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Friday, March 28, 2014

Sun shining on church steeple (Photo by Georgia)
My cousin Georgia sent me this photo she took of "Old Peace Chapel" located at Daniel Boone's Home and Heritage Center in Defiance Missouri.

"That Which Is Firmly Believed"

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"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and
have firmly believed" (2 Timothy 3:14).

Today we would like to continue what has essentially become a series on several verses from 2 Timothy 3. In yesterday's message we studied the portion of today's verse that states, "continue in what you have learned."

Today we want to consider personal convictions. We hear the word "conviction" a lot these days. It's a talking point in both secular and religious circles. Opposing parties may have strong convictions though their views may stand in stark contrast. Earlier this week there was a major hearing at the Supreme Court dealing with religious freedom. Both sides had supporters demonstrating, expressing their strong personal convictions regarding the matter. Of course ultimately one was on the side of evil and the other on the side of good (there is no middle ground in this matter).

Paul emphatically called Timothy to continue in what he had learned and had firmly believed.
This word (epistothes) is used several other times in the New Testament such as "in full assurance" (Hebrews 6:11, 10:22). *

Timothy not only learned the great truths of the faith, but he had become personally assured of them as well. He had an inner conviction concerning the truth and reliability of these things and such confidence produces personal stability. Without this conviction of heart, it would have been difficult for Timothy to hold fast in the things he had learned amid so many persecutions and deceptions. 

Conviction is defined as "the state of being convinced; of having a fixed or firm belief." This word has certainly trickled down from its original meaning, most especially in the political world.
These days when many speak of their convictions they merely mean their present opinion which may very well change at any time. They are, as the Apostle Paul described, "tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14).

About 30 years ago a well-known politician expressed this view in writing to a constituent when he was in the House of Representatives, "It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong." This same politician has now completely changed his view on this "conviction" (and many more I might add). Of course the same thing is happening regarding marriage. You may think of similar examples, among politicians, theologians and even in your own life, which I hope will lead to you being "convicted" by the Holy Spirit in a theological sense about those subject matters in the Bible that “change not”!

What do you stand for today? What is it which you are convinced of and have a fixed and firm set of beliefs regarding? I believe this is one of the most important questions of life. Today, although the expression "having convictions" is bantered about and sounds good, many, including those who claim to be Christians, have convictions that vacillate with the wind. Their views are more established by current notions than a Biblical foundation.

Let us consider Paul's statement to Timothy in today's text. I want to receive it myself and urge you to do the same. "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of." This is in a section designated with the heading "Paul's Final Charge To Timothy".

Paul established two foundations for these convictions:

1) The Source: “Our Godly Heritage”  For Timothy “the source” of his biblical faith was from his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, who passed it down to him from childhood on (2 Timothy 1:5, and 2 Timothy 3:15). Paul discipled Timothy as a son in the faith along with other godly people of his time period.

2) The Basis: “The Holy Scriptures” From his infancy Timothy was introduced to “the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

The faith message and lifestyle was passed down generationally to Timothy. This led to his own faith experience based on deep convictions about eternal matters. Today's church needs men and women, young people like Timothy, who will continue in what they have learned and have become convinced of. When barraged with attacks on these foundational convictions we should not weaken but uphold our resolve to remain firm. Will you join us in being a people of deep Biblical convictions?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, there are so many gray areas in life where we  may differ with our own family or even the best of friends. We may vary in our preferences of personality styles, giftings, and tastes. But when it comes to the eternal truths, unchanging principles and commands of Scripture it is not for us to pick and choose. We must give full attention to the words of Scripture and build a godly heritage that we can pass on to our children and our children's children. We must uphold and teach the Scriptures that are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We want to remain steadfast and faint not as we seek to be people of deep conviction with growing faith and sterling character, making a positive difference in our sphere of influence. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

* Study note: This phrase is translated a bit differently in various versions each adding value in my word to the rich sense of the Greek word it translates. "and hast been assured of" (KJV), "and are confident about" (NET), "and which you know are true" (Phillips), "and have been assured of" (Wuest), "things of which you are certain" (BBE), "and have become convinced of" (NASB, NIV), "of which thou hast been fully persuaded" (Darby), "and your belief that has been confirmed" (Barclay)

Church in Harwood Missouri
Today's photo of a church taken by Georgia reminds me of the little white country church in Harwood Missouri I attended as a child when I visited my grandparents. My mother attended this church growing up and her mother attended till she died. It is now closed.  The photo shows some of my cousins when we gathered in 2006 after my mother's burial service.

Easter candy eggsEarly this morning we visited employees in an office area and I observed that Donna had cheered up her workspace with a snack bucket of colorful Easter egg candy. We enjoy seeing various ways people seek to bring some joy and color and sometimes a witness at work. Mike, another employee at this company uses a small whiteboard to post Scripture verses and inspirational sayings for those who pass by to read. I recall visiting with Quintin Frey. At the time he was president of Turkey Hill Dairy and purposefully placed New Testaments and spiritual literature at the corner of his desk as a visible witness.

Perhaps my favorite was Harper Hull, who went to be with the Lord several years ago who had this sign on a shelf in his office.

Diligent in Business

Long's horseradish in Central Market, Lancaster PA
This morning in the course of our chaplain visitation we stopped and moseyed through the Central Market in downtown Lancaster. A colorful stand is Michael Long's horseradish. He grinds the horseradish right before your eyes in the old fashioned grinder. As I approached the stand I noticed the distinct aroma of horseradish. Stand in front of the fan and you really get a strong odor, along with burning eyes. I once commended him for the sharp marketing tool of using the fan to spread the aroma out from his stand. He informed me that the fan was for his sake due to the very strong, nostril-burning and eye-stinging effects of freshly grated horseradish.

Amish boys helping at a mud sale, Lancaster County PA (Photo by Doris High)
Doris High took this photo at a "mud sale" here in Lancaster County. It's not too hard to understand why it's called a Mud Sale when observing this photo! Here is a collection of mud sale photos by Doris High.

Yesterday's mystery photo was, as many identified correctly, wood wedges. I need to find something more challenging next time!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"I Know Whom I Have Believed"  Video  A large church but not identified

You probably won't find this old hymn in any modern hymnbook.  Consider its words today.

We need more men like Daniel to stand for God and right;
Men clean and strong, who hate the wrong,
And for the truth will fight.
When those controlled by evil their base designs pursue,
We need more men like Daniel who never prove untrue.

We need more men like Daniel their virtue here to show;
Men bold, sincere, who know no fear when called to face the foe.
Though dangers dark may threaten, they crave not ease or rest.
We need more men like Daniel who boldly stand the test.

We need more men like Daniel whose faith defied the king;
Who knelt and prayed when plans were laid
his shameful death to bring.
But God sent down His angel His all to guard and shield;
We need more men like Daniel whose hearts will never yield.

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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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