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November 15, 2013

Autumn pumpkins, Lancaster County PA 11/14/13
We passed this colorful pumpkin display yesterday at an Amish Farm on Gridley Road.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Lessons From Pleasure Road"
The choice before us: Pleasures for a season or eternal pleas

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"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:11). "Choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" (Hebrews 11:25).

"O how the world to evil allures me,
O how my heart is tempted to sin"

Pleasure Road, Lancaster PA

In the course of our travels throughout Lancaster County we often pass Pleasure Road which still gets our attention with its unusual name, though we've lived in this area for over 12 years now. In fact there are three different Pleasure Roads in Lancaster County which prompts a lesson on this topic so we've titled it "Lessons from Pleasure Road".

Today let us consider two verses that have two sharply contrasting Pleasure Roads. One reminds us of short-term, "passing pleasures" (within the context of Hebrews 11:25), the other long-term "eternal pleasures". One ends in death, the other in life.

Sin can be pleasurable since we're "enticed by our own lust" and it feeds our sinful nature. Temptation to sin would be meaningless if there was not an aspect of pleasure in the act. Life, from our youth to old age, is filled with daunting questions and choices we must make. In making those choices we ponder the consequences that will result from two contrasting decisions; obeying God or succumbing to our flesh.

Hebrews 11:25Moses had a critical decision to make as mentioned in our daily text: suffer mistreatment along with God's people or enjoy pleasurable sin for a season. I wonder how long he weighed that decision. Did it keep him awake at night as play by play he envisioned the consequences of his decision? We know from Scripture that he questioned God repeatedly at the burning bush; What if? Who am I to go to Pharoah? What shall I tell them? What if they don't believe me? What if the people don't listen to me? In his mind Moses thought he had very valid reasons for denying the voice of God.

Raised in the palaces of Egypt, the dominant world empire at that time, Moses was destined for its throne. He had the very best that Egypt offered to his generation which included the "pleasures of sin" spoken of in the daily text. These pleasures may not necessarily have been evil deeds but were sinful in the sense, that in fulfilling them, Moses would have missed God's greater plan for his life. Again, we come back to the decision he had to make: temporal suffering to gain eternal pleasure or temporal pleasure but eternal loss.

An old definition of sin from the Westminster catechism states. "Sin is any want of conformity to and transgression of the holy law of God." We often think of sin primarily in the sense of transgression, that is doing something that is forbidden. This is typically stated as "sins of commission". But there are also sins of omission (conformity to the holy law of God), that is, failing to do that which we are commanded. The apostle James wrote, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins" (James 4:17).

As followers of Christ we can so readily be seduced by the world's ways and as individual believers we must ever be on our guard against this seduction. I consider the candid words to an old hymn, "O how the world to evil allures me, O how my heart is tempted to sin" * At 59 years of age the allurement and temptation is still there so I must daily determine, "I will serve the Lord".

One of the allurements to sin is that there is often a pleasurable dimension to it, at least initially. This is the same trap that Satan has used from the beginning because it is so effective. He appeared to Eve by making the forbidden fruit more appealing than any other fruit from any other tree. It was the same lure that attracted David when he saw a beautiful woman bathing.

The daily text speaks of enjoying these "pleasures of sin". But these pleasures only last for a short, unspecified time. The KJV translates it, "for a season." There is a sense of pleasure that comes with the "forbidden fruit", but it fades. Some will repent and forsake the sin, but others will repeat the sin trying to bring back the "pleasure" first experienced. That's why this passage describes it as "the passing pleasures of sin". The pleasure once derived from that sin doesn't last so they go back for more.

Sadly, a few moments of sinful pleasure is often exchanged for a lifetime of sorrow and regret. Dabbling in sin can lead us where we never intended to go, hold us much longer than we ever planned and hurt more people than we could ever have imagined.

Consider the wonderful joy and lasting pleasures in living for Christ. I can proclaim with the Psalmist, "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:11). Let us resist the passing "pleasures of sin" and fully embrace the "eternal pleasures" extended to us by our loving Father!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber:

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as we read about Moses we learn a great deal from his act of obedience. Not only did his choice to experience mistreatment along with Your people provide an exodus for the Israelites, but it also provided a Biblical foundation for our lives centuries later. We've gained so much from the spiritual truths taught through Moses' applied wisdom, his discipline, and his obedience in recording Your truths and principles. The very core of our Christian faith is realized through the books of Moses. Help us to look away from the forbidden fruit that litters the path of life You have laid before us, and keep our eyes on the eternal pleasures that await us as we walk in obedience to You.  In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Bible teacher A.W. Pink writes, "God saves us from the pleasure or love of sin before He delivers from the penalty or punishment of sin. Necessarily so, for it would be neither an act of holiness nor of righteousness were He to grant a full pardon to one who was still a rebel against Him, loving that which He hates. God is a God of order throughout, and nothing ever more evidences the perfection of His works than the orderliness of them. And how does God save His people from the pleasure of sin? The answer is, “By imparting to them a nature which hates evil and loves holiness.” This takes place when they are born again, so that actual salvation begins with regeneration. Of course it does; where else could it commence? Fallen man can neither perceive his desperate need of salvation, nor come to Christ for it, till he has been renewed by the Holy Spirit.

Amish hay wagon, Lancaster County PA 11/14/13
Yesterday we passed this wagon and a group of Amish men loading hay into a barn.
Click on photo to enlarge.

JK Mechanical community service day 11/14/13
JK Mechanical, one of the companies we serve as chaplains, had a community service day yesterday at an abandoned elementary school in Paradise, PA that is now used for a Christian based youth center that provides community services.

JK Mechanical community service day 11/14/13
Brooksyne did some cutting up (oops! "cutting out") paint with Carman, Margie and Connie. It was a nice opportunity to do some good work and visit together as well.

JK Mechanical community service day 11/14/13
JK volunteers painted the large gymnasium/auditorium and did some repair to the ceiling along with other remodeling to the all-purpose room. It's remarkable what can be accomplished when a large group of people work together in an organized fashion.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"We Confess Video  Glenn Packiam

"I Surrender All"  Video  Musician not identified

JK Mechanical is located in Willow Street, PA and provides installation and service for Geothermal, Heating, Air Conditioning, Solar, & More in the mid-Atlantic region.

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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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