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Wednesday, June 22, 2016
"Hear No Evil"
Message Summary: "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil." That's a great verse to ponder. The specific evil that Habakkuk had in mind is likely different than the evil today but the same principle applies. Today evil takes on many forms and is as prevalent today as it was in Habakkuk's time. It certainly is far more accessible due to our technological age. Evil abounds but I refuse to process that dark thought without following up with the reassuring Scripture, "Where sin abounds grace doth much more abound." Hallelujah!
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"Your eyes are too pure to look on evil" (Habakkuk 1:13a). Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13). “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3). "Keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22). "All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:3).
Last Saturday we visited New Bedford, Massachusetts which is the largest fishing port in the US in terms of dollar value of catch. Its location is also famous for the Herman Melville novel and movie, "Moby Dick" starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab who led whaling ships from New Bedford and lost his leg in his attempt to capture a great white whale. We enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch at "The Black Whale" right along the harbor overlooking the scallop fleet. There's just something about eating seafood with an up-close view of the harbor!
As we walked along the harbor we noticed a boat with an interesting name "Hear No Evil". Brooksyne thought immediately of the three monkeys on a poster with their eyes, ears, and mouth covered. The script over their heads read, "Hear no evil, see no evil, say no evil." When Stephen saw the fishing vessel's name, "Hear no evil", he thought right away of Psalm 23, where the Psalmist wrote, "I will fear no evil."
Evil abounds no matter where you live, as is evidenced in the world news or it might be right in your own neighborhood. We could cringe in fear or we can take to heart the Scripture from Isaiah 43:1, "Do not fear for I am with you....I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
But actually the message "hear no evil" is packed with meaning. Although we don't know what motivated the boat owner to name it this way, we can sure think of a good spiritual application.
We must overcome our fear of evil and we most certainly must be careful that we do not engage in evil actions. "O be careful little eyes what you see" is a simple repetitious chorus many of us recall singing in our childhood. In fact many of you could sing the words below even though you may have not heard it for many years. Though written for young children it also has a message appropriate for all ages.
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
The song has various similar verses:
Oh be careful little ears what you hear
Oh be careful little hands what you do
Oh be careful little mouth what you say
Oh be careful little feet where you go
Oh be careful little mind what you think
(you add the next line)
We consider the temptations common to children. It's a song to tuck away in one's memory that will continue to influence us in our adult years as we seek to shun evil. The simple chorus considers the daily spiritual cautions we must heed in what we choose to view, to hear, and in how we use our hands in helping others rather than hurting or stealing from them. And it also includes the message of keeping our hearts and minds pure, which guides our actions, both positive and negative as instructed in Proverbs 4:23: "Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
But now consider the flood of temptations assaulting the eyes, ears and minds of both children and adults. Before the accessibility to smart phones, computers, and many such devices parents were more informed and able to observe their children's "wanderings". Remember the days when there was one telephone shared by all in a common place where you knew who your child was talking to and you never had to be concerned about the images being displayed.
Now it's nearly impossible to know what your child accesses in the privacy of his or her room, school, library, or anywhere due to data and wi-fi. It is vital that parents set up roadblocks and protections as much as possible to prevent a child or youth from accessing or engaging in ungodly behavior. Of course, it is essential to be a role model that quietly but visibly shows, "Do as I do" or as Paul wrote in "Follow my example, even as I follow the example of Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1).
Habakkuk is one of the lesser-known Old Testament prophets. In fact he has one of the shortest books with only three chapters. In today's first verse he makes a timeless observation about the unchangeable God.
"Your eyes are too pure to look on evil." That's a great verse to ponder. The specific evil that Habakkuk had in mind is likely different than the evil today but the same principle applies. Today evil takes on many forms and is as prevalent today as it was in Habakkuk's time. It certainly is far more accessible due to our technological age. Evil abounds but I refuse to process that dark thought without following up with the reassuring Scripture, "Where sin abounds grace doth much more abound." Hallelujah!
If we say that we love God we must dutifully walk in integrity and moral purity.
Jerry Bridges writes, "Our minds are mental greenhouses where unlawful thoughts, once planted, are nurtured and watered before being transplanted into the real world of unlawful actions. These actions are savored in the mind long before they are enjoyed in reality. The thought life, then, is our first line of defense in the battle of self-control."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we ask for clean hands, a pure mind, and a steadfast heart that follows hard after You. Temptation regularly knocks at our door, but with Your Holy Spirit residing within, we have the will and desire to turn it away. We don't want even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, or anything considered improper for Your holy people. It is through Christ that we can live a life above reproach that daily seeks to honor You and influence others for Your kingdom. Amen.
Today we share photos from New Bedford Fishing Port
and surrounding area.
A small part of the huge New Bedford fishing fleet.
What is an annoying traffic snarl to locals was a scene of interest to us as the turnstile bridge into the inner harbor opened to let a commercial fishing boat through.
Fort Taber with lighthouse is at the tip of New Bedford.
Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven at the entrance to New Bedford harbor
A lone tree with a nice ocean view.
We are accustomed to seeeing lots of tilled farmland here in Lancaster County but you hardly see any in southeast Massachusetts. However there is still a working farm on Sconicutt Neck, MA. See here (google map) Something about a bright red tractor makes me smile wherever I am, even when it is undergoing some mechanical repair!
Although we ate plenty during our trip (and put on a few pounds) it appears we have shrunk based on this chair! Ester persuaded us to climb into the big chair which was a bit of a challenge. But digging ourselves out of the deep sloping seat was an even bigger challenge. Next time we'll just settle for a chair sized for people instead of a chair sized for whales.
More long-time friends
Rick and Liz Masciantonio
We see Rick almost every year at a conference he attends down this way but haven't seen Liz in many years. We caught up with family news as we enjoyed a nice meal at their house in Rochester. Their three grown sons joined them for Father's Day.
Sarah was about 13 years old when we moved to Taunton, MA in 1993. She often babysat Ester who was 4 years old at the time, so it was fun to catch up with her as we enjoyed ice cream sundaes at Newport Creamery. Sarah continues to provide child care as a full-time nanny.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See" Video Cedarmont Kids
"Slow Fade" Video Casting Crowns A powerful song which actually incorporates the words "O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See"
"Guard Your Heart" Video Steve Green Also begins with "O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See"
* New Bedford fishing port
Cloud with the silver lining: As I, Brooksyne, was walking toward my neighbor's house last evening a dark cloud with a brilliant lining caught my attention. Before leaving the house I had just had talked on the phone with two different parties who were undergoing great trial. My heart was heavy for them until I saw the cloud with the silver lining. It reminded me that the sun is always shining even though obscured by the cloud covering, but it will eventually break through the darkness. Our job when undergoing trial is to look for the silver lining amidst dark circumstances. If we're looking for God's presence and His blessings in the midst of a trial we will find them. Before the trial we likely overlooked and underestimated the many ways He guides, protects, and upholds us with His righteous right hand. I dedicate the photo above to any who are going through a dark cloud at the present time.
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