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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Hibiscus bloom 8/5/19
Hibiscus bloom.

"But As For You, Continue"

Message summary: Today, we urge you to continue in your personal resolve to faithfulness.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

Recently a prominent former minister/author made the news with the announcement that he had departed from Christianity and essentially renounced much of what he had formerly believed and taught. Blogger Chelsen Vicari observes, I believe correctly, "Perhaps it is better for him to denounce the faith altogether (and hopefully temporarily) than to distort it and mislead another generation of young Evangelicals."

This is always disappointing but should not be surprising. It has happened all through my lifetime. I recall about ten years ago when a long-time favorite Christian singer/songwriter departed from the faith and embraced the "alternate" lifestyle.

This has been the case all through the church age going back to the New Testament period. A verse that many of us have probably not purposefully memorized is from Matthew 24:10 where Jesus said concerning the last times, "At that time many will turn away from the faith". This falling away was demonstrated by Paul's ministry associate Demas who had deserted Paul because he loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10).

Paul spoke of this in 1 Timothy 1:19,20 in a somber challenge to Timothy (and us), "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme". Like Timothy our somber calling is to "hold faith and a good conscience".

But today let us consider a challenge to continue in just the first portion of today's Scripture text. We'll examine more from this passage on Thursday and Friday.

"But as for you."
This sets up an emphatic contrast with the evil men and impostors described in the previous verse (
2 Timothy 3:13) . In that time and today many will plunge deeper and deeper into the cesspool of deception and darkness. But Timothy is to stand firm on the solid rock of God's unchanging word. This verse begins with the emphatic "you". The man of God must pay careful attention to himself in aligning with the Scriptures if he is to resist the enticing lure of doctrinal and moral infidelity. As opposition increases, the Scriptures become the believer’s reliance and bulwark.

"Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of." Today let us just consider the word "continue" which most Bible versions use. Other versions render it "Keep on being faithful" (CEV), "But you must keep on believing" (TLB).

It is in the present imperative and calls for a constant, habitual way of life. Bible teacher William Kelly translates the word, "continue" as "stand by". He comments that "Perhaps one of the severest tests of a believer's character and loyalty is to 'stand by' the side of known truth while alluring and scintillating heresies are paraded in front of us. It is no small feat to remain faithful to God's eternal Word throughout one's lifetime and many there are who have left its ranks." *

God spoke to wayward Israel through the prophet Jeremiah, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

Today, we urge you to continue in your personal resolve to faithfulness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we thank You for the godly people who have taught us unchanging eternal truths of Scripture. Not only did they teach us by instruction but they taught us by their consistent example. Like Timothy, we want to continue in what we have learned and become convinced of, because we know those from whom we learned the Holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise for salvation through our faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

* Kelly died on March 27, 1906. Shortly before his death, he said "There are three things real — the Cross, the enmity of the world, the love of God."

Monarch butterfly 8/7/19 Photo by Ed Carocci
Ed, a reader from northern PA sent this photo.
He was one of several alert readers who are Lepidopterologists and pointed out that yesterday's butterfly photos were of a Swallowtail butterfly not a Monarch. I'll have to blame Brooksyne for that one. I had written "butterfly" in the caption and she added Monarch when she edited! (Brooksyne's excuse:  I like to be specific when possible but thought after I wrote "monarch" that I wasn't certain. Intending to look it up I walked away from the message and, zoom, Stephen sent it off. It came to me again later that morning but I knew a careful reader would correct my work if I was wrong, and wrong I was! Thanks, Ed and other observant readers.)

Neighborhood produce stand 8/6/19 Click to enlarge
We sure enjoy our neighborhood produce wagon which offers fresh home-grown fruits and vegetables at a very reasonable price. The wagon uses the honor system with shoppers dropping off their money in a slotted enclosure. We are also blessed by the expression of faith on the sign. "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell on the Lord and feed on His faithfulness" (Psalm 37:3).
Click to enlarge

Tomatoes 8/6/19
One of our favorite summer dishes is a plate of sliced tomatoes garnished with feta cheese, bacon and basil. Today we'll enjoy it again with a little balsamic vinegar sprinkled on top.

Pets 8/5/19
In this photo it appears that our young 7 month old puppy, Sadie (left), is sharing some juicy gossip with Roxie, who will turn 15 this October.

Audreys 8/6/19
Early yesterday morning, in our chaplaincy role, we visited Audreys "Your Heart's Delight", a wholesale distributor of home decor items. Brooksyne was amused and puzzled by this sight. It looks like some stuffed animals are at a protest. See below.

Steven Shanley 8/6/19
We meet a lot of people and everyone has a story.  The third worksite we visited yesterday uses a lot of temp workers; with many of them getting back into the work force after being in some type of trouble. We've visited Steven for several weeks now and yesterday heard some of his story and he gave us permission to share it on DE. He was released from prison last October after many, many years of incarceration having first went to jail at 15. We talked with him about his mother who is now about 90 years old and Brooksyne asked, "How often did you see your mother while in prison?" Without hesitation he responded, "She came to visit me every week." You could see in his expression how meaningful it was to have such a loving, devoted mother continuing to be supportive even during his years of incarceration. Steven is a few months younger than me and a few months older than Brooksyne. We encouraged him to place his faith in Christ and set out to live the remainder of his life to honor God.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Faith To Be Strong"  Video  Andrew Peterson   Brooksyne's Note: We dedicate this song to several friends going through critical health challenges. I heard "Faith to Be Strong" on the radio this morning for the first time and it spoke to my heart in such an impassioned way, especially the following line: "Give us faith to be strong and strength to be faithful. This life is not long, but it's hard."

I believe the words will be of blessing to you if you're enduring an ongoing trial or you know someone else who needs to hear these words.  Andrew Peter, who sings and wrote this song, came to our attention with the song he wrote, "Is He Worthy". We have featured that in the past.

"Build My Life"  Video  Calvary Church worship team from Sunday's service (includes short intro)

"Legacy"  Video  A great followup to yesterday's message. A tremendous missions story.

Study notes on today's text from Precept Austin Bible Commentary

Finally today: Yesterday's aerial photo was over the central valley in California.

Audreys snowmen 8/6/19
From the photo above the shopping carts had what looked like stuffed protestors holding up blank signs. Once Brooksyne turned a cart around we saw that it was snowmen holding signs, "Winter Blessing and Let It Snow"! One of the distinctions of a four season warehouse is that you see items all the time that are not necessarily in sync with the season you walk through.

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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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