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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cape Sebastion (photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)
Cape Sebastion in Oregon
(photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt)
Click on photo for a larger-sized image with a surprise!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: This suggested 40 day reading plan began Sunday and if you are just reading this and want to participate it's not too late to begin! (These links will open to the selection to be read and a built-in listening device.) More information concerning the Scripture reading plan is below the daily message.)
  • Today's reading (April 5): Matthew 19-24 beginning here.
  • Tomorrow's reading (April 6): Matthew 25-28 beginning here.
"At The Beginning"

"Haven't you read," He replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?'" (Matthew 19:4).

The daily Scripture portion presents the Lord's view of marriage and sexuality. In fact He quotes directly from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. He asked if His listeners had read that portion, "Haven't you read?"  Even at that time some 1500 years before the blessing of the printing press and before the massive distribution of literature on the Holy Scriptures were available Jesus asked, "Haven't you read?".

However, today, I want to highlight a phrase from this passage. Notice the foundational premise that our Lord appeals to as fundamental in our understanding of the order of things, "at the beginning the Creator."

One of the great Biblical truths under attack is the teaching regarding Creation. Many feel that they can dispense with the clear teaching in the early chapters of Genesis and still maintain fidelity to sound doctrine. In the not too distant past this was a basic teaching from Scripture that most Bible believing denominations soundly agreed upon, but this is rapidly changing. Revisions within many denominations that held long standing views from Scripture on Creation are being "updated" to reflect the changing whims of science and higher education.  Perhaps the world will accept and love them more as they take a more modern view of creation is the logic for many of them.

However the Scriptures consistently affirm the creation teaching from Genesis.  Disregard Genesis 1 and 2 and where do you stop?  You will have to do a lot of disregarding such as our Lord's own words in this text.

Bible teacher Ken Ham asserts that so many of the social problems we now deal with go back to the failure to believe in the Biblical teaching concerning Creation. In the case of our daily Scripture portion our Lord based His teaching at the beginning of creation (thousands of years earlier) and to the Creator who established order and design in marriage.

Now, of course, there are those who scoff at the teaching of Creation and indeed there are those who profess faith in Christ that feel they must take a "blind leap of faith" to believe what the Scripture plainly teaches. There certainly are scores of people who place the "authority" of the latest secular scientific theory above the authority of the Bible.

Not me! I unapologetically believe in the Biblical account of Creation.  At Creation God established the institution of marriage. Politicians and social scientists now debate the nature of marriage but the Holy Scriptures here and consistently throughout clearly define this holy institution to be that of a man and a woman, not Party A nor Party B as the marriage license reads in states that permit same sex "marriage" (such as Massachusetts).  The awkward wording of such an important document should be a first clue that something is terribly wrong with this ungodly arrangement.

In Genesis 6 prior to the great flood (another Biblical event that secularists mock) God declares, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever" (v.3).  I just wonder, given the present extent of the rebellion against God, how long will He contend with man. This day I renew my decision to believe in and follow His ways.

Can I get an "Amen, Preacher!" reverberating through cyberspace from every reader as we together affirm our stand for Christ and for the authority of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:  Father, there have always been arguments against the Biblical creation, usually by those who neither heed nor believe in the Scriptures.  But there are a growing number of believers and Christian affiliations who are looking to secularist theorists or interpretations of creation that are more acceptable by the world's standards and often introduced in educational institutions.  We believe and accept the words of the Scriptures, as inspired by the Holy Spirit.  We believe in the Biblical account of marriage when a man and a woman come together in marriage.  We do not concede to any other design that is intended to reflect or accommodate the perversion of Scriptural principles.  Keep us looking to Your Scriptures and not to other's experiences or the ever-changing positions of our day.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

For further study:

"Creation vs. Evolution — The New Shape of the Debate"  An outstanding article by Albert Mohler concerning the future direction of those who feel a need to concede on the topic of Creation. 

"Answers in Genesis"  Upholding the authority of the Bible from the very first verse.

Note: I conducted a wedding in Massachusetts in 2006 following the change. This was the first wedding I had conducted in that state since 2000 when I served as a pastor there. At that time the marriage license designated the couple with the traditional titles bride and groom.  Thus far there is not a spot for Party C or beyond but I suppose that would be easy enough to change.

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planOn Sunday April 3 we began a forty day program of reading through the New Testament and we encourage Daily Encouragement Net readers to consider joining in as we read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This takes about 30 minutes per day. Prior to each message 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 (or, on Mondays this may also be from a Scripture portion read over the weekend.)

Here's an overview of the plan I have prepared with practical tips (pdf)

Here's a schedule for the entire 40 day reading period along with discussion questions. This is especially suitable to bookmark during this period as it contains links that will open directly to the passage to be read for the day.

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planThe reading links open to Bible.is, an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful. For those who may prefer the KJV it is available. For international readers there may even be a version available in your native language. Just click the small tab directly below the Bible.is logo on the top left to see available versions. 

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.

Daily Encouragement on Facebook Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Creation Sings"  Video  Keith and Kristyn Getty

"Today I Choose"  Video  Brian Doerksen

"What Is The Gospel?"  Video  An interesting presentation.

Today's lead photo was taken by our friend Howard J. Blichfeldt and is used with his permission. His website is here.

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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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