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Monday, November 30, 2020

Coming Celebration (Click to enlarge)
Chickies Rock along the Susquehanna River at Sunset.
Click on photo to enlarge

"A Consideration Of Standing Firm"

Message summary: A great impetus for standing firm: "Focus on the coming celebration, not the current chaos".

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (Isaiah 7:9). "
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near" (James 5:8).

Have you ever fallen? Of course you have! You did so a lot when you were learning to walk. Just ask your parents. We’ve all fallen a few times after being fully grown and how embarrassing that is!

Wellsboro, PA sidewalk crackBut falling becomes a greater danger as we age, causing us to worry less about embarrassment and more about physical damage. Last December we were in Wellsboro PA for the "Dickens of a Christmas" festival when I (Stephen) tripped on an upraised sidewalk and fell very hard. (We visited Wellsboro in August and took the photo of the spot, seen to the right.) It really messed my knees up, taking several months to recover.

Brooksyne had the same type of experience a couple years earlier as we were preparing to visit one of our companies, though hers left less damage. It's one thing to hear about another's pain, but it heightens one's sensitivity to have the same experience. My mother had a hard fall in her late seventies resulting in a brain injury which impaired her the rest of her life. Some of our readers can relate to her experience through a loved one's fall resulting in lifetime consequences or perhaps you have a similar story of your own.

Some of us will remember the low budget, rather cheesy TV ad, from the eighties with the elderly person calling out the memorable line, "I’ve fallen and I can’t get up". It became a catch phrase for many years and was used jokingly in many settings, most especially among the young (which was "us" at the time).

Today let us consider a spiritual fall and the Scriptural call to "stand firm".

Several days ago Brooksyne was reading her Bible and read aloud a verse I had never (to from my recollection) considered from the context in which she read. Isaiah 7 has a well-known verse concerning the virgin birth of Christ, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). But several verses before that we have our first daily text, "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (Isaiah 7:9). This sounds a lot like a teaching from Jesus in the Gospels. It also calls to mind the catchy but all too true quote credited to Alexander Hamilton, "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything".

The verse prompted me to do a study of "standing firm" through the Bible. The first reference* to the phrase is at the time of the Exodus when Moses said to the people on the banks of the Red Sea, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again" (Exodus 14:13).

John SodenIn yesterday's message our guest speaker, John Soden, a Lancaster Bible College professor quoted from Philippians 4:1, "Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved."

My life verse, states "Therefore, my dear brethren, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

In Mark's gospel Jesus shares this promise, "but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13).  Let us today determine again that we will stand firm till the end!

The apostle James gives good truth for any generation of believers. "Be patient and stand firm". That's needed today with all the chaos going on. The promise of the return of Christ is real. Our place now is to be patient and stand firm.

Concluding his sermon yesterday Professor Soden shared the simple truth we use in our lead photo today which provides a great impetus for standing firm:

"Focus on the coming celebration, not the current chaos"

It won’t be long, we will behold Him
And every tear He’ll wipe away
We'll be at home, the war will be over
Soon we will meet our Savior face to face

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, I want to be quick to make eternity-judgments instead of time-judgments. By faith help me to rise above the tug of earth and the flow of time, learning to think and feel as one who has already left this corrupt world and gone to join the innumerable company of angels and Church of the First-born in Your incorruptible heaven. With such thinking I would be more useful than famous and would rather serve than be served. You set eternity in the human heart enabling me to set my affections on heaven preventing me from falling from grace and standing firm for righteousness. It's all because of God's marvelous grace through the sacrifice of His beloved Son, Jesus. Amen.

Portion of prayer inspired by A.W. Tozer's sermon - "Standing for God in These Evil Times"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* Of course the phrase "stand firm" is translated slightly differently in various Bible versions and in this study I also uses variations such as stands firm and standing firm.

"There Is A King"  Video   Calvary Church worship team

"Stand Firm"  Video  Calvary Chapel Chattanooga

"Firm Foundation"  Video   Selah

"Rejoice in the Lord" Message by John Soden from Calvary Church service yesterday Video cued to start of message. This also includes a powerful dramatic presentation by "Piercing Word" a local group of committed believers who memorize word for word the Bible and present it in a theatrical format. The sermon series for the past 8 weeks has covered the book of Philippians at Calvary Church. Yesterday's sermon was an overview and Piercing Word presented all four chapters of Philippians (ESV).

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up."   "Life call" commercial from 1987

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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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