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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Waterville Bridge, Appalachian Trail, Swatara Rail trail 7/28/20
Waterville Bridge, Appalachian Trail, Lebanon County, PA
Click on photo to enlarge

"Kill The Spider!"

Message summary: We do well to seriously heed the words of the Holy Scripture. What unwholesome or harmful matter(s) are you playing around with? We appeal to you, take decisive action and put it to death. Kill the spider!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).

RatEarly yesterday morning we stopped to visit a large group of temporary employees who are working in a huge abandoned warehouse that was previously a Bethlehem Steel mill in Lebanon, PA.

The working conditions are rather challenging with the extreme summer heat we're experiencing. But especially catching Brooksyne's attention was the report that large rats have been spotted on the premises! Coming into work one morning employees discovered during the night the hungry varmints turned over a garbage can looking for goodies. Mice and their bigger cousins, rats, have always put fear in Brooksyne as we've had too many of our own experiences with these destructive rodents.

Then we visited our second company where Brooksyne visited with several ladies in an open office area. She told me this story as we were biking later that morning before heading to our third workplace:

"I was visiting with Jen when I noticed her eyes getting as big as saucers. She was no longer making eye contact with me but shifted them to the wall behind me. Then I heard another woman ask in an exaggerated tone, "WHAT IS THAT?" as she was also staring at the same wall. By their actions I was wondering if they were witnessing an earthquake in slow motion. I turned around to see what was getting the ladies attention when I saw another employee seated at her desk holding a paper napkin in her hand, but motionless.

WaspThen I spotted the unwelcome intruder clinging to the center of the oversized white board that leaned against the wall. It appeared to be a wasp. Then it dawned on me as to what was putting the fear of God in these ladies. I asked if anyone had a flyswatter to which they all shook their head and replied "NO!" Then I saw the napkin in Lauren's hand and asked if I might have it to which she surrendered. I quickly covered the intruder, squeezed the life out of it, and tossed it in the trash can. I chuckled as I was leaving the circle of friends and said to them, "Thanks for letting me be a participant in your dramatic rescue." Upon leaving I thought to myself, I sure hope I pinched the insect hard enough to kill it, as I wouldn't want it to come back to life, fly out of the trash can, and overpower these women again with no hero to rescue them this time :)."

When Brooksyne told me that she immediately killed the intruder it reminded me of the attitude we must have toward sin. We must heed the apostle Paul's forthright words in our daily text: "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).

We consider those who "play around" with a destructive behavior or attitude in life. Initially it seems harmless and of little consequence. (Satan's devices are always portrayed as "harmless" since he's a master masquerader completely obscuring the harmful consequences). But in time the individual's proclivity to sin grows and overpowers him or her until it becomes a very destructive and uncontrollable force.

Let's consider the story of a man who prayed that God would forgive him for his addiction—but didn't repent or stop sinning. He regularly went forward at the end of the worship service to kneel and often prayed, "Lord, take the cobwebs out of my life". One Sunday morning his pastor, tired of hearing the same old prayer, knelt beside him and cried out, "Lord, kill the spider!"

It often takes radical action to break a sinful habit. We need to do more than ask God for cleansing each time we succumb to temptation. We must take whatever steps are needed to get the cobwebs out of our life and that requires our getting rid of the spiders. We must confess our sin and determine to be done with it.

Then we must feed our mind with God's Word and do all we can to stay away from the people, reading material, media or other sources that tempt us to sin. That's what Christ likely meant when He said, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out" (Matthew 5:29). Kill the spider and you'll get rid of the cobwebs. Remember this important distinction: admitting (confessing) the sin is an essential step but we are also called to repent and eradicate the sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We do well to seriously heed the words of the Holy Scripture. What unwholesome or harmful matter(s) are you playing around with? We appeal to you, take decisive action and put it to death. Kill the spider!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I ask you to help me to be serious about dealing with everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles me. Help me not to play around with these matters that can become a stronghold and destruction. Put to death any desire or behavior which resurrects my earthly nature. I want to be separated from that which is evil and wholly consecrated to You. It is in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"No Longer A Slave"  Video  Zach Williams

Tiger lily flower on Swatara Rail trail 7/28/20
Audrey, owner of the second company we visited, told Brooksyne to stop by her house at the end of the lane as she wanted her to have a fresh arrangement of flowers she picked earlier that morning. After Brooksyne walked around the back yard viewing the many kinds of flowers, Sharene walked out of the house with this beautiful arrangement and handed it to her. Sharene has worked for Audrey for about ten years and said she loves to be around the flowers every summer that Audrey and Ken plant in their front and back yards as well as the warehouse just up the lane.

Between chaplain visits in Lebanon County yesterday we rode our bikes through Swatara Gap.

Abandoned Road section of the Swatara Rail trail 7/28/20
A unique feature of the Swatara Rail trail is that for a long section it uses an abandoned highway, essentially a road to nowhere as we found out when we tried to go farther after the trail cut off to the rail grade.

I-81 bridges at Swatara Gap, Blue Mountain 7/28/20
The I-81 bridges at Swatara Gap, Blue Mountain. I-81 was built in the 1960's and we suspect it replaced the old abandoned highway that is now a section of the rail trail.

Waterville Bridge of the Swatara Rail trail 7/28/20
Waterville Bridge was built in 1890 and used for many years in northern Pennsylvania over Pine Creek in Waterville before being disassembled and erected over the Swatara Creek as a non-vehicle bridge for the Appalachian Trail.

Abandoned Road section of the Swatara Rail trail 7/28/20
The remains of a lock in the Union Canal.

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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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