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Friday, August 28, 2015

Old order open buggy, Lancaster County PA 8/27/15
We had a beautiful day yesterday as we made several chaplain visits to companies in eastern Lancaster County where we frequently encounter old-order traffic.

"Spiritual Troglomorphism"
(Part 3)

Note 1: Due to getting back late from our chaplaincy visits yesterday we dd not post a message.

Note 2: Our last two messages here and here have explored the concept of troglomorphism. "Troglomorphism is the morphological adaptation of an organism to living in the constant darkness of caves, characterized by features such as loss of pigment, reduced eyesight or blindness, and frequently with attenuated bodies and/or appendages." Spiritual troglomorphism is essentially a loss of or diminishment of spiritual sight due to living in darkness.

to this message on your audio player.

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).

Alarm clockNyctophilia is a word describing those who love darkness. Now there may be some settings where we like it dark. For instance when I sleep I like the room to be dark. Even the light on an alarm clock or other artificial source may be disruptive to my sleep, although I am not bothered by the natural light of the stars or moon coming through our window. Some people actually prefer working the night shift or traveling at night.

But when it comes to spiritual things we should not be nyctophiliacs!

However many people love the dark side spiritually speaking and readily admit that this is the condition their heart is in. In Wednesday's message the Bible text described those who love darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil (see John 3:19). Some even proudly flaunt their desire to live evil lives and shamelessly expect hell as their final destination. You've probably heard people unabashedly say, "So what if I go to hell; that's where all my friends will be" or "Hell will be one great party!" Of course many admittedly serve the devil, the prince of darkness.

In communicating with people like this at least they recognize the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, light and darkness. They are living in darkness and proud of it. Although they may be very hard-hearted, in some ways it's easier to communicate the Gospel to them than another type of people we will discuss today; those who have "substituted darkness for light and light for darkness".

Through the years we have often gleaned insight from our daily text, typically focusing on the first phrase, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil". For example see here. We and many others see this confusion between good and evil so much in our age. There once was a framework of Biblical understanding concerning what constituted good and evil, right and wrong. But now much of what was once practically universally recognized as evil is considered good and conversely that which was once practically universally recognized as good is now essentially seen as evil.

But today let us consider the second phrase in the text, "Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness" (NASV), Other translations render the phrase, "who put darkness for light and light for darkness" (NIV). "They think light is dark and dark is light" (ERV), "who turn darkness into light and light into darkness" (NOG).

I have a long-time friend who practically holds the the polar opposite of the worldview I hold in regard to our ideological and political outlook. Essentially he's pro-____ where I'm anti-____ and anti_____ where I am pro-____! Yet he feels we are on the same side regarding our faith although admitting we are just a little different. Although I want to keep our relationship friendly I want to strongly assert, "No, we are not of the same faith at all; you substitute darkness for light and light for darkness!"

Biblically accurate
The substitution of "darkness for light and light for darkness" has infected the church. Many who have essentially abandoned the faith as taught in the Bible and practiced through the ages of the church want to reduce "faith" to a few simple platitudes. We are especially concerned about the younger generation who is allowing more and more of the world to guide them. They will so easily cast aside historic Christian teaching in order to be accepted. There is culturally a greater and greater price for being a faithful Christian, living in the light and standing true to the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3).

Chelsen VicariBut thankfully there remains those whom Chelsen Vicari, a young Bible-faithful believer herself, calls "Counter Culture Millennials".

Referring to the beliefs of so many young people she writes, "Instead of faithful discipleship, many young Christians are starting to treat the Bible like a Shoney’s buffet line, picking and choosing which Scripture verses to follow and which ones to ignore. Much of the time their choices include cherry-picking Scriptures that align with liberal politics instead of the ethics and values outlined by the Gospel." *

The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). Living as children of light we will seek to distinguish that which is spiritual darkness from that which is spiritual light.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, as genuine Christians we have forsaken the darkness and choose to walk in the light of Christ. In doing so we must be very careful not to substitute darkness for light or light for darkness. Otherwise we are expecting You to alter Your commands to accommodate the errant principles and philosophies of every nation, culture, and generation. You are the One True Supreme God who established Your unchanging, inerrant truths and commands before the world came into being. We choose to obey You not because it's popular, rather we choose to obey You because You created us and made it possible through Christ that we would spend eternity with You in heaven. Though shadows surround us they never conceal our Saviour and Guide; for He is the light, in Him there is no darkness at all as He is ever walking close to our side. Amen.

