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Friday, January 11, 2013

Salt of the earth

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"Being The Salt Of The Earth"

"You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person" (Colossians 4:6).

SaltIn the Sermon on the Mount Jesus used two common items to illustrate the impact His followers were to have on the world around them; salt and light. I marvel at His ability to be cross-cultural and multi-generational. Who among our readers, regardless of where you may live, are not familiar with salt and light?

Today we will focus on being salty.
The church of Jesus Christ has a great mandate directly from Christ for all who choose to follow Him. We are to be "the salt of the earth." Although there are many usages of salt there are likely two purposes that Christ's initial hearers could identify with; salt used as a flavoring and as a preservative.

In both cases it is vitally important that the salt be evenly distributed over that which is to be salted.
Hundreds of thousands of small units known as local churches dot the globe. (Even the largest local church is a relatively small unit.) Hundreds of millions of individual believers meet in these churches to receive encouragement and exhortation to go forth as the salt of the earth.

But in a practical sense what does this mean? Let's focus on the preserving nature of salt. The salt is distributed as we faithfully follow Him and share God's truth with our world.

We contend that two critical components of this saltiness is living righteously and expressing truth in love:

1) Living righteously; that is, living in obedience to God's Word: In the context speaking of light Jesus said, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). As a result of God's transforming grace in our salvation we seek to earnestly find out what pleases the Lord. The grace of God "teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" (Titus 2:11,12).

2) Speaking the truth in love. We need to lovingly address and confront sin, first of course in our own life but also as a salty, preserving influence to others. This is
now so politically incorrect that some readers will chafe at our words. We can hear people saying, "But that will be seen as judgmental, intolerant, unloving." Sadly this attitude has silenced so many that those who do speak out are rarer and rarer. I am intrigued by the words in the second passage, "so that you will know how you should respond to each person."

Our dominant culture has become so Biblically illiterate that, for the majority of people, spiritual salt has become distasteful and even objectionable. This will continue to happen as the restraining salty influence of older believers is diminishing as they pass on to their reward.

Presently an increasing number of people have no knowledge of God or His law; having been raised on the Simpsons, MTV and our increasingly godless public education system.* Many have no idea what Sunday School is and very few parents, particularly fathers, take their Scriptural mandate seriously (Ephesians 6:4).

Today we spread out like grains of salt through the culture that surrounds us. You may see your work as just a necessary but spiritually insignificant part of your life. But I believe God uses our work to evenly distribute our presence throughout the culture around us. How salty are you?

You may look around and see but a few grains of salt where you work. In a few cases you may be the only grain. You may feel, "What difference am I making?" At times the difference we make is recognizable. What a blessing it is to experience the joy of ministry for Christ in leading someone to faith or in bringing encouragement to a fellow believer. But at other times we must practice a steady obedience in being salty and wait to see the impact of our saltiness.

Each of us is like a tiny grain of salt today. Brooksyne and I so enjoy the feedback we receive in this ministry. You come from all over the globe with various backgrounds and you serve Christ in many ways. You may feel your contribution is insignificant, but it's not. In concert with millions of other believers you are presenting, flavoring, and preserving the truth, righteousness and order in this increasingly chaotic world.

Stay faithful and remain salty!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be pleasing to You this day. I pray that my conversation is uplifting so that I build others up rather than tear them down. Just as salt is tasty to food making it more pleasant to eat, I pray that my dialogue is wholesome making conversation pleasant and beneficial to those who listen. Because of Your redemptive work in my life I am blessed and highly flavored with the preserving salt of Your holy Word. I want to spread the message of Your salvation to others so that they are snatched from the evil one and their lives are preserved for this life and the next. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

* Teacher friends and family: I realize there are many good and godly teachers. I have them in my family as well as churches I have served, along with several in the present church we attend. But I contend the system increasingly promotes ungodly behavior. Any reference to the Bible, God's standards, or godly living is likely to prompt a visit from the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation or some other ungodly group. We need to be in prayer for our Christian teachers as they seek to be salt and light in the classroom.

Another visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show!
Late Wednesday afternoon I got a call from Moses, a little nine-year old Amish boy, asking me if I could take his dad and younger siblings to the Pennsylvania Farm Show. How could I say no? So following our chaplain visitation yesterday morning I picked them up at their dairy farm, dropped Brooksyne off at home on the way, and we drove up to Harrisburg. Due to the very long time away from home yesterday we did not post a daily encouragement message.

Here are a few more photos from yesterday:

Apple display at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
I sure enjoy seeing and tasting the many varieties of apples!

Horse pulling contest at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
A horse pulling competition

Big eared goat at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
Talk about droopy ears!

Polo match at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
A polo match

Duck slide at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
The ever popular duck slide.

Suckling pigs at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
The squeaky clean piglets enjoying dinner!

Christian witness at 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show
I enjoyed visiting with several farmers at this display which is a regular fixture at the Farm Show for the many years I have been attending. They seek to share the gospel as well as information about their ministry. This is an example of being the salt of the earth. Next to this display was one for the Pennsylvania State Sunday School Association and Lord's Day Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Suggestion: If you would like to see more photos of the Farm Show just google "Pennsylvania Farm Show" and select images.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Light Your World"  Video  New Song  This song tells a story and issues a challenge. I could find plenty of songs on being the light of the world but had a hard time considering a song on being salt. Any ideas?

"Go Light Your World"  Video   Chris Rice

"Little Is Much"  Video   Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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