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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quilt on brick wall
Colorful quilt wall hanging on a restored brick wall.

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"The Remnant"
"God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance" (Genesis 45:7). "He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant" (2 Chronicles 36:20a). "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace" (Romans 11:5).

If you sew you may think of a remnant as a piece of fabric left over after the pattern is cut out. Also there's the sense of a carpet remnant; new pieces left over after a room is carpeted. Remnants are also used in making quilts.  Brooksyne has childhood memories of her mother and grandmother making quilts not primarily for the decorative value or the sale in auctions (popular here in Lancaster County) but rather for resourcefulness and function.  Brooksyne never got into quilt making since she still has many good quilts her mother passed onto her before her death!

Scripturally "remnant" is used for the people of God who remain faithful during a time of apostasy and judgment. The first reference in the Bible is Joseph speaking to his brothers, "God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance."

Watchman NeeWatchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith remaining in prison until his death in 1972.  Before his departure, he left a piece of paper under his pillow which had several lines of big words he had written with a shaking hand. He wanted to testify to the truth and did so in his freedom as well as his captivity - until his final breath. That truth is—"Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. Watchman Nee."
While Brooksyne and I grew up in middle America in peace and freedom we were unaware that Watchman Nee and scores of others were suffering for their faith. They are among the people of God that live all over the world under many conditions.  All we who share Watchman Nee's beliefs are among the faithful remnant.

You've probably heard the phrase, "God has always had a people."  Our faith is strengthened and our courage emboldened as we study the lives of God's people throughout history who are among the faithful remnant. Even during the darkest Biblical times we find faithful followers such as Gideon and Jephthah who lived in the period of the Judges. They are listed in the "Faith Hall of Fame" of Hebrews 11.

During times of deep apostasy in later Biblical history we read of Elijah and Jehoiada.  Daniel, who remained faithful and diligent, was in the remnant exiled to Babylon as mentioned in our second daily text among the remnant taken to Babylon
(2 Chronicles 36:20a). He was not alone for the record speaks of his three Hebrew friends as well (surely there were others not mentioned in the Scripture records.) During the inter-testamental period, there were those who remained faithful to God (for example, the unknown scribes during that period who faithfully copied God's Word).

John WycliffeAll through the Church's 2,000 year history even in the bleakest of times the light of Truth has never extinguished and a remnant remained faithful to God. There were brave souls like John Wycliffe who stood up for God; his beliefs under terrible persecution and ridicule prior to the Reformation. Wycliffe translated the Bible into English and organized a group of poor parishioners, known as Lollards, to go throughout England preaching Christian truths and reading the Scriptures in their mother tongue to all who would hear God's word. As a result the Word of God, through Wycliffe's translation, became available to many Englishmen. Wycliffe International, a Bible translation ministry, is named after him.

Many of our brethren continue to be oppressed and persecuted. Today we speak of those who, like the ancient Israelites and those all through the ages of the church,  are holding to their faith in God representing the faithful remnant. Romans 11:5 remains true: "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace."

A commentary notes: "It's the same today. There's a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They're holding on, not because of what they think they're going to get out of it, but because they're convinced of God's grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago."

Yesterday we heard a radio preacher make this simple statement, "It's easier to compromise than to contend." Today what a joy to be among the faithful remnant who are contending for the truth!  Brooksyne and I confess our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and reaffirm our commitment to serve Him wholeheartedly.   We join Watchman Nee in his simple creedal statement: "Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe."

We hope you will join us as a part of the faithful remnant in affirming, contending and proclaiming the truth today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily Prayer: Father, we confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for our sins, rose again on the third day and is now seated at Your right hand in heaven.  To acknowledge this truth comes so naturally with great enthusiasm, boldness, and conviction when other believers are standing nearby lifting their praises in agreement right alongside us in a church service or a gathering where there is freedom of worship.  But the real test of our faith is when we publicly acknowledge these Biblical truths among those who don't agree bringing about ridicule or persecution.  No matter the setting and no matter the testing, by Your grace, may we be numbered in the faithful remnant of Your devoted followers. And we pray for those who are presently undergoing persecution.  May You uphold them by Your strong hand and deliver them from their oppressing persecutors, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

A cousin wrote me yesterday as result of my recollection of our Aunt Ruth and her favorite Scripture verse mentioned in yesterday's encouragement message:
"She was a huge influence in my life. She used to throw the sheets off of me in the morning enthusiastically reciting that Bible verse. I loved her zest for life and positive energy." (Note: This sure demonstrates how colorful our Aunt Ruth was!)

Another cousin recalls that after reciting the verse she would list all the books in the Bible!

A testimony concerning life verse from Ken, a friend from Maine:  I appreciate reminders that the Scripture is God breathed and continues to be alive and life changing.  Your sharing about life verses is I think particularly vital.  I believe that it is important for every believer to have a verse that has spoken to them time and again and to even use this verse to help them in discerning the call of God on their life. My life verses are Romans 12:1-3 and over the years continue to speak to me in fresh and new ways as I grow and continue to learn more about the Kingdom life to which we are all called.

A Canadian reader shares: Isaiah 26:3 was revealed to me many yrs ago. Serious financial difficulties, led to nightmares of hands, stop signs, dollar signs, many, many things floating before me, In the dream I would stoop down to be rid of the symbols before me, and the Lord would be there with His arms open.  Finally after many dreams, Isaiah 26:3 was revealed to me.  Great and wonderful words spoken to us through His Word. Words to live by.   Hugh

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"In The Cross Of Christ I Glory"  Video  

"Oh, What A Savior!"  Video  

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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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