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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Photo of tree-lined lane
Long lane to old farmhouse

(Click here to listen to this message on your audio player.)
Please note: I think we've fixed the distortion problem we've had the last two days.

"Falling or Standing Firm"

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8,9a).

On our way to the church where we are presently serving as interim pastor near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania we travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It's on a section that crosses the Susquehanna River where they are building a new bridge which is high above the water below. In August a worker fell to his death off the new bridge and surely this has heightened both safety procedures, as well as personal awareness of the danger.  I can hardly imagine a day goes by that the other workers at some point don't recall the fall. I know that practically every time I cross the bridge I think about it.*

After we cross the bridge there's a large billboard for an "adult" bookstore, tempting drivers traveling west for another kind of deadly fall.  I won't describe it but I am sure it feeds the lustful fantasies that have entrapped scores.  So many have fallen in this way.  An ancient strategy of the enemy is to tempt, trap, or to create feelings of dissatisfaction.

This may seem like strange logic, but the continued work of the tempter and his many minions actually increases my faith in God. The Scriptures are so clear regarding good and evil and the cosmic battle we are all in the midst of, whether we acknowledge it or not. We are not spectators but active participants in this battle.

As disgusted as I am at the constant assault I need to cry out to God for renewed strength and the will to "be self-controlled and alert."  A Study Bible I use makes this observation in regard to this phrase, "Perhaps Peter remembered his own difficulty in staying awake during our Lord's agony in Gethsemane."

In scores of ways our "ancient foe" continues to work his deadly woe. He's adept at the latest technology and now scores are battling various forms of "internet pornography addiction."

"Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  Matthew Henry comments on this verse. "The whole design of Satan is to devour and destroy souls. He always is contriving whom he may ensnare to eternal ruin. Our duty plainly is, to be sober; to govern both the outward and the inward man by the rules of temperance."

Today may we all determine, regardless of the nature of Satan's attack in our area of weakness, that we will "resist him, standing firm in the faith."  That's the key to Spirit-empowered victory.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, though Satan's temptations swirl about me in many forms and in various venues I resist the enemy's desire to reside in my life.  Even as the devil seeks to wrap his noxious tentacles around my heart, I stand firm against him because You, Jesus, are the Protector of my soul, who stands guard at all times.  I am grateful for the warning signals often repeated throughout the Bible that teach me about Satan's strategy. Thank You for Your still, small voice regularly reminding me that I am a child of God purchased by Your life-giving blood.  May everything that passes before my eyes and all activities I engage in reflect the light of Your redeeming love within me. It is through Your power that I resist the devil and stand firm in the faith.  Amen.

* I also wrote a message about this fall in August.

I want to provide links to several helpful resources for any who may be battling the issues referred to in today's encouragement:
1) "Setting the Captives Free"
2) The same ministry that publishes the "Our Daily Bread" devotional booklets has a wonderful assortment of online resources, including several that deal with this subject.
3) Focus of the Family has a great online resource called "Troubled With" dealing with many issues.

"Here I am waiting", is a song of consecration that goes well with today's message.  Audio mp3

Yesterday Mike, a friend who is also a teacher, brought over some students from the Christian school up the road.  They have an interest in nature photography and Mike knows of my love for photography through the daily encouragement ministry.  Below are a couple of their photos taken in our neighborhood.  What a joy to challenge young people to have faith in the Creator.

Photo of Geese
Gaggle of Geese
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Photo of weeping willow by Donegal Creek
Weeping willow beside Donegal Creek
(Click on photo to enlarge)

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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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