December 8

Isaiah 66:1-2 (NIV) 1This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? 2Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

We cannot build a house for God. We can only build places to worship, meeting places, but God is so much greater than our buildings. He cannot be limited to a building. Every ingredient in a building was a creation of God reworked by men gifted by God. Will our buildings impress Him?

He is the one who is making a building for Himself. He is using living stones to build it. Jesus told Peter, "I will build my church." He reaches into the hearts of men and convicts them of sin. He draws them into a relationship with Himself, and molds and shapes the living stones throughout their lives. After He has hewn off all that does not fit in His temple, He places them in the spot prepared for them. What does a hewn living stone look like? It appears humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at God's word. Your spiritual maturity can be measured by these characteristics.

In this passage, God was blasting Israel for taking His word so lightly. He says that He called and they would not listen. He stretched out His hands to them, but they would not come. The temple was in ruins; they cried out to God. This passage today was His reply. He is building a temple of people who will listen, who will come to Him. The stones He chooses are humble and contrite. Those are the kind of stones He esteems. He listens to those who listen to Him.

Consider: Are you listening today? Are you letting Him mold and shape you? Is the process humbling you so that you tremble at His word?

December 8

1 Peter 5:7-9 (NIV) 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

If you have worries and concerns that are weighing you down, you need to find someone who can help you carry them or assure you that they can help you get through them. But who doesn't have enough worries of their own? And who cares enough to share those burdens? And who has the power to assist you through the circumstances of life? Jesus! He cares! And He invites you to cast your cares on Him. He can either change the situation, or give you the grace to get through it by carrying your load.

Some of the struggles we face are the attacks of Satan in our life. He is looking for sheep that have strayed away from the Shepherd. Like a lion, he lurks in the shadows waiting for the lamb that might wander off looking for some kind of curiosity. He doesn't dare go near the sheep that are close to the Shepherd, for the Shepherd has a big rod.

What should you do when in following that nice swath of grass you are drawn into your enemy's reach? Resist him! Bleat! Call out to the Shepherd, while standing firm in your faith. Expect the Shepherd to come bounding toward the enemy with giant leaping strides. Know in your heart that lambs around the world are undergoing the same kind of attacks. The Shepherd has the amazing ability to be there for each one of them. We may suffer some injury because we have strayed so far, or because of the enemy's subtleties. We can rest assured that the Shepherd will bind our wounds and carry us until we have recovered.

Consider: What concerns are on my heart today that I need to cast upon my Lord? I must keep from reeling them back.