Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Daily Encouragement (03/26/14) "But As For You, Continue"

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Frame farmhouse in north central New York
Colorful frame farmhouse in north central New York.
Many of the farmhouses in that area have flat roofs. Since they get a lot of snow each winter it seems that flat roofs would more easily cave in than peaked roofs.

"But As For You, Continue"

Note: Today's message, like yesterday's,
is longer than usual but is from our hearts and is not for the faint-hearted.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

Farmhouse in north central New YorkMany of our U.S. readers have been hearing about a new movie now playing titled, "God's Not Dead". An online review summarizes the plot: "Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton, finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy Class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson. Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words "God Is Dead" on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh finds himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future."

Like Josh, many young people may have similar experiences not only at secular universities but increasingly at historically Christian colleges. Many of these colleges have become so polluted by the academic extremes of this age that they are barely discernible from the state-sponsored bastions of godless liberalism. Last week Brooksyne heard on the Christian news network about a well-known Christian College in our area where they are considering abandoning the long held Biblical moral standards of sexuality. This prompted a personal study in which I found this is the case in many colleges.

Central Bible College, the small Midwestern Bible College that we attended, closed last year and consolidated into a larger liberal arts college across town. Our education was focused on the Bible and training for ministry with devout professors committed to the inspiration, reliability and integrity of Scripture. I am sure the consolidated college has many godly professors but it concerns me when I consider an experience I had over ten years ago.

I was at a meeting and heard a presentation by an astronomy professor at the college. He was clearly very studied on the subject but took the opportunity to mock the Biblical account of creation. He shared how he delighted in convincing any student coming into his class who had what he maintained was the unacademic, simplistic, outdated notion of believing the Biblical account of creation of the error of their way (that is a literal reading and understanding of Genesis 1). Sadly he gloated that he was always successful. His remarks were distressing and I suppose what I also found disturbing was that I saw no evidence that my peers in ministry were troubled like I was! I was so taken back by his unscriptural assertion that I left numb and confused, rather than confront him. Looking back I wish I had. Perhaps this story would have a different ending.

We are hearing it more and more; the continuous assaults on the Bible's teaching. It used to be occasional, but now it’s rapid fire mockery from many directions. Until the last 15 to 20 years Biblical views were commonly held by many and usually respected by most. Even though disobedience has existed since Adam and Eve there was a commonly held sense regarding what constituted right and wrong and a respect for earnestly held Christian views.

Far too many bow at the altar of academia which, for scores of people, now establishes what's reasonable and unreasonable to believe. Increasingly, it's being deemed just plain unreasonable to believe in the “faith once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3); that is, the historic teachings of Christianity.

Perhaps this abandonment is what Paul had in mind in a Scripture prior to our daily text which we commented on yesterday, "evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13).

Let's consider just the first portion of today's Scripture text. We'll examine more tomorrow.

"But as for you." This sets up an emphatic contrast with the evil men and impostors just described. Many will plunge deeper and deeper into the cesspool of deception and darkness. But Timothy is to stand firm on the solid rock of God's unchanging word. This verse begins with the emphatic "you". The man of God must pay careful attention to himself in aligning with the Scriptures if he is to resist the enticing lure of doctrinal and moral infidelity. As opposition increases, the Scriptures become the believer’s reliance and bulwark.

in what you have learned and have become convinced of" "Continue" is in the present imperative and calls for a constant, habitual way of life. Bible teacher William Kelly translates continue as "stand by" commenting that "Perhaps one of the severest tests of a believer's character and loyalty is to "stand by" the side of known truth while alluring and scintillating heresies are paraded in front of us. It is no small feat to remain faithful to God's eternal Word throughout one's lifetime and many there are who have left its ranks."

God spoke to wayward Israel through the prophet Jeremiah, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

Today, we urge you to begin, renew, or reaffirm your personal resolve to faithfulness as we choose to do the same.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for the godly people who have taught us unchanging eternal truths of Scripture. Not only did they teach us by instruction but they taught us by example. Like Timothy, we want to continue in what we have learned and become convinced of, because we know those from whom we learned the Holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise for salvation through our faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:
 Today we challenged our readers "to 'stand by' the side of truth while alluring and scintillating heresies are paraded in front of us." This challenge made me think of the correlation of a choir singing in harmony. The soprano (or melody line) has many moving notes since it carries the familiar tune of the song we all enjoy hearing. But the beautiful harmony provided by altos, tenors and basses would not be a pleasant tune we'd enjoy apart from the melody line. In fact you wouldn't be able to guess what song they're singing most of the time. Often their assigned notes will be repeated four, five and six times in a row. It can be monotonous and hard to sing the same note repeatedly without eventually getting off pitch (out of tune). It's far more natural to move on to another note or accidentally pick up the "lead" note which is easily heard.

This concept is also true for those of us who don't like to be referred to as a "stick in the mud". We want to embrace the new, different, and currently acceptable teaching and theories of our day. But we must be careful of staying put if it's not time to move on even if we may seem dull to others.  God, our conductor, has written each of our life's songs and will perfectly orchestrate His plan into our lives as we follow His lead.

More photos from New York trip

As mentioned Monday this last weekend I took a van load of two Amish families to upstate New York to visit extended family. Here is a final set of photos.

Brick farmhouse in north central New York
This brick farmhouse is on a high ridge overlooking the Mohawk Valley which is seen in the background. Note, as seen in our opening photo, the flat roof.

Wagon with milk jugs
A lot of old farm equipment is simply abandoned in the fields. This weather worn buckwagon with old milk cans is a charming relic of the past!

Old barn and silo in northern New York
Here's an old barn and silo long abandoned and decrepit.

Old barn in northern New York
This old barn has one thing going for it, good ventilation!

Coal man at Amish farm store, Fort Plain, New York
I took a group to an Amish farm store in Fort Plain New York and chuckled at this patriotic coal lady out front.

Mystery photo: Yesterday we shared a photo I had taken in an Amish barn while in upstate New York. It is a small kiln-like device used by John, who had been a farrier prior to moving up to New York 5 years ago. A farrier is "a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses' hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves, if necessary. A farrier combines some blacksmith's skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with some veterinarian's skills (knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the lower limb) to care for horses' feet." (Wikipedia). If you notice carefully you will see a horseshoe inside. John heats the device up with propane and can adjust the horseshoes to fit the horse. Kudos to all who responded and double kudos to those who answered correctly!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"How Firm A FoundationVideo  Fernando Ortega

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