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Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Joel 2:1

"Blow The Trumpet!"

Message summary: Thank God for the remnant of those who defy the mindset of the world and fully embrace the heart, mind and soul of God’s truths and thereby follow His commands. I trust that you are among the godly remnant today! Brooksyne and I both renew our commitment to being in the remnant today.

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“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand” (Joel 2:1). “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8).

TornadoWe both grew up in an area of the country prone to having tornadoes, Brooksyne in Oklahoma and Stephen in Missouri.

I (Stephen) grew up in Belton Missouri, a little town (at the time) outside of Kansas City. The tornado warning consisted of the police riding through town with their sirens blaring. The safest thing to do was to get into your basement and huddle together in the southwest corner till the tornado danger passed. I’m not sure just how they informed that “all is safe” to those seeking protection! Perhaps the clear sky was our sign.

Brooksyne’s family, who lived out in the country, would only hear of the warnings on the news in Tulsa. Oklahoma is well-known for its killer tornadoes (AKA tornado alley), yet there was really no safe place to seek shelter since her house didn't have a basement (oddly houses with basements in that state are very rare). After Brooksyne left home a tornado did destroy her parent’s garage but didn’t damage the house or injure any family members.

We deal with a lot of alarms in life. Some are intended to wake us up, some are annoying, and some we essentially ignore. But others, such as a tornado warning, are very important. Today let us consider spiritual alarms and a blowing of a trumpet we ignore to our eternal peril.

Yesterday’s message dealt with the snooze feature found on many modern alarm clocks and phones. We addressed the need to “Wake Up”.

That study prompted a consideration of today’s first text and the need to “Sound The Alarm”, in part due to a song based on that text titled, “Blow The Trumpet In Zion”.

“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill." Commentator Matthew Henry comments regarding this passage: “The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the Divine Judgments. It is the work of ministers to warn of the fatal consequences of sin, and to reveal the wrath from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”

We need to pray for those in our day who blow the trumpet and sound the alarm. It is our way of doing so in sharing this message with you. We pray that you are sounding the alarm as well!

These are types of alarms that many people would rather not hear, preferring instead to hear the "feel good", but misleading message that everything is OK. Yet the Bible and history teaches otherwise. God always judges sin according to His timetable (see Genesis 15:16, 2 Peter 3).

1 Corinthians 14:8The second daily verse is addressing clarity in communication. The apostle Paul is illustrating with the trumpet used for signaling in battle, “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call...”  If a certain tune indicated an order that tune needed to be loud, clear, and precise. An uncertain sound would lead to confusion and possible disaster.

Today we need true men and women of God to boldly blow the trumpet and sound the alarm, to tell the truth. We need godly discernment to distinguish between the Zedekiahs and Micaiahs of our time (the false prophet Zedekiah who falsely prophesied that which would please the king) and Micaiah (the true prophet who prophesied “whatever the Lord says to me”). These two prophets had opposing messages (see 1 Kings 22).  It's the same today with many "religious" voices.

This message is on my heart due to the hastening of the downward spiral of rebellion against God and His ways. (Note: We realize this is a theme we often use but believe it’s a theme we frequently need to be reminded of as well!)

As the ancient boundary stones of historic Biblical morality are being abandoned, people are doing what is right in their own eyes or as man-made law dictates, more so than any other period in modern history. The Palmist wrote concerning the demolition of the foundations in Psalm 11, “If the foundations are destroyed...”

When we set out to demolish we need to consider the consequences of such demolition. This is especially true in the spiritual realm. G.K. Chesterton once said, "Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." There’s a lot of witless fence removal and demolition taking place these days. And it seems most never take the time to consider why the fence was put up in the first place!

This societal demolition work is taking place without any regard for the short or long-term consequences. A blindness has covered the eyes of many and indifference has hardened their hearts. A powerful phrase from Hosea comes to mind, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

Os GuinessAuthor Os Guiness, commenting on our culture’s slide into decadence states:

“The notion that ideas don’t have consequences is utterly foolish and we are moving into a world where we are soon going to reap in a far greater scale some of the consequences of these maligned ideas.”

