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Monday, June 22, 2009

Open Bible (photo by Doris High)
Open Bible
Photo by Doris High

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"A Time to Flee" 

"But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house" (Genesis 39:12). "From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her" (2 Samuel 11:2,3).  "Flee from sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:18). "Keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22).  "But thou, O man of God, flee these things" (1 Timothy 6:11).

Yesterday I issued a challenge to the men in our church to rise up as men of God with the solemn charge Paul gave to Timothy expressed in the final daily Scripture portion, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things."  My main points were Flee, Follow and Fight. Often we hear the expression, "They fled the scene of the accident" and we immediately think that those who ran are trying to hide something or escape responsibility. But today I want to examine the positive aspect of the command to flee.

Safety line (photo by Ester Weber)Our neighbors have a yellow parking lot type stripe at the end of their driveway about 20 feet from the road.  They made the visible boundary for their  6 year old daughter to indicate how near the road she's allowed to go. From her youthful mind this stripe may seem restrictive but from her parents' perspective it's a safety measure.  They aren't standing there hour after hour telling her to "Stop!", but the presence of the line, and what it stands for, is doing it for them.

God doesn't appear in person to restrain us in our hour of temptation, but when His commands are imbedded in our hearts they become a part of our conscience that says, "Stop!  Don't listen to the evil one. He intends to do you harm; God wants to preserve your life."  

When it comes to boundary lines established by God there is a proper time to flee. Today let's look at this matter particularly in regard to sexual temptation.

Due to our God-ordained hormonal constitution people in every generation have dealt with sexual temptation.  One of the greatest examples of victory over sexual temptation is seen in the actions of Joseph. The Bible tells his story in Genesis 39 and today's first text records the essence of this victory. He was being seduced by Potiphar's wife and yet Joseph responded, "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" (v. 9).*  Rather than yield to temptation "
he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house."

Those who love God must hate sin. Matthew Henry describes Joseph's victory over temptation in this way: "He would not stay to parley with the temptation, but fled from it, as escaping for his life. If we mean not to do iniquity, let us flee as a bird from its captor, and as a deer from the hunter."

The Bible also forthrightly records failure and David's story is likely the most familiar. Today's second text records the essence of what led to his moral failure: "From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her." David didn't want to flee the temptation; instead he wanted familiariity with his temptress.  Like Joseph, he should have fled. (Perhaps a dip in a cool fountain would have lessened his lust and taking a sominex might have solved his insomnia!) 

But today we face a situation far more intense and distinct from those in previous generations.  There is an acceptable flood of material condoning and even glamorizing immorality. In many cases it's even taught in public schools and through government agencies. Interestingly there is a parallel sense of condemnation by popular culture toward those who still maintain a Biblical outlook on morality who are seen as old-fashioned, narrow-minded and intolerant.

There are those reading our message today who have engaged in sexual immorality in the past but have repented and found the purifying scrub brush of the Holy Spirit brings renewal, cleansing and an invitation to start over according to God's design. 

Some of you are presently fighting a battle. You know in your heart this message is for you.  The apostle Paul wrote, "Flee from sexual immorality."  Today we need to practice, maintain, and proclaim the Biblical teachings.  Those who do so will be increasingly reviled.

Preachers who stay true to the Bible and faithfully proclaim the Word are branded old-fashioned and homophobic, if they merely repeat what the Bible says in regard to its unambiguous, forthright condemnation of homosexuality and hold to the Scriptural teachings concerning sexual morals. 

Our word of encouragement today is to stay faithful to God's teachings. Honor the boundary lines that He has given to us through His commands. When the tempter comes don't entertain him.  He'll leave when you recite the Scriptures and seek God's counsel. When you do so, victory is sure to be yours!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, it is Your desire that we stay faithful to Your teachings. Scripture gives many examples of those who knew to do right, but instead yielded to temptation.  The consequences of their wrong actions inflicted a great deal of loss, life-long regret and emotional pain. Help us to avoid the traps Satan has set for the believers by not only reading the Word, but applying its truth to our lives, and standing firm when the temptation to do wrong is ever before us.

* It's interesting that Joseph had this conviction regarding sin even though at this point the Ten Commandments had not yet been given.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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Photo of framed hymn

I have a framed copy of an old hymn titled "More Men Like Daniel" that hangs on the wall beside my desk as I work. It's not well known and in fact I have rarely seen it in a hymnal. I have never sung it but sure appreciate the thoughtful words.  It has long been out of copyright so I can share it here. We need more men like Daniel! I began my message on Father's Day by sharing the words of this hymn:

We need more men like Daniel to stand for God and right;
Men clean and strong, who hate the wrong,
And for the truth will fight.
When those controlled by evil their base designs pursue,
We need more men like Daniel who never prove untrue.

We need more men like Daniel their virtue here to show;
Men bold, sincere, who know no fear when called to face the foe.
Though dangers dark may threaten, they crave not ease or rest.
We need more men like Daniel who boldly stand the test.

We need more men like Daniel whose faith defied the king;
Who knelt and prayed when plans were laid
His shameful death to bring.
But God sent down His angel His all to guard and shield;
We need more men like Daniel whose hearts will never yield.

"More Men Like Daniel" Neal McAulay/Charles Gabriel © 1922 Homer Rodeheaver

"Purify My heart"
 Video  Brian Doerkson

"Restore My Soul"  Audio

"Give Us Clean Hands"  Video  Chris Tomlin

Pure Life Ministries Changing lives by leading men into purity.

The written tribute: A great way to bless your father.

Call 2 Fall logoRegardless of what country you may live in we sure need a revival! On Sunday morning July 5 our church will join many others in participating in "Call2Fall", a nationwide prayer meeting. We encourage others to look into this, especially pastors here in America. Essentially this is a definite time during worship on Sunday, July 5th when we get on our knees before the Lord in repentant prayer, pleading with God to reshape our lives, renew our land, and send times of refreshing (See 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 3:19).

Billy Bass
 Ester's favorite Father's Day gift to me was a singing Billy Bass she purchased at a Thrift store!  Maybe it was yours at one time, but we're now enjoying the songs, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and "Take Me to the River."

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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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