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Thursday, October 4, 2012
We passed this colorful autumn wagon at an Amish farm south of New Holland, PA
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"Thankful For Warnings"
"So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears" (Acts 20:31).
We live within a ten mile radius of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant where there was a rather infamous accident in March 1979. We didn't live in this area at the time but recall those tense days watching the news from our home about 175 miles northwest.
Each year we get a very detailed instruction pamphlet from Exelon, the operator of the plant, that tells us what to do if there is a real emergency and the evacuation procedures to follow. If there was an accident we are warned by very loud sirens that are scattered throughout the area.
Several days ago I received a large postcard from Exelon (shown above). It informs residents that at 12:30 PM today they will test the new state of the art siren system at full volume. (Local readers beware.) We regularly drive by one of these large sirens about three miles from our home and I've noticed the new ones. The announcement states that, although the sirens are an outdoor warning system, the volume will be so loud it may be heard inside. I suspect it's a good idea to provide this notification or some people may panic.
I am glad they provided the announcement and I am very glad they have the siren warning system. Although it may be loud and disruptive I am thankful for these warnings, especially if there is a real emergency.
Warnings are for our good though we may not necessarily like them. We might even find them unnecessary, interruptive and annoying.
Today let us consider spiritual warnings. When we hear repeated spiritual warnings we can give attention or grow annoyed at the message directed to us. Just consider the attitude of Ahab when he expressed disdain toward the prophet, Micaiah, who would not tell him what he wanted to hear if it wasn't what God told him to do. Though he was advised by Ahab's messenger to "speak favorably to the king" his response was, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me" (I Kings 22:14). We need spiritual leaders who faithfully proclaim God's Word and give warning like Paul in our second daily text, "So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears".
Paul's specific warning is in regard to his knowledge that after his departure "savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (Acts 20:29,30). These "savage wolves" come in a variety of forms; such as bad teaching, licentiousness, and other such evils.
The daily Scripture portion is from Paul's final message to the Ephesian elders. This message is a great model for all preachers and has actually served as the text for the final messages I preached in the churches I have pastored.
"So be on your guard!" A word with timeless urgency regardless of where and when we live.
The brief daily verse truly shows Paul's transparent heart filled with love and genuine concern. We all must be on our guard and view warnings from our spiritual leaders as evidence of their care. The immediate threat was false teachers whom Paul had called "savage wolves" had come among the innocent flock (v. 29). Paul said to these believers, "I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." Try to picture Paul's sincerity and consider the genuine ongoing burden that his message conveys.
Today, as faithful ministers like Paul, our mission includes warning others to "be on their guard." And as the Spirit leads let us show our deep burden perhaps even as the Apostle Paul did with tears.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, thank You for Your repeated warnings in Scripture that informs, instructs and protects us from the evil one. Help us not to ignore Your warnings or procrastinate in our obedience to Your commands. Embolden our spiritual leaders to be fearless watchmen who speak out Your truths, even when they're not popular or politically expedient. May we be receptive to Your Word and obedient in our response. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.
Here's another photo of the farm where our lead photo was taken.
Nancy, a local friend observed the photo of Brooksyne holding a large sweet potato and shared one from her garden that weighed 3.5 pounds!
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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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