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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Resting cat (Photo by Brook)
Cats can sleep in the most uncomfortable looking places.
I wonder if this cat was dreaming about birds?
I saw this photo yesterday on Connie's desktop at one of our companies.
Her daughter, Brooke, took the photo of the family pet resting and I thought our readers would enjoy it!  I know we have a number of cat enthusiasts among us.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

Reminder: This Sunday, April 3, we begin a forty day period of Scripture reading and welcome Daily Encouragement readers to join in. During this period the daily encouragement messages will be based on the Scripture portion that is assigned for that day. More detailed information follows the message. The Scripture portion to be read/listened to this Sunday is
Matthew 1-7 beginning here. (This link will open to the selection to be read and a built-in listening device.)

"The Man God Called A Fool"

"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:20,21).

Today is April Fool's Day.  This day is widely recognized all over the world and celebrated as a day where everyone plays all kinds of jokes and foolishness. The day is marked by good humored or funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc. My favorite on a national scale was in 1996 when Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell"! (Actually given naming rights for stadiums this isn't altogether unbelievable!)

Eye have pursonally ben fulled awn this day and dun my shere of teesing othurs as whale.


Today let's examine the man in the Bible whom God called a "fool". The entire context is in a teaching by Jesus recorded in Luke 12, but today we will consider these two verses: "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:20,21).

I carefully probe this portion of Scripture and wonder why God called this man a "fool".  After all, he was a successful businessman; working hard, prospering and planning ahead for retirement. Isn't that good?  Isn't that the American way? 

His goal was bigger barns, temporal pleasure and security.  Life's energy was expanded in this pursuit (the entire parable is told in Luke 12:16-21).  When he felt like he had attained this goal he could lean back feeling quite satisfied and say to his soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry'."

God calls this man
and so many who live who live like him "a fool" for a specific reason. 

That very night his life was demanded of him.  Jesus ends the parable with this probing statement. "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21).

The man's problem was threefold:

1) He was self-sufficient. "And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come'" (v. 19).  He forgot that God was in charge.  It's God that gives us the ability to create wealth and our lives are in His hands.  Fools believe they control their own destiny.

2) He was self-focused.
"Take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."  It was all about him and his comforts.

3) He was not "rich toward God" (v. 21). He did not use his resources for God but instead selfishly considered
only his desires. 

We all need to keep these two questions before us:

Am I a kingdom builder or a barn builder?

Am I "rich toward God"? 

What's your fundamental outlook on life today?  Are you storing up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal?"  (Matthew 6:19).  Or are you storing up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal?  (Matthew 6:20). 

Today let us commit ourselves to being "rich toward God"!  Let us seek first His Kingdom! Let us build our lives on the solid rock of Jesus and be like the person whom He called the "wise man" (Matthew 7:24).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we are barraged with colorful ads, luring commercials, and attractive displays enticing us to make grand purchases.  When "things" consume our soul they capture our passion, our wallets and our time. You have commanded us to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness and all these things will be added unto us.  As we do so we will be generous with our resources for the sake of the Kingdom.  Help us to be generous with our time, talent, and treasures so that Your kingdom is enlarged and our investments have eternal dividend.  In Jesus' name  we pray.  Amen.

Two additional study notes:

1) Brooksyne especially recalls that when she was growing up she was not allowed to call any person a fool based on Matthew 5:22 and thus the title of today's message may initially rankle some readers. The prohibition in Matthew 5:22 is directed to us in regard to us calling others a fool. However all standard translations use fool in today's text in regard to what God calls this man. In other places Jesus addresses those whom he call fools as well. (For example, Matthew 23:17 and Luke 24:25.)

2) I am intrigued by the man talking to his own soul (verse 19), and wonder if there's a deeper meaning to this? Some versions merely state that he was talking to himself but the Greek clearly states "soul".  
"And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry'."

In regard to this a helpful online study resource I use in preparing these messages is this interlinear New Testament.

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading plan Beginning this coming Sunday, April 3, 2011 we are encouraging Daily Encouragement Net readers to read/listen through the entire New Testament in 40 days. This will take about 30 minutes per day. We will provide a direct link to the Scripture portion to be read and listened to each day (and several links for the weekend daily readings).

The daily encouragement message for each weekday during the forty day period will be based on a portion of the text in the Bible reading for that day.

Here's an overview of the plan I have prepared with practical tips (pdf)

See Bible.is for an online Bible with audio player and additional apps that you may find useful.
For international readers there may be a version available in your native language. Just click on the ESV tab to access all languages available.

"You've Got The Time" Bible reading planA schedule for the entire 40 day reading period along with discussion questions is here.

This Bible reading plan is a partnership of Daily Encouragement Net and Faith Comes By Hearing, a ministry which provides Bible listening resources all over the world. We will share more about this ministry in future messages.

Daily Encouragement on Facebook Join our Daily Encouragement Bible reading group on Facebook. You can read and listen to the material directly on Facebook.

Today we awoke to what will perhaps be our last spate of snow for this season. It's beautiful but is quickly melting off with the nice showers we are getting!

Brooksyne's April fool's story: This morning Brooksyne got Ester's full attention when she pretended she was  speaking to the humane league where we got Molly, Ester's new puppy, on March 8th.  She informed Ester that they had made a mistake and given her the wrong sibling. There were four puppies and of course Ester picked the one she wanted.  Brooksyne played it up and Ester made it very clear that they were not about to get Molly back (even though she was allowed to pick another sibling.)  This went on for about 5 minutes or less before Brooksyne blurted out, "April Fools Day!")  What a contrast to see Ester's face beam after she had just heard the terrible news.  This joke was very brief and sort of ornery but it certainly proved Ester's love for her puppy. Even she thought it was a good joke.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Surrender All"  Video

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  Video

Aunt Mary
I received notice that my Aunt Mary passed away earlier this week. I last saw her when I was in the Kansas City area in October 2009. She was my Dad's only sister and one of only two still living from that generation on his side (I spoke to her younger brother, my Uncle Don a few minutes ago. Don and his wife Mary live near Louisville KY.)

Mary was married for sixty years to my Uncle Henry, who passed away about 12 years ago. Henry served in World War 2 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was among the first to encounter the concentration camps and personally witnessed the horrible scenes. He had photos of the camps which Aunt Mary threw away when he died.

Shortly after returning from the War (where he was not injured) they were hit by a drunk driver and Uncle Henry broke his neck and spent months in rehab. He was paralyzed and the doctors stated there was no more they could do and suggested he be placed in institutional care. Aunt Mary took him home and rigged up several home-made physical therapy contraptions and worked with him. All I recall was that he had a limp!

My Aunt Mary had two children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

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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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