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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Geese family on Donegal Creek
Several large geese families reside on Donegal Creek.
It's always a highlight to see them on our spring walks on the trail.

"God's Pattern"
Holy Marriage

Message summary: This week's series on "God's Patterns" may be offensive to some because so many have rejected God's revealed patterns and accepted new worldly philosophies and a notion that marriage is simply a human social construct.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

World Book EncyclopediaWhen I was young my parent's biggest investment educationally for their children was a complete set of the World Book Encyclopedia, probably revised to about 1962. That was long before you surfed the web in pursuit of information! I recall spending hours surfing through the encyclopedia and reading articles of interest and, of course, looking at the pictures.

Webster's DictionaryEarly in my ministry Brooksyne presented to me a huge copy of "Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language" which I still have and occasionally use. Of course technology understandably brings new words and thus makes aspects of the dictionary outdated. My edition from 1983 doesn't have words we now use commonly in the computer age like website, gigabyte or podcast.

But it's also interesting to see how meanings of old words change and provides a fixed point so that when a word changes you don't have to say, "It seems to me that word used to mean ...". I looked up "marriage" in that dictionary and it stated, "the social institution under which a man and a woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc."

In the last several years marriage has been redefined based on the notion that it is merely a social construct and thus humans can make the meaning whatever they want it to be. But I read this powerful rebuttal, "Marriage is a covenant relationship and an institution established by God rather than simply a human social construct (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6; Ephesians 5:22–33)."

The Got Questions teaching site has this succinct Bible definition of marriage:

In Genesis, chapter 2, God declares it is not good for Adam (the first man) to live alone. All the animals are there, but none of them are a suitable partner for Adam. God, therefore, in a special act of creation, makes a woman. Just a few verses later, the woman is called "his wife" (Genesis 2:25). Eden was the scene of the first marriage, ordained by God Himself. The author of Genesis then records the standard by which all future marriages are defined: "A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

Bible teacher Alistair Begg, writes "Secular viewpoints continue to press for the destruction of the traditional family. What was once considered living in sin is becoming accepted by society." My, isn't that the truth, even an understatement.

As time passes more and more younger generations will see this new definition of marriage as the new normal and eventually as just the normal. In fact attempts are being made to frame the traditional Biblical understanding of marriage as hateful, backward and ignorant. We have a friend who owns a wedding venue who is being persecuted for his principled decision not to allow its use for purposes that violate his convictions, which he had established long before the decision to redefine the meaning of marriage.

Here in America the redefinition of marriage was officially made by our country's Supreme Court less than four years ago on June 26, 2015. Just as there has always been a remnant opposing the Supreme Court's evil decision to legalize abortion in 1973, there will always be Bible faithful people who will oppose this decision to redefine marriage in opposition to God's clearly established pattern. God has also maintained a people who contend for His truth.

Just as we have seen disastrous consequences from the abortion decision we will most assuredly see disastrous consequences from the redefinition of the marriage decision. We already see them. The Bible says, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction" (Galatians 6:7,8a).

But let us who follow Christ and the Bible hear the words that follow, "Whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:8b,9).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are our God and firm foundation, our Rock, the only solid ground on which we stand because nations rise and fall. Kingdoms once strong are now shaken but we will trust forever in the victorious name of Jesus. Your kingdom is from everlasting to everlasting. Help us not to bow down to the god of this age and conform to the teachings that counter the instruction of Your Holy Word. You are unmatched in all Your wisdom, in love and justice you reign, and one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Only God Forever"  Video  Brooksyne's note: Our choir led in this song on Sunday and I adapted some of the words and included them in our prayer today. The lyrics support the timely message we share today regarding the current philosophies of our day that are not supported by Scripture, in fact, they conflict with the Bible. I believe it will bless your heart as you listen.

Our God, a firm foundation
Our rock, the only solid ground
As nations rise and fall
Kingdoms once strong now shaken
But we trust forever in Your Name
The Name of Jesus
We trust the Name of Jesus

For further study:

I read about this 2019 commencement address and these sobering observations:

The days of easy Christianity in America are over.

People of faith have shaped this country since its founding. But sometime in the last century, things slowly began to change. That change accelerated during the last administration, as the government tried to force Christian groups to be complicit in things that our faith teaches we cannot be part of, including the destruction of innocent unborn life.

But there's a more pernicious trend that's unrelated to the government. Until recently, being known as a good Christian was an advantage in your career, a signal that you were someone deserving of trust and respect.

But the young Christian graduates were warned that their faith may cost them their job if they take their Christianity seriously on issues such as the sanctity of life and the meaning of marriage.

"Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs. So as you go about your daily life, just be ready.  Because you're going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith; you're going to be asked to endorse them. You're going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture.
"So, Class of 2019, my word to all of you is decide here and now that you're going to stand firm, that you'll persevere, and that you'll always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have, and you'll do so with gentleness and respect. Because our nation and our world need that message of grace and love maybe more now than ever before."

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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber 5/8/19
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

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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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