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Monday, August 15, 2022
More of the greenery we enjoy in our back yard with our fountain next to our garden shed.
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"The Peril Of Spiritual Slumber"
Message summary: Today as men and women who strive to live faithfully for God in this present evil age let us avoid the destructive perils of spiritual drowsiness, distractions and drunkenness. Let us heed the clear Scriptural call to be alert and sober!
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“The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here” (Romans 13:11,12). “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). “But you, be sober in all things” (2 Timothy 4:5). “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13) “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7).
There are many perils on the road. Driver drowsiness, distractions and drunkenness contribute to most accidents. These same three "d's" are also a peril to our spiritual well-being and we do well to recognize and deal with them.
Paul's call to the Roman believers (and all of us through the Scriptures) is “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber". Slumber is a metaphor that pictures spiritual apathy and lethargy or unresponsiveness to the things of eternal value that please God.
Pastor Bruce Goettsche explains the sense is "We should be living with a new urgency. We must remember that we are terminal. We understand that we could die or Jesus could return at any time. Paul suggests that those who understand this fact will change the way they live."
Likewise 1 Thessalonians 5:6 states, “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober”. This is such a necessary element in dealing with the present time.
Today we often use the word “sober” in regard to being free from the intoxication of drugs and alcohol and that would certainly be included. We have seen so many, many lives detrimentally impacted, ruined, or terminated by the abuse of drugs and alcohol in our line of ministry. Last week I had an interesting ministry moment with a young man who had been incarcerated due to a DUI. He was working in a company we visited and told me he was excited about the prospect of finally getting his driver's license back. I urged him to refrain from any use of alcohol and drugs and told him the main thing was making a decision to follow Christ. He told me that's what his grandparent's had been telling him as well!
But today we consider “sober” in the broader sense, as that of having a clear mind. So many have their minds clouded by a vast variety of the world’s input such as media and entertainment nonsense. Electronic devices along with their bells and whistles so easily distract and dilute our alertness to other far more important matters. We consider by observation those who are glued to a tiny screen hour after hour playing video games. Even what is called academia can severely cloud the mind with so many of the most foolish notions coming out. Paul urges Timothy to “Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20).
The Precept online Bible commentary states concerning this spiritual sobriety,
“Take things seriously being aware of their real importance and be ever mindful of their consequences in time and in eternity. The sober saint approaches life, not as a jest, but as a serious matter for which he is answerable to God. Let us not become intoxicated by Satan’s three vintage wines – the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:15,16).”
Bible teacher D. Edmond Hiebert writes that sober
“denotes a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control. It inculcates a calm, steady state of mind that evaluates things correctly, so that it is not thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. Such ‘level headedness’ is a constant Christian need.”
We must be on our guard lest we be seduced into this topsy-turvy, touchy-feely system of beliefs based on popular and politically correct notions of morality, especially to the exclusion of critical or sound judgment. To hold to ancient, proven truths is being viewed more and more as old-fashioned and will likely bar you from the “cool, hip or cutting edge” in-crowd (not that we and probably most of our readers are really striving to get in that setting anyway, though the young people are greatly impacted!) However it is a major impediment for younger folks. Here in America and around the world a battle for the heart, soul and mind rages.
I believe among the greatest challenges for believers in any age is being sober-minded. It is certainly true today. We live in a time of moral confusion and even anarchy and I believe Greg Nelson and Phil McHugh got it right when they wrote, “We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right....” in the inspiring song with a a timeless message, “People Need the Lord”.
In the final verse of our daily Scripture selections, “self-controlled and sober-minded” (ESV) comes from Paul’s final letter to Timothy. Other versions translate the phrase “be of sound judgment and sober spirit” (NASV), “control yourself at all times” (NCV), “keep a clear mind” (NLT). The NIV states, “Keep your head in all situations.” Greek scholar Fritz Rienecker points out that in this passage Timothy is called “to be in a vigilant, wakeful, considerate frame of mind, taking heed of what is happening and pursuing a course with calm and steady aim.”
Today as men and women who strive to live faithfully for God in this present evil age let us avoid the destructive perils of spiritual drowsiness, distractions and drunkenness. Let us heed the clear Scriptural call to be alert and sober!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You have called upon us to be sober and vigilant believers who are instant in season and out of season. We need to be ready to spring into action to do Your bidding when we might least expect to be called upon. May the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, be evident in our attitudes and actions as we live out our daily lives and relate to others while living self-controlled and sober minded lives. Through Christ Jesus we pray. Amen.
See Galatians 5:22,23
Let us address a point in the message that may cause confusion for some and a point that some skeptics may sneer at: “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here” (Romans 13:11,12). What was Paul referring to, especially in the latter phrase, “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here”? In verse 12 the Full Life Study Bible observes: “Paul believed in the Lord’s imminent return to transfer the faithful of his churches to heaven, an event that Paul believed could happen even in his generation. Christ warned that He would return at a time when the faithful were sure that He would not come. For this reason, God’s children must always be spiritually ready and must ‘put aside the deeds of darkness’”.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Asleep In The Night" Video Keith Green One of his "conviction" songs.
Note: Today we quoted from D. Edmond Hiebert, a seminary professor, who lived from 1928-1995. Hiebert contracted undulant fever in 1944, from which he nearly died. Several months after his apparent recovery, it became evident that he was losing his hearing, and by 1946 Hiebert was completely deaf. But Hiebert taught and did so till 1985. Despite his deafness, Hiebert was a successful and respected lecturer in New Testament studies during his long career.
Early Saturday morning we both donated at the bloodmobile in the parking lot of J.B. Hostetter and Sons in Mount Joy. Not only did we take note of this 1951 Studebaker pickup but so did others.
The view of our backyard through our gate.
(As you can see Mollie, our border collie, has worn thin the fencing as she often likes to jump up on the gate when there are passersby or upon our arrival home after a day of work.
Click on photo to enlarge
In Friday's message we shared about the Biblical teaching on gleaning. Our neighbor up the road gleaned tomatoes for any passing by in need of some!
Recently, during our family reunion, Kari, who lives in a sprawling suburb of Dallas, Texas, was driving family members to Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia. She pretended to be a tourist guide and pointed out to passengers, "Now, if you look to your right we have corn. And if you'll look to your left we also have corn"....as far as the eye can see. It's our favorite time of the year as corn inundates Lancaster County and nearby counties. Today, the U.S. is by far the world's largest producer and exporter of corn and Lancaster County is PA's top producing county. There are thousands of varieties of corn, with more than 200 of sweet corn alone though most of our acres of corn is field corn grown for animal feed. Perhaps you also live in a corn-fested area as well.
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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.
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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