A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Friday, October 4, 2019
"Shining In A Dark Place"
Message summary: Wherever you live and whatever the conditions, rejoice today in this wonderful promise, "The gates of hell shall not prevail." And then rejoice when you see the lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
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"Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). "So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).
One day during our trip out west we drove from Flagstaff, Arizona, where we had spent the night, to Sedona. Several years ago I had driven through Sedona and wanted Brooksyne to see it. Sedona is a trendy tourist town surrounded by red bluffs with a very apparent new age type vibe. You can have "spiritual" experiences that I had never heard of!
My main interest for going down that way though was a train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad which unfortunately had sold out. But we still enjoyed the beautiful trip down Oak Creek Canyon and a slow walk down the main street of the scenic tourist town. I parked in a free city parking lot and, as we walked down to the main street, we passed through a very pleasant church courtyard with a big bench and flowering planters.
A lady was tidying up the area so I engaged in a conversation with her. She was a Japanese American who has lived in the area about 30 years. I wondered how the church was there on what was surely very expensive property along the main road and she told me it had been there for many years before the town became a popular tourist stop. Around the church property were strategically placed literature displays with tracts and photocopies of the pastor's sermons. In our conversation it became clear we shared the same faith and I commended her and the congregation for being like a lamp shining in a dark place. (Although I probably didn't use that exact phrase in the conversation!)
I discerned through the pastor's message and available literature that this was a Bible-faithful church. That was further verified when I examined the church website and saw the clear teaching on their Statement Of Faith.
We are thankful for churches like the Wayside Bible Chapel. They surely face much opposition in a spiritually dark place like Sedona. It seems the forces of darkness have always sought to snuff out the light.
Today's first text will be familiar to many. It is our Lord's Word to Peter following his great confession of faith when he proclaimed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus responded to this confession with a great promise: "Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). God's truth marches on. Nearly two thousand years have passed since He initially made the promise to Peter and the early disciples. And today the true church still makes this proclamation, which is at the heart of the Gospel. In fact it is the very foundation on which Christ built His church.
Many years later Peter wrote to the church, "So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).
Jesus promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church, though at times it sure seems like they are prevailing. And that's been the case all through the Church's history. We are reminded in our very day of the forces of hell seeking to destroy the church. The hateful, venomous threats and violent actions of the enemies of Christ are quite evident. Again today we especially consider our oppressed and persecuted brethren in many parts of the world, as well as those within our own country. Please God, strengthen and remind them of Your promise: "The gates of hell will not prevail."
Wherever you live and whatever the conditions, rejoice today in this wonderful promise, "The gates of hell shall not prevail." And then rejoice when you see the lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, today we pray for Your people all over the world; some who are enduring great persecution for the cause of Christ. Grant to them a mighty infusion of strength and assurance. Remind them of the prayers being offered on their behalf from Your people and from the One who is ever interceding. We pray Your blessings on those who serve in hard places and who may be discouraged as well as those going through tough times in their own personal life. Remind us all of Your promise that "the gates of hell shall not prevail." In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Oak Creek Canyon/Sedona Arizona
From Flagstaff to Sedona we drove a beautiful route through Oak Creek Canyon.
Wayside Bible Chapel courtyard which town guests pass through on the way from parking lots to the Main Street.
This was a very friendly hummingbird that didn't mind Brooksyne getting up close, though it is hard to capture a good shot when the bird's wings are all 'aflutter.
True to size horse statue in Sedona, AZ where many westerns were filmed over the years.
Sedona is surrounded by scenic red buffs
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Song For The Nations" Video Jim Gilbert
"Higher Ground" Video The Smucker Family
Wayside Bible Chapel, Sedona Arizona We appreciate churches that still place up a Statement Of Faith on their website. This one includes the present culturally unpopular but Biblically faithful position that "Holy Matrimony, marriage, as a sacred covenant instituted and ordained by God joining together one man as husband and one woman as wife, before God and men, and as a spiritual representation of the divine relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church."
Some more photos of Sedona from a previous trip are in this message.
Finally Today: It was nice to travel and next week we will share more photos from our trip out west but on Thursday we were back out on the road in chaplaincy visits and enjoy seeing the variety of life here in Lancaster County.
This interesting buggy has benches in the back and a makeshift covering on a rainy day!
Horse team and wagon train
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