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Friday, April 20, 2007

Frogpin arrangement

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"Perilous Times"

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (2 Timothy 3:1).

We live in perilous times. The events at Virginia Tech this week surely underscore this.  The situation in the Middle East remains a powder keg. Violence and perversions abound.  Millions (probably hundreds of millions) of people on earth hate Jesus Christ and His followers and many actually consider it a religious virtue to kill us.

Certainly there have been thoughtful believers in any generation in this present church age who felt that they lived in perilous times and indeed many have. There are places today that face adversity much greater than most of us face. However I believe worldwide there is a subtle yet systematic undermining of the Christian's right to freely express and even practice faith that is leading to outright persecution. I am following the story of a home school family in Germany. When I drive by the simple one room Amish schoolhouses here in Lancaster County I just wonder how long my Amish neighbors will have the freedom to raise their children according to their convictions, one of the foundational blessings of freedom we've enjoyed for many generations.

The secular worldview scoffs at the view I espouse, but the primary problem in the world remains spiritual; not social, psychological or economic.  More specifically, and yet it is seen as culturally and politically incorrect in these "tolerant" and diverse times, the main need is the message of salvation through the only Savior Jesus Christ!!!  (I read an interesting perspective concerning the convocation service at Virginia Tech.  The writer observed that during the entire service the name of Jesus was not even mentioned. Even the "Christian" representative at the service was unable to muster the courage to proclaim the name of the founder of the Christian religion, Jesus Christ! *)

In the New International Version the phrase "perilous times" is translated "terrible times". The underlying Greek word for perilous or terrible is used only one other place in the entire New Testament describing the Gaderene demoniacs as "fierce" and "violent".  Doesn't that increasingly describe our times?  The Apostle Paul emphasized that perilous times shall come.

God's Word teaches us the way to live.  Love God. Honor and obey our parents.  Respect life.  Uphold moral standards. When God and His ways are rejected perilous times come.  Man reaps what he sows, both individually and as a society.

But God has promised better things for those who stay faithful to Him!  Where is your citizenship today?  Paul wrote from prison, (Philippians 3:20,21). John wrote from Patmos, during the fierce reign of Emperor Domitian, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body""He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).

Be encouraged today and stay faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ in these perilous times!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, though life's experiences teach us that darkness and turbulence rage around us, help us to hear the Prince of Peace who masters the raging storms calmly say, "Peace be still" to our anxious hearts.  May our steadfast trust be found in the One who calms the storms and not in world leaders who have made such a mockery of world peace throughout history.  Conflict will always exist in this current world, but I thank You, Peace-speaker, for resolving the inner conflict within my heart and for all who trust in You.

Additional Resources:

* Here's several perspectives regarding the omission of the name of Jesus at the Virginia Tech service. Is it just coincidental?  #1  #2  #3

I learned yesterday that a young man from Saint Marys, the small town in the mountains of north-central Pennsylvania, where I pastored for 16 years, was among those who were killed Monday at Virginia Tech.

Last fall an evil group claiming to be a church announced that they were planning to protest at the funerals of our Amish children here In Lancaster County. (It didn't happen.) Now I read that they plan a similar publicity stunt at funerals for the students slain at Virginia Tech.  Empathically this group does not represent the Lord Jesus Christ I serve nor His true church.

Here's another thoughtful commentary on the matter, "Evil, not ill"

Here is a link concerning the plight of the German home-schooled family.

Finally, I read this commentary several weeks ago and it's an astounding example of hatred toward Christians and traditional values in a national paper. Does this really indicate the attitude of many toward Christians?

Today's song of encouragement is "He Lives" by Selah.

A lighter note from Brooksyne:  We feature today the photo of a flower arrangement of lavender spring flowers in a shallow pottery vase.  The flowers are secured in a frogpin holder that is centered in the middle of the vase.  We featured a related spiritual story about this last summer and followed up on what we said we were going to do. We purchased this vase last week when we went to Kitchen Kettle Village located in the heart of Amish Country and had a nice chat with the woman who makes the pottery, along with her husband. Interestingly she showed me a copy of our story that had been reprinted by the manager of the shops.  It had been forwarded by one of our faithful readers at that time and further distributed in a newsletter among all the shop owners of the Kitchen Kettle Village!

Today's song of encouragement is "He Lives" by Selah.

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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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