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Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Foggy Chincoteague Bay, Virginia
(Photo taken by Nancy Martin over the weekend)
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"The Blessing And Necessity Of Steadfastness"
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"But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand" (Matthew 7:26). "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58). "For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me" (2 Timothy 4:10).
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
I called Rick, a friend I hadn't heard from for awhile, to ask how he was doing. We first met him and his family over twenty years ago when they attended the church we served in New England. When he answered his phone he apparently saw my name on the caller ID screen and immediately addressed me with his faith-filled, uplifting voice. It just happened to be his birthday although I didn't know it when I called him. We had a brief conversation and I also chatted with his wife and one of his sons.
The children, now adults, are not walking in the ways of the Lord and this is a great burden to these godly parents. I sought to encourage them and lauded them in their steady walk with Christ. I shared something with Rick's wife that I hope will also benefit daily encouragement readers who have wayward children.
I spoke to Liz about the importance of her and Rick remaining steadfast in their walk with the Lord, in their marriage, in their church and in their ministry. As our world continues to slide into the sinking sand of mounting disobedience, rebellion and decadence it also increases the instability of our time. In fact we believe this sinking sand will increasingly be revealed in the near future when it will be more like quicksand!
Like sinking sand that washes away with each wave of the sea those who observe our lives will increasingly value those who demonstrate a firm resolve to stand on the solid rock of Christ and the Bible, which is the firm foundation for all times. Rick and Liz's steadiness will increasingly bless their children and become desirable for their own way of life.
When we receive news that one who has walked the Christian path with us has chucked their faith it stuns us. (of course, a more Biblical term would be "abandoned" see 1 Timothy 4:1).
"For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me" (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas had served alongside Paul and was called a "fellow worker" in an earlier letter. Now Paul is nearing the end of his life and writes what I believe are among the saddest words in the Bible. The word order in the King James Version is even more poignant. "Demas hath forsaken me." Certainly both the immediate and broader context leaves no room for an interpretation that he had merely departed for ministry elsewhere. We are plainly told, he "loved this present world."
A word used in many Bible translations is "steadfastness" to describe one's steadiness. There are many characteristics that bless me in different people, but right at the top is steadiness. Over time when I observe employees practicing dependability, reliability or loyalty, in the companies we serve as chaplains, I may even have a nickname for them such as Steady Stan or Reliable Rick.
"Are you in it for the long haul?" That's a phrase I heard often as a young believer. Throughout my years of ministry I have met those who are into the "Jesus thing" for just a phase of their lives. For some it's a very short phase, like the young man I met who responded, when I asked about his Christian faith, "I tried that, but it didn't work for me." (I suppose he thought by "worked for me" that all his problems would just disappear!) Still others serve Christ for a season in their lives and yet there comes a time when the beckoning call of this present world is just too much for them to bear. I sadly think of several I have known who diligently served the Lord for a number of years but over time fell away. Most of the time this departure from faith was incremental; one small step at a time.
Are you in it for the long haul? Today let us again declare our commitment to being steadfast!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know that it's not the one who runs the swiftest, nor the one who runs for just a day, but the one who endures to the end that will be saved. Help us to remain steady, and consistent, being joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. We grow anxious and fearful regarding our loved ones who are not following in the ways of the Lord. We pray that they will submit their will to Yours, Lord, for it is the only certain hope for today and absolute hope for all eternity. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Solid Rock" Video Sovereign Grace Music
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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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