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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Donegal Creek in Lancaster County
Snowy path along Donegal Creek in Lancaster County.
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Expectant LOOKING Motivates Enlightened LIVING

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"Obedient Children"

"As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance" (1 Peter 1:14).

Roxie and Dottie in front of stoveWe heat our home with a coal stove which is less expensive than many other heating sources, but it requires daily maintenance in loading the coal hopper and emptying the ashes. When we're out of town for several days we ask our neighbor's son Jason to handle the chore for us. He is a dependable young teenager raised with a strong work ethic and a heart to obey. As I considered today's message with the theme of obedient children he came to mind. What a blessing he is to his parents and others who rely on him, especially his youngest sister who has Down's Syndrome.  We often see him taking her for rides and watching over her.

But I also consider the heartache a disobedient child brings, whether as a youngster still at home or even more acutely as an adult who chooses the way of rebellion. Through our years of ministry we have often provided support and encouragement to parents with disobedient children, as most all pastors have. Proverbs 10:1 says, "A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother." 

In today's Scripture text Peter uses a family theme that his readers will identify with in one way or another. He is speaking of our obedience to our heavenly Father as obedient children. John 1:12 teaches that all  who have received and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ become children of God.

Spurgeon wrote that faith and obedience are bound up in the same bundle. He who obeys God, trusts God; and he who trusts God, obeys God.  Obedience means one listens to and follows instructions and is in the state of being in compliance.  Peter compares believers to children who obey their parents, using the phrase "obedient children" to introduce the concept of holiness; obedience and holiness being two sides of the same coin.

As obedient children we are not to conform to the evil desires we once had when we lived in ignorance.  Some readers were raised in godly families and at an early age turned to the Lord. I consider a local friend who shared with me the many generations his family has faithfully served the Lord and today each of his four children and their spouses walk with the Lord.  But other readers have had essentially no Christian upbringing and especially identify with the phrase "lived in ignorance." Due to the darkness of our generation, if the church is to grow, more and more will fall into the latter category.

We are not to conform to these evil desires.  As sojourners in this world we must daily make the conscious, volitional choice to refuse to let an alien society, which is futile and passing away squeeze us into its wicked, corrupting mold.

Romans 12:2 has a similar theme, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will."  Today let us seek to be obedient children that bring great joy to our heavenly Father!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, as we fully surrender our hearts to You we will no longer conform to the pattern of this world, but we will be transformed because our minds are being renewed by Your Spirit daily.  Though we may be rejected by the world we have been chosen by You.  Like living stones You are building us into a spiritual house where Jesus is the precious cornerstone.  Because of that we are a strong foundation that can withstand the temptations and forces of evil as we declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness. In doing so You enable us to live as aliens and strangers in this evil world so that we abstain from sinful desires.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
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"Holiness Is What I Long For"  Video  based on the verse that follows our daily text: "But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do" (1 Peter 1:15).

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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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