The on line Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, September 11, 2015
Decorations are transitioning to an autumn theme including the Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse. We enjoy stopping here between our chaplain visits for a "little" sampling and browsing in the Jam & Relish Kitchen.
"Lessons From Sodom"
Note 1: This is the final in our current series of four messages considering the destruction of Sodom. In writing to the Corinthians Paul wrote concerning the events of Old Testament history that "these things happened as examples for us" (1 Corinthians 10:6). Although Genesis 19 is not encouraging in the sense we normally use the word, it is very thought- provoking and instructive. Furthermore, a foundational verse for those of us who have a high view of Scripture is 2 Timothy 3:16 which states, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."
We hold to the inspired, inerrant, reliable view of the Bible and firmly believe we have here in Genesis 19 a record of an actual historical event. Archaeology has confirmed that these cities existed.* However, to many in the modern world this is just a meaningless, fictitious story and very politically incorrect. Tragically, as disbelief and cultural accommodation has crept into the church, there are more and more professing "people of faith" who see this as fiction or some type of illustrative lesson rather than an historical record.
Note 2: For those of us here in the USA today will brings back memories of the horrific Islamic terrorist attacks in 2001. This morning we received an email concerning "Cry Out America" prayer gatherings being held all over the country sponsored by Awakening America. One writer comments, "As we reflect on the fundamental, significant, and disturbing shift in the cultural landscape of this country, the need for a Christ awakening seems more urgent than ever before." We say Amen to that. This series on Sodom speaks also to this need for an awakening and a short phrase from a verse used yesterday is a source of hope: "The Lord being merciful" (Genesis 19:16).
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"Remember Lot’s Wife"
"No Turning Back, No Turning Back!"
“Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away" (Genesis 19:17). "But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt" (Genesis 19:26). "Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it" (Luke 17:32,33). "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).
"I have decided to follow Jesus,
no turning back, no turning back!"
Here in Lancaster County we are having a significant increase of deaths due to heroin overdoses although from what I read we are not alone. It is increasingly a topic of discussion during the course of our chaplain outreach. Just yesterday we spoke to a teacher who described a recent heroin overdose death in one of our local colleges and related a story we've heard several times lately of a tragic dynamic of this deadly drug's perilous grip. It seems that one who has managed to stop using the drug will resume and apparently, if they use an amount similar to what they had been using, their body will violently react often leading to death. That's a graphic picture of the grave danger of turning back or not fully letting go of the past.
The Associates for Biblical Research is a ministry I have appreciated for many years based right here in Lancaster County. They seek to "Demonstrate the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological research and related investigation." Each year I attend a banquet they sponsor which has an outstanding speaker. Research concerning the location of Sodom and Gomorrah reveals the overwhelming archaeological evidence for a cataclysmic event just as the Bible describes.
Lot and his family were told to flee prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and specifically instructed not to look back (Genesis 19:17). But Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Jesus validates the historicity of the event and used this as an illustration of discipleship.
The Hebrew for “looked back” means more than to simply glance over one’s shoulder. It means “to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.” The Scriptures don’t say whether her death was a punishment for valuing her old life so much that she hesitated in obeying, or if it was a simple consequence of her reluctance to leave her life quickly. Either she identified too much with the city—and joined it—or she neglected to fully obey God’s warning, and she died. *˛
"Remember Lot's wife!" is one of the shortest verses in the Bible and can be easily memorized. It wouldn't bring the encouragement or comfort that the typical verse we tend to memorize does but can be a powerful antidote to a condition we are all prone to, looking back. Christ went on to teach, "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it."
The words to a familiar chorus comes to mind: "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back!"
Christ calls us to a lifelong commitment that will, of course, extend into eternity. Lot's wife, in direct disobedience to a nonnegotiable command, looked back upon burning Sodom. Jesus uses this historical story to illustrate His call that we are not to look back with longing for the sinful life we previously lived.
I desire to have a deep, abiding faith that bears much fruit. In great part this will happen as I acknowledge that some choices are clearly not optional in this Christian marathon. I want to respond to the straightforward words Jesus expressed to His first disciples and, like millions before me, I too want to "deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Him."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I separate myself from the distracting desires and destructive deeds that pull me back into the world where Satan rules with his power of darkness. No longer do I seek after that which gratifies only the flesh, but I find lasting satisfaction in that which feeds my soul and guides me all the days of my life. There is absolutely nothing of worth here on earth that equals the gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ which also includes the bonus of eternity in heaven. Amen.
Here's a sign east of Bird-in-Hand, PA you just won't see everywhere.
Looks like the pumpkins are ready for harvest!
We enjoy stopping by the Village Farm Market when we visit the Ephrata/New Holland area in the course of our chaplaincy visits.
This week we passed several Amish farmers harvesting their corn. This farmer appeared to be taking a break on a very hot day with temps in the nineties.
Early this morning I visited with Tim, a New York firefighter at the time of 9/11, who was very active that day and lost several friends when the towers came down. The 343 on his shirt is the number of firefighters who died that day.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Have Decided To Follow Jesus" Video Marisa (Includes background story to song)
"Preacher Tell Me Like It Is" Video Greater Vision
"Preach the Word" Video Gold City
* "The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah"
Purpose of Awakening America
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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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