PILLARS BUILT UPON A SURE FOUNDATION
BY: DAVE GARNER
A few years back I was involved with building a house from the ground up. In fact, since my family and I were going to live in it, I had the responsibility of leveling the ground and digging the trench to set the foundation. It took several days, but eventually I completed my task, and it was not long before the whole house stood complete and ready to live in. I cannot take credit for building the remainder of the house but I did help, as I was able. But, while the structure was going up I learned a few things. Over the years since then, I have been around and involved in a few building projects, and it is through these experiences that I came to understand a few basic principles to building the house of the Lord.
When we were digging the trench, pouring the footing, and setting the cinder blocks for the foundation, we had to use a level to make sure that there were no dips or hills in the row of cement blocks, because if there were, the walls would sag causing the roof to become unstable and the floor to be uneven. We also had to make sure the row of cinder blocks that we put down for the foundation were square so the walls would be straight and the sill plate board would be lined up correctly. The sill plate had to be straight in order for the floor joist to line up properly so the sub-floor would be square. At each step of construction, the measurements had to be accurate in order for the next step to go together correctly. If we had missed one step in the process of putting the building together, it would make the next step that much harder to assemble, and it could shorten the life span and stability of the building.
Strong, solid corner post (pillars) had to be erected at every corner of the building, as well as every so many feet where there was an adjoining inside wall in order to support the weight of the roof. Wall studs were placed sixteen inches apart in every wall with brace boards in between the studs to support and keep the studs straight. Two by four plate boards framed the corner pillars and wall studs. The frame held the wall together and was nailed to every wall stud and corner support post. Once the wall was insulated and covered with wafer board on the outside, and sheetrock on the inside, the corner pillars and wall studs could not be seen, yet they were the main support that held the roof up. Without the pillars resting firmly upon the foundation base plates, the whole house would be in danger of collapsing. Good strong pillars are essential elements to holding any house together.
I Kings 6:7, “And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.”
1. Foundation – n. [L. fundatio, fundo.] The basis of an edifice; that part of a building which lies on the ground; usually a wall of stone which supports the edifice. The basis or ground work, and by which it is supported.
2. Pillars – n. [L. pila, a pile, a pillar, a mortar and pestle. The L. pila denotes a heap, or things thrown, put or driven together.] A kind or irregular column round an insulate, but deviating from the proportions of a just column. A square pillar is a massive work, serving to support arches. &c. A supporter; that which sustains or upholds; that on which some superstructure rests.
Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”
I grew up going to church and it was during my childhood years that my foundation was built. The Lord used many different methods to make my foundation. Before I was eight years old, maybe even earlier I suppose, I could tell you many of the Biblical stories. In fact, I don’t remember ever not knowing them. I knew about Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, Methuselah, Noah, Tower of Babel, Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebecca, Jacob & Esau, Joseph, Moses & Aaron, Joshua & Caleb, Gideon, Deborah, Samson & Delilah, Samuel, Jonathan, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elishah, Jeremiah, Daniel, the three Hebrew children, Jonah, John the Baptist, Mary the mother of Jesus, Peter, James & John, Nicodemus, Paul & Silas and many more. Looking back, I can confirm, through these stories, a part of my foundation was established.
Ephesians 2:17-22, “And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
APOSTLES 652 from 649; a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ [“apostle”] (with miraculous powers): apostle, messenger, he that is sent. 649; set apart, i.e. (by implication) to send out (properly, on a mission) literally or figuratively:
CORNER STONE 204: akrogoniaios; from 206 & 1137; belonging to the extreme corner: 206 akron; neuter of an adj. the extremity: 1137 gonia; an angle:
PROPHETS 4396; a foreteller (“prophet”); by analogy, an inspired speaker; by extension, a poet:
We know that our spiritual foundation is made up of the truths that have been passed down through the generations in the Bible. It was from the Bible that I learned of the possibilities and promises that are available to me. It was from the Bible I learned about the creation and where I came from. It was from the Bible that I learned about great people of faith, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Deborah the prophetess, Gideon, Anna, Samuel, Ruth, David, Elijah, Elisha, Esther, Daniel and the three young Israelite men Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. It was from the Bible that I read about Jesus and the great miracles that He performed. It was also where I heard that He loved me enough to die for me. My heart was stirred when I read about the wonderful miracles that were performed in the book of Acts and it made me wonder at the wondrous possibilities available to me. I was inspired when I read about the great blessing of the Holy Spirit in the upper room upon the 120 souls who tarried upon the Lord. I marveled at the great miracles performed in the lives of great men of God, men like Peter, Paul, and John. It was an awesome revelation that there was a Father in heaven who loved me.
