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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Smart People"

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:12,13).  "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22).

Are you smart?  I recently read a survey of where the smart people live basing "smart" on the percentage of population who had at least a four year college degree. On this basis Seattle was determined to be the smartest city with San Francisco coming in second.*

We can be bamboozled by this and other worldly criteria for what constitutes "smartness".  With all due respect to the amount of college education one has it is a very poor determinant of smartness, let alone wisdom! Some of the smartest people I have known, let alone the wisest, never went to college or even finished high school.

I believe all earnest followers of Christ should memorize and hide the first daily verse deep in their hearts.  Jesus is speaking of conditions that will characterize the end times prior to His return.  An increase in wickedness will cause the love of most to grow cold.  I find that a very interesting cause and effect relationship. 

Why is this?  I believe it speaks of the very deceptive nature of wickedness or lawlessness.  For many years moral standards have been eroding and so many in the professing church are blinded to it.  The incremental erosion slowly hacks away at our moral sensitivities and many scarcely notice.  This is especially true here in America because of the accompanying prosperity.  Sodom was also prosperous. (See Genesis 13:9-11.)

Our second daily verse speaks so accurately in summarizing the human condition, "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22). It is in a context concerning the human response to God, from His perspective. 

Modern man claims to be so wise.  We are surely the most educated age in history based on years of schooling.  Modern man feels intellectually superior and so very enlightened. By and large the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible are scoffed at or ignored.  Modern man has no use for them in this "enlightened" age.  But the Bible says, "they became fools."

Today I encourage you to keep a sharp sense of spiritual discernment.  I note two dangers in my life on this matter.  I can become so disgusted with the slide into godlessness that I lose my focus on God and the joy and peace that is my inheritance as a child of God as I go through this very temporary earthly journey.  I get focused on the problems, which are a natural consequence of man's rejection of God, and become cynical and negative. 

Or I may become so accustomed to the incremental slide into moral depravity and decadence that I no longer even notice.  Consider the content and language in many TV programs that many Christians likely watch!  The slide continues and with caution I suggest you see this webpage*2 concerning an upcoming special on NBC with Madonna. It is disgusting.

May God give us spiritual discernment so we don't just "go with the flow."  I want to be one that "stands firm to the end".  Don't you?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily prayer:
Father, help me to keep the godly perspective presented in Your Word regarding sinfulness and righteousness.  There is no true sophistication in sinful behavior, for it is abhorrent and unacceptable in Your sight.  Though the world might dress it up, classify it with a new trendy name, sin is still sin and it brings about disastrous consequences.  May my heart always be drawn to righteousness.  May those things which are true, honest, lovely, and praiseworthy occupy my thoughts and be visible in my interaction with others.  I seek the wisdom imparted through the inspirational writing of Your holy Word.  May it always be the filter I use to screen the wisdom of this age.

We are so blessed by comments from readers and glimpses into how the Lord is working in their lives. We are often unable to reply to reader comments and this is frustrating and can actually be a source of stress ("We really need to get to those emails") However we do read and receive encouragement from each comment and often bear a burden in prayer together.

Here are a couple samplings of emails we received from daily encouragement readers recently which are enjoyable for others to read:

*My pastor and I had been talking with a young Hispanic mother about Jesus. She had a burning desire to learn about Jesus. We visited her home every week and would talk with her and answer any questions she had. She had a lot of questions. Every time we went to see her, her husband was never home.  He was always working. This particular week, when we stopped to see her, she was in the shower and her husband came to the door. My pastor and I started talking to him about Jesus. Lo and behold, he got saved standing in his backyard! As we were getting ready to leave, my Pastor asked the young man this question. "If you died tonight, where would you go?" He quickly answered, I'd go to heaven." My pastor then asked him, "How do you know that?"  Without batting an eye, the young man said, "Because you told me I would 10 minutes ago!"

John Deere tractor (click to enlarge)
*You had a devotion a while back that had some pictures of you on a John Deere tractor.  My 3 year old son Daniel adores John Deere tractors so I printed off the picture and laminated it for him.  He looks at the pictures often and asks, "Is this my preacher on this tractor?"  I tell him, "No, not our preacher from our church here in NC, but Mommy's preacher that keeps her encouraged through email."  He says, "Mommy can we go to his house one day" and I just tell him probably not his house in PA, but when we get to heaven we will go visit him.  It is so cute because he then says, "Well let's go to heaven now!"

Today's message is in part prompted by conversation yesterday with my daughter Ester concerning something she was taught at school that just wasn't true. Although I want her to honor her teachers I also want her to know the truth.  It is possible that Ester misunderstood her teacher. 

When I picked her up from school she told me her class had discussed a situation concerning a classmate who was killed last month while he was listening to music on headphones and riding his skateboard on the railroad tracks. He was struck and killed by a high speed commuter train. Now this is a very tragic situation but the teacher told the kids the train should have stopped!  I explained to Ester that a train going 80 mph cannot stop suddenly and demonstrated quite graphically with her by getting on our country lane and slowing to 20 mph and slamming on the brakes and showing her how long it still took to stop.

This morning I again asked Ester to clarify the matter and she insisted that indeed that is what the teacher said.  I suppose the aspect that particularly caught my attention apart from the obvious misinformation regarding trains was the sense of victimization and excuses for the boy's disregard for common sense safety regulations.

* "America's Smartest Cities"
*2 Madonna special
This is from a a Christian site exposing media.

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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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