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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Hawk near front yard oak 8/22/17 (Ester Weber)
Yesterday Ester took some photos of this hawk seen in our front lawn.

"Guarding The Good Deposit"

Message summary: May the Lord help us to be faithful in holding onto the Living Word, not compromising its message through our speech, lifestyle, or our doctrinal views. As we pass it on to the next generation may we do so without changing or watering down the truths and commands God sets forth in His Word. Let us not disregard or reinterpret God's timeless truths to make them more palatable based on the current trends of our society.

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"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you" (1 Timothy 6:20). "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you" (2 Timothy 1:14).

Smucker community day t-shirt
When we consider the word "invest", most would think about finances. But there are other kinds of investments we make. Today we are working with a company that will be making an investment into their community. Smucker Home Improvement and Smucker Laser will not have normal business operations today. Instead they will travel into Lancaster City to make repairs and improvements to a city park as a community project. We are delighted to join them and have been praying that they will have an effective impact. Marlin, one of the company owners, has also informed the workers that if they see any inner city youth playing basketball they're welcome to join them in a pick-up game. With all the racial strife going on these days these are the kinds of friendly interchanges needed among people from various economic levels and skin colors.

We all make investments in that which moves our heart. As serious followers of Jesus Christ we invest in that which has been entrusted to us from those who have gone before us. We carefully guard it and seek to pass it on to others.

In the two Biblical epistles to Timothy the apostle Paul was passing the torch of faith to the succeeding generation. Paul calls this faith the "good deposit". Although the direct recipient of these letters was Timothy, each believer in every generation does well to heed the solemn charge in the daily Scriptures. It's our prayer that you will do so as well.

Many years ago when I served as a pastor I was preaching from the first daily text and coincidentally had a visitor by the name of Timothy. He told me later that when I emphasized, "O Timothy…" it shook him up a little, as he thought, "Oh no, the preacher's preaching right at me!" He was doubly attentive at those points! Well the fact of the matter is I was preaching to him and to everyone else in attendance!

Today I place my name into this charge that Paul so solemnly gave to Timothy and encourage you to do so as well. In my case the passage would read, "O Stephen, guard the deposit entrusted to you." Now it's your turn
"O ______, guard the deposit entrusted to you."

Jude 3
Each generation has a responsibility in guarding the deposit of faith passed on by the preceding generation and in turn passing it on, unchanged, to the succeeding one. That's at the very heart of what Biblical Christian faith and ministry is all about.  We must vigilantly continue to, "Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).

Paul set forth this pattern in a well-known ministry verse to Timothy, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2). In a sense we are both receiving the faith and passing it on simultaneously. When we are young we do more receiving; as we age we do more passing it on or "entrusting".

When we study the Bible we benefit from many believers in past generations who have guarded the good deposit as well as our elders in our present generation who are still living. And we are passing it on as well. Brooksyne and I view this online writing ministry as a part of our passing on the faith.

As we consider our own generation and more specifically our own lives. We consider this both individually and for the church at large. We believe there are significant ways the modern, visible church is slipping in this regard and it brings deep concern to the point of grieving our spirit.

We contend that there will always be a remnant church, consistently holding to the faith and truths of Holy Scripture, until our Lord returns. Christ has stated that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). This true church may very well be hated by the world, for as it contends for the truth and the faith once for all entrusted to the saints, it will be labeled stupid, ignorant, out-of-touch, intolerant, mean-spirited, hateful and even dangerous. In fact it already is.

May the Lord help us to be faithful in holding onto the Living Word, not compromising its message through our speech, lifestyle, or our doctrinal views. As we pass it on to the next generation may we do so without changing or watering down the truths and commands God sets forth in His Word. Let us not disregard or reinterpret God's timeless truths to make them more palatable based on the current trends of our society.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the commandments that You give are to be impressed upon our hearts. Your love motivates us to obey Your commands and Your holiness teaches us to align our desires with Your own. Help us to be extremely cautious about new teachings that are pleasing to the ear and popular with our present generation, but do not bear witness with our spirit or more importantly align with the Scripture. As we study Your Holy Word, from cover to cover, and meditate upon Your principles we will hold on to that which is of most importance and pass it on to those who walk alongside us and those who come behind, the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints of all generations. Amen.

Selected portions of verses implemented into our daily prayer: Deuteronomy 6:6, Colossians 1:13,14

Hawk with prey near front yard oak 8/22/17 (Ester Weber)
The hawk caught a squirrel and was enjoying the meal.

Hawk with prey near front yard oak 8/22/17 (Ester Weber)
We were impressed with Ester's camera skills in these shots since she needed to keep her distance and had to zoom in. She is uncomfortable around birds or any fowl in the first place. She would have scared the hawk off anyway had she been closer! She actually took the photos through our front window while Mollie was barking furiously!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Keep Me True"  Video 
Jabu Hlongwane

"Keep Me True
"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"I Will Not Offer Anything That Costs Me Nothing" Video Bobby Michaels This is an outstanding song of commitment and also includes the lyrics.

"What Children Believe"  Video  Gold City This coming Sunday evening "Gold City" will be at the final concert of the Lebanon Music in the Park summer series. For local readers info is here.

On my heart as this message was prepared was an email I
received from Robert A. J. Gagnon, who for over 20 years was a professor at a liberal protestant seminary. For many years I have benefited from his writings on an orthodox understanding of human sexuality and marriage. For unspecified reasons he has parted relationship with the seminary and is seeking work. Here's his website. I came across this article on his Facebook page which he had reposted: Are Sex and Marriage Issues of Orthodoxy: Yes, they are…

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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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