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October 8, 2013

Springpoint Ledge Lighthouse, Portland Maine (photo by Greg Schneider)
Springpoint Ledge Lighthouse, Portland Maine (photo by Greg Schneider)

"Drastic Action"

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"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell"
(Matthew 5:29,30).

Last night I was visiting with Oren, a friend who accidently crushed his finger last week in the course of a construction project. Many of us who use hammers have missed the nail and ... ouch! In his case he was using a sledge hammer! He described the throbbing pain most can identify with. It's not unusual in our farming area to meet men who have lost part of a finger or their lower arm in a farming accident.

Maine lobstermen Many years ago I read an article in "Yankee" magazine about a lone Maine lobsterman who got his hand caught in a winch while out at sea. The harder he pulled to remove it the more the governor on the motor would turn up, and it was progressively consuming his arm. In a desperate move he had to cut off his arm with a twine knife to save his life and he made it ashore to tell the story. His perspective: "There were no options. I just cut. You'd trade your arm for your life at any moment."

The daily text and the story I just shared don't seem like topics for a devotional dedicated to encouragement! But we are committed to all the teachings and themes of the Bible including those that are harder to understand.

Bible commentators take these words of Jesus in Matthew 5:29,30, to indicate how serious we should view sin. The worth of your eye or hand is comparatively nothing in comparison to the worth of your soul. The lobsterman recognized that principle in regard to his physical life. Although he greatly valued his hands, as we all do, he made the excruciatingly painful choice that ultimately saved his life.

The principle of this verse is that we need to examine anything in our life that we highly value. Is it helpful, neutral, or is it hindering our eternal progress, potentially causing us to lose our way. God leads us in the paths of righteousness and Jesus warns us in Matthew 7:10: "Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it."

The writer of Hebrews instructs to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1). And to "See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (3:12,13)

Sin is deceitful but we have discernment from the Holy Spirit to carefully examine our hearts. Let us solemnly ask God to reveal any unhealthy affection, attitude, or action that might entangle us once again to a sinful, unbelieving way of life.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. It is through Your engrafted divine nature that we are able to escape the corruption in this world caused by evil desires. As we add to our faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love, then we possess these godly qualities in increasing measure and they will keep us from being swayed by the deceitfulness of the enemy who masquerades as an "angel of light." It is in the powerful name of Jesus that we discern good from evil and it is in His strength that we are able to cast off that which hinders our spiritual growth. Amen.

See I Peter 1:5-8

Today's Springpoint Ledge Lighthouse photo at the top of our message was taken by our long-time friend Greg Schneider who travels up and down the east coast taking lighhouse photos. Greg worked as a photographer for a newspaper we served over ten years ago in a chaplain role. Careful observers may note that the photo at the top appears to be the same lighthouse that is in the background of our lobstermen illustration photo.

Egg Rock Light Maine (photo by Greg Schneider)
Egg Rock Light Maine (photo by Greg Schneider)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"The Lighthouse"  Video  Jason Crabb and the Crabb family  Admittedly this song has little to do with the theme in today's message but since we shared some photos of lighthouses it fits! In listening to the song which was popular when we were young a line stands out, "Everybody that lives about us says tear that Lighthouse down." Indeed so many (but thank God not everybody) are wanting the Lighthouse of God's truth torn down.

Here's a fuller account of the Maine lobsterman cutting off his arm.

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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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