The Lord honored me by establishing me upon a firm, solid foundation. My mother, from my youth up, dedicated her life to building the foundation upon which I would build my life. What is ironic, I was not aware that she was doing it. Every story she read to my sisters, brother and I from the Bible or told us about made God that much more a reality in our lives.
In the early part of 1983 I decided to quit running and gave my heart over to serving the Lord. The next three years were wonderful for me. I received numerous prophecies concerning my life and how the Lord would use me greatly if I kept my heart focused upon Him. During this time I would spend up to eighteen hours a day studying the word, fasting, and praying. I grew spiritually by leaps and bounds in knowledge and understanding. It was during this period of time in my life that I received the Spirit of Revelation. All of the Bible stories that I had been taught as a child began to take on life. It was awesome. The Lord would wake me up in the middle of night giving me fresh manna from heaven. He was adding to my foundation, making it larger, stabilizing it and making it sturdy. I often look back and draw strength from that time in my life.
I can remember the experience of being water baptized. I know that there are a lot of kingdom folk who feel no need to be baptized. This is sad, as I would not want to discourage anyone from experiencing the wonderful feeling of cleansing, joy, refreshment and elation that accompanied that event for me. Recently I attended the baptismal service of a little girl who had made up her mind she was going to be baptized after hearing about the people being baptized in the Bible. Her determination and conviction were so strong that she will remember it for the rest of her life as being a positive step in building the foundation of her spiritual development. She did it by faith, knowing that our heavenly Father was going to respond to her actions. I can look back and know that it was an awesome life changing experience for me and it absolutely strengthened me spiritually and mentally and added positively to the foundation of my Christian experience. It was not a ritual for me. I went to the creek to get baptized with a heart filled with expectation and faith. I received exactly what I went for, a blessing.
I can remember the first communion I participated in and it was a real life changing experience for me. When I took the communion the Lord blessed it and honored me with His presence. I know there are folks who feel that this activity is a waste of time, and I suppose it is for them, but for me, it added to my growing list of positive foundation building experiences.
I have attended several meetings where communion was given. I can say that in some of the services the communion was ritualistic and there was no understanding of the significance and no life in the service. It seemed to be just a waste of time. On the other hand I have shared in some wonderful services where the Holy Spirit moved so beautifully, touching and changing lives. I can’t say that it was because we drank the wine or ate the bread that did it, but I can say that because we did it by faith, our faith was rewarded mightily by a powerful move of the Holy Spirit.
I can remember my first experience with the Holy Spirit. It was like a wave of joy, peace, love, high expectations, warmth, and freedom washed over me in a single moment of time. I can only describe my experience by saying it felt like I was washed and filled with the Holy Spirit from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes. All of a sudden the water baptism I experienced by faith, became a reality in Spirit. This was when I spoke in tongues for the first time. I can remember feeling the ecstasy of His glorious presence engulfing me. My life was forever changed and a whole new world of understanding was opened up for me.
The water baptism, communion, being filled with Holy Spirit and talking in an unknown tongue was personal experiences I will cherish for the rest of my life. They are a part of me and no one can tell me that the experiences I gained through these activities were not real or were not spiritually effective. I was there and know personally what effect they had upon me. No one in the world can diminish or rob me of the blessings of the anointed presence of our heavenly Father that accompanied these wonderful experiences. They were special nurturing events that helped to mold and make me into what I am today. They were an essential part to my foundation. No man’s opinion or teaching can lessen the value of what these experiences taught me. They were real, powerful expressions of my Father’s love. Through all of these experiences He shared the treasures of His faithfulness and love with me, revealing His tenderness and care for my personal spiritual upbringing.
I can remember seeing my first healing and being filled with joy when I witnessed the restoration of hope and an answer to a prayer. I can remember the voice of the Lord speaking to me in one of my darkest hours, bringing peace and restoration to my heart. He spoke to me in an audible voice very clearly. A heavy burden was taken off of me in a twinkling of an eye, from sorrow to rejoicing in the time it took to breathe. Our heavenly Father is wonderful and His presence is so comforting. No one can tell me now that God does not talk to me in an audible voice or that there is no such thing as speaking in tongues or that God is not in the healing business anymore. Having seen and experienced healings, discernment, prophecy, teachings, and the operation of the ministry, first hand, through personal experiences, no one can tell me the church is not still alive and growing. It is real. How do I know? I am experiencing it day by day.
Each experience that I went through added to the foundation that was being so carefully laid for me to build my life on. What happened to the days of tarrying or waiting upon the Lord, praying with a friend until they broke through and got an answer; Bible studying until the wee hours of the morning with friends who were excited about the word, or those long prayer services where prophecy, healing, word of knowledge, and a genuine desire to hear from heaven with a hunger for the word was present? I can remember when it was popular to spend hours walking the floor, praising and worshiping, giving honor to our heavenly Father and yielding to the leadership of His anointing on behalf of others. Who among us is willing to lay down their opinions and go the extra mile to ensure the safe passage of another person into a relationship and into the presence of the Father of Glory, no matter what it takes, as long as it brings edification and increase to the body?
