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October 9, 2013

Morning glory on fencepost
Morning glories growing on our back fence.
Our Creator God paints stars on blossoms not only for our enjoyment,
but also for His!
Purple and white: royalty and purity

"A Steadfast Heart"

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"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast" (Psalm 57:7). "And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:10).

We need to get back to the basics of life
A heart that is pure and a love that is blind
A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ
The hope that endures for all times
These are the basics, we need to get back to the basics of life

We enjoy the country church we have attended the last 12 years since we moved to this area from New England (apart from several years that I had temporary assignments as an interim pastor elsewhere). We have a nice mix of worship songs; some older, some newer and a Biblical sermon preached by our dedicated Pastor. We periodically have a testimony time when anyone in attendance can share from their heart.

Wilma DourteThis last Sunday we sat beside Wilma who is 89 years old. She stood up and turned around to face the majority of the congregation. Wilma is sort of like E.F. Hutton for those who may recall that ad from the seventies, "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen."

With tears in her eyes she pleaded with all to make sure everything was right in their hearts with God. She made a vital point that it is critically important to make the decision now to faithfully follow the Lord, not when the time of testing comes such as persecution. In earnest she urged each of us to make sure we are ready to meet Jesus when He returns for His own.

I am so blessed by the Psalmist's simple statement of resolve in our first daily text:
"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast." To have a steadfast heart carries the sense of being fixed and unwavering. The KJV states, "My heart is fixed , O God, my heart is fixed."  Joseph A. Alexander (1809-1860) in his epic "Commentary on The Psalms" observes, "the repetition adds solemnity and force to the declaration."  This is a declaration I encourage each of our readers to make: "My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast."

An old gospel song has this line regarding God: "All may change, but Jesus never". What a blessed relief that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (see Hebrews 13:8). 

But we see a rapid crescendo of change in our age so hastened by technology, media and the entertainment industry. Ancient moral restraints are being shrugged aside and mocked. Right is called wrong and wrong is called right. As we see the problems in our government here in America many spokespersons have likened the way leadership is dealing with the problems as like kicking a can down the road. Now it seems the kicks are getting shorter and shorter and many of us wonder how long this can go on.

It's really time to have a steadfast heart. When I was a young Christian I learned a concept I have often shared with others: "You must know what you believe and why you believe it."

Beginning this message we quoted the chorus from a song that was very popular a few years back. It's
titled "Basics Of Life". We will post a video link to the song below but as I prepared today's message the lyrics really struck me. The first verse states:

We've turned the page, for a new day has dawned
We've re-arranged what is right and what's wrong
Somehow we've drifted so far from the truth
That we can't get back home
Where are the virtues that once gave us light
Where are the morals that governed our lives
Someday we all will awake and look back
Just to find what we've lost

Today may the Lord grant us a steadfast heart with a resolve to follow the Lord faithfully in increasing defiance of a world gone crazy. Our prayer for each of you is "And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:10).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to present to You a pure, steadfast and undivided heart that follows hard after You. A heart that hides Your Word so that sin will not dominate. May my heart beat compassion, devotion, and absolute allegiance to the One who gave His all that I might be forgiven my sins and live eternally with You. May I present to You a sweet aroma of worship that rises to Your throne. In the name of My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer adapted from the song "A Pure Heart".

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"The Basics of Life"  Video  4Him (This is the song quoted in today's message.)

"A Pure Heart" Video  Rusty Nelson

"I Want a Principle Within"  Video  Collingswood Family
  This old Charles Wesley hymn has a message so needed in our age:

    I want a principle within of watchful, godly fear,
    a sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near.
    I want the first approach to feel of pride or wrong desire,
    to catch the wandering of my will, and quench the kindling fire.

    From thee that I no more may stray, no more thy goodness grieve,
    grant me the filial awe, I pray, the tender conscience give.
    Quick as the apple of an eye, O God, my conscience make;
    awake my soul when sin is nigh, and keep it still awake.

    Almighty God of truth and love, to me thy power impart;
    the mountain from my soul remove, the hardness from my heart.
    O may the least omission pain my reawakened soul,
    and drive me to that blood again, which makes the wounded whole.

"I Believe"  Video   Jimmy Fortune, Dailey & Vincent

"Family Bible"  Video 
Dailey & Vincent

"On the Other Side"  Video  Dailey & Vincent

Down memory lane:
An E.F. Hutton ad. Video

Some more food for thought (from an email I read last night): "The Rev. Billy Graham has never been an overtly political figure. He counseled Presidents, yes. But it wasn't until last year's marriage debate in North Carolina that the popular evangelist waded into the cultural battle to stay. In endorsing the state's marriage amendment, Rev. Graham said he never thought he'd live to see the day that he had to defend marriage as the union of a man and woman. Since then, his profound concern for our nation has only deepened.

In an interview last weekend he addressed America's moral decline. Rev. Graham said, "Hope and change has become a cliche in our nation and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed. Our country is turning away from what has made it so great, but far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought; He knows our hearts need transformation."

That's what he and the entire Graham family are praying for: a contrite America, where revival -- the kind sparked by the messages the Rev. Billy Graham delivered all over the world -- is possible. Rev. Graham is right that religious freedom is under greater attack in this country than ever before.

There is a growing understanding that even preaching the Gospel is being threatened under an administration that is redefining religious freedom. Religious freedom has always been defined as the right to live out one's faith in every area of life, but this administration wants to redefine it to mean what happens within the four walls of the church which they call freedom of worship. It's the Gospel that's at the heart of the controversy -- and the freedom to preach and live your life according to that message that is at stake! I applaud Rev. Graham's boldness and pray that each of us is inspired to vote our values, speak the truth in love and live out our faith."

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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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