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Monday, April 3, 2017

Chiques Creek Railroad Bridge 4/2/17 (Click to enlarge)
Chiques Creek Railroad Bridge near Marietta, PA
(Click to enlarge)

"Lessons from Josiah (and Caleb)"

Message summary: Young or old, let us seek the Lord today. He ever remains a faithful rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!

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"Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David" (2 Chronicles 34:1-3).

Baby dedications are a wholesome sight within the life of a church. A young mother and father bringing their child to dedicate him or her to the Lord is a tender setting and it is truly one of the great joys of pastoring. In 2004 I had the privilege of conducting Peter and Jen's wedding so Brooksyne and I are especially pleased to see them continue to grow in godliness and Christian service. Yesterday they dedicated their second child, little Josiah, who was very quiet and cooperative during his dedication service and also as Pastor held him and prayed over him. But there was much more to come, and it didn't come from the pastor or baby Josiah. It came from his big brother, Caleb.

Josiah's dedication 4/2/17 (Photo by Faithe Keefer)
Caleb is rather precocious and indicated to the pastor he wanted the mic because he wanted "to talk to everybody". (You'll notice in the lower left photo he's turned around in his pew taking in just how many are witnessing his brother's dedication.) Pastor put him off until he prayed over Josiah and then finally gave him the mic. The little man stepped up on the front pew, turned around to face the people and, with the greatest authority any 4 year old can muster, he clearly addressed the congregation:

"This is my brother Josiah up here. I want everyone who saw him to raise your hand." Of course everyone raised their hand in the congregation and on the platform! Not fully satisfied he spoke to the people once again, "I want everyone who really saw my brother Josiah to raise your hand." Again our hands went up and this seemed to satisfy Caleb.

I suppose he wanted to make sure everyone had seen just what had taken place or he enjoyed everyone's hands going up under his direction! Surely Mom and Dad stressed how important this dedication was and he wanted to make sure everyone else realized it as well. This little guy will likely be holding a microphone in the future speaking about the authority of God in our lives - a little preacher in the making!

Getting back to Josiah's dedication, he is named after one of the great kings in the Old Testament. King Josiah lived in a time of tremendous societal transition about 2,600 years ago. His reforms stalled the inevitable judgment of God but he was the last king to provide godly leadership before the exile, the last king to have this descriptive phrase applied to him,
"He did right in the sight of the Lord." Shortly after his death the people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon.

Consider the youth growing up in Josiah's generation who lived during the Babylonian conquest. They were taken captive yet remained faithful to God. Do you recall their story? (See the book of Daniel)

Today we solemnly consider how that very well may be the case for our young people today. Although we don't know when or how judgment may come about, there are many signs that indicate we are headed in that direction. Just consider the increasing societal turmoil and rejection of God. Practically daily the news reports reveal this breakdown and notions that would scarcely have been believable just a few years ago.

One of my longstanding observations is how much of this extreme nuttiness is coming out of the world of supposed academia. As one blog writer put it, "Some
ideas are so stupid that only in academia can they even be expressed with a straight face." This is similar to a quote attributed to George Orwell who wisely notes, “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

Young King Josiah seeking the Lord
These times call for a renewed seeking of the Lord and His "blueprint" for growing in wisdom. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10). Note the portion of our daily text, "While he (Josiah) was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David."

Josiah, at the impressionable age of 16, made a choice to follow in the ways of the Lord which would surely delight any godly parent or grandparent's heart! It warms our hearts to see spiritual interest in our children and youth. In great part because we know they will avoid the heartache and fall-out that comes from living a life of sin and degradation. The reality of life is that we'll deal with plenty of heartache not of our own making, so we are wise to avoid that which is a result of our own sinful choices or lack of Biblical discernment.

Young or old, let us seek the Lord today. He ever remains a faithful rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we pray for our young people, like Josiah, that they will do right in Your sight and follow in the ways of godly training. We pray for our children, grandchildren, and those within our Christian setting; that they will seek You early in their lives, avoiding the many traps set by the devil, including the current trappings where people are following false religions, supporting godless causes, and contributing to the demise of our country, where law and order was once respected and upheld by the majority.  Help them not to veer off course, but to stay on the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Shocks Mill Railroad Bridge 4/2/17
Yesterday afternoon we took a long bike ride along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail beginning at the Riverfront Park north of Marietta. We then headed northwest but due to high waters the trail was flooded on the portion that goes under the Shocks Mill Railroad Bridge over the Susquehanna River. So we turned around and rode all the way to Columbia pedaling some 18 miles. Here's a nice photo of the bridge with better lighting conditions when the trail wasn't flooded.

Brooksyne climbing grade 4/2/17
The trail is now mostly paved all the way except for a portion that goes through the river town of Marietta where many riders just use the town streets. However we got adventuresome and stayed on the trail to where it just an old Indian path all the way to the Chiques Creek Railroad Bridge (photo at top of our post today). We could either turn around or look for another trail from up on the railroad grade so we did some heavy duty climbing!

Chiques Creek Railroad Bridge 4/2/17 (Click to enlarge)
When we got to the top we faced a No Trespassing sign on the bridge! That's the Chiques Rock overlook in the distance beyond the bridge. So we walked our bikes back along the rocky tracks till we found a path back to the main trail.

Jackson on rail trail 4/2/17
It's always nice to see friends on the trail. Jackson works in one of the companies we visit as chaplains.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God"  Video   Maranatha! Praise Band

4 Reasons to Remember Your Creator in Your Youth  Article by David Murray

* Dedication photo by Faithe Keefer

Finally today:
Frank's pizza truck 4/2/17
Shortly after our arrival home from church yesterday the phone rang letting us know our pizza had arrived. It's very nice to get that kind of call when you never put in an order for pizza in the first place. Our generous neighbors, Frank and Maria, own a pizza truck and yesterday afternoon blessed us with a large pepperoni pizza, as they have many times! It was perfect for lunch and dinner!

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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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