It seems to me that so many have replaced one set of laws for another. They have gone from one extreme to another and have forgotten what the experiences were for and do not recognize their value. It seems that in many of the “deeper truths” or “more revelation” churches that there are less and less new converts and fewer children and in some cases there are no children. The reason for this is that too many have removed the old landmarks, the boarder markers and done away with the ladders. Too many have gone beyond the need to concern themselves with the needs of the younger generation. In a lot of the gatherings, there is nothing for the young folks that make them feel like they are participants or that their needs are important. They have nothing by which to measure their spiritual progress or if they are even going in the right direction.
All of our answers to life’s questions come through our personal spiritual experiences. A lot of what I know now was through experiential knowledge or hands on activity in both failure and success. If all we do is provide an environment where we tell the young that they already have it all and Jesus done it all at the cross and all that they need do is awake to it, then we rob them of needed experiential knowledge which establishes their direction. This is why revelation and knowledge comes by experience. Interaction with success and failure in the body of Christ brings experience. Experience builds relationships and stability in the body of Christ. Experience is produced by participation and active, emotional involvement, interacting with members of the body of Christ.
When we are young we have nothing but our natural senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing or seeing to determine the success or failure of our activities. We have not developed our spiritual senses and usually look for the company of a more mature Christian to provide tutorship and direction. We also depend upon older Christians to keep us encouraged and pointed in the right direction. Scripture declares that even though we are sons, we are still just as the servants in the house and are under tutors and governors until we are spiritually mature enough to take responsibility for our own house and hear the direction of the Holy Spirit for ourselves.
Many of the children have no desire to be a part of the church because there is nothing to draw them or stir them up; something is needed that gives them a desire to reach for more. The motivation factor has been removed from the church. There is no ladder to climb and the gap that separates them from the “enlightened ones” is too great. When we take away the natural involvement and activities, we remove their ability to participate and be a contributing part of the church family, for there is nothing for them to identify with or by which to spiritually develop. Physical activities develop and activate the senses, preparing the fertile soil for seeds of life and deeper experiences to open the door for greater spiritual development.
On one side there are those who absolutely demand you be baptized and religiously have communion every time they come to church or as often as they can. It becomes a law, a demand, a requirement and an obstacle to true spiritual development. They make it of none effect, diminishing the spiritual significance and importance of the event and turning it into a useless ritual. On the other side there are those who have gone to the extreme opposite of the issue and proclaim these events as old church order and not important. They are just as staunch about not doing it as those who demand to do it. Neither side is recognizing the steps of faith involved in these activities and the value they have on the new Christian’s life, if they are approached under the unction and leadership of the anointing. I chose to be baptized because I felt like something special would happen for me if I did it as a step of faith. It was personal and intimate between my heavenly Father and me. No one told me I had to be baptized, for the desire to do so was stirred up in my own heart, not by obligation, but by just wanting to know and experience God for myself.
I thank God for all of the foundation experiences He allowed me to share with and in Him through the fellowship I have experienced with the members of the body. I can look back and see His loving, caring hand taking me through each step I took; through the good times and bad. I can draw strength from each experience. I even learned from the rituals, and eventually matured enough that when I see children playing I am not offended or upset, and even at times, I participate with the young ones, encouraging, lifting them up, and enjoying myself immensely.
Recently the Lord started talking to me about the pillars that hold up the house. If there is a foundation, usually there is a house built upon it, and for the house to stand there must be pillars. The pillars must not be confused with pillows. I began to think about what the pillars are that are holding up my house.
Revelation 3:12, “Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
1 Corinthians 3:9-15, “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
PILLAR stoo’-los – a post (“style”), that is, (figuratively) support: – pillar.
GROUND; a support, that is, (figuratively) basis: – ground.
One of pillars that were vital to my spiritual development was trust. It remains so today. On a personal level I trust that my wife is looking out for my best interest, just as she expects me to respect her and look after her best interest. Because we do, I can rest in the fact that trust is helping to hold our house together. What do I base this trust on? Our love for one another and the experiences we have shared. In the past, our trust for one another has been tested and challenged. Our trust for one another grows stronger each day as we face challenges and pass each test that confronts us.
