IS THE LORD BUILDING YOUR HOUSE?
by Wayne S. Walker
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Given the context of the succeeding verses (“children are a heritage from the LORD…,” v. 3), it seems to me that the “house” of this verse is not so much referring to a physical structure as it is to the family. The Lord wants to help us build our families so that they will be founded upon His will and thus accomplish His purposes. August 3, 2009, would have been my mother’s eightieth birthday had she been living. She died of cancer in 1994 just a few months shy of being 65, though my father continued to live until his death at 82 in September of 2010. I am not by nature a “brooding” type of person, but for some reason or other, the older I get the more I seem to spend time remembering things from the past, so I often stop and think a little bit about my mother and my growing up years on August 3. My mother was certainly not perfect, but she was not ashamed of being a child of God and tried to serve the Lord.
Both of my parents became Christians early in life. In fact, I still have the little New Testament that the preacher who baptized my mother gave her following her obedience to the gospel. I have been in the church building where my mother, her sisters, and my grandparents attended when she was young. After his family was grown, my Grandfather Workman later decided to become a gospel preacher and was an important influence on my life. On the other side, my Grandfather Walker, who died when I was just two years old, was apparently not a religious man and wanted to keep my grandmother and father from attending church services, but they managed to go anyway. I do not know exactly when my father was baptized into Christ, but I do remember that my grandmother told me that after my parents had married, my father was in charge of the Bible classes at the little country church where he had been baptized and where I remember first attending when we lived on the Walker family farm.
Unfortunately, after we moved off the farm closer to town when I was five and started attending the congregation there, my father became dissatisfied with something and quit attending. Many people, including myself, tried to talk with him through the years, but to no avail. Of course, he was still a good, moral man, and from him I learned such things as a proper work ethic and scrupulous honesty. However, it was my mother who had to take charge of our religious upbringing. She made sure that we attended church services, studied the Bible at home, and learned important spiritual principles. I remember one time saying something about how I hated my brother, and she made me write 1 John 4:20 one hundred times (look the passage up and you’ll see why). Godly parents want to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Unfortunately, there are other influences in this world that can sometimes draw them away, and we may not always be completely successful. But unless we first make the Lord the true builder of our homes, we shall surely fail.
New Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me
THE MACEDONIAN CALL (Acts 16:1-10)
By Wayne S. Walker
As Paul and Silas continued on Paul’s second preaching trip, they came to Derbe and Lystra, cities which Paul had visited with Barnabas on his first preaching trip. Probably at Lystra they came across a certain young disciple named Timothy whose mother was a believer of Jewish background. However, Timothy’s father was a Greek, and this fact is the probable reason why the young man had not been circumcised according to the teaching of the Old Testament law.
Timothy was so well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and nearby Iconium that Paul wanted him to go with them as they made their way preaching the gospel. Therefore, since they always went to the Jews first, Paul circumcised Timothy so that his uncircumcision would not be a hindrance in his proclaiming the message of salvation in Christ to the Jews. Then they went through the cities and delivered to the churches the letters containing the decrees which had been determined by the apostles and elders at the meeting in Jerusalem.
After passing through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia, the question undoubtedly arose as to where to go next. The Holy Spirit forbade them from preaching the word in the Roman province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they thought about going into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them to do that either. So they arrived at the port city of Troas in the northwest portion of Asia Minor, which is modern Turkey. While there, Paul received a vision in which a man of Macedonia, a region of northern Greece, asked him to come over into Macedonia. So Paul and his companions decided that the Lord was calling them to teach His word there.
1. When Paul and Silas came to Lystra, what young disciple did they meet?
2. What were the nationalities of this young man’s two parents?
3. What did Paul want this young man to do?
4. What did Paul to do the young man to increase his influence among the Jews?
5. Who forbade Paul and his company to go into either Asia or Bithynia?
6. From what place did a man in a vision ask Paul to come over and help them?