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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Little Beaver Lake, Poconos 9/19/15
Little Beaver Lake in the Poconos with the first glimpses of colorful fall foliage

"A Lesson From An Eye Exam"

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"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life" (Philippians 2:14-16a). "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

Eye examYesterday I (Stephen) had an eye exam. Thankfully my eyes are doing well although the doctor did state I have the early signs of a cataract which he stated grows very slowly and he thought would not need treated for 15 years. Whew! One of the tests involved a very bright light that the doctor uses to see the back of the eye to check for cataracts. He warns you, prior to the test, that the light will be very bright and may even cause some pain. Bright light can do that both physically and spiritually.

Today let us consider a text that has a Proverb-like quality from Daniel who was among the captives taken when Jerusalem was conquered. Early on, his resolute decision to live according to His Jewish upbringing was expressed by the phrase in Daniel 1:8, "He purposed in his heart" (KJV). Another similar rendering from the NIV reads "Daniel resolved not to defile himself". Daniel is best known for his victorious deliverance in the lion's den and his steadfast resolve to live for God during the Babylonian exile.

The latter part of the book (chapters 7-12), written during Daniel's senior years, is a series of remarkable prophecies that looked far into the future, way beyond that which is visible to the naked eye, and could only be interpreted by a prophet with keen spiritual foresight. The daily verse is one of those little gems found among these prophecies.

It is a description of "Those who are wise." This is the kind of wisdom that cannot be obtained from the world but that which comes from a close, abiding walk with God and through the study of His Word. "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

Matthew 5:16
The wise will "shine like the brightness of the heavens". Consider the accumulative light of hundreds of millions of true believers living out their lives for Jesus Christ, who said, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

The apostle Paul might also have been alluding to this verse when he wrote, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life" (Philippians 2:14-16a).

Let's go back to the illustration we shared concerning the bright light in the eye exam and the doctor's warning that "This may hurt a bit." Can you imagine my foolishness if I were to say to the doctor, "Well, I just won't do it if it's gonna hurt." Or imagine the captain of a wandering ship navigating his crew safely into a foggy harbor, and then complaining about the piercing light that beamed from the lighthouse over the dark waters.

As the world grows darker and darker the everlasting light of God's Word, implanted in His people, shines forth eternal truth which increases the pain and discomfort of those who've acclimated themselves to their dark surroundings. Nevertheless we don't evolve*, compromise, or dim our light, but we must proclaim the pure message God wants us to declare to those in our surroundings. We must also remain resolute in our purpose to "lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever."

Let us shine a beaming light in a world engulfed in darkness!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, You sent Jesus to be the Light of the world, and He now sends us out as redeemed messengers in the places where we live. Some of those places are very dark and we're afraid to share the message of light and truth because we feel inadequate, unworthy, and unprepared to convey such a wondrous message. But in holding back we fail to introduce others to You whose searchlight from the Holy Spirit guides us into all truths, delivers us from the evil one, and sets our feet upon a firm rock. We know that it is not by our might or power that we are able to shine like stars in the universe, but it is through Your Spirit that we can lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Amen.

* "Evolved" is a term used by many politicians and sadly even by some professing believers for abandoning God's standards.
I have been studying an interesting concept of genetic entropy which is the concept that "we are genetically devolving".

Some more photos from our Pocono trip this last weekend

Gravel Road in Hickory Run State Park, Poconos 9/18/15
A pleasant gravel road through Hickory Run State Park in the Poconos.

Hickory Run Boulder Field, Poconos 9/19/15
The large boulder field in Hickory Run State Park is a national natural landmark.
This interesting geological feature can be seen on a Google map.

Hickory Run Lake, Poconos 9/19/15
Hickory Run Lake in Hickory Run State Park.

Gravel Road in Hickory Run State Park, Poconos 9/18/15
Another view of a pleasant gravel road through Hickory Run State Park in the Poconos

Lehigh River rail trail, Poconos 9/18/15
A view of the Lehigh Gorge rail trail over the Lehigh River near Jim Thorpe.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Shine, Jesus Shine"  Video  Graham Kendrick  We sang this spirited song in our church this last Sunday.

"I Am Resolved"  Video  Dailey and Vincent

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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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