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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rainbow (photo by Doris High)
Lancaster County rainbow
(Photo by Doris High)
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"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).

When we lived in New England we became members of the historic Old Sturbridge Village which is a recreated community of 40 original buildings with costumed staff in keeping with a rural New England town of the 1830's. We enjoyed our many visits there as a family and Brooksyne also took Ester each September when it was Home School Day at Sturbridge.  It was in the fall of 2000 that they witnessed something a little out of the ordinary.  I'll let her tell you about it.

Ester and I had a great day touring the village with other home schooling families and learning more about the lifestyle consistent with the early 1800's.  Before we headed home I decided to stop in at a cafeteria style restaurant where the food was set out and people just took what they wanted as they went through the line.  It was late afternoon and the cafeteria was nearly empty except for Ester and me. 

Whipped toppingAfter we sat down to eat our light meal I happened to look toward the staff that were beginning some clean-up work around the food.  Then, out of the blue, a young worker suddenly stuck two fingers deep into the over-sized whipped cream bowl, pulled them out and licked the cream from his fingers.  It was one of those incredulous moments when you shake your brain and say to yourself, "I didn't just see what I thought I saw, did I!"

He must have been reading my brain thoughts as I was still reeling from the sight I had just witnessed.  So to make sure that I wasn't just imagining what I thought I saw he repeated the disgusting act again while looking straight toward me.  He vigorously stirred the topping with the dipper, but this time he plunged his fingers into the filled dipper for another round of "finger-looking good samplings."   He then took a spoon and gleefully stirred the topping and smoothed off the top, good as new.  Perhaps he reasoned that by distributing his germs throughout the entire bowl he was diluting them to the degree they would no longer be harmful to anyone else! His smoothing over the top was evidence that he wanted to cover up what he had done.  I wonder how long he had been in charge of the whipped topping bowl.

What a literal cover-up! But isn't that the way many deal with sin? Conceal the offense by trying to smooth over the visible part others might see. Deal with the outward appearance but allow the sin to fester within.  Among man's many remedies for the sin problem is the feeble attempt to cover-up. Adam and Eve tried it first but their act was followed by many in Scripture and of course all throughout history. Numbers 32:23 states, "Be sure that your sin will find you out." God's only remedy for sin is Christ and our responsibility is confession and repentance which involves turning away from the sin.

Yesterday's message chronicles the cover-up attempt by David after his sin with Bathsheba.  It was a progressive attempt beginning with deceit, misuse of power, forcing others to do wrong such as Joab the Commander, and ending with multiple murders (see 2 Samuel 11:17).

But God sees. He always sees. We may very well fool our fellow man and get by for awhile but we never fool God. We may deceive ourselves and feel the cover-up worked but ultimately a price will be paid.  Sin is often wrapped in lovely packaging but it carries a significant price tag to those who make the purchase. 

When David sinned God was watching and "the thing David had done displeased the LORD."  It remains a constant on this side of eternity that "he who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."

Our daily text is mirrored in one of the great New Testament promises. I urge you to receive and practice it today. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily Prayer: Jesus, may I never consider my good works or righteous acts to be a cover-up for the hidden sin I harbor in my heart or try to use them as payment for my sins. May my attitude be that of the publican in Luke who humbly came before the Father and cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" If I exalt myself it will eventually lead to my downfall.  But when I humble myself I will be exalted by You.  I humbly confess and renounce my sins so that I might receive Your divine peace in place of the inner turmoil that comes with hidden sin.  It is in Your name, Jesus, that I pray.  Amen.

I expect to share two more lessons from David's sin with Bathsheba and the consequences on Thursday and Friday. This mini-series began with yesterday's message "The Consequences Of Sin".

Otis, a longtime friend from Philadelphia responded to yesterday's message with this thoughtful perspective: "One quick word about how small sin starts:  I remember a pastor who pointed out that David's sin started because he wasn't where he was supposed to be.  It was spring, a time when kings went to war, but David was at home.  How many sins start because we're not where we're supposed to be -- in prayer, in fellowship, in the Word?"

Another gratifying response came from our friend Jim in New Jersey who has a prison ministry and plans to share the message with the men.

Here's some resource material on this topic I will leave up all week:

2 Samuel 11 and 12 is the account of David's sin with Bathsheba.

Psalm 51 is the record of his repentance.

"The Consequences Of A Moral Failure"  Webpage
  This material is adapted from a 1998 "Leadership" magazine article by Randy Alcorn and Eternal Perspective Ministries and is personalized for my own use and personal impact. This article is also available as a printable .pdf  I encourage every man and woman to adapt this for their own use or better yet start from scratch and develop your own.

"Slow Fade"  Video    Outstanding message about sin.

Pure Life Ministries  An excellent resource for overcomers.

Last month I took Ester to see "Fireproof", a Christian movie dealing with marital restoration. Our family would highly recommend it!

Fireproof, DVDFireproof, DVD  By Provident Music Distribution
The latest theatrical blockbuster from the creators of Facing the Giants, Fireproof is an action-packed love story about a firefighter, his wife, and a marriage worth rescuing! At work, inside burning buildings, Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) lives by the old firefighter's adage: "Never leave your partner behind". At home, in the cooling embers of his marriage, he lives by his own rules. His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt has to face his toughest job ever, rescuing his wife's heart.

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Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Nothing But The Blood"  
Newer version  Video 

Traditional version  Video  (The way we sang it in Bible College!)

Old Sturbridge Village 
Note from Brooksyne:  I remember very well the very nauseating incident with the young teen who was so brazen in the dipping and licking of his fingers in a public food place.  He didn't flinch while he repeated this act the second time as he looked straight at me. I turned this employee into his supervisor hoping that a severe action would be taken.   In a bigger sense this young man's act of rebellion reminds me of those who willfully sin as they shake their fists at the Father.  There will be judgment day coming for those who are proud in their sin, rather than being humble in their repentance.

Today's photo of the rainbow was taken by our friend Doris High. She is an avid photographer and places many of her photos on her blog. We were blessed by this post of a recent baptism service in her church. Churches do baptisms in a variety of ways.  I have baptized in cold mountain streams, muddy farm ponds, the ocean, and church baptistries. But this was an interesting setup apparently made just for outdoor baptisms. Doris' captions capture the vows in an interesting way and stirred my soul afresh!

Finally today:
Dottie's breakfast
This morning after eating breakfast I sat my cereal bowl down and Dottie managed to lap up the remaining milk. I don't think I would find this a very comfortable eating position!

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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