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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Golden leaves
Changing Golden Leaves

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"All May Change, But Jesus Never!"

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

A.B. SimpsonWe enjoy reading biographies of great leaders from the church's past. Albert Benjamin (A.B.) Simpson served our Lord over 100 years ago and is known for his mission zeal and as the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA). But it's a song he wrote that I often sung earlier in my Christian life that especially brings his name to mind. It's so needed for our time and is based on the daily verse. I especially like the line, "All may change, but Jesus never!"

One of the main reasons that the book of Hebrews was written was to warn against apostasy, which is a falling away from the faith. My, how things are changing in so many ways. Are we approaching, or even now living, at the time the Apostle Paul wrote of concerning the great apostasy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3?

Many of us have memorized Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  Reading it contextually it would seem that this grand expression of divine truth does not stand alone but follows the thought from the passage we discussed yesterday, "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (v.7).

As such it has the sense of calling the reader to examine the faithfulness of leaders who have taught them the Word of God, and then to look on to the supreme example of faithfulness, the Lord Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday and today and forever.  The strong winds of change that alter people's views and affect their behavior is not evidenced in the personhood of the Lord Jesus Christ, not then, not now, not ever.  Just because the descent of humankind has declared egregious behaviors legal in the courts of our land does not make it acceptable practice in the courts of heaven.

Malachi, the final book in the Old Testament and probably one of the lesser considered among the Scriptures, has this magnificent statement, "I the Lord do not change" (3:6). What a joy to realize that this is just as true today as it was some 2400 years ago when God went on record through the prophet Malachi.

A.W. Pink writes concerning this characteristic of God: "Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will stable, His word is sure. Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises."

We encourage our readers today with this truth.  We may feel like we are living on an ever slippery slope, but today let us fix our hope on the anchor for our soul which is firm and secure, no matter the tidal waves of change in our society.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we thank You for the sweet glorious message that simple faith may claim; that yesterday, today and forever Jesus is still the same. For still He loves to save the sinful, heal the sick and lame.  We rejoice in the fact that He cheers the mourner and stills the tempest.  Glory to His name!  Yesterday, today and forever Jesus is the same.  Everything else changes but Jesus never, glory to His name!

Prayer adapted from the hymn, "Yesterday, Today, Forever" by A.B. Simpson

Jason & Becky Oberholser and family 11/11/09
Last night we had Jason and Rebekah Oberholser and their two daughters, Christina and Abigail, over to our place for dinner.  They then joined us for our midweek church service where Jason shared concerning their ministry to the Navajo Indians in New Mexico.  
Here's their blog, Oberholser Journals.

Burns family 1986

Rebekah and her family attended our church for a number of years in northern Pennsylvania when she was a little girl. She is in this photo looking up to her parents, Greg and Linda, who are holding their oldest son Daniel
at a groundbreaking for a church we built in 1986. It's nice to stay connected after so many years. Greg was the county agricultural extension agent and now operates a very interesting farm in rural Elk County PA. Greg is also an author and maintains a website at Heritage Farm.  I especially like their mission statement: Heritage Farm exists to glorify God in that our family will put into practice and provide a public example of the principles of biblical lifestyle. A tool in developing virtuous character and lives pleasing to the Lord, the farm is to be a Christian witness to others both by our example of a family working together and by providing a constant supply of "clean," fresh, high quality, nutritious and healthier foods.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"  Video  An instrumental version of this great hymn. I consider especially the line in regard to today's message, "Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not."

For More Study:

"The Immutability of God"
A.W. Pink's article from his book "The Attributes Of God".

A sermon from over 100 years ago from Hebrews 13:8.

Here's the text to the A.B. Simpson song referred to in the first paragraph of today's message. I am sure a few of you will recall singing it and if you're blessed you periodically still do.  I was unable to find a suitable online version to share.

O how sweet the glorious message simple faith may claim
Yesterday, today, forever Jesus is the same.
Still He loves to save the sinful, heal the sick and lame
Cheer the mourner, still the tempest, glory to His Name.

Refrain: Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same.
All may change, but Jesus never! Glory to His Name!
Glory to His Name! Glory to His Name!
All may change, but Jesus never! Glory to His Name!

He, who was the Friend of sinners, seeks the lost one now
Sinner come, and at His footstool penitently bow
He Who said “I’ll not condemn thee, go and sin no more,”
Speaks to thee that word of pardon as in days of yore.

Oft on earth He healed the sufferer by His mighty hand
Still our sicknesses and sorrows go at His command
He who gave His healing virtue to a woman’s touch
To the faith that claims His fullness still will give as much.

As of old He walked to Emmaus, with them to abide
So through all life’s way He walketh ever near our side
Soon again we shall behold Him, Hasten Lord the day
But twill still be this same Jesus as He went away.

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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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