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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Green meadow with horses, Lancaster County, PA 5/26/16
Lush Horse Meadow, Lancaster County, PA

"No Shrinking Back"

Message Summary:
Today we are writing to encourage you and quite honestly we are seeking to encourage ourselves from this passage of Scripture. We know God's Word is true and many years ago memorized the daily verse, reciting it over and over. What about you? Won't you join us today as we resolve to faithfully serve the Lord and live by His Word.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all

Hebrews 10:39 "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved" (Hebrews 10:39).

The late Bible teacher, J. Vernon McGee, used the French Huguenots as an example of faithfulness: "They were persecuted, and they were betrayed. When France destroyed them, it destroyed the best of French manhood and womanhood. The French Huguenots went into battle, knowing they were facing certain death, and their motto was: 'If God be for us, who can be against us?' The nation of France has never since been the nation it was before it destroyed these people. We believers today need a motto like the Huguenots. There is a lot of boo-hooing today among Christians. There is a lot of complaining and criticizing. There are a bunch of cry-babies and babies that need to be burped. Oh, my Christian friend, the whole tenor of this marvelous epistle (Hebrews) is 'Let us go on.' So let us go on for God!"

J. Vernon McGee I recall listening to Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee as a young Christian in the seventies. He went to be with the Lord nearly 30 years ago in 1988, though his radio messages can still be heard in some areas. I don't know when he wrote the above quote but it sure is suitable for 2016!

"But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved" (Hebrews 10:39). Our text begins with the conjunction "but" which marks a stark contrast with those who briefly "flicker" but in the end "fizzle out" (like sparklers on July 4th). Those individuals make the catastrophic volitional choice to "shrink back" and turn away from the living Christ.

Today we want to stress the importance of being grounded firmly in our faith
. Let us just consider the two word phrase "shrink back" as typically translated in many common versions. Other versions use "draw back" or "pull back". This translates the Greek word "hupostole" which is an hapax legomenon, meaning it is the only time the word is found in the entire New Testament.*

We have a specific burden for those who have shrunk back and concern for those who are presently struggling to press on. They initially begin their journey of faith very earnestly, yet over the passage of time, sometimes a short time, the allurement of the world begins to influence them once again or life's ongoing troubles diminish their hope and joy. Before long they shrink back from the things of the Lord. As you carefully examine you own spirit you may realize that you have been shrinking back.

Today we are writing to encourage you and quite honestly we are seeking to encourage ourselves from this passage of Scripture. We know God's Word is true and many years ago memorized the daily verse, reciting it over and over. What about you? Won't you join us today as we resolve to faithfully serve the Lord and live by His Word. With confidence proclaim aloud, "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved".

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
To press on

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You indicate in Scripture that the righteous live by faith; and if he shrinks back, You will take no pleasure in him.* When we live by faith we find inner joy and lasting hope from Your promises, not only those already fulfilled but those yet to come. At the end of our earthly existence You promise to end our sufferings and to receive us unto Yourself, rewarding our faithfulness by giving to us a crown of life. We must press on, ever persevering, to win the prize of the high calling which we have received through Christ Jesus our Lord. With the prize clear before our eyes, Lord, we will find the strength to press on and not shrink back. Amen.

* See Hebrews 10:38

Our text today follows “Yet a very little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

Bible teacher Steven Cole writes "the 'very little while' is from God’s perspective of time, not from our perspective! The original quote in Isaiah was written to the people of Judah who were being threatened by hostile enemies. God is encouraging them to hold on for a little while, until He delivers them and judges their enemy. The point is, this present life is “a very little while” in comparison with the eternal joys of heaven. That is why Paul could call his many trials “momentary, light affliction” which was producing “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). To have enduring faith in trials now, get God’s eternal perspective."

* Interestingly the Greek New Testament contains 686 local hapax legomenon, which are sometimes called "New Testament hapaxes".

Mount Pleasant Road 5/29/16
This panoramic farm view is from Mount Pleasant Road (quite appropriately named) on a hill looking down on the old farmhouse where we lived for 14 months when we first moved to Lancaster County in 2001.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Press On"  Video  Selah

"Press On"  Video  Building 429

J. Vernon McGee had a very distinct voice.
The ministry he founded still maintains a website with his teaching. Here's the audio of Dr. McGee's farewell message given from the pulpit of the historic Church of the Open Door in downtown Los Angeles where he served as pastor for 21 years. He has a colorful illustrative style and in the message speaks of some people being Brylcreem Christians, "A Little Dab'll Do Ya." That was a phrase I suppose you have to be older to recall!  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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