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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Family at lake
A cleverly invented photo.

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"Not A Cleverly Invented Story!"

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).

We had a great visit last night with the Miller family whom we became connected with through Daily Encouragement many years ago. They have visited our home twice and last night we had dinner with them here in the Peoria, Illinois area. Larry is an engineer with Caterpillar Equipment Company. Debbie is a home school mom with five daughters who are extremely talented and fully dedicated to the Lord. Their oldest daughter Katie is a professional photographer and travels internationally. She and her friend Mindy took the photo above and manipulated it using Photoshop.   

Cleverly invented stories and creatively doctored photos like the one we featured today abound in every venue. I am increasingly skeptical as there is a proliferation of internet and email hoaxes.  It doesn't take much to concoct a hoax and put up a web site or email it to scores of people.  Then it's spread through forwarded email, which often directs the reader to "send this to everyone in your address book." Some have a certain believability about them; a "cleverly invented story."  Others are so absolutely ludicrous that it strains any credibility of the one sending it.  Many of you are smiling as you read this as you consider the junk that has come your way if you've been in email very long. Free tickets to Disney World, promised blessings and veiled curses if you don't forward on that spooky but spiritual sounding chain letter, inheritances passed onto you from strangers, bizarre stories, etc. etc.

But Peter declares, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16). What a tremendous assurance of the firm foundation our faith is grounded upon.  Peter had some amazing eyewitness experiences with our Lord and he was determined that, after he departed this life, his hearers and readers would not forget the stories and essential teachings he shared (2 Peter 1:15).  He admits to being repetitious about messages that his hearers were already familiar with, but he knew his time was near, and wanted to reinforce important truths that would keep them true to their faith in Christ.

When you sit in the pew Sunday after Sunday and hear your pastor repeat Biblical truths that you've heard him speak about many times maybe you can recall Peter's perspective.  Perhaps the old hymn line should come to mind, "I love to tell the story to those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest."  It's so important that we never grow weary of hearing the fundamental teachings of our faith even as we grow in spiritual wisdom and maturity. That's a powerful deterrent to the many cleverly invented stories we are subjected to year after year.                

I enjoy the books written by Lee Strobel which emphasize the apologetics of the Christian faith. In his book, "The Case for Faith" he reminds us of the solid foundation our faith in God and His revelation rests upon.  Our faith is not based on a cleverly invented story.  Over the years I have had an ongoing interest in apologetics which is "a conscious, articulated defense of the claims of the Christian faith." Perhaps the first apologist I heard speak was Josh McDowell, while I was a high school student, who gave an excellent defense of the gospel.  As I read the Apostle Peter's matter of fact reminder in the daily text I am so thankful for the firm basis of our faith.

The daily sub theme for this daily encouragement ministry declares; "Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation."  Today let us receive rich assurance as we consider these things and remain the true defenders of the "faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled? 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, because there have always been false prophets and teachers among us we want to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around our waist.  We seek spiritual discernment as we process that which we see, hear, and pass on to others.  May we determine truth and error, not by the popularity of the message or messenger, but by the standards set forth in Your Holy Word by Your holy messengers. Help us to spread the good news of the true Gospel to all who seek truth, life, and desire to have purpose for their lives.   Amen.

Today's text is a prelude to Peter's message in chapter two that gives warning against false teachers describing them as bold, arrogant and seducers of the unstable.  It's an excellent chapter to help believers recognize false teachers among us.  Finally I strongly urge any Christians reading this that are prone to participating in internet hoaxes or any other form of spreading error; please consider the harmful impact it brings to your witness about the one true and living God. 

Miller family
The Millers and Webers standing on a platform in front of their beautiful neighborhood lake.

Ester with Miller girls
Ester went canoeing out on the lake with Emily and Hannah Miller. I can't remember when we've visited a family where their back yard connected with a lake.  The first thing Ester enjoyed with her friends was jumping in the canoe and scooping out small fish and turtles with a fishing net.  After boasting about their catch they threw them back into the water.

Steam engine
Am I holding a tattooed turtle?
Actually it's a painted turtle by the Creator!
(No photoshop)

Steam engine
 We enjoyed several hours walking around at the Indiana State Fair yesterday.  The most unusual food we tasted and enjoyed was a deep-fried dill pickle.  But the more familiar tastes that we enjoy during the summer months was there as well including this delicious ear of butter dipped roasted corn.  Mmmm...delicious!!

Please note: Today (Tuesday AM) we are in Peoria Illinois as we continue our journey west to our Steincross family reunion near Lincoln, Nebraska.
Today we plan to visit the John Deere Pavilion and possibly the Amana Colonies in Iowa (time permitting).  This evening we will stay in Des Moines, Iowa.  Here is our trip route. We will update this as needed and share if we come across something interesting (however I will primarily mention these in the encouragements)  We hope to keep these daily encouragements up each day but realistically expect we will miss several days over the next couple of weeks. Today we initially had a hard time with the internet connection but hope it's resolved! It was if you're reading this! We also have rather uncomfortable working conditions today. (Some desks feel more like home than others.)

Here's Katie's photgraphy site

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video 

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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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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"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"