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Wednesday August 5, 2015

Sunflower 8/4/15
Big sunflowers look like giant smiley faces, however they look like food to honeybees.

"Wake Up, Sleeper!"

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"But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: 'Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.' Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise" (Ephesians 5:13-15). "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man" (Proverbs 24:33-34). "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet" (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).

Snooze button
Have you ever considered just how wealthy the person is who invented the "snooze alarm", assuming he or she manages their finances well? This little device allows a few extra moments of "snoozing" after the initial alarm rings. I don't know when it was first invented but I still remember when it was a new feature to Brooksyne and me. At the time it seemed like such a great idea for an alarm clock.

iPhone alarm screen
In the early days of our marriage we seriously considered features on small items like alarm clocks before purchasing. I suppose having a snooze alarm at that time cost a bit more and we wanted to make sure it was worth it. We bought one and couldn't wait to get home and check it out!

Had someone finally found the answer to this need we (and apparently millions of others) have for just a "few more minutes of sleep" each morning? Ours even had a repeat feature and it appeared to be unlimited. I don't know what our personal record is for the repeat use of this feature but it's more than a couple of times! It seems we could always use a "few more minutes of sleep".

We rarely use a "snooze alarm" anymore although I notice the alarm on the iPhone does have a snooze feature set with a default interval of 9 minutes which I am sure has a reason. Perhaps getting up after a nine minute additional snooze instead of a 10 minute snooze allows you to make another pot of coffee without getting even farther behind in your schedule.

Our alarm is now set to play music. We initially wake to Brooksyne's phone that sings, "He Looked Beyond My Fault" which begins "Amazing Grace will always be my song of praise." Immediately following her song my phone sings, "Ten Thousand Reasons". Both songs give us great perspective to waking up to a new day.

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name

Actually for us the snooze alarm is kind of a stumbling block to getting going in the morning. We've learned that regardless of whether or not we snooze a bit longer we must still go through those first couple of minutes of waking up.

Is there a spiritual lesson here? We think so! In fact we use the term "wake up" in various non literal ways. If someone is making bad choices and headed down the wrong path we say "They need to wake up." We also use the term for groups of people such as "America needs to wake up."

Today's second Scripture verse, a proverb, still holds true and is a powerful reminder to all of us.
"A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man." God desires and honors diligence and hard work. All who love God are called to diligence in our service for the Lord. Consider these Scripture verses: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). "Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress" (1 Timothy 4:15). "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free" (Ephesians 6:7-8).

But our third text refers to another type of sleep from which we need to "wake up". It begins with the phrase,
"So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober." A commentary points out that the meaning in this passage concerning "asleep" is the sense that one becomes secure and unconcerned in sin as well as indolent and careless in the performance of the call on their life and the work God has prepared for them to accomplish.

Bible teacher D. Edmond Hiebert writes that "awake" and "sober" "denote a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; it is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes of the 'reckless irresponsibility of self-indulgence on the one hand, and of religious ecstasy on the other.' It inculcates a calm, steady state of mind that evaluates things correctly, so that it is not thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. Such 'level headedness' is a constant Christian need."

The Precept online Bible commentary states concerning this spiritual sobriety, "Take things seriously being aware of their real importance and be ever mindful of their consequences in time and in eternity. The sober saint approaches life, not as a jest, but as a serious matter for which he is answerable to God. Let us not become intoxicated by Satan's three vintage wines - the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:15,16)."

Today as men and women who strive to understand the present times let us heed the clear Scriptural call to be alert and sober. Let's not snooze away precious time, but let us wake up and move into action!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for productive family members, co-workers, and leaders in the church community and throughout the land. With so much to be accomplished we thank You for those who don't just point out the need but they get their hands dirty and contribute to standing up, fixing up, cleaning up, and doing that which will benefit many. Help us to be people who are not asleep like others. Instead we want to be awake, sober and vigilant in carrying out the task You set before us including that of being godly messengers who faithfully teach and live by the whole counsel of Your Holy Word. We seek to honor and glorify Jesus Christ in all that we do so keep us self-controlled, alert, and ready. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

This morning my brother Mike departed after visiting us for awhile including our reunion last month in the Poconos.

Shocks Mill Bridge, Lancaster County PA 8/3/15
 I have managed to get him on bike rides on some of our local rail trails including this one along the Susquehanna River with a view of Shocks Mills Bridge.

Train tracks, Lancaster County PA 8/3/15 (Mike Weber)
"Rivers of Steel"
Dual train tracks along Susquehanna River in Lancaster County PA

Lancaster Junction Trail, Lancaster County PA 8/4/15 (Mike Weber)
Early yesterday morning we rode on the Lancaster Junction Trail which passes along a creek and through farmland. We are blessed here in Lancaster County and in all of Pennsylvania to have a variety of these "rails to trails" recreational paths. In fact this article claims Pennsylvania has the most.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"He Looked Beyond My Fault"
Aaron & Amanda Crabb

"Ten Thousand Reasons"  Video  Matt Redman

"Ain't It Grand To Be A Christian?"  Video  Blind Willie McTell    We recall this song when we were young Christians sung by Honeytree. During the height of its popularity Brooksyne often sang this song first thing in the morning!

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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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