Devotional

“Making Known The Unknown God”

Lancaster County farmhouse 7/30/19 (Click to enlarge) Last week Brooksyne passed this Lancaster County farmhouse with two features she really likes; a white picket fence and lots of flowers! She turned the car around, went back and took several photos. It’s amazing what a white fence and summer flowers can do to dress up the house and property.
Click on photo to enlarge
“Making Known The Unknown God”

Message summary: Today we appeal to a world where to so many Jesus is an unknown God. God created within our inmost being the need to follow after One greater than ourselves. Of course He desires that we worship Him not in ignorance, but in Spirit and in Truth. And the way we follow the only true God is to open His Word to our hearts making it a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Then Paul stood up on Mars’ Hill and said, ‘Men of Athens, I see how very religious you are in every way. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you'” (Acts 17:22,23).

Traveling across the West last week we crossed several mountain ranges; the Sierra Nevada in California/Nevada, the Wasatch Range in Utah and finally the tallest, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, with peaks over 14,000 feet above sea level. Here in Pennsylvania we have mountains but not nearly the elevation as out West. Pennsylvania’s highest point is Mount Davis which is a mere 3,213 feet.

Today let us consider preaching points in the Bible which are called hills or mountains. Elijah preached on Mount Carmel* (1 Kings 18); Jesus preached the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) and in today’s text “Paul stood up on Mars’ Hill”. The gotquestions.org site describes this Mars’ Hill,

 
Rising some 377 feet above the land below and not far from the Acropolis and Agora (marketplace), it was an important meeting place where philosophy, religion, and law were discussed.
 
It was here that Paul proclaimed to his hearers a message about the “unknown god“.

“Men of Athens, I see how very religious you are in every way.” The Athenians were the intellectually elite of that age. An interesting parenthetical description in verse 21 states, “Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.” (SCW commentary: It seems to me that’s what a lot of “intellectual elites” do to this day!)

“For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god.” Being carefully observant Paul sought to connect by appealing to an altar he had seen with this inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD”. Apparently the Athenians just wanted to make sure they had all their bases covered so they erected a generic altar for a god they didn’t know, just in case they missed one!

“Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.” Paul used his observation to his advantage and proclaimed this “unknown” God to them in the verses that followed:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24-28).

Today we appeal to a world where to so many Jesus is an unknown God. God created within our inmost being the need to follow after One greater than ourselves. Of course He desires that we worship Him not in ignorance, but in Spirit and in Truth. And the way we follow the True God is to open His Word to our hearts making it a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we thank You for those who go to the uttermost parts of the world and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, making known the “unknown God” to the people of that land. From the very beginning You created a hunger within our hearts to serve you, but far too many misfeed that hunger and instead “worship gold, silver or stone, images from the art and thoughts of man”. Instead we choose to feed that hunger by loving You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are grateful for the wooing of Your Holy Spirit that convicts us our sin and reveals Your great love to us. Thank You for making Yourself known to us in Your Word, in nature, in our spirit, and in the experiences of everyday life. Amen.

 


* Mount Carmel as a “high place,” was long a center of idol worship, and its outstanding reference in the Bible is as the scene of Elijah’s confrontation with the false prophets of Baal (I Kings 18).

Way up into Maine, far farther than most people ever venture, is sprawling Aroostook County. Along US 1 there is a small town called Mars Hill named for Hezekiah Mars, who camped for three years at the base of what is now Mars Hill Mountain. About twenty-five years ago a friend let us stay there in his vacation home for several days. It’s a rather remote area with not a lot to do. Interestingly, it’s an agricultural area with lots of potatoes and kind of a Bible Belt area, unusual for New England at this point in history.

There is college and town in North Carolina with the name Mars Hill which was named after the Biblical Mars Hill.

Missionaries Mike and Lori Cassel shared about a church in Mexico with an interesting name. The Spanish name is “Al Dios No Conocido” which means “The Unknown God” Church. The earnest Mexican pastor named it after our daily text and Mike shared that he had some reservations about the name but didn’t want to interfere with the nationals. It occurred to me a name like this can create a compelling witness opportunity!


 
Baby pig 8/2/19Brooksyne holding a wiggly, squealing piglet last Friday morning on the Old Windmill Farm.
 
Lake Tahoe in distance 7/23/19 Click to enlarge
A view of Lake Tahoe in the distance from the Sierra Nevada range on US Route 50.
Click to enlarge
Lake Tahoe inspiration point 7/23/19 Click to enlarge
Lake Tahoe Inspiration Point over Emerald Bay with a view of the lake’s only island. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, and at 122,160,280 acre ft, trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest by volume in the United States. Its depth is 1,645 ft, making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon (1,949 ft). It does not empty into the ocean but rather flows into the Great Basin to Pyramid Lake in Nevada where the water evaporates.
Click to enlarge

Kregel Windmill Company office 7/30/19
The office at the Kregel Windmill factory in Nebraska City, NE. The owner, Arthur Kregel, son of the founder, worked here into his nineties. He left one day in 1991 for lunch, had a stroke and never returned. The museum has left the shop and office exactly as he left it reminding me of Mascot Roller Mills and Ressler Family Home here in Lancaster County. See here for a Daily Encouragement message we wrote titled “Decumulation”.

Pump mailbox in Solano County California 7/23/19
Traveling through our area we often see creative mailboxes and posts. This photo was taken in a rural part of Solano County California between San Francisco and Sacramento.


 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Unknown God”  Video  David Andrews

“Yours”  Video  Calvary Church worship team from yesterday’s service

Calvary Church Hoang Commissioning Interview Video  Peter and Sarah are a Vietnamese couple who arrived in the country as as young children refugees in the seventies having escaped Vietnam among the boat people. They are now returning to serve as missionaries seeking to make known the unknown God. Yesterday a quote was used from this interview that is very stunning to us. Peter’s mother couldn’t understand why he would go back when they had left for a better life. He shared this:

 

Peter Hoang quote 8/4/19

 
Finally today: Friday’s mystery photo was taken over Chicago.