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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Colored eggs (photo by Doris High)

Colored eggs
(Photo by Doris High)

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"Rev. Enoch"

"Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men. 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him'" (Jude 1:14,15).

I just read an interesting online article that I will post to as a link following today's message for those who may want to dig deeper into today's topic. It really speaks to my heart regarding the condition of the contemporary church.

Several years ago we went to a conference at Lancaster Bible College that dealt with a perspective on current events in regard to end-time prophecy. Among the topics presented was the moral decline, sexual perversions and promiscuity that are so evident in our time.  One of the speakers shared that he has gone to large churches here in the U.S. where he was told outright that he is not to speak out on these issues since some may find the message offensive, intolerant or unloving. Thankfully in the Bible College setting I was in he spoke the truth!

EnochWhen Brooksyne and I first got married we got a little mixed Chow puppy which we had for about ten years.  Being dedicated Bible College students we took the name of a Bible character and named him Enoch. He was a colorful part of the early years of our marriage and to this day I am sure many who knew us then will remember him!  In fact I even wrote a story about him titled "My Dog Enoch"!

The Biblical Enoch is best known for his remarkable departure from this world. The Bible simply states, "Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him" (Genesis 5:24). We also know from Hebrews 11:5-6 that he was a man of faith and "he was commended as one who pleased God."

But our daily verse provides an additional, lesser considered, glimpse into his life and ministry. Although Enoch lived in the rampantly evil, pre-flood period of human history, he didn't keep his faith to himself. He prophesied, speaking out regarding his belief in God and his convictions. In fact he is the very first recorded Bible character to prophesy for God. 

The specific prophecy that Enoch spoke forth is just as meaningful to our generation as it was when he first gave it some 5,300 years ago; "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" (Jude 1:14b,15).

Now the notion of judgment is a message that many find offensive.  Proclaim that today and you will be labeled a crackpot by the world and sadly many in the visible church would critique your message to be "unloving".

The Bible says that Jesus didn't come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).  He appeared in flesh and walked upon the earth 33 years, taught the ways of godliness, lived a sinless life and died upon the cross that we might be saved from our sins.

The Bible also says that the Lord is coming in judgment. Men and women, like Enoch, are still called by God to walk with Him and faithfully speak forth His word.  Enoch's great-grandson Noah sure did.  In 2 Peter 2:5 he is called a "preacher of righteousness."  And many, many more have done so throughout both the Biblical and Church ages.  In our own day millions, like Enoch, are walking with God and speaking out boldly for Him.  Are you?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I must confess that holy boldness does not come easily for me.  Though I may hold an unwavering conviction based upon the teachings of Scripture, I find it difficult to articulate my position when faced with opposing views or by those with a lifestyle contrary to that of the Christian believer. It is in this setting that I rely upon Your Holy Spirit to equip me with the words I am to speak and the tone of which I speak them.  You've instructed the believer to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have.  And then You further instruct us about the spirit that accompanies our response. We are to do this prayerfully with gentleness, respect, and a clear conscience so that those who would respond unfavorably toward us would regret their behavior.  Keep our motives pure as we unashamedly and boldly declare Your truths to a lost and dying generation.  Amen.
(Portion of prayer based on I Peter 3:15&16.)

There are two individuals mentioned in Scripture (Enoch and Elijah) that did not die in the usual sense but were transferred to heaven.  The Bible teaches that the generation still alive at the time of the return of Christ will pass directly to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

New feature Failed Resuscitations This is the article I referred to in the opening paragraph. It is a powerful analysis of the state of the current church, at least here in America. I stongly encourage our readers, especially pastors and teachers, to set aside time to read it. (It's about 4,000 words long)

I wrote a message last fall titled "A Good Minister" also using Enoch (our dog) as an illustration.

Here's a "biographical" story about Enoch on our humor blog titled "My Dog Enoch".

Today's story prompts some memories of our earliest years as a married couple so we will share a few photos.

Enoch and Coon, our first pets as a married couple
Enoch and Coon were two of our first pets as newlyweds.  

First pets as married couple 1976When we first got married we lived in a tiny parsonage in the country about five melies from Fair Grove, Missouri which was about 20 miles northeast of Springfield. (Google map). We pastored a small country church that had been closed for awhile. We heated the house with a "Warm Morning" wood stove, ate lots of hot dogs and pork & beans as Brooksyne learned to cook and I worked for local farmers. Fond memories! We met some wonderful country folk with an earnest faith in Christ who had a formative part in our lives, especially an old farmer and his wife named Tracy and Bulah Sutherland.

Humor note: There been a tv commercial running lately with dogs chasing cats... in cars!!! That brings about a memory regarding our dog Enoch.  When Enoch was about a year old we moved from Missouri to Pennsylvania to plant a church in St. Marys. We moved in a big U-Haul truck and towed our blue Datsun pickup behind us. Because we didn’t fancy that long of a trip with Enoch, who was by now a big dog, in the cab with us, we placed him in the cab of the Datsun. Once when we stopped a trucker came and told us of the funniest sight. It seems Enoch was riding in the cab with his paws up on the steering wheel so he appeared to be driving!

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading plan Beginning Sunday, April 3, 2011 we are encouraging Daily Encouragement Net readers to read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This will take about 30 minutes per day. We will provide a direct link to the Scripture portion to be read and listened to each day (and several links for the weekend daily readings).

The daily encouragement message for each weekday during the forty day period will be based on a portion of the text in the Bible reading for that day.

See Bible.is for an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful.
For international readers there may be a version available in your native language. Just click on the ESV tab to access all languages available.

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planJoin our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook

A schedule for the entire reading period is here.

Here is what the daily reading reminder will look like:
For Sunday, April 3 read Matthew 1-7 beginning

This Bible reading plan is a partnership of Daily Encouragement Net and Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry which provides Bible listening resources all over the world. We will share more about this ministry in future messages.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Hymns and songs related to the judgment are hard to come by. In fact I would ask readers to suggest any modern song with this topic they may know of.

"There's A Great Day Coming"  Video   Here's one as well as a commentary on the song.

An ancient hymn rarely heard or sung by most of our readers has these lines which would probably not go over very well in most churches!

Day of Wrath, O Day of Mourning (William Irons): This is Irons's version of the old Latin hymn, "Dies Irae" (the version of the Latin hymn that floors you with a sense of Judgment Day is always going to be Mozart's take on the first two stanzas). The Irons version was written in the wake of a murder; in 1848 the French had one of their regular revolutions of government, and the Archbishop of Paris was murdered. At his funeral the mourners walked by his casket murmuring the Latin hymn written by Thomas Celano in the 13th century. Irons was there, and went home and wrote an English version of the hymn:

Day of wrath, O day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophet’s warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning.
Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth
When from Heav’n the Judge descendeth
On Whose sentence all dependeth!

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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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