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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The Cameron Mansion (Inn)
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"Rescue The Perishing"
"Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him" (2 Kings 12:2).
Sunday evening we went to a banquet sponsored by Water Street Mission which seeks to rescue the perishing in Lancaster City. Once a week, in an early morning visit to a company in Willow Street south of Lancaster, we drive right through Lancaster City and pass the Mission. We see the folks milling about waiting for breakfast and often pray for the Water Street Mission as we pass by along with other similar ministries.
We heard various reports and testimonies of those impacted by the mission. One was a young man named EC, who had participated for many years in a branch of the ministry known as Teen Haven.
In a gripping testimony he shared to this effect (as best as I recall from memory): "Based on my upbringing at 25 years of age I should have several children by now from different women, I should have been in and out of prison several times, I should be using or selling street drugs, and I should be involved in gangs. That was the example I had from my father."
EC was raised with five siblings by a single mother. The church bus picked him up in the city and took him to the church where he received instruction in the ways of the Lord. He was greatly influenced by those seeking to reach out and disciple him. Because of their compassion and the biblical message of the gospel he is a Teen Haven graduate, married and working responsibly with plans for future ministry. The influence of godly people makes such a difference in one's life.
Throughout the records of the Kings a brief summary is given regarding the king, the number of years he reigned, and whether he was devoid of faith or wholly devoted to God. In our daily text we read that King Joash "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord."
But the qualifying statement in the above verse makes this account unique. "All the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him". The parallel account in 2 Chronicles makes the same observation (24:2).
Joash became King at 7 years of age and reigned 40 years. During the early years of his kingdom he had the godly influence of this priest (another rarity since by this time in Biblical history the priesthood had become largely apostate). He "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him." The account seems to express a corollary between Joash doing right and his being instructed by Jehoiada.
Later we read this sad change when Jehoiada's influence ended, "Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death. They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house. But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them. They abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt. Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the Lord; though they testified against them, they would not listen" (2 Chronicles 24:15-19).*
This account reminds us of the importance of heeding the wisdom of godly elders, and not just while they're living. We must realize the value of what they taught us and align our thinking and actions (after their absence) with that which is in accordance to the timeless, always-relevant Word of God.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are grateful for the many believers who invested in our lives at the beginning of our spiritual journey and for those who presently spur us on to faithfulness, good works, and spiritual growth. Just as King Joash needed the example and teaching of a godly priest, we too, need the exemplary guidance of those whose walk with the Lord is mature, consistent and inspiring. Speak to our hearts if we are to provide guidance to one who is struggling along the way, one whose life is complicated by factors that can easily lead him to stray from the right path. We want to be useful in building and expanding Your kingdom. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
* Actually the account of Joash without Jehoiada's input gets even worse (2 Chronicles 24:20-27), a reminder of the consequences of rejection of the truth.
Stephen's recollection: I was raised in a stable home and attended church. My Sunday School teacher in 7th and 8th grade was an older man by the name of Joe Harding. However at this point in my life I was a rascal and had no desire to serve God and don't recall paying much attention in the Sunday School class. In fact, I am quite sure I was a "difficult" student. I'm absolutely certain at that time I never expressed any appreciation to Mr. Harding for his labors! In retrospect I recall his love for the Lord and his students. He surely got very discouraged at students like me who showed little interest.
A couple of years later I moved from that community and just prior to my Junior year in High School I accepted the Lord and began to seriously follow Christ. After high school I went into training for the ministry and then into pastoral ministry.
Over 20 years ago I was prompted to contact Mr. Harding and thank him for his faithfulness to God and his impact on my life (which would have been over 20 years after he had taught me). I did reach him (he was in his 80's at the time) and I must say my expression of gratitude made his day! He went to be with the Lord several years later and my mother attended his funeral. A reference was made to one of his students being in the ministry. Mr. Harding fully knows now his work in the Lord was not in vain!
Practical thoughts for you today:
Saturday afternoon we attended two company picnics. The first was Val-Co company held at a park in New Holland and the second was JK Mechanical company held at a park near Millersville. We enjoy visiting the employees in these companies in a casual setting as well as meeting other family members. The food is always good and we value the visit with the employees and their families, in addition to activities which often include games.
Val-Co had some sort of balloon soccer along with other games for children. You can tell it was not something they did all the time!
JK had Bean Toss. Notice the intense competitive spirit expressed by the players. They had other games as well, including a new favorite of mine called Hillbilly Golf.
I shared a selection of photos last week from a Men's Campout I attended in the mountains. My friend Mike Book snapped this photo of another friend, Mike Kaylor, and I sitting around the campfire in the morning with the sunlight filtering through the trees. It so captures what I like about being outdoors, especially early morning and toward sunset.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Rescue The Perishing" Video Billy and Cindy Foote
"Jesus Saves" Video Travis Cottrell
E.C. Holmes, whose testimony we referred to today, uses rap to share his faith (not my taste in music but a style some of the younger crowd enjoys). Video
Last week we shared a message about spiritual fruitfulness and Nelson, a friend who works for a produce wholesaler, shared this: "You might be interested in knowing that one of our largest organic apple suppliers is called First Fruits Marketing. Their mission statement is John 15:16, and they have a four-part bottom line – people, profit, planet, and purpose. You can read more at their website". I checked out the site and they really take a forthright, bold and unashamed stand for Christ! See here. May their tribe increase!
Water Street Ministries Mission statement: "At Water Street Ministries, our purpose has remained the same since 1905: to advance the kingdom of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ and to do missionary, relief and rescue work of all kinds. Here at Water Street, in addition to providing food & shelter, there are many ways your volunteer efforts, donations and prayers help to serve individuals living in poverty and homelessness throughout South-Central and South-East PA.
This prompted a memory: My Mom grew up in Harwood, a tiny town in Southwest Missouri, but moved to Kansas City as a young adult where she met my dad. To her dying day Mom had such a burden for the City Union Mission in Kansas City where she volunteered in the forties.
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