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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Willow Valley 10/30/15
We pass this peaceful autumn morning scene in Willow Valley, south of Lancaster.

"Why The World Hates You"

to this message on your audio player.

"All men will hate you because of Me" (Luke 21:17). "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" (John 15:18,19). "Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you" (1 John 3:13).

Kelvin CochranOn Monday we mentioned that we attended the Pennsylvania Family Institute banquet last Friday evening in Hershey PA. One of the speakers was a veteran fire chief named Kelvin Cochran. He shared a powerful message before the main speaker, Eric Mataxas, addressed the crowd. His story reminds us how taking a strong stand for the Lord increasingly results in being hated by the world.

Born in 1960 Cochran had very humble beginnings during his childhood in Shreveport, Louisiana and later a distinguished career including that of being fire chief in Atlanta, Georgia. He wrote a Bible Study for men in his church dealing with purity.  In the book among other topics he expressed his deeply held beliefs regarding sexual morality contending for the traditional and Biblically faithful position.

An Atlanta city councilman got a hold of the book and was "offended" by his view. Cochran said he wrote the book as part of a men's Bible Study at his church where he is a teacher and deacon. At issue are passages in Mr. Cochran's 162 page, self-published book that reference biblical views of sex. This led to Chief Cochran's suspension and termination.

One passage says pursuing “sex outside the confines of marriage between a man and a woman — including fornication, homosexual acts, and all other types of non-marital sex — is contrary to God’s will.”

He expressed strong faith at our meeting Friday evening. He made an interesting point in regard to some trials being self-inflicted, that is, we do something that causes the trial and trials that are "God-allowed"' that is, those trials in which we did nothing wrong. Chief Cochran humbly asserted that this was the case in his present trial.

Several months ago we shared a series of messages titled "Spiritual Troglomorphism" which is the grave condition of living in darkness to the point that one becomes spiritually blind. One of the consequences of spiritual troglomorphism is the tendency to hate what is good and love what is evil since evil is called Good and good is called evil (see Isaiah 5:22).

A popular entertainer said, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." That's an astonishing statement but is actually the sentiment of many.  It is one more indication of the direction our culture is headed and the world's increasingly hostile, hateful attitude toward followers of Christ.

We would be considered radical Christians by those who made the above statement and that's just fine by us. Indeed we are radical Christians in the sense of commitment, seriousness and being sold out to the cause of Christ. We take the words of our Lord and the Bible seriously and seek to obey and live for Him.

Actually we aren't as radical as we should be based upon what we read in the New Testament and the complete surrender to Christ that we are called to make. In complete honesty, we are still holding on to this world more than we should.  We are certainly not as radical as scores of our dedicated brothers and sisters, most in other parts of the world who are really paying a price for following Christ and experiencing the hatred of the world. So many are beaten, imprisoned and killed for their faith. And right here in our country some are being fined, fired, and run out of business who take a stand for their Biblical view.

"All men will hate you because of Me".

This is a statement made by our Lord Jesus Christ found in all three of the synoptic gospels. Have you thought much about it? I don't want to be hated. I want to be loved and accepted by everyone or at least as many as possible. I certainly do not seek to intentionally offend. But I also want to be true to my call in faithfully proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ to a dying world and upholding Biblical standards of morality. And today both will prompt hate among many.

In the second daily text the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking to His disciples just prior to his death.

These final instructions in John's gospel are among the most familiar portions of God's Word. Many of us who have followed Christ for any length of time have memorized some passages from John 13-17. This portion is a sea of red in my red-letter reference Bible (which places the words of Christ in red type). In this teaching we find these words,
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" (John 15:18,19). Jesus forthrightly informs His disciples that they will be hated and why; because they do not belong to this world.

In our lifetime we don't perceive that we've been hated because we follow Christ but that's changing and it's changing rapidly, practically furiously. Dominant culture shows an increasing disdain for Jesus Christ and His serious followers. This expression of our Christian faith is increasingly being called radical and perceived as dangerous by the world system.

We are distressed when those claiming to be Christian seek to find acceptance with the world and avoid offense by eliminating what seems to be the greatest source of offense; the name of Jesus Christ or refusing to stand true for the clear teachings of Scripture.

Join us this day in boldly and unashamedly proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ! And as we do so quite frankly we must prepare to be increasingly hated. Let us hear the word of Scripture,
"Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you" (1 John 3:13).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Lord, You know the spiritual pulse of our heart. The allurement to go with the popular and trendy way of thinking is ever before us.  This is especially true since we're barraged with these kinds of messages each day. Some of our readers are subjected daily to these same messages in their own families.  Help us to be intentional in taking a bold stand as we go against the waves of humanism and false religious systems.  May our love and devotion to You rise up and overtake any fear or intimidation that would otherwise paralyze our witness in settings where Your name is not revered. As believers we no longer belong to this world so we will never find a comfortable place here.  Give us grace and endurance to be a faithful witness in this world even when hated and maligned by others.  In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Kelvin Cochran's book has the interesting title "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" based on the text from Genesis 3:11 is available here. Here's a description: This profound question, "Who told you that you were naked?, meant much more than, "Who told you that you do not have on clothes?" From God's perspective nakedness meant so much more. It meant condemnation and deprivation to his most precious creation-mankind. Though He reconciled Adam's condition by clothing him in coats of lambs' skin, Adam never got over what he had done. Condemnation has dominated ever since. Now we have a more permanent solution. We have been clothed with Christ! Redeemed men who carry the curse of condemnation and deprivation cannot fulfill their purpose as husbands, fathers, community and business leaders-world changers! Adam never gave God a straight answer. It's time to answer that question. WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED?

Here are two videos of his testimony, similar to the message we heard the other night.
Video here or here

Old building and car in Marietta, PA 10/30/15
This old-time scene is in Marietta, PA near the bike trail.

Amish Farm on Harvest Road 11/2/15
We passed this Amish Farm on Harvest Road in southern Lebanon County on Tuesday afternoon. They are really using the distance between house and barn to their advantage with a very long clothesline!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Our "Spiritual Troglomorphism" series in August began with this message.

"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Be Thou My Vision"  Video  4Him

"I Am Not Ashamed of the True Gospel"  Video  A short video teaching by Paul Washer. I appreciate this preacher and his strong commitment.

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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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