I can remember going to church, hoping to get a prophecy because I needed to hear from heaven and get an answer. I was so young in the Lord and at the time I did not feel I was able to hear from the Lord for myself. I knew different members of my church body were blessed with the gifts of visions and prophecy of the Holy Spirit. Because they had interceded on my behalf on many occasions, I developed a trust in them and their ability to hear from heaven on my behalf. I can remember being so dependent upon the anointing in their life that I would write down my need on a paper before services and fold it up and put it in my pocket, not telling anyone of my request before the Father. I would go to the altar expecting an answer to my prayer. I did not trust myself to discern the difference between my voice and my Father’s voice. Sure enough He answered my need time and time again. This trust provided me with stability and fed my confidence in the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide my life, even though I did not feel able to hear for myself.
When I was young in the Lord I was full of zeal and determined I was going to be independent and get my own revelation. Ironically every time I got a revelation I would rush to minister it to the local body, convinced that I was going to tell the members something that they did not know, but in the process I was so dependent upon their acceptance and approval that if I saw the slightest frown or negative response to what I said, it caused me to question the reality of what I thought I was hearing. I measured what I had received as revelation by their reaction or lack of reaction. I could spot a negative facial expression a mile away and even tell you what the person was thinking at the time, or at least I thought I could. Even though I desired to be independent, I was dependent upon them to measure if I was on the right track or if I had not really heard from heaven. Even though I wished to be independent, I subconsciously needed and relied upon the support from other members of the church body.
What we believe is who we are. As Christians, we are so intricately linked to our spirituality and what we feel we know. All too often, to question our beliefs or to doubt what we feel is truth, is to doubt our integrity, sincerity, devotion to the Word, and confidence in ourselves. This is especially so when we are young. We have this deep seeded need to be respected, and to feel a part. Even though there is a part of us that wants to remain independent we need the love we receive from one another and reach for it through words and measure it by the trust, respect, and acceptance we receive from others based upon the responses, touches, warmth, mercy, hugs, encouragement, and open ears that have been extended toward us.
One of the strong supports or pillars that held up my house was the love and encouragement I received from other members of my church family. This love and encouragement did not always come out as a hug or pat on the back, but through correction, a word of warning, or a humbling experience that brought me back down to reality. Discipline was a strong pillar that kept me level headed and on the right track.
From my youth up many things contributed to my spiritual development, but one thing stands out foremost as always being constant and unwavering. My mother’s love, devotion, and commitment to the Lord has always been there and because of that, her strength and commitment has always provided a refuge and comfort. Even through all the years of my waywardness, her love and devotion has remained unchanged, a steadfast pillar that helped hold up my house.
When I go to worship at my local assembly I can relax and enjoy the services, because over the years I have learned through experience to trust that there are those within the church body who are dedicated to making sure the lights work, the carpet is vacuumed, the benches are sturdy, and many other essential physical jobs are performed to make the house a comfortable place of worship. Just as there are in the physical house, so also it is in the spiritual. There are those who labor continuously, never receiving or getting recognition, but always there behind the scenes doing their part to edify and support – hold up the body.
My history with cars and transportation has not been anything to brag about. I can remember the times of being out on the road going place to place doing the work of an evangelist in cars that were long past their prime. I went with confidence and without fear, because I knew that all I had to do was find a phone and call home to my church family, and my brother Ronnie was and still is always there ready to come to my rescue without hesitation. I also am confident that the rest of my church body would not leave me stranded either. How do I know this? Through past experience and the knowledge that they love me and care about my needs. There is no stronger pillar in the house than that of love being expressed through actions toward one another. This love and devotion has provided stability and security as one of the strong support pillars that hold up my house through raging storms and turmoil.
The foundation is not any good unless it is used. Unless you build upon the foundation all that you have is an empty slab. Before a house can be built, there has to be strong dependable supports at different parts of the house to hold the weight of the roof. Without the supports you cannot have a roof. But, the house with the supports alone is not able to hold the cross beams that support the roof. Without the wall studs and frame that make up the walls and ties into the supports (pillars), the house still cannot support a roof. It takes all of the elements working together, built upon a strong foundation to keep a house standing.
I know that there are those who are persuaded that baptizing is spiritual and when we are sharing in fellowship we are breaking bread and when we are under the anointing we are drinking the wine. I agree and am persuaded of the same. However, there are also many people who feel that water baptism, communion, church order, the altar, using oil to pray for people, and church names are all a thing of the past and will have no part in it. The Scriptures are used to debate the issue, both pro and con, and the division remains. My convictions concerning these subjects are not established upon my interpretation of Scripture alone. They are established upon my having participated and experienced the effects that were produced from them. I am what I have experienced and walked out into reality. All I have to measure the effectiveness of anything I do is the end result. The authority of the Holy Spirit cannot be challenged or swayed as it witnesses of itself by what it produces in our lives.
PILLARS BUILT UPON a SURE FOUNDATION [Dave Garner] April 2007 1