Friday, June 28, 2013

Daily Encouragement (06/28/13) "Sounding The Alarm"

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Friday, June 28, 2013

 Three Mile Island
Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant (cooling towers)

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"Sounding The Alarm"

"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).

Three Mile Island ten mile zoneWe live about ten miles from the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant. In 1979 this was the site of the worst nuclear accident in American history and the experience is still vividly remembered by those who lived here at the time (we lived in northern PA about 180 miles away).

Yesterday TMI tested their warning sirens, all 96 of them, that are within ten miles of the plant.
The first test at 12:15 was the old system and we stepped outside and heard it just fine. At 1:15 they tested the new and improved system but I didn't hear it at all. It may be that I had a quick phone call and was a bit late but I was disappointed. It is important to know what warnings sound like and of course how we are to properly respond. Each year we get a pamphlet with very detailed emergency information from Exelon, the power company that operates the plant, regarding how to respond if there is a plant emergency. It includes information about the alarm system and a map with emergency evacuation routes.

Today's first daily text is known by many due to a well-known song we feature in our song selections today*¹.
"Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound the alarm." 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."

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

The second daily verse is addressing clarity in communication 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 of God to boldly tell the truth and we need godly discernment to distinguish between the Zedekiahs and Micaiahs of our time. (See 1 Kings 22 and Tuesday's message)

This message is on my heart due to the hastening of the downward spiral of rebellion against God and His ways. 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.*² 
The Palmist wrote concerning the demolition of the foundations in Psalm 11 "If the foundations are destroyed..."

Val-Co demolition work 6/27/13Yesterday morning I was visiting one of our companies and I encountered George and Louie, two men doing some demolition work in preparation for an office renovation. I joined them for a few minutes in removing a stone wall. George took the photo of me manning the sledge hammer and smashing the stone wall. I enjoy demolition work but we have to be very careful when we set out to demolish something regarding what the consequences will be. This is especially true in the spiritual realm.

There's a lot of societal demolition work 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).

I recently listened to an interesting interview with Os Guiness online. Commenting on our culture's slide into decadence he 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."

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. I trust that you are among them today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & 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 battlelines 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 offense and defense, as the flaming arrows of the devil are hurled in our direction. We thank You for Jesus, the captain of the spiritual army who sounds the warning throughout Scripture and through messengers of the gospel. Keep our ears tuned, our minds alert, and our hearts softened. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Blow the Trumpet in Zion!"  Video  Paul Wilbur

"The Blessing Of The Ancient Landmarks"

"Aliens and Strangers" Interview with Os Guiness (condensed)

In this interview with Marvin Olasky Os Guiness is quite candid 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."

Video version of the entire interview  Video  (1 hour!)  A very insightful interview!

Note: As we prepared today's message I listened to "Focus On The Family" and very timely interview with Albert Mohler related to today's topic. Listen here. Here's a blog article by Mohler on the matter.

Matthew Henry continues in his note regarding today's passage: "The striking description which follows, shows what would attend the devastations of locusts, but may also describe the effects from the ravaging of the land by the Chaldeans. If the alarm of temporal judgments is given to offending nations, how much more should sinners be warned to seek deliverance from the wrath to come! Our business therefore on earth must especially be, to secure an interest in our Lord Jesus Christ; and we should seek to be weaned from objects which will soon be torn from all who now make idols of them. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, weeping, and mourning; tears for trouble must be turned into tears for the sin that caused it. But rending the garments would be vain, except their hearts were rent by abasement and self-abhorrence; by sorrow for their sins, and separation from them. There is no question but that if we truly repent of our sins, God will forgive them; but whether he will remove affliction is not promised, yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent.

Exelon emergency preparation pamphlet for Three Mile Island (pdf) This is the pamphlet we receive annually.

Finally today, here is a photo of Louie and George, the demo experts!
Val-Co demolition work 6/27/13

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Stephen, Brooksyne and Ester Weber 04/21/13
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

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