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Friday, July 31, 2020

Field of sunflowers (Howard Blichfeldt)
Howard Blichfeldt took this photo of a sunflower field at Soergel Orchards near Pittsburgh PA. He captioned it "Shine"!
Click on photo to enlarge

"When Every Knee Will Bow"

Message summary: There is a time to stand and a time to kneel! One day every knee will bow.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Therefore God has highly exalted Him (Jesus Christ) and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). “Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6).

Sunflower with cornEvery summer since we moved to our present home in 2002 Brooksyne has enjoyed planting flowers. One flower we usually don't have to plant is the sunflower which reseeds, either from previous years or from the black oil sunflowers we feed the birds.

Each fall we have a large chore as the season changes and we clean out flower beds disposing of the organic waste of spent flowers and plants across the road from our house. From year to year we see some of the prettiest flowers come back to life for a second time in front of the cornfield. Presently some morning glories are reappearing and we also have a lone sunflower that greets us each morning from across the road, appearing to stand defiantly as though to proclaim "I'm still here. I'm alive!".

That got me to thinking about body posture and various Scriptures that tell us when to take a stand for or against a cause and when to kneel or bow down in worship. There is a time to stand and a time to kneel!

Man kneeling in prayerKneeling is a religious expression of contrition (sorrow for sin) and submission. The practice of kneeling varies in different churches and some still regularly practice kneeling during services. But in our own church experience we have seen a considerable diminishment of kneeling in church services through our lifetime. (Much more could be written on this topic, perhaps another time.)

Prayer at altarIn our younger years it was customary to regularly kneel at the altar during a part of the service, often at the end, during a period known as "altar time". In many churches there was a kneeling bench known as the altar at the front where people would kneel, sometimes to make a first-time confession of sin in response to an altar call or to prayerfully to seek God for victory in some aspect of life, intervene for a loved one, or pray with a brother or sister who was in need. In many churches these have been removed, allowing for more stage area for musicians and for various other reasons. Over the past year our church leadership has developed a "Care Team" where prayer leaders stand across the front of the church after the service to pray with any who might come forward with a need. We were very pleased when this was implemented.

In the last several years kneeling has made a popular comeback, though not as a sign of personal contrition or submission to God, but rather a protest. This is most noticeably among an increasing number of athletes at sporting events during the
national anthem, a time when we customarily stand in respect of our country's national anthem. This type of kneeling expression has become a source of great controversy with some kneeling and others refusing to break the tradition of standing. There is a time to stand and a time to kneel. (Much more could be written on this topic, perhaps another time.)

But there is coming a future time when all will kneel, when every knee shall bow. Many of you will recall a popular chorus from years ago based directly on our daily Scripture text.

He is Lord, He is Lord
He is risen from the dead and He is Lord
Every knee shall bow
Every tongue confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord

We attended a gospel concert with the Collingsworth Family, comprised of a mom and dad, and their four adult children. The concert concluded with the singing of this chorus.

Phil Collingsworth, the group leader, reminded us that one day members of godless groups like the ACLU will make this confession during this end-time event! For non American readers the ACLU, along with other godless groups like the “Freedom From Religion Foundation”, are bent on stamping out the Christian faith in America from the public square. It seems any expression of Christian faith is a target, with a current effort to monitor Bible-faithful preaching through a filter of political correctness and now even dictates concerning gathering for church services. (Much more could be written on this topic, perhaps another time.)

Every knee will bowBut one future day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. We can of our own volition bow, and make this confession now. Or we can join even the most hardened atheist and God-hater who will make it at the great judgment. At that time I am not sure “choice” is the right word but rather a stunning realization that life was lived all wrong on this earth and the Jesus who was mocked, scorned and ignored is Lord indeed.

You can make this confession now or later, the choice is yours. It is life’s most important choice.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is because of Jesus; His loving compassion toward us evident in His incarnation, His ministry, His death and resurrection, that we willingly and joyfully bow on our knees and confess with our tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord. We do so willingly now expressing our faith. But one day Your Scripture declares that there will come a time when at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. We pray that today many will make the decision to follow You. Keep us faithful no matter what, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

*In our message we speak today of physically kneeling, but for some folks, either disabled or with aged knees, physically kneeling is very hard if not impossible. Contrition is a position of the heart, above all. For a perspective of being unable to physically kneel due to disability read or listen to Joni's 4 minute broadcast regarding her perspective of awaiting the day when she will finally be able to bow.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Come, Now is the Time to Worship"  Video  Phillips, Craig & Dean

"Every Knee Shall Bow"  Video   Ivan Parker

"He Is Lord"  Video  MercyMe

"If The Altar Could Talk"  Video  The Spencers

"If This Altar Could Talk"  Video  The Manaraze Family

"If Church Pews Could Shout"  Video  Gold City

Sunflowers on the Old Windmill Farm (Photo by Jesse Lapp)
Jesse Lapp took this photo of sunflowers on the Old Windmill Farm.

Field of Wisconsin sunflowers (Photo by Georgia, click to enlarge)
My cousin Georgia took this photo of Wisconsin sunflowers.

Super-size sunflower 7/15/12
This photo was taken in our back yard a few summers ago. A super-sized sunflower voluntarily grew in our then garden area. We're not accustomed to seeing a flower right outside our 2nd floor bedroom window. Sunflowers are "happy" flowers, since they make us think of the sun and happy faces are modeled after them. They are a beautiful flower to see early in the morning prompting a consideration of the song "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma. Video  That will make you smile!

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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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