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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Looting caterpillars 8/28/17 (Ester Weber)
Caterpillars dining on the Butterfly Weed
(Ester Weber)

"The Peril Of Greed"

Message summary: We experience contentment when we conscientiously and diligently avoid the trap of greed.

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"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:9,10).

We continue to follow the reports of the massive flooding in Texas due to the historic rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. There are so many heartening stories of rescue demonstrating the best of human nature, such as in the photo we posted yesterday. Volunteer boaters have come in from all over such as the "Cajun Navy" from Louisiana.

But in events like this we also see the worst of human nature as well. One aspect of the worst is the looting. A particularly pathetic aspect was a report that looters were shooting at rescuers in boats!* As one commentator stated, "Wow, evil knows no bottom."

Looting is just one manifestation of the ancient sin of greed. We marvel at the timeless relevance of God's Word. In 1 Timothy 6 Paul warns both the rich (1 Timothy 6:17-19) and those who desire to be rich (verses 6-10).

We surely benefit from the warnings that Paul gives to the rich. You may say, "Well, that's sure doesn't include me!" Yes, it probably does include most reading this. Most of us have far more of this world's goods than the vast majority of people on a worldwide economic scale.

But we also need the solemn warning in our daily text that Paul gives to "people who want to get rich". You see, it seems no matter how much we have, we always want more! The progressive bait in the trap of greed begins with the devil putting troubling notions in our minds that tempt us with "many foolish and harmful desires" which in turn "plunge men into ruin and destruction".

Thomas Brooks who served the Lord in the late 1600's writes of "the plague of unsatisfiedness". Wow, imagine what he would see today! William S. Plumer who lived in the mid-1800's wrote, "A right view of the perils of wealth would, with the divine blessing, have a mighty efficacy in curing our covetousness and discontent."

Scripture verseLet's just consider one word in our Scripture text today. The word "trap" has the root meaning "fastened by a noose". Wow, isn't that the case? A noose is loose at first but gets tighter and tighter. Isn't that the nature of sin in general and greed in particular? There's an appeal, such as the bait set in a trap, but going down that road indeed leads to ruin and destruction. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

Let us heed the Scripture's warning today, being careful to see money for what it is and using it for what God intends!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we consider the Scriptures that warn us of attitudes, desires, and behaviors that lead us on the road to destruction. We want to be faithful to the righteous path that we chose the day we surrendered our lives to You. May we seek You wholeheartedly so that our actions and affections align us with the straight and narrow path You walked before us. May we use our resources for Your glory, for the Kingdom of God, and for the good of others. In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Prayer for Texas:  Father, we pray for those suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Grant wisdom as well as physical and emotional strength to first responders and those making major decisions regarding the safekeeping of displaced persons. We ask that You would open hearts wide in reaching out to those in need, whether it is going, doing, sharing or giving of their resources in the days and months ahead. May the water and food supplies be adequate in meeting the needs of those displaced and the many volunteer helpers. We pray against those who wish to do harm either by looting or taking advantage of the displaced in vulnerable circumstances. Bring enduring courage and uplifting hope to those affected by the storm as they adjust to their new normal while they dig out of the extensive damage and destruction of their homes and communities. Beyond the temporal physical devastation there are those who are grieving the permanent loss of family members and friends. Father of all Comfort, console them even as You draw them to Yourself in their time of  loss. We give You thanks even as we ask for these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Looting caterpillars 8/28/17 (Ester Weber)
I enjoy planting butterfly weeds, for two reasons: their petite orange and pink blossoms brighten the surroundings and the caterpillars get their fill! Toward the latter part of the summer the butterfly weeds are devoured as often there are 8 or more caterpillars devouring a plant.

Looting caterpillars 8/28/17 (Ester Weber)
This caterpillar is chewing one of the last leaves on this plant. It is now completely stripped and now it's not so pretty in my flower garden.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Godliness With Contentment Is Great Gain"  Video  A song based upon 1 Timothy 6:6 written and sung by our friend Mike Book. We find it helpful when Scripture is set to music and in many cases this becomes the basis for memorization.

"Still"  Video  Legacy Five

* "Cajun Navy rescuer says looters shot at them, tried to steal boats"

Finally today:

Mollie with stuffed toy 8/28/17 (Ester Weber)
Ester captured Mollie fast asleep cradling her stuffed piggy. Dogs that are ornery are much like children who are ornery; when they're sleeping they look so sweet and innocent especially when they're clutching their favorite stuffed animal! (This photo is not staged.)

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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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