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Monday, January 30, 2023
This bluebird is a regular visitor at our neighbor's house, a welcome colorful sight on a cold winter's day.
"Let Us Be Steadfast!"
Message summary: We will face many bumps along the road of life. Christians are certainly not immune to having these bumps and regardless of how big or small, they can be discouraging. Consider how often discouragement is based on the sense of futility in life and in our service for the Lord. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us it’s “not in vain”. But do you know that? I hope so. Keep pressing on. Serving. Loving. Showing the light of Christ to a dark, often unreceptive world. Your work counts for all eternity! Let us be steadfast!
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“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
We are in an Adult Bible Fellowship (Sunday School class) with a similar age group (most of us in our 60's and 70's). Recalling back to our young adult years just a very short 40 years ago we would have seen this group as the old people. Now, at our age, "old people" are those in their 80's and 90's, since we perceive old people to be those older than us at the present time! The fact is; getting old is an inevitable consequence of staying alive.
Yesterday in our class time we had a time of sharing and testimony, including two couples who were interviewed. They shared how they originally met, about their children and grands, and their testimony of steadfastness to God when they endured very difficult trials. These are people who have faced the bumps of life in varying ways and to various degrees yet have overcome.
This morning we watched a service in Kansas City for my cousin Terry, who went to be with the Lord last week. Her death was a complete shock to the family, who are surely going through a very bumpy time right now, but nevertheless the service expressed their faith.
A song we sang yesterday in our church service speaks of the way believers must deal with their doubts and fears in times of confusion, lack of clarity and when we face the hard times.
I am holding on to faith
Cause I know you’ll make a way
I don’t always understand, I don’t always get to see
But I will believe it, I will believe it
I will speak to my fear, I will preach to my doubt
You were faithful then, you’ll be faithful now
Years ago I was visiting with a father whose son was on a wrong course, breaking his parent's hearts. The father explained, “My son just has a hard time managing the inevitable bumps along the road of life.”
That’s an insightful concept. Everyone hits bumps in the road, sooner or later, and admittedly some have a much bumpier ride through life than others. Consider the blessing there is in learning how to manage these bumps; holding steady, learning how to really depend upon and trust God, and learning a few things in the process that will serve us well during the next bump that is certain to come. Certainly, my heart goes out to those who struggle when they hit a bumpy patch, whether due to circumstances beyond their control or, as is often the case, because of their own poor choices.
As the Apostle Paul concluded his first letter to the Corinthians in chapter 15 dealing with the doctrine of the resurrection one study Bible notes:
“Doctrinal declarations should always lead to dutiful directives. Stated another way, our sure future hope (resurrection/glorification) should serve to animate and energize our present ethical behavior.”
Paul ends the chapter with a verse that I suppose is my singular life’s verse. In fact, the church that Brooksyne and I established and served for nearly 16 years in northern Pennsylvania (1977-1993), gave me a clock with I Corinthians 15:58 inscribed on it. It hangs in our office to this day where we see it daily.
Today let us consider just two words from the text, “steadfast, immovable”. These two characteristics are much needed today. Warren Wiersbe observes: “Christians can be steadfast and immovable, because they know that if their worst enemy (death) has been overcome, they need fear no other enemy. They can abound in Christian service, for that work will count for eternity.”
Don’t forget that important truth! We will indeed face bumps along the road of life. Christians are certainly not immune to having these bumps and regardless of how big or small, they can be discouraging or wear us down. Consider how often discouragement is based on the sense of futility in life and in our service for the Lord.
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us it’s “not in vain”. But do you know that? I hope so. Keep pressing on. Serving. Loving. Showing the light of Christ to a dark, often unreceptive world. Your work counts for all eternity! Let us be steadfast!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we desire to be steadfast, immovable always abounding in Your work. There are always things to be done, someone to see, goals to be met, places to be, and on and on the list goes. Then we hit a bump in the road and it seems like all comes crashing down around us and there is nothing we can do – we’re stuck. Yet Your Word tells us that we are to remain steadfast. So even in the bumps of life we can remain steadfast in our Christian witness, prayerful in all matters, faithful in our example to others, and in trusting You to guide us over the bumps so that we are once again on a level plain. Keep us steady we pray, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Faithful Now" Video Vertical Worship (The song alluded to in the message)
Brooksyne’s Note: Sometimes the most challenging bump in the road is when you’re stuck, can’t go anywhere or do anything. You just have to hold on, remain steady in your temperament and responsibilities, and wait. For those who’ve sung in a choir or ensemble at times you have a stanza that requires you to sing the same note over and over, maybe six or more times, particularly when it’s harmony. It can be quite boring singing the same note over and over. In fact it’s very difficult to do since we’re so accustomed to singing our music to a melody that has us going up and down an octave on the keyboard. Often the singer will get off pitch because it’s hard to remain steady by singing the same exact note repeatedly. It’s analogous to us remaining steady, holding on, and trusting God when we hit the bump. We’re very, very tempted to work things out in our own way trying to force change when it’s the bump God is allowing in our life so that He can get our attention and teach us about trusting Him in all things, as well as giving us proper guidance in His time and in His way.
C.H. Spurgeon in his sermon “Stand Fast” writes that:
“The battle does not end when by a desperate rush a man has come to Christ. In many it assumes a new form; the enemy now attempts to drag the trembler from his refuge, and eject him from his stronghold. It is difficult to get at the hope of the gospel; but quite as difficult to keep it so as not to be moved away from it. If Satan spends great power in keeping us from the hope, he uses equal force in endeavoring to drag us away from it, and equal cunning in endeavoring to allure us from it. Hence the apostle tells us not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel: the exhortation is needful in presence of an imminent danger.
Do not think that in the moment when you believe in Christ the conflict is over, or you will be bitterly disappointed. It is then that the battle renews itself, and every inch of the road swarms with foemen. Between here and heaven you will always have to fight more or less, and frequently the severest struggle will be at a time when you are least prepared for it. There may be smooth passages in your career, and you may for a while be like your Savior in the wilderness, of Whom it is said, “Then the devil departed from Him, and angels came and ministered unto Him”; but you may not therefore cry, “My mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved”; for fair weather may not outlast a single day. Do not grow secure, or carnally presumptuous. There is but a short space between one battle and another in this world. It is a series of skirmishes even when it does not assume the form of a pitched battle. He that would win heaven must fight for it. He that would take the new Jerusalem must scale it, and if he has the wit to take Jacob’s ladder and set it against the wall and climb up that way, he will win the city. “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” At this time our subject is not the winning, but the wearing; not the taking but the holding of the fort: “Be not moved away,” you that have come to it, “Be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”
Yesterday was Stephen's fist time back to a church service since January 1. We both assisted in distributing baby bottles for Align Life Ministries, a local pro-life organization.
Following our potluck brunch Brooksyne led out in several old-time hymns as she interspersed them with classmates giving testimonies of faith in our class yesterday.
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