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Monday, May 18, 2015

Hershey Hotel tulips (Photo by Ester)
Tulips on the grounds of the majestic Hershey Hotel
(Photo by Ester)

"The Blessing Of Warnings"

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“Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 32:46). "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come" (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Kelly Avenue fire 5/16/15Early Saturday morning I stepped outside and heard a lot of sirens, an unusual sound in our rural area. In the distance I could see fire trucks and looked around for a sign of a fire. Looking north up Kraybill Church Road from our home I saw a billowing tower of smoke and initially assumed it was Jerry's barn at the end of our road. I jumped on my bike to investigate and found it was a house fire on Kelly Avenue, a residential area where Brooksyne often walks with our dogs.

Only a short time earlier the fire had started. A passerby called 911, rang the doorbell and banged on the door to alert the family who was still sleeping at the time. Apparently they didn't have smoke alarms or they weren't working. Thankfully everyone got out safely though the house was a total loss.

It turns out the woman who was driving through Kelly Avenue was Ester's former teacher and her warning very likely saved the family. What a blessing that she didn't just observe and then assume someone else had called in the fire. She could also have also reasoned that no one could sleep through such a raging fire.

Today let us consider the blessings of warnings though there are times we don't see them as blessings but annoyances. This may sound ludicrous but imagine for a moment the family awakening, hearing the loud banging, and ignoring it, saying to each other, "Who in the world would be knocking at this hour?" and returning to sleep. Or, upon awakening and going to the door complaining to the woman giving the warning, "We were sleeping so soundly, why did you wake us up so early in the morning?"

In Moses' long sermon on the east side of the Jordan before his death he declared, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law." A component to solid Biblical preaching will include essential warnings as well as comforting assurances.

How do we respond to warnings? In the second daily text "these things" refers to some very specific judgments from God back during the years when the children of Israel wandered through the wilderness. These judgments dealt with attitude (grumbling) and behavior (idolatry and sexual immorality), though admittedly attitudes and behavior do generally merge or cross over in the process.

We're created by God with the ability to comprehend cause and effect. But sadly this still doesn't mean we necessarily heed the warnings. Judgment has been meted out in the past and will be measured out again with the current generation. God is faithful in who He is and how He deals with His creation.

We get a lot of warnings in our lives. They're found in our homes, cars, and business establishments. There are warning signs for cancer and other diseases. Our computers have lots of warnings. We can ignore or disable warnings, but we do so to our own peril.

But far, far more perilous is the widespread disregard of the warnings God gives throughout Scripture, the greatest of which involves the most definite future judgment. This warning is not only massively ignored, but mockingly ridiculed as well, much to Satan's pleasure. (I recall a Keith Green song in which he presents the devil gleefully proclaiming, "No one believes in me anymore.")

Today we encourage you to respond to God's warnings for the blessings they really are as they are given for our protection. They're expressions of His love and care for each one of us. He is safeguarding our present and watching over our future since He has our best interest in mind.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we glean so much from the characters of the Bible; both bad and good examples of those who thought themselves to be above Your commands and those who heeded Your warnings. Achan in Joshua 7 had a heart of greed, a lying spirit, and prized himself above innocent lives who perished as a result of his sinful actions. Your judgment eventually came upon him and he paid with his life and that of his entire family. But we also see Noah who labored for years building an unprecedented mammoth boat for the torrential flood waters You warned him about. He heeded Your warning and thereby saved his family’s lives and the pairing of many animals that would reproduce on the earth following the flood. Help us to realize that we are wise to follow Your warnings given in the commands of Scripture. To feel that we are the exception is a lie from the pit of hell that will immediately or eventually lead to our demise. You warn because You love us and want the very best for us. Remind us often; through Scripture, through fellow believers, through negative and positive examples we see all about us, and through the inner working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

On Wednesday I (Stephen) will be going to Washington DC for a "Watchman on the Wall" conference sponsored by Family Research Council. This organization contends for Biblical values and warns against the most certain consequences of the current trajectory of our nation as God's laws continue to be forsaken. I have gone to this conference for many years and certainly expect to hear some hard preaching and perspective with many other pastors and chaplains who are contending for God's Word and Truth in our decadent age. Illustrating the moral confusion of our age this group, along with many others with a similar mission, has been labeled a "hate group" for defending Biblical values. So many in our world want to hear nothing of warnings and equate truth with hate. As someone has wisely observed, "The truth is hate speech to those who hate the truth."

Note: Due to my attendance at this conference we do not expect to post new messages on Thursday and Friday. Although Brooksyne is quite capable of writing them she has not learned the technical steps needed to produce and post them.

One more point: My heart breaks as I read this article, "State Department Says No to Iraqi Christians"

Kelly Avenue fire 5/16/15
I rode my bike through a freshly mowed rye field to see the house from behind. Vehicles were also on fire.

Kelly Avenue fire 5/16/15
Later that afternoon we drove by the house and here's all that remains. Here's a newspaper article. Thankfully it appears the family has good local support.

On a more pleasant note:

Mike and Kathy Matangelo 5/16/15
Friday evening we had our longtime friends Mike and Kathy Matangelo, along with their daughter Tina, visit us on their way from North Carolina to Rhode Island. Saturday was beautiful so we had breakfast on our deck. Tomorrow we will share some photos of our adventures on Saturday morning.

Mount Pleasant praise team 5/17/15
Yesterday Brooksyne and team warming up before they led our congregation in worship Sunday morning.
Here are two of the songs we sang:
"Just As I Am" 
"Every Promise"

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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