A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Note: Like many of you we are essentially home-bound due to the COVID-19 virus. We watched our church service online yesterday which sure is different since the pastor and worship team were in front of an empty sanctuary. (note below)
"Interpreting The Present Time"
Message summary: Today's message is consideration of interpreting the present time.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"He said to the crowd: 'When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, 'Itís going to rain,' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'Itís going to be hot,' and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you donít know how to interpret this present time?" (Luke 12:54-56).
On Saturday our friend Jesse and his second oldest son Eli James came over to complete our barn roof project. Jesse is a stone mason by trade (along with farming and managing the Old Windmill Farm). However trade skill-sets are often interchangeable and, although this was his first work on replacing a metal barn roof, he did an outstanding job. Thirteen year old Eli James also worked hard developing good work skills. Children raised on a farm tend to have a good work ethic (carrying out daily chores) and a sense of how to get things done, initially with the prodding of hard working parents.
The culmination of our barn project was placing the cupola back up, which we already had on the original roof. In addition we positioned our new copper Eagle weather-vane at the top. I also inserted a small light in the windowed cupola which comes on at night. It was a pleasant sight as we went outside after dark last night.
After the cupola was mounted Jesse pointed up to the weather-vane and gave me a lesson that I am embarrassed to say it took me 65 years to learn. I had always assumed that the arrow on the weather-vane points in the direction the wind is blowing toward. Is that what you thought? Well, alas the arrow points into the wind designating where the wind is coming from. Being from Missouri (the Show Me state) I had to check this out and verify (see here).
Then Jesse pointed me to our daily Scripture text in the Gospels for consideration. This week I have several messages on my heart concerning our current crisis and had planned one titled a "A Consideration Of Plans" based upon how all of us have seen our plans, big and small, go topsy-turvey. We'll share that message in the next several days, Lord willing.
In our daily passage Jesus is teaching what one Bible version calls "Warnings and Encouragements". It has some harsh teachings, both hard to understand and grasp, and somewhat perplexing it seems to me. Read the entire chapter of Luke 12 to see what I mean.
The daily portion begins with an illustration from ancient weather forecasting. An observation of clouds from the west indicates rain and wind from the south indicates that it's going to be hot. In Israel and many parts of the northern hemisphere this is the case.
I admittedly confess my lack of understanding as to why Jesus seems to harshly address His disciples as "hypocrites" in this passage. This is an example of how many things we will understand better by and by.
But musing on today's text in consideration of the current virus crisis I am intrigued by the phrase, "How is it that you donít know how to interpret this present time?" Now to His initial listeners that was likely their failure to recognize who He was and why He came.
But in a more generalized sense this is a call for seeking to interpret, understand and discern any "present time". My, isn't that needed today for our leaders and for each of us during this present time of crisis?
We need to pray that our leaders would be like the "Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32).
We pray for our governmental leaders who are dealing with this crisis that they will have understanding and lay aside often petty political considerations for the good of the people they serve.
We pray for protection for healthcare workers who are treating patients, for those seeking to develop a cure and vaccine.
We pray for business leaders who face so many challenges and decisions in their business operations that provide employment for millions of people, for those who fear financial ruin due to the abrupt change in our economy.
We pray for leaders in families rising to extra duties as they seek to lovingly protect family members from the virus.
We pray for those who have lost loved ones due to the virus and for those presently suffering from the virus, as well as those recovering but dealing with the after effects.
For all these things we trust that You will work out for our good and for Your glory. Amen.
Be encouraged and hope-filled today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Another note: With the current COVID-19 crisis many people may be more receptive to spiritual and eternal truths. With the closing of many church gatherings we especially encourage our readers to consider how our messages may bless others you know. We expect to have messages for the next several days addressing some aspect of what we are all going through.
The best way is to send an email and share the link to the message you feel would be helpful and encouraging. Although a bit more time consuming we suggest individual emails that begin with a personal note from you. Here's an example a reader sent us that she had used when she shared last Friday's message:
"Below is a Daily Encouragement that I receive each day from Pastor Stephen Weber and his wife, Brooksyne. I am sharing and hope it brings you the same encouragement and comfort that it did me. Iíve been getting it for several years and it is certainly a source of comfort, encouragement and hope to me. We are in this global health crisis together and God is with us."
Interestingly, this reader is a senior manager for Mylan, one of the major drug companies working on a cure for COVID-19.
The link on our email messages are found at the top right as "Web version of this message" on each email post and as "Archived message" on the website. We do not suggest group forwards, especially without a personal note, since these appear spammy to many.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Which Way the Wind Blows" Video 2nd Chapter of Acts In working on this message I recalled this old song from a group we enjoyed in our youth.
You don't know which way the wind blows
So how can you plan tomorrow
Jesus knows which way the wind blows
So give Him your tomorrow
In many ways it seems our hearts are especially receptive at this time whether it be a consideration of a Bible text or a song. Yesterday this song came on in a worship music mix I was listening to and it seems so appropriate for this present time. In fact I expect to share a message on the "Ancient Of Days" in the next several days.
"Ancient of Days" Video CityAlight
Eli James installing the battens on barn. A previous owner built our utility barn about 30 years ago using salvaged materials, including old barn siding. He placed tar paper over the structural framing and then nailed these boards over the tar paper which left cracks of various sizes. I guess his idea was that any water getting through the cracks would hit the tar paper and run down inside the siding. Jesse was concerned water would go through these cracks and rot the wood beneath. The battens improve the appearance!
Jesse also installed matching trim at the gable ends for a finished look which the roof didn't have before.
The cupola is lighted at night with a tiny 2.5 watt LED candelabra bulb.
Finally today, on the lighter side:
For the first time our youngest canine, Sadie Willow, joined us for our Sunday morning worship service. Of course we didn't go far, only to our living room. Ester dressed Sadie up in her Sunday best and she appeared bright eyed and bushy tailed as we sang our worship songs.
But Sadie couldn't stay awake for Pastor Beau's sermon. Unlike a hard back pew where many parishioners catch a few winks sitting up straight during the pastor's sermon, Sadie just laid out comfortably on the sofa cushion, before the closing prayer was offered. Perhaps it was the online viewing that caused her to be drowsy instead of the interactive service we usually participate in on a usual Sunday:).
These are not usual Sundays for believers who worship together, but we're thankful we have the online viewing for an alternative during this critical time. Of course families can also prepare their own worship songs and devotional material which many do. We can't put God in a box as He can be worshiped in any setting when our hearts are aligned with His.
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