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Friday, September 15, 2017

Weaverland Road mums 9/14/17 (Click to enlarge)
Scene from the Farm Wagon Produce Stand on Weaverland Road, which offers many produce items, including flowers such as the fall mums in the foreground and zinnias in the garden background. A young Mennonite couple, or perhaps they are siblings, were cutting zinnias to add to the zinnia bouquets offered at their produce stand.
(Click on photo for larger image)

"Crouching Sin"

Message summary: Today's message is based on God's word to Cain when he became angry that his offering was not accepted. Today's Scripture account is from Genesis 4:1-16.

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"The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering He did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it" (Genesis 4:4-7).

Dottie in barn doorOur cat, Dottie, is now sixteen years old, by far the longest we have ever managed to keep a pet. She now lives in our utility barn where we depend on her to be a mouser and more recently a "chipmunker" (since chipmunks have found a home near our barn). She requires very little care but when making extended trips our neighbors look in on her to see that she has adequate food and water. But several summers ago she pulled quite a surprise.

After our neighbor, Marion, spent some time with her she walked toward the door preparing to leave. Suddenly out of nowhere she heard a loud swish and then felt the heavy pounce of Dottie, complete with clinching claws and teeth, that clamped like a vice grip on her leg. Marion concluded that Dottie didn't want her to leave and she let her know it in the most unfriendly fashion. Interestingly she planned her attack when Marion was least expecting it with her back turned away. Now, when she or Doug looks in on Dottie they don't turn their backs. They watch to see that she doesn't position herself into a crouching position since they want no surprise attack again. Thankfully, Marion recovered quickly and nicely.

Dottie's aggressive behavior, or the way she went about it, brings to mind our Scripture text where God warns Cain, "Sin is crouching at your door…". It is the first recorded conversation God had with Adam's descendants and is a timeless truth with perpetual application to our generation and those that follow. Every believer would do well to heed God's warning and make this personal application:

"Sin is crouching at my door and Satan wants to have me."

This is the first record of temptation and sin among Adam's fallen descendants. It provides a pattern of how sin works in the lives of all of Adam's children and reveals the tragic consequences for the transgressor, Cain.

As we note the progression we see a caution for our own lives as redeemed believers. We are again so powerfully reminded of the need to stand firm in my faith. We must call on God for His sustaining grace to resist the sin that results when we give into the daily temptations Satan hurls at us.

"If you do what is right" - God has revealed His will for our lives so we can know the right way.  We have many other Scriptures telling us the right way, "He hath showed thee…"  (Micah 6:8); "This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isaiah 30:21); "This is the will of God…" (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Truly His "Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).

"Will you not be accepted?" Foundationally being accepted by God begins by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. This is God's appointed means of beginning to "do what is right." Then we pursue the things of God, growing in His grace and knowledge. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good" (Titus 2:11-14).

"But if you do not do what is right." God's warnings are expressions of His love. When we violate God's will as revealed in His Word, we give the enemy a foothold in our lives for further activity and progression of sin.  A grim outcome is revealed in Ephesians that describes the latter stages of this progression: "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more" (Ephesians 4:19). With the flood of evil, pornography and perversions of all sorts sweeping through our world many are at this stage. Deeper and deeper depths of depravity can be expected and the evil acts that accompany it.

"Sin is crouching at your door." The word for "crouching" conveys the posture of a four legged animal as it prepares to attack its prey.  That's the nature of sin and its crouched position is persistent. We must ever be alert, practice self-control, and stand firm, for our "enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

"It desires to have you." Sin continues its desire to enslave you and me. A foundational step in overcoming sin is realizing this. You do well to recognize the enemy's tactic since he desires to have you as well.

"But you must master it." In the New Testament Paul wrote, "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). In the pursuit of godliness we must, by God's grace, master our sinful nature, something as descendants of Adam we all share.

We often hear the phrase, "No one is perfect" and, yes, that is true.  Only God is perfect. But we can be a righteous people if Christ lives in us, if we apply the Scriptures to our lives, and if we resist the "charm" or deceit of our enemy. Stand firm, my brothers and sisters. Resist the enemy who seeks to do evil and engage the Holy Spirit who seeks to mature us in the faith.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, thank You for Your indwelling Spirit that replaces my sinful nature with that of a spiritual nature. I no longer desire the temporary pleasures the world offers, but even as I walk in Your ways year after year, I'm keenly aware that sin is crouching at the door of my heart, always ready to make habitation if invited to come in. Alert my eyes to the strategic warfare of Satan. I want to be vigilant in guarding my heart against his cunning assault. I want to heed the many warnings You give us in Scripture as well as godly messengers who keep watch over my soul. With Your blood applied to the doorpost of my heart, I am purified by Your holiness, and want to stand firm to the end! Amen.

Some scenes from yesterday's travels

Spring wagon 9/14/17
We always enjoy seeing the open spring wagons.

Farmwagon Produce Stand, Weaverland Road 9/14/17
The Farm Wagon Produce stand has quite a variety and unlike most farm stands even takes credit cards!

Farmwagon Produce Stand, Weaverland Road 9/14/17
This week it seems we've moved into fall produce, though we also have one more week of warm summer weather.

Good's Store Scripture sign 9/14/17
We are edified when visiting Good's Store to see the handwritten Scripture verses.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Sin Shall Not Be Your Master" (Romans 6:14-15)"   Video  Integrity Scripture memory songs

"This Is My Desire"  Video  Reuben Morgan

Finally Today:

Corn harvest 9/15/17
We came home from our chaplain visits this morning and saw that the field across from our house was being harvested. Ester captured this photo as she was watching them harvest the corn while we were at work. Just last night Brooksyne said, "Corn will soon be harvested and I don't look forward to that. It's so pretty glistening in the sunlight especially near the time of sunset." Well, she was right and now we have a stark field for a few weeks but soon the farmers will plant a cover crop and we will have 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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