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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hay rake
Hay Rake

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"Not Of This World"

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16).

Wayne GallagherSeveral weeks ago when I was up in New England I visited with Wayne, a friend who had spent several years enslaved to the ways of the world. He now takes a strong stand for Christ and several months ago he received his ministerial credentials. He recently took a bold stand at work that led his employer to further respect him. Wayne, troubled by the provocative calendar photos in the men's room, found them to be a source of temptation. 

He respectfully approached his boss and asked that the calendars be removed. He also pointed out that, since the restrooms were used by visitors, it was bad for the company's image. In this case the employer respected Wayne's stand and the calendars were removed. However Wayne has now endured much ridicule from the other employees!

Most of you are in some form of secular work and you do not find the workplace an environment compatible with your faith.  Hopefully you have a spiritually supportive family, church fellowship and a daily commitment to spending time with God in Bible study and prayer.  However at work it's often a different story.  Scripturally we know that "our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).  In the same verse we are told to "be self-controlled and alert." 

Most will spend at least 40 hours each week at work (certainly many more hours than in the House of God!)  This creates a great tension between your responsibilities in the secular world and your desire to live a godly life in obedience to the Word. Many college students receive these encouragement messages and we realize that the campus can also be a spiritual battleground.

The world is opposed to God and His ways.  Swearing, mocking God, evil images, luring temptations, and sinful compromises abound.  If you don't see them I would respectfully ask, "Are you are using spiritual discernment?"  Many of you are also confronted with diversity training programs which are intended to "correct" all those traditional values you were taught.  In these programs often "Good is called evil and evil is called good" (see Isaiah 5:20).

Daniel, along with his three Hebrew friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, provides a Biblical model of one who was confronted with the temptation to compromise but he stood firm in his convictions.  Early in his life he made a commitment when he went through his first diversity training class.  I memorized this verse many years ago as a young Christian. "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank" (Daniel 1:8).  Notice he made the purpose in his heart.  I urge you to learn God's ways and like Daniel make a purpose or resolve in your heart to remain firm.  He demonstrates for us the great Biblical principle of separation.

In our daily verse Jesus acknowledged in His final great prayer for His followers that "we are not of this world."  May God help each of us to live a godly life at all times and in every setting, including our days spent in the workplace and on the campus.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, I am resolved no longer to crave the world and cling to its alluring delights.  Satan's delights bring only passing pleasure and then plunges me deeper into the cesspool of his incessant schemes.  Father, through the power of Your indwelling Holy Spirit, I can fight against the roaring lion who wants to devour my faith and even my very life.  I seek after things that are higher and nobler – things unobtainable from this world, but obtainable through my growing relationship with You.  Amen.

Today's prayer is prompted in part by an old hymn titled "I am resolved"

Brooksyne's Note:  I have been struggling with lack of spiritual discipline as of late and at times grow frustrated with the "sacrifice of denial" that God requires of us in following His will.  In addition to my daily Bible reading I have chosen to read about one Christian hero, most often a martyr, who has passed the test when facing tremendous persecution or horrible abuse.  It helps me to keep a proper perspective when dealing with the daily temptations that we all face.  When I read of the strength and bravery of men and women who experience a depth of sacrifice I've never known, I find greater resolve to firmly deal with sinful temptation and not allow it to grow into sinful behavior.

The Complete Book of Christian Heroes
The Complete Book of Christian Heroes
By Dave & Neta Jackson / Tyndale House
Are there any true heroes? Discover the remarkable stories of those who have suffered for the cause of Christ throughout the course of history. This book will reveal what inspired the great heroes of faith and drove them to give their all. Featuring such gripping accounts of each hero's life, this book gives the historical and cultural information as well as quotations and Scripture passages that amplify what each hero stood for. You will learn about John Bunyan, Mary Dyer, Brother Andrew, Todd Beamer and over 200 more heroes of yesterday and today. This is an excellent resource for any home library. To order click here.

This is the book I mentioned above in my note.  The stories of 200 courageous people are listed in alphabetical order rather than chronological dates and are 1 to 2 page abbreviated accounts of their stand for Christ and the suffering they endured.  Some of the names you will recognize from our lifetime such as Chet Bitterman martyred in Columbia in 1981 who happened to be from our area.  Others date back to Biblical times such as Barnabas the apostle in Cyprus. It is truly a faith builder!

Shadrach tombstoneIn today's message we referred to Shadrach.  Several weeks ago when we were in New England we saw this tombstone in the cemetery in Berkely Massachusetts where our friend Hope Winchoba was buried. We had first noted it about ten years ago when we had the burial service for Hope's husband John.  It may be the only Shadrach of modern times we ever recall.

Shadrach tombstone
My brother sent me this photo today.
Notice that the pattern and shape of the bird's wings appear as a smile!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

Take My Life And Let It Be"

Take My Life And Let It Be"  Another nice version.

Take My Life And Let It Be"  Tomlin version

Take My Life  (Holiness Is What I Long For)

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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