The Sermon on the Mount: Day 26

The Two Foundations


Today's Text: Matthew 7:24-29, Psalm 18:1-6, Isaiah 17:10-11, Matthew 25:1-13, 2 Corinthians 3:18, James 2:20-23

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:24-29, Psalm 18:1-6, Isaiah 17:10-11, Matthew 25:1-13, 2 Corinthians 3:18, James 2:20-23

Somewhere in Nashville there’s a toddler-sized red and white cowgirl outfit from the 60s, complete with embroidered yellow flowers and white leather fringe. It was given to my daughter by our elderly neighbors, brought out of a wooden chest and handed to my wide-eyed girl when she was about 3 years old. Now, several years later, it circulates among my friends and their own little wide-eyed girls.

Carlton and Joyce were good neighbors, always watching over our small yard from the front porch of their brick cottage across the street. I winced from my own front porch the day the wrecking ball swung with intention and knocked down that empty house. My toddler boys watched in delight and awe as the big, loud machines did their work, but my heart ached.

My friends lived three decades of life in that house. They raised their girls there, watching their city grow tall around them. They collected snowman figurines and looked out for their neighbors. Then, when most of their life had been lived, they moved on and let the wrecking ball do its worst.

The thing that strikes me about this short passage in Matthew is not the dichotomy of outcome, but the similarity of process. One house collapses with a crash and one stands strong—the contrast is stark. But the circumstances the two houses endure are remarkably similar. In fact, they are just the same: “The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house” (Matthew 7:25, 27). Similar process, very different outcome.

All of our earthly houses will one day fall. We’re all honest enough to admit it. We know the things of earth don’t last and we’d do well to store up eternal possessions instead. But how do we do that? How do we build a metaphorical house that literally lasts forever?

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).

Hear Jesus’ words. Act on Jesus’ words. This is how we practically and actually build our house on the rock.

Did your brain just register that last little paragraph as, “Be a good Christian”? If so, you’re not alone. I hear that, too. So let’s slow down and consider it again.

Hear Jesus’ words. Act on Jesus’ words. Here are just a handful of them:

“Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34).
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
“The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (John 7:38).

The words of Christ are life-giving; they are trustworthy and true. We can stake our lives on them. We can build our houses on them.

His words do not merely impart rules for smart living—tips for a favorable outcome. Jesus’ words impart life and love and salvation. The life Christ gives cannot be washed away by heavy rains, or consumed by the rising tide, or displaced by gale-force winds. His Word is eternal. It cannot become untrue.

So then, go ahead and build your life. Build houses and meet neighbors and raise wide-eyed girls and boys. Let’s live well this one life we’ve been given, but let’s do so on the only foundation that will last: the gospel of Jesus Christ. For when all our years and efforts and cottages crumble around us, His Word will stand. We are forever secure when our home is found in Him.


  • If anyone has been reading my comments throughout this devotional (and I have no idea if anyone has), I have news…my trip to Nicaragua was called off as of noon yesterday. A protest on Wednesday left at least 8 dead and the violence is very likely going to get worse before it gets better. The head of the school called off the next term and notified the four of us scheduled to teach that we would not be travelling into Managua next week.

    After 3 years of prayerfully considering this opportunity and 8 months of preparation, this is heartbreaking. How can God open so many doors and provide in so many ways only to slam the door shut with less than a week before departure? How can so many believers be of one mind in serving God and be so utterly wrong?

    Yesterday I was a mess. What do I do with my summer now? Do I hold off on my departure and see if things calm down? Do I go with my church on their other mission trip? Do I plan to visit my sister who I rarely get to see?

