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Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Understanding The Times"

"Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32). 

"Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear…"  I suppose you have to be in my generation to recognize that these are the first words (at least as I recall them) to a popular song in the late sixties/early seventies.  Something's always happening, but there is an intensity it seems; a sense I have in my spirit of some type of significant threshold being reached. I want to understand the times and know what to do.

Issachar was one of Jacob's sons and his descendants later became a tribe which had amazingly maintained their distinct identity for some 800 years up to the time of David. This verse is found in a section of Scripture chronicling David's soldiers.  Two qualities marked these men of Issachar and the special contribution they made during the time they lived. They "understood the times and knew what Israel should do."

1) They "understood the times."  What a powerful statement! We are bombarded with information about the times in which we live.  I can turn on the TV or sit down at my computer and instantly get an update on significant and insignificant news from anywhere in the world.  But "understanding the times" is far more than this. It involves spiritual discernment. I find contemporary events interesting and often very disturbing, frightening and even potentially despairing. But the fundamental focus on properly understanding the times is a steady, growing understanding of God and His Word.  "The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure" (Isaiah 33:5, 6).

2) They "knew what Israel should do."  As a husband and father and minister of the Gospel I desire the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I need to know what to do to in these times to keep my life, family and ministry on the right track.  Here's a lengthy portion I read this morning and feel compelled to place in the body of the devotional.  Please read it thoughtfully.  "And do this, understanding the present time.  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.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Romans 13:11-14).

Consider these qualities in your life today and pray that the Lord will help you to understand the times and know what to do in staying faithful and pressing on for Christ and His Kingdom!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer:   Lord Jesus, we who are children of the light, do not live as those who walk in the darkness.  Instead You have shown us right from wrong, truth from error, and You have given us discernment to test the spirits to see that which is from You and that which is from the evil one.  Keep me spiritually grounded as I clothe myself daily with godly armor, both defensive and offensive weaponry. My struggle is not against flesh and blood, but rather the authorities from this world.  Keep my soul untainted by the changing rhetoric and sliding standards from our decadent society as I stand against the spiritual forces of evil.  May I walk in the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit today!

"Faith is the Christian's foundation, hope is his anchor, death is his harbor, Christ is his pilot, and heaven is his country."
Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667)

Here's a powerful song that very clearly relates the issues I share today titled "God Is In Control" (mp3). As you listen to it may you receive renewed assurance that God is truly in control over all that concerns you.  This music is by a young couple that minister for the Lord. "Living Proof Ministries"

I took this photo of the Nobska lighthouse on Cape Cod and overlaid a portion of a verse used in today's message.

photo of Nobska lighthouse
Click on photo to enlarge

More Desktop Scripture Images These are scenic images with a Scripture verse ready to use on your computer as a desktop, wallpaper or background.

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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. Used by permission; 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 I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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