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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Knoebels Park from tram, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
A beautiful Independence Day at Knoebel's Park nestled in the mountains of north-central Pennsylvania.

"Help Lord, The Godly Man Ceases"

Message summary: Thank God for men who remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ in our own day.

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"Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases to be. For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men" (Psalm 12:1). "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised" (Hebrews 10:35,36).

Rise up o men of God

The other day a burdened young father shared with me a matter that involved his young son. His earnest desire to be a good dad touched my heart. As we were walking in the park yesterday Brooksyne commented about how precious it is to see young parents caring for their children. It's not uncommon to see mothers tending to their youngsters' needs but we observed several young fathers tenderly caring for their young as well.  Far too many men  forsake their duties in caring and providing for their children, as we often hear about in our chaplaincy role. One of the great joys I (Stephen) find in ministry is seeking to encourage and assist men in the pursuit of being godly, which certainly includes being a good husband and loving father.

"Help, Lord."
David's observation of the men during this period in his life led him to cry out to God for help. His troubled observation was that the "godly man ceases to be". David grew up during a time of great moral and spiritual apostasy. Certainly Saul's reign was not marked by spiritual revival or consistent obedience to God. It transitioned from the period of the Judges, which is summed up with the phrase "each man did what was right in his own eyes." However there was a remnant of God's faithful followers during this period such as the prophet Samuel.

Thank God for men who remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ in our own day. *
  • Faithful ministers who preach God's Word in an uncompromising manner
  • Dedicated men who live out their faith before an oft-scorning world
  • Men who make a commitment to moral purity
  • Men who take their marital covenant seriously
  • Men who raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
  • Business leaders who seek to honor God in the way they conduct their business
  • Employees who "work heartily as unto the Lord"
  • Church communities that continue to "forsake not the assembling together"
Today's second verse is a great truth for all readers to memorize. We all deal with different temptations and various struggles in life as we seek to remain faithful to Christ. The believers addressed in Hebrews were facing persecution and were tempted to go back to their old way of life. Perhaps part of the temptation was that in doing so their persecutions might ease. There are many believers today under similar circumstances.

But going back to the old way of life remains a temptation in varying degrees for all believers, though for different reasons. For many readers it may be the busyness of life, affluence, the persistent barrage of godless, secular teaching and other issues we confront daily including the unbelief that might exist within our own family. These and other matters may lull us into complacency or seek to pull us back into the world. 

This coming Sunday I've been invited to preach at a Teen Callenge chapel service and will focus on a temptation to throw it in many of these men have. The heavy load they bear, as they overcome the consequences of many years of disobedience to God, could tempt them to simply give up. It may be tobacco, drug or alcohol use, sexual immorality, anger and rage, resentment, or indebtedness due to wasteful spending. Turning to Christ does not immediately negate the long-term consequences of these past sins or present unchecked attitudes. Though some receive miraculous behavioral, attitudinal, and even physical deliverances, many will endure weaknesses and temptations that require diligent prayer and a lifetime of overcoming.

The enemy of our soul persistently pesters us to give up. "What's the use?" might consume our thoughts, dim our vision and overshadow powerful verses such as "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don't give up" (Galatians 6:9). We may be tempted to just throw away our confidence and simply give up such as those Peter wrote about in his second letter (2:20): "after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them". Sadly, we know some who have done just that. A major theme throughout Hebrews is, "Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess." The word translated "hold firmly" is in the present active and conveys the ongoing need to actively participate in this "holding on" to our faith.

But note the great promise in the daily text. We have been blessed by it often and committed it to memory: "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded." Any earthly rewards pale in comparison to the eternal rewards our heavenly Father bestows on the faithful believer. May the Lord's present and future promises strengthen your faith today and fill you with anticipation for the future when you will be "richly rewarded".

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You lead us through the valleys and mountain top experiences of everyday life. Your ways are far superior to the path we might choose when guided by our own familiar past, faulty thinking, or poor role models. We're so grateful for the strength and encouragement we receive from our brothers and sisters who bear our burdens,  share in our joys and sorrows, provide godly example and even gently rebuke when correction is needed. When weighing the decision of abandoning our faith or holding faithfully to the faith we profess, we join with Simon Peter who weighed the options and declared, "Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68,69). Enable us to deal with the daily stuff of life and to remember that You reward the faithful, though our greater and lasting reward will only be realized on the other side. Help us to learn the grace of being confident on this side as we continue to obey Your commands and await Your blessed reward. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

* Of course these points apply to women as well but the focus of today's message is to reflect on the men.

Some scenes from Knoebel's Park

Knoebels Park sign, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
Knoebel's Park is an old-fashioned park reminiscent of amusement parks we went to as kids in the sixties such a long-closed Fairyland Park in Kansas City and Bell's Park in Tulsa.

Ferris Wheel at Knoebels Park, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
We began with a ride on the giant Ferris Wheel, which provides great views of the park and surrounding mountains. Nathan and Neville Ncube boarded the car with Ester.

Ferris Wheel at Knoebels Park, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
Even the two of us hopped on board the Ferris Wheel.

Sklooosh ride at Knoebels Park, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
But not the Sklooosh Ride!

Sklooosh ride at Knoebels Park, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
A fun ride but riders get very wet and so do spectators in certain spots!
See video

Nathan and Neville, Knoebels Park, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
Some very soaked boys!

Nathan and Neville, Knoebels Park, Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
Going to a park can make one rather weary! Ester is also sleeping in the back seat. We took our bikes along but determined when we got there the hilly terrain wasn't suitable for a pleasant ride for people in their sixties, especially with the soaring temps!

Doe and fawn near Knoebels Park , Columbia County, PA 7/4/17
Leaving the park late yesterday afternoon we came upon this doe and her fawn driving through rural Columbia County.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Rise Up, O Men Of God"  Video  Maranatha Promise Band

"What A Beautiful Name"  Video  Voices of Lee We saw this powerful presentation and want to share it with our readers. What an interesting approach and we think it would be neat to use a similar approach in a full church with choir members seated throughout the building!

Yesterday we shared about the Star Barn raising event in Elizabethtown. Here's an interesting article with video.

John Keefer, a pastor friend preached a powerful message on love and maintaining high moral standards. Audio

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening (July 9) The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received) We plan to go over with our Zimbabwean friends and perhaps we will see some of our other Daily Encouragement friends. Here's a sample of Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers music.  "I Won't Go Back"  Video  (The Singers are the traveling troupe of the more famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)

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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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