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Monday, October 23, 2006

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Fall Panorama

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"Who Are You Following?"

"Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.' But the people said nothing" (1 Kings 18:21).

Rabbi Daniel Lapin in his book "America's Real War" powerfully argues as an orthodox Jew that the real threat to America is the agenda of the secular.  (This is true, whatever country you may live in.)  Since he authored this book in 1999 we've also become very aware of the threat by radical followers of Islam. 

Lapin counters the popular, oft asserted view that the influence of serious followers of Christ and the Bible is dangerous.  He forcefully declares that the Judeo-Christian worldview is foundational to America's greatness and specifically her founding as a "Christian" nation, something revisionist historians sneer at.   I really enjoy history and have read numerous books, but have never seen the defense of America's Christian heritage more forcefully or convincingly made than he does as a devout Jewish Rabbi!  Lapin asserts the real war we face is pro-God versus anti-God.

Elijah's question is so fitting for the contemporary Church and Christian.  "How long will you waver between two opinions?"  He confronted the apostate, idolatrous northern Kingdom with this succinct query.  It seems the people of God had long forgotten the final challenge of Joshua several hundred years earlier to, "Choose you this day whom you will serve."

Sadly they "wavered" in their allegiance.  The Hebrew word for waver literally means "to hop or skip over".  They were hesitant about whom to commit to and they were double-minded.  Many years later the Apostle James wrote, "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8).

That question is at the very heart of the issue when stripped of politeness.  Very few want to be called anti-God.  They may be ambivalent.  They may be agnostic.   They may even say they have their "private faith", but the bottom line is that they are anti-God.  Jesus said it so well, "He who is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30).  You can't be "sort of with God" and "sort of against God."

This day I want to be like the old Jewish prophet Elijah.  He didn't mince his words.  So many today are like the people who, when confronted with Elijah's clear choice, "said nothing." Perhaps they thought by committing to neither way they would appease both.  That sounds like the rampant pluralism of our day.  And it really sounds like many in the visible church.

But the one true God does not give us the option of wavering.  The challenge of Elijah continues to ring down through the ages, "If the Lord is God, follow Him."  Jesus Christ and the New Testament preachers did not tolerate wavering commitment.  They never ran after people to accommodate their beliefs and double-mindedness.  The once wavering Thomas, when confronted with the evidence, exclaimed, "My Lord and my God" and went on to live and die for his Master.  Let us wholeheartedly serve God today and boldly declare, "The Lord is God and I will follow Him!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, help me to thirst and hunger for Your Word where I always find convincing truths to assure me "This is the way.  Walk in it."  I want to keep my heart fixed upon You and my mind certain of Your truths in this age where false religions abound.  You are the Way, the Truth and the Life and I gain entry to the Father only through You, Jesus the Son.  I've got a made up mind and I'm going to follow You during the good and the bad times, the lean and plentiful years.  Whether I stand with many or if I stand alone, I choose to wholeheartedly follow You.  Amen. 

Today a song that comes to mind related to the message is Days Of Elijah (mp3 audio)

Photo of Youth Group
Since August we have been serving in an interim pastoral role in a church near Harrisburg, PA. It has a great group of young people.  This photo shows them preparing hundreds of Pretzel sandwiches as a fundraiser for missions where they raised over $1,000.  It was great to see the teamwork! We've been blessed in our interim role in four different churches as we view laypersons carrying on in many ministry roles and assuming additional responsibility in the absence of a resident pastor. And we rejoice that each previous church we have served in as interim pastor now has a long-term, resident pastor and is doing well.

33661: America's Real War America's Real War
By Rabbi Daniel Lapin / Multnomah Publishers Inc.

A tug of war is going on in America between secularism and the Judeo-Christian tradition---a battle all believers must fight to win. Rabbi Lapin argues that the Judeo-Christian ethic is essential to our nation's moral greatness, and provides a solid plan of action for restoring it. The rest is up to us! 320 pages, hardcover from Multnomah.

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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. Used by permission; 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 I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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