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Tuesday, November 20, 2007
First snow of the season!
Photo by Doris High (Used by permission)
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"Living As Wise"
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15,16).
I was reading a blog with a very liberal perspective the other day. The writer was mocking a core belief of the Christian faith and spewing condescending venom toward those whom he saw as primitive Neanderthals who foolishly hold such a view. As with most blogs the comments that followed reflected the view of the writer. One comment especially caught my attention as the writer wrote concerning those who have this belief, which would include me and most reading today's post, as being more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden!
Things are becoming increasingly topsy-turvey with the continued slide into decadence and denial of God's ways. The prophet Isaiah's words from 2,700 years ago are so amazingly timeless and powerful. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20). The Apostle Paul wrote, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight" (1 Corinthians 3:19).
Consider the timely message of these verses in light of the evil behavior that pervades our land today. Those who engage in wicked behavior have been exalted as role models and trend setters while those who continue to hold to God's holy standards are now being referred to as the "evil ones."
Yesterday I used the same daily text and challenged our readers to use the opportunities God places before us. As I prepared the message and carefully examined the text I ended up having far more material than I felt appropriate to use in a daily message! So I will expound on it today for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see God's truths.
The daily verse gives a somber warning and important truth. I have memorized it and I encourage you to do so as well. What a somber expression of reality, as vitally needed today as when the Apostle Paul wrote it nearly 2,000 years ago.
We need to be very careful how we live. Our enemy, the devil, goes about like a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour. Many have lowered their guard but must resist him standing firm in our faith.
We need to "live--not as unwise but as wise." We need "the wisdom that comes from heaven" (James 3:17) and this will increasingly be contrary to the wisdom of the world. Remember the old saying, "What's popular may not be right and what's right may not be popular." Jesus never let the desire for acceptance or popularity among his hearers dictate the truths he would disclose or the errors He would refute. Who would want to be loved and accepted by the people more than Jesus Himself? And yet we often let the possibility of rejection stand in the way of whether or not we'll speak up for righteousness.
"The days are evil." In seeking the true wisdom that comes from heaven I want my eyes to be open to the evil, not blinded by it.
As God's people seeking to live out our faith in these evil days we need to make the most of every opportunity, which the KJV translates as "redeeming the time." Opportunities abound for the Spirit led, earnest follower of Christ.
Today how can you and I make the most of every opportunity to express our faith in Christ? Let's be open to the daily opportunities God provides for us, seeking to make the most of them. Then we will live as those who are wise and fortify ourselves against the evils of our day.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it would be easy to be driven to despair in the midst of the evil that surrounds us if we didn't walk in the light of Your truth. We walk in the true wisdom that comes from heaven, not in the flawed wisdom that comes from the world. Help us to make the most of every opportunity to stand up for divine truth in our speech and in our actions. We want to be the light that shines forth in the creeping darkness of our land so that we can show others the way to eternal life. In the name of Your dear Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
"Thankful For The Thorns" - A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thankgiving Table (webpage)
"Hymns of Hope" A project that has been in the works over several months is now completed. Brooksyne has compiled eleven hymns that deal with the recurring theme of loss and ongoing trial and titled it "Hymns of Hope" based on Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." Amber Martin plays the hymns on the keyboard and Lauren Gingrich accompanies her on six of the hymns with the viola. Tracks 12-22 play each hymn softly in the background while Brooksyne shares a personal devotional thought, the biographical setting of the hymn text, and an intercessory prayer. We recorded this in the very modest and limited computerized recording studio of Daily Encouragement so that we could make this ministry project available to all who are in need of such encouragement without huge overhead expense. Thus we realize the audio quality is not what we've become accustomed to. You can go to this site to listen to the songs. You can download one song at a time if you find this to be of special blessing to you or know someone whose spirit might be lifted by listening to these meditative hymns. Here's a sample with a Thanksgiving theme: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (Audio reading)
A Thanksgiving Scripture reading - A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)
A Thanksgiving family exercise - We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal. (pdf)
A Day of Rest in Plimouth Colony - This is a summary of a chapter in the lives of the pilgrims that Brooksyne uses to teach about their Sunday worship. (pdf)
Books used in Brooksyne's research on the Pilgrims:
Saints & Strangers By Vision Video
Three Young Pilgrims By Cheryl Harness / Simon & Schuster
Music for today:
"Come Thou Fount" (Audio)
"Give Us Clean Hands" (Audio)
"Be Thou My Vision" (Audio)
Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.
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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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