church.  He had a thriving business.  He was doing very well financially – similar to a top attorney, religious leader, and business man – all rolled into one.

Then Paul met Jesus – and his finances went all over the map.  Fortunately, Paul discovered – that when you are plugged in to Jesus’ power – you can find contentment even in a Roman prison. 

Philippians 4:12 (NCV/LB)    I know how to live when I am poor, and I know how to live when I have plenty.  Through Jesus, I have learned the secret of how to be content in all situations

We can’t stop storms from hitting our finances – but we can plug in to Jesus’ power to remain content – and trust that God will lead us through.

The storms of life come in all shapes and sizes.  Relationship storms.  Financial storms.  And the most personal storm of Mortality, Pain, and Death.

Storms of  MORTALITY,  PAIN, and  DEATH

We all know that doing our best to stay healthy is important.  I think I am pretty committed to building good health.  I exercise every day.  I work hard on eating right.  Doctors tell me I have good medical stats – but they have started using that challenging term – for your age.  It’s not easy for me or any of us to deal with – but we all know that we are growing older and that we are going to wear out.

So what do we do with the storm of mortality, pain, and death?  We could get stuck in a pity party.  Or we could choose to go to a Jesus party.  If you are depending on your health to keep you happy – you are going to be disappointed.  If you are depending on Jesus to connect you to God’s power – you will have the strength you need to make it through every storm.     

Psalm 73:26 (NCV)     My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God’s strength remains.  God is my strength forever.  

Because of Jesus – there is a way through our mortality, pain, and death.  Yes, our outside is wearing out – but because of Jesus – our inside is actually growing stronger.

2 Corinthians 4:16   We’re not giving up!  Even though on the outside — our physical bodies are growing older, becoming weaker, and one day we will die.  On the inside — God is at work — renewing our spirits every day.   

My wife Penny’s father taught me and all the family a lot of important lessons about connecting to Jesus power to get through the storms of mortality, pain, and death.  Her father fought a tough battle with cancer.  He fought hard and survived twice as long as the doctors first predicted.  But like all of us – he was mortal.  What made the difference – was trusting in the power of Jesus to overcome the storms of mortality, pain, and death.  In his final moments, her father said – Thank You Jesus!

1 Corinthians 15:42-55 (TLB)    Our earthly bodies which die and decay are different from the bodies we shall have when we are brought back to life again in heaven, for our new bodies will never die.  …How we thank God for our new and eternal life!  It is God who makes us victorious through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I can’t stop the storms of life and death.  You can’t stop the storms of life and death.  You could choose to try to hide and live in a concrete bunker a mile underground – but it won’t produce a very high quality of life.  And even if you go to a concrete bunker 10 miles underground – you will still eventually die.  Jesus has a better answer – instead of trying to hide from the storms of life – build your life on the bedrock of His teaching and power to overcome the storms.

 Jesus’ Strong Foundation Empowers Us to  LIVE  VICTORIOUSLY!

This morning – as you think about what you really want for Christmas.  Ask yourself, “Why is Christmas the most popular holiday in the world?”  Whether people fully realize it or not – we all have the same desire to find the strength we need to make it through the storms of life and death.  Jesus came to bring all of us the strong foundation of God’s love and power – that we all need. 

John 16:33 (NLT)   Jesus said, I have told you about the troubles ahead, so that trusting in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have many trials and sorrows.  But you can be confident and courageous, because I have conquered the world’s power to harm you. 

We can’t stop the storms.  But we can live with courage and confidence – because we know that Jesus is giving us the foundation we need to get through every storm.

Read with me:  Philippians 4:13 (TLB)    I can do everything God asks me to do — through the help of Jesus Christ, Who gives me the strength and power

Lots of nice gifts out there for Christmas.  iPhone, huge TV, trip to Hawaii.  Greatest gift of all – the strong foundation of Jesus Christ to overcome every storm!

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