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October 25, 2013

Cades Cove in Smoky Mountain National Park 10/28/10
Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This is our favorite part of the park. A mountain cove is a valley surrounded by mountains.  This view brought to mind the selected Scripture text.
(Click here for a larger photo suitable for a desktop background.)

"The Days Are Evil"

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"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15,16).

Mark PulliamMark Pulliam has been our friend for nearly fifteen years. We met him when we worked for a chaplain service company and actually for awhile he was my boss. Although we both left the company many years ago we have maintained our friendship and periodically get together or visit over the phone.

Mark is very similar to our age and we both share the same faith and outlook concerning the troubles in our land due to the departure from traditional Biblical values. Several weeks ago we wrote about our life cycle and considered, using the illustration of a football game, the quarter we are in. Well, we are approaching the fourth quarter in life based on a normal life span (of course that's not assured). One thing is virtually certain, we have more years behind us than ahead of us on this side!

Mark and I have discussed how things are becoming increasingly topsy-turvey with the continued slide into decadence and denial of God's ways. The prophet Isaiah's words from 2,700 years ago are so amazingly timeless and powerful: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).

The Apostle Paul wrote, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight" (1 Corinthians 3:19).  Consider the timely message of these verses in light of the evil behavior that pervades our world today.  Those who promote and engage in wicked behavior have been exalted as role models and trend setters while those who hold to God's holy standards are now being referred to as hateful, ignorant and even dangerous.

Mark has a burden for his children along with his nieces and nephews. Because so many young people are departing from the faith he felt led of the Spirit to write them a letter appealing to the faith their grandparents had demonstrated and sought to pass on to their descendants. (We will post the letter following the message.)

The daily verse expresses an outstanding expression of truth. Brooksyne and I have memorized it and encourage you to do so as well. What a somber expression of reality, as vitally needed today as when the Apostle Paul wrote it nearly 2,000 years ago.
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." The Amplified Version renders the verse: Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil."

Let us break it down into four parts:
1) We need to be very careful how we live. Our enemy, the devil, goes about like a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour.  Many have lowered their guard but we must resist him by standing firm in our faith.

2) We need to live "not as unwise but as wise." We need "the wisdom that comes from heaven" (James 3:17) and this will increasingly be contrary to the wisdom of the world. Remember the old saying, "What's popular may not be right and what's right may not be popular." Jesus never let the desire for acceptance or popularity among his hearers dictate the truths he would disclose or errors He would refute.

3) We need to make the most of every opportunity. 
As God's people seeking to live out our faith in these evil days we need to make the most of every opportunity, which the KJV translates as "redeeming the time."  These opportunities abound for the Spirit led, earnest follower of Christ. Our friend Mark sought to use an opportunity to provide a serious witness reminder to his family.

4) "The days are evil."  In seeking the true wisdom that comes from heaven I want my eyes to be open to the evil, not blinded by it.

Today how can you and I make the most of every opportunity to express our faith in Christ? As we are open to the daily opportunities God provides for us, seeking to make the most of them, we are living as those who are wise and fortifying ourselves against the evils of our day.

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we could be driven to despair in the midst of the evil that surrounds us if we didn't walk in the light of Your truth. We walk in the true wisdom that comes from heaven, not in the flawed wisdom that comes from the world. Help us to make the most of every opportunity to stand up for divine truth in our minds, our speech and in our actions. Help us to be faithful in passing on the faith to the next generation. We want to be the light that shines forth in the creeping darkness of our land so that we can show others the way to eternal life. In the name of Your dear Son, Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Here is Mark's letter to his family (used with his permission). Perhaps it can serve as a guide for a similar expression you may share with your family. Note that he used the term of affection
"granda" they use for their grandma (It's not misspelled).


"You are probably curious as to why I would write this; my life has not been without my own sins and misfortunes. This letter has been a work in progress for the past few months, but not without much fear and trepidation. As to the ‘why’ I just have to; it was a ‘demand’ that I could not get away from.

You were all greatly blessed to have had grandparents who loved you and loved God first. When Pop and Granda moved to Greensboro, they lived next to Mr. and Mrs. Young. They were Christians and invited Pop and Granda to a camp meeting in High Point, where they walked the sawdust trail and gave their lives to Christ. That began a journey for them which has impacted your parents and you. When they died we had no doubt that they went to heaven to be with the Lord forever. 

So this is a bit of a reminder of the heritage that we have and that following Christ is not going to get any easier; it will become more difficult in the days ahead, if Jesus tarries. There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun (sounds trite, but true).

1. Be careful (Psalm 33:8)
a. To follow God carefully with attention to details (Deut 26:16)
b. To follow wholeheartedly (I Kings 8:62)
c. To honor, respect and to fear God  (Psalm 111:10)
d. God defines, Satan redefines  (Genesis 3:1-5)

2. Be prepared (2 Timothy 2:21)
a. For economic collapse (Federal, State and Local Debt)
b. For persecution as Christians. It will come to the US. ("Islam and Progressives, The Cross in the Shadow of the crescent" by Erwin Lutzer)
c.  For the total collapse of the US ("Implosion" by Joel Rosenberger,)
d. For the Mideast (Kings of the South, Daniel 11) to be united under radical Islamic rule
e. For a great falling away from the faith (2 Thess 2:3) ("When the Crosses are Gone" by Michael Youssef)

3. Be ready (1 Corinthians 15:53-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
a.  Rapture/return of Christ is imminent
b.  Being left behind is not a good strategy (more economic collapse will happen after the Church is gone, those becoming Christians after the rapture will face horrific persecution for the spirit of Antichrist will be reigning)
c.  It may cost our lives in the near future (Rev 13, Matt 24)

4. Stand firm (Ephesians 6)
a. In the power of God
b. With the Gospel of peace
c.  With the Belt of Truth (truth IS and never changes)  “Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.” G.K. Chesterton, Heretics
d.  The call of God has never changed.

So, does any of this sound familiar?  Granda used to say to me, “If I never see you again in this life because you follow God, I’ll see you in heaven.”  My hope is that you all make it to heaven to enjoy the presence of God forever but ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”  May the Spirit of God disturb us all to eternal life. ”Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing, passing from you and from me.”


Uncle Mark

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"When Its All Been Said And Done "  Video  Robin Mark

"Leave A Legacy"  Video  Aaron and Jeoffrey

"Legacy"  Video  First Call

"Leave A Legacy"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

"Find Us Faithful"  Video  Steve Green

Leaving a Legacy of Faithfulness: The Father as Model and Mentor by Randy Alcorn (Article)

Five Essentials to Leaving a Legacy that Will Outlive You by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (Article)

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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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