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Monday, February 28, 2022

Old truck in field in Lancaster County PA
We passed this colorful and well-preserved Chevrolet truck sitting out in the field on the way home from church. Scenes like this really make us smile!

"Now And Forever God You Reign"

Message summary: Remember and have great assurance, now and forever, God reigns!
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"God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne" (Psalm 47:8). "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen" (1 Timothy 1:17). “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns" (Revelation 19:6).

iphoneOur modern "devices" (aka smart phones) can be a blessing as well as a distraction, especially those pesky, but sometimes helpful, notifications. I always try to remember to turn my phone off before I get to church, but just before the service yesterday I glanced at a notification about the heightened world tensions. It now included the word nuclear, which definitely captured my attention.

But we are in church and although I can be somewhat of a news junkie (not proud of that), my focus and praise was to be on the Lord. I don't want my heart to be pulled in two directions; the current events of the world versus the eternal truths of Scripture. But I will admit I had the alarming notification on my mind and won't say I wasn't tempted to check out more information. As you know one can do that rather discreetly these days.

But I didn't. What good would it do? Our service, planned long before the current crisis, was a blessed reminder of God's control over the affairs of His people and ultimately everything that happens to us.

We ended the service with "What a Beautiful Name" that has this powerful declaration of our Lord Jesus Christ:

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

"You have no rival, You have no equal" - Satan is God's ancient adversary but he is not God's rival and certainly not His equal. No doubt, he would like to reckon himself as God's rival and equal. If our theology is deficient we may mistakenly see him that way. But Satan, like us, is a part of the created order. He is a fallen angel.

Through history many leaders have set themselves up as gods. It seems this is happening in our own time as well. Herod learned in a very ignominious way he was not (Acts 5:21-24).

Only God is the almighty Creator of the universe. He is "God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth" (Genesis 14:19).

"Now and forever God You reign" - Reign means "to possess or exercise sovereign power". We find great comfort and assurance in our daily lives, whether it's a routine day or earth shattering one, when we lean on this truth, "Now and forever God You reign".

We haven't seen this for a long time but years ago the newspaper would actually place the title or subject for the sermons in local churches in their readership area. Isn't that an interesting reminder of the value society once had on the role of churches and pastors in years past?

Back in the day a church notified the paper that the title for the coming Sunday's sermon was "God Reigns" but in a misprint the sermon was announced as "God Resigns". Perhaps whoever edited the title was not familiar with the word reign and thought they were actually making a correction.

If I was that preacher I would sure make the most of correcting that misprint. There are many times we have not understood God's ways and it may seem that He is silent, but He certainly hasn't resigned. Never confuse resign with reign! Indeed now and forever God reigns!

We serve the God whose Name is above every name, the King who is "eternal, immortal, invisible".

Today lift your eyes and direct your heart:
  • to the One who has no rival,
  • to the One who has no equal,
  • to the One who, now and forevermore, is steadily reigning over the affairs of the universe, over the affairs of nations and over the affairs of your life.
  • His is the Kingdom.
  • His is the glory.
  • His is the Name above all names!
Our pastor concluded the service yesterday making this point, "When we come to Him in praise and prayer it resets our perspective no matter what is happening in our lives or all around the world. He is sovereign, He is in control and we look to Him and Him alone."

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You reign now and forevermore! It seems I've heard that statement my whole life and often take it for granted or repeat it as though it were simply a cliche'. But when I take to heart that You reign now and forever it's the greatest blessing and reassurance to my believing heart. Robed in majesty and armed with strength, You established the world, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity. Because of Your almighty grace our sins are forgiven through our Lord's sacrificial death, making it possible for us to reside with You for all eternity. All earthly attainments pale in comparison to our promised future in heaven, for which we give You eternal thanks. Amen.
See Psalm 93

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What A Beautiful Name"  Video  This is the concluding song from our worship service yesterday at Calvary Church in Lancaster and is the song that has the lines we quoted above. Note: I have this video cued to when the song begins but have noticed they have been editing the videos later by removing the pre-service material, which throws the cued point off! If this does not open to where the song begins with a few lines from the Lord's prayer you can click on this cued video link from several years ago when our choir sang the same song.

"God and God Alone"  Video  Choir not identified

"God and God Alone"  Video  Passion with Chris Tomlin  (This is a different song with same title)

"The Sin of Silence"  Video  Dr. Laurence White This is one of the most convicting messages I have ever heard in my entire life. What a powerful introduction as well by a pastor who is a survivor of abortion.

We continue to follow and pray for world conditions, especially the grave situation in Ukraine.
  • We pray for the people and specifically for the church and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in both countries. The vast, vast majority of people do not want war. Even the Russian solders were deceived. War is driven by a megalomaniac leader.
  • Lancaster County and our church is home to many immigrants and our pastor reminded us yesterday that there were both Ukrainians and Russians in our service, prompting us to consider both Ukrainians and Russians we have met in the course of our ministry. We also consider Daily Encouragement readers in each of these countries.
  • We pray that the Russian leader will either have a Saul to Paul like conversion or have a "mene, mene, tekel" moment. (See Daniel 5, especially verses 25,26 and following).*
  • We pray for sane and competent leadership in all countries, especially for those with a heart to please the Lord.
  • We don't forget countries that aren't in the news such as Nigeria and specific readers like a man named Sunday who lives in that country where for many years there has been great persecution of Christians from Muslim extremists.
  • Today our Senate is set to vote on a sweeping, utterly evil pro-abortion bill, surely hastening our judgment as a country, should it be approved.
* In studying this passage (Belshazzar's judgment in Daniel 5) I noticed a detail I don't recall ever considering or I just forgot!

Following Daniel's bold pronouncement of judgment, Belshazzar "gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom" (v.29). What an interesting way to reward a man who had just pronounced judgment on him! But "that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed" (v.30).

Following Belshazzar's death "Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old" (v.31) and Daniel served in a high position under his rule (6:1ff).

Finally today:
Nick Nichols
Saturday afternoon I stopped by to visit Nick Nichols, who is recovering from surgery. Nick came across our ministry several years after we moved to Lancaster County. He's one of many friends we have met through our writing ministry. However only a small percentage live near us where we can actually visit them in person! Lancaster attracts many tourists and we are delighted when a DE reader looks us up while visiting our area. Please keep us in mind when making travel plans this summer.

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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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