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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Lebanon County farm near Blue Mountain
Lebanon County farm near Blue Mountain as seen from our Tuesday morning back-road wanderings.
Click on photo to enlarge

"A Message To All Who Wander"

Message summary: Today let us make a firm resolve to listen to the truth and not wander off into myths.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:3-5).

On Tuesday, after we hiked a small portion of the Appalachian Trail, we drove over for a second chaplaincy visit that doesn't require our arrival at a specific time, so I purposefully wandered. Rather than getting back on I-78, the most direct route, I took a country road along Blue Mountain. I knew that as long as I stayed alongside the mountain ridge heading southwestward I would get to where I was going. You see,
I like to wander. But I was not lost! Wander in this sense means to go idly about.

"Not all those who wander are lost" is a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien in "The Lord Of The Rings". This quote has the sense that just because you have no fixed abode and have a nomadic lifestyle, it does not necessarily mean that you are living without purpose. Just because a person continually travels does not mean they are lost.

Well I don't have a nomadic lifestyle and I do have a fixed abode but I still like to wander when I travel (and after 44 years of marriage Brooksyne has gotten used to my peculiar ways). People have commented on our photos in Daily Encouragement to the effect "You must travel a lot". We do travel but most of our photos are local and taken in the course of wandering a bit off the main path as we go from workplace to workplace with the exception of our vacation travels.

But there are certainly several ways we don't want to wander. This is in the sense of the word meaning "to go astray morally". We hear about people wandering in their marriage and even wandering eyes.

Ro­bert Ro­bin­son wrote in 1758 "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love" (From the hymn, "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"). It doesn't matter where you live, it doesn't matter how long you've walked with God, and it doesn't matter the kind of family you were brought up in. We all know our heart's propensity to wander and behave in a sinful manner, and when sin goes unchecked for a period of time, it turns our hearts away from God.

Today's text speaks of those who "will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths". "Wander" here means literally to turn off the course. There are many myths and they vary by the age we live in. There are surely myths believers in previous generations were tempted to wander into that would no longer be tempting today, but there are some they couldn't imagine from their generation that are a great source of departure today.

Consider this note from the Precept Austin online commentary: "In Romans Paul taught that when individuals "exchanged the truth of God for a (the) lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator", the consequence of "turning away their ears from the truth" was that "God gave them over to degrading passions… " and when "they did not see fit to acknowledge God (Who is the essence of Truth) any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

Today let us make a firm resolve to listen to the truth and not wander off into myths.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, You speak to the hearts of those who have no relationship with You; either because they have not heard, they heard but rejected the message of salvation, or they once walked with You but have wandered away from the faith. Surely Your arm is not too short to save, nor Your ear too dull to hear those who respond to Your calling. In Christ Jesus we who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ and we will be forever grateful. Help us to listen to the truth and not wander off into false doctrine or endless myths. Amen.

Definition of "wander":
1a: to move about without a fixed course, aim, or goal
1b: to go idly about: RAMBLE wandering around the house
2: to follow a winding course: MEANDER
3a: to go astray (as from a course): STRAY wandered away from the group
3b: to go astray morally.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Shane and Shane

Here are some more photos from our rural Pennsylvania wanderings on Tuesday morning:

Wandering in the first sense of this message (wandering as we travel) can be a blessing and is an expression of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Yesterday I was at a company only about ten miles from an Appalachian Trail trail-head. I spoke to a young man who lives nearby but he had never been on the Appalachian Trail. I just can't imagine not being more curious than that which reminds me of a story of a visitor to Niagara Falls, New York who had stopped to ask a local about directions to the falls. The local told him he had heard of them but had never been to see them! For westerners that's like someone being ten miles from the Grand Canyon and never going to see it!

Berks County barn
Berks County barn

Berks County farm
Berks County farm
Click on photo to enlarge

Lebanon Valley mountain scene
Lebanon Valley mountain scene
Click on photo to enlarge

I-81 bridges, Swatara Gap
We even meandered underneath the I-81 bridges over Swatara Creek.

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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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