counting the cost

Stairways can be costly!

“For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:10

God is the consummate architect and builder. In this verse we are given insight into the mind of Abraham, the great father of our faith, as he envisions God’s masterful plan for the heavenly Jerusalem. That will be a building project to end all building projects. Imagine the politicking, drawings and building permits required for a project of that magnitude here on earth. The price paid to build earthly things should give us a deeper appreciation for the cost of heavenly things.

One of my goals this year has been to add a stairway on our deck. I have been working on this project for several months now and have not yet dug a footing or driven a nail. Now I am talking about simply building a four foot square landing attached to the existing deck and fifteen steps to the ground. When it comes down to it, it is really not that big of a deal.

Deciding on a design configuration that works well with our plans for the back yard took some time. I enjoyed the thought and planning that went into doing that. Dreaming about and anticipating a home improvement project is always more fun than actually doing the work

What I did not take into account was the extensive approval process required to make such a minor addition to my home.

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Keeping an ideal from becoming an ordeal

The joke is told of the young couple who entered into their marriage looking for the ideal, discovered it was an ordeal and ended up wanting a new deal. Unfortunately whether it is a relationship, a job, a home, a purchase or some project, all too often our pursuit of the ideal can end up just like this marriage – becoming an ordeal in search of a new deal. It is this common pattern of regression, from ideal to ordeal, that produces so many unfulfilled expectations in our lives.

Sadly, unfulfilled expectations are toxic to faith and idealism. They tempt us to give up on our ideals and to stop dreaming. In the process they discourage us from hope and perseverance, in making a better life for ourselves and for those we love.

Here are three ways to keep your pursuit of the ideal from becoming an ordeal. They are based on biblical principles from the teachings of Jesus.

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