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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Squirrel at birdfeeder 1/18/16
This squirrel is up to no good, trying to steal the sunflower seeds in our birdfeeder intended for birds! But, of course, we invite the hungry squirrel to eat what falls to the ground.

"The Peril Of Drifting Away"

Message Summary:
God has called and equipped us to be overcomers in all areas of life including the peril of drifting away. Depending on the particular circumstance some have more overcoming than others but God is able and willing to meet us in our place of need. Today let us heed the clear warning of the Scripture and let us "pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).

to this message on your audio player.

"For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it" (Hebrews 2:1).

AmenWhen I pray publically I often petition God to help us "stay faithful" before ending my prayer with "Amen" as most all of us do. Depending on the congregation I may also hear others affirm the prayer with their own "Amen". But my favorite memory in this regard was the time I prayed and a three year old girl, with a very loud voice boldly followed my prayer by "Amen" in her own emphatic and crescendo solo of "A-men!" It brought a chuckle throughout the congregation that I suppose some may remember even to this day. We sure hope the little girl, who would be about ten now, has committed her life to God and remains faithful all her days, which will be a growing challenge as the days of evil are ever on the increase, most notably evil and deadly attacks on followers of Christ.

Mike RidderingThis last weekend another terrorist attack took place; this time in the remote African country of Burkina Faso. Islamic terrorists stormed a hotel in the capital city of Ouagadougou in an attack that left 28 people dead and 55 injured last Friday. Among the slain was Mike Riddering, an American missionary and orphanage director. His wife wrote, "He made an eternal impact on an immeasurable number of people in Burkina Faso and throughout the world. His legacy on earth will not be forgotten."

Mike is just one of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions who suffer in this world specifically due to their faith in Christ. He responded to God's call to go to a dangerous place. That number is rapidly increasing with what many are calling a Christian genocide in the Middle East. However something remarkable is also happening which we will share in a video below concerning reports we've heard for many years now of Muslims coming to faith in Christ due to dreams and visions. I have a hard time wrapping my arms around this.

Hebrews is written to believers who are undergoing persecution. Later in the book we read this statement regarding the type of persecution these believers personally knew and experienced: "You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions" (10:34).

Do you know people who are in prison because of their faith? Have you personally had your possessions confiscated in a ruthless persecution effort? (Actually in recent years several have here in America; see footnote in yesterday's message) Do you have friends who suffered or perhaps were martyred due to their stand for Christ? We are sure the family and friends of Mike Riddering are grieving. The fact is, due to the international distribution of this devotional, some of you would likely say yes to one or more of the above questions. But most have not yet experienced persecution. Persecution or not we all face the peril of drifting away.

Hebrews 2:1 (Photo from http://thesusanblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/more-earnest-heed.html

In our daily text the Holy Spirit inspired writer states concerning spiritual things, "We must pay much closer attention."
As we grow older there may be a tendency to pay less and less attention to that which we are already familiar with. But giving our undivided attention to spiritual truth, both basic and more advanced, really needs to increase throughout life if we are to be mature and faithful believers.

The focus of our "much closer attention" is to be on "what we have heard." Of course in context this refers to spiritual truths. The Amplified Bible states, "the truths that we have heard."  Prior to the printing press and certainly at the time of the New Testament having one's own personal Bible was not possible. But they gathered and heard the Word. Today, most all of our readers can do both; gather with other believers to hear the Word expounded and also individually study the Scriptures in our devotional and prayer closet.

David GuzikThe concern of the writer is that they will not "drift away from it" (what they had heard and been taught). The book of Hebrews is full of encouragement to stay faithful. Bible teacher David Guzik writes, "Drifting is something that happens quite automatically when we are not anchored to anything solid. If we are not "anchored" in the superiority of Jesus, we will drift with the currents of the world, the flesh, and the devil. One doesn't have to do anything to simply drift away."

God has called and equipped us in all areas of life to resist the peril of drifting away. Depending on the particular circumstances of one's life some will have to "pay more careful attention" to the very foundation of their salvation experience based upon the Word of God so that they can resist the peril of drifting away, but God is able and willing to meet us in our place of need. Today let us heed the clear warning of Scripture and let us "pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Without it we would walk in darkness and be led astray. We want to give careful attention to Your Word, respect its message, and follow its instruction so that we will not drift from the truth. It's far too easy to get caught up in the popular trends and faddish teachings of our current age, observe those whose walk with the Lord has lessened over the years, and gradually drift away from Your precious, unchanging truths as expressed all throughout the Scriptures. Help us to pay more careful attention to all that we have heard from the Word and guard these precious truths whether by life or by death. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Study notes from Hebrews 2:1 from online Precept commentary

"You're Never Too Far Away"   Video  The Mike LeFevre Quartet  I, Brooksyne, heard this for the first time last weekend and its message gripped my heart. In fact I prayed for my own family and other families who have a lost loved one including our Daily Encouragement friends who write us asking for prayer because their son or daughter has strayed from the things they learned as children. It will touch your heart if you take the time to listen.

"Say Amen"
  Video  Brian Free & Assurance


Report concerning Mike Riddering

"Christian persecution reached record high in 2015, report says"

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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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