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Monday, July 27, 2020

Amish farm from Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
This family on this Amish farm is coming home from a church service.
Photo taken from the Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
Click on photo to enlarge

"Steadfast Ways"

Message summary: Today we call each reader to a steadfast and enduring walk with the Lord wholly committed to obeying His decrees.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees!" (Psalm 119:5). "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Last Friday's message text included the word "steadfastness". It means "resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering". Nine year old Lizzie was with us and read the text for our podcast listeners. She's taught well at home and in her one room schoolhouse and read the word "steadfastness" flawlessly. Her family has a godly practice each Sunday morning of reading a portion of the Bible together, with each child reading a verse in turn.

Steadfast Steadfastness is such a greatly needed character trait among those who follow Christ! We increasingly appreciate steadfastness in the lives of people that we minister to and, in turn, those who minister to us which is a needed source of encouragement and provides a model for those who follow!

Psalm 119:5 In the daily text the Psalmist makes a petition that we should include in our daily prayers: "Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!" Other versions read, "Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!"  "I pray that my ways may become firmly established so that I can obey your laws." "Oh, that my ways may be established to observe and keep Your statutes [obediently accepting and honoring them]!"

Let's examine the two phrases in this short verse:

"Oh, that my ways were steadfast." In making this more personal I state in a present tense petition to God, "Oh, that my ways are steadfast". There is no vacillation with our God. He is eternally steadfast and He calls His followers to a steadfast walk. Notice the very personal petition, "my ways". We think of the old song, "Standin' in the Need of Prayer" that pleads, "Not my brother, not my sister, but it's me O Lord, standin' in the need of prayer." The words of this old spiritual may be seen as a selfish petition since the author is appealing to God on his own behalf rather than his brother or sister, "It's me, O Lord, standin' in the need of prayer". But we all do well to plea for God's help to remain steadfast, courageous and obedient as our world continues to turn a deaf ear to timeless truths and principles established since the beginning of time.

"In obeying your decrees!" Although the author of Psalm 119 is unnamed many believe it was David. If so he certainly knew the evil that can be lodged in one's heart and the ongoing struggle of remaining faithful and steadfast to God, wholly committed to His Word. After all, the Scripture is clear and very frank regarding a time when David failed to remain steadfast in obeying God's decrees (see 2 Samuel 11). Men and women of God in any age need to petition for steadfastness. But in our own age when wrong is called right and right is called wrong and the understanding of what is right and wrong is constantly shifting, steadfastness in obeying God's decrees is especially important.

The writers of some of the great hymns of the Church acknowledge this struggle to remain steadfast in the words of their hymns. We appreciate their honesty. Can you identify the hymns these words are found in?
  • "O how the world to evil allures me, O how my heart is tempted to sin!"
  • "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."
  • "The arm of flesh will fail you; you dare not trust your own."
  • "Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul; take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole."
  • "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay."
  • Today we call each reader to a steadfast and enduring walk with the Lord, wholly committed to obeying His decrees.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we desire that all our ways would be steadfast in obeying Your decrees. Too frequently we lose sight of our stated goal of obeying You in all matters since we're daily exposed to ungodly philosophies, lifestyles, and trends that stand in direct opposition to teachings from Scripture. Yet Your Word tells us to remain steadfast in our Christian witness, prayerful in all matters, faithful in our example to others, and obedient to the teachings of Scripture. With the help of the Holy Spirit we will be obedient to Your decrees even as we pray for others to see the Light of Christ that shines in this sin-filled world. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Must Tell Jesus"  Video  Canton Junction

Following our church service yesterday we took a 20 mile bike ride on the Lititz to Ephrata rail trail in temps of the mid 90's. We were grateful when we came upon shaded areas along the trail.

Stone house, Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
This old stately stone farmhouse caught our attention.
Click on photo to enlarge

Kayakers along Middle Creek, Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
From the beautiful new bridge we spotted Kayakers along Middle Cocalico Creek.

Caboose in Ephrata, Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
An old caboose is at the end of the trail in both Lititz and Ephrata. This one is at the Ephrata end.

Dick Winters, Band of Brothers leader, Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
Statue of Dick Winters, who led the "Band of Brothers" in WW2.

Selfie, Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
Our attempt at a selfie along the trail. Brooksyne was standing on her tippy toes to assist me in the attempt to focus on the trail and still get us centered in the foreground.

Mister, Lititz-Ephrata rail trail, Lancaster County, PA
On the Lititz side the ambulance company had a misting fan which was a very refreshing sight since the temps were in the 90's. It's a sure way to cool down after a very hot afternoon of biking!

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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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