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Thursday, June 23, 2016

New Bedford, MA cobblestone Street 6/18/16
A cobblestone street in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
These serve as constant speed bumps!

"Making It Moral"

Message Summary: Sin and lawlessness are certainly abounding. No question about that. Any news report will have plenty of evidence. But grace is abounding much more. Indeed sin is abounding, but grace is much more abounding.

to this message on your audio player. Note: In yesterday's email message we mistakenly had the wrong link for the audio. This was corrected on the archive edition and the correct link for the Wednesday 6/22/16 audio is here. (Once the email edition is sent through the listserve it can't be changed!)

"Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). "But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more" (Romans 5:20).

Necktie There are so many ways people express themselves, their beliefs and their values. Earlier in my ministry I always preached wearing a suit and tie (as was the custom in those days). I still do but I suppose it would be called "conservative" or even old-fashioned dress with the emphasis for most churchgoers these days on being casual. For many years I enjoyed wearing a small lapel pin that had some type of spiritual message on it. For the last 20 or so years I enjoy wearing spiritually-themed ties which often prompt a closer look and comment from those who observe closely.

But now people express themselves with body art, piercings and every imaginable saying on T-shirts, baseball caps, etc.

Last week in Rockport, MA we saw a lady wearing a t-shirt with this message, "We Will Make It Legal". Looking closer it was an advertisement for a law firm! I suppose what the message is conveying is the cunning lawyer will get you out of trouble by making whatever you did legal. I ask you, is that really legal?

But that got me thinking about a phrase that could very well identify many in our lawless and morally rebellious world. Expressed in the singular it emphatically states, "I Will Make It Moral".

In our lifetime we consider the human-driven change in what constitutes morality and immorality. Many no longer consider what was once practically universally considered immoral to be moral and the converse is increasingly the once moral position is maligned as being backward, ignorant, intolerant and even hateful. This is what happens when people make up their own moral standards and abandon the timeless standards of God's Word.

Let us consider a perspective from the Scriptures. The first verse describes conditions during the period of the Judges but such an outlook is certainly not limited to that day. "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Now that sounds like a description of our own age!

Our second daily text is a straightforward, easily observed truth. "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness." Sin and lawlessness are indeed abounding all around us. Many look for creative ways to justify sin and lawlessness in an effort to make their actions seem moral.

But there is good news in our third text: "But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." In the fuller theological sense this describes the redemptive plan of God in reaching down to this lost planet and sending His Son as the Redeemer. Praise God that He should love a sinner such as I, how wonderful is love like this!

But I believe this statement also has relevance to the current condition. Sin and lawlessness are certainly abounding. No question about that. Any news report will have plenty of evidence.

But grace is abounding much more. Indeed sin is abounding, but grace is much more abounding.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, we are so thankful that we can call upon You in this age of lawlessness. Because Your Spirit resides within us we will not be overcome by evil, but we will overcome evil with good. We will also keep the biblical perspective that instructs us, "We ought to obey God rather than man". May the principles from Scripture inform our thoughts and motivate our hearts to obey You, our loving Savior, by keeping the moral laws detailed in Scripture foremost in our mind, lest we too easily embrace the man-made laws that are an affront to Your prescribed law. Even so, we desire to be Your instrument of mercy and peace to those around us.  In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen.

Today we share several photos from downtown New Bedford
and the Whaling Museum

Kim & Reggie Harris in New Bedford, MA 6/18/16
Kim & Reggie Harris, a very gifted musical and dramatic team, sang songs and dramatized stories about those who were active in protecting the slaves in the underground railroad. It was a free outside concert that was outstanding. The couple are originally from Philadelphia.

New Bedford, MA 6/18/16
These two "about town" ladies walk around the harbor making people feel welcome and give the sense of another time period when New Bedford was an extremely popular and prosperous town during the years of whale hunting.

Seaman's Bethel, Mew Bedford, MA 6/18/16
The Seamen's Bethel provided spiritual services to sailors. The Bethel was immortalized in Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick as the "Whaleman's Chapel", in a scene where a nautically themed sermon is given from a bow-shaped pulpit. Melville wrote "In this same New Bedford there stands a Whaleman's Chapel, and few are the moody fishermen, shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific, who fail to make a Sunday visit to the spot." It was closed for repairs during our visit but about twenty years ago we toured the inside and stood behind that bow-shaped pulpit. Many years ago we shared a daily encouragement about an interesting feature in the Bethel behind the pulpit.

New Bedford Whaling museum 6/18/16
The Whaling Museum has large skeletons of whales hanging from the ceiling!

New Bedford Whaling museum 6/18/16
They don't look all that large in photos but they are massive.

New Bedford Whaling museum 6/18/16

New Bedford Whaling museum 6/18/16
The whaling museum has a full sized model of a whaling ship.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin"  Video  The Hoppers

"Except for Grace/Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin"  Video   Homecoming Singers

"Grace In Which I Stand"  Video  Keith Green

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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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