Leaning Towers

Untitled-2 copy

Can you name a famous leaning tower? Do you know where it is? Chances are you thought of The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Can you think of another one? Did you know that there are over 50 other known slanted spires and tottering towers in the world? Some of them are even more fascinating than the one at Pisa. If you do an internet search on “leaning towers” you’ll see some of the most amazing structures still standing in spite of their vertical slant. While some of them have been intentionally designed and constructed to look that way, most of these famous inclines are a result of earthquakes, nearby sinkholes, or unstable grounds. Of the six structures pictured below only the first one was built on an intentional slant.

There has been quite a number of leaning lighthouses throughout the world as well. However, none of them were intentionally built that way. First, because they were not meant to be designer buildings, and second, it would have defeated their purpose, which was to stand strong against all kinds of weather. The main reason for their inclination has been erosion.

Many of them have been carefully relocated to more stable grounds in order to prevent them from collapsing. One of them is the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in S.C. It is the tallest lighthouse in North America.

It’s only a matter of time before an unattended leaning lighthouse collapses leaving those who depend on its light totally lost in darkness.

Unlike famous leaning towers, spiritually leaning Christians are definitely not something to be admired. They are what the bible refers to as “lukewarm” believers who are actually despised by God. They are, what I consider, spiritually tilted lighthouses.  It’s only a matter of time before an unattended leaning lighthouse collapses leaving those who depend on its light totally lost in darkness. That is why we, as God’s lighthouses, need to reflect the true light of Christ in our everyday lifestyle. In other words, the faith and ideals that influence our behavior must stem from a genuine relationship with God and obedience to His word. We cannot profess to love and follow Jesus if we are not living according to His precepts. If our standard of righteousness is not based on what God has already declared to be right and wrong then our moral foundation is simply humanistic, and self-centered. It is like an unstable ground that will eventually erode. The result will affect not only our own spiritual life but also of those whom we come in contact with on a day-to-day basis. Remember, as professed followers of Christ, we are accountable for our private as well as our public testimony. What we say and do and the motives behind it will eventually be judged one day. And I am sure that when that day comes none of us want to hear those terrifying words, “depart from me…I do not know you!”

…committing to spiritual disciplines along with a conscious effort to remain true to God will prove to be the best way to stand firm and avert spiritual tilting.

The only way to prevent spiritual tilting is to build on solid ground. This means that our faith must be placed in Christ and in Him alone. It also means that we are to obey His word and not just simply agree with it. In addition, we must avoid being influenced by the seemingly logical and sanctimonious ideologies of this world. This may prove to be quite a challenge since we are constantly being bombarded by them through the media. However, committing to spiritual disciplines along with a conscious effort to remain true to God will prove to be the best way to stand firm and avert spiritual tilting. We must realize that no matter what else we do nothing will be more effective than investing time in intense (not just casual) prayer, in-depth Bible study, regular fellowship, intentional witnessing and wholehearted service in God’s kingdom. My pastor recently shared with me how frustrated and disappointed he was at the fact that Christians today spend more time on social media than they do in prayer, fasting, and the word of God. And by the amount of spiritually leaning lighthouses I see, I must agree with him.

Many leaning lighthouses have been saved from destruction by moving them away from their deteriorating foundation and onto a more stable one. This has allowed them to once again stand up erect and fulfill their intended purpose.

Perhaps you have built your lighthouse on eroding grounds and it is slowing tilting. The solution is to relocate to solid ground immediately! The Bible tells us that he who builds upon the rocks cannot be moved. Storms may come and darkness may linger, but when you are firmly anchored in Christ you can stand up against any adversity including false doctrines. Remember, an unattended leaning lighthouse will eventually collapse and the damage can extend much farther than the tower itself.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, my desire is to be firmly grounded in You. May my life reflect your truth and holiness in my private as well as my public testimony. Help me to stay true to your word so that I may walk uprightly and honor you in all I do. But should my lighthouse start to lean towards the mindset of this world, quicken my heart to repent and avoid a spiritual collapse. I pray this to the Father in your name, amen. 

“So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth!” -Revelation 3:16 (NET)
“If you love me, obey my commandments.” -John 14:15 (NLT)
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” -Ephesians 5:15-16
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” -2 Corinthians 5:10.
“Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.” -Matthew 7:23 (WEB)
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” –Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the torrents raged, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because its foundation was on the rock.” -Matthew 7:24-25
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.

Still Standing, Still Shining

The importance of godly elderlies

AB4

Also, when I reach old age and have gray hair, God, do not forsake me, until I have declared your power to this generation and your might to the next one. -Psalm 71:18

Proudly standing at the entrance of  La Coruña harbor in north-western Spain this tower is considered the oldest lighthouse in the world. It is known as the Tower of Hercules. It was erected in the late 1st century and renovated in 1791. It measures 180 feet high and sits on top of an 187 feet rock. The original Roman designed core has been carefully preserved while the technical aspect of the structure has undergone elaborate restoration. Everything about this lighthouse is fascinating. In particular, its interior, which is built entirely in stones. Each stone is held by another stone without the use of any adhesive!

