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Friday, October 30, 2015
We pass this large maple right along Main Street in Main Joy.
We took this photo several days ago and passing the tree this morning we noticed the wind and rain have blown off many of the leaves. The peak of autumn beauty is but a brief window of nature's array of colors!
"The Danger Of Dabbling"
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"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).
Yesterday we shared a message titled "Victory Verses" prompted by a point made in our Sunday School class by our teacher, Stan Miller. Today we consider another takeaway from our lesson when he warned us, "Be careful of the danger of dabbling".
"Dabble" is an interesting word we generally know by the way it's used in context. I rather doubt that any of you have looked it up in a dictionary. It's kind of like the word "boggle". I'm not exactly sure what it means while at the same time I know what a person means when he or she says, "It boggles my mind".* Well, given the current conditions there’s a lot that boggles my mind!
But for purposes of our lesson today I looked "dabble" up. It means to "take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way". Synonyms are "toy with, dip into, flirt with, tinker with, trifle with, play with, dally with". You might hear people suggest they dabbled in a particular craft or study. Or you might hear it as a caution such as, "Don't dabble in pornography" or "Don't dabble in the occult" and so forth.
We commonly use the word "dabble" to describe a negative activity. "Such dabbling is indeed dangerous". How many have become addicted to alcohol, tobacco or drugs by simply dabbling with the toxic substances? Likely no forethought, study, or consideration of possible consequences went into one's decision to dabble. Yet when we choose to dabble in darkness we are not contributing to light and the darkness of sin has the power to grasp hold and enslave us. You either know what I am speaking of personally or just look around you!
I consider a couple who had been married for many years. They went to Las Vegas for a vacation, to take in the sights, and to see some shows. While out there the husband got involved with porn and gambling and essentially went into a tailspin. Tragically it has completely destroyed their marriage union.
But our Sunday School teacher Stan issued the warning concerning the danger of dabbling in another way. He challenged the class not to dabble in the things of the Lord. This is also a very dangerous form of dabbling and is quite common. In fact we are all prone to it and must give careful attention that we are not just dabblers.
Tonight we will be joining a group of friends in Hershey at a banquet for the Pennsylvania Family Institute. The speaker will be Eric Mataxes who has written an outstanding book on William Wilberforce. The theme of this year’s banquet is “Our Wilberforce Moment,” recognizing the critical opportunities that have arisen for us to boldly stand, as William Wilberforce did in his generation.
He also wrote a biography on Dietrich Boenhoffer who was martyred for his faithfulness to Christ during the Nazi regime. The book is titled "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy". In reading it one is stunned as to how similar the events leading up to Hitler's dominance and the Nazi regime is similar to our own age. We have heard others independently make the same comment. It is an outstanding read but not for the faint of heart.
Both Wilberforce and Boenhoffer are examples of those who didn't just dabble but lived their lives unreservedly sold out for Christ.
Boenhoffer's most famous work is titled "The Cost Of Discipleship" which is considered a classic of Christian thought. He wrote, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Now that is sure not an appealing thought for a dabbler!
The apostle Paul was certainly not a dabbler. Prior to his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus he was zealous in his former way of life writing to the Galatians, "For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions" (Galatians 1:13,14).
After his conversion Paul's persecuting zeal was transformed into his loving service for Christ, his destructive zeal exchanged for building up others in the faith. He issued this injunction to the Romans, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11). We shared an exposition of this verse just last week in this message. Today we encourage our readers not to simply dabble in the things of the Lord but to live wholeheartedly for Christ in a manner worthy of His name.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there are many subjects we dabble in just trying to find out if it is worthy of our pursuit. Sometimes it's harmless and may even lead to our life's calling, career, or hobby. But there are other areas we are wise never to dabble in; areas that can overpower us and bring about destruction, powerlessness, and even death. We choose not to just dabble in Christianity but rather delve deeply into the teachings and life of Christ Jesus. For He is worthy of our total devotion even to the point of being willing to lay down our life for the cause of Christ. Rather than dabble we choose to devote ourselves fully to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.
* Boggle is defined as "be astonished or overwhelmed when trying to imagine something."
Many of our local roadside stands are winding down as the weather gets colder and there is certainly less fresh, locally grown produce available. However yesterday we stopped by this small stand near New Holland PA and Brooksyne bought some tomatoes, broccoli and cabbage.
The eye appealing apple selection at the entrance to the Village Farm Market on Rt 322 east of Ephrata, PA. This is an old steer bank barn adapted to use as a country store operated by an old-order Mennonite.
Yesterday we received word that one of our long-time readers and thoughtful commenters went to be with the Lord. Jim Scanlon served for many years as a pastor and strong contender of the faith. We met him through Daily Encouragement and would periodically receive thoughtful comments from him such as, "I have always been a "plodder", not interested in making the "headlines", just following My Shepherd." I told his daughter Naomi last night that I had found this quote he had sent me years ago and as I consider his life I am grateful to him and so many other plodders who are not interested in making the "headlines", just following the Shepherd. We are very sure Jim has heard from the Shepherd, "well done good and faithful servant".
The photo above shows when we visited with Jim and his wife Delores at their church in New Braunfels Texas last year.
"Another Soldier's Coming Home" Video Janet Paschal Dedicated to family in honor of Jim
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Knowing You, Jesus" Video Graham Kendrick
"I Am Second" Video A short teaching by Eric Mataxes
Tonight we will also hear from Kelvin Cochran, a fire chief who was fired for his Christian beliefs concerning human sexuality. (See here). He is a case study of the growing persecution of Christians here in America. Today I was discussing this a friend from work who takes a strong stand for his Christian faith and is unashamedly committed to the whole counsel of God.
Pennsylvania Family Institute
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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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