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Friday, December 7, 2012

Sheerlund Forest tree farm (photo by Mike Martin)
Sheerlund Forest tree farm near Reading, PA
(Photo by Mike Martin)

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"Faithful and Responsible"

"When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe" (Acts 28:23,24).

Pearl HarborToday is Pearl Harbor Day. Fewer and fewer of those involved on that fateful day are still living but it's important that we do not forget. History has so much to teach us. And so many of its lessons have a spiritual application as well.

The morning of December 7, 1941, found 353 Japanese airplanes swarming all around the Harbor site. Within a couple of hours, America lost 8 big battleships, 6 major airfields, almost all planes, and 2,400 men. That happened at approximately 7:45 AM in what was supposedly a surprise attack.

However two early warnings of the approaching Japanese attack came, but both were ignored. At approximately 6:30 a.m., a Japanese midget sub was spotted and sunk near the entrance to Pearl Harbor. Shortly thereafter, an Army radar station on Oahu's north shore reported the sighting of planes about 50 miles away to the Watch Commander at Army information center at Fort Shafter. It was then reported to a Navy lieutenant. The Navy lieutenant believed they were US planes returning from a reconnaissance flight or B-17's scheduled to arrive from California and the sighting was ignored.

Had the lieutenant responded with a warning there would have been time to scramble the planes at Pearl Harbor, prepare the battleships and shelter the men, but this lieutenant, at the most critical moment of his career, failed the nation and scores of lives were lost.

Careful attention to detail, keen discernment, transparency and accountability are essential in the qualifications of a good leader. I believe the Apostle Paul had all the above characteristics in addition to his unswerving commitment to follow Christ, spread the Gospel message, and endure enormous hardship as a tried and true soldier of Jesus Christ.

The daily text sums up Paul's ministry when he arrived in Rome after his long arduous journey, which included that of a horrific shipwreck. He was surely exhausted and the text states he was under house arrest with a soldier guarding him (v.16). Nevertheless he was faithful and responsible to his call.

"They came to him at his lodging in large numbers." Though Paul was weary in body surely the eagerness of those curious to hear him further explain the Gospel message must have invigorated his spirit. Those in ministry can easily relate to being physically exhausted but when an unscheduled opportunity to minister comes the physical weariness is infused by spiritual stamina.

"He was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening."
Key action phrases that jump out to me in this passage are "solemnly testifying" and "trying to persuade."

The heart of Paul's message concerned "Jesus" and since he was speaking to Jews he drew his material from "both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets." It must have been both an exhausting and exhilarating day as he shared
"from morning until evening."

Paul demonstrates in this passage being faithful and responsible. Earlier in the Book of Acts in his address to the Ephesian elders Paul stated, "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).

"Some were being persuaded by the things spoken." What a blessing to persuade and lead people to faith in Christ.

"But others would not believe." Many will not believe our message, but our responsibility is to faithfully proclaim. Today let us be faithful and responsible with the most important message of all, "to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God"!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have entrusted the gospel message to all who have chosen to believe. Some are called to preach it in a public forum, others share it one on one day in and day out, through our lifestyle and through our words. We give careful attention to the Scriptures so that we can explain to others the simple yet mysterious Gospel message. We want to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God so that we can be faithful  ambassadors for Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

The article about the history of Pearl Harbor from which today's illustration was taken.

Whiteboard witness
Mike, a friend in one of our companies, provides a witness using a whiteboard at his work station.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"I Am Persuaded"  Video  Travis Cottrell  Today's song is dedicated to a friend whose five year old grandson went to be with Jesus following a traffic accident Wednesday afternoon caused by a drunk driver. He and his family are understandably devastated. On Monday Brooksyne and I will be traveling out to Columbus Ohio for the Memorial service. May the Lord fill this family with the powerful assurance expressed in this song is our prayer. In January my friend shared with joy how this very grandson had accepted the Lord. There are many mysteries in God's providential ways.

"Almost Persuaded"
 Video  This old P.P. Bliss song has a powerful message. We urge each reader today to be persuaded and believe.

"Praise To The Lord"  Video  Travis Cottrell  We love to hear the classic hymns sung with joy and conviction!

"Alive Forevermore, Amen!  Video  Travis Cottrell

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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