Thursday, January 22, 2015

Daily Encouragement (01/22/15) "Choose Life"

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

March For Life
The March For Life goes right up Constitution Avenue in Washington.

"Choose Life"

Note: Due to early departure a podcast was not prepared for this message

"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19). "But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 14:13). "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:13). "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thessalonians 2:15). "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).

Coach bus
This morning I (Stephen) am headed down to Washington DC to again participate in the annual March For Life, something I have done many times since the eighties when we lived in northern Pennsylvania. This year my older brother Pat will be with me as we join a bus group going down from here in Lancaster County. It will be a long day but an effort well worth the cause.

I often read bumper stickers as I walk through parking lots and earlier this week I spotted a bumper sticker with one simple word. It read "Choice". It crossed my mind that perhaps the bumper sticker "Choice" had to do with today's text! After all choice itself is not a bad word. God has ordained choice into the human race. One of the classic calls to faith in the entire Bible is from Joshua, "Choose you this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15).

I was curious as to what the "Choice" bumper sticker meant so I moved in for a closer look. (In full disclosure I had a pretty good idea it wasn't referring to the daily Bible text.)  Sure enough as I pretty much expected the smaller print indicated that it was sponsored by the notoriously evil and deceitful "Planned Parenthood". Referred to online as a "health care provider", it certainly doesn't provide health to any innocent pre-born baby, rather it prescribes and carries out execution.

Every life is a giftI shared with a man several days ago in the course of a company visit that I would be participating in the March For Life and he asked me, "Do you really think it makes any difference?"

That's a really good question and got me thinking. In a broader sense we may ask does it really make any difference standing up to the tide of evil sweeping our land (and world) on so many fronts; the redefinition of marriage, sexual immorality in its many expanding forms, devaluing of life, lawlessness and the list goes on and on.

It is our position that we are far beyond the possibility of a political solution.  There may come a time in the near future when both major political parties are so aligned with evil that we will either not vote or, in voting our convictions, "throw away our vote" as many would say.

No compromise album cover
So why stand? (Note: I am speaking here of the general sense of standing for truth and righteousness.)

1) Because the Bible says we should!
The apostle Paul urges the Ephesians and all of us to "take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Christ, in His messages to the churches in Revelation, urged the church in Smyrna to "be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."

All though the long history of the Bible as well as the history of the church men and women have stood up for truth. The photo to the left is from one of the most thought-provoking album covers of all time.
  • Sometimes we can see the difference they made such as William Wilberforce and his long battle against slavery.
  • Other times it just didn't seem to make any difference such as Jeremiah's rejected calls for the people to repent and return to God prior to the Babylonian conquest.
  • And at other times people have "lost" it all while taking a stand such as my name source, Stephen. (There's been a lot in that category.) Of course they really haven't lost but have gloriously won.
2) Because standing is vital in not falling. Jesus in His Mount Olivet discourse just prior to His death declared, "The one who stands firm to the end will be saved." Many believe you can slide through life in neutral but neutrality is not what God calls us to! Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters" (Matthew 12:30).

3) Because standing is a witness to others; our family, friends, church and a watching world. This little note is included at the stoning of Stephen and his testimony of remaining "faithful until death". "And Saul was there, giving approval to his death." Although never specifically elaborated on in Scripture one wonders how Stephen's death impacted Saul (who of course became Paul). Whenever we take a stand we are heard and seen by others. Seeds are planted and only eternity will reveal the full impact of our stand for Christ.

May the Lord empower each of us to faithfully stand for truth and righteousness!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, it was faithful Joshua who issued this challenge to the Israelites: "Choose this day whom you will serve." He reminded them that their fathers, before crossing over the Red Sea, lived among those who worshiped heathen gods in Egypt just as they now lived among the Amorites who worshiped heathen gods.  This passage serves as an example to those of us currently experiencing the results of a pluralistic society where God our Creator is being viewed as just one of the gods we might be devoted to. But we hold steady to the words of Scripture, "that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other." Like the followers in Scripture, "We want our hearts therefore to be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in His statutes and keeping His commandments.” If it requires that we lay down our life for You, may we do so willingly, knowing that full obedience to You on this side brings great reward in the eternal dwelling that follows. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

Pro-Life Prayer: Father, we thank You for the courageous girls and women who, in the most difficult of circumstances, choose to give life over choosing to dispense of their "problem." We thank You for the vast groups of men and women who lend support to crisis pregnancies, to those who take in and raise children who are given up for adoption. We thank You for those who have dedicated their lives to this tremendous cause, keeping it very much alive, so that those who accept it as a viable option due to its legalization in 1973 will come to realize that Your Word is the first and final authority on life, not the legislation of our day.

Bless those who speak today, those who march, and those who work among pregnant girls and women who are presently in the very midst of making a life or death decision regarding their unborn child. We also pray for those who made the wrong choice to abort, that they may find Your enduring grace that brings healing and restoration. In many instances, You have used their troubling experience to be an influencing voice for others to make a right choice. We commit the Pro-Life cause to You this day, in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Here is a story we have shared several times but worth repeating:

The church I pastored in Massachusetts during the nineties was located on US 44, a very busy highway that was the main east/west route through the city of Taunton. We had a lighted message sign along the highway that was changed virtually every week by Bill and Veda, a very dedicated couple in the church. Scores of people were regularly exposed to spiritual truth in a very spiritually desolate region of the country. Through the years we got a number of positive remarks from passersby concerning these messages.

However a message we placed up in January one year got some very interesting feedback. We posted this simple, unambiguous, irrefutable message: "Abortion Stops A Beating Heart." A lady who'd seen the sign called my office extremely upset. She thought there should be a law against posting such a message and threatened that she was going to check into it. She said her children were so upset they cried. Truth really hurts and in this case illustrates the awful blindness that sin causes. Abortion does stop a beating heart. Video

I spoke to man the other day who made this point. If a woman is on the way to the abortion clinic and is hit by a drunk driver along the way resulting in the death of her unborn child the other driver can be charged with manslaughter!

Yesterday afternoon when we actually prepared the message due to Stephen's early departure on Thursday we were getting a snowstorm and always enjoy the beauty, although we are hearing many reports of accidents. The storm is supposed to finish passing through our area this evening and tomorrow is forecast 46 degrees and sunny in Washington, which is quite a contrast to last year!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"March For Life"  This is the annual march in Washington I am attending today.

Photos from the March For Life

"Keep Me True"  Video  Jabu Hlongwane  (South African Gospel music)

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