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Friday, April 17, 2015We
enjoyed a beautiful Spring day yesterday and, in the course of our
visitation travels, we passed several Amish schools with the wholesome
sight of children playing outside during recess. Spring is a lot more exciting after a cold, snowy winter!
Listen to this
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).
coming Lord's Day I have an opportunity to preach in our church since
our pastor is away visiting family. I am preaching a message that has
been on my heart for sometime. We are going to consider Azariah's
parents. Now here's an interesting quiz. Just who is Azariah? You can
stop now and think about it, look it up, or of course in a few
paragraphs we will answer!
The message title I placed on the
church sign last Sunday is "Raising Godly Children". I wanted it to also have "In
An Ungodly World" but didn't have the room!
Biblical period described just prior to the Babylonian Exile. The
nation of Judah had a succession of evil leadership, the people overall
had turned far from from God, and judgment was imminent. 2 Chronicles
36:14-16 describes this period: "Furthermore,
all the officials of the priests and the people were very unfaithful
following all the abominations of the nations; and they defiled the
house of the Lord which He had sanctified in Jerusalem. The Lord, the
God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His
messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling
place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His
words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose
against His people, until there was no remedy."
sound similar to the times in which we live? In the Scriptural record
we know only the
names of a few people who lived at this time such as the kings and the
prophet Jeremiah. But there were others whose names are not recorded;
other prophets who remained true to the Lord and everyday moms and dads
who were seeking to raise their children in the ways of the Lord. They
were surely in the minority and the pull of the world was forceful just
like it is now raising kids in our age.
Now back to
Azariah, did you figure out who he is or did you look him up? He's a
real person identified early in the Book of Daniel along with three
other faithful young men who were taken captive to Babylon. You can
read about him here. However he is best known by the name given to him by the Babylonians; Abednego.
We know these men proved faithful to God early in the Book of Daniel and most notoriously in their furnace trial recorded in chapter 3. They refused to bow down to the golden idol Nebuchadnezzar had made.
But what do we know about Azariah's parents (or
the parents of the others for that matter)? Actually nothing!
However these young men who had such deep convictions surely did not grow up
in a spiritual vacuum (or at least it's highly unlikely). We contend
that Azariah and his friends, who grew up during the terrible time
described in the long selection from 2 Chronicles above, surely had
godly parents, grandparents and perhaps other positive influences that
prepared them to remain faithful to God.
So what can we reasonably conjecture about Azariah's parents?
Likely his parents raised him using the Law of Moses that
has some timeless guidelines for child-rearing such as Deuteronomy 6,
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and
when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get
up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your
foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on
your gates (VV 6-9).
2) The Proverbs have some great teaching tips such as "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).
3) Although Azariah's parents wouldn't have had this truth in writing the concept is surely long held that we are to "bring them (children) up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
4) His parents surely knew and practiced the vital parental element of discipline.
5) Although not always the case, even in kids that turn out right, we will assume that his parents provided a good example!
us make a renewed resolve to faithfully pass on God's truth to the next
generation and hope like Azariah they stand faithful when the time of
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father,
we're given the example of sterling young men like Azariah, and his
fellow Hebrew friends, who refused the Babylonian king's orders, to bow
down to the golden image. Surely they were weary of enduring the daily
testing as they were few in number standing against the godless culture
of their day. Was it the teachings their parents presented of Moses who
stood time after time before the godless Pharoah as he sought the
release of the Jews? Was it the story of God providing a ram just
seconds before Abraham was going to slay his only son, Isaac? Was
it their parents who reinforced that God always comes through in His
perfect timing to provide for their needs or deliver them from trouble?
Perhaps they'd witnessed numerous challenges their parents were dealt
as they remained steadfast in their faith. In the land of many gods
they continued to bow down to only one,
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We ask your blessings upon all who
seek to pass on Biblical faith to their children and equip them to
stand when the day of evil comes. In our Lord's mighty Name we pray.
