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Monday, October 13, 2008
Lancaster County Farm
We passed this farm west of Mount Joy yesterday.
Notice the trees in the back are beginning to change.
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"Bad company corrupts good character" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Our pastor preaches colorful sermons often using his own experiences in life as illustrative material. Yesterday he told a story that will not soon be forgotten. He was headed home from several days of vacation with his family and stopped for a cup of coffee. As they got on the interstate they ran into several major traffic jams. The longer they sat in idle traffic the more pressing the need was to find a bathroom.
Most all of you've been in that situation and will quickly identify with our pastor's dilemma. After passing several exits with no bathroom facilities Bob was greatly relieved to spot a row of port-a-potties off to the side of the interstate. Making a beeline for them he went to the first one and as he opened the door he was blasted back by the strong foul odor. As we would say in Missouri the smell was bad enough to "gag a maggot."
He stated that he "galvanized" himself to go in and take care of business and wasted no time in running back to his car. As soon as he got into the driver's seat his grown daughter looked at him and said, "Ooh, Dad, you smell awful!" It seems the strong smell from the port-a-pottie lingered in his clothing and it did so all the way to their house. Upon their arrival home the clothes were immediately placed in the laundry. After the church service we had a good laugh about this experience with Luanne, Bob's wife, and his mother-in-law who was also riding in the car.
His point was the malodorous effects of sin.
The title of his sermon was "A Good Apple In A Bad Bunch" based on the life of Lot. He began his message by observing the effects of one bad apple in a bunch of good apples. Of course the bad apple will spoil the good apples so you must get rid of the bad apple if you want to keep the good ones. The reverse is true as well. Placing one good apple among a bunch of bad apples will cause the good apple to rot. Such is the corrosion of unchecked sin in our lives.
Lot made a critical choice when he chose the more lush grazing land in the valley for his flocks (Genesis 13:10). This led him to pitch his tent near Sodom (Genesis 13:12). Even at that time the Scripture describes, "The men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord" (V. 13). But Lot prospered and in time, married and had two daughters. By Genesis 19 he had moved in closer and now had a house in Sodom.
Genesis 19 is one of the most pathetic chapters of Scripture. Lot, who had been raised under the influence of godly Abraham, was so immersed in the sin of Sodom that his judgment was completely gone. Sodom had become his home and leaving was very difficult. But God's appointed time of judgment had come (it always will) and, in answer to his Uncle Abraham's fervent prayers, he and his family would be delivered.
"When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them" (Genesis 19:16). But my, was it hard for Lot to leave. As destruction of the city loomed, consider two telling words in the daily text, "he hesitated" (KJV "he lingered"). Matthew Henry's commentary notes, "Lot lingered; he trifled. Thus many who are under convictions about their spiritual state, and the necessity of a change, defer that needful work."
Lot had grown very comfortable in the wicked city of Sodom. Perhaps he had grown so accustomed to the wickedness that he no longer even saw it. What a tragic spiritual condition to be in. Perhaps his prosperity and position had blinded him to spiritual truths. His moral values were wretchedly twisted and later in the chapter we see this twisted condition in his wife and daughters as well. Genesis 19 is indeed one of the saddest chapters in the Bible, showing man's depraved actions in a sin-ridden society.
Fast forward to our own generation where we are witnessing similar attitudes and actions in our day. Recently a young popular singer received much publicity and media attention when he announced his homosexuality. A man, famous in the Hollywood circles, who helped him rise to fame was asked what he thought of the announcement. This was his response: "Good for him. If he said it, it's the right thing for him. Good for him. I don't think anyone cares. Let's face it: It's 2008. You know. Who cares?"
Popular culture does not determine what is right and wrong, God's Word does. I don't want to get comfortable in "Sodom". I don't want to hesitate when God directs me to act. I don't want to follow the mindset of this present world but rather the timeless message of God's eternal truth, "Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11). What about you?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You make Your truths known to us through the ancient words of Scripture; truths that do not change with time or the ever-changing "truths" of humankind. With the Holy Scriptures as our guidebook we align human philosophy with Your truths rather than adjust Scripture to affirm the viewpoint of man. When Scripture brings conviction we call upon You for strength and courage to make the necessary changes so that we live holy lives set apart for Your intended purpose. Then we can more clearly distinguish light from darkness and will keep the forces of evil from overtaking our heart's affections. We pray for our loved ones who are in bondage to sin. They've sought the world's approval and forsaken Your commands, seeing them as out-of-date and no longer pertinent to our day. Satan has corrupted their minds, but I pray that You would sensitize their hearts to godly teaching. Bring them to repentance and righteous living. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, we pray, amen.
Recently Ester got her first real job at TJ Maxx and here she is holding her very first paycheck she got on Friday! It's only a part-time job but she is very excited thus far. It blesses us to see her maturing and learning responsibility.
Looking for photos of portapotties to illustrate today's message I found this creative solution to the travelling bathroom problem!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to play)
"Give Us Clean Hands" Video
"Ancient Words" Video
Last night at our church we heard Jay Smith, who has a very interesting ministry among the radical Islamists in London. Here's an introductory video of his work. One of the interesting points he shared from his perspective and observation is the rapid growth of Muslims moving from nominal to radical. It was a very sobering assesment. He recommends and is a contributer to this website Answering Islam.
Several years ago I used today's Scripture verse "Bad company corrupts good character" and requested readers suggest descriptive words to fill in the blanks for the following:
Bad company ___________ bad character
Good company ________ bad character
Good company ___________ good character
And received the following suggestions:
Bad company reinforces bad character
Good company repels bad character
Good company reinforces good character
Bad company stimulates bad character
Good company rebukes bad character
Good company accentuates good character
Bad company breeds bad character
Good company defeats bad character
Good company strengthens good character
Bad company gives an individual bad thoughts to possess bad character
Good company can improve someone's bad character which can encourage and build up bad character
Good company can encourage/love and hold someone accountable to possess good character
Bad company gifts with bad character
Good company mends bad character
Good company enhances good character
Bad company ADDS TO bad character
Good company SUBTRACTS bad character
Good company MULTIPLIES good character
Bad company attracts bad company;
Good company influences bad company;
Good company encourages good company
"Bad company ACCELERATES bad character."
"Good company SHAMES/INFURIATES bad character."
"Good company ENCOURAGES good character.
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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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