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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Linden Grove Mennonite School in snow 1/27/16
The Linden Grove Mennonite School is typical of the many one room schoolhouses that dot the countryside in rural Lancaster County
. It's a pleasant sight to see the children out playing but they weren't out yesterday at the time we drove by.

"A Steady Chirping From Heaven"

Message Summary: Today, we pray that each of us will not hear the One who speaks as an annoying chirp but would truly receive, listen, and heed God who is speaking. Herein lies the source of assurance and security in these times of turmoil.

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"See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven?" (Hebrews 12:25).

Whistle key finder Brooksyne attempts to buy me practical Christmas gifts and this year she purchased one she thought we could both use since we're often forgetful about where we left something. For instance we pour a fresh cup of coffee, walk away with it, set it down and then forget where we set it. Sometimes it's the next day before one of us comes across the now very cold cup of coffee or in the case of the barn - frozen.

Although we have a place to hang our keys near our side door we don't always remember to use it so when we are ready to go we can't find the keys! She found a nifty little electronic device called the "Whistle Key Finder". You attach it to your key ring and whenever you whistle it makes a chirping sound. What a great idea! I placed the device on our key ring and tried it out. It really worked. Our problem was solved!

But we had another problem. It just worked too good. It had poor listening discernment and chirped not just at whistling but at any high frequency sound. When we are on the go we have the keys with us in a pocket or Brooksyne's purse. The pesty gadget might beep in church and when I sat in the dentist's chair. After a while we basically found the device embarrassing, useless for its intended purpose, and extremely annoying since it now goes off all the time. I had it sitting on my desk as we worked together on this message and it kept going off. Our love affair (with the device) ended and Brooksyne said, "Get that thing out of here!" Thankfully she's good at returning defective stuff to stores and maybe she'll exchange it for a newer, more user friendly gadget!

There are a lot of chirps and beeps in life but we must have discerning ears, open hearts and knowledgeable minds to sort them out. The chirping from our key finder was annoying but not dangerous. Designed properly it could have been helpful and saved us some frustration, lessened our blame game of who didn't return the keys to the proper place, and it would have saved us a lot of lost time that could be used for better things than hunting keys. Our beeper didn't hold up to its claim, but there are other beeps or alarms that perform just as they claim and many of them warn of real danger.

Smoke detector without battery We are thankful for smoke detectors and over twenty-five years ago we had an experience to prove their worth (see below for link to that story if interested). One time I was visiting a friend and saw the smoke detector with the battery removed. I inquired and he told me he had removed it because it kept going off when his wife cooked (it was in the kitchen). Well, I gave him a mild scolding and told him to place it elsewhere or get a better smoke detector!

Today let us consider a steady "chirping" that annoys many and is largely ignored; the warnings from God who is speaking and warning us from heaven.

Hebrews 12:25 Our text today, "See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking ... and turn away from Him who warns us from heaven." This is a powerful passage that is well worth memorizing.  In fact I suggest making it personal such as "I must see to it that I do not refuse Him who is speaking and turn away from Him who warns me from heaven."

God is speaking today.  Perhaps Francis Schaeffer was paraphrasing this passage when he titled his book, "He Is There and He Is Not Silent."

Let's consider some ways that God speaks to us today:

1) He speaks through His inspired Word and by His Spirit, which bears witness to the Scripture. He does not give new revelation but confirms that which is already spoken through the prophets and the apostles.

2) He speaks not from Mount Sinai, which was on this earth, but He speaks from heaven through signs and wonders, earth's calamities, and even through the folly of man. Turn on the television or read the news and the folly of man is on full display for all to view. The consequences of their folly is consistent with the warnings God has repeatedly given us as to why we should obey.

3) He speaks powerfully and effectually through the church body He originated during the Acts of the Apostles and through His appointed leaders, "So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13).

(4) He speaks to us through the godly actions and attitudes of men and women, boys and girls. As the old adage goes, "More is caught than is taught." What are we teaching others by our actions and attitudes? I asked a woman whose grandmother passed away at the ripe age of 101 years, "What is one thing you remember most about your grandmother?" She responded very quickly, "I never heard her complain.  She was a very content woman." The grandmother spoke volumes not by her words but through her actions.

The latter portion of Hebrews 12 speaks of receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Our focus must be on this Kingdom not on the kingdoms of this world, which most certainly are shaking and indeed rise and fall. But God's Kingdom is steadfast and abides forever!

Consider how vitally important our daily text is to the human race. God is speaking, He is not silent. In fact the book of Hebrews is all about God speaking; through the prophets, through His Word, through His Son and through the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 11. Since He is always speaking we must "see to it that [we] do not refuse Him who is speaking."

Though the majority refuse Him who is speaking, may our hearts receive Him who is speaking. The Amplified version expands the challenge even more: "See to it that you do not reject Him or refuse to listen to and heed Him who is speaking to you now."

Today, we pray that each of us will not hear the the One who speaks as an annoying chirp but would truly receive, listen, and heed God who is speaking. Herein lies the source of assurance and security in these times of turmoil.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Keith Getty

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we recognize You as our Creator; therefore we do not reject You, but receive Your words of instruction, warning, assurance and affirmation. We not only want to give attention to Your teachings, but we want to observe and obey them as we live out our lives here on earth. Through the grace given to us by Your Spirit, and by the personal resolve we make to obey You even when it is tempting not to do so, we will find spiritual victory and receive Your commendation which is far greater than man's applause. Amen.

Wheat shocks in snow 1/27/16
Wheat shocks in snow
Yesterday we had chaplain visits that took us through rural Lancaster County as well as through the city. Like many cities along the eastern seaboard there was so much snow it clogged the streets and driving through yesterday we saw many cars still snowed in.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Our smoke detector story

"Speak, O Lord"   Video   Keith & Kristyn Getty

"Jesus! What A Friend for Sinners!"   Video  Acappella Christian hymns

Jesus! I do now receive You,
More than all in You I find.
You have granted me forgiveness,
I am Yours, and You are mine.

"Open Our Eyes Lord"  Video  Maranatha Singers   "Open our ears Lord and help us to listen!"

Beautiful scenery: We enjoy our country view and Brooksyne took a video (1 minute, 24 seconds) to give our readers an idea of our view during the snow storm last Saturday.

And for doglovers: We had trouble getting Mollie to come in from playing out in the snow following the storm even when it was so deep she could barely get through it. Video

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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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