The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, July 18, 2011
This farm is in Lancaster County north of New Holland.
We enjoy seeing the cows grazing in the green pasture land!
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"The Outlook Choice"
"And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice" (Philippians 1:18). "Do everything without complaining" (Philippians 2:14). "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4).
The other day we stopped at a local supermarket. As we walked through the parking lot we had no trouble hearing two older women complaining about something. In fact every other word that spewed from their mouths were foul expletives! We couldn't get away from the vile scene fast enough. But sadly such a scene is all too common and even created in Hollywood for viewing and listening on the big screen.
Let me ask you a candid question. Have you complained about anything thus far today? I'm not only speaking of verbal murmurings expressed to others, but inner complaining within your own heart. (Many of you are glad you really don’t have to answer that question, at least where others might see!) I realize life is jam packed with opportunities to complain if we so choose. I suspect this is true wherever we live; regardless of what situations we're enduring or conditions we are living under. However each day, really each moment we have a major outlook choice; we can rejoice or complain.
Jim Gambini, a longtime friend of ours, made an interesting observation when he pointed out in a sermon, "Essentially, complaining is accusing God of not doing it right." Think about Jim's statement in light of God's providential dealings in your life. Isn't the traffic jam ultimately under God's control? What about that annoying associate? If God is really in control (and I sure believe He is) complaining is essentially accusing God of not doing it right. It's like telling God, "You got it wrong the first time. How about doing it this time the way I want it, so that You can get it right?" We wouldn't dare say those words, but our attitude often conveys such a disrespectful discourse, when we find ourselves grumbling to God. It's easy to criticize the Israelite's frequent murmurings and thankless hearts as they journeyed to the Promised Land, but we do the same, far more often, as we are journey to our promised land.
I encourage you to read this Scripture carefully: "The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks" (Acts 16:22-24).
Try to imagine, even empathize with Paul and Silas' ordeal; physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Their exterior circumstances in this single experience is a more traumatic trial than I've known in 56 years of life. Look at the key words describing their situation: attacked, stripped, beaten, severely flogged, thrown in prison, guarded carefully, inner cell, feet fastened in stocks. This injustice took place in Philippi.
If anyone ever had uncomfortable and unwarranted conditions to complain about Paul and Silas sure did! Did they appeal to the human rights commission? Did they threaten a personal injury lawsuit if medical staff refused to doctor their potentially infectious wounds? Of course we know they didn't and likely would not if these options had been available in their time period. In fact the very next verse tells us justs what they did. Since this is a familiar portion of Scripture you likely know the answer, but I'll provide it below our message, just in case.
Paul later wrote a letter to the church in Philippi and gives two simple straightforward commands: "Do everything without complaining" (Philippians 2:14) and "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) He sure had the credibility to make these statements!
It's very easy to make super-heroes out of these disciples of Christ, but they were human just like us. The Scriptures do not speak of their complaining or murmuring, but it's possible that they did initially (we really don't know). But we do know that any attitude they might have had led them to conclude that God is worthy of our praise no matter how miserable the circumstance!
Today we all have an outlook choice. "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" It's a proclamation every single one of us can make this day and every day!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we're told to do everything without complaining, so that we shine like stars in the universe. We know that people are drawn to light where brightness is present and warmth is extended. Help our conversation to be full of grace, tenderness, light, and truth so that we will positively affect those around us. May we be as a sweet aroma to You and those whom we meet on our life's journey. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
* Here is the verse that immediately follows the daily Scripture portion referred to in today's message: "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them" (Acts 16:25).
This small plaque hangs on the wall in our kitchen. Brooksyne purchased it shortly after our move to Lancaster County ten years ago when we rented a farmhouse without a dishwasher. She'd been accustomed to using a dishwasher for many years and she hung it above the kitchen sink to remind her not to whine about handwashing. It worked! Three or four months later a friend stopped by with a dishwasher he had no further use for. God has a sense of humor!
Yesterday afternoon we had Ashley and Justin, two young friends, over for dinner and fellowship. The both have a desire to please the Lord and live in a manner that honors Christ. Justin will be installed as a youth pastor in his home church this Sunday.
Yesterday on the way to church we came up behind several Amish buggies going to their church service. This brought to mind a photo I took several years ago. The yellow buggy is a distinction of a particular branch of the Amish who live in the Kishacoquillas Valley in central Pennsylvania, which just may be the prettiest road I've ever been on! It's a wide closed valley with abundant farmland and all along the road there are signs with Scripture verses. It has a very high population of the Plain people.
Here it is on a Google map along with several placemarks.
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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Rejoice, The Lord Is King" Youth version Video Traditional version Video
"The Joy Of The Lord" Video Twila Paris
"Rejoice In The Lord Alway" 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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