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Monday, August 12, 2019

Longwood Gardens  Fountains and Fireworks 8/10/19
Longwood Gardens' Fireworks and Fountains

"Which Side Are You On?"

Message summary: "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."  I certainly want to be on the side of truth and thus I want to hear the voice of truth. Lord, give us discernment to tune in to hear, listen to and heed Your voice today! The lesson for us: let us listen to the One who is the author of Truth, even if it goes against the answers we want to hear!

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"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me". "'What is truth?' Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, 'I find no basis for a charge against Him (Jesus Christ)'" (John 18:37,38).

This last weekend we both donated blood, something we have done together ever since we were in college in the early seventies. Anyone who has donated blood in the last thirty years knows that you are subject to an interview with a variety of often very frank and embarrassing questions to determine whether you might have a condition making you ineligible. They use a tiny confessional-like room for this interview.

But Brooksyne got a new question yesterday indicative of our nation's hastening slide into craziness. She was asked "How do you state your gender?" After a less than pleasant blood donation experience (she had sat outside and waited nearly two hours to be called into the Bloodmobile) she was in no mood for responding to such politically correct nonsense.

She told the interviewer, "Really, you have to ask that now?" In an apologetic "I know what you mean" tone the interviewer responded, "Yes, I know what you mean but we now have to ask that." For those that may not be following the plethora of nonsense in our present age there is a trans movement that asserts there are many genders, with new ones being added all the time. In fact according to this line of thought no one really knows how many there are. I don't even try to keep us with this stuff but they have names like ze and zit. For some reason I didn't get asked that question probably because my interviewer could detect I wasn't a ze or zit!!

Today's message is in part prompted by this and other sordid new expressions of rebellion and godlessness, some too graphic to describe in the opening paragraphs but given the downward spiral this is not surprising. These are a validation of Paul's statement in Romans 1:30, concerning "inventors of new forms of evil".

One of the great casualties of our increasing drift from a foundation of Biblical morality is truthfulness. Psalm 51:6 states, "Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being." Today let us examine a lesson from Christ's final hours before His sacrificial death on Calvary.

The last person recorded to have a one-on-one conversation with Jesus prior to His death was Pilate. It's plausible that Christ might have spoken to others on the Via Dolorosa and many are familiar with His last words from the cross. But His last recorded conversation was with Pilate.

This conversation so typifies humanity's response to Jesus. Pilate is an enigma. On the one hand he was very reluctant about proceeding with the conviction, sensing that Jesus was not guilty with his famous words, "I find no fault in this man" (Luke 23:4). But on the other hand he was a typical politician "wanting to satisfy the crowd" (Mark 15:15), thereby developing his helpful alliance with Herod; "that day Herod and Pilate became friends" (Luke 23:12). As an old line states, "politics makes strange bedfellows". Political interests can bring together people who otherwise have little in common.

Jesus said to Pilate, "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me" to which Pilate responds with the probing question, "What is truth?" That is the crucial question humanity has always dealt with and we recognize it most especially in our postmodern era.

Jesus had said hours earlier to His disciples, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).

Pilate asks the question, "What is truth?" I believe it's significant that he does not give Jesus an opportunity to answer. Instead the text records, "With this he went out again to the Jews".  Pilate was face to face with truth but his ears were not open to truth.

Last week I made the point that I firmly believe we have entered a period in history prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11: "The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

One of the great spiritual responsibilities we have is exercising discernment and teaching those whom we influence to do so as well. There is a cacophony of voices that call out to us to go against the truth. We are exposed to these voices at all ages, but our youth are particularly vulnerable.  We need to constantly commit to hearing the voice of God, foundationally through His authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word, the Holy Scriptures.

Pilate seems at one point to have the correct revelation that Jesus is a king when he said, "You are a king, then!" Since Pilate's body language (which often speaks louder than words) is not described by John, we don't know whether he said this in jest as he raised his eyebrows and grimaced at those who stood nearby? Whatever the circumstance, he certainly did not act appropriately and of course was instrumental in the consequential false conviction of Jesus.

I am so enriched by what our Lord Jesus said to Pilate and through the Word He says to us, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth."  Christ knew who He was and why He had come. He came to testify to the truth.

But finally today let us consider the latter portion of our Lord's response: "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."  I certainly want to be on the side of truth and thus I want to hear the voice of truth. Lord, give us discernment to tune in to hear, listen to and heed Your voice today! The lesson for us: let us listen to the One who is the author of Truth, even if it goes against the answers we want to hear!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, I want my heart to be committed to Your Truth and righteousness, for You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. I place my complete trust in You and reject the godless trends and vain philosophies promoted by the world regardless of how popular they may be, no matter what celebrity or famous person promotes them or how they may be validated by the wisdom of this world. Like our Lord Jesus stated, "Thy Word is truth." May Your words be embedded in my heart and mind through the faithful study of Scripture so that I might not sin against You and so that I will recognize truth from error. Keep me faithful and true. Amen.

Saturday night we visited Longwood Gardens with our friend Jerry and after touring the magnificent gardens we watched the Fireworks and Fountains Show.

Longwood Gardens  Fountains and Fireworks 8/10/19
It was a spectacular display of beautiful fireworks, one after the other, perfectly synced with the music of Swan Lake. And as spectacular as the fountains, fireworks and music was the moon (lower right) was witness to it all. I was in awe of our Creator when I considered the greater wonder - one man made, one God created.   

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Voice Of Truth"  Video  Casting Crowns

Longwood Gardens is included in most lists for world's best gardens such as here and here.

Short promo video (30 seconds)

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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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