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Friday, April 16, 2021

Isaiah 40:8

"The Foundation That Will Stand!"
 "The Firm Foundation of Biblical Authority"

This is our second message concerning "Foundations That Will Stand!" The spiritually discerning are aware of the sinking sands all around us but we thank God for the foundation of God's Word that will stand forever!

Message summary:  "The word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).

Podcast not prepared for this message.

"The grass withers, the flower fades. But the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8). "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

How Firm A Foundation

How firm a foundation,
ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith
in His excellent Word!

We are traveling through New England and for us one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel is viewing the flowers, trees and structures along the way. Depending on the season, of course, you see various plants and trees in full bloom. Right now the beautiful magnolias, dogwoods, red buds and forsythias are in all their glory. We enjoy looking at the houses and building structures as well.

But everything on earth has a "shelf life" and already much of the attractive foliage on the blooming trees can easily be spotted in the yards or scattered on the rooftops of people's homes. While the blooms are attractive on the trees, their withering pedals appear as clutter after falling to the ground. Many of the structures we viewed in our travels are new and innovative, but we also have seen a good number of houses, barns, factories and businesses boarded up, in the process of collapse, or already fallen to the ground.

Silver City Galleria demolitionYesterday we drove by the Silver City Galleria, a super regional mall built only 30 years ago. It was a huge mall hosting 120 retail stores, 7 department stores, a huge ten screen cinema, sit-down restaurants, and on and on I could go. We shopped there (mostly Brooksyne) for nearly eight years during our pastoral role in Taunton. We often met up with friends at the Food Court, and always enjoyed taking Ester to see their ornate Christmas decorations that lined the two level mall spread over 1,000,000 square feet. It was THE PLACE TO GO at its peak of popularity. When we were there it was in full bloom, so to speak, but now it is withered and faded and is now being demolished, as though it never existed. As we came upon this sad sight it nearly took our breath away. (Enlarge the photo and see right through the last remaining standing wall of the Galleria.)

"The grass withers, the flower fades. But the word of our God stands forever."

Bible coverPeople, vegetation, structures, and even memories disappear and fade with time but God's Word is for all time. The authority of the Bible refers to the belief that the Bible is normative for the individual believer and church in all speech, thought, and practice. In other words, Scripture is the sole and final authority for Christians in all matters of faith and practice. I memorized this doctrinal statement concerning the Scriptures early in my ministry, "The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man; the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct."

An ancient scheme of Satan is undermining and discrediting the authority of God and His Word.
The lack of absolutes in our postmodern world is a breeding ground for Satan to incessantly pose questions in place of truths explicitly taught in the Bible. The result of such "tinkering" brings about massive confusion from day to day, year to year, regarding what is right and what is wrong. It can also erode confidence in those who try to uphold traditional values and truths prescribed over the centuries through the authoritative Word of God.

Isaiah 40:8Thank God for the firm foundation we have in the Holy Scriptures! "The grass withers, the flower fades. But the word of our God stands forever." His Word reflects the steadfast character of God who does not change. Today as you read, study, memorize and live out the teaching of the Scriptures, rejoice in their surety, their authority, and their absolute dependability.

How sure the Scriptures are!
God's vital, urgent Word,
as true as steel, and far
more sharp than any sword:

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help us to fix our eyes on that which changes not. Your eternally inspired truths are useful for teaching, reproof, and training in righteousness. Their intent is to guide us day by day on our earthly journey with daily decisions, lifestyle, and choices as well as keeping our hope and focus on that which can't be held with our hands, seen with our eyes, or heard with our ears, not down here in our mortal bodies. The Bible only intensifies our longing with these words, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." In these perilous days when so many do what they think is right in their own eyes we want to walk according to what is right in Your eyes according to Scripture that fades not. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

LawlessnessThe spirit of lawlessness is growing rapidly in our age. Here in America we are dealing with issues practically unimaginable just a generation ago (or for that matter, even several years ago!) These issues signal a return to the turbulent Biblical period of the Judges when the people became their own authority and acted on their own opinions of right and wrong. The writer portrays the spiritual climate of that age with these words: "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). Ancient as that statement is, it could accurately headline stories from our own local or national newspaper today.

Scripture memorization: The second daily verse is a tremendous text concerning the inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures. During our nearly forty years of ministry many children (now adults raising their own families) will recall Brooksyne's knack for putting Scriptures to music and teaching it to the kids as a memory aid. In fact she taught II Timothy 3:16 & 17 "All Scripture is God-breathed..." to the tune of the old American folk song, "Crawdad Hole." (Some of you may recall Andy Griffith singing that old southern tune while strumming his guitar on his front porch.)

I heard a message many years ago on "The Authority of the Word of God" challenging followers of Christ to hold steadfastly to the authority of God's Word amidst the shifting, sinking sands of postmodern thinking. The speaker shared a story illustrating his point of how we need a fixed authority:

A man went by a clock store every morning on the way to work and always set his watch by the clock in the display window. The store owner noticed and one day asked him why he did this. The worker said, "My watch doesn't keep good time and I have the responsibility of setting the clock that blows the whistle at the factory where I work, so I want to make sure it's correct."

The store owner said, "That's interesting, my display clock doesn't keep good time either, so I set it each day by the whistle at the factory."

The point of the story is that you will end up with a chaotic mess or even run in circles if you have no fixed reference point of authority.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video  Michael Card

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video   Sovereign Grace Music

“In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock "  Video   Travis Cottrell

"Rock Of Ages"   Video   Antrim Mennonite Choir

We traveled up to Massachusetts on Wednesday to take my brother to a shop where his RV roof was replaced and this morning we are on Cape Cod. We had planned on biking but it's a rainy day here!

Forsythia basket in Taunton, MA
We drove through Taunton where we lived in the 90's and this basket shaped forsythia caught Brooksyne's attention. It's one of the first times we've seen a forsythia trimmed in such a way.

Daffodils against rock wall
New England has lots of rock walls which add natural beauty to the scenery.
Click to enlarge

Cranberry bog
Well hydrated Cranberry bog
Click to enlarge

Tremont Nail Company
We passed the Tremont Nail Company, which is the oldest nail company in America.
Sadly it appeared to be closed.

Cape Cod welcome shrubbery

Cape Cod forsythia
The eye catching colors of yellow, green and white stood out to us in this photo.

Cape Cod house
A quintessential Cape Cod home

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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber 8/6/20
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Casey Jones Restaurant, August 2020

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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