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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Irises at Donegal Springs Presbyterian Church
Row of irises at Donegal Springs Presbyterian Church and Cemetery

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"The Living and Active Word of God"

"For the Word of God is living and active" (Hebrews 4:12).

In the course of our chaplaincy yesterday Brooksyne and I shared with a lady whose father had died in the previous week. Pat showed us her most treasured remaining possession he left her; his Bible which she had carefully wrapped in plastic. We looked through the Bible and got a glimpse of his spiritual perspective through marked passages and notes he had written such as this one:

"Let my life be a window to let Your light shine through
And a mirror to reflect Your love through me."

Bible As Brooksyne shared with her she pointed out that of all the material treasures a parent could leave to a child nothing could be more valuable than a cherished Bible.   The wisdom transmitted from parent to child is but for a season, but the Bible is living and continues to reveal truth and wisdom.  Its message is always relevant as it explores and engages the heart of those who choose to read it.  Though her dad had died he left a living Bible as a remembrance of his earthly life and eternal values. 

The Word of God is living and active. One of my favorite sounds is Bible pages turning simultaneously in a Bible Study or a church service. One of the blessings of PowerPoint, used in many churches, is that Scripture can be displayed using one single version that all can read together as well as Pastor's sermons can be reinforced with the helpful notes.    But on the other hand it can contribute to people no longer following along in their own Bibles as was the practice in past generations right up to the last 5 years or so.  I just wonder how much this is contributing to Biblical illiteracy.

My spirit is stirred when I see people earnestly incorporating the teachings of the Bible in their lives. The Bible is not a mere token of our religiosity that we display on a coffee table but as the Word of God it is an instrument that is living and active.

The Word of God is living (zoe). The Word of God is always alive!  In Stephen's only recorded sermon he referred to Moses as a penman who "received living words to pass on to us." Although Stephen preached this message some 1400 years after Moses received the words from God he acknowledges them as living words. Now nearly 2000 years after Stephen's sermon they are still "living words."  The apostle Peter calls it "the living and enduring word of God."  An old hymn uses the repeated phrase "Wonderful Words of Life." 

The Word of God is active (energes). In fact we get the English word "energy" from this Greek word.  My Greek reference tool points out that this word is used of "activity that produces results and is often used for divine activity which produces effective results."  Today, all over the world God's active Word is being proclaimed and lives are being changed. Yesterday we also visited with a woman who enthusiastically shared how the Lord was changing the lives of the people in her Chinese congregation in Lancaster.

As I prepare this encouragement message today I'm reminded of what a tremendous blessing it is to have God's Holy Word. I truly want the Word to be living and active in my life as I appropriate the truths revealed in its pages. I encourage each reader who has the marvelous blessing of possessing his or her own Bible to read it regularly.  Appropriate its truth and give thanks to God for the privilege you have to read from it freely.

We also consider fellow believers living in closed countries who must conceal the Scriptures or read them in hiding. To be caught with the Scriptures would result in imprisonment or physical punishment.  Many others do not even have full Bibles. I believe God has a very special reward awaiting them in heaven much like the martyrs who will receive a special crown.  May God help us to be diligent readers of His Holy Word and faithful followers of His wise counsel.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  The radiant light of Your Scripture goes before me discerning and dispelling the darkness that surrounds me on this earthly journey.  Help me, Father, not to turn to the right or to the left, but to keep my eyes fixed on the narrow illumined path before me so that I will eventually hear Your words of commendation, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."  Amen.

Many years ago I wrote an encouragement concerning a remarkable testimony of the power of God's Word and a faithful witness.

When Brooksyne served as choir director she led our church choir in a beautiful song that relates to today's topic. Perhaps you've heard it and it's also a great prayer. "Word of God Speak." Here's an online audio version.

Brooksyne's note: I, too, want God's Word to be active in my life and engrafted into my heart.  I am a strong believer in the memorization of God's Word and try to regularly memorize portions of the Bible.  Imagine some closed countries where thirty or more rely on one Bible as they pass it among congregational members since the Bible is prohibited in their country.  Many of us have multiple versions of the Bible sitting on our shelves, many of them unused for weeks, months or years at a time.  May God help us to be faithful to read and obey His Holy Word – it is the best and most accurate living "self-help" book you will ever possess.  At the very top of my treasured possessions is the Bible my father passed onto me which was passed onto him from his godly father.  It's a well-used three generational Bible!

Last night we had some excitement in our area when a large chicken house burned down. You could see the smoke for miles and dedicated volunteer firefighters from all through the area responded and managed to limit the destruction to only one of the six huge houses. Each house holds some 100,000 chickens.

Chicken house fire

Chicken house fire

Personal Ministry Update

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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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