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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Covered bridge and Amish buggy
Amish buggy entering into White Rock covered bridge in southern Lancaster County. There's just nothing like the distinct sound of clackety-clack of horse shoes on the wooden bridge deck!

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"Understanding The Times"

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:12,13). "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more" (Ephesians 4:19).

Last night we gathered for a prayer meeting and prayed for revival; first in our own hearts, then in our church and community, throughout our country, and the world. Prior to our prayer time I shared a passage from our Lord's teaching just before He went to the Cross. Each Synoptic Gospel has this teaching known as the Olivet Discourse. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold."

As I get older I am less familiar with popular culture and at times find it incomprehensible the degree and scope of moral decadence that is present today, both the culturally approved and culturally unapproved. We all, far too often, read of the horrific abduction, rape and murder of young children and teens (as we did this past weekend).

Supposedly bright people scratch their heads and declare, "I just can't understand why people do this." But I know why, because the Bible unambiguously tells me so.  That which is in our hearts and minds flows into action and our actions bring about consequences, good or bad. Can anyone deny there is an increase in wickedness?

The second daily verse is a succinct description of fallen humanity. 
"Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." "They" describes the human race. It describes all of us apart from the redemptive work of Christ.  What I particularly want to focus on is the phrase, "a continual lust for more."  

Fleeing EdenIt began in the Garden of Eden with a lust for more. In the midst of all the opulence and permissable in Eden stood the forbidden tree. The crafty serpent was enticing and made the forbidden a "gotta have".  Whatever level of wickedness "satisfies" the sinful cravings for a time will eventually be insufficient.  More will be needed. This can be seen in so many of Satan's vices such as gambling, drugs, pornography, and sexual immorality. Each vice begins with a scaled down introduction but will potentially become your master and take you where you never intended to go.

Sewer outletThe ungodly make big business out of every kind of impurity. Pornography, prostitution, vulgar media, and every other kind of impurity make up one of the largest industries in our country. The vast majority of it is open, shameless, and legally protected.  Many years ago a Christian leader observed that many of the books published in the United States today rival the drippings of a broken sewer.  That was before the availability through the internet and other media.  Now the drippings have become a surging flood.

With the flood of evil, pornography and perversions sweeping through our land and around the world many are at the stage of having a continual lust for more. Deeper and deeper depths of depravity can be expected and the evil acts that accompany it.

The very next verse brings joy to my heart today: "You, however, did not come to know Christ that way" (Ephesians 4:20).  The contrast is outstanding.  Those that experience the life transforming power of Jesus Christ are different.  The slide into decadence stops and the renewal begins.  We are a new creation!

Rather than having a continual lust for more wickedness we become seekers of God's Kingdom and righteousness. Make no doubt about it, the Tempter is still there, but our hearts are no longer committed to his scheme of life.  Everyone is headed in one direction or the other.  Which way are you heading today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:
Father, conform my thinking into that which will bring about growth and change. Teach me to think not in accord with my own human instincts but with the truth as it is revealed in Your Word.  You will keep me from lusting after deadly forbidden fruit if I plant myself into that which is holy and righteous.  As the world continues to slide into decadence help me to delve deeper into Your Word and faithfully commune with You so that my heart does not grow cold, indifferent or rebellious.  I want to stand firm to the end so that I am saved from a world of sin.  In Jesus' name and in His strength I pray.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Holiness Is What I Long For"  Video  
  Romanian Worship Team

"Lord, I Want To Be More Like You"  Video  Integrity Worship series

"On My Father's Side" Yesterday's message on barns prompted a reader to send a song by a group called the "Barn Again Gang" Video It's quite creatively written!

"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 by Casting Crowns about the slide into sin.

Pure Life Ministries  An excellent resource for those overcoming sexual sin.

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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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