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Friday, July 17, 2009
Yesterday in the course of our chaplain visits throughout eastern Lancaster County we stopped by "The Kitchen Kettle Village" in Intercourse, PA. This is a busy tourist destination in the heart of Amish country. We enjoy listening to these skilled local musicians, who have been playing and singing at the Village for many years.
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"The Authority Of The Bible"
"Your word is truth" (John 17:17). "All your words are true" (Psalm 119:160).
A friend of mine shared about a sermon preached this last Sunday in a church from our area that her brother attends. The minister titled his sermon, "Is The Bible Really Reliable?" Some congregational members thought that perhaps he chose a brow-raising title just to get the attention of his listeners and expected that he would surely preach a respectful affirmative message from God's Word. Instead he launched into a vicious attack on the Bible as merely a collection of ancient fairy tales. This has caused quite a stir in that church as it certainly should.*
The ridicule and mocking of God's Holy Word is increasing dramatically in our time. I recently read of a congressman who appealed to a Scripture to make a point and was later ridiculed for using a "funky old collection of desert scribblings."
A number of years ago there was an article in "U.S. News and World Report" titled "Is The Bible True?" with a subtitle "New Discoveries Offer Surprising Support For Key Moments In The Scriptures". It showed a picture of Adam and Eve prior to the Fall. I was intrigued by the title and wondered if the article might affirm my faith. I should have known better.
I have grown suspicious of these types of secular based articles through the years. They are normally written by mockers and unbelievers who cite other mockers and unbelievers as authority. A prime example is the "Jesus Project" whose intent is to strip Jesus of all that the Bible says about Him. These liberal "scholars" are regularly presented as the authority on Christ and the Bible in secular magazines.
We must not look to the affirmations of the world to validate our faith in the authority of Scripture. The daily Scriptural quotations are spoken by Jesus Christ and the Psalmist. I want them to settle deep in my spirit today. Jesus said to His Father, "Your word is truth." That's a vital point and is the cornerstone of my faith. If Jesus Christ had absolute confidence in the words of His Father as recorded in Scripture, who am I to argue with Him who holds the key to understanding.
A foundational belief of the follower of Christ is the statement made by the Apostle Paul, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
Unbelievers have been hacking away at the veracity of God's word for millenniums but the Psalmist states "All your words are true." The prophet Isaiah states, "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever" (40:8). And let this one sink deep into your heart, soul and mind, "Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens" (Psalm 119:89).
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for Your faith in His excellent Word! *1
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we place our complete trust and confidence in the words recorded in the Scriptures that You inspired Your followers to write. All Scripture is inspired by You and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that we who follow You are equipped to do every good work You commission us to do. No matter the ongoing attempts by mortal man to bring into question the authority of Your immortal Word, Your Word is eternal; it stands firmly in the heavens and is established deep in our spirit where Your Holy Spirit resides. We choose to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and those who have carefully navigated their earthly pilgrimage by walking the narrow path that leads to eternal life instead of the broad way that most choose leading to disbelief and destruction.
*1 Actually based on the extreme liberal inclinations of this church I am surprised any discerning person would have expected differently.
*2 "How Firm A Foundation" Keith, George / Steele, Anne © Public Domain
Kitchen Kettle Village yesterday and we were pleased to see that it was very busy. Lancaster County is a popular tourist destination and this is one of the places many want to see (undoubtedly in part because of the town's interesting name!) A highlight for us is going into the Jam and Relish Kitchen where you can watch them can the products offered and enjoy many free samples. (That was our lunch!)
We stopped by Garnett Pottery, a small shop where Brooksyne bought a gift for a friend we will be visiting next week. These are Brooksyne's flowers in an arrangement known as a frogpin cluster (Click on photo to enlarge) This brought to mind a story we shared several years ago that developed out of an experience in this store. We were blessed to hear that this story was published in a newsletter that is distributed to the merchants that have shops in the Village!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"How Firm A Foundation" Video A beautiful piano version.
"Ancient Words" Video We enjoy singing this song in our church.
Another song comes to mind today although I was unable to find an online media file for it.
How sure the Scriptures are, God's vital urgent Word.
As true as steel and far more sharp than any sword,
So deep and fine at His control.
They pierce where soul and spirit join.
They test each human thought, refining like a fire.
They measure what we ought to do and to desire
For God knows all. Exposed it lies
Before His eyes to whom we call.
Let those who hear His voice confronting them today,
Reject the tempting choice of doubting or delay.
For God speaks still, His word is clear.
So let us hear and do His will.
"How Sure The Scriptures Are" Idle, Christopher / Darwall, John
(to the tune of "Rejoice, the Lord is King")
For further study concerning today's very important topic:
"Biblical Authority" An online study by David L. Miller Interestingly this very sound article is written by a pastor who is in the very same denomination as the church mentioned in the opening paragraph!
"Biblical Authority" An online article by J.I. Packer
"Can I Trust The Bible" A study by Rabbi Glenn Harris
"Understanding Biblical Authority" A message (pdf) by Pastor Steven Cole of the Flagstaff Christian Fellowship. This pastor does an outstanding job of sharing his sermons over the internet.
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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