A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Daily Encouragement on
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Late yesterday afternoon we had several paragliders flying over our rural neighborhood. Yesterday afternoon when I was mowing our lawn two Amish spring wagons passed by one after the other. The second had a raised back seat that looked like the old jalopy on the Beverly Hillbillies (photo). All the seats were filled with what appeared to be the Amish grandfather sitting in the middle in the back. They all smiled and waved, appearing to all be out for a nice summer ride.
"The Deceitfulness Of Sin" (Part 2)
Message summary: Today may we all be aware of sin's deceptiveness and the peril of having a hard heart. "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
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"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right. You are full of all kinds of deceits and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:10).
Some people (probably many) are desperate to get attention and fame. A recently reported stunt is opening a carton of ice cream in a store, licking it, and then placing it back in the freezer for some unwary customer to buy. Yuck! Of course this is posted on social media with the goal of "fame". We see a continued breakdown in our society which is ultimately a result of forsaking God and His ways which includes practicing the "Golden Rule", "Do unto others as you would have then do unto you" (Matthew 7:12).
This lawlessness was demonstrated in a stunning way last week at a Walgreen's store in Philadelphia with some 60 young people storming in and looting the store. Various store cameras chronicle their actions. Let's hope this lawless act doesn't catch on.
It all goes back to "the deceitfulness of sin", a phrase used in yesterday's text. Today let us examine a rather obscure text for a lesson on deception.
The background: On his first missionary journey Paul and Barnabas were in the city of Paphos on the western tip of the island of Cyprus. Sergius Paulus, the proconsul [military commander], summoned for Paul and Barnabas because he wanted to hear the Word of God. What a great joy it must have been for a leading government official to have an earnest desire to hear God's messengers expound on the Word of God. No mention of separation of church/state debate in this passage. And you can be sure Paul and Barnabas didn't present some "feel good" message!
But whenever and wherever truth is proclaimed there is always some form of opposition. "But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith" (Acts 13:8).
The daily verse is a very direct rebuke by the Spirit-filled Apostle of Christ to this sorcerer. The Scripture tells us that "Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said 'You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right. You are full of all kinds of deceits and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?'" (Acts 13:9,10).
The lesson: Today Paul's rebuke of Elymas sounds so harsh and unkind to many. He sure wasn't practicing the mealy-mouthed tolerance so common in our day. But he was doing what preachers and all true men and women of God should do when confronting evil. For the sake of Sergius Paulus and the other hearers, and for the integrity of the Gospel, Paul spoke the truth.
We are distressed as we see events such as described in our opening paragraphs and so many being hardened by sin's deceitfulness in our day. The impact on our culture can readily be seen. The prophet Isaiah wrote, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil". Micah wrote of those "who hate good and love evil" (Micah 3:2), and the people during Malachi's time had wearied the Lord with the convoluted notion that, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them" (Malachi 2:17). An attitude some have today.
Today may we all be aware of sin's deceptiveness and the peril of having a hard heart. Proverbs 4:23 states "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life".
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Scripture quotes or allusions in prayer are from Psalm 10:13; 12:8; 10:14; Philippians 2:10,11
Another faint view of a paraglider gliding over our neighbor's house across our front yard.
The above and following photos were taken during Brooksyne's morning walk on our road early this morning. Due to lots of rain the field corn is already at the stage of showing only rooftop views at a distance. It sure makes for a lot of green in our neighboring pastures and happens to be Brooksyne's favorite time of the year, probably mine as well.
This view is taken catty-cornered from our house. Due to a little fog in the distance the farm views are not so visible but Brooksyne enjoyed snapping a photo of the flowers and trees and corn in the distance.
Just around the bend from our house sits Kraybill Mennonite Cemetery, surrounded by the white fence, with graves as early as the 1700's. We now have a number of friends and acquaintances buried there and someday our bodies may also be buried there though our souls will be at home with Christ!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Lion and The Lamb" Video Big Daddy Weave This song is a nice follow-up to our prayer today. "Oh every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb."
I don't care to provide links to the evil activities described in the first two paragraphs but a quick search will locate what I wrote about.
Update on Ester: A number of local readers know of Ester's most recent health setback so I will give an update, which is good news today. Ester has been on coumadin (warfarin) for many years because of her atrial fibrillation. Due to her erratic supratherapeutic INR numbers (very high), she was admitted to Hershey Medical Center on Monday. Her numbers had been climbing since the fourth of July, but when her home monitor would no longer record the results we were certain that it was due to very high numbers and it was time to go to the hospital. Sure enough, her INR in the ER was 17.6 - a very critical stage which is dangerous for the possibility of her bleeding out. She was given 15 mg of Vitamin K over the next two days and was discharged late yesterday afternoon with a reading of 7.0. Still a high but indicative that the numbers were falling. She just took her test a few minutes ago and it read 2.8 which is within therapeutic range, so we are rejoicing that the current crisis is now over. She is carefully monitored through the anticoagulation clinic at HMC and we're very thankful for the home kit which keeps us on top of things. There are several theories as to why she spikes sporadically to such critically high numbers, so we'll see if we can defeat this ongoing challenge she faces from time to time.
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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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