    All I know is this:
    * God’s plans have not been thwarted. Though I may not understand what He’s doing, He is not in heaven thinking “Oh no, I never saw that coming! My plans are ruined!”
    * The only thing that matters is that I do what God has asked me to do. Teaching in Nicaragua is worth nothing for eternity if God deems it “wood, hay, and stubble.”
    * God alone determines how He wants to use me. My ideas of what seem like good opportunities must be surrendered to Him.
    * I have to trust that God’s plan is good….even when it doesn’t make sense. God has used the last 6 weeks of prayer and fasting to change me in some way that is for my good and His glory. I don’t have to see it in order for it to be true.
    *God owes me no explanation. Job never got a reason for why he lost everything. I am not owed an explanation as to why things have turned out the way they have. I am free to ask, but not to demand. My faith cannot hinge on God “explaining himself.”
    * I am SO thankful for the example of prayer in Scripture. The psalmists pour out their frustration and angst and sense of despair. We don’t have to hold back with God. We don’t have to dress up our prayers in spiritual lingo. But the prayers in Scripture always bring us back to God’s goodness and faithfulness. They don’t leave us in the wilderness. As I prayed out my confusion to God yesterday, I tried to model my prayer after what I see in Scripture and to end with a profession of faith in who God is. I don’t know how genuinely I felt it at that moment, but I did try.

    • Melody Litchfield

      Hi Becky, I’m so sorry for this news. I read your earlier posts and have been praying. Sometimes we don’t know if it is God closing the doors or the enemy trying to keep us discouraged and keep people from hearing the gospel. One thing we do know is God’s promises: That He will never leave us or forsake us. That we can come to Him burdened and weak and He will give us rest. That nothing can separate us from His love, even if we have unfulfilled desires or even if we feel like we can’t “do” what we feel like God has called us to “do.” I pray for strength for you, that you will cling to His truths and feel His love today. No one knows our pain more than He does. Praying for you in this journey today!

  • Thank you Amanda for this take on today’s passage. The ending brought a sting to my eyes; “For when all our years and efforts and cottages crumble around us, His Word will stand. We are forever secure when our home is found in Him.” Having seen death and how temporary life is firsthand through the passing of my mother two months ago, and now my dad facing his own cancer treatments, the solidity of the Gospel has never been more real and apparent. Following Jesus in this life as He leads us towards life eternal is all that matters.

  • *sigh* Reading this morning’s devo, post argument with my husband of four months is encouraging but also sobering. Will we be blown about and brought to ruin by gale force winds in this life, if our foundation is in Jesus? No. I am so glad for this, as I’ve seen the truth of it in my life time and time again– but my husband hasn’t really. He is a strong believer, but tends to engage God more with his mind and doesn’t seem to NEED Jesus at times. Time and time again, I have seen him come apart at the seams in the face of simple world discomforts, challenges and struggles. This makes my heart heavy. Not that I never succumb to that, but that I have experienced Christ’s peace in suffering and so cannot imagine being upset by minimal and mundane inconveniences in this life. I don’t mean to sound holier than thou– I have struggles that my husband doesn’t, but I feel very distraught this morning b/c I don’t see “streams of living water flow from deep within” him very often. :/ I’m just praying lately that God will work on both of our hearts to grow us both more towards him.

    Praying for any other ladies who find themselves in this situation, as I’m sure there are many. Praying for the wisdom to know how to spiritually encourage, without spiritually leading.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Erin, thanks so much for being willing to share. We definitely understand how difficult that can be, and we are praying that God would be glorified and lifted up in your marriage. We are so glad to have you here as a part of the She Reads Truth community! – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Nads

      Erin, I could have written the IDENTICAL post to what you did – situation, feelings, faith , experience, weakness, and prayer…! Wow!

      May God bless all. I need to remember that Christ wants our unity with Him and one another even more than I ever could.

    • Christy

      I’ve learned in marriage that it can be so tempting to focus on the other person, but we see more fruit when we focus on ourselves. Not suggesting being a doormat, but rather, how has God matching you with this man intended to sharpen you? If nothing else changes with him, how do you grow? Where do you lean into God in these circumstances? Praying sister that the Holy Spirit reveals himself to you in these circumstances and gives you whatever wisdom you need to navigate it.

    • Madalyn McArthur

      Prayer is so powerful. Stormie Omartins book “the power of a praying wife” is absolutely amazing and essential.

    • Jenny

      Erin, you are not alone! I feel the same way with my husband! As I’m sure many many other women do. Keep your heart and soul fixed on Jesus and take things one day at a time. The Lord has a path for you, Erin. Keep going. I will be praying for you!

    • Elle

      You are a new bride and he is a new husband… You both have a lot of growing to do. Growing together and growing personally. Do not despair that you do not find your husband to be as mature as you hoped. (I’m pretty sure alot of newlyweds feel exactly that way… well, the wife anyways. ;)) Walk with him awhile… you will come to find that you respect him. I have been married for over twenty years. Falling in love with each other is something you do over and over. Be patient and prayerful… years from now, your husband will have won your heart hundreds of times.

