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Friday, November 9, 2018
Lancaster Costco parking lot
Our Lancaster Costco parking lot looks nice on a bright fall day.
Click to enlarge

"Passions Forge Fetters"

Message summary: We can see the awful consequences of those whose "passions forge their fetters".

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control" (Proverbs 25:28). "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled" (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

Don't Drink and Drive!
For many years now it's common to see makeshift roadside memorials for those who have died in a traffic accident. For the last several weeks traveling north out of Lancaster on Rt. 222, the main four lane highway to Philadelphia, we have been passing this sign beside a roadside memorial with an unmistakable message, "Don't Drink and Drive!"

It doesn't take a rocket scientist or brain surgeon to interpret this message to figure out what happened. We wonder what impact this is having on the thousands who pass it every day and consider what effect if such a sign were required wherever a DUI related fatality occurred. This is one image you will never see on the flashy ads for booze with attractive young people just going out for a good time, any more than you would see an emaciated, dying cancer patient in a tobacco ad.

One of the most common discussions we have in the course of our chaplaincy work is addictions, whether personal addictions or those of a family member. Just yesterday I spoke to a man who is dealing with emphysema due to a longstanding tobacco addiction. Another whose son has had a continual battle with opioid addiction. Then a follow-up with a woman and good report about her mate who is overcoming alcoholism and thankfully staying on course away from the poison. One of the best voice mails I ever received was a call from him thanking me for helping him in this matter.

There's an old chorus from our Bible School days that speaks of the fetters (chains) that keep us bound in our life of sin. The word, "fetter" is a word
not used often these days but it is used in various hymns describing the wonderful freedom that Christ brings.

Jesus breaks every fetter,
Jesus breaks every fetter,
Jesus breaks every fetter,
And He sets me free!

Some 250 years ago British statesman Edmund Burke wrote,

"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

You might need to read the above quote several times to more fully grasp the message that Burke conveys. Clearly, one of the great virtues lacking in our day is that of self-control. As Burke observed we can see the awful consequences for those whose "passions forge their fetters". The moral chains on our own appetites (self-control) are disregarded in the heat of passion. Actions are justified and consequences forgotten until they're unavoidable.

But today we want to challenge those who have been set free from sin through salvation in Christ.

Today's second verse is a powerful reminder of how exercising self-control is a major responsibility of the believer, since "we belong to the day". Earlier in the chapter Paul contrasted the day with the night and darkness (v. 5). As God's children we now live in the light of God's truth and His revelation. We no longer reside in the domain of darkness where evil presides.

"Let us be self-controlled." We are called to live self-controlled lives. Self-control is the ninth and final "Fruit of the Spirit" listed in Galatians 5:22,23 and is one of the most deficient virtues found in the lives of believers in this present generation. We can easily fall into a lax state of practicing self-control and thus the call to self-control is repeated all through the New Testament.

I am aware in my own life of the need to keep this discipline ever before me. In our hearts we can all likely identify areas where we lack self-control. It may be in our eating, use of our time, finances, spiritual disciplines, our temperament or in a host of other areas. Some struggle to overcome destructive habits while others may need to apply self-control in their attitudes toward anger, worry, jealousy, or any other form of ungodly attitudes or behavior.

Take some time to reflect on those things in your life that have become fetters. Where do you need to exercise self-control? Remember, passions forge fetters.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as children of the light, we no longer desire the attitudes or behavior we practiced when living in ignorance where darkness reigns. After dying to self You took up residence and equipped us with the necessary tools to battle our struggle against sin. Help us to throw off everything that hinders, entangles, or identifies us with the enemy. Your discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in Your holiness. Self-control is a difficult exercise since it requires self-denial, restraint and full surrender to You. The reward follows as we enjoy a wonderful harvest of right living. Not only will it benefit us personally, but it will result in a testimony of thanksgiving to You, make us more like Christ and be an example to those we seek to influence. We ask Your help in the name of Jesus. Amen.

During November it is the custom for the Amish to have weddings on Thursdays resulting in even more Amish traffic than usual. At our first company this morning one of the salesmen said he got behind what seemed like 40 buggies or so as they were making their way to an Amish wedding.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus Breaks Every Fetter"  Video  Vestal Goodman

"Chain Breaker"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band Observant readers may recall we suggested this song last week but it just fits again so well for this message!

"Jesus Saves"  Video  Travis Cottrell

Finally today:

Smucker laser workers
We see a lot of interesting sights in the course of our chaplaincy visits.
In this photo Derek and Nick are positioning a vacuum lift that will transfer a 2,000 pound sheet of 1 inch steel onto a laser cutting machine at Smucker Laser.

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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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