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Monday, February 5, 2007

Coal Sove
A warm spot on a cold morning!
6 degrees early this morning

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"They Trusted In Him"

"Then Nebuchadnezzar said, 'Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! They trusted in Him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God'" (Daniel 3:28).

It's a very cold 6 degrees here in Pennsylvania today. Normally Brooksyne works right here beside me as we prepare these messages, but this morning she's downstairs, comfortably seated next to our coal stove. As you can see from the photo both Roxie and Dottie are nestling in this warm spot as well!

We primarily heat our home with a coal stove, using Pennsylvania anthracite coal. I fill the hopper in the back of the stove early each morning and the coal is slowly, automatically fed to the burner. A white hot portion on the burner only about 4x4 inches is generally adequate to keep our entire house warm, although when it's this cold we do use some electric heat. The stove has a glass door on the front so I can see the warm glow and verify that it's working. When I see the light from a distant glance I'm confident that the heat is there as well!  I sure don't want to let the fire die out on a cold day like today since it takes quite a while for the coal to reach the desirable temperature!

When I open the door to the coal stove I have an idea of what a hot furnace must be like. I can only imagine how big one must be to hold four grown men!  I preached a sermon yesterday on three of my favorite Bible characters; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  Theirs is an extraordinary example of uncompromising allegiance to Almighty God in the face of the enemy.

The account of these men of faith is surely one of the greatest stories of deliverance in the Bible.  These three young men demonstrate to believers of all ages the power of faith and obedience. They got into trouble because they refused to compromise a core commandment of God in bowing down to the golden image Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 

Their punishment was being thrown into a fiery furnace.  But God delivered them and they came out of the fire completely unharmed.  The daily verse is actually a statement made by the secular King Nebuchadnezzar, whose respect they earned, after he personally witnessed their miraculous deliverance.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego demonstrate four qualities so needed by Christians today:

1)  Uncompromising Convictions (Daniel 1).
2)  Unwavering Commitment (Daniel 3:12).
3)  Unswerving Courage (Daniel 3:16, 17).
4)  Unshakable Confidence (Daniel 3:18).

They trusted the living God, defying the wicked command of the secular king, fully knowing the consequences. They were willing to give up their lives for this conviction.   I believe true followers of Christ will increasingly need these particular characteristics as the world's system grows increasingly hostile to Christ, His followers, and the standards of the Bible.  Can this growing disdain and hostility be denied? 

I urge you this day to prepare yourself with core convictions that you will not violate, so that when the time of testing comes, you, like these three young men will stand firm in your faith.  By God's grace and with His strength that's what I plan to do!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the dynamic story of the three Hebrew men has been a favorite story of Your miraculous deliverance for all ages and throughout all generations.  Their unyielding devotion to You, Almighty God, is a tremendous example to those of us who call You our Father.  You are not only our Father who watches over us but also our Deliverer in times of trouble.  Faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted, so it is in times of fiery testing that we prove Your power and You prove our allegiance to You.  Help us to be willing to give up our lives rather than serve or worship any god except the one true God.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  A quote I read this morning in my personal devotions truly describes the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and it should be our own testimony as well:  "Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation." – Elton Trueblood

Today's musical selection is by a group called Third Day. The song is called "Cry Out To Jesus"

First snow 2/2/07
This weekend we finally received a beautiful snow here in Pennsylvania, our first snow overing of the season.  Here's the view out our home office window. It's beautiful but very cold!

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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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