  • Cecelia

    I finished reading today’s devo and went to my daily bible reading and read the same verses in Matthew. My struggle is the worry that I’m not doing it. Not building my house on the rock. Because too often I feel shattered by what life throws at me. Thinking about it, though, Jesus doesn’t say the winds won’t blow a few shingles off. Maybe there’s some water in the basement. The house is there. It is liveable with some fixing. The fact that I feel sometimes wholly messy doesn’t say my foundation isn’t good. There are storms in life. The giants are real. But God. He is always with me. He is always stronger and victorious and he gives me this because of who I am in him. I don’t always recognize this fact immediately, sometimes it takes me awhile. But, at the end of the day, no matter what storms or giants I face, I know my Daddy God is for me. I know that my heart is all in for him. I’m human, I fall. But I get back up by the grace of God. He is good. In every circumstance. It’s by his grace that my foundation is unshakeable. Because it is him. Some days there’s a few external issues. But my God is faithful. And I am being made perfect and holy each day. I’m growing. And maybe one day the storms won’t so much as blow one shingle off. But because right now sometimes I need a little work after the storms I won’t let the enemy tell me I’m not built solid. I’m Daddy’s girl. He loves me. I am his.

    • Erin

      LOVE the way you put this lady! That just because the winds blow a few shingles off, doesn’t mean that our foundation isn’t firm. :) Thanks for that picture, reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4: “we are struck down, but not not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…”

    • Michelle

      I love the imagery you used here to describe what I think all of our houses look like…I think too of the DIY projects I’ve undertaken and how they didn’t quite turn out right. When it comes to the spiritual home, we can’t DIY we need to do it with Jesus!

  • Diane Huntsman

    I’m turning 50 next week and uttering those words make me cringe.. half a century.. the best years are behind me so culture loudly proclaims.. my 4 children are grown adults.. raising them to know Jesus was my greatest priority.. being raised in utter dysfunction makes a mama dig her heels in deep to do all the things differently when she has her own brood.. God met me in the hard places and helped me navigate through the process of breaking Chains of abuse and leaving healthy legacies behind.. but the war to live for that which is eternal is always just that.. a war.. because culture screams at us everywhere we look that purpose and fulfillment are in the perfect body, the spectacular wardrobe, the degree, the job, the house and possessions.. we’ve continually got to combat lies with truth.. eternity is a real thing and this life is but a vapor of smoke quickly vanishing.. those eternal purposes are the real deal.. living on and living out the words of Jesus matter.. it matters most.. I have few regrets concerning the days I raised my
    Kids.. or I should say we raised as I didn’t do it solo.. bc Jesus was my source, my go to, my preoccupation.. I wanted my kids to know the One who gave them physical life and the One who would give them purposeful life.. I didn’t do all things perfect, far from it, and I wish I would have told my kids far more often how loved they were by Jesus.. I realize I’m now rambling, but I just want to say here bottom line, don’t allow the distractions of this life to interfere with the eternal purposes.. we’re at war.. put on the armor and fight.. fight for what truly matters.. that which is eternal.

  • churchmouse

    These Scriptures and this devotion are spot on for me at this time of my life. Since both of my parents have died, my thoughts have turned to end- of- life concerns . Having sorted through their things and parted with their house, I’ve been pondering what I’ll be leaving behind when my time comes. There’s so much stuff! It will be time consuming and labor intensive but I’m determined to minimize it before our daughters have to. But the greater concern is the legacy of faith I desire for them. Oh, they both know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. My prayer for them though is to find a community of wise Christian women who will love and support and correct them in their faith journey, through all the stages of their life. I’ve been so blessed with my small group of Jesus’ Girls and the SRT sisters here. I pray for such support for our daughters, to keep challenging and encouraging them to build on their foundation, for themselves and their families. That’s my prayer concentration every day until I see Jesus face to face. Stuff is just stuff but another generation of Jesus’ Girls… Now that’s priceless. And eternal.

