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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Steel-wheeled tractor on Old Windmill Farm
This very old steel-wheeled tractor on Old Windmill Farm was being used for harvesting the straw.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Perimeter Inspection"

Message summary: A farmer regularly examines the perimeter of his property. We need to practice spiritual self-examination around the perimeter of our lives so that we can correct ourselves on a regular basis to make certain we bring glory to God by the manner in which we live our lives.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"But let a man examine himself" (1 Corinthians 11:28a). "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Our neighbor Mervin has farmed in our area since the 1960's when he bought a farm and moved here with his wife to raise his young family. He doesn't farm much anymore; his wife is now in nursing care and his boys run the farm. He has a large family with many children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren.

Mervin on Gator
But practically daily we have a familiar scene in front of our home. Mervin slowly drives his John Deere Gator up the tractor lane adjacent to the farm field across the road from our house and eventually makes his way past our driveway. He regularly drives around the perimeter of his property, partly for enjoyment and partly to check things out, much like a cowboy riding his horse to check the fencing and livestock.

I've ridden with Mervin on his "route" and he explained to me what he observes; the condition of his plants (corn and soybeans), water conditions, his sheep and baby lambs. He also looks for anything amiss that needs attention. He wants to catch things when they're small and easier to fix, sort of like broken windows policing.

Mervin's habit of examining his physical property has a spiritual application as a reminder of a more important perimeter examination, a spiritual self-examination of our hearts. It's always better to catch problems when they're small.

"But let a man examine himself." Today's first Scripture verse is in the context of participating in Communion at the Lord's Table. Before one eats and drinks of the emblems representing the broken Body and shed blood of Christ he is to "examine himself". Of utmost importance in this personal exam is the answer to these foundational questions,

    * "Do I have saving faith in Christ?" (Romans 10:8,9).
    * "Do I have unconfessed sin in my heart?" (1 John 1:9).

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves." In the second text Paul uses two words ("examine" and "test") to emphasize his point. "Examine" implies the expectation of approval and is thus a very positive function. We need to regularly (I believe daily) examine and test our spiritual walk. Let's confess sin, express faith and practice obedience daily.

This vitally important exam asks this question, Am I "in the faith"? Then there's a sobering follow-up question, "Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"

Self-examination is important so that we correct ourselves on a regular basis to make certain we bring glory to God in the manner in which we live our lives.

Colossians 1:10-12 provides a list of examination items for our consideration. We will phrase them as personal questions:

    * Am I living in a manner worthy of the Lord?
    * Am I pleasing Him in all respects?
    * Am I bearing fruit in every good work?
    * Am I increasing in the knowledge of God?
    * Am I being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might?
    * Am I attaining steadfastness and patience?
    * Am I joyously giving thanks to the Father?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I ask myself, "Am I living in a manner worthy of Your name? Do I seek to please You rather than myself? Does the fruit of my labor reflect the Spirit of Christ living within my heart? Do I have a zeal for the things of Christ and a desire to know Him better, to reflect His character every day in my life? Am I steady or do I sputter in my Christian influence?" Father, in all these things I want to be more like Christ, consistent in the ways that bring glory to Your name and growth in my spiritual nature. I want my spiritual walk to be the most important pursuit of my life as I journey here below so that I may influence as many as possible to live for Jesus, for it is in His name that I pray. Amen.

S. Lewis Johnson in his article "The Place Of Self-examination" comments concerning today's text,

"There are literally millions of professing Christians who need to pay attention to this statement of the apostle. They have entered into a shallow commitment to Christianity, they’ve joined the church, they’ve been baptized or they’ve done other things that might make them think that they are genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. They’ve been encouraged to think that, by men who’ve not been careful to point out that there is more to becoming a Christian than subscribing to a statement. They don’t hate sin. They don’t love holiness. They do not pray. They do not study the word of God. They do not walk humbly with God. These individuals, so many of them stand in the same danger in which the Corinthians stood. And the apostle’s words, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves,” are valid words that each of us should ponder."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Search Me O God"  Video  The Cathedrals

"Search Me O God"  Video  Keaton Reunion 2016   Outstanding family harmony!

Finally today:

Lancaster Applebees wall
Last night I had dinner at the Applebees Restaurant with a friend. They have a large mural of local scenes on their wall and I recognized someone I knew and told our server. He told me that earlier he had someone on another photo that he had served. So I guess they are "real" people!
Click on photo to enlarge

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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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