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Monday, June 10, 2013

Amish church traffic
Lancaster County church traffic

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"Concede Or Contend?"

"Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be. For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men" (Psalm 12:1). "Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3). "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care" (1 Timothy 6:20). "Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you--guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us" (2 Timothy 1:14). "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).

The true minister of the Gospel is called to "preach the Word" (2 Timothy 4:2) and a great example is the Apostle Paul who proclaimed in his powerful message to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:27, "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God."

Yet there is great pressure on pastors today to avoid subjects co-opted by the world that may be controversial. Of course here in America and around the world there is a massive effort to redefine marriage. Yesterday if you attended a Bible-preaching church in America you may have heard your pastor preach on marriage. We visited my brother's church in the Lehigh Valley and he preached on Biblical marriage beginning with its establishment in Genesis.

Contending for the faithYet many are conceding to the world on this and a host of other life defining issues. Conceding is the path of least resistance in being accepted and loved by the world and not "rocking the boat" in one's comfortable way of life. But this is not the call we have. Rather than concede we are called to contend. The problem with conceding is that if you concede now, it won't be enough later. The game is upped to yet another level.

For many years I have been blessed by a relatively obscure song recorded by the Gospel group "Truth" titled "God Is In Control". It speaks of reassurance as I listen carefully to the words. The beginning of the song has a line that was surely inspired by reading the daily headline news:

"Does it seem like the world is chaotically turning
sin and shame are unarraigned and,
Godly men are adjourning."

I especially consider the phrase, "Godly men are adjourning." Typically we use the word "adjourning" to describe a meeting coming to an end, but it is a tragic day when Godly men and women adjourn themselves from the great ongoing spiritual battle before God calls adjournment. Laying their spiritual armor down, they're dismissing themselves in the midst of our ongoing struggle against the rulers, against the authorities and against the powers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12).

The Psalmist wrote of a time in his age, "Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be. For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men." David expresses himself in a way that we might also in our own day. His cry for help is directed to the Lord. His observation is that "the godly man ceases to be". David grew up during a time of great moral and spiritual apostasy. Certainly Saul's reign was not marked by spiritual revival or obedience to God. His reign transitioned from the period of the Judges, which is summed up with the phrase, "Each man did what was right in his own eyes."

However there was a remnant of God's faithful followers during this period such as the prophet Samuel. Thank God for those who remain faithful followers of God all through history and right up to our own day who do not adjourn or concede!
  • Faithful ministers who preach God's Word uncompromisingly, not seeking to please or accommodate to the ways of the world.
  • Dedicated lay persons who live out their faith before an oft-scorning world.
  • Couples who take their marital covenant seriously.
  • Singles who walk the Christian path in holiness, solitude and purity.
  • Parents who raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • Church communities that do not give up meeting together, but encourage one another as they see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
I am convinced that there will always be a remnant church, faithfully holding to the truths of Holy Scripture till our Lord returns. Christ has stated that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church of God (Matthew 16:18). This true church may very well be hated by the world, for as it contends for the truth and faith once for all entrusted to the saints, it will be labeled intolerant, mean-spirited, hateful and even dangerous. In fact it is even now characterized in this way in many settings.

Jude 3May the Lord help us to be faithful in holding onto the Living Word and preserving its uncompromised message in our conversation and lifestyle. We must pass this glorious message on to the next generation, not customizing or interpreting God's timeless truths set forth in His Word, based on the shifting sands of culture or our own preferences. It is commonplace in our day to modify or edit truths set forth in Scripture to say what we want them to say.  Analogous to using the "delete" or "insert" buttons on a present day computer, some adjust their viewpoints to fit in comfortably to the trends of our society.

But thank God there is also a faithful remnant that holds on to the faith "once for all entrusted to the saints".  That faithful remnant is alive and well in the tidal wave of mockery, modification, and outright blasphemy toward God's Holy Word and Christian standards.

We earnestly appeal to every reader to be a part of God's holy remnant. In the midst of doctrinal apostasy we need to stand up boldly for our faith in God and confront the heresies of our day. In the midst of moral apostasy we need to boldly assert the timeless standards of personal holiness and  live by them daily.

Let us stay faithful! For the godly man and woman there is no adjournment from life's spiritual battle until we are called home. It is in our heavenly setting that the battle will no longer rage and we will finally experience everlasting peace. Sin will be permanently adjourned and the righteous remnant will forever reign with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Let us not concede but rather let us contend!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the commandments that You give are not only to be impressed upon our thoughts but also implanted in our hearts.  Help us to be cautious and prayerful about new teachings that are pleasing to the ear and popular with our present generation, but do not bear witness with the eternal Scripture. Keep us on guard against the easy-isms of a shallow Christian experience, for that will eventually give way to our surrendering during intense enemy warfare.  We hold on to that which is of most importance and pass on to those who come behind the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints of all generations. We want to contend for the faith no matter the cost.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Diligence in work. This morning we had some routine maintenance on our house A/C system and had the opportunity to commend the service tech for his diligence and have a word of prayer with him.

Train and sunrise in snow (Photo by John M. Heisey)
Today a friend, John M. Heisey, stopped by and shared a photo with us. He snapped the photo along the main AMTRAK rail line, intrigued by the sunrise and coming train (look carefully for the lights of the engine). John uses this photo and the following message as a witness tract through his Gideon ministry:

Are You on the Right Track? 
The Narrow and Wide Gates
"Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13,14).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"God Is In Control"
Truth This is the song referred to in our message. It has very thoughtful lyrics:

Does it seem, like the world, Is chaotically turning?
Sin and shame, unarraigned, and Godly men are adjourning
Well our fathers warned that it would come to this
But just hold your hat and know that the final truth is...

God is in control, though Godless men conspire
His will unfolds, though mortal minds are sometimes left to doubt
His ways are higher than our ways, so even through the fire
Take heart and know God is in control

Does it seem, like your world, Is a maze of confusion?
Do you long for the day, when problems meet their solutions
Well I know sometimes life’s life is unsecure
But the saint who’ve held on before would charge you to rest assured

His ways are higher than our ways, so even through the fire
Take heart and know God is in control
Take heart and know, Take heart and know... God Is In Control

Last night we went to a concert in Lebanon PA to hear the
Booth Brothers, a gospel group we enjoy.

Booth Brothers concert in Lebanon PA 6/10/13

"I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band  I was especially blessed to hear this song sang last night by the Booth Brothers in light of today's message being on my heart.

"See What A Morning"  Video  Booth Brothers  Brooksyne was disappointed they didn't sing this song last night but enjoyed hearing it this morning on our local station.

"Every Cry Is Heard"  Video   Featuring songwriter Jim Brady (seen on far right) of the Booth Brothers trio. This is a touching song he wrote for those going through heartache.

"I Played in the Band, Wrote a few songs and Sang in the Choir" Video  A fun song inspired by the words of a very humble man, Henry Slaughter. When given high marks for his spiritual contribution by fellow songwriter/artist Bill Gaither, Slaughter simply responded that he hadn't done much; just sung in the choir, played the piano and wrote a couple songs (when in fact he wrote many, many wonderful gospel songs). This exchange inspired Gaither to write a song, "I  played in the band, wrote a few songs, and sang in the choir".  Gaither states that we don't have to be the head, just be willing to exercise whatever gifts God gives us for His glory.

Church group at Booth Brothers concert 6/10/13
We stopped in Lebanon on our way back from the Lehigh Valley and ended up sitting with a group from our church. That's our pastor John Keefer smiling at Ester who took the photo.

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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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