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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cone flowers
Cone flowers (echinacea) near garden pond

"Sound The Alarm!"

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"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand" (Joel 2:1). "If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:8).

We both grew up in an area of the country prone to having tornadoes, Brooksyne in Oklahoma and Stephen in Missouri. In my childhood years the tornado warning in Belton Missouri, a little town outside of Kansas City, consisted of loud sirens. If memory serves me correctly the police rode through town with their sirens on. The safe thing to do was to get into your basement and huddle together in the southwest corner till the tornado danger passed. I'm not sure just how they informed "all is safe" to those seeking protection!

Brooksyne's family, who lived out in the country, would only hear of the warnings on the news in Tulsa.
Oklahoma is well-known for its killer tornadoes, yet there was really no safe place to seek shelter since houses with basements in that state are very rare. After Brooksyne left home a tornado did destroy her parent's garage but didn't touch the house or injure any family members.

We deal with a lot of alarms in life. Some are annoying, some we just essentially ignore. But some, like a tornado warning, are very important. Today let us consider spiritual alarms.

Yesterday's message dealt with the snooze feature found on many alarm clocks and our need to "Wake Up". That prompted a consideration of today's first text and the need to "Sound The Alarm", in part due to a song based on that text titled, "Blow The Trumpet In Zion".

Joel 2:1

Matthew Henry comments regarding this passage, "The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the Divine Judgments. It is the work of ministers to warn of the fatal consequences of sin, and to reveal the wrath from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men."

These are types of alarms that many people would rather not hear, preferring instead to hear the "feel good" but misleading message that everything is OK. Yet the Bible and history teaches otherwise. God always judges sin according to His timetable (see Genesis 15:16, 2 Peter 3).

1 Corinthians 14:8

The second daily verse is addressing clarity in communication illustrating with the trumpet used for signaling in battle, "If the trumpet does not sound a clear call..."  If a certain tune indicated an order that tune needed to be loud, clear, and precise. An uncertain sound would lead to confusion and possible disaster. Today we need true men of God to boldly tell the truth and we need godly discernment to distinguish the Zedekiahs and Micaiahs of our time (Zedekiah who falsely prophesied that which would please the king and Micaiah who prophesied "whatever the Lord says to me". These two prophets had opposing messages. (See 1 Kings 22)

This message is on my heart due to the hastening of the downward spiral of rebellion against God and His ways. (Note: We realize this is a theme we often use but believe it's a theme we often need to be reminded of as well!)

As the ancient boundary stones of historic Biblical morality are being abandoned, people are doing what is right in their own eyes or as man-made law dictates, more so than any other period in modern history. The Palmist wrote concerning the demolition of the foundations in Psalm 11, "If the foundations are destroyed..."

When we set out to demolish we need to consider the consequences of such demolition. This is especially true in the spiritual realm. G.K. Chesterton once said, "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." There's a lot of fence removal and demolition taking place these days. And it seems so many never take time to consider why the fence was put up in the first place!

This societal demolition work is taking place without any regard for the short or long-term consequences. A blindness has covered the eyes of many and indifference has hardened their hearts. A powerful phrase from Hosea comes to mind, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).

Author Os Guiness, commenting on our culture's slide into decadence states, "The notion that ideas don't have consequences is utterly foolish and we are moving into a world where we are soon going to reap in a far greater scale some of the consequences of these maligned ideas."

He goes on to state
concerning his view of our current cultural condition, "We’re in an Augustinian moment. Augustine had the privilege and task of living in a pivotal moment: After 800 years of Roman dominance, he lived through the siege of Carthage and the siege of Rome. After 800 years, a fall beyond belief. The world as they’d known it—gone. He laid down the vision of the church’s response that was the bridge that led through the Dark Ages and eventually to Christendom. We’ve had 500 years of Western dominance, now at its sunset. I’m reading now about people who lived at an age when the world they knew had gone. Daniel—after centuries in the Promised Land living as the chosen people, Israelites are in a pagan empire with Jerusalem destroyed. Daniel serves God even in that pagan empire. We’ve got to engage with faithfulness at the very heart of power, still."

Thank God for the remnant of those who defy the mindset of the world and fully embrace the heart, mind and soul of God's truths and thereby follow His commands. I trust that you are among the godly remnant today! We both renew our commitment to being in the remnant today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, the alarms have rung loud and clear since Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden. The battle lines were drawn between the hosts of heaven and hell early on. We thank You for the spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6 that equips us for battle, both offensive and defensive, as the flaming arrows from the devil are hurled in our direction. We thank You for Jesus, the captain of the spiritual army, who sounds the warning throughout Scripture and through godly and courageous messengers of the gospel. Keep our ears tuned, our minds alert, and our hearts fully surrendered and trusting in You. May our words be in accordance with Scripture and our lives reflect that which we speak so that we consistently "sound a clear call" to follow Your commands and honor You above all others. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Additional Study Note:  Matthew Henry continues in his note regarding today's passage: "If the alarm of temporal judgments is given to offending nations, how much more should sinners be warned to seek deliverance from the wrath to come! Our business therefore on earth must especially be, to secure an interest in our Lord Jesus Christ; and we should seek to be weaned from objects which will soon be torn from all who now make idols of them. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, weeping, and mourning; tears for trouble must be turned into tears for the sin that caused it. But rending the garments would be vain, except their hearts were rent by abasement and self-abhorrence; by sorrow for their sins, and separation from them. There is no question but that if we truly repent of our sins, God will forgive them; but whether he will remove affliction is not promised, yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Blow The Trumpet In Zion"
  Video  Gaither Vocal Band and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"Asleep In The Light
"  Video  Keith Green  A reader suggested this song after reading yesterday's message. It is timely as well today!

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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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