Daily Encouragement Net
The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Thursday, May 20, 2021

Donegal Creek
Donegal Creek
Yesterday Brooksyne walked to the source of the Donegal Creek which originates at a spring near the historic Donegal Presbyterian Church which is nearly 300 years old.

"A Famine Of Hearing The Words Of The LORD"

Message summary: "With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:104,105).

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). “'The days are coming,' declares the Sovereign LORD, 'when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD'" (Amos 8:11).

Many of us have Bible-based names. My Mom named me after Stephen who was stoned as written about in the book of Acts. Popular Bible names for men are John, Mark, James and so forth. For women Mary, Rachel, Rebekah, Ruth and many others are still popular, although fewer and fewer realize that theirs is a Bible-based name.

Isaiah, Amos and Malachi (Val-Co)

One day I saw two engineers discussing a project and greeted Malachi and Amos, commenting as I greeted them, "Two good Bible prophets!" Later that morning I visited with Isaiah at the same company. The photo above shows left to right, Isaiah, Amos and Malachi. Today let us consider two Scripture verses from the Old Testament prophets, one from Amos and the other from Hosea.

Trivial PursuitHow many of you remember the 80's game "Trivial Pursuit"? Perhaps it's still played but in the 80's it was very popular. Some of the categories reflected meaningful knowledge such as geography and history but others reflected one's knowledge of passing fads such as popular entertainers, musicians and so forth. Regardless of the game's popularity there are many who pursue worthless trivia day after day. Someone even came up with a Bible trivia game.

Open BibleConsider the increasing dearth of Bible knowledge in our age. There is indeed a spiritual famine when it comes to hearing, learning and knowing the words of the Lord! Woodrow Kroll, who for many years was the main teacher on a radio program called "Back to the Bible", shared a powerful message from the Book of Hosea regarding seven signs of a nation that is in trouble. One of the signs is a lack of knowledge concerning God's Word, using the texts we have selected for today's devotional. He went on to illustrate the dearth of Bible knowledge in our age.

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Our first daily verse is from the prophet Hosea who served God from about 755-725 BC. His message was largely rejected, but he remained faithful and obedient to God in spite of some rather unusual commands.

The problem was not a lack of available knowledge but a rejection of applying that knowledge (note the context).

Even the apostate Northern Kingdom under the very wicked Jeroboam 2 had a witness for truth and the knowledge of God through prophets like Hosea, but the people rejected it. In our day a witness for God and His truth continues to be proclaimed, but by and large this vitally important knowledge and truth is being rejected. Currently there are growing attempts to silence it. I read of a street preacher in London arrested for proclaiming God's truth regarding sexuality.* Thus we are seeing and will continue to see the consequences of this rejection.

There are those who are ignorant because of a lack of access to knowledge of the truth. They have not yet heard God's message of salvation. That remains the great commission of the church. I was thrilled this week to read that one of my relatives is going into missions, working with unreached peoples.

Then there are those who are ignorant because they have access but they choose to ignore or reject the knowledge of the truth that is available to them. That is the case with so many here in America and in many other places. Psalm 53:1 tells us that the fool has reasoned within himself that there is no God.

Today let us make this verse our prayer, "With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:104,105).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path. I don't want to be destroyed for lack of knowledge nor do I want to be caught up in sin due to my disobedience to Your commands. I want to feast daily on the spiritual manna provided by Your Scriptures. Where there is spiritual famine, even among those who believe, we pray for revival where men and women, boys and girls begin to hunger for that which is of eternal worth. Stir us all into action as we are spurred on by Your directives in Scripture, and Your Spirit that is at work in us. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Additional study note: As Brooksyne and I discuss this we realize most of our knowledge of the Bible has been gleaned from many years of exposure to its truths through personal reading, study, devotionals, sermons, etc. Although we are both  very thankful for the "formal" education we received (as well as being the place we met), most of what we know was acquired incrementally all through life through being exposed to God's Word. For many of us it began as children in Sunday School and VBS. (Neither of us recall programs when we grew up like "Children's church", weekly midweek groups, Bible quiz and so forth.) We didn't have videos or any other aids used to teach children these days. All though our adult lives we have purposefully sought to grow in our knowledge of the Word of God, mostly in small incremental ways.

We desire that these daily encouragement messages be one of these small incremental sources that God is using in your life to increase your knowledge of His Word.

This exposure principle is expressed in Hebrews 5:12-14, "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil."  The words "constant practice" in this verse illustrate the exposure principle.

This exposure principle also applies to the hymnal. Now there are very few hymns we have ever set out to intentionally memorize, but because we have regularly sung them through the years we have learned the words to many of them. We wonder how many of you may even recall the page number of a favorite hymn from many years ago?

The same is true of God's Word. Although we have purposefully sought to memorize many verses through the years, much of what we know is through habitual exposure (constant practice in Hebrews 5:14). Let us daily fill our lives with regular exposure to God's Word followed by application of its truths as we also receive assurance from its promises! Then we can proclaim with the Psalmist, "With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:104,105).

Here's a little quiz regarding the power of exposure to God's Word for longtime Bible students. Some of these verses you have purposefully memorized but in many cases you will know them because you have read and heard them quoted regularly. See how many of these verses you can complete and extra credit if you know the reference!

"For God so loved..." (You better get this one!)
"In the beginning God..."
"In the beginning was..."
"For I know the plans..."
"For we know that God..."
"The Lord is my shepherd..."
"I am the way..."
"But you shall receive power..."
"My God shall supply..."
"For by grace..."
"Enter into His gates..."
"Behold I stand at the door..."
"I can do all things..."
"Behold what manner..."
"For all have sinned..."
"The wages of sin..."
"Thou art worthy..."
"Thou shalt have no..."
"Thou shalt not..."
"I will never leave thee..."
"The Lord Thy God in the midst...
"Do not fear for I am..."
"Be anxious for nothing"

Admittedly, since we share these verses by memory there is a version mix of NIV'84 & KJV

Now consider the following hymns and many of you will see that you can finish at least the line, if not the verse or even the entire hymn (with a few prompts) because you have sung it since childhood. Most certainly you can sing the chorus since it is repeated between each verse helping you to memorize it even more than the verses.

"Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, …"
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, …"
"Great is Thy faithfulness, …"
"Then sings my soul, …"
"Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him, ..."
"What a friend we have in Jesus...."
"O for a thousand.."
"On Christ the solid..."
"It is well..."
"Joyful, joyful we adore Thee..."
"On a hill far away..."
"I am Thine O Lord..."
"All to Jesus I surrender..."
"Rock of ages..."
This is my Father's world..."
"Wonderful grace of Jesus..."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Speak, O Lord"  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

"Ancient of Days [Acoustic]"  Video  Shane & Shane

Finally today:

During our visit at Audrey's Tuesday morning I was walking through the "New Products" that are being reviewed and couldn't resist taking a photo of these colorful galvanized planters. You have to read them slowly to get the humor and cleverness of each statement.

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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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