Here is the long selection of Scripture verses on this contrast between light and darkness we shared Tuesday:
  • "You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light" (2 Samuel 22:29).
  • "He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light" (Job 12:22).
  • "You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light" (Psalm 18:28)
  • "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).
  • "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned" (Isaiah 9:2). (This was quoted by Jesus when He began to preach Matthew 4:12-17).
  • "But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23)
  • "When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
  • "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness" (John 12:46).
  • "I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me" (Acts 26:17,18).
  • "The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:12).
  • "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).
  • "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
  • 'You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness" (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
  • "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).
  • "Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining" (1 John 2:8).

We rode our bikes along a portion of the Conewago Recreational Trail and Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail through Lancaster and Lebanon Counties and passed many horses in pastures. Brooksyne took the following photos and comments accordingly:

Lebanon County horses 8/26/15
Beautiful horses in Lebanon County meadow with lots of grass to graze. This view made me wander back in my memories to my childhood home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we always had two or three horses in our pasture. My youngest brother, Jody, loved to ride but my siblings and I often rode as well. The most enjoyable ride on a horse is when it is galloping and the wind is blowing in your face. It's like gliding in the air with no effort on your part.

Lebanon County horses 8/26/15
These two befriended me as they ran up to see what I had to offer. The camera didn't smell like food but it still intrigued the dark horse to the point he was ready to consume it.

Log Cabin Produce, Farmersville, PA 8/27/15
We've seen many, many produce stands in Lancaster County and throughout other rural areas. Some are makeshift with beach umbrellas protecting fresh veggies, others in wheelbarrows, some in wagons, and on and on. But yesterday was the first time we saw a log cabin produce stand in New Holland. We purchased a half bushel of John Boy free stone peaches which I will be processing tomorrow. We'll have some fresh peach pie or cobbler as well!

View at dusk 8/27/15
I bicycled through our neighborhood around 8 PM last night and was so moved by the beauty of the farm land that my heart and voice filled with praise to our Creator. This is the evening view of the Espenshade farm (notice the moon in the sky). Soybeans are in the forefront.

View at dusk 8/27/15
By the time I got home this was the view from our back yard.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* Here's the article on "Counter Culture Millennials" about Chelsen Vicari. She has also written a book titled "Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith"  (See here)

"Christ was criticized, crucified, by the popular culture of His day because he was willing to be counter cultural for the sake of the whole world. Remember that, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Don’t be afraid, for the Lord promises He is with you. Don’t be discouraged, for He is our God. He will strengthen you and help you. He will hold you up with His victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t get burnout. Don’t be silent. Silence does not spread justice, compassion, truth, or love. It is action that changes hearts and minds.

Trust me, it’s possible to be a counter cultural Christian who maintains her compassion and still holds fast to her traditional convictions. Not only is it possible; it’s essential for every Christ-follower."

Several readers suggested some music dealing with light:

"Open My Eyes, That I Might See"  Video 

"Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord"  Video  Vertical

"Send The Light"  Video  Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet

"Heavenly Sunlight"  Video  Homecoming Singers

"Sunshine In My Soul"  Video 
Chuck Wagon Gang  This is one of the happiest sounding hymns in the whole hymnal. In part due to the fact that Eliza Hewitt wrote it after walking outside in the sunshine after six months of being bedridden in a heavy cast for her broken spine.

Eliza Hewitt, born in 1851, was a school teacher who grew up in Philadelphia and taught at the Northern Home for Friendless Children. At age 35, she was struck by an unruly student with a slate, severely injuring her back. The doctors put her in a heavy cast for six months.

Can there be a purpose in a crippling ailment? Eliza Hewitt may have wondered that.

We acknowledge Eliza Hewitt today because of the hymns the Lord gave her while she was bed-ridden. Among the best known are "When We All Get to Heaven," "Sunshine in My Soul," "Will there be any Stars in My Crown?" and "More About Jesus Would I Know."

Later Eliza's well-being improved, although she suffered re-occurrences for the rest of her life. Despite her health problems, she was deeply interested in Sunday school work, and at one time taught a Sunday School class of 200 students!

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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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