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Friday, September 8, 2006

Photo of Monarch butterfly of Sedum (close-up)
Monarch butterfly on Autumn Joy Sedum

"Careful Observation"

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does"  (James 1:25).

We have a long row of Sedum flowers in front of our home that attracts butterflies, bees and other flying critters.  Right now, during the late summer and into early fall, they're absolutely covered with these flying creatures. In fact each year we swat bees that make their way into the nearby window.  It's a great sight (outdoors) and an opportunity to observe this part of God's colorful creation. Brooksyne took the photos used with today's message for distant and close-up views.

In Stockbridge, Massachusetts there is a wonderful family museum that displays the art work of Norman Rockwell.  Many readers have seen his art, which for many years demonstrated Americana.  His art is a great contrast to modern perversions that art elitists reckon as art and receive funding from the taxpayers. 

When we visited the museum I was amazed at how much study went into each picture and learned that Rockwell often used live models as subjects.  The tour guide pointed out interesting details in his pictures that we had never seen, even in ones that Brooksyne and I have appreciated for years.  Norman Rockwell was a careful observer and the lasting appreciation for his art is a testimony to that.

Our daily verse is power-packed and also demonstrates the importance of careful observation.  Let's observe four requirements for the man who is "blessed in what he does."
1) "He looks intently."  In the Greek this conveys "to bend, lean over, stoop down".  In order to get the photos shown today Brooksyne had to stoop down, zoom in and observe carefully. We're not talking about a casual glance, but careful observation into that "perfect law that gives freedom." 
2) "Continues to do this."  Our pursuit of knowing God and His Word should and indeed must be a lifelong one.  It's not a sprint but a spiritual marathon race we're committed to.
3) "Not forgetting what he has heard."  I consider all that I have read from the Bible or studied or heard from godly preachers that I have forgotten.  Have you ever read several chapters of Scripture and later forgot what you read?  I'm sure we all have and that's a major reason for making time for thoughtful observation. 
4) "But doing it."  This was a major focus in James.  We are perhaps more familiar with a verse "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).  It's not enough to simply read, but we must respond to God's truth and direction for our lives.

I want to be a person the Bible calls "blessed" and I'm sure you do as well.  Let's follow these steps and be careful in our observation of that which matters most.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:
Father, would You help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak and eager to observe that which You want to show me.  As I read Your Word, may it not be simply out of duty or habit. Intensify my hunger for Your hidden treasures that can only be found as I dig deeper into the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.   Open my mind, my heart, my ears and my eyes to spiritual insights that bring understanding, acceptance, and gratitude for Your work in my life.  Lord, open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Law.  Amen.*

* (See Romans 11:33, Psalm 119:18)
A hymn that especially reinforces the truths presented today in the daily encouragement is "Open My Eyes, That I May See."  We were unable to find a recording to share with readers today but Brooksyne played it as a background to today's podcast.

Here is some music that goes with today's message.
"Open The Eyes Of My heart"
"Let Creation Sing!" (First time I ever heard this song was this morning)
"God of Wonders"
"This Is My Father's World" (guitar solo)

Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Brooksyne's Note:
  Ester continues to recover and be strengthened following her heart surgery last week.

Photo of Monarch butterfly of Sedum
Monarch butterfly on Autumn Joy Sedum

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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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