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Monday, October 13, 2014

Oak foliage 10/12/14
The leaves are just beginning to change in our area. Yesterday morning as I prepared to leave for church I noticed just a small part of our large oak tree had changed and the vibrant contrast caught my eye.  (Click on photo for a larger view)

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"Rescue From The Fire"

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen" (Galatians 1:3-5). "Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it. But hate even the clothes of those who have been made dirty by their filthy deeds" (Jude 1:23).

Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one,
Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

Regardless of where we live we should be appreciative of firefighters. We have all read about a tragic devastating fire, likely in our own community. My most impacting memory was a fire in Worcester, Massachusetts
when we lived in New England. Six firefighters were killed in a vacant warehouse after two homeless people left burning candles unattended. I still recall driving by the warehouse where the fire occurred and trying to explain it to Ester, who was about ten at the time.

Amish fire scooter (Photo by Lee Smucker)

In our area we have mostly volunteer fire departments and the Amish also volunteer to serve. They are also beneficiaries of firefighters, especially with the all too frequent barn fires we read about. They don't drive vehicles but our friend Lee Smucker took the above photo this last Saturday of an Amishman's firefighter scooter who serves at Station 5 in Strasburg, PA.

About ten years ago I was in a meeting with the fire chief of Lancaster and several others and someone asked if I knew what the fireman's verse was. I immediately recalled the portion of the second daily text which indeed is the "Fireman's verse" along with Isaiah 43:2.

Rescue the perishing,
Duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way,
Patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Jude 23
The apostle Jude used a vivid metaphor in describing the critical mission the church and every true believer has: the call to "rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire." Other versions state, "snatch others from the fire and save them." These words are an ongoing description of fulfilling the Great Commission. We know, of course, that ultimately God does the saving, but He has called all of us to participate in the saving mission!

The rescue is a clear call to turn from sin and follow Christ, who died to save us from sin. The rescue call to receive Christ may come through an altar call to a group of people in a church or gospel meeting. It might come from a caring brother or sister to an individual who needs Christ. We all have this rescue mission.

These are examples of only two of the many ways we seek to snatch unbelievers from the fire. But the most graphic type of rescue work is done by those who extend themselves to places of severe human need. Some serve in what is known as "rescue missions" These are usually in the inner city where human need is most visible. Every week we pass the Water Street rescue mission in Lancaster and see the needy souls lining up for breakfast while it is still dark outside.

Mike and Nicole Martin 10/12/14Last night we gathered with a group of friends and we consider today the various rescue service they are involved in. Mike and Nicole Martin (right) seek to provide a witness to the motorcycle culture and have established contact and trust with those in gangs. Mark Pulliam is a hospice chaplain seeking to rescue those in their last days on this earth. Bunny (his nickname) and Peg O'Hare are chaplains to truckers who live a lonely life and are especially prone to the vices of this present evil age.

However we are all called (if we have indeed been been rescued) to be involved in rescue ministry in one way or another. We are all involved in the process, including those who faithfully pray and give of their resources for these lost souls to be saved. In Jude's descriptive phrase the emphasis is on the urgency and seriousness with which we are to take up our call.

Today let us remember God's call in our lives as followers of Christ. All around us there are people who need the Lord; people who need to be snatched from the fire and saved from eternal damnation. As we reach out to those living in sin, we must love the sinner but hate the very sin that has entrapped them, thus the warning: "
But hate even the clothes of those who have been made dirty by their filthy deeds." Just as firemen must suit up in their fire repellent uniforms for their protection we must suit up daily in the spiritual armor that repels spiritual forces of evil and protects us from the evil one (Ephesians 6:11-17).

Rescue the perishing,
Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Merciful Father, we confess that we can be impatient and judgmental toward those who reject You time and again. We've come to realize that we can't live without You but the unbeliever feels he or she has no need for You.  It seems we're worlds apart in our outlook.  Use this passage from Jude to speak to our hearts about applying Your mercy to those who are not of the faith. They do not see through eyes of faith, but are blinded to spiritual truth. Jude also reminds us that while we must embrace the sinner in mercy and love, we must never embrace or endorse the sin. The allurement to sin is always before us, so we ask You to keep us safe, as we set up safeguards, while reaching out to those caught in sin's entrapment. Father, we don't want to be complacent but want to be spiritually burdened with the critical need of reaching those who doubt the Gospel message of salvation.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Sherry with friend Becky and Brooksyne 10/11/14
Saturday afternoon we had a special visit from Sherry Hoffman and her long-time friend Becky. Sherry attended the church we pastored when we lived in in northern Pennsylvania up through the early nineties. For several years she was Stephen's secretary as well as a neighbor and good friend to Brooksyne. For the past 25 years or so she has been very involved in senior care ministry, national day of prayer, and music.

Tie with John 3:16
For many years I have enjoyed wearing ties with a message expressing my faith in Christ. This often leads to inquisitive-based discussions such as a comment yesterday by an elderly resident at Longwood Manor where we serve as chaplains. As I explained to her my tie collection another older couple overheard and directed me to his door where their daughter had prepared a beautiful arrangement of his ties with the John 3:16 tie prominently displayed as an expression of his faith.

Hay ride 10/12/14
Going on a hayride and eventually ending up at a birthday party.
More about that tomorrow! - Brooksyne

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Rescue the Perishing"  Video  Billy & Cindy Foote

"Rescue the Perishing"  Video  a brief audio teaching by Mark Cahill, quite challenging!

"People Need The Lord"  Video  Steve Green

I taught Sunday School yesterday
from Revelation 19 and meant to share this quote by Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe: "This description of Christ is thrilling! He is no longer on a humble donkey, but on a fiery white charger. His eyes are not filled with tears as when He beheld Jerusalem; nor is He wearing a mocking crown of thorns. Instead of being stripped by His enemies, He wears a garment dipped in blood, signifying judgment and victory. When on earth, He was abandoned by His followers; but here the armies of heaven follow Him in conquest. His mouth does not speak "words of grace" (Luke 4:22), but rather the Word of victory and justice. See Isa. 11:4. He comes to rule with a rod of iron (Psalm 2). He comes not to bear the wrath of God on the cross, but to tread the winepress of God's wrath at the Battle of Armageddon. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!"

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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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