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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pond on Homestead Road, Lancaster Country PA
Pond along Homestead Road in Lancaster County, PA
I enjoy the color contrast between the dark green and the bright yellow!

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"Hath God Said?"

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1). "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).

Last weekend we had a change in time due to moving from daylight savings to standard. But not all clocks were changed and many of us in the states may still have clocks in our home that show the old time. Yesterday I was speaking to a man in his office and noted that the clock on his wall had not been changed.  It was an hour later than the one on his computer which reset automatically. I kidded him saying, “You could use the clock on your computer for starting time and the one on the wall for finishing!”

In the last several messages we have been considering Satan’s schemes based upon a passage used in Monday's message where Paul states, “We are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Yesterday’s message asserted that a foundational scheme of Satan is his undermining the God-designed interface among generations.

Today let's consider another ancient scheme of Satan: undermining and discrediting the authority of God and His Word.

Ravi Zacharias
Ravi Zacharias encourages and equips believers to defend their faith with clarity and confidence. Several years ago I heard him speak at Lancaster Bible College. He spoke on "The Authority of the Word of God", challenging followers of Christ to hold steadfastly to the authority of God's Word amidst the shifting, sinking sands of postmodern thinking.

He shared a clock story illustrating his point of how we need a fixed authority.  A man went by a clock store every morning on the way to work and always set his watch by the clock in the display window. The store owner noticed and one day asked him why he did this. The worker said, "My watch doesn't keep good time and I have the responsibility of setting the clock that blows the whistle at the factory where I work, so I want to make sure it's correct."

The store owner said, "That's interesting, my display clock doesn't keep good time either, so I set it each day by the whistle at the factory."

The point of the story is that you will end up with a chaotic mess if you have no fixed reference point or authority.  The lack of absolutes in our postmodern world is a breeding ground for Satan to incessantly pose questions in place of truths explicitly taught in the Bible.  The result of such "tinkering" brings about massive confusion regarding what is right and what is wrong.  It can also erode confidence in those who try to uphold traditional values and truths prescribed over the centuries through the authoritative Word of God.  

The first daily verse was Satan’s initial assault on God and His authority. “Hath God said?” Just three words from the interface Satan had with Eve planted a seed of doubt in her mind. The absolute authority of God is questioned. If we don't resist temptation but tumble it over and over in our minds it will do the same to us.  Eve chose the words of the devil over the Word of God which weakened her will and led to the great fall. Ever since that event the human race has been subject to the flaming arrows of Satan discrediting the authority of God and His Word. The mockery of God’s Word is at a fever pitch with regular attacks from media, "scholars" and experts assuring modern man that the Bible is nothing but an ancient fairy tale.

Thank God for the sure Word we have in the Holy Scriptures. The Word of the Lord endures forever. His Word reflects the steadfast character of God who does not change. Today as you read, study, memorize and live out the teaching of the Scriptures, rejoice in their surety, their authority, and their absolute dependability.

As you sense things spinning out of control around you, whether at times in your own life or the craziness in the world, reflect on this wonderful truth first proclaimed by Isaiah some 2,700 years ago: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).

Truly as the great hymn states, "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, You make Your will known to us through the authority of the Holy Scriptures. And yet each day we are exposed to opinions and lifestyles that are a direct contrast to Your teaching through Scripture and the life of Jesus.  It helps us deal with such conflict when we remember that though we must be in the world we are not to partake of the world's ways. We recall the temptations of Jesus over the 40 days He spent in the wilderness fasting and praying.  Matthew writes that it was Your Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  Was that to show us that even Jesus could be tempted by the evil one?  Did Jesus go through this testing to show us how to resist the devil's crafty lies by responding with Scripture?  Was it to show us that being prayed up helps us to resist the evil one?  Thank You for this inspiring and instructive Scripture passage that helps us in our own wilderness journeyings that are filled with baited traps along the way.  We want to be prayed up and read up so that we will not give the devil a foothold in our lives.  We want to be victorious through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Tomorrow we will continue this theme of Satan's schemes with an examination of the wisdom of this world.

Home Bible study at the Webers
"Retaining the knowledge of God"
In looking for a photo illustrative of studying God's Word I found this one taken around our dining room table several years ago.  I stood up and took the photo while my fellow brothers and sisters were unaware and I am blessed by observing their attention to the Scriptures. It's a scene that still takes place regularly all over the world.  It may be in a local church as the pastor stands behind the sacred pulpit and faithfully provides exposition of God's Word while the people listen with attentive hearts and minds.  It may be in a home or small group Bible study such as the one pictured that met for study last night.  It may be within your family devotions or it may be in your own individual Bible study that you give full attention to God's Holy Word.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"How Firm A Foundation"  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

"Ancient Words"  Video  Michael W. Smith

"Speak, O Lord"  Video  Kristyn Getty

"How Sure the Scriptures Are" by Christopher Idle (Unavailable as online audio but I sure wish someone would post this great hymn!)

How sure the Scriptures are! God’s vital, urgent word,
As true as steel and far more sharp than any sword!
So deep and fine, at His control they pierce where soul and spirit join.

Ravi Zacharias has a Lancaster County connection that prompted a Daily Encouragement message over 6 years ago (see 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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