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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flowers in front of our home 5/6/14
Our front walkway

"Who The Real Winners Are!"

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"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

I stopped by a local Turkey Hill convenience store to buy a gallon of milk. The customer ahead of me was purchasing lottery tickets and I waited as he mused over his choice for numbers as if making an informed business decision. As I recall he commented concerning the "investment" he was making. It's especially infuriating to observe someone pay for their grocery purchases using the state issued food stamp card for "free" food and then purchasing lottery tickets and other vices with cash! Our state even has vending machines that sell lottery tickets.

One of the many signs of decadence in our modern times is the lottery and gambling mania that is sweeping over America and I am sure much of the world in ever-greater waves. Here in Pennsylvania it is heavily advertised with many clamoring for greater access to gambling. Ever since I have lived in this state beginning in the mid-seventies there has been a state run lottery. In the last ten years we have "progressed" into casino type gambling and now gambling advocates tell us we must have internet gambling to be competitive with neighboring states. Our shameless, morally bankrupt government promotes this nonsense and assures the glossy-eyed, duped masses that the "profits" go to a good cause.

I recall a conversation with a longtime employee of the state welfare department who assured me from experience that the social costs are much greater than any "profits" the state makes. One method of deception in the lottery was that people were able to choose how they wanted their money distributed when they placed the bet. So many aspire to "winning" the lottery and see the jackpot as the answer to their problems.

Let's get some eternal perspective!

Our daily verse proclaims who the real winners are! Paul is completing his great magnum opus on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He suddenly breaks forth in a declaration of thanksgiving: "Thanks be to God!" A rich, heartfelt exclamation directed heavenward.

Why? "He (God) gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Ponder these words: "He gives us the victory." God is the source of victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. People desperately want "victory" in their lives. Most have no idea what it means, although there is no shortage of worldly attempts. 

I want to think about my victory in Christ. One day I will be finished on this side and be called home and rest from my labors (Revelation 14:13), I've got a mansion built by the Master (John 14:2), and I expect to do some rather interesting traveling. I expect to have a grand eternal reunion with many from my earthly family and lots of others in my eternal family as well (1 Thessalonians 4:17). And best of all I will be with the Lord forever.  That's real victory!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we join the apostle Paul in declaring, "Thanks be to God! You give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Though His crucifixion and resurrection took place over 2000 years ago the victory that resulted in Christ's resurrection echoes throughout the ages. The resurrection power provided for believers has not diminished with time, but is proven daily in the lives of believers who live victorious, overcoming lives. We do this by looking daily to Jesus the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and now sits at Your right hand. Someday we'll experience 100% victory over our enemy when we meet Jesus face to face. Keep us faithful till then. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Further note on today's message: A number of years ago a pastor was preaching a series of messages on current issues specifically responding to topics requested by the congregation. He asked me if I would preach a message on gambling. At the time I thought it a bit peculiar that he would assign a guest speaker to a specific topic. I prepared a message and have posted a summary of it, along with an official statement, on "Clear Minded", a blog I rarely post to: “A Biblical Perspective On Gambling” (Read here)

It was not till later I heard "the rest of the story". I happened to know at the time that this pastor tended to hold more permissive views on this and other issues and recall him expressing the acceptability of gambling as mere entertainment.  Later a friend told me why I was asked to preach on that topic. The church tends to hold very conservative views and the pastor did not want to expose his permissive views on this matter so he asked me to speak, I suppose counting on me to preach a reliably conservative message!

Sadly more than a few of my ministry peers have taken a permissive view on this and quite a number of subjects that the evangelical, conservative church at one time reliably and forthrightly held strong views on such as gambling, alcohol consumption and sexual morality. We especially observe these more open views in the younger generation. After forty years of ministry and observation we see no reason at all to abandon these standards!

Erwin Lutzer
We have shared this powerful short audio message by Erwin Lutzer  for several days but it really hits the nail on the head regarding the times we live in. (It's just under 3 minutes) We have appreciated Erwin Lutzer's faithful ministry for Christ for many years. He is the longtime pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago.

George and Jackson, friends from Vallorbs 5/13/14
Last night George (left) and Jackson, two men I regularly see, in the course of our chaplain work, came over for dinner. It was a beautiful evening so we enjoyed Tres Leches Cake outside on the deck.

Young bulls facing off across Donegal Creek 5/13/14
I took them along our Donegal Creek trail where we saw these two young bulls facing off across the creek. Notice also the two little goats in the foreground. We mused whether the bulls would charge us if they turned their attention our way. If so my friends were confident I would be the target with my red shirt!

Donegal Creek and goats 5/13/14
The two goats followed beside us on the opposite side of the creek but didn't seem to care to cross over. Perhaps they were already aware of the electric fence on our side of
the creek.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Give Us Clean Hands"  Video  

"Take My Life" (Holiness is what I long for)  Video  Passionate Praise

"Take Time To Be Holy"  Video  Dallas Christian Adult Concert Choir

"Victory In Jesus"  Video  Travis Cottrell

In yesterday's photo my neighbor Leon was checking the moisture in the field to see if it was ready to plant his corn. He showed us a clump of soil that revealed the moisture content was to wet for planting. The weather forecast indicates heavy rain on Friday, so maybe next week will be planting time.

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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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