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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Amish scene with Psalm 16:11

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"No Compromise"

"That all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments” (1 Kings 8:60,61). "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words, and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise

No compromise album cover
Younger readers may not recall the days of album art since the media for music has shrunk, with much smaller room for artwork on cassettes and CD's. Now with downloaded music I suppose it's pretty much a thing of the past.

But the big LP albums in the past had room for quite a statement! The photo to the left is from one of our all-time favorite album covers; Keith Green's "No Compromise" album from the late 70's. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The photo depicts a scene where the people are required to bow before the passing king. But one brave soul, true to his convictions, remains standing in uncompromising, obedient defiance. A soldier on a horse is pointing him out. We are left wondering what consequence he faced for doing the right thing in the eyes of the One True King (Exodus 20:3-6).

BevI am not sure I've ever paid much attention to today's first daily text although I am sure I have read it. For my 60th birthday last week, Bev, a thoughtful and very analytical friend, prepared a list of all the verse 60's in the Bible! It was quite a labor as she went through the entire Bible one chapter at a time to discover all the chapters that had a verse 60!

As I read over her list today's first text jumped out. It is from the Benediction in Solomon's prayer of dedication of the temple. It's also a powerful call to God's people in any age. Especially grabbing my attention is the very politically incorrect phrase, "the Lord is God; there is no other."

Solomon was calling the people to whole-hearted devotion to God without compromise. "
Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments.” Isn't that a great word for the aspiring faithful in any age!

Today let's consider Bible characters who stood faithful and wholly true when called to compromise such as the three Hebrews in our second Scripture selection They were required to fall down and worship a golden image King Nebuchadnezzer had set up but they refused to do so.

Brooksyne taught this lesson in her Sunday School class this last Sunday and one word that caught my attention, "But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:15). The Hebrews boys' decision to stand faithful was deeply settled before the time of testing came; they had no time to deliberate or justify their actions should they choose to obey. The consequence of their actions did not drive their thinking. The answer came quickly because they had been making the right choices all along. Decisions, big and small, become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please those in the world, including authority figures. When one bases his life on Biblical principle, most of his decisions are already made.

Fiery furnaceIn one of the grandest statements of faith in the entire Bible the Hebrew boys courageously responded to King Nebuchadnezzar who "graciously" gave them a second chance to obey his orders. When given the choice between bowing down to the image of gold or being thrown in a fiery furnace they told him, "Be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:18).

Since this is a famous Bible story many readers are familiar with the miraculous outcome and their supernatural deliverance from the fiery furnace. But their decision to be faithful and obedient was not contingent upon the outcome as to whether or not they saw deliverance on this side. Whatever happened, they were not going to compromise.

Here's the lesson for today:

There is an ancient and ongoing contest between two opposing worldviews; one that is raging to this day and will do so until the return of the Lord. In fact we expect it will get far more intense as God judges the world and the compromising church. Today let us make a firm resolve that we will not compromise and we will remain obedient to God regardless of the consequences.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it was faithful Joshua who issued this challenge to the Israelites: "Choose this day whom you will serve."He reminded them that their fathers, before crossing over the Red Sea, lived among those who worshiped heathen gods in Egypt just as they now lived among the Amorites who worshiped heathen gods. 
This passage serves as an example to those of us currently experiencing the results of a pluralistic society where God our Creator is being viewed as just one of the gods we might be devoted to. But we hold steady to the words of Scripture, "that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other." Like the followers in Scripture, "We want our hearts therefore to be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments.” If it requires that we lay down our life for You, may we do so willingly, knowing that full obedience to You on this side brings great reward in the eternal dwelling that follows. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

Brooksyne's Birthday

Brooksyne's birthday 10/21/14
We all went over to the Shady Maple yesterday morning for Brooksyne's "free" birthday breakfast. (Free as long as she was accompanied by at least one paying customer!)

Brooksyne's birthday 10/21/14
Browsing through the Shady Maple gift shop we came upon a display of humorous bumper stickers; some more true than we like to admit. At this point I (Brooksyne) still remember my name but am forgetting others. I accidentally corresponded with a friend I've known for 40 years this morning and referred to her husband as Gary rather than Mike. When she alerted me to my mistake I couldn't help but think of this bumper sticker I'd just picked up yesterday.

More New York trip photos

(This will be the final set of Stephen's photos from upstate New York this last weekend)

Amish flower garden in New York 10/18/14
The farm sat up on a high hill with wonderful views of the Mohawk Valley and Adirondack Mountains in the distance. Unlike many of the resettled farms with dilapidated houses and barns the Amish are buying in this area and in this case they built a house and barn on what had been farm land.

Amish harvest 10/18/14
An assortment of melon and squash beside the huge vegetable garden, evidence of a bountiful harvest.

Fresh milk for coffee 10/18/14
As the young men cut firewood one of my chores was making coffee for them (they figured it was a chore an older man can handle).  I drink mine black but Jesse wanted some milk so he just opened the tap on the bulk tank!

Amish clothesline pulley 10/18/14
A close-up view of the large pulley used for the long clothesline which stretches from the house all the way to the barn. We have often shared photos of these long lines. This post is used as a convenient hat holder as well!

Amish boy with well pump 10/17/14
I enjoy old pumps and when I saw this pump I thought it would make a great picture with the water gushing out. So I tried taking it by myself but just couldn't take the photo fast enough to get the gushing. Moses saw my predicament and offered to pump while I took a photo!

Barn ghost sign near Portlandville, NY 10/18/14
On the way home we passed this barn ghost sign near Portlandville, NY
Can you read it?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"No Compromise" (AKA "Make My Life a Prayer to You")  Video  Keith Green - He was an incredible song writer, just consider the phrase, "it's so hard to see when my eyes are on me!

"I Am Persuaded"  Video  Travis Cottrell  An outstanding song based on Romans 8: 38-39.

"God And God Alone"  Video  Steve Green

According to Bev's study there are 21 chapters in the Bible with a verse 60. Can you find them?

Here's an interesting trivia question. What Bible book has a chapter and verse 6:66 and what does it say?

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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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