1b

But the most amazing fact is that it is still being used for maritime signaling and a keeper still tends to it on a daily basis. With almost 2,000 years of history, the Tower of Hercules is truly a testimony of the importance of lighthouses not only in antiquity but in today’s world. Imagine, after 2 millennia and it is still standing and still shining!

Today the kingdom of God has millions of spiritual lighthouses throughout the world. While many have been newly erected (new believers) others have been standing for quite some time. These long-standing godly towers are the elderly who continue to shine the glorious light of God in spite of the many storms they have had to endure during their lifetime. 

older_people_2

Throughout biblical and secular history old people have been regarded as the pillars of society. In many cultures, especially in the eastern hemisphere, they are held in the highest regard. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the western world. In a society that glamorizes youth, beauty, and strength our elderly, while seemingly respected, do not hold a significant position as in other cultural groups. In many cases, they get lost in the crowd or are pushed aside and their input is not encouraged let alone taken into consideration. They are regarded as antiquated and out of touch. The saddest part, however, is that this is true even in some of our churches today.

1d

They need to feel like their longevity is a treasure in jars of clay.

Referred to by modern demographers as the “young old” (65-70 y.o.) and the “oldest old” (75+), seniors still have a lot to say and a lot to give. As part of the younger church and as true followers of Christ, we have a tremendous responsibility towards our elderly siblings in Christ. But more than a responsibility we have an awesome opportunity to learn from their persevering spirit. 640_male_patient_happy That is why we need to encourage them and help them realize that they are not just a part of the church, but a significant source of wisdom and inspiration. We need to help them grasp the sense of their age and the privilege they’ve had to live through so many changes. They need to feel like their longevity is a treasure in jars of clay. We also have to help them overcome the temptation to seek isolation as a result of feeling useless and forgotten. 1dBut in order to accomplish this, we need to be intentional in communicating, sharing, and fellowshipping with them regularly. They need to be a part not only of the church life but of our personal life as well. We need to engage them, love them, and give them opportunities to shine the light that is still burning brightly within them. Perhaps if we remind ourselves, from time to time, that we too will eventually end up in their shoes it would help us to live by the golden rule.

Consider these few bible verses that talk about the glory of old age.

  • “Stand up in the presence of the elderly and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.” -(Lev 19:32). Honoring the elderly is not just a biblical advice. It is a commandment, a law. They may be frail in body, but mighty strong in spirit. Thier long life, faithfulness to God and the church, and perseverance merits respect, admiration, and utmost praise. 
  • “I shall satisfy him with long life, and grant him to see my salvation.” -(Ps 91:16). If anyone can be a true witness to the faithfulness and salvation of God is the elderly. It would behoove us to ask them for spiritual advice especially when we navigate through the seas of fear and doubt. Be honest, wouldn’t you rather get counseled by someone who can empathize with you than by someone who can only sympathize? I know I would. 
  • “Teach us to count up the days that are ours, and we shall come to the heart of Wisdom.” -(Ps 90:12). One of the charms of becoming old is wisdom. But this wisdom does not come automatically. It is the by-product of fearing God and living in obedience to His word through every circumstance. It comes from a life of commitment, longsuffering, patience, and from a heart full of grace. It is the wisdom we all need to realize that life is truly not about us and our temporary trials, but about God and his eternal plan.
  • “In old age, they will still bear fruit.” -(Ps 92:14). Age and physical limitations are not an obstacle when it comes to functioning as a lighthouse for God. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in and through us as long as we are willing to shine for Him. Old people can provide the guidance, encouragement, and hope that so many desperately need. Perhaps we need to allow them to publicly address our congregations more often. We need to hear about their struggles, their victories, and their defeats. But remember, unless they feel important and needed it will be very difficult for them to share their fruit.

aetnacard

Like the Tower of Hercules, our elderly are a living testimony of the importance of being a spiritual lighthouse. Their steadfastness and commitment along with their spiritual maturity are like the stone blocks that hold each other up to form an unmovable faith that testifies of God’s faithfulness. And as long as they remain standing and shining we are to take the role of a lighthouse keeper and watch out for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We should look up to our elderlies for guidance and strength just as mariners have looked up to the Tower of Hercules for the past 2,000 years.

