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Friday, May 6, 2011

Hossler Road farm in Lancaster County PA 5/5/11

Lancaster County PA farm
Hossler Road near Mount Joy.

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: We began a 40 day New Testament reading plan on April 3. If you want to participate and have not been following the reading schedule up to this point we suggest starting with today's reading and reading previous portions after this reading period ends. Here's the entire 40 day scheduleThe links below will open to the selection to be read along with a built-in listening device. 
  • Today's reading (May 6): Hebrews 2-10 beginning here.
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"The Living and Active Word of God"

"For the Word of God is living and active" (Hebrews 4:12).

I remember well the day Brooksyne and I visited with a woman whose father had recently passed away. Patty works at a machine shop where we serve as chaplains and showed us the treasured possession her father left her; his Bible which she had carefully wrapped in plastic. We paged through the Bible and got a glimpse of his spiritual journey as we observed marked passages and notes he had written down such as this one:

"Let my life be a window
To let Your light shine through
And a mirror to reflect
Your love through me."

Brooksyne shared with her that of all the material treasures a parent could leave to a child nothing could be more valuable than a cherished, oft-read, well-worn Bible. The wisdom transmitted from parent to child is but for a season, but the Bible is living and continues to reveal truth and wisdom to present and future generations. Its message is always relevant as it explores and engages the heart of those who choose to read it. Though Patty's dad had died he left a living Bible as a remembrance of his earthly life based on the eternal values found throughout the Bible.

"The Word of God is living and active." One of my favorite sounds is Bible pages turning simultaneously in a Bible Study or a church service. One advantage of PowerPoint so commonly used in churches today is that Scripture can be displayed using one Bible version so that all can read together as well as reinforcing the message with the displayed notes. But on the other hand, in our view anyway, a growing number of people no longer follow along in their own Bibles as was the practice in past generations. I just wonder how this is contributing to Biblical illiteracy.

My spirit is stirred when I see people earnestly incorporating the teachings of the Bible in their lives. The Bible is not a mere token of our religiosity that we display on a coffee table, but as the Word of God it is an instrument that is living and active.

The Word of God is living (zoe). The Word of God is always alive! In the Book of Acts Stephen referred to Moses as a penman who "received living words to pass on to us." Although Stephen preached this message some 1,400 years after Moses received the words from God he acknowledges them as living words. Now nearly 2000 years after Stephen's sermon they are still "living words." The apostle Peter calls it "the living and enduring word of God." An old hymn uses the repeated phrase, "Wonderful Words of Life."

The Word of God is active (energes). We get the English word "energy" from this Greek word. My Greek reference tool points out that this word is used often for "divine activity which produces effective results." Today, all over the world God's active Word is being proclaimed and lives are being changed hour by hour, day after day.

As I prepare this encouragement message today I'm reminded of what a tremendous blessing it is to have God's Holy Word. The Word is truly living and active in my life as I appropriate the truths revealed in its pages. I encourage each reader who has the tremendous blessing of possessing their own Bible to read it regularly. Embrace it fully. Hide its message deep in your heart. Use it as a guide for prayer. Obey the commands contained therein and give thanks to God for the privilege you have to read from it freely.

We also consider fellow believers living in closed countries who must conceal the Scriptures or read them in hiding. To be caught with the Scriptures would result in imprisonment or physical punishment. Many others do not even have full Bibles. I believe God has a very special reward awaiting them in heaven much like the martyrs who will receive a special crown. May God help us to be diligent readers of His Holy Word and faithful followers of His wise counsel.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. The radiant light of Your Scripture goes before us dispelling the darkness of the enemy. It is living and active; therefore, it is always relevant, right up to date, and a foundation for our soul. Help us not to turn to the right nor to the left, but to keep our eyes fixed on Your Holy Word and our hearts tuned to the Holy Spirit so that we will be faithful to the very end of this life as we know it. We greatly desire to hear Your words of commendation on the other side, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Amen.

Brooksyne's note: I, too, want God's Word to be active in my life and engrafted into my heart. I am a strong believer in the memorization of God's Word and try to regularly memorize portions of the Bible. Imagine some closed countries where thirty or more rely on one Bible as they pass it among congregational members since the Bible is prohibited in their country. Many of us have multiple versions of the Bible sitting on our shelves, many of them unused for weeks, months or years at a time. May we be faithful to read and obey His Holy Word – it is the best and most accurate living "self-help" book you will ever possess. At the very top of my treasured possessions is the Bible my father passed onto me which was passed onto him from his godly father. It's a blessed three generational Bible! I recall, as a child, how we gathered in the living room at my grandparent's house and we would read a chapter in the Bible before we knelt in prayer. I was thrilled when it was my turn to read.

Brooksyne with her grandpaThis is a photo of Grandpa and me sitting on the sand at Horsehead Lake located in the valley below his 200 acre farm on a mountain top.  I was a junior in Bible College in Missouri at the time and came with three other friends (one being Stephen) to hold a revival in Grandpa's church. By this time I had learned a whole lot more about Jesus and was growing to love Him the way my grandpa did.  For the curious here's a google map of the location. My grandparents eked out a living farming on any flat or partially flat land at the top of the mountain. Quite a contrast to the fertile farmland here in Lancaster County! My grandpa was certainly a simple country folk and he was the best grandpa in the whole world. (I say it without any partiality:)

Jim and Loine 5/5/11
Last night we joined our friends Jim and Loine Hain, along at her parents' house for dinner. They are visiting from Roanoke Virginia. Jim is a retired minister and avid photographer so we have some common interests.  The Cream of Tomato Soup was delicious!

Waddling ducks 5/5/11
We came up on these ducks last night along Donegal Creek who were waddling fast as they could to get away from us (especially our dogs). It was funny to watch them try to run; something the Creator just didn't design them to do, not in a way that would be admired;   instead we chuckle!  

Donegal Creek ducks 5/5/11
Finally they had the sense to just jump in the Creek, and it is in the water that they are greatly admired as they "glide" up or down the creek (floating and paddling, seemingly without effort)!

Ashley 5/5/11
Last night Ester joined her friend Ashley to attend an honors ceremony where Ashley submitted several of her graphic art projects for judging.  One project came in 2nd place and we congratulate her in this accomplishment.  Ashley is completing her education, majoring in Graphic Arts.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Speak O Lord"  Video  Kristyn Getty

"Word of God Speak"
 Video  MercyMe

Ancient Words"  Video  Michael W. Smith

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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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