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Friday, January 15, 2016

Amish school near Intercourse, PA 1/14/16
Yesterday morning we passed this peaceful setting, a one room Amish schoolhouse near Intercourse Pennsylvania. The teacher's horse is parked behind the outhouse and the scooters belonging to the students are propped up alongside the schoolhouse.
(Click on photo for larger view)

"Everything We Need"

Message Summary:
Is the "everything we need" that was absolutely sufficient for Peter's original readers also sufficient for us who live in 2016?  A billion times yes!!! 

to this message on your audio player.

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" (Luke 12:15). "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3).

As we walk through and visit the employees of the various companies we serve as chaplains they often initiate the conversation with whatever subject matter is on their minds. The women often talk about home, their children, health issues. A common conversation point now for the men is the pro football postseason, especially with a Pennsylvania team still in contention.

Lotter winner illustrationHowever, yesterday a common topic initiated by numerous employees was the massive Powerball gambling win the night before. Several expressed disappointment that they hadn't won as they had already begun to imagine how different life would be if they had won. One told me they planned to put SleepNumber beds in every bedroom, another spoke of buying an island. Interestingly, the Lancaster newspaper reported that on Wednesday someone bought a ticket worth one million dollars drawn from the Powerball at a local Turkey Hill Convenience store in the city.  It is yet to be claimed.

In the nineties, when we lived in New England, a promotional slogan
by the state gambling ring was "Set For Life". What a cruel lie to promote, especially since it came from a morally bankrupt government! It seems wherever you go you see lottery sales. In the Pennsylvania Farm Show program there is a full page ad sponsored by the Pennsylvania lottery listing 11 different games with such enticing titles as "MegaMillions", "Cash4Life" and "Treasure Hunt".

I recall a conversation many years ago with a longtime employee of the state welfare department who assured me from experience that the social costs of the state sponsored gambling ring are much greater than any "profits" the state makes and uses for "good causes". One method of deception used in the lottery is that people are able to choose how they want their money distributed when they place their bet or they're supposed to see their bet as an "investment". So many aspire to "winning" the lottery and other forms of gambling. They see the jackpot as the answer to their problems.
What a contrast to the Lord's straightforward instruction in our first daily verse. "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed"

1 Corinthians 3:11 Mike's whiteboard Jesus continues to speak to those who will listen: "Watch out!", He warns. That should get our attention. The word used means "to discern clearly". We sure need that don't we? What crass lack of discernment is used by those who stand in long lines hoping their "investment" will bring them the illusory pot of gold promised by the lottery. We need to be on our guard. Greed is an insidious form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5), which many maturing believers battle against.  The world screams in our ears in a variety of ways, "YOU DON"T HAVE ENOUGH!"

But God says in His Word, "My grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9) and "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).
I especially find richness in the phrase "everything we need". Who will you believe today?

Is the "everything we need" that was absolutely sufficient for Peter's original readers also sufficient for us who live in 2016?  A billion times yes!!! 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, when we place our trust in You we've only begun to tap into the unlimited resources You make available to the believer. You have blessed us with Your special favor and Your unsurpassed peace and it only gets better and better as we grow to know You more and more. The illumination of Your Word is truly a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path revealing the mystery of Your Gospel to us. May we be found consistent from day to day growing in the grace and knowledge You give to us in the midst of varying daily experiences of life. Grow us in our discernment and help us to stay on our guard against greed in its various forms. It is in Christ's name that we pray. Amen.

Many years ago I preached a message about gambling and shared this daily encouragement message titled "Pleasing The Lord".

Mel is a friend of mine I met many years ago in the course of my chaplain work who serves as a Bishop in an older order type Mennonite Church. He wrote an excellent piece on gambling but I was unable to find it on the web. However I did find this short statement. I think it would be very similar to what many Bible-faithful groups believe.

"Focus on the Promises of God" by David Penley  David and his wife Sabra have an interesting practice of choosing one theme word each year as a source of inspiration, assurance and guidance.

Val-Co friends 1/14/16
We enjoy visiting with people from a variety of places. Sooner (at least that's how his name sounds but I am sure it's not spelled that way) is from Laos and Dennis from Cuba. It's a blessing to see people from a variety of backgrounds working together five days a week seeking to live productive lives and providing for their family.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Through the Fire & He's All I Need"  Video 
Jason Crabb

"God Of All My Days"  Video  Tribute Quartet  We are so blessed to hear these songs that tell a story!

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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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