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Monday, October 31, 2016

Morning view 10/31/16
Morning view 10/31/16

"When Darkness Grows"

Message Summary: In this great cosmic battle between light and darkness we need to walk steadfastly in the light of Christ and in the knowledge of His Word. We need renewed determination and commitment as expressed in Charles Wesley's hymn, "A Charge To Keep".

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"Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going" (John 12:35).

How is your week beginning? It's a beautiful day here in Pennsylvania with a seasonal crispness in the air. The view from our home office window is quintessential northeast autumn, quite a contrast to the Pacific Ocean view we awoke to just last Monday while we were in San Diego!

We consider our various duties of the week. Early this morning Brooksyne is out ministering to a woman caught in the throes of alcohol addiction which seems to be a growing component in our ministry. We don't know what this week will hold for us but today let us consider a perspective based on what this week will hold for many.

SomaliaWe receive a daily mission update from a ministry called "Mission Network News" * Today's first headline describes the desperate situation in the African nation of Somalia. The story begins: "Today begins another worrisome week in one of the world’s most volatile nations. The Islamic State gained its first foothold in Somalia last week, and an al-Shabaab takeover seems imminent following Ethiopia’s troop withdrawal."

One sub headline in the report especially caught my attention, "Somalia’s Growing Darkness". We contrast the type of week we expect to have with the awful plight of our fellow Christians in a place like this.

Today hundreds of millions of believers all around the globe who live
in varying degrees of darkness will seek to live for God and let their light shine.

We tend to think of church as either a building where Christian religious services are held or more properly the group of people who meet together to worship God. While we strongly believe in the institutional aspect of the church and the importance of meeting together regularly, the church is so much more than just this depiction. 

The church is the community of those redeemed by Jesus Christ all over the world who recognize their heavenly citizenship. The church is active today as the redeemed let the light of Christ shine through their lives. The light shines all the brighter outside the walls of a church building due to the intense darkness of the world.

But we share a word of caution from Jesus: "Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you" (John 12:35). It seems darkness is overtaking many. Even among those who confess Jesus Christ as their Savior moral confusion abounds and compromises lead to spiritual wreckage.

As Christ stated, "The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going". Indeed we live in a world where wrong seems right and priorities can be so easily misaligned. In this great cosmic battle between light and darkness we need to walk steadfastly in the light of Christ and in the knowledge of His Word. We need renewed determination and commitment as expressed in Charles Wesley's hymn, "A Charge To Keep".

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,

My calling to fulfill:
Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage
To do my Master’s will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall forever die.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as I commit myself to You this day, I ask that You help me to walk in Your light. Make me a glowing ember of Your truth, Your wisdom, and Your compassionate mercy. I want my light to shine for You so that all glory will be directed back to You, my source of light. If I find myself in the midst of a circle of those engaged in ungodly conversation help me not to blend in. But rather help me to be the light of Your glory in my conversation, full of grace seasoned with salt, so that I will know how to respond to each person. I ask that You would reveal to me any false motivation for carrying out good deeds. Remind me that it is for Your glory that I do these things. It is neither for the praise of others nor for personal advancement. Lord, help me to share Your light today that will direct one's thoughts toward my Father in heaven. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Additional note: Let us consider the power of the Word planted deep in the hearts of Christ's followers. It is planted in a variety of ways but I believe a key component is exposure. Certainly there are times of concerted memorization, intense study, and accelerated spiritual growth. But God's Word can minister to us when we allow ourselves to be regularly and systematically exposed to it.  We have listened to thousands of sermons and spent tens of thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible. Frankly, I specifically recall only a relatively few of those sermons.  Though I've memorized a good number of Scriptures I can also read the Word and later seem to forget much of what I read.  Ouch!  Is it thus a waste of time?  Of course not!

The point today: Keep your eyes, ears and hearts exposed to God's Word.  You never know how He may speak to you and rekindle the Light that this world so desperately needs to see.

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

In researching the hymn used in today's message I found this list of hymns based on occupations!

    The Dentist's Hymn.............Crown Him With Many Crowns
    The Weatherman's Hymn..........There Shall Be Showers of Blessing
    The Contractor's Hymn..........The Church's One Foundation
    The Tailor's Hymn..............Holy, Holy, Holy
    The Golfer's Hymn..............There is A Green Hill Far Away

    The Politician's Hymn..........Standing on the Promises
    The Optometrist's Hymn.........Open My Eyes That I Might See
    The IRS Agent's Hymn...........I Surrender All
    The Gossip's Hymn..............Pass It On
    The Electrician's Hymn.........Send the Light

    The Shopper's Hymn.............Sweet By and By
    The Realtor's Hymn.........I've Got A Mansion Just Over the Hilltop
    The Pilot's Hymn...............I'll Fly Away
    The Paramedic's Hymn...........Revive Us Again
    The Judge's Hymn...............Almost Persuaded

    The Psychiatrist's Hymn........Just a Little Talk With Jesus
    The Architect's Hymn...........How Firm A Foundation
    The Credit Card Telemarketer's Hymn.....A Charge To Keep I Have
    The Zookeeper's Hymn...........All Creatures of Our God & King
    The Postal Worker's Hymn.......So Send I You

    The Waiter's Hymn..............Fill My Cup, Lord
    The Gardener's Hymn............Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming
    The Lifeguard's Hymn...........Rescue the Perishing
    The Criminal's Hymn............Search Me, O God
    The Baker's Hymn...............When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

    The Shoe Repairer's Hymn.......It Is Well With My Soul
    The Travel Agent's Hymn........Anywhere With Jesus
    The Geologist's Hymn...........Rock of Ages
    The Hematologist's Hymn........Are You Washed in the Blood?
    The Mens' Wear Clerk's Hymn....Blest Be the Tie

    The Umpire's Hymn..............I Need No Other Argument
    The Librarian's Hymn...........Whispering Hope

From the same source I found this list: Now, for those who speed on the highway, a few hymns for you:
45 mph......................God Will Take Care of You
55 mph......................Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
65 mph......................Nearer My God to Thee
75 mph......................Nearer Still Nearer
85 mph......................This World Is Not My Home
95 mph......................Lord, I'm Coming Home
Over 100 mph................Precious Memories

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* Mission Network News 

Story on growing Somalian darkness

"A Charge To Keep I Have"  Video 

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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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