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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tulips against barn wall 4/21/13
Tulips on Mount Pleasant Road
The area is so beautiful with the late blooming spring perennials.

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"The Penetrating Word Of God"

"For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.

Laser cutting machineAmong the companies we serve in our corporate chaplaincy is a shop that uses laser cutting machines. These huge machines use a very focused laser beam to cut metal. As I have learned about laser cutting from speaking to the machine programmers I understand a benefit to this method of cutting metal is a clean cut that can be very precise holding tolerances to 5/1,000 of an inch while cutting steel up to 1 inch thick.

Laser cut bikeThe small bicycle to the right was cut out of a sheet of metal using this technology demonstrating the capabilities these machines have. For the photo on right I placed it above a postage stamp (twice the size of the bicycle) to illustrate just how small the pieces are they work with. They also work with very large pieces of sheet metal as well. (Click on the image for a larger view of the bicycle showing the detail, including relief.)

Of course lasers today are used in many applications including medical. That tiny beam of light can be so precise as to use it on the eyes for corrective surgery as many readers have experienced.

Today let us consider another laser; the penetrating light from God's Word that is able to penetrate our inner man. In a previous message using this text we focused on the first part concerning "The Word of God is living and active."*

In this message let us consider the phrase, "Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

In illustrating the power of God's Word the writer of Hebrews uses the phrase "double-edged sword" which of course was the best example to connect with his readers given the technology of the day. Perhaps today he would use the word laser! (Meaning, of course, no disrespect toward the authority of the Scripture.)

Open Bible with candleWarren Wiersbe comments on this passage, "In comparing the Word of God to a sword, the writer is not suggesting that God uses His Word to slaughter the saints! It is true that the Word cuts directly to the heart of sinners with conviction (Acts 5:33; 7:54), and that the Word defeats Satan (Ephesians 6:17). The Greek word translated 'sword' means 'a short sword or dagger.' The emphasis is on the power of the Word to penetrate and expose the inner heart of man. The Word is a 'discerner' or 'critic.'"

The Word of God has a penetrating quality.
 Recently our friend Chris sharpened my mower blades. He had a hard time getting the nuts off to remove the blades to sharpen them. Among our techniques was soaking the area with penetrating oil in the hope that the oil would penetrate into the threads. Thankfully, after quite the effort, he was able to remove them.

"The Word of God has an incisive and penetrating quality. It lays bare self-delusions and moral sophisms." (Marvin Vincent) Consider the power of God's Word in penetrating our innermost being "even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."  

Bible teacher Henrietta Mears wrote, "
Hebrews 4:12 shows the power of God's Word. Let the Word search and try you! Let God's Word have its proper place in your life. It searches out every motive and desire and purpose of your life, and helps you in evaluating them. Christ is the living Word of God. He is alive (quick) and powerful and all wise and all knowing."

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily 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. Eradicate both visible and hidden sin that would stand in the way of our hearing Your words of commendation on the other side, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Amen.

* Exposition from a previous message:

"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 thoroughly enjoy seeing a Bible marked up with notes in the margins, highlighted portions, and even the dates and names of those who might have preached on a passage of Scripture. Brooksyne has her grandpa's Bible and that's the first thing she looked for was the notes regarding his spiritual journey.

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.

Puritan Writer Thomas Brooks said..."The Word of the Lord is a light to guide you, a counselor to counsel you, a comforter to comfort you, a staff to support you, a sword to defend you, and a physician to cure you. The Word is a mine to enrich you, a robe to clothe you, and a crown to crown you."

Tulips against barn wall 4/21/13
Another closer view of our opening picture today. We took this on Sunday along Mount Pleasant Road on the way home from church. Brooksyne noticed it on the way and suggested it would make a nice photo. Part of the character of the scene I enjoy is the peeling paint on the barn. Of course the old rusty wagon wheel is neat as well!

Good neighbor Jerry 4/22/13
We are blessed by great neighbors. Last night, our neighbor Jerry, who is building a new home up the road brought in two scoops of soil to fill a hollow spot in our front lawn, likely a small sinkhole that's been there since we moved here in 2002. This sinkhole was probably caused by a tree that was removed long past since our land was farmland up to the time our home was built in 1986.

Kreider truck
Jerry drives a truck for Kreider Farms, one of our large Lancaster County agriculture operations, and told me that yesterday he delivered 26,000 dozen eggs to New Jersey (that's 312,000 eggs!)

Rye harvest 4/23/13
Sights and sounds from our office this morning! Harvesting the Rye from across our road. This will be used for animal feed.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Search Me Oh God"
Accapella  Video  (English & Samoan) This is the J. Edwin Orr version quoted in the begiining of our message. I met J. Edwin Orr when he spoke at our Bible College in the seventies and have appreciated his long faithful ministry till his homegoing in 1987. A website is maintained with his teachings.

"Speak O Lord"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty (Last song quoted) This is a relatively recently written song and has such powerful lyrics. When we pastored we would often sing this just prior to the preaching of God's Word to prepare the hearts of God's people to receive the message.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail-
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us-
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

"Word Of God Speak"  Video  MercyMe

"Search Me Oh God/I Surrender All"  Video  Carman (Nice hymn medley)

"Search Me, O God"  Video  Hillsong

"Search Me O God"  Video

"Give Me Jesus"  Video  Promisekeepers

Precept online commentary on Hebrews 4:12. This is a vast resource for serious Bible students. Notice how long this page is just for 1 verse!

Kreider Farms - When we first moved to Lancaster County I had the opportunity to serve as a chaplain to this company and especially enjoyed the very fresh ice cream right out of the machine.

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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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