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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

2 Corinthians 6:2 from the Good News Translation (http://hiswordinpictures.blogspot.com)

"Now Is The Day Of Salvation"

Message summary: Judgment is not a joking matter, let us who truly believe in the Lord continue to stand up for the truth and warn those around us that judgment is coming. Lot’s sons-in-law were urged to “hurry and get out of this place”. The New Testament parallel is a plea that, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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“So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, ‘Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!’ But his sons-in-law thought he was joking” (Genesis 19:14). “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Among our duties as chaplains to businesses is to write a column in several company newsletters. I just received a request for a new article from Joe, a newsletter editor from one of our companies. He's a very thoughtful young man with an earnest faith who made an interesting observation:

"I know people are scared that World War III could potentially break out and are fearful of the impact in the world if that would happen. I believe you would be able to provide comforting thoughts about the situation for people. Is this topic something we should talk about in a newsletter, considering how unsettling it might be for people. It is just an idea I had."

I will consider this request as it is indicative of the stress many surely feel about international and national conditions. But we should always be ready for judgment regardless of how it may happen, whether an international situation or our country decaying from within (which it rapidly is). On a personal level we will all face judgment. “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). But through the Gospel we can have peace and confidence!

Those who know me personally are aware that I sure enjoy teasing. It’s all in good fun as I try to rouse some laughter that gets people’s minds off the troubles that are far too prevalent. The Bible says there is “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) and I am thankful that God included the emotional response of laughter in our human disposition.

But there are issues in life that are not joking matters. All over the world Christians regularly proclaim their belief in the judgment by reciting the Apostle’s Creed, “He shall come to judge the living and the dead” or they profess this belief in a doctrinal statement such as this one from a statement of fundamental truths: "There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death".

Today there are scores of faithful ministries that warn of impending judgment, but this is a subject many just don’t want to hear and frankly many pastors don't want to preach. Indeed for many, judgment is something they just don't want to think about or worse, it's just a joking matter.

Today let us consider an event that happened just before Sodom was destroyed and Lot’s sons-in-law who demonstrate this attitude.  Lot had been told by two angels to warn anyone who belonged to him to leave the city, for it would be destroyed. “Then the two men said to Lot, 'Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it” (Genesis 19:12,13).

Lot, sons in lawThis is an act of grace on God’s part. Lot urged these young men, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” (v.14) They were granted the opportunity to escape judgment due to their association with Lot but they “thought he was joking”. Other versions use words like, "jesting", "mocking", "kidding", and yet Biblical history records the awful judgment that came upon Sodom and Gomorrah.

Many today, now some 4,000 years later, still laugh and scoff at the notion of a future judgment.

Whether God’s judgment is that of the whole earth, specific nations, or an individual, it’s just a joking matter to many people. The good life, along with years of secularism and Biblical illiteracy, has dulled many to this most certain future event. They give little thought to future judgment or worse yet scoff at it, making it a laughing matter such as this joke, "What did the optimist say in hell? I’m glad it’s dry heat."

But God has made Himself very clear in His Word concerning a future judgment: “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). To the scoffers of his day Peter warned, “But they will have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).

I contend that among my main responsibilities in this life is to personally prepare for this judgment and to warn others. And God has also been very clear regarding how we are to prepare. Fundamentally He wants our trust and obedience, to believe in and follow Christ who paid our judgment penalty on the cross of Calvary.

Many consider judgment a joking matter, but let us who truly believe in the Lord continue to stand up for the truth and warn those around us that judgment is coming. Lot’s sons-in-law were urged to “hurry and get out of this place”. The New Testament parallel is a plea that, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for loving us enough to warn repeatedly of impending judgment through Your prophets, disciples, through Your Son Jesus who made it possible that we can escape eternal damnation. As believers we know this is no joking matter as Jesus gave His all that we might be set free from the penalty of sin. Keep us alert, listening, obedient and growing in our faith and our burden for those who have not yet made peace with You. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Here’s a common prayer that expresses faith in God’s plan of salvation. It’s often called “the sinner’s prayer.” Believing what this prayer expresses is the main component of being prepared for the coming judgment. I urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today.

“Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross as a substitute for me. I place my faith in You and ask You to forgive me of my sins. I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow and serve You. Thank You for what You have done for me and for hearing my prayer. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Got Saved"  Video  Selah

"Saved, Saved"  Video  The Craguns  This old hymn brings back memories. How many of you remember singing this testimonial song?

"Now Is the Day of Salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)"  Video  From the Integrity Scripture Memory Songs, a great way we learned to memorize many Scripture verses through music in the 90's.

"I Wish We'd All Been Ready"  Video  This is one of the first Christian songs I, Stephen, heard before I got saved in Kansas City, MO in 1971 (not including hymns we sang in church and children's songs). This stirring song had a convicting impact upon my becoming a Christian. It speaks of the rapture which I did not want to miss. As it turns out, in regard to the rapture, I could have lived in unbelief and sin these last 50 years and waited to get my life right with God. But this would have been supremely reckless. My heart would likely have gotten progressively harder and we never know when our time will come. We should be ready always. What's more, living for and serving the Lord is always the best way to live this life!

Brooksyne's note: As a child my family attended Sunday morning and Sunday evening services without fail. One night as we were returning to our home after a late evening service, headlights of another vehicle followed us into the driveway. I still remember it as it alarmed me to see someone pull in right behind us. The driver got out of his car and informed us that our 16 year old neighbor, Gary Gaither, was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier that day. Gary was good friends with my brother, Jerry, and they often cycled together. Gary grew up in a Christian home and as I recall he was a believer.  His sudden death was a vivid reminder to me as I was growing up that we know not the day nor the hour when we might be called home and give an account for the way we lived here on earth. The warnings in Scripture became very real to me as Gary's sudden death would come to mind when I was making up my mind whether I would choose to follow Christ in my young years or delay until I had done the things that would not honor Him. My firm commitment came at 14 years of age, and I am so grateful, that following Christ from a young age spared me from many of the heartaches I've seen in those who chose to follow Christ after making some terrible choices that brought about life long consequences.

"I Wish We'd All Been Ready"  Video  The Hoppers   A country style version of the same song!

Henry at White Oak Display
Yesterday I visited with Henry who works at White Oak Display. We share the same faith and it's always mutually encouraging to talk to him. Brooksyne teased that Henry's purple shirt and purple hat under the florescent lighting from a distance made him look like a Purple Light Special (remember the days of K-Mart Red Light specials?).

Nick and Drema
Last night we had friends join us for dinner. We've known Nick about 15 to 20 years through daily encouragement and recently he introduced us to Drema. They are both widowed.

Nick and Drema
Observe carefully this photo to share in our humorous story: The original owner of our house built the dining room from what was formerly a deck. He installed sliding doors to the left of our dining table and, instead of closing the window to the kitchen, he left it as an opening from the kitchen into the new dining room. After our meal Brooksyne was working at the sink but looking through the window and joining in our conversation as I sat across from Nick and Drema. When I talked I often looked through the window viewing Brooksyne, but Nick had not seen there was a window there. He asked me, "Why are you talking to the wall?" and wondered why I was talking to what he thought was a wall! When I explained that I was talking to Brooksyne and he saw she was there all along, we had a good laugh.

Finally today:

Hay fallen off wagon
Yesterday we passed this barn near Milton Grove, PA.
Looks like this farmer has some extra work as his stack of hay didn't stay stacked!

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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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