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Friday, February 7, 2014

Snowy path with Proverbs 12:28
Snowy path
We often share photos of our walk along our favorite walking path across from our house. Here's a spring photo of the same trail which is located here (google map).

"Distinguishing Good From Evil"

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"In the path of righteousness is life" (Proverbs 12:28). "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Study the Bible to be wise
Believe it to be safe
Practice it to be holy

Weber family 1988 Ever since I can remember I have enjoyed food. I certainly inherited from my dad the joy of eating! Any of our readers who ever met Gene Weber recall he loved to eat. Brooksyne has done a very fine job of keeping me well fed in our nearly 38 years of marriage. Like many families we like to get together to eat. We have shared lots of photos through the years of family and friends joining us around our dining room table for a meal. The photo to the left was taken over 25 years ago when the extended Weber family gathered around our dining room table.

Family dinner time
We eat out as well but tend to favor restaurants that feature home style cooking like "Gus's Keystone Diner" and "The Country Table" here in Mount Joy where we live. I know they both sound like fancy, sophisticated places but they're really not. Happy face When we travel we often enjoy the Crackerbarrel and  when we visit Springfield, MO we go to Lamberts, "Home of the throwed roll".

We don't feel like we've missed out on what is known as "fine dining" since what we eat is just fine to us. I'm told people really need trained taste buds to appreciate "fine" food so I am really not sure just how trained my taste buds are in this regard!
But in our spiritual walk we all must continue training another type of "taste bud".

Several days ago I received a short note from a friend of ours. There is growing conflict in her denomination (like so many) due to a very vocal group that wants to abandon the Biblical standards of sexual morality. She was distressed about the matter and shared some articles with me and requested my input. As I read over the materials I was reminded of the vital  importance of developing and maintaining discernment. Sadly it seems so many today are swayed by emotional appeals rather than a solid foundation in God's truth as revealed in His Word.

"But solid food is for the mature." The writer of Hebrews speaks of this in our daily verse. In the context he is using the metaphor of "solid food" for the Word of God, "the oracles of God". Milk is our daily diet as infants but solid food as we mature. What a privilege to have God's written revelation in the Bible.

The mature are "those
who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." Read it again and ponder a moment with me on the phrase "have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." Other versions state, "who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (NASV) or "who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (NIV).

Conversion is the miracle of a moment, maturing takes a lifetime. As a maturing believer I want to be able to distinguish good from evil and I have a part in this as I choose to regularly feed on God's Word. This is the sense of the phrase "
who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice."

The need "to distinguish good from evil" is ongoing and will surely increase as I expect we are dealing with "a spirit of delusion" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Our source and guide must be the unchangeable standards of God's Holy Word, not the fickle opinions of man. Going with the latter would be much like a dog chasing his tail in circles. Don't we see this a lot in politics and education?

Phillip Hughes in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews comments that... "Good and evil should not be understood merely in an ethical sense here as signifying good conduct and evil conduct, but more particularly, as the context requires, in a comprehensive theological sense, namely, of good and evil, or true and false doctrine, which would include moral teaching. The power of discernment is something very necessary in those who are "mature" enough to be "teachers," and something to be expected of those who, like the recipients of this letter, have been members of the Christian church for a number of years." *

How are you doing in discernment today? Are you in regular training? Are you actively practicing your faith? Are you distinguishing good from evil?

How sure the Scriptures are! God's vital, urgent word,
as true as steel, and far more sharp than any sword:
so deep and fine, at his control
they pierce where soul and spirit join.

They test each human thought, refining like a fire;
they measure what we ought to do and to desire:
For God know all--exposed it lies
before his eyes to whom we call.

Let those who hear his voice confronting them today,
reject the tempting choice of doubting or delay:
For God speaks still--his word is clear,
so let us hear and do his will!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, even as we hunger and thirst for physical substance intensify our hunger and thirst for godly discernment, spiritual knowledge, and righteous living.  You declare "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness." Only as we regularly nurture our spiritual appetite will we delve into the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.  Through the daily grind of life the inexhaustible truths revealed in Your Word brighten our outlook and make certain of our eternal hope.  Jesus is the living bread for hungry souls so it is our prayer that He Satisfies our hunger today.  Amen.

"Christians are able to distinguish between good and evil. The terms good and evil may have both a moral sense and a theological sense. Christians are those who can spot moral evil and avoid it. They can see moral good and attach themselves to it. Christians also can distinguish between true and false doctrine. They will turn aside from the false and faithfully follow the true. Living the Christian life demands the spiritual skills of stamina seen physically in a long-distance runner. Unswerving, relentless applications of Christian truth and practice will equip us for a lifetime of usefulness which will continue into eternity." (Holman New Testament Commentary Series)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Faithful To The End"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Great song!

"Keep Me True"  Video  Jabu Hlongwane (South African Gospel music)

Keep me true. Lord Jesus, keep me true
Keep me true. Lord Jesus, keep me true
There's a race that I must run
There are victories to be won
Give me power, every hour, to be true

"Lord, Keep My Heart Always True to You"  Video  Musicians not identified

Dinner at Lamberts
Lamberts,"home of the throwed roll".
Here's a photo when we had dinner with our long-time friends David and Sandy Simpson. Dave is prepared to catch the throwed roll!

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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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