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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Strawberry moon
Ester took this photo of the "Strawberry moon" last night. Its name comes from the Algonquin Native American tribe in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada and refers to the region's strawberry harvesting season.

"The Man God Is Looking For"

Message summary: Today we issue a call to stand in the gap.

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"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none" (Ezekiel 22:30).

It seems as though the floodgates of evil have been opened wide and we see it especially now with a month-long celebration of perversions (See Jude 7). Last week I mentioned that I received a promotional email from our local minor league ball team, the Barnstormers, which were celebrating "pride night" with drag queens performing between innings! As the month progresses more and more examples of public decadence are on display with parades and orgies at practically any event imaginable.

What a disturbing environment for godly parents to be raising children! In the past "grooming" was a positive word that meant doing the things to make your appearance clean and neat such as combing your hair or brushing your teeth. Now it can have an entirely different meaning*, and it isn't something we want for our young impressionable children.*

With Father's Day this weekend I look for opportunities to remind men of the solemn duties they have as fathers and to stand out as faithful men of God. We are living in incredibly perilous times and the call to responsible fatherhood is desperately needed.

Yesterday I spoke to a young father who shared the challenge his son is facing as he joins a high school football team. The coach is very foul-mouthed, which goes against the convictions the father passed on to his son nor is it acceptable in his family. I recalled the esteem I had for my coaches and other leaders, many but not all, who sought to also be a moral example. That was 50 years ago and my, have times changed!

Ray at White Oak DisplayLater in the morning I visited a few minutes with Ray, another young father who shared his commitment to being a good husband and father to his young son. He is looking forward to Father's Day. He gave me permission to share his photo. He works in a plant that manufactures displays and I am blessed by his earnest desire to live right. I challenged him to make a lifelong commitment to being a good father just as I have done with other men in my 50 years of ministry.

Something we should all seek to do, whether in our family relationships and/or in our ministry is expressed in Hebrews 10:24: "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds".

We are standing in the gap widened by secularist teachings seeking to revise or even eliminate solid historical truths associated with the Judeo-Christian foundations in our country.

God is always looking for people to take up the cause of righteousness. The Biblical prophet Ezekiel lived for God at the time of the fall of Jerusalem and the first period of the exile in Babylon about 2,600 years ago.

The daily text is a word of the Lord to Ezekiel: "I looked for a man among them". Previous verses reveal the horrendous state of Jerusalem during its final days; they were desecrating the Sabbath, shedding innocent lives, sexually immoral, unjust, corrupt in leadership, and worshiping idols to name just a few of the serious offenses.

Fast forward to our generation and consider how much our society parallels Jerusalem just before its fall. I believe God is still searching for men (and women) who will hear and heed His call.

We see two requests here regarding the man God is looking for.  He is to "build up the wall" and "stand before me in the gap". Although they did have literal fortified walls and gaps the image is surely spiritual. The walls were a means of protection and the gaps had to be closely guarded as entrance points. God looked for a man who would stand against the tide of spiritual apostasy, political corruption and social oppression so prevalent in the land.

God is calling each of us to "build up the wall". The city wall was an essential aspect of protection in ancient times. We find it mentioned throughout the Old Testament. However, I believe Ezekiel is speaking figuratively here. One commentary observes the sense is that "no one could be found to repair the moral damage done to the nation." Are you standing bold and unwavering today? Are you rebuilding and repairing the broken walls around you? Are you exposing the shameful deeds of darkness? Let's keep building and repairing the foundation wall of faith.

"Stand before me in the gap." The second major element in the man that God is searching for is one who stands in the gap. The gap is a breach or break in the wall. Ezekiel records that God is unable to find even one individual who, taking his life in his hands, will shout at the top of his lungs: "In God's name and for God's sake, stop!"

