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Monday, March 19, 2007

Snowy path
Snowy path along Donegal Creek
To view this photo in a larger size with a Scripture verse click here.

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"The Right Path"
"Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path" (Proverbs 23:19).
We had a big snow storm on Friday with cold temperatures and brisk winds all weekend. Although today is the last official day of winter we awoke to temperatures in the low teens so I'm going to use another winter photo. Today's photo was taken about a mile from our home along Donegal Creek. Brooksyne and I both enjoy walking and the snowy path along the creek has a way of beckoning us!*
There are many paths in life that beckon us. Spiritually speaking there is only one path that leads to life; the path of righteousness.  There are many other paths that ultimately lead to death, however right or pleasant they may feel along the way.

A beautiful song of the 70's "You Light Up My Life" has been popular through the decades in both secular and Christian settings.  But there's one line in the song that has always troubled me: "It can't be wrong when it feels so right, cause you light up my life."  I never felt comfortable with that lyric, but in reality it's a good example of the way sin creeps in and takes hold of our lives, when we're guided by our feelings rather than the absolute truths of God's Word.  The writer of Proverbs 4:12 put it this way: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." The Lord Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
This morning Brooksyne called me to the back door where she thought she heard some howling coyotes in the distance. Even in the relative quiet of the country there are a lot of noises and in the clanging city there are even more noises.  We need spiritual discernment to recognize the beckoning sounds that draw us nearer to the throne of God and those which drive us farther away.
The writer of Proverbs refers to listening to God's truth; that which will make us truly wise. This wisdom speaks not only of head knowledge but also heart knowledge or godly understanding.  This wisdom is not a result of any degree of innate intelligence or formal education as the world reckons it. In fact there may be no correlation between these characteristics and attaining godly wisdom. As Romans 1:22 states, "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools."
"Keep your heart on the right path." For all of us who earnestly seek to follow Christ this is a simple seven word phrase to keep before us each day.  There are so many distractions and disturbances that seek to get us off the right path. We need to listen intently and obey the Voice of Truth. We can hear this voice through the Holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (see 2 Timothy 3:15).
I will conclude the message with one more Scripture verse that supports today's emphasis, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, even as a spring bubbles forth with fresh, clear water may my heart be like a wellspring bubbling forth with light and life.  May the choices I make today reflect the Voice of Truth that points me in the way of life everlasting. Amen.

Among the verses I considered using today is this one: "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day" (Proverbs 4:18).  I placed this verse on today's photo as a desktop background.

"The Danger of Self-deception" Here's an insightful online article written by Steve Cornell, a local pastor in our area. For many years I have enjoyed his articles in our paper and he now has a website. Here's a choice excerpt from his current article indicating his thought-provoking writing: "Another form of self-deception is discovered in twisted versions of sin. Traditionally recognized sins are now popular and no longer considered worthy of condemnation. A new list of really bad sins has been created by cultural pundits. They include ecological grievances, homophobic opinions, pollution by cigarette smoke, anti-egalitarianism, right wing associations— these are the unacceptable sins! The curious addition to this list is a required tolerance toward anything currently approved by the pundits. This is deep deception and dangerous deception."

In preparing today's message I consider one of my favorite songs titled "The Voice Of Truth" by "Casting Crowns."  Many of you have heard it.  Here's a rather low quality online audio version.

"But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story.
The Voice of Truth says 'Do not be afraid'.
And the Voice of Truth says 'This is for My glory'.
Out of all the voices calling out to me.
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth."

*Brooksyne's Note:  In an attempt to be completely honest as we write our messages I must add my thought to Stephen's first paragraph.  He mentions that the beautiful fresh snowfall beckons "us" for a walk.  Maybe that's true for him, but it's the fresh budding trees and spring bulbs bursting forth that beckon me for a walk.  I enjoy the beautiful, snow-covered landscaping from the other side of the window in my cozy, warm house.  But I do venture out each time we get a good deep snowfall like this past weekend to scoop some clean snow to make Ester's favorite winter dish:  Snow Ice Cream! Truth is all three of us like it a lot!

Snow Ice Cream

1 can evaporated milk (cold)
½ to ¾ C. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
Large bowl of snow

With mixer set on high beat the evaporated milk until it whips and thickens.  Add sugar, then eggs & vanilla. Add snow a cup or two at a time until mixer bowl is filled. Because Stephen and I have been trying to be more careful about our calorie laden desserts I also make this recipe using skimmed evaporated milk & splenda.  Eggs are optional but they sure do make the ice cream richer and tastier.

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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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