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Friday, June 12, 2015

Washbasin flowers Lewes Delaware 6/9/15
Flowers in old wash basin. Lewes Delaware

"The Master Masquerader"

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Note: The daily text is purposefully inserted in the message.

Here in America many of our sports teams have mascots. Our minor league baseball team, the Lancaster Barnstormers, has a large hybrid creature named Cylo. He's always fun to watch at the ballgames and kids enjoy getting their photos taken with him. Ester has quite a Cylo collection of photos and every game we attend she attempts a selfie with him.

Other teams have mascots as well designed to liven things up with their colorful antics. In Boston it's "Wally The Green Monster", named for Fenway Park's famous left field green wall.

As we wrote yesterday we enjoy meeting people and, in the course of our chaplaincy work and not surprisingly, some have interesting backgrounds. Last week I visited with a man with a most unusual employment history

Dan SenftDan works as a "comfort consultant" for JK Mechanical, an HVAC company. However in another season of his life he had a different "job". As a young man in the eighties and early nineties he was the official mascot for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team!

I suppose prior to talking to him I never really considered the Orioles mascot which is, as you might expect, an Oriole! I have been to several ballgames in Baltimore but prior to talking to Dan I couldn't recall the mascot.

Orioles mascotDan had some interesting stories from his years as mascot such as once falling off the dugout and injuring himself in front of a crowd of tens of thousands ironically in a game with the Kansas City Royals, the team I followed in high school when I lived in that area. But I was most touched by his work in bringing joy to pediatric cancer patients at area hospitals such as Johns Hopkins.

When I was speaking to Dan last week I asked his permission to share his story although at the time I really didn't have a Scriptural theme. I actually kind of like the challenge of finding one!
Mascots are a fun imagination filled part of life. We enjoy seeing children laugh when around a mascot, clown or other figure. They often masquerade as another creature such as the Oriole mascot. It's good-natured fun and no one really believes the mascot is a real Oriole bird.

But moving our message to spiritual content let us consider a dangerous masquerade, one who masquerades as an angel of light but in reality is the "prince of darkness", a term used in John Milton's "Paradise Lost" referring to Satan as the embodiment of evil.

"For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

In the daily text Paul confronted and warned against counterfeit teaching and masquerading apostles. That's one of the duties of a caring shepherd. In 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Paul dealt with the topic of false apostles who preach a different Jesus than the one he preached.  This portion of Scripture is a warning in general about counterfeit teaching.  Later in Scripture Paul specifically exposes the false teaching of two men whose names are forever a part of the Scriptural record, Hymenaeus and Philetus.  These troublemakers, who at one time were teachers of the genuine gospel, had wandered from the truth, denying the resurrection, and were thereby destroying the faith of those who chose to embrace their false teaching (2 Timothy 2).

Paul describes the counterfeits he dealt with in 2 Corinthians as "false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ." The relentless attack on the genuine faith that Paul encountered continues unabated today and is actually increasing in my view. We face it from the scientific, media, entertainment, political, educational and even the religious establishment, just as Jesus did when He walked about clothed in humanity. On the personal level we daily face the flaming arrows of our enemy who seeks to move us off the right course. We must always be on our guard against spiritual masquerades.

The chief masquerader is Satan himself
. It's his very nature to "masquerade as an angel of light". In the Bible he initially came on the scene masquerading as a cunning and clever snake. In his deceptive craft he convinced Eve that he was able to impart wisdom and that he was looking out for her best interest.

The word "masquerade" means "to transform one's outward appearance, to disguise." Not only did Satan disguise his outward appearance but also his inward motivation.  In our daily text the original Greek "masquerade" is translated in the present tense indicating this is something Satan habitually does.

It is not surprising that Satan's servants also "masquerade as servants of righteousness."  We must continue to examine and discern the teachings and lives of those who declare truth as we base our standard on the genuine Word of God, which remains and always will be the firm foundation of truth!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Lord, we ask You to not only open our eyes to that which is around us, but we ask You to open the eyes of our hearts so that we might envision that which is true and that which is false on a spiritual level.  May we continue to hide Your Word in our hearts that we might not sin against You. How blessed we are to know that as You reign in our hearts, our spirits bear witness to that which is Scriptural and that which is heresy. May we ever be vigilant in Scripture, fervent in prayer, and led by the Spirit as we encounter the false gods of this age.  In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Deer on Cape Henlopen 6/9/15
Cape Henlopen has an abundance of deer.

Fan boat at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge 6/10/15

On the way back from the shore we stopped by two national wildlife refuges in Delaware; the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (photos) and the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge (photos). This refuge had an abundance of red-winged blackbirds although we were unable to take a suitable photo to share.

Turtle at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge 6/10/15
A camera shy turtle at the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

Lewes Delaware 6/9/15
Second Street in Lewes Delaware
Lewes boasts that it is the first town in the first state.
It reminds us of a quaint New England town and is quite a contrast to the more beach-like towns such as Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City down the coast.

1740 Colonial home in Lewes Delaware 6/9/15
1740 Colonial home in Lewes Delaware

Lighthouse home in Lewes Delaware 6/9/15
Lighthouse home in Lewes Delaware that has a real light up above.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Open The Eyes Of My Heart"
 Video  Oslo Gospel Choir

Finally today:

We stopped for a meal near a mall in northern Delaware and saw this interesting hearse converted to a moving witness tool!

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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