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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No compromise album cover
No Compromise

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"Serving Another King"
"But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: 'These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus'" (Acts 17:6,7).
Today's photo is from one of my favorite album covers; Keith Green's "No Compromise." Set in an Old Testament period the people are required to bow before the passing king. But one brave soul, true to his convictions, remains standing in obedient defiance. A soldier on a horse is pointing him out. We are left wondering what consequence he faced for doing the right thing in the eyes of the One True King.
Today let's consider Bible characters who went against the crowd such as the three Hebrews who said to King Nebuchadnezzar, when given the choice between bowing or a fiery furnace, "We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Daniel 3:18).
Such is the ancient contest between two opposing worldviews; one that is raging to this day and will do so until the return of the Lord.
The daily Scripture portion, a more obscure passage set in Paul's second missionary journey, illustrates this.  Paul's ministry in Thessalonica was received by some but opposed by most.  That seems to be the pattern throughout the centuries.  It certainly was true of Jesus' ministry when He walked among a fallen people.  It is true today in so many places where God's truth is being proclaimed. And it's becoming more and more true right here in America.
One receptive Thessalonian named Jason had welcomed Paul and Silas into his home.  He now paid a big price for that hospitality.  He, along with some other brothers, was dragged before the city officials.
The charge they faced is so interesting.  "These men (Paul and Silas) who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here."  From the perspective of this angry, unreceptive mob Paul and Silas and their followers were troublemakers.  What a rebel rousing reputation they had, causing trouble all over the world! 
Their accusers sum up the essence of the dangerous message they're spouting to others in one phrase, "They are...saying that there is another king, one called Jesus." 
That remains the message of the true church, a message the world hates to hear and a message we must continue to steadfastly proclaim.  We've often heard the phrase "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." The main thing is a consistent demonstration by word and deed, both individually and corporately, of the reality of another King, one called Jesus and another Kingdom not of this world, God's Kingdom.
Today let us who love the Lord faithfully proclaim this timeless message.  If we are viewed as troublemakers and dangerous so be it!  It does not diminish the truth of what we share; that we serve a risen King whose kingdom is not of this world.  We live, not just for a lifetime on earth, but for all eternity in heaven.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, we proclaim You to be the King of Kings and Lord of lords.  Help us to boldly declare this glorious message, not only in a setting where we find the listeners in full agreement, but also to a hostile world that is building its perishable kingdom here on earth. May we be full of conviction and infused with Your power as we courageously tell others "There is another King, one called Jesus."

Note: Yesterday we mentioned a 66 Verse Memorization Plan I developed while pastoring that included a verse from each book of the Bible. Quite a number of our readers have requested this list. We actually did it over 20 years ago before we used a computer and I couldn't find a hard copy in my files. However Linda Burns, whom we mentioned yesterday, has sent us all the references. We will post these 66 verses as soon as we have them typed and ready for your usage, hopefully by tomorrow.  We are always blessed when readers take on challenges to memorize Scripture!
Note from Stephen: I finally learned something today after 15 years of working with MS Word.  I, with great enthusiasm, disabled the very annoying (to me anyway) "insert" key.  I type by fast pecking which requires me to be staring at the keyboard the entire time rather than the screen like trained typists.  Brooksyne watches me peck and shakes her head in disbelief (or is it a look of disgust!)  Often, because of my "style", I accidentally touch the insert key and  when I eventually look up at the screen sentences later I find that I have typed over a bunch of hard thought text!  Here's the solution and it worked for me.

Real typists like Brooksyne and most of you don't need this and you may find it amusing that I (and other johnny come lately's) type this way. In the early seventies typing classes were for girls. (At least that's the way I felt about it.)  I still remember finding it curious why my friend John was in the typing class with all the girls.  In college it would have been helpful to type but Brooksyne did so for me and I had typing help all through my pastoral years.  Then, lo and behold, they make it so you need the keyboard to input into a computer!  Such are the times.

Another note: Jason is a common name, yet today's Jason is the only Biblical reference (apart from an unspecified Jason in Romans 16:21.) Interestingly, as I was preparing the message this morning, a man whom I'd never met before called me.  You've probably guessed already; his name was Jason!

No compromise album cover
Franklin County is three counties west of us and is in a fertile valley with some of the finest farmland in the world. However, like much of southcentral PA, the land is being gobbled up by development. Notice the houses just beyond the farm.

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"No Compromise"  (Video)  Keith Green was one of our favorite musicians. He died in a plane crash in the early eighties.  

"How Great Thou Art"

"King Of My Heart"

"A Willing Heart"
  (Audio)  Kelly Willard  We both recall listening to Kelly Willard's music as young Christians in the late seventies and early eighties.  She's more often featured as an alto singing with well-known Christian artists then she is as a soloist.

"Psalm 139"  (Audio)  
Kelly Willard

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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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