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Friday, December 17, 2010

Sheep in snow

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Note: Today's illustration may be regarded as distasteful to some but it's a real life illustration. In fact due to Brooksyne's squeamishness concerning the topic I am the sole writer in today's message.

"Decisive Action"

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).

Living out here in the country we periodically have unwelcome visitors to our home.  I am referring to mice visits, which especially intensifies as the weather gets colder. We set traps and have caught several in the last couple of days since it is very cold outside. Yesterday I was speaking to a salesman in one of the companies we serve as chaplains. This company makes mouse traps among other products and we considered how our mice problem (along with millions of others) was good for business! That's a perspective we would probably prefer not to ponder.

Our cat Dottie is also a line of mouse defense in our home but frankly she's just not as dependable as the traps. This morning I heard her scurry through the house, which may indicate she senses that one's around. But when she does catch one she tends to like to play with them and won't finish them off as we desire.  She does catch them (once she had two in her mouth at the same time) but then she lets them go to chase them again!

Is there a spiritual lesson here?  I was thinking of the line, "not a creature was stirring not even a mouse", but that's not in the Bible and I can't think of any eternal lesson from that!

But there is a spiritual principle that I believe our playful cat can teach us.  Of course we would desire that as a country cat "mouser" she would not only catch the mice but finish them off as well!  She may think it's fun to merely play with them but Brooksyne sure doesn't think so!

Our cat illustrates the attitude we may have toward sin and we must heed the apostle Paul's strong words in our daily text. "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5). Today I especially focus on that phrase "Put to death."

I consider a friend that "played around" with a certain issue in his life.  Initially it seemed harmless with little consequences. 
But in time the issue grew and became more and more gripping and destructive. Satan's devices are always portrayed as "harmless" and he's a master at masquerading the consequences.  

We do well today to seriously heed the words of the Holy Scripture.  What issue(s) in your life today are you playing around with?  I appeal to you, take decisive action and put it to death!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Jesus, I ask you to help me to be serious about dealing with everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles me. Help me not to play around with these matters but to put to death, whatever belongs to my earthly nature. Help me to be separated from that which is evil and consecrated to You. In Your Name I prayer. Amen.

Stephen's note: Brooksyne doesn't like it when I draw illustrations from our experiences with mice. Apart from being frustrated at our mouse problem (which I consider just part of the price of living out in the country), I suppose she also wonders if it might cause some to question her housekeeping skills. I guess women just don't want it known that they have mice in their home!

But mice do manage to find their way into our home, almost exclusively into an unfinished closet in our basement. Mouse patrol is my exclusive duty in our home. Neither Brooksyne or Ester will touch a mouse trap to set it, let alone one with a trapped mouse. I actually set several traps at a time in the basement level closet where they seem to habitat. Over the years we've had some interesting catches. Since the photos (which I find interesting) may disturb some I will place them at the very bottom below the footers.

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.)

Today's suggested musical selection has nothing to do with the topic of our message today but we heard it on the radio yesterday and it has an interesting message.

"Here With Us"  Video  Joy Williams  This line especially intrigues me.

It's still a mystery to me
That the hands of God
Could be so small
Tiny fingers reaching in the night
Were the very hands that measured the sky.

We are pleased to work with companies in our chaplain role which let their light shine. Here's a video about one of our companies that had a workday last month at the Lydia Center, a home
with an addiction recovery and life-change program designed to heal hurting women.  Perhaps this will inspire others to serve.  I especially like a quote in the video by Ron Hoover, a businessman friend of ours, who makes this point to business leaders, "When we face the Lord we are not going to be asked 'How was your balance sheet or profit and loss statement?' He's going to ask us 'What did you do with the people that I gave you to care for?'"  Now that's a good question for all of us!

Today's photo of the sheep was taken at our Amish friend's farm near Strasburg. Yesterday Anna wrote us and told us how her youngest son, Eli James, was looking out with so much excitement as the snow came down, waiting for enough to build a snowman. But alas, we haven't had that much yet this season.

Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)

Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season. As we find additional material that we believe will be a blessing we will add it to this list as well.

"In Remembrance of Me" pdf  This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services many years.  We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.

"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.

Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18  pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him"  pdf

My First Christmas In Heaven  This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year.  This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.  

Christmas Knowledge Test

We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).

re you Christmas shopping online?

Christianbook.comDaily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com. Any orders placed to Christian Book Distributers using this link or any specific product link to a recommended resource in a daily encouragement message will help our Daily Encouragement ministry through a small commission on the sale. Thank you for considering using these links when purchasing online through CBD! Tip: If you are regular CBD customer consider bookmarking this link and using it whenever you shop.

Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your parents?  
Here's an idea!  "The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents"

Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your children?
Here's an idea!  "The Blessing"

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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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"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"

Double trap needed!
Apparently the mouse was only partly caught by the wood trap and flailed over to the plastic Safeguard trap where he backed in and was finally caught for good. Safeguard is a company we serve as chaplains and I am sure they will be pleased to see their trap so ably used!

Double catch!
Some hunters share photos of their prized deer or game. Here's a photo (not doctored) of a catch several years ago when apparently two mice went for the bait at the same time!

Mouse in candle jar
My latest photo, taken this morning.
I suppose you can write your own caption.