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Monday, January 18, 2010

Conestoga River, Lancaster County PA (click to enlarge)
Conestoga River in Lancaster County, PA
Taken by our friend Mike Book
(Click on photo to enlarge)

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"Let Us Stay Faithful!"

"But they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land" (1 Chronicles 5:25).

Warning sign on Golden Gate Bridge

An interesting warning sign on the Golden Gate Bridge states the obvious, but is nevertheless unheeded by a few. I took this photo several years ago when I was visiting my brother Mike who lives in that area. As we walked onto the bridge we saw this sign on one of the huge towers.  It states the consequences that result when a person violates the posted warning.

The consequences would seem obvious to the typical passerby, but regardless, some 25 people jump to their deaths from this bridge every year. It takes approximately four seconds to drop, at a speed of 75 miles an hour, into the water 220 feet below.  Only a tiny minority—some 2 percent—survive the jump. Contrary to what many jumpers imagine, it is not a graceful, trauma-free way to go: the impact with the water is violent, shattering bones and dismembering limbs.

Wherever you are today you are surrounded by warnings and cautions. In fact we are so flooded with warnings that we may tend to ignore even reading them since they generally state the obvious. This morning I looked at my toothpaste and read warnings.

Some warnings are needed; many others are imposed by the legal system as a precaution against a potential lawsuit. Some warnings ignore common sense (in part due to the fact that many lack it) and others might even be illogical, even humorous such as this one: "Warning: Do not climb inside this bag and zip it up. Doing so will cause injury and death." This was a label inside a protective plastic bag which measured 6 inches by 6 inches by 5 inches.

But we must never grow hardened, indifferent or neglectful of the warnings in Scripture. Today's verse is certainly not the typical Scriptural promise of encouragement we normally use in this devotional series, but we can be thankful for God's warnings and should actually see them as evidence of His love.  The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:6 regarding the spiritual failures of people in the past, "These things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did."

God does not mince words!  Today's verse is an historical record regarding the descendants of the half tribe of Manasseh.  They had a reputation as being "brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families" (v. 24). But spiritually they had failed miserably, "They were unfaithful to the God of their fathers and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land."

We may on the surface consider this verse to be a mere record of the apostasy of an ancient people (this happened some 3,000 years ago). Surely such a crude and graphic expression of apostasy would not apply to our day would it?  Well, let's open our eyes.  The character of God has not changed.  His holiness or hatred of sin has not diminished one iota.  "For I am the LORD, I change not" (Malachi 3:6).  Surely His assessment of the condition of modern man would be the same as that of today's verse, although the "gods of the people of the land" are modernized to reflect our time period. In our own biased estimation we may feel that we're more sophisticated than past peoples.

Throughout the centuries people must choose between the gods of the age or the one eternal true God.  Today, let us reverence the Lord our God and renounce the many false gods of our age.  Let us determine to serve Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we serve You with our heart loving You above everything and everyone.  We serve You with our soul, as it lives for all eternity.  We serve You with our mind  acknowledging that You are the Dispenser of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  We serve You with our strength, knowing that when our strength weakens it is then that we truly find strength.  We serve a supernatural God, so help us not to be drawn into the natural way of thinking or acting, but to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

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.)

"Serve The Lord"  Video

I have made my decision, I have staked my claim,
I have drawn the line in the sand and I'll not be ashamed.
With the world behind me and the cross before,
By the grace of God I will serve the Lord.

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video

"How He Loves"  Video

A list of actual warnings (used in the preparation of today's message)

In Friday's message we shared about our visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  Here's a couple more interesting videos:

"Sheep to Shawl"  Video

"Tractor Square Dancing"  Video

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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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