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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blended duck family on pond
Our blended duck family was on our neighbor's farm pond today.

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"Watch Out!"

"Watch out that no one deceives you" (Mark 13:5). “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2).

TrailBrooksyne and I took an early morning walk on our favorite trail shortly after awakening to a beautiful sun-filled day.  In the course of our walk we found ourselves relaxed and remarking about the beauty of the day and God's goodness to us.  But as we were casually talking we were also being watchful. There are many broken branches on the dirt trail.  Some branches have fallen over the winter months that forced us to veer off the trail and into the field until the path cleared again; other smaller branches clutter the trail which could easily roll an ankle (I'm still watchful of Brooksyne ever since her fall nearly two years ago which resulted in a broken ankle.)  Further along we approached the paved trail along the creek and there we found ourselves walking a quicker pace but still being watchful.  Fresh droppings from the geese often litter the paved trail along with flattened frogs and other critters that couldn't outrun the deadly wheels of a car.

As we walk in the ways of the Lord from day to day we rejoice in the privileges and blessings that come with our position in Christ.  But at the same time Satan persistently strategizes to deceive and tempt us in a variety of ways so that we must be ever watchful and always on our guard. He indeed remains a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  As the classic hymn warns us, "For still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe."

I was on a Christian site that had a link to an appealing screensaver that claimed to be a washer for the inside of your monitor screen. It opened up to a cat licking the inside of the screen and it was really cute. It's the kind of thing I might share with a friend to bring them a chuckle. However when I clicked on a link that came up alongside it that indicated it was a screensaver of the image, it had a very unseemly image completely unrelated to the first one. I immediately cleared it from my computer and cursed the darkness. Incidentally I am confident that the Christian site I initially got the link from had no idea of this sordid link trail.

Deception thrives in many forms.  A fundamental safe driving principle is “Watch the road.”  But distractions abound, seemingly more now than ever. It’s amazing how many people are talking on the phone or texting even through dangerous intersections!  Of course we read the disastrous results from such negligence everyday in our papers and some of you have suffered from those consequences in your own personal lives.

It’s the same with spiritual distractions on our most important journey. In the first daily text Jesus warns His followers to “watch out” concerning deception. “Watch out” means to “turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine.” In other words “Pay careful attention!”

We are to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” The word translated "fix" is a very powerful word that means, "to look away from one thing and to concentrate on another."  It's in the present active indicating a call to continue and actively take a part. The Amplified Bible words it this way, "looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus." We need to keep an eternal, spiritual focus in life and we do so by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus!

All three synoptic gospels record a message known as the "Olivet Discourse", so named because the Lord shared this as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives. This message was given early in the week of His death, perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday.

It's a long message that has a lot to say about the end times. However He begins the sermon with the daily text, "Watch out that no one deceives you." Although I believe we do well to hear this in a general sense He specifically says, "Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many." Thus foundationally we need to be on guard that we are indeed following and serving the legitimate Christ.

Since Christ spoke these words there have been and are presently many false christs. This may be a self-proclaimed individual or a contrary belief system. In my own lifetime false christs have come and gone and surely more will be coming, culminating with the antichrist.

Today we need to not only hear but heed the words of the one and only legitimate Christ. We have in the Holy Scriptures a most certain and dependable record of His life and call to each one of us. Let us indeed keep our eyes upward toward Jesus as we walk onward on life's highway to heaven!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Jesus, just as Peter confessed I too confess with my lips and declare with my life, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Satan, the champion masquerader, seeks to weaken my confession of faith, but will be proven ineffective as I fix my eyes on You, Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.  In the flurry of constant activity and daily struggles keep me watchful, always looking to You so that I don't stumble and fall.  And yet by Your grace, should I stumble, You do not cast me down, but uphold me with Your right hand.  It is through Your mercy that I will be faithful to the end.  Thank You, Jesus.  Amen.

Study note: Deception abounds in our world today. Actually it has since the first act of deception in the Garden of Eden. I read a letter to the editor written by an avowed secularist declaring that a person holding a Bible-based outlook on life was deceived. Indeed from his perspective and belief system he felt that he was right and the one holding a view contrary to his was deceived! Of course I would assert that he is the one who is being deceived.  
2 Peter 1:12-21

Here are some more photos of our morning walk today.

Blooms and mallards
These daffodils are blooming beautifully.

Nesting geese family
Yesterday I showed a close-up photo of a nesting goose. Today I took a bit wider shot showing Mom (left) nesting and Dad (right) watching from the 
water. We hope to soon see the goslings!  The colors blend so well you have to look carefully for the geese.

Rooster taking pony ride
This rooster seemed to enjoy getting a free pony ride!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link (usually a Youtube video) to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"The Voice Of Truth"  Video  Casting Crowns

"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"  Video  Glad  (Acapella)

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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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