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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flat topped tree in Lancaster County PA
We pass this interesting flat-topped tree on Ronks Road here in Lancaster County

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"Hate Evil"

"Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked" (Psalm 97:10). "Hate what is evil; cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9). "You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with You the wicked cannot dwell" (Psalm 5:4).

There is much confusion today about what constitutes good and evil. Even the most evil person who mocks, rejects and lives in disobedience to God has done some good things in life and likewise the person who earnestly seeks to serve God and live a good life has done some bad things.

As Romans 3:23 states, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  

But moral equivalence seems to say that since this is true we have no business making a hierarchy between good and evil and thus essentially the terms become meaningless.

Cal Thomas in an article titled "Normalizing Deviance" writes, "A University of Maryland student friend of mine tells me one of her classes last semester discussed 'the normalization of deviance.' In an age when what is normal is determined by culture and opinion polls and when “orthodoxy” is regarded as something to be avoided, deviance has ceased to have meaning. That’s because there is now no nationally accepted standard by which it can be measured and, thus, be used to hold people, even members of Congress, accountable."

But there are still many who hold God's Word as a standard.  His Word declares that there are people who do good and live upright and there are people who do evil and live godless lives. Our daily text states,
"Hate what is evil; cling to what is good". The Psalmist stated it so eloquently, "You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with You the wicked cannot dwell."

We are called to "hate what is evil."  This can be misunderstood, so let me elaborate.  We rightly acknowledge love to be a fundamental Christian virtue. Thus there is a tendency to believe that hate of any kind must be forbidden.

Yet the apostle Paul commands the early believers in Rome to "hate what is evil."  In the early chapters of the book of Revelation the church in Ephesus was commended by Jesus for a specific hate which He also felt: "You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate" (Revelation 2:6).

The Scriptures are very clear:  We are to hate evil.  We are to hate evil practices such as the scourge of intoxicating drugs and sexual perversions. We are to hate evil religious systems which lead men to hell. We are to hate the vile pornographic industry which has snared scores of men and women in its pernicious grip.

However we are to be agents of God's love and truth to those who are entangled in these horrific evils. They're among the people Christ died for. From each of these backgrounds there are scores and scores of people who've come to trust in Jesus Christ, repent of their sin, and are now our brothers and sisters in the true faith.

We are also "to cling to what is good."  Hating evil and clinging to good will surely include a strong stand for that which is truth which includes calling good, good and evil, evil. Let's not invent new words to acclimate old definitions into reflecting the permissive times we live in, ie. adultery sounds a lot harsher than a "love affair" and the list goes on. A powerful verse states, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20)

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we cannot remain neutral but must stand for that which is good or we will fall for that which is evil.  Help us, as believers, to cling to that which is good even when it comes at great sacrifice. With the aid of Your Holy Spirit, we will be keenly discerning of the spirits of this age.  We look to You alone, for "There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  In this day where deviance is being promoted as "norm" we must be very prayerful for our children.  I encourage parents to make a prayer commitment to their children.  Many of you have young people heading off to college next month and others returning to school at the end of summer. Consider writing personalized prayers and sending it to them via letter through the mail for your college student. For your at-home student insert a prayer note in their lunch box or book bag. Parents should be well-acquainted with the worries and weaknesses their children deal with. What a loving way to let them know you're thinking of them throughout the day even when you can't be with them.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Give Us Clean Hands"  Video  Mark Schultz

"Normalizing Deviance" article by Cal Thomas quoted in today's message.

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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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