The image is that of intercession, a godly man standing before God and the people. Moses filled such a role when he pleaded with God on behalf of the Israelites. John the Baptist boldly confronted King Herod about his immoral behavior, though it cost him his life. Yet his testimony emboldens all who read the Scriptures even thousands of years later. Today such men are needed.  Thank God for those who live for God and speak out for truth, but many more remain silent out of a spirit of fear or compromise. Will you speak out today?

"But I found none." Surely this is one of the saddest verses in the entire Bible! "None" should certainly not be taken as absolute. After all, Ezekiel himself was staying faithful to God, along with aged Jeremiah, young Daniel and others such as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Daniel 1:7). But among the political leadership none was found who would meet these qualifications. And the land was indeed judged and the people taken into exile in Babylon.

Two lessons today:

1) Let us all determine that we will meet this call in our age. I want to be a man who will build up the wall and stand before God in the gap. I want to build up the wall by holding to God's truth and living by His standards of righteousness. I want to stand in the gap regarding the moral filth that is far too prevalent, that is being "dumbed down" or "groomed" to make it appear as normal behavior.

2) Let us remember to pray for the godly remnant whose leadership will make a positive difference in the country where we live. They need our prayers to stay faithful and stand unwavering!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is in the ordinary people that the infusion of Your power makes them extraordinary. Your Holy Spirit gives me boldness that does not come naturally to my personality. Thank You for giving me the strength to stand against the ever-changing basic principles of this world when they conflict with Your eternal principles. Lord, help me to be a watchman for my family, my co-workers and friends as I pray for their salvation or for their continued spiritual fruitfulness. I thank You that I do not stand in the gap alone but You, my Father, protect me in my breastplate of righteousness when doing warfare against the spiritual forces of evil prevalent in our world! I am emboldened when I observe committed believers who stand up for You when others bow their knee to the idols of our day. Help me to be courageous and faithful, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Battle Belongs"  Video  Phil Wickham

"One More Reason"  Video  Joseph Habedank  This song is a tribute to his grandmother. I sent it to a friend yesterday and he wrote back: " I had to listen to it in stages because I kept welling up. Certainly captures that special bond between my mother and my son.

"Preach The Word"  Video  Gold City   Especially for preachers

"I Want To Be That Man"  Video  Brian Free & Assurance  A tribute to a godly father!

What a contrast: In our message we referred to a high school football coach with a foul mouth. Another high school football coach has a case before the Supreme Court regarding his praying after a game!

* Grooming

(the old sense we grew up with): "the practice of keeping a neat and tidy appearance." We often comment on how well-groomed our pastoral staff is.

(the new sense): "Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people who are groomed can be sexually abused, exploited or trafficked."  This is now happening in many schools.

We Will Not Be Silenced
Highly recommended: In our Sunday School class we are studying an outstanding book by Erwin Lutzer titled "We Will Not Be Silenced: Responding Courageously to Our Culture's Assault on Christianity". Here's a page with a video introduction.

Today we will share a selection of photos that Ester took of flowers growing around our house, many of them just getting started.

Climbing rose
Climbing Rose

Asiatic lilies
Scarlet Asiatic Lily

Office planter
Prince Tut Papyrus

Petunias in planters
Bubble Gum Supertunia Petunia

Rose bloom
 Rose from our oldest rose bush

Finally today:

Ester, baby 1989
Ester Weber at seven months

Ester was three months old weighing 5 pounds when she arrived on June 14, 1989 and for the next three months+ was a patient in Geisinger Hospital (200 miles from our house in St. Marys, PA) undergoing major heart operations and a long recovery from endocarditis. In the photo above she was finally released from Geisinger after three long grueling months and you can see from Brooksyne's expression it was one of the happiest days in our family when Ester finally came home to live with us, though she was far from being "out of the woods" at this point. At seven months she  now weighed a whopping 9 1/2 pounds.

Ester, flag day 2022
Every year Ester likes to celebrate her arrival date in America from Guatemala which was on Flag Day, June 14, 1989, 33 years ago.

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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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