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Monday, November 5, 2012

Apple festival flower arrangement
This "fresh out of the woods" type arrangement we saw at the Apple Festival last month helps us to appreciate flowers and plants not only in the spring and summer but also in the fall.

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Note: Today's message is especially pertinent for the USA where we live but the main principles apply regardless of where on this planet any of our readers may live.

"Standing Up For Righteousness"

"If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3). "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).

Voting boothsTomorrow is election day here in the USA. For many months we have endured the candidating process and I suspect most of us are quite weary of it. I saw a video of a little girl crying, expressing her disgust at hearing both of the major candidate's so often that she didn't want to hear any more about them. For several days we have seen an increase in ads here in Pennsylvania but I understand that these ads have been running for months in some "swing states". I can certainly imagine how distressing this could be to a child! I confess to watching the news more than usual in recent months and our daughter, though now an adult, has expressed the same attitude as the small child in the video.

All over our country there are highly contested races, including several right here in Pennsylvania. Throughout the autumn we have been barraged with campaign ads on TV and radio, through the mail, road signs and phone calls. On the Internet I am apparently targeted based on key words in a search. And especially pernicious is that, regardless of the type of song selected, a YouTube video may be preceded by a political ad!

JackhammerOur country is deeply divided and our long heritage of having a foundation of Biblical values is being eroded day by day. Throughout my lifetime the secularists have been chipping away at this foundation but in recent years it's more like a jackhammer. I look at the state of America and can easily see that the foundations are rapidly being destroyed (this message applies to the godly remnant living in other countries as well). I consider the loud, repetitive force of a jackhammer as it breaks up a rock. Tragically, the bedrock of our human society is the Christian family and we have seen it fragmented and crumbling over the past few decades.

Try to imagine what those living in 1962 would have thought if a preacher had forecast the moral condition of our land today, just fifty years later. I think he would have been considered a crackpot rather than a prophet!

In much of Old Testament history the focus is on the king and how he lived his life. Each king has a brief summary of how God viewed his life and earthly reign such as “he did right in the eyes of the Lord” or “he did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Today I believe the Lord still evaluates leadership in this way.
It seems the emphasis was, "As the king (or leadership) goes, so goes the nation".

However the Old Testament also records the lives of godly prophets and other people who stayed faithful to God regardless of how the king lived. For instance two of the most evil Old Testament leaders were Ahab and Jezebel. Yet at that time Elijah and Elisha both faithfully stood for the Lord and His righteousness. That's a model for each one of us today.

I often refer to our Scripture text which is so powerful. Today I want to share it in a variety of translations that vary the wording slightly but may provide further insight:
  • "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." (NASV, NIV)
  • "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." (ESV)
  • "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (KJV)
  • "Uprightness and right standing with God (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) elevate a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Amplified)
We need to examine our current choices for leadership in view of how they seek to honor the Lord’s standards for righteousness before we step into the voting booth tomorrow. We also need to acknowledge the disgrace and reproach sin has brought upon our land.

Certainly we who believe and follow Christ need to fervently pray for people's hearts to turn toward God, for a great revival of repentance and for God’s healing and restoration to fall upon this land!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, we pray for our election here in the U.S. Many votes have already been cast and the majority will be cast tomorrow. It is our earnest desire that those who most reflect godly values along with good leadership qualities will be elected to office. There is much we can do to make a difference in the spiritual landscape of our country, and yet we live in a world where the prince of darkness rules. Help us to remain vigilant as we live in this troubled world and choose not to partake of the world's hollow and deceptive philosophies, that depends on the basic principles and practices of this world rather than on Christ. It is in the powerful name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
(See Colossians 2:8)

Note from Brooksyne: I am going to make a very honest confession to our readers this morning. In recent weeks I've found myself anxiety ridden over the spiritual and political landscape of our country. We've been deluged for months with news articles, media coverage and internet stories regarding our politicians; their views and character traits. Much of the data is troubling and it has been bombarding my spirit for days. That's a sure way to be robbed of a bright, hopeful, and godly outlook for the day at hand. However when I pray my focus changes and my perspective brightens, but I again confess that I have to go to God often about the matter!

I want to be wise in the sight of God by interpreting the mindset of our present culture with Scriptural understanding so I consider the Scripture I learned as a child: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (Proverbs 1:7). The Life Application study notes sheds further insight on this familiar Scripture: "In this information age knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce. Wisdom means far more than simply knowing a lot. It is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life. The foundation of knowledge is to fear the Lord – to honor and respect God, to live in awe of His power and to obey His Word. Faith in God should be the controlling principle for your understanding of the world, your attitudes and your actions."

A quote written about 350 years ago by Jeremy Taylor fully embraces the timetable of the Gospel journey and is a great focus for the believer: "Faith is the Christian's foundation, hope is his anchor, death is his harbor, Christ is his pilot, and heaven is his country."

Peter, Jen and Caleb first day in church 11/3/12
Yesterday we had a first-time visitor in our church whom we expect to see as a regular! Caleb was born last month, the firstborn child of Peter and Jennifer Miller. I had the privilege of conducting their marriage ceremony in November 2004. Caleb has a good Biblical name and we trust that he'll grow up with the same godly characteristics as his namesake.

JK whiteboard witness

Mike, a friend in one of our companies, uses a white board on the door to his tool shanty as a witness by sharing a Bible verse or inspirational thought.

Mollie's new frisbee!
A Frisbee came in the mail (a replacement for one that Mollie tore up). We took the manufacturer at its word, as they guaranteed a replacement if the dog tore up the first one. (Mollie did so in no time since she insists on chewing through them.) Mollie was quite delighted when she realized the package that arrived was for her. And doubly delighted that it was a Frisbee, her favorite toy! She gives Stephen a pretty good work-out since she's hard to wear down with her desire to retrieve and is an amazing frisbee catcher!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"This Little Child"  Video  Scott Wesley Brown (with on screen lyrics) This ballad type song has been around for about 25 years but packs such a powerful message for any age. It presents the gospel then looks ahead to our time and the rejection of His truth
. As I listened to this song today I consider loved ones who have forsaken the way of the Lord. May they return to the God of their childhood!

"2 Chronicles 7:14"  Video  A nice song from the Integrity Scripture memory series. Many of us that have been around for awhile may recall the radio Bible teaching of J. Vernon McGee. He has an interesting perspective on this verse here.

"Monuments"  Video  Legacy Five

"The Ones Left Standing"  Video  Wayne Watson

"Statue of Liberty"  Video  Ivan Parker

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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