  • ” And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” – Matthew 7:25

    Last night, a gentleman came by the house to have a look-see around it. It seems, unbeknownst to me and hard as this is to say, that we’ve developed a wee critter problem and he was examining the foundation for possible points of interest or entry. He walked the outside of our home and then headed to the basement. This house was built in 1906, with renovations here and there over the years but in truth, one of the owners was just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous in his “fixing” of things. So each time a maintenance individual heads to our lovely basement, I am almost guaranteed to hear something in line with, “Wow, I’ve never seen venting like this” or “Boy, they did a job on the electric down here” … my head nods and I just smile and agree, so it came as no surprise this nice man commented to the old and cracking walls. In our neighborhood our basements are an old sort, made with stone and covered with a strange kind of cement style plaster, and they aren’t weathered well, so each rain, it’s as if the walls cry. Water just gently seeps down the walls. It’s a sight and running joke in the neighborhood but only serves to complicate the long term health of the walls. The reality is that the wonderful little nuances and characteristics of this old house have given way to difficulty after difficulty and the most recent problem was that there was a weak point in the foundation I wasn’t even aware of, but evil, in form of wee creatures, was. And using it to their benefit was no hard feat. Fortunately, we caught it before it became a big issue but in a season that is already pretty raw for me, it was enough to have me in tears while driving yesterday. It was the cherry on the sundae of a two week period that included; a beyond repair dishwasher, a hard diagnosis for our sweet puppy, a car accident for my 19 year old, a “just in time” and “I have to fly out in two days for a month” kind of job for my husband 1500 miles away, a gashed and broken big toe for my 12 year old, a sick week for my 7 year old, and several shoots and edits due for me. I was overwhelmed. Beyond words overwhelmed.

    So as I pray cried over my life, it hit me. The enemy is the same way as our temporary guest. He will use whatever crack he can find to wreak havoc. He will not hesitate to try to loosen foundations, to weaken structure and destroy homes from the inside out and often times, just under our noses. My husband and I continue to be humbled in an already really humbling year but the sweet knowledge that our foundation is in Christ is beyond words uplifting because I can sit amidst the madness and know full well that victory has already come … this stuff, hard as it is, it’s all just temporal. God is faithful in ALL things and this mess, this living crack in our home’s foundation has nothing on what God can do for us. So while I could pine away for “better” things in this world, I’d rather turn my head and heart to my eternal home because the presence of God …. that is where true peace, love and joy reside. :)

    ~ Always prayerful over this wonderful community ~

    • Lou

      This is how I feel. Overwhelmed with my house and life – and yes I have a critter problem too. I pray cried over my life too. I didn’t come to the same realisations you did in your last paragraph – but I do believe God meant me to read this today. Thank you.

      • ~ B ~

        Lou, I am going to be praying for you. I know it’s so hard to feel so overwhelmed and it affects everything in life when you do. I hope you see relief soon!

    • Kathleen

      Thank you so much for being real. I needed to read this today. I woke up at 5:30am to get time in with the Lord before I start my already overwhelming day. I am a single Mom and have a very demanding job, sometimes working 18 hour days. You words reminded me that are peace rests in Him not our circumstances. He is my strength and my refuge.

      • ~ B ~

        Kathleen, 18 hours is mind-glowingly difficult for anyone then add being a single parent … I hope that you find glimpses of God throughout each day and that He provides relief when you most need it!

    • Melanie Bisson

      God Bless you, sister

    • Christine L

      What a wonderful reflection; it was just what I needed so I copied several sentences into my journal to remember. Thanks for sharing this!

      • ~ B ~

        I’m glad that what was laid on my heart to share was helpful in some way to you. Thank you for taking the time to “listen”. :)

    • JamiB

      Oh Betsy, I prayed for you and your family as I read your first paragraph- and then was encouraged by YOU in the second. Thank you sister- your season is hard, but your heart soft and tender – and giving. I do pray that this job for your husband brings relief, and also blessings for your family. xo

      • ~ B ~

        Hi friend! Thank you so much for your continued prayers and encouragement. You are faithful in this season for me and it brings so much relief knowing that others are prayerful, as well. I sincerely hope that this find you and yours well. ~ Betsy

      • Fleta

        We need more inithgss like this in this thread.

