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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Doris High, a friend of ours, took this beautiful photo of an Iris.

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"A Little Yeast"
"Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?"  (1 Corinthians 5:6).
We sure have a lot of flies! That's part of living out in the country near livestock.  Tuesday they harvested the wheat off the field across from us, baled the straw, removed it and then applied thousands of tons of animal waste fertilizer all through the night! It's not the most pleasant time for country living!  This has also contributed to the abundant fly population we have.

We had chaplain friends who recently visited us from another county. Oblivious to the fly problem here they left the back of their van open during their visit.  Brooksyne discovered it an hour after their arrival and immediately shut it after letting them know that they would be returning home with many Lancaster County flies they hadn't counted on.  

According to my calculations I reckon I (Stephen) weigh about 200,000 times more than a fly, but my, can those pesky critters get under my skin and annoy me!  Little things matter.
Several years ago I visited a large lumber-processing mill that makes lumber from logs. A crucial job is examining the raw logs for any metal prior to the processing.  A single nail can result in extensive damage to the machinery, an expensive plant shutdown, and could even be dangerous if it would fly out and hit someone.  So a worker examines each log in the lot before it goes through processing with a powerful metal detector.
Consider the tiny nail in relation to the huge log.  It's but a tiny, tiny fraction of the log's total volume and yet what tremendous damage it can do.  That's true in a lot of things in life isn't it?  Can you imagine saying, "This water is great, it's 99% pure and only 1% arsenic" or "My spouse is mostly faithful, he only commits adultery once a month" or "God keeps most of His promises." 
In 1 Corinthians 5 the Apostle Paul is addressing a situation in the Corinthian church regarding a rather bizarre form of sexual immorality, "a kind that does not occur even among pagans." Incredibly the Corinthian believers were even proud about the situation!  Perhaps they reasoned that being open-minded and non-judgmental about the matter was virtuous, kind of a "different strokes for different folks" outlook. That's sure a lot like today's attitude toward sin where "tolerance", as it is understood from a wordly perspective, has been elevated to a cardinal virtue.
But Paul doesn't excuse this matter or brush it aside as insignificant. He commanded the church to take prompt, decisive action.  Actually his words seem harsh and unloving in this age of toleration.  "Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.  When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 5:3-5).  Wow, how mean-spirited, hateful and intolerant this sounds to modern ears.  Lighten up, Paul, most would say today.
But Paul's action was loving.  Sin destroys.  It destroys the individual, the family, the specific local church and the testimony of the whole church.  Redemptive love means confronting destructive sin head on, which is what Paul did, because a little sin is a big deal. "Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?"
Two challenges to sum up today's message:
1) God has provided a means to deal with the sin in our lives. Don't make excuses but confess, repent (turn away from it), and commit to living a life holy unto the Lord. 
2) The true church and godly individuals will be increasingly unpopular in standing up for Biblical standards.  We will be labeled mean, hateful, narrow-minded and ignorant.  In fact the media is already doing that in many venues. But we resolve in our hearts to:

Stay faithful!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the practical example of the Corinthian church serves as an example to the church of our generation.  To ignore sin or brush it aside does not make it go away.  It only gains strength and infiltrates the rest of the body when not dealt with in a Scriptural manner.  We pray for the leadership of our churches and ask You to help them to live pure and holy lives in obedience to You and as an example to their flock.  May they be intolerant of sin that jeopardizes the spiritual health of the church.  The church's code of conduct is transcribed through Your Holy Scriptures, not the popular philosophy of our day.  In turning our eyes away from the sin we in essence give approval, but when we have the courage to deal with it we save not only the transgressor but we also purify Your church.  Keep us faithful, prayerful, and vigilant as we seek Your leading in these extremely important matters.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 5 (context of today's passage)

Today's Music: (not necessarily related to today's theme)
"Creation Calls" (listen)
"All Creatures of our God and King" (listen)

Today's photo: We met Doris and her husband Cerwin through our association with a chaplain ministry to truckers called, "Transport for Christ".
 Doris has a wonderful way of designing photo montages with accompanying Scripture or sermon points.  Check this out!  Or this one.

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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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