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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hymnbook angel
Hymnbook angel
Yesterday I made some visits and then stopped by Root's Outdoor Market. You need to come to Lancaster County to see what Root's Market is since I've never seen any place like it except in Lancaster County where we have several. Essentially it's a market open only on Tuesday selling about everything you can imagine and includes several simultaneous auctions. This booth had an interesting way to recycle old hymnals by making angelic choristers! (Unfortunately hymnbooks are way too scarce these days with churches doing away with them in exchange for power point.)

"Knowing The Holy Scriptures"

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"My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart" (Proverbs 7:1-3). "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world,
They resound with God's own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.

2 Timothy 2:2
2 Timothy is Paul's final letter. When he wrote it he knew his departure from this life would come soon (2 Timothy 4:6) and he was passing his faith and a solemn charge on to Timothy. Earlier in this letter he wrote, "and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men (*1) who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). All who earnestly follow Christ and His commission are a part of this stream of transmission of truth from one generation to the next. We have been taught and, as we mature in our faith, we should be teaching.

Timothy was a second generation Christian and thus Paul's teaching to him is very important to us as well. The timeline of our existence requires us to rely on the eyewitness accounts and teachings of those who had seen and heard the Lord when He lived on this earth. Paul emphatically urged Timothy to continue in what he had learned and had become convinced of
because he knew those from whom he learned it, and from infancy he had known the Holy Scriptures. Today let us consider the phrase, "known the Holy Scriptures".

We may not all have had the blessing of knowing the holy Scriptures from infancy or even childhood. Some of you became a Christian as an adult and prior to that had little to no knowledge of the Bible. Two weeks ago when I was in New York I met a lady who began her faith journey in her sixties. Regardless of how old we were when we first believed we are all urged to continue in what we have learned and become convinced of.

In Timothy's time the Holy Scriptures which Paul mentions would have referred to the Old Testament books of Genesis through Malachi. Perhaps he was also referring to parts of what we know as the New Testament as well, such as the Gospel of Mark, which was written early in the church's history. Interestingly the Apostle Peter referred to Paul's writings as the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16).

Early in the post-apostolic age the books of the New Testament as we know it were considered canonical. A canonical book is one that measures up to the standard of Holy Scripture. Thus, the canon of Scripture refers to the books that are considered the authoritative Word of God. *2

Today, like Timothy, we may know the Holy Scriptures. A couple of lines from another hymn come to mind. "How sure the Scriptures are! God's vital, urgent word."

Old man holding BibleLet us continue to grow in our knowledge of God's Holy Word. It's a lifelong pursuit. In the next chapter Paul implores Timothy to "bring … my scrolls, especially the parchments" (2 Timothy 4:13). Here's Paul, toward the end of his life, asking for study materials! He was likely appealing for texts from the Old Testament, the Gospels, copies of his own letters and other needed documents. He had a heart to keep studying and growing in his faith. D. Edmond Hiebert writes, "Even as an old man facing certain death, the apostle has not lost his interest for study and mental pursuits. It presents a standing challenge to the minister to be an indefatigable [untiring] student, especially of the Word of God."

What grips our hearts today? Do we have an ongoing hunger to know God through His Holy Scriptures?

Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, if we guard Your teachings in Scripture as the apple of our eye we will love and cherish them. We will read, honor and obey them, aligning all other input with Your Word. It must meet the sniff test by measuring up to unchanging Biblical principles or be rejected on that basis. You change the hearts and souls of men and women, boys and girls, and yet You are the changeless, everlasting Father whom we worship now and for all eternity. May we continue in what have learned and become convinced of because it increases our faith and anchors our spirit in this world where instability, fear, and distrust are the order of the day. Keep us true and growing in our faith, we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

*1 The Greek word "anthropoi" can refer men (male gender) or to both men and women (human race), depending on the context.

*2 Here's a lesson about the canon of Scripture

Don Billett at Root's Market 4/1/14
I visited with Don Billett, a member of the Old-order River Brethren for a few minutes at Root's Market yesterday. He was seeking to get in a witness for the Lord with a nature display.

Last week I shared several mystery photos and observed there are a number who told us they enjoy these quizzes. Galen, a farmer friend volunteered several items for our readers to consider. Like most farmers he has some interesting old tools and equipment in his barns!

Mystery farm tool
Can any readers identify what this tool was used for? Respond here
We'll post the correct answer tomorrow along with another quiz.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Ancient Words"  Video  Michael W. Smith  We periodically sing this song just before the message is preached.  It is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for receiving the Word of God.

"Speak, O Lord"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty Here's also a nice local church version by John Adams  Video

A-Z Bible verses poster (Webpage) Several years ago I attended the funeral service in the Chicago area of Grace Wolgemuth. She is the woman who developed this and taught it to her children. Her brother, Jesse Dourte, whom we often feature in our writings, is in his nineties and still an earnest student of the Holy Scriptures. This poster was developed by Grace's son, (author and singer) Robert Wolgemuth. If you care to print it out, it prints out well on one sheet.

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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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