A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Message summary: Be sure to keep watching yourself.
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“Watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16a). "Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward" (2 John 1:8).
What a blessing that we have been seeing more and more eagles over our property with several sightings yesterday. I was excited when I spotted a large nest in a tree but my excitement waned when a hawk suddenly flew out.
The eagle imagery in the Bible is for us best expressed in the well-known text from Isaiah. "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:31).
We often consider the soaring expertise of an eagle but today let us consider the eyesight. The eagle eye is among the strongest in the animal kingdom, with an eyesight estimated at 4 to 8 times greater than that of the average human. An eagle is said to be able to spot a rabbit 2 miles away.
As we face these trying times it would be great if we had vision like an eagle regarding the future, especially our future. If we knew what the outcome would be in regard to so many unknowns. When will sanity return! But today let us consider another form of vision, looking within, watching ourselves.
Let's hear a word from two apostles this morning. And let's heed a warning, "Watch yourselves". We may see it as more spiritual to look to the Lord or more caring to look after others, but here we are told to look inward, to watch yourselves. Paul had said to the Corinthian believers years earlier "Examine yourselves" (2 Corinthians 13:5). Self-examination can be painful, it can be humiliating, or, sadly, it can lead to pride. But if we follow the words of Scripture it can be healthy.
The first text is written by Paul. It's a simple command to understand but it can very difficult to habitually practice. "Watch your life and doctrine closely." Another way this might read is, "Watch how you live and what you believe". The NASV states, "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching".
We need to continually watch our life and doctrine closely. How does our life reflect the character traits demonstrated by Jesus? How does our doctrine line up with that taught in the Holy Scriptures?
Our second similar text was written by the apostle John. Some may struggle with the phrase, "that you do not lose what we have accomplished". It just may not fit their neat theology that we can lose! However I believe we do well to take these words and all Scripture seriously. Never let your theological package blind you to the plain meaning of a text. The context deals with deception and the false teaching that had come into the church and is ever a danger.
I want to receive a "full reward". I don't fully understand the nature of rewards in heaven, but the Scriptures clearly indicate that they will have a place. Let's press on today in our faith in God and service to the King! And be sure to keep watching yourself.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, because he and his people would not listen to the warnings of God, You permitted the Babylonians to bind King Manasseh and take him as a captive to Babylon. There, when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before You, the God of his fathers and repented, reversing all that was abominable. We invite You to get our attention, even when it hurts, so that we regularly examine our hearts to see if we are wholeheartedly walking with You and leaving a path for others to follow - the path that leads to righteous living here and life everlasting over there. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: Each time I read through the books of Kings and Chronicles I am amazed at the way one king will do that which is right in God's eyes, but the son who follows is evil, over and over. That's the way it was with Hezekiah who was a righteous king, dealt with some pride issues along the way, but after searching within his heart, got things right with God. Yet his son, Manasseh, who followed him was evil and as a pagan ruled completely opposite of what his father had modeled. But God has a way of getting our attention and Manasseh wised up after being afflicted by the Babylonians. After reading much about his wickedness, finally we read about his repentance and the reverse course he took as he destroyed that which exalted Satan and restored that which honored God. It's a wonderful story of the riches of God's pardoning mercy, and the power of his renewing grace much like the Prodigal Son in Luke. If you'd like to read this amazing turnaround read 2 Chronicles 33. It has been on my heart the past couple days, thus reflecting my thoughts as I wrote the prayer today, as we need to regularly examine our hearts.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource
"They that Wait Upon The Lord" Video Mercy Mushaisano followed by some old-fashioned preaching using the eagle as an illustration. This has an outstanding video of eagles.
Our neighborhood eagle
Yesterday this eagle was feeding on a creature in the freshly mowed rye field across from our house.
After awhile the eagle soared into the air.
I walked through the rye field behind my house wondering if the large nest I could see from a distance high in a tree might be an eagle's nest. Alas after I got near it a large hawk flew out! My next exploratory trip when it gets a bit warmer will be to walk down along Donegal Creek across from our house.
Last night's sunset from our picture window as the skies cleared.
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