    • Kira

      This devo and your comments really hit home this week. As of Monday, my car broke down, our AC unit went out, our hot water heater broke, and we received a rather large, very unexpected bill in the mail. Through all of this, I was super stressed, but then I realized…its just not worth the worry! If anything, its a reminder of how easy we have it sometimes, and that the sweet people affected by the hurricanes probably don’t even have hot water or AC right now!

      I have to agree that Satan does attack and just try to pick our relationships apart. My husband and I adopted 2 children last year; it will be our one year adoption anniversary tomorrow. I have to just think that while all of this is going on, Satan wants us to be hateful to each other and pick each other apart during the chaos. Instead we’ll choose to laugh and pray our way through. Such a good reminder that we can always praise Him through the everyday mess of life and that our children do watch how we handle ourselves in these situations. Hopefully they see that worrying won’t do anything for us; praying and loving will get us through even the toughest of days.

      • ~ B ~

        What a hard week. I am so thankful we have a Father who is faithful to relieve us because sometimes it just feels as if problem after problem is mounting but you’re right laughing and praying is the only way. I hope that this week brings new life for you and that you were able to celebrate those precious kiddos on such a sweet occasion. Congratulations on one year! That is the stuff worth focusing on. I’ll be including you in prayers!

  • This morning tears spilled from my eyes as I read this devotion. I do interpret that as ‘be a good Christian’ of which I’m not. I have tried so hard for so long and been so frustrated, guilty and sad. I just can’t be good enough. Yet, this morning as the tears came I realized that my heart is so very tender for the Lord. I love Him so much and just desire to please Him. He is trying very hard to tell me that He loves me and I love Him. That is the point. Not that I have to earn it or deserve it. That is NOT the point.

    What a blessed relief it is to just rest in His arms. To feel His love and tell Him that I love Him. I feel Him stroking my hair and whispering sh, sh, it’s okay. I love you.

    I love turning on my computer in the morning and knowing that I’ll meet up with all of you, my dear friends. From what you’ve said, you too try to be good enough and to earn God’s salvation. Will you, today, rest with me in His arms and know His incredible love?

    I love you all so much and pray that God will touch you with His love today and every day!

    • Anne

      Amen Beth

    • Susan

      Thank you for this response, Beth. It is so open hearted and honest. It’s a beautiful testament to our human frailty and God’s love and acceptance. Peace be with you and all the SRT community.

    • Robin W.

      Beth, I love how you speak of God in such a fatherly, “daddy” kind of way. This song has helped shaped my image of Him and I thought I would share. It’s a beautiful reminder of his love for us. ❤️

  • Thank you Amanda! What a blessing this study has been. I was gonna skip this one to be honest…but I could not stop reading it. And I’m so glad I did. These are all such basic principles that we think we know, so may not put as much thought into them at this point. But going back to the basics is sometimes so important. What a blessing SRT is!

  • Tricia C

    This is a cute little YouTube video of that song that goes with the passage in Matthew this morning.
    Have a great weekend sisters!

  • Tricia C

    Thank you Tina. Blessings to you from “across the pond”. Have a nice weekend.

  • As I look out on this wet and windy day, and across at my neighbours windows, there is an ache, an ache because today she says goodbye one final time to her husband of 40 odd years.
    I don’t know much about their Christian life if any, but I pray that there was a foundation in Christ.
    Earlier, last week I mentioned the effect this neighbours death has had on me. The realisation that i have wasted some good and blessed days on worrying about some things that were not, in the scheme of things important.
    Did I love them as neighbours enough… probably not cos I was toiooo busy complaining about the unimportant.. did I come to Jesus first with these woes..? No..
    When I got weary of the stuff going on, did I come to you Lord Jesus ? No..
    Repenting as I write dearest Lord God. As the rains fall, may I, as one who does believe, but often falls by the wayside, be filled to overflowing from deep within with streams of Your living water, that from this day forward, lord Jesus, I will live in the foundation of Your teaching, Your truth, Your Word and grow in becoming the person I was created by the Almighty to be…

    Every Blessing dear sisters.
    May the Lord turn His face to shine on you today, whatever your day looks

    • GramsieSue

      Oh Tina, I love your heart. Why does it take losing someone in our life to open our eyes to what’s important in this life? Praying for all of us to become and live as the women God created us to be. Blessings. ❤️

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