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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bird (Photo by Doris High)
Northern Flicker
Looks like Doris feeds the birds with broken up pieces of suet.
But how does she get them to stick to the tree?
Photo by our friend Doris High

"I Believe"

Message summary: Today's message we consider the essence of belief.

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"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Hebrews 11:1,6). "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:8,9).

Lebanon County siloYesterday our travels took us through a very scenic rural part of Lebanon County with a lot of farms and expressions of faith on barns, road signs and even silos often seen in our area. This provides a witness of the farmer or land owner's faith in God. (Click on silos for larger view of the farmer's witness and interesting selection for Scripture text.)

But there is an increasing boldness and public "witness" among those who do not believe in God. An avowed atheist proudly asserts his view that "belief in God is a scam." A recurring theme among modern atheists is a mocking of those of us who do believe in God as being foolish and simple-minded and that they have the sole correct position when using their intellect and reason. However the Scriptures have this to say about them in Psalm 14:1!

Notice we stated "those who do not believe in God". Not believing in God is a belief, requiring faith. As proud and assertive as the atheist may be, he still is expressing a belief, a form of faith, however insistent he may be that faith is not in the equation. Several years ago a book was written with this interesting title, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist."

Hebrews 11:1 is a succinct definition of faith.
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Certainly the overarching theme in this chapter is faith in God, powerfully expressed in v.6, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

The life in Christ has always been a faith walk. This has been especially true since Jesus ascended back to the Father in Acts 1. Since that time His followers have not been able to see Him in a physical sense. During a very special period about 2,000 years ago some people had the wonderful privilege of seeing the Word become flesh and dwell among them. However even during that time many did not believe in who He was or what He stood for. Seeing does not necessarily mean believing.

The Apostle Peter, an eyewitness and close friend to Christ during His earthly ministry, wrote our third daily verse to those who "believed in Him" some 30 years after Jesus had ascended. These believers had not physically seen Christ in His earthly ministry but, like us, they believed. O, how we thank God for this belief that fills us with "inexpressible and glorious joy!" 

We want to note a very significant verb tense in the text this morning.  Notice Peter says, "You are receiving" (not "you have received" or "you will receive") "the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." We believe this is a vital ongoing truth in the believer's faith life. While living, these fellow believers were receiving this goal. At their deaths they received it fully. The process is true for us today, fellow believer. Hold tight, for the best is yet to come!

This new year let us continue in our faith walk and remember the timeless perspective of the Apostle Paul as we "fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). This takes a conscientious, purposeful, ongoing effort and spiritual perspective as we walk the narrow path laid out for us. Let us stay faithful to God today, throughout our journey in 2017, and for the remaining time God has allotted us on this earth!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help me to walk faithfully with You day by day. As I earnestly seek You I will receive the reward You promise to those who do so. Daily temptations, recurring doubts, and fleeting distractions seek my heart's affection but I remain wholly committed to You, my Lord and  Savior. Though I've not seen You physically Your Spirit indwells me and I am filled with Your glorious and inexpressible joy. No matter the mocking and undermining of my faith by the unbelieving world, I believe in You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"We Believe"  Video  Newsboys

"I Believe"  Video  Brian Free and Assurance

Doris High's collection of bird photos 12/30/16

Finally Today:
Workplace Zamboni
I always wanted to drive a Zamboni!*

* But this is not a Zamboni!

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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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