Under Construction by Larry Refsland
It’s exciting to watch a building under construction as it takes shape. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! It’s impossible to tell from a pile of lumber what the finished product will look like or what the structure will be used for. The further along the building is, the more evident the purpose and design becomes.
Each of us is like a pile of raw building material. Jesus Christ is the master builder. He has a plan—a blueprint for our lives. The Bible teaches us that if we want the finished product to stand against the storms of life, we must build our lives on a sure foundation. That foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus told a story of a foolish man who built his house upon the sand and a wise man who built his house on the rock. He said, “When the storms came, the foolish man’s house was destroyed but the wise man’s house stood firm.”
No one escapes the storms of life. Bad things happen to all people. The question is, will your house stand? Does it have a firm foundation? As we make Christ the foundation, he puts us together as a master builder and makes us into a building he can use.
“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until He comes” (Philippians 1:6). In other words, once he’s started building you, he keeps perfecting the work throughout our entire lives. One song-writer put it like this: “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be; It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient he must be, He’s still working on me.”
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A study just came out about how rudeness is contagious. In the workplace, if someone is rude it can negatively affect everyone, and in future incidences people will perceive rudeness where there may be none. Some workplaces have viral rudeness, but God can help us to clear the air with positive words that build one another up. Let me share how.
In a court of law, anyone about to give testimony must be sworn in, and I think it’s interesting that part of the oath is to ask for God’s help to tell the truth. The Bible tells us that God can help us with what comes out of our mouth. God is truth. He cannot lie. When God is in control of our lives, his character naturally is revealed in our lives.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew and Luke. One of his disciples, James, compared our speech to a river when he wrote, “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh and bitter water?”
We need God’s help to cleanse our inner being—our speech will reflect whether he has done that or not. Let me encourage you to ask God to “set a watch over your lips and guard over your mouth” (Psalm 141:3). He will help us to not only tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, He will also help us to speak works of healing, encouragement, and love.
Just as one person can influence a conversation negatively, one person can also influence a conversation positively. The Bible encourages us to think of things that are pure and lovely and of a good report. These thoughts will come out in the words you choose. Let us be the people with words of truth and love, so help us God!
Knowing the Limits by Larry Refsland
Salespeople, entrepreneurs, and pilots are all familiar with the term “stretching the envelope”. Pushing yourself to the limit of your abilities can be a good way to enhance your skill and increase your income. There is a difference, however, between stretching the envelope and straying outside the envelope altogether.
Most everyone has tried to see how far he or she could go before something negative happened. A child will test the limits of his or her parents’ rules. An athlete may try performance enhancement drugs. Anyone with a car has tested the extent of the speed limit at some time. The problem is, it’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re stretching your ability or testing your luck. We all know someone who has suffered an unhappy ending when luck ran out.
A study several years ago demonstrated the value of clearly defined boundaries. Two elementary school playgrounds were used to test children’s behavior with or without known boundaries. One playground had no fence, while the other playground was entirely fenced. Researchers observed the children in the fenced playground actually used more of the area and enjoyed themselves within the safe boundaries established for them more than the children in the unfenced playground.
Boundaries are designed to keep bad things away from us, as well as to prevent us from straying too far from safety. God has established boundaries so that we can enjoy life more fully. He wants us to experience all the good in life without the harmful consequences that inevitably happen outside of those limits. He loves you enough to offer you his protection so you can be all he wants you to be.
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When a tree is just a sapling, it can be trained to grow several ways. If you tie cords to it and cause the trunk to bend, eventually it will continue on its own to grow in that direction. As the owner of the yard, I want my trees to develop and become strong, healthy and useful. So I sometimes have to apply pressure in just the right ways to achieve the best results.
We do the same thing with our children. We guide them and train them; sometimes we apply pressure to them so that, in the end, they will grow and mature as healthy, productive citizens of the planet. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train a child in the way he should go and when is old, he will not depart from it.” That’s the same concept as training a tree to grow a certain way. Eventually it will continue in the direction it was trained to go.
As God’s children, we also are being trained by Him to go His way. Sometimes what we think is adversity, is actually the pressure God is applying to bend us towards him. His plan, as the owner of the universe, is to help us become healthy and productive in His kingdom. God cares enough about you to shape you and bend you so that you can reach the heights he intended for you. Don’t resist his correction; thank him for it. Trust Him to do what’s best for you. His plans are for your good. His ways are the best. Have an awesome day growing for Him.
Tune Up Your Life!
Our hope is that you will find encouragement from the brief but thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) musings of Pastor Larry.
Take East of Backus on Hwy 87 to Cass County 49. Take 49 to Shortcut Rd and then left on 8th St NE to church.
You can also type in 812 8th St NE in Pine River, MN into your GPS, but if your GPS steers you differently, we recommend following the directions above.
Join Us Every Sunday
Interactive Bible Course – 2:00 pm
Fellowship and the Good News – 3:00 pm
For immediate requests, please contact Pastor Larry or Patti Refsland at 218-348-2202.