Take a moment this coming week to thank the young olds and the older olds of your congregation. Perhaps even suggest that your church hosts a month-long Senior Appreciation celebration! And remember, you can always pray for them (in person), hug them, kiss them, buy them a gift, and engage them in honest conversations. Invite them over to your home or take them out to dinner. Ask them to tell you their story so that when you have grown old you too will be found still standing and still shining.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for our elderlies. Thank you for their lives and for their unmovable faith which is a source of true inspiration. May my gratitude extend to them personally as I commit to thank them, love them, pray for them, and make them part of my spiritual life. Heal those that are sick, strengthen those who are weak, lift those who are downcast, encourage those who have lost hope, and renew those who have grown weary. In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

 

Created On Purpose For a Purpose

presentation1
South aerial view of Bell Rock, Q3inq8

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” – Exodus 9:16

This is the Bell Rock Lighthouse. Built between 1807 – 1811 it stands 115 feet and sits on the Bell Rock reef 11 miles off the Northern Coast of Scotland. It is the oldest offshore light still operating in the world. Never before had a lighthouse been built on a reef that was submerged under water most of the time (12+ hours a day). The tower is made of Aberdeen granite, sandstone, and Roman cement. The meticulous layering of its foundation is nothing short of mind-boggling. Its construction is considered an engineering feat for its time and till this day many believe it is the finest lighthouse ever built. Besides a helicopter crash that damaged the tower’s anemometer in 1955, it has been operating for over 200 years without any alterations or repairs to its original structure.

bw2

The history of the Bell Rock Lighthouse is truly amazing. You can read more about it HERE. Before its construction, an average of six ships per winter season would fatally crash against the reef that extends over 1400 ft under the surface of the water. As early as the 14th century the reef was claiming the lives of hundreds of mariners. But it wasn’t until the early 18th century and after the loss of many more ships and lives, that permission and finances to build the beacon was finally approved. Due to its location and the limited means to transport equipment and supplies to and fro, not only was it a challenging task but an arduous one, to say the least. However, because of its purpose and the guaranteed income, of course, a group of 60 men was inspired and encouraged to sacrifice their family time and risk their own lives so that many others would be saved.

cilk

Everything is built with a purpose. Can you think of something that took time to be designed and created and which you believe had or has no significant purpose whatsoever? A quick internet search will return quite a few “useless” or “pointless” inventions. Nevertheless, everything ever created began with an idea to fulfill a specific need(s). Someone thought about it, someone designed it, and someone built it. It had an original purpose even if it turned out to be something that no one ever cared for.

Lighthouses were designed and built for the most important purpose of all; to save lives! Not one original lighthouse was ever built as a simple decorative monument. Granted, the advances in technology have rendered many of these “Saviors of the Sea” inoperable or obsolete, but many of them are still functional and provide guidance to mariners and pilots, especially when electronic navigation systems fail.

bwl1

Not only were you Fearfully and Wonderfully Designed by God, but He also created you on purpose and with a purpose. First and foremost, you were created by God for His glory (Isaiah 43:7) and to fulfill His eternal plan. I could write pages and pages about this, but suffice it to say that God, in his infinite wisdom, chose to make you a part of a plan that includes: Loving Him and serving Him (Matthew 22:37), loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39), doing good works (Ephesians 2:10), and pointing others to eternal life with Him—through his Son Jesus Christ, what is referred to as the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). You may have at times wondered why you were born or why are you living. In other words, you may not be sure of what is your true purpose in life. God has already declared in his word that He created you with a purpose. If you have any faith in God whatsoever, then you have a choice to make. Either you believe Him or you don’t. If you do then you must decide to seek that purpose and live it. Otherwise, you will, by default, believe the lies of the devil, the world, or your own reasoning and miss out on all that God has planned for you.

God was intentional when He created you. Live intentionally for God!

Did you know that God had a plan and a purpose for you even before you were born?! Isn’t that amazing? But do you know what is even more amazing than that? You have been part of His eternal plan before the creation of time. And now that you are here reading this devotion He is reminding you of that plan and purpose. He wants you to share His light with the rest of the world who is living in darkness and crashing into the reefs of hopelessness and despair.

Are you living out God’s plan? If you are, then continue to do so faithfully and passionately. You are not the only one who is benefiting from it. Those who are living aimlessly around you are benefiting as well. If you are not living out God’s plan, then what are you waiting for? Not only will your life take on a new meaning, but you will personally experience the joy of knowing that you are helping others find their purpose in God. Honor the Lord with your life, love Him and love others, demonstrate that love with actions, and tell others about Jesus. God was intentional when He created you. Live intentionally for God!

Prayer: Dear God, I know that you created me with a purpose. Your word tells me that you have a plan for my life and that it is a GOOD plan. Help me to live in obedience to that plan and purpose so that I may effectively shine your light in this dark world and help others find your purpose and plan for their lives. I pray this in the name of your Son Jesus, amen. 

“Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.”-Isaiah 43:7 (NLT)
“…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” -Matthew 22:37
“…love your neighbor as yourself.’e 40All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:39
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.” – Ephesians 2:10
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” – Psalm 138:8 (ESV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.