He goes on to state concerning his view of our current cultural condition,

“We’re in an Augustinian moment. Augustine had the privilege and task of living in a pivotal moment: After 800 years of Roman dominance, he lived through the siege of Carthage and the siege of Rome. After 800 years, a fall beyond belief. The world as they’d known it—gone. He laid down the vision of the church’s response that was the bridge that led through the Dark Ages and eventually to Christendom. We’ve had 500 years of Western dominance, now at its sunset. I’m reading now about people who lived at an age when the world they knew had gone. Daniel—after centuries in the Promised Land living as the chosen people, Israelites are in a pagan empire with Jerusalem destroyed. Daniel serves God even in that pagan empire. We’ve got to engage with faithfulness at the very heart of power, still.”

Thank God for the remnant of those who defy the mindset of the world and fully embrace the heart, mind and soul of God’s truths and thereby follow His commands. I trust that you are among the godly remnant today! Brooksyne and I both renew our commitment to being in the remnant today.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the alarms have rung loud and clear since Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden. The battle lines were drawn between the hosts of heaven and hell early on. We thank You for the spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6 that equips us for battle, both offensive and defensive, as the flaming arrows from the devil are hurled in our direction. We thank You for Jesus, the captain of the spiritual army, who sounds the warnings throughout Scripture and through godly and courageous messengers of the gospel. May they regularly sound the alarm without fear or compromise. Keep our ears tuned, our minds alert, and our hearts fully surrendered, trusting in You. May our words be in accordance with Scripture and our lives reflect that which we speak so that we consistently “sound a clear call” to follow Your commands and honor You above all others. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Blow The Trumpet In Zion"  Click to listen on YouTube  Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"Asleep In The Light"   Click to listen on YouTube  Keith Green

Regarding yesterday's message on "Wake Up, Sleeper":

Nick, a local friend had this comment regarding snoozing:

I could really relate to the temptation to physically "snooze." Early in my military life I developed the principle that "snoozing" doesn't work and have continued to this day to honor the fact that when the alarm goes off my feet hit the floor. No point in trying to pretend that "just a few more minutes" would truly make any difference. Your encouragement today has prompted me to apply now this same principle spiritually. I need to stop spiritually snoozing and continue to be blessed with God's abundant and endless Grace.

Nigel, Laifong, CalebNigel, a long time New England friend, who along with his wife Laifong, were part of the church we served in Massachusetts in the 90's made this observation:

"It occurs to me that the word "woke" also refers to a kind of awakening, but it is a very different kind of awakening than the spiritual awakening that you described. "Woke" ideology presents a contrasting understanding of what people are asleep to and unaware of (racial injustice vs. the reality of sin), why they are asleep (systemic inequities vs. the world, the flesh, and the devil), and how to address the problem ("woke" policies promoting DEI [diversion, equity and inclusion] vs. living in the Spirit). It really goes to show the importance of the words we use!"

(This note was especially encouraging since Nigel and his wife Laifong were the very first recipients of a daily encouragement message in 1996 and have remained on the list ever since, receiving some 6,760 messages. Nigel has an interesting association for students in Christian literature. His grandmother's sister was married to Watchman Nee.)

Amaryllis at Audreys
On our chaplain visit yesterday Stephen and I stopped in Audrey's office and greeted her (L) along with Janice (R) who is her office manager. I took this photo capturing the beautiful amaryllis that Audrey planted at Christmas time, and surprisingly it only bloomed recently. There are two blooms (one hidden) and there is yet another bud waiting to open. You might say the ladies photo-bombed the beautiful flower!

Richland PA train
After our chaplain visit yesterday we ate breakfast at the Railroad Diner in Richland, PA, one of our favorite eating spots, since the food is excellent, the service is amazing and it sits right next to the railroad tracks where we watch trains go by as we eat. It's also a slice of Americana.

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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