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A selection of prayers written
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Story Net: Stories and
backgrounds behind the great
Memory Songs: A
selection of Scripture verses we
recorded in our home with
some friends. The words are
set to familiar music
as an aid to memorization in a discipleship training class.
Songs recorded in my home studio.
Little Foolishness" I
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the authority of the Bible from the
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Monday, March 10, 2014
I found this nice winter sunrise photo on Doris High's photo blog. Today we are having a nice winter thaw and look forward to seeing the spring grass surface!
Note: Today we resume a
series (several weeks) on Romans 1:18ff. This is long by Daily
Encouragement series (which rarely have lasted more than a week). This
material has also been a bit more theologically technical than many of
our messages and perhaps comes across harsh. We expect to have a few
more messages before we move on but we will end with the Good News, the
Gospel! We will go back to Romans 1:16 where Paul declares, "I am not
ashamed of the Gospel..." and forward in Romans where we read, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). But before that we have a couple more messages concerning our sinful condition and our great need for a Savior.
just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of
God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what
ought not to be done" (Romans
Many years ago we owned a dog whose breed we enjoy but this particular
dog had some peculiar traits. For instance he would
run in circles viciously attacking his own tail throughout the day.
(We're not talking about "playfully" chasing his tail. He was fierce
and in the "attack mode" if others approached him.)
We thought we could
tame him since we had a fenced-in backyard and he could run around as opposed to being staked out but there was no sign of
improvement over a several week period. The dog never responded to
affection which is so untypical of this canine breed. It just seemed
like the dog was
crazy. One morning, following a walk, the dog attacked me as I was
trying to get him to release a dead bird he picked up on the road. This
necessitated a trip to the emergency
room and the medical staff filed a report to the authorities. We had to
put the dog down (truth be told we were relieved and in good conscience really could not have passed him to someone else knowing of this attack).
several months I had a secret fear. I read up about rabies (which is
the Latin word "madness") and learned how it can make an animal act
crazy. Though his rabies shots were documented we didn't have a copy
and I considered that there might have been a mistake along the
way. My imagination was secretly running wild during the several week waiting period after I was exposed.
I only told Brooksyne about this prior to preparing today's message. I smile about it now but it sure made me nervous at that time.
In studying Romans 1
these last several weeks I consider the impact of sin upon the mind as
similar to rabies. In fact I recently heard a theologian state, "sin makes one crazy".
text is an insightful verse from a powerful book. Of course the
entire Bible is powerful but Romans provides a particular depth in
understanding the human condition, the tragedy of sin and scope of
divine redemption. In
seeking to understand and discern the current world situation and the
immense falling away from godly standards I have been pondering this
portion a lot. It describes the inherent natural tendency to
sin in each person's heart since the fall of Adam. The NASV has
this concise description for this section heading, "Unbelief and its
of God's truth leads to "futile thinking" and although there is self
assessment of being wise in reality it leads to foolishness. (v. 21,22) Sin causes us to exchange God's truth for the lie. (v. 25)
Let's examine today's text phrase by phrase:
"They did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God."
Contrast this with those who diligently seek and find it immensely
worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. They study the Scriptures
and seek to live by them. They realize the supreme call of the
Proverb that cautions its readers, "Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Retaining the
knowledge of God is a lifelong pursuit, something we must be committed
But many, really most, do "not think it worthwhile to retain the
knowledge of God." Instead they have chosen the heavily trampled broad way which leads to destruction (see Matthew 7:13-14). Substitutes for the knowledge of God abound materially,
philosophically, educationally, and even in the spiritual realm.
These substitutes are billed as "the real thing" and any other outlook
may be ridiculed or viewed as "behind the times."
The consequence of this failure to retain the knowledge of God is that
"God gave them over". This is the third of three occurrences of this
phrase in Romans 1. God's restraining influence that would keep people living
in proper relationship with Him and with each other is removed. This phrase "God
gave them over" should put the fear of the Lord into every heart and
mind. The master deceiver may have us thinking
we are in control, but the Bible tells us, "The one who sows to please
the sinful nature from that nature will reap destruction" (Galatians 6:8).
There is a grave consequence in failing to retain the knowledge of
God. "God gave them over to a depraved mind."
The Precept Austin commentary notes that this depraved mind "speaks of
a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make
reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity
to something much more frightening. At this stage people have lost the
desire and the ability to think clearly. They have lost their mind and
don't even know it. The result is a world that has left God far
behind. It is a society with all restraints removed, a culture devoid
of all sense of right and wrong, where every one is doing what is
'right in his own eyes.'"
Today's text speaks of a "depraved mind"
which is a result of not retaining the knowledge of God. Depraved is
not a word we often hear or use frequently. We may recall
the theological term "depravity of man", which describes the
consequences of the fall. Other versions use the word "reprobate",
"base and condemned", "degenerate", "debased", "corrupted".
John MacArthur writes, "Unregenerate people cannot think properly about
spiritual truth because they have a 'depraved mind'. Only God can turn
on the light in the human heart so that it can respond in saving faith
to the gospel of the glory of Christ."
The verse ends with this phrase, "to do what ought not to be
depraved mind leads to depraved actions. In so many areas we see
a rejecting of God's laws where people are doing what ought not to be
done. Unless there is a massive
return to God's ways (revival) this will only worsen.
We call out the faithful remnant to earnestly seek the Lord and be
diligent in our efforts to retain the knowledge of God! May our godly
knowledge be the filter through which all other information is understood, approved,
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
prayer: Father, we want to be a
people whose hearts and minds are One with Yours. Through our diligent
study and application of Your Living Word our thoughts and attitudes
are formed. Keep us faithful to the Truth of Your knowledge. We stand
in firm opposition to the world's substitutes; the acceptance,
condoning, and celebration of anything You describe as sin. The world may
dress it up, commercialize it, make it appealing, and cover up the disastrous
results it brings on the individual, his or her family and society at
large. Help us to read, retain, and regard Your knowledge as our
pattern for life. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Occurrences of "God gave them over" in Romans 1:
1) "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another" (Romans 1:24).
2) "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones" (Romans 1:26).
3) "Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done" (Romans 1:28).
Two workers with contrasting ages but same work ethic
Clark is a High
School student but works part time for White Oak Display, a company that makes displays for retails stores. He is a
diligent worker who tells me he really enjoys his job. We commend people with a good attitude and work ethic. Last week I
spoke to another young man who recently got married and
encouraged him to be a good, faithful husband and provider. He told me,
"I will, because that's how the Lord wants me to be." Amen!
Jean has an interesting distinction. She has worked for the same
company for nearly 64 years. Jean inspects small machined parts, does
so very diligently, and could probably do her work blindfolded. She's a
pleasure to visit and often shares stories about her loving, extended
Suggested Music and
"May The Mind of Christ My Savior" Video Jake Armerding A nice acoustic version of an old hymn written over 100 years ago.
"From the East Unto the West" Video The Odes Project
Doris High's collection of February photos.
We are ready this season to move on from snow photos (as much as I do
enjoy the season for a season). It's just been a long, cold winter for
our parts and we have had snow cover for about fifty days continually
which is very unusual. Below is a photo taken last night of the sunset
from our front porch. I expect by this evening the snow will all be
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 I make it my life’s goal to honor God through my
faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for
the weak things in the world,
That no flesh will glory
in His presence."