Friday, January 23, 2015

Daily Encouragement (01/23/15) "The Great Contest"

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Friday, January 23, 2015

US Capitol with scaffolding 1/23/15
The US Capitol with the interesting scaffolding as renovations are made to the dome.

"The Great Contest"

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"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering" (Hebrews 10:32). "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). "But he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13).

Yesterday my brother Pat and I went to Washington DC to participate in the annual March For Life. We returned home last night quite weary after walking about five miles in the cold, though not nearly as cold as two years ago. We both were inspired as we joined hundreds of thousands in standing for an important cause. Below the message today we will share some photos.

Today so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are standing up against tremendous opposition in what our first daily text calls "a great contest". Of course many pay a far, far higher price than we did yesterday, including many who lose their lives in the process of standing true for what they believe.

The first daily text is a commendation to the first century Hebrew believers who stood their ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. The Greek word translated "contest" is "athlasis", which is a root of the English word athlete. All of us who follow Christ are involved in this great contest.

So many approach this contest in a passive sense, as if we are just standing on the sidelines as spectators.

Others rightly recognize that we are in the midst of this great spiritual battle and God's call is that we actively stand our ground. The apostle Paul alluded to this stand when he commissioned followers of Christ 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" (Ephesians 6:13).

The early believers to whom the Book of Hebrews addressed were enduring persecution because of their uncompromising stand. They stood their ground even in the face of tremendous suffering.

May the Lord empower each of us with grace and grit to stand our ground in regard to the particular issues we deal with today and those yet to be revealed through this new year. I especially have on my heart a call to all earnest followers of Christ to stand our ground regarding faithfulness to apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42, Jude 3) and Biblical standards of morality (Galatians 5:19-20, Colossians 3:4-6, 1 Thessalonians 4:2-4). The Bible speaks of a great falling away that will occur in the end times (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and I wonder if we are seeing that before our very eyes.

Nevertheless, stand your ground; for if you don't stand you'll surely fall!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, You warned Your listeners as You sat on the Mount of Olivet that at the end of the age nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines and earthquakes will be commonplace. Believers will be handed over to be persecuted and many will turn away from the faith as wickedness increases. In the midst of such dark desolation we cling to the bright promise, full of hope and motivation for those who walk steadfastly with You; he who stands firm to the end will be saved. We will conquer the enemy, for the battle is not ours, but Yours, Lord Jesus!  Amen.

2015 March For Life

We left Lancaster at 7:00 AM and arrived in Washington at about 9:30 AM (heavy traffic slowed us down). Several hours later the rally began so we walked down to visit the World War 2 Memorial and honored our Dad who served in that period.

Korean War Memorial
We also visited the Korean War Memorial

Washington Monument
This photo is from the Lincoln Memorial looking toward the Washington Monument. The rally was held on the other side of the Washington Monument. The people dressed in yellow are taking a group photo. Young people came in buses from all over the country.

2015 March For Life
OK, we old guys took a "selfie" at the rally!
The event began with a rally at Noon with various speakers. Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina is speaking. He gave a powerful testimony of his faith in Christ.

2015 March For Life
After the rally the march begins although for a long time it's just a very slow shuffle, till you get out on the main parade route.

2015 March For Life
Can't miss this group from Chicago.
We were so blessed by the many, many young people, their vitality and enthusiasm!

2015 March For Life
Apart from an aerial photo or perhaps from a tall building you are unable to see the entire group.

2015 March For Life
The March essentially ends at the Capitol building. At the Supreme Court a group called "Silent No More" were sharing their experiences of having had an abortion, including men who shared their deep regrets.

2015 March For Life
I have been attending these marches since the eighties and normally encounter a small contingent of pro-abortion supporters.  I saw this man as he packed up to leave. I have never seen in Scripture where God said, "Keep Abortion Legal"

2015 March For Life
I walked behind the Supreme Court to see this interesting faith expression by a group called Faith And Action.

2015 March For Life
I just know there's a Daily Encouragement message this bus photo will some day illustrate!

2015 March For Life
Our bus was sponsored by Scott Martin, one of our County Commissioners, who takes a strong stand on issues of righteousness. He shared with me how he had been vilified for doing so. Reminds me how we need to encourage any leader who is standing up against the forces of evil in our age.

Our bus left the city at 5:30 PM and after slowly making it out of Washington we arrived in Lancaster about 8:30 PM.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus"  Video
   Promise Keepers

"We Will Stand"  Video  Russ Taff

Duke, one of our readers sent me links to these powerful videos after reading yesterday's message.

"180 movie"  Video  A powerful analysis

"Who Will Stand for Life?"  Video  John Barros story  What an amazing story!

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Stephen and Brooksyne Weber 38th anniversary photo (click on photo to enlarge)
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Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and 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.
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