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Friday, September 28, 2018

Audrey's decorative mailbox, Lebanon County, PA 9/25/18
Decorative mailbox at Audrey's, a company we serve in Lebanon County, PA

"Calling Evil Good, Calling Good Evil"

Message summary:  As God's children let us hear the words of the apostle Paul and "hate what is evil; cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9).

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).
"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Last night I actually had a dream that I had been nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. Checking the news this morning I can confirm it was just a dream since I didn't read any news reports about it! I think the chance of me being nominated to the Supreme Court is about as likely as being drafted in the 1st round as an NFL quarterback.

In all seriousness, events yesterday gripped many in our nation and clearly there is a deep, deep division on this and many other matters, with strongly held opinions and professed certainty on each side. Today let us examine timeless truths from the Holy Scriptures that address this matter and seek insight and needed discernment.

We have used the first daily text many times in the course of writing these messages over the last 22 years, especially the first part, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil." Evil is increasingly called good and good is increasingly called evil. Evil has existed during every generation after the fall but there are certain periods of time it increases and other periods such as revival when it's tamped down a bit. You can see this in Israel's history with the ebb and flow of good kings and evil kings.

Just 50 years ago the church, whether liberal branches or conservative, was practically unanimous in its understanding of marriage, family and sexuality. For that matter even society was. Hollywood used to have Biblical standards which was reflected in the Hays Code in the 1930's regarding the movies they produced to be viewed by the public!

More recently there's been a steady erosion of morality and calling evil good. This has brought about the inevitable corollary; good is called evil. And with a deep fog of spiritual blindness enveloping our country (and many other countries) people are frustrated and confused. There seems to be a huge lack of discernment.

A nationally known preacher made a statement concerning our present moral condition that was imminently Biblical and sensible regarding the obvious consequences to children being raised without a father's influence. He was excoriated by the national media with the typical charges of being intolerant, narrow-minded and of course hateful.

Among the signs of our culture's moral downfall is the failure to uphold the Creator's standards, which has led to great confusion as to what even constitutes evil.

What a powerful message in our first daily text. "Woe" is a literal transliteration of the Hebrew. In other words it's an expression that sounds the same in Hebrew, English or any language (similar to the word, "hallelujah"). Woe is also onomatopoeia, which is when the formation of a word imitates the natural sound associated with the object or action involved. Consider the sounds of deep, painful wailing.
Isaiah's "woe" is timeless.

Woe is an exclamation of pain and grief. As our culture drifts farther and farther from its Biblical moorings we see the truth of Isaiah's proclamation. Do we also feel his exclamation of woe?

What is the subject of this woe? Three are listed in the daily text.

    1) who call evil good and good evil,
    2) who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
    3) who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Biblical morality is being turned on its head, not only in Isaiah's cultural setting but also in our lifetime. Sometimes I am stunned by that which is so contrary to the right and wrong I was taught as a child accepted by believers and non-believers alike. But today much of what is evil is called good and what is good is called evil.

Unlike the first text that has been used often in 22 years of writing these messages I have never used the second daily text. It's a zinger of truth that we all need to hearken: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Today let us remain faithful to the perspective that God gives us through the inspiration of Scripture. As unpopular, "intolerant", socially insensitive, and politically incorrect as it may be described, let us continue to call evil "evil" and to call good "good".

As God's children let us hear the words of the apostle Paul and "hate what is evil; cling to what is good" (Romans 12:9).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we do not want to be overcome by evil but we want to overcome evil with good, as described in Scripture. And the way we do this is to absorb, maintain, and uphold the Scriptural understanding of good and evil. We pray against authorities, personalities, and persuasive rhetoric that tempt us to compromise or water down the truths we learn from Scripture. The contrasts of light vs. darkness, good vs. evil, the spiritual nature vs. the sinful nature are abundant in Scripture. May the guiding light by which we live our lives in these evil days be the light of Your Holy Word. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Garden shed
As we transition into the autumn season we begin to say farewell to our lush summer plantings such as this view from our deck to our garden shed and arbor. Stephen enjoys the fall lawn cleanup and the sense of giving our property a close haircut while I'd rather plant and maintain the lush growth throughout the summer months!

Luis making hoses
We enjoy showing photos of people at work, living their lives responsibly while also making a positive contribution to society. In this photo Luis is installing hose fittings at Kleen-Rite, a company that provides supplies to the car wash industry. Luis has done this for years. If you have washed you car in an automated car wash it's likely that you have used a hose that Luis made!

Val-Co trapmakers
Mike and Rodney make traps for the Safeguard company. They are plenty busy as fall increases the demand for traps. We have mice that like to move in on us every fall to prove just what I'm saying!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"If There Ever Was a Time"
  Video  The Crabb Family

Finally today:
DJ & Anna Mary Paglia 9/27/18
Yesterday afternoon we were blessed to see DJ and Anna Mary Paglia at Costco. They just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary! DJ is a retired pastor who, although in his nineties, still preaches in local churches. We met the Paglias shortly after moving to Lancaster County almost 18 years ago. We are heartened by the faithfulness and perspective of our elders and appreciate their input into our lives. Anna Mary is just finishing up her free sample of soup she's holding in her hand.

Considering the blessing of older ministers, we met Richard and Elnora Dresselhaus two years ago when we visited San Diego. For many years Pastor Dresselhaus served one of the larger churches in San Diego but has been retired from the pastorate for a number of years now. Yet he continues to write an inspirational article daily called "One For The Road". Today's post, which came as I was preparing our message, provides a great perspective.

Here's today's post:
Prepared for His Coming

Prepared for His coming. This must be the priority of your life.

Jesus told the story of ten virgins – five were wise…with an adequate supply of oil. And five were not…their oil was nearly gone.

Because the bridegroom delayed…only the five wise virgins were ready when he came.

This story is about being ready when Jesus comes.

So…check the level of oil. Are you well supplied with obedience and godly living?

Modern life is filled with much activity and demands.  Sometimes…preparation for eternity gets buried by other pursuits.  If the supply of oil is in short supply – you are unprepared for the coming of Christ.

The oil speaks of holiness…faith…and Jesus’ blood. These three are indispensable…as taught in the book of Hebrews.

 One day Jesus will come.  Be sure you are prepared.

Pastor Dresselhaus posts his message daily to the "One For The Road" blog and you can also sign up to receive his messages through email.

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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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