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Monday, September 15, 2014
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"The Call To Continue Steadfastly"
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42). "Watch your life and doctrine closely" (1 Timothy 4:16). "Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:3,4).
Today I have several on my heart. A nationally known Bible teacher whom I enjoyed listening to was recently removed from his teachng position due to an unspecified accusation. (He was recently restored to his position in the church he serves after a thorough independent investigation exonerated him; the accusation was determined to be false.)* Another friend took a bad turn in regard to drug use after years of being clean. Then I consider one who faithfully proclaimed the gospel truth for many years who has fallen into doctrinal error.
"Continued steadfastly." In musing over these matters I emphasize just these two words from our first daily text which is so greatly needed. It's a description of the early church and a pattern we surely do well to follow. Just these words grip me, "And they continued steadfastly..." The Amplified version states, "And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly." The first on the list of what they continued to steadfastly practice was the "apostle's doctrine".
I believe as we devote ourselves to Jesus we also will continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine. I believe the Bible from cover to cover. I believe it is the authoritative, infallible, inerrant, wholly inspired Word of God. I sure don't understand all of it and some of the accounts are difficult to comprehend, but I attribute much of this difficulty to my own limited comprehension. Also because it is the unfiltered, unphotoshopped glimpses of real people who lived out their life here on earth, some as excellent role models and others not so much. In fact the extremes of evil and goodness are portrayed all throughout the Book of books.
"Watch your life and doctrine closely." That is how we live as we conduct our lives and watch our doctrine closely (what we believe). A major emphasis in 1 Timothy is the importance of maintaining a godly life and sound doctrine. My heart is heavily burdened when I see the slipping of godly standards of morality and sound doctrine, yet this has been a battle the true church has faced from its earliest years and these very issues were even dealt with in the New Testament church.
Today, wherever you are, whatever you do, keep careful watch over your life and keep contending for the apostolic doctrine. Hold fast to that which the Scripture teaches. Discern and resist the evil influences that would discredit the teaching of God's Holy Word.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Your Word is eternal and it stands firm in the heavens. You give us understanding to learn your commands and the fortitude to apply these principles which is a life-changing process over our lifetime. Help us to carefully exegete the Word of God as we contend for the faith once and for all entrusted to the saints. We will contend for the faith in a steadfast manner when we daily apply the doctrine of the apostles and live it out through the Spirit of Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.
Note: We were unable to publish a message last Friday due to a very busy schedule specifically the company community service day we write about below. We try to place a note on the main website if this is the case.
Harvest time in our area
The other afternoon we were traveling along Harvest Road and came behind this wagon which was being used for some type of harvest work. Early on these boys are learning the value of hard work!
And to snatch a brief nap whenever and wherever you can!
Thursday we stopped by to see Amish friends. The children caught a rather unique ride to school on Dad's wagon as he went to another farm to assist with their harvest.
Sure beats a boring school bus! I (Brooksyne) think back to my Junior High days when my dad wanted to teach us a lesson about humility. He insisted that we skip the school bus that day and ride with him in his 25 year old beat up, unpainted, and very loud pick-up truck. Turning a deaf ear to our pleading he loaded up my sister and me and proceeded to drop us off right in front of the school where all the cool guys and gals were standing. Elaine and I lowered our heads to the ground and quickly exited the dumpy old truck praying that Daddy would never do that again. Looking back, I know it was an excellent lesson for two daughters that were getting a little "too big for their britches" as my mom would say. It crossed my mind that these Amish children thought nothing of their "backward" mode of transportation. In fact they thought it was great to get a ride in place of their scooter they push with their feet for about two miles. We learn alot from our Amish friends.
On Friday Brooksyne, Ester and I joined a local company in serving our community. Each year Val-Co closes down their operations for one day and the employees disperse throughout the community in a variety of service projects. A group went to two local nursing homes where the employees passed out flowers, sang, played games and just visited with the residents. They were a real blessing (Yelena visiting with resident).
Work crews also went to four separate building and renovation type projects. Here a crew serving at a new Habitat For Humanity house in Lancaster City takes a break for lunch.
Saturday afternoon JK Mechanical celebrated 35 years in business by inviting hundreds of customers to their celebration as well as all their employees and families - a great spread of typical picnic food plus numerous games and prizes. Ken Leaman, the founding owner and K in the JK, got the "privilege" of being dunked by young and old alike. He was good sport. If they couldn't hit the target they just ran up and pushed it so Ken was plenty wet plenty often.
Yesterday we had some special guests visit our church that we hadn't seen for awhile; Justin & Ashley Eberley. We met Ashley in a small church Stephen pastored for several years and Ashley faithfully assisted Brooksyne in leading worship and we came to love her like a daughter (that took a little adjustment for Ester after being our only child for 20 years). Ashley works in graphic arts for Hershey Foods and Justin is an auto service technician in Lancaster. Their love for the Lord is evident in all they do.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Keep Me True" Video Jabu Hlongwane South African Gospel music We recall singing this old song from our Bible College days as we recall or at least early in our race. It's a great song of commitment and resolve!
* Ministers are especially prone to being falsely accused although certainly in far too many instances the accusations are true. Here's an excellent article on the matter referred to today.
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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
"A Little Foolishness" - Humor/satire blog (a great outlet for non-serious writing but at times with a subtle message!) (Note: This material is satire!)
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"Hymns of Hope" - Brooksyne along with two friends made a CD using classic hymns. Brooksyne tells the background story of the 11 hymns. All of these songs are also available for download on the site.
Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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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. Other versions are also occasionally used.
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