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Monday, January 15, 2018

Winter sky 1/14/18 (Photo by Ester)
"Snowball" Winter Sky
(Photo taken by Ester)

"The Peril Of Worldly Wisdom"

Message summary: Today we need solid contenders for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Far too many strive to be loved and accepted by the world. Our primary goal should be to please the Lord regardless of what the world thinks of us. Sure, we can and should connect on common ground but we must not seek to accommodate or blend in with that which is not a Christian worldview.

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"This is what the LORD says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres, and wars to own,
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now, compared to this.

Last night we received an email from Mark, a longtime friend who we have worked with as a chaplain. He shared about the trends in his denomination of departure from a solid Biblical worldview.

Leading the departure is an academic who strives to gain respectability and admiration from the world, as is too often the case. The following descriptive quote is informative: He has "a history of harsh criticism of Bible-believers, and clearly continues to exhibit a pattern of cow-towing to the politically correct world and radical Islam. He wants to be their friend. He wants to show how 'loving' and 'tolerant' and 'understanding' he can be. He demonstrates that he is a supporter of Christ-deniers, and has little concern for Christians."

Such reasoning illustrates the peril of worldly wisdom. Today we need solid contenders for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Far too many strive to be loved and accepted by the world. Our primary goal should be to please the Lord regardless of what the world thinks of us. Sure, we can and should connect on common ground but
we must not seek to accommodate or blend in with that which is not a Christian worldview.

In life we need to give our attention to knowing that which matters most and, admittedly, that's a struggle. Above all, I want my life to be characterized as one who "understands and knows" God. There's so much to know, and as Scripture declares, "knowledge will increase" (Daniel 12:4). In our day we have an explosion of knowledge with no end in sight. We expect this, particularly in regard to technology. But the main thing remains the main thing and is so powerfully expressed in our ancient daily Scripture text.

Jeremiah received the message in our daily text from the Lord some 2,600 years ago, yet surely we can see how timely it is for our generation!  The three aspirations, so sought after by people of all generations, are mentioned here: wisdom, strength and riches. These are three perennial sources of human pride which leads to boasting, whether inward or visible to all. But God reminds us of that which matters the most; that we understand and know Him. May we be mindful of this today and order our lives in accordance to this central truth.

Today, as those who love God, may we have a growing knowledge of God and seek understanding regarding His will for our lives as we daily surrender our will to Him. Now, that's true wisdom!

Today let's examine the phrase "but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me", and particularly the word "understand". The Hebrew word is "sakal". It suggests the process of reasoning through complex situations to a practical conclusion. This word is used in Psalm 14:2 where we read that "The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God". God is searching for those who take the data He has revealed in this material universe, who look beyond material reality to the supernatural realm.  Let's face it, most have no understanding in this way. They see only the material.  Very few "seek" Him but the truly wise still do.

It is true that knowledge continues to increase and be more readily available with every passing day. There are also many modifications and debunking of information we once thought to be true but is proven false in the light of further exploration and technological research. But the ancient Scripture does not need modification and its message is ALWAYS relevant for every believer in every corner of the world. Technology does not know the spiritual heart of man, but the Creator certainly does! We gratefully receive the blessings that come when we heed His warnings. 

This understanding has a moral aspect. It is a component of character and not merely intelligence. We all know people who are highly intelligent but lack moral sense, which is reflected in their character and behavior. The ever growing understanding that God wants revealed to us will be reflected in our character. Those that understand God, desire to do His will.  Paul wrote to the Ephesians; "Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is" (5:17). Today, may God give us a growing understanding of His will. May we respond with a heart to obey that will.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You,
there is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best,
You're my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

Be encouraged today.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father help us to remember the only boasting that really matters is that we boast in this alone: that we truly know You and understand that You are the Lord who is just and righteous!  Our own pride and forgetfulness of Your wondrous works and miraculous provisions will eventually lead to defeat. Our self-confidence, based solely upon our own abilities or wisdom, leads to misplaced trust and compromise in our spiritual lives. We consider the Bible heroes and fallen Christians throughout history and in our present lives who have allowed pride to master their thoughts and actions.  The enemy they faced was not on the battlefield, but a stronghold within the confines of their own hearts. Wisdom, strength, and riches are providential blessings that we do not deserve, but gifts that You distribute with delight. May we always heed the warning from I Cor. 10:12, "If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin." In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"All I Once Held Dear"  Video  Joseph Garlington

"Be Enthroned"  Video  Calvary Church Choir (This is one of the songs sang in our church service yesterday and recorded by Ester.) Perhaps you'll find Brooksyne dressed in red!

Finally today:
Our "new" Buick Envision (1/13/18)
Stephen's note: On Saturday we traded in our 12 year old Dodge Caravan for a "pre-owned" later model Buick Envision, a small "crossover". We had a very pleasant buying experience with a salesman named Jerry. Our dads frequently switched vehicles, especially Brooksyne's who was a real "wheeler-dealer". Including this vehicle we have bought ten vehicles in our 41 years of marriage. Ironically my (Stephen's) first car was a Buick Skylark and my dad always liked Buicks so this is sort of sentimental.

Brooksyne's note: Gene Weber, Stephen's dad, was a Buick man but my dad, Brooklyn, was a Ford man. He drove a Ford auto carrier for many years, perfect for his allegiance to Ford. Since Daddy was always trading for vehicles, trailers, cars and trucks, he got my sister and me our first car, a 1960 Renault, by the time I was only 14, my sister was 15. He paid only $50.00 in 1970. We got the trading bug from Daddy and by the time I was 16, Elaine and I had owned three different cars. You ask how could you have a car at that young an age? Well, we had back roads, lived in the country, and truth be told we drove without our license many times. I sure don't recommend that to anyone, but those were the old days, and luckily we suffered no consequences, most especially an automobile accident. We had a lot of experience driving a tractor on our farm.

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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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