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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stone Bridge over Donegal Creek
Stone arch walking bridge over Donegal Creek
on the grounds of the Cameron Inn estate.

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"Spiritual Disorientation"

"Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight" (Isaiah 5:21).

Brooksyne and I are very similar in many ways but one distinct difference we have is in regard to our interest in geography. Whenever I travel by car or plane I need to know just where I am in relationship to the rest of the planet. I like to have a map on hand to know the direction of where I'm headed. One of these days I'm going to get a handheld gps unit.

Brooksyne, on the other hand, just rides along and apart from knowing where we're headed is content to just go along for the ride and enjoy the scenery along the way.  She doesn't worry where we are in relationship to the planet or about getting lost since it's my job to get us to our planned destination.

We took the train from Mount Joy into Philadelphia to deal with Ester's citizenship at the INS office about two years ago. At the Thirtieth Street Station we transferred to a subway to the designated station nearest the INS office. By the time I got out of the subway and up to the street level I was all turned around and had absolutely no sense of where I was in the city. I thought I was walking south when in reality I was walking north.  I had completely "lost my bearings" which I found very unsettling! I suppose I had a form of spatial disorientation.

Most aviation experts feel it was likely that John F. Kennedy Jr. experienced this phenomenon which led to his deadly plane accident in the ocean off Martha's Vineyard when we lived in New England.  In flight a pilot can become so confused in haze or darkness without landmarks that he has absolutely has no sense of direction.  This is very serious for pilots who do not have an instrument rating.  A pilot may feel he is going straight ahead when in fact he is diving down!  This is spatial disorientation.

But there's a much more serious form of disorientation, which affects all of mankind in the spiritual realm.  Rather than spatial disorientation I would call it spiritual disorientation.  Amazingly though, most are not even aware of its affect or even that they are spiritually disoriented. Worse yet they give little consideration to the eventual consequences of this disorientation.  What a serious "woe" is expressed in our daily text.  "Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight." 

Other Scripture verses describe this spiritual disorientation. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4).  "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 16:25).

Circumstances in our world seem to be ever more confusing and the earnest believer must be vigilant in keeping the proper spiritual orientation.  As believers we must cry out today with the Psalmist, "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Psalms 61:2).  We trust in the One of whom it is written, "He will be the sure foundation for your times" (Isaiah 33:6).  And "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).  Praise the Lord!  Keep your spiritual orientation today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Jesus, You are the Solid Rock that keeps us anchored in this vast landscape of shifting sands.  Our unfading hope is secured in Your finished work on the cross and our guide map is the inspired Holy Scriptures that make us wise unto salvation.  Help us to resist the temptation to look further or to add to Your clearly prescribed plan for living a life that pleases You.  We offer to You our lives as living sacrifices.  May we be holy and pleasing to You.  Amen.

PS: Another spiritual application to this disorientation for the believer is those times in life when a particular trial or circumstance overwhelms us.  Some of you are having this kind of experience today and the verses I closed the devotional with are especially appropriate. I have also found that the firm foundation of God's faithfulness and what He has promised for us is very helpful in these times.  We need a deep abiding sense of what is expressed in a line from the great hymn "Amazing Grace".  "The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures."
I recall another example of being spatially disoriented in a very low-tech attraction called "Grandfather's Mansion." I remember going to Silver Dollar City near Branson Missouri in the sixties where I first saw this.  Essentially by walking down a dark tunnel with various twists and angles your sense of direction gets all fouled up.  You then entered this house where water appears to run uphill, pots and pans hung sideways, balls rolled up, etc.  I was always amazed at this and several years ago when we were at Siver Dollar City I came across the Grandfather's Mansion once again and had a sentimental visit.

Personal Note: I was reminded of today's opening illustration due to a very special trip into Philadelphia we have scheduled tomorrow which we will announce in tomorrow's message.

Today's suggested music:
"I Know My Redeemer Lives" (audio) In my view one of the most blessed hymns in church history.  Lyrics (all 8 verses!)
"Christ the Solid Rock" (audio) Another favorite of mine although this is a slightly diferent version.

We have had a lot of fun with the "Roxie jumping through the wheat field" video we placed up on Tuesday.  Later in the day I added music to the video and those of you who downloaded the early version did not get the music. Perhaps you would like to try again! (video)

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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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"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"