Some further thoughts:
We didn't really comment on the daily text in the context of our message today. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4).
It's a great verse and surely the aspiration of any parent and
spiritual leader. There's no greater joy for parents than to see their
children walking in the truth and the same is true for those in
leadership. John may have had his spiritual children in mind; that is
those he had taught and impacted for the Lord. It's interesting when we
get notes from African readers who address us as "Mom and Dad"!
Several weeks ago I
heard a story on the radio that touched my heart and then found it on
the web (part of a book). Today I couldn't find it again but will seek
to reconstruct from memory:
A father went to a store in the mall with his daughter to make a purchase for her and observed
the practically pornographic images on the walls (I think we have a
store like that in our mall). As he checked out he asked a young store
clerk what she thought working in such a lust-inducing environment. His
daughter was so embarrassed at her dad's questions. He then asked a male
employee what he thought. His red-faced daughter quickly answered, "Dad, they
don't care." The young man looked at them and in earnest said, "I wish I had
a father that cared like you."
Pulliam, a longtime friend, shared regarding our message Wednesday: "I
do believe that God is trying to warn us that persecution is headed our
way sooner then we could ever imagine. The Cross is an object of
derision, scorn and neglect by most in the circles I am in.
Christianity is assumed to always be the 'norm' but those of this world
are blind to the battle that is being raged by Satan."
Some scenes from a beautiful spring day in Lancaster County
New Holland, we stopped by an Amish farm to pick up some bronze red
Canna bulbs from a woman who resides there. We noticed the giant Purple Martin house
which can be raised and lowered like a flag!
a photo from last summer of what we hope to grow this summer. Brooksyne
saw them on
an Amish farm we pass weekly and was drawn to the striking bronze
leaves since we've only grown those with green leaves. Last fall we
back into the farm and inquired as to whether we might buy some canna
bulbs after they're dug up in the fall. Turns out they sell them at
auction but Mary, the farmer's wife, kindly told Brooksyne to come back
in the spring and she would give her some, a promise kept
yesterday, though Brooksyne offered to pay!
stopped and walked through the Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse
where many were out enjoying the pleasant Spring day. We both enjoy the
samples in the canning kitchen!
Banjo Jim was out playing.
He's been a part of the musicians at Kitchen Kettle Village for many years.
Here's a video someone posted of Jim.
A scenic country view near Intercourse Pennsylvania
also ran into an old friend following several chaplain
visits. D.J. (Doc)
Paglia is also a chaplain to a business, he and his wife serving for
many years at Keystone Custom Cabinets. Doc is in his late
stays active in the Lord's work and told us he had conducted a
funeral this last Saturday and preached on Sunday! Doc- the energizer
Music and Supplemental Resources
"Family Prayer Song" Video Maranatha Singers
We'll be asking the people to make a fresh commitment to serving
the Lord this Sunday and conclude the service with this song.
"As for Me and My House" Video John Waller Powerful song and images of men making the right choice! Plus you get to see a man singing on a skyscraper roof.
"Find Your Wings" Video Mark Harris An outstanding song for parents striving to raise Godly children.
"The Keeper" Video Geoff Moore And The Distance
"Somewhere In The World" Video
Wayne Watson In what surely must be one of the most tender
and most unintentionally romantic songs of all time, a Christian father
prays for the future wife of his little boy.
evening I will be taking two Amish fathers and their sons to a hockey
game in Hershey. I am not much of a hockey fan but the boys asked me to
take them and they are so excited, having been pestering me for months
with, "When are you gonna take us to a hockey game?" A couple of days
ago a Eli called all excited about something and I just couldn't
understand what he was saying and figured it must be something about
the hockey game. He persisted and finally I understood... his female goat had
a new kid!
to Stephen &
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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."
Encouragement Net 495
Church Road Mount
C. Weber All
the weak things in the world,
That no flesh will glory
in His presence."