A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, June 14, 2021
Saturday we attended a huge car show sponsored by a local church with reportedly 1000 vehicles on display. Without a doubt this 1928 Ford Model AA Dump Truck was the most unusual one. It's for sale, all accessories included, if interested. Perhaps it's a distant cousin to the Jed Clampett truck from "Beverly Hillbillies", a cut-down 1921 Oldsmobile Model 46 Roadster.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"The Peril Of Clinging To Worthless Idols"
Message summary: Good works are an outflow of God's amazing grace, not a replacement! Accept God's generous grace today and proclaim with the Palmist, "But with You there is forgiveness" (Psalm 130:4).
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them" (Jonah 2:8).
In April we visited Cape Cod for several days intending to ride our bikes although it ended up being a rainy, cold weekend. However we made the best of it with some sightseeing, including a trip to Wellfleet to visit the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Wellfleet just made the news due to a Bible-like experience a lobsterman had on Friday off the coast of Cape Cod. Michael Packard was taken in by a whale and was in the whale's mouth before getting spit out. (See below for link to video and article.)
He detailed the incident in a Facebook post Friday afternoon.
“Hi everyone, I just want to clarify what happened to me today. I was lobster diving and a humpback whale tried to eat me. I was in his closed mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before he rose to the surface and spit me out. I am very bruised up but have no broken bones.”
Can you imagine the call he made to his wife on the way to the hospital, "I just got swallowed by a whale". This most unusual experience may very well bring about an epiphany in his life story. I know already where your mind is wandering off to, as you're already considering the first story of a man swallowed by a whale, though he spent a lot more time in the belly of the whale as God was dealing with spiritual issues in his life.
Jonah was running from God's call and experienced a very unique consequence in his famous whale encounter. But he had an epiphany while in the whale and seemed to come to his senses as revealed in his prayer (Jonah, chapter two) which includes today's text. He makes a powerful theological point concerning, "Those who cling to worthless idols".
What were the "worthless idols" Jonah was referring to in the daily text? Likely he meant the objects of worship that we normally associate with idolatry in the Bible. Bible commentator Albert Barne's considers worthless idols as, "All people's idols, idols of the flesh, idols of intellect, idols of ambition, idols of pride, idols of self and self-will. People 'observe' them, as gods, watch them, hang upon them, never lose sight of them, guard them as though they could keep them. But what are they? 'lying vanities,' breath and wind, which none can grasp or detain, vanishing like air into air."
However in light of the current political season here in America, regardless of party, candidate or ideological position, many place their hope in a person, program, or a cause to make things right. I sure see a tendency for many people to idolize a person. The first part of the verse is very descriptive, "Those who cling to worthless idols." There are many "worthless idols" we can cling to.
But today let us consider a worthless idol concerning those who grew up in church and in religious homes and yet have an inferior understanding of God's love and grace. They may be extra hard on themselves and judgmental toward others. They may have difficulty accepting God's forgiveness or His assurance of their personal salvation that leads to peace and the abundant life.
Trying to attain righteousness with God through good works is a "worthless idol" that many cling to and thereby "turn away from God’s love for them". The clear New Testament teaching on this matter states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9). This leads to truly resting in the all sufficient grace of Jesus and having a lasting and peaceful assurance of our salvation!
The Bill Gaither Vocal Band sings a great song, "Child, You're Forgiven" which has a powerful expression in it: "I've traded performance for amazing grace. What a relief, I can't earn my way." Do you identify with the expression, "What a relief, I can't earn my way?"
The late Jerry Bridges notes, "God's grace does not supplement our good works. Instead His grace overcomes our bad works, which are our sins." Erwin Lutzer observes, "When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God's generous grace."
Good works are an outflow of God's amazing grace, not a replacement! Accept God's generous grace today and proclaim with the Palmist, "But with You there is forgiveness" (Psalm 130:4).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as we experience amazing grace through Your forgiveness of our sins it compels us to show compassion to others who have not yet applied Your grace to their lives. As Jude writes, we are to "Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." In reaching out to those living in sin help us to be discerning, wise, and cautious, always loving the sinner but never embracing or justifying the sin. May our redeemed lives be living examples of the freedom we enjoy in this life after we forsake worthless idols in exchange for the grace that is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Child, You're Forgiven" Video Gaither Vocal Band
"Wonderful Grace of Jesus" Video Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Video about lobster diver.
Article about Massachusetts lobster diver swallowed by humpback whale off Cape Cod coast.
Today we will show photos of several cars we saw at the car show on Saturday
Sharon and Phil with Sharon's '67 Chevy Nova. We see Sharon each week when we visit JK Mechanical and she has become a good friend. Phil has been a mechanic for 51 years and currently repairs and maintains U.S. Postal vehicles. Sharon's car is a reminder of our "antique" age since Brooksyne drove a white '64 or '65 Chevy Nova her senior year in high school. Her folks surprised her in her freshman year at CBC with a '71 orange Ford Maverick which we both drove in 1976 after we got married.
Donna, another good friend from a company we served as chaplains for over 12 years, was there with her brightly decalled mustang. At 11:30 that morning engines were revved up altogether and this roaring mustang was among them.
It's nice to talk with owners and they are pleased to have you look at their restoration including beautiful bucket seats in the interior. This fella is from nearby Columbia and we have seen his truck often. Brooksyne teased him that she would be surprised to see lumber loaded in the back of his pristine truck bed. He agreed that she would not!
We especially enjoyed the restored old trucks.
There's no mistaking which team this Camaro owner is for!
I read a story about a snowflake New York Times reporter being triggered by seeing trucks with American flags on them. This one would probably send her to the hospital!
This morning we had our air conditioning system tuned up by two service techs from JK Mechanical. We serve this company as chaplains so we personally know the technicians. Tom (near the unit) has been with the company since long before we started in 2010 and Chad (left) is a recent graduate and intern from Stevens Institute of Technology. We commend these two men and those who do jobs like this that keep things going. They have been very busy which can take a toll especially in the extreme heat. Tom was talking with me as I was preparing to take this photo and rested his hand between the decking floor and this privacy fence right where he is now standing. Suddenly he was startled as a wet "critter" began sniffing his hand so he immediately withdrew his hand from the deck. We had quite a chuckle as we informed him that our dog, Mollie, was on the other side of the privacy fence and checking him out.
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