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Friday, April 1, 2016

Lebanon County PA farm view 3/31/16
Yesterday we went to a viewing for a friend's mother in eastern Lebanon County PA and had this beautiful vista view looking out over the Lebanon Valley.

"The Blessing Of Becoming A 'Fool'"

Message Summary: Let’s make it our goal in life to be wise in God's estimation, not the standards thrust on us by this present age.  In doing so we may just be called a 'Fool' by those who "think you are wise by the standards of this age." But then remember: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight."

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"Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight" (1 Corinthians 3:18,19).

Ester with her new puppy Molly 3/8/11 Today is April Fool's Day. For many it's a day to share harmless pranks. In our home Brooksyne is the master prankster and I am sure she will come up with something to fool me. Probably her most memorable one was exactly five years ago when she pulled a prank on Ester.

For her birthday on March 9th Ester got a 3 month old puppy, Mollie, the border collie we often feature in our photos, picked from a litter of four at the humane league. She was crazy about Mollie so Brooksyne decided to use Mollie as a prank. The best time to fool someone on April Fool's day is first thing in the morning before they awaken so they haven't had time to consider that it's April Fool's Day - beware!

Brooksyne awakened her with these words, "Ester, you have to wake up, I have some very sad news. The humane league called and told me that the puppy we brought home last month was the wrong puppy. We accidentally took Mollie's sibling and we have to take her back and exchange her for the right puppy."

Ester was beside herself! Brooksyne felt so bad for causing Ester's needless grief that she only held her in suspense for a short few minutes before blurting out, "April Fools!" To this day Ester is very suspicious of anything she says and does on April 1st.

Many years ago I knew a pastor in New Jersey who started a church on April Fools’ Day (which is April 1 here in America).  His very first message had this interesting title: "I'm a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?" I have long appreciated the sentiment of missionary martyr Jim Elliot who wrote, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Let's examine today's verse
and "The Blessing Of Becoming A 'Fool'". It has this interesting phrase, "you should become 'fools' so that you may become wise" which is the basis of our message title.

Paul begins this text with a solemn warning,
"Do not deceive yourselves." This warning against self-deception is consistent in all versions. The precise wording is interesting. In other places the Scripture has the phrase, "Do not be deceived", which is a warning against external forms of deception such as from other people or teaching. Self-deception is the most dangerous form of deception. It’s often easier for us to assess objectively when we’re looking on rather than looking from within. “Cursed are those who seem wise to themselves, and who take pride in their knowledge” (Isaiah 5:21).

The nature if this self-deception is specified as "
If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age." So many think they are wise by the standards of this age. In fact there is great pressure, especially among young people, to be viewed by their peers as being smart, educated, wise and certainly not being viewed as "foolish". So many are accepting of the latest crazy fad that comes rolling down the road. Just consider the sexual anarchy we are experiencing with the desecration of marriage* and in recent years all this transvestite "rights" nonsense we are now flooded with. Young people and even some older folks who consider themselves wise are even now thinking I am foolish for not going along with what I deem foolishness.

"If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age." But the standards of this age constantly change. Many of what was at one time called the most certain findings in science and other fields have changed. In some cases what had been a consensus on an issue 50 years ago has now been thoroughly debunked, and who knows what issues now held as certain will be debunked in the future. Actually when we get to the other side I suspect a lot will be debunked!

The verse continues concerning
any who think they are wise by the standards of this age: "he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise." It's significant that the NIV placed the quote marks around fool. That is, he will be considered a fool by those who think they are wise. Those who follow Christ are increasingly seen as fools by worldly standards. For instance I testify unashamedly to my belief in the Biblical account of creation. But many in the world now mock at this belief and I am even seen by some as "dangerous" for holding this view.

Let’s make it our goal in life to be wise in God's estimation, not the standards thrust on us by this present age.  In doing so we may just be called a 'Fool' by those
who "think you are wise by the standards of this age." But then remember: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: God of all wisdom, we ask for a discerning heart so that we walk circumspectly in Your way and effectively lead the people entrusted to our care. We need Your wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and error. So many live by opinion polls, current trends, and that which makes them acceptable to the world.  But as we pray in the spirit and absorb Your Word into our hearts we will want to walk uprightly and do justly. It is a natural outflow of Your wisdom and Spirit that abides within us as we choose to walk in Your ways. Be our vision during the light of day and in the darkness of night; whether waking or sleeping we yield our all to You, Omniscient Father. Amen.

* God's design for marriage is being desecrated in many ways. Yesterday I heard a report concerning a popular trend among millennials termed "starter marriages" in which a couple enters into marriage only expecting it to last a year or two. There is not even any pretense, let along commitment, that it will be a lfelong union. Here's an article.

I once saw a bumper sticker that proclaimed "April 1, National Atheist's Day." Intrigued and annoyed, but not necessarily surprised, I moved my car in closer to read the small print.  It was actually a witness for the Lord, as it quoted Psalm 14:1. It was then that I made the connection, "O yeah, Fool's Day is April 1!"  (Psalm 14:1 states "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'."

In regard to my belief in the Biblical account of creation, which is so mocked by many who consider themselves wise by the standards of this age. Here's an interview I read several years ago that I found very interesting and a portion of the discussion in regard to the complexity of the human genetic code:

Interviewer: "Do you believe that the information evolved?"

Biologist: "Nobody I know in my profession believes it evolved. It was engineered by genius beyond genius, and such information could not have been written any other way. The paper and ink did not write the book! Knowing what we know, it is ridiculous to think otherwise."

Interviewer: "Have you ever stated that in a public lecture, or in any public writings?"

Biologist: "No. I just say it evolved. To be a molecular biologist requires one to hold onto two insanities at all times. One, it would be insane to believe in evolution when you can see the truth for yourself. Two, it would be insane to say you don't believe in evolution. All government work, research grants, papers, big college lectures – everything would stop. I'd be out of a job, or relegated to the outer fringes where I couldn't earn a decent living."

Interviewer: "I hate to say it, but that sounds intellectually dishonest."

Biologist: "The work I do in genetic research is honorable. We will find the cures to many of mankind's worst diseases. But in the meantime, we have to live with the elephant in the living room."

Interviewer:  "What elephant?"

Biologist:  "Creation design. It's like an elephant in the living room. It moves around, takes up an enormous amount of space, loudly trumpets, bumps into us, knocks things over, eats a ton of hay, and smells like an elephant.  And yet we have to swear it isn't there!"

* I am not sure where I came across this interview but here is an article with a similar expression by Michael J. Behe, a professor at Lehigh University.

White Oak project 3/31/16
Yesterday afternoon we stopped by to visit the employees at White Oak, a shop that makes a variety of items mostly for retail sales displays. However some of them were working on an interesting project and it looks like Brooksyne is helping (she's really not, as you can see, the hammer is not exactly in the right position to be effective!)

White Oak project 3/31/16
Very few of our readers would know what this is and how it will be used.
See here for answer.

Schaefferstown BB's gas lantern 3/31/16
Late yesterday afternoon we stopped by the Schaefferstown BB's Amish grocery store for a unique shopping experience. Since there is no electricity the store uses skylights and gas lanterns. The most pleasant part is hearing the young Amish girls sing old-fashioned church songs  as they stock the shelves.

Lebanon County PA rail trail bridge 3/31/16
Lebanon County rails to trail stone arch bridge.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"God's Own Fool"  Video  Michael Card  (Suggested by a reader)

"He Is No Fool
"  Video   Scott Wesley Brown

"He Is No Fool"  Video  Twila Paris

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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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