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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Donegal Creek Willow
The trees growing along Donegal Creek have maintained their green splendor through the entire summer.

"Is Not My Word Like Fire?"

Message Summary: 
The prophet Jeremiah is quoting the Lord here. Notice carefully, "'Is not My word like fire?' declares the Lord." Thank God for His Word, which is like fire!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"'Is not My word like fire?' declares the Lord, 'and like a hammer which shatters a rock?'" (Jeremiah 23:29).

Fall decorations 9/6/16
We had a beautiful Labor Day in our parts and yesterday did a lot of labor around our house. Although Autumn doesn't officially begin for over two more weeks (September 22 at 10:21 A.M. to be precise), Labor Day tends to be the time we start thinking more toward fall.

So I got
our fall decorations down from the barn loft. Brooksyne enjoys decorating seasonally and we work together such as wrapping the lamp posts along our driveway with foraged corn stalks from the field across from our house. She'll want me to get some straw bales, pumpkins and gourds as well, which we'll probably find at roadside stands.

Throughout the day I had several small projects using one of the first tools I ever noticed as a child, the hammer. I have a hammer assortment so I can pick one suitable for the job such as a claw hammer (the main type), sledge and rubber. But there are other types of hammers as well such as a shingler's hammer which roofers use.

Biblical illustrations are generally cross cultural and multi-generational. Such is the case with today's thought-provoking verse: "'Is not My word like fire?' declares the Lord, 'and like a hammer which shatters a rock?'" Regardless of where you live most all are familiar with fire and a hammer.

Backyard fire 9/5/16Fire is something that is used for good like heating a home, cooking a meal, or extensively used in manufacturing. We see a very controlled fire when we visit a shop that uses laser machines. It's amazing that the same fire that will cut through inches of steel can also be used in eye surgery!

Of course fire can also be devastating such as the damage or total destruction of a house or raging forest fire.

Last night we used our fire pit for enjoyment as well as disposing of some old boards from our deck we're replacing which prompted me to consider our daily text today.

"Is not My word like fire?'" (Several years ago we shared a message focusing on the hammer, see link below). The prophet Jeremiah is quoting the Lord here. Notice carefully, "'Is not My word like fire?' declares the Lord."

However neither the text nor context disclose just how God's Word is like fire, so God must want us to consider this
. Pastor David Guzik of Enduring Word ministries suggest the following main points, with my observation following each point.

Jeremiah 23:29
God’s Word is like a fire that can warm and comfort: We have all experienced the warmth and comfort of a fire. This weekend I will be joining a group of men for a campout in the mountains. One of the great sources of warmth is getting up on a chilly morning and stoking the embers from the previous evening's campfire, creating a renewed fire to remove that morning chill. I even enjoy the smell of campfire smoke on my clothes. Likewise God's Word can bring warmth and comfort to our cold and broken lives. "No one can warm your heart like Jesus can. Come in from the cold." - Jana Allard

God’s Word is like a fire that can burn and cause pain: We've all, in varying degrees, experienced this. Physical burns are painful, debilitating, and deadly. But the double edged pain (conviction) of God's Word is a good thing as it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).

God’s Word is like a fire that can melt the hardest materials: Many years ago I toured a steel mill in Sand Springs Oklahoma and recall the molten, hot liquefied metal. God's Word can melt the hardest heart thickened by anger, jealousy, hatred and other hardening qualities.

God’s Word is like a fire that refines and consumes impurity: We visit a company that uses fire to refine. In Christopher Idle's excellent but rarely sung hymn "How Sure The Scriptures Are" he writes in the second verse:

They test each human thought, refining like a fire;
they measure what we ought to do and to desire:
For God knows all; exposed it lies
before His eyes to whom we call.

Thank God for His Word, which is like fire!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for Your Word which is like a fire that refines like a hammer that shatters a rock. For Your Word is living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, since it penetrates even to dividing our soul and spirit, our joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of our heart so that nothing in all creation is hidden from Your sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before Your eyes as we will one day give You full account of our thoughts, attitudes and actions. May we be pleasing in Your sight and be justified in our actions through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Like A Hammer"  Daily Encouragement about the daily verse but focusing on the hammer

Enduring Word Ministries  Outstanding collection of online commentary by David Guzik, the pastor of a local church in California.

"How Sure The Scriptures Are"  Video  Evangel Baptist Church Worship Team

How sure the Scriptures are! God's vital, urgent word,
as true as steel, and far more sharp than any sword:
So deep and fine, at his control
they pierce where soul and spirit join.

They test each human thought, refining like a fire;
they measure what we ought to do and to desire:
For God knows all exposed it lies
before his eyes to whom we call.

Let those who hear his voice confronting them today,
reject the tempting choice of doubting or delay:
For God speaks still his word is clear,
so let us hear and do his will!

Finally today:

"Did I Really Do That?!"
This morning I went out and emptied the ashes from last night's fire into our wheelbarrow. Guess what happened. See here and here for answers (photos) Thankfully I had already gotten a lot of use out of the wheelbarrow (about 15 years' worth) and had been patching it up to keep it functional.

Brooksyne's note: So...finally Stephen tells a story on himself - I guess he just wasn't fully thinking. He has fun telling stories on me so I'm glad this time he was the one to be laughed at and he was willing to tell it himself, though I would have if hadn't done it first:)

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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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