The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.

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Friday, August 20, 2021

Tomato harvest
On the way home from our chaplaincy visits this morning we passed this team harvesting tomatoes here on Kraybill Church Road around the corner from our house. These tomatoes are likely going to be processed for sauces.
(click on photo to enlarge)

"A Pandemic Of Deception"

Note: Today's message is a bit longer than usual but is a vitally important lesson.

Message summary: There is a pandemic of deception all around the world, afflicting many. Untold numbers fall ill from its effects which is being packaged and marketed as 100% pure truth. Today seek the Lord to help us understand the present time and show us how to remain faithful and fruitful, as we prayerfully represent His kingdom here on earth.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32). "And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:11-12).

What time is it?I think you might agree that one of the most frequently asked questions in life is "What time is it?" And most of us have an easily accessible means of finding out, for instance I often call out, "Brooksyne, what time is it?" At times she tells me and other times she lectures me, "If you'd wear your watch you would know!

Have you ever counted
the number of time devices you have in your house? Just consider your kitchen: coffee maker, oven, microwave, perhaps an old-fashioned kitchen wall clock. We have clocks on our mobile phones, tablets, computers, DVD players, we have them in every bedroom; and of course watches. I can even verbally ask, "Alexa, what time is it?"

Brian Bell makes this excellent observation: "We are obsessed with time! I believe it is the very first cognitive thought on our mind every morning! (What time is it?)
But are we measuring time correctly? We seem to be most concerned with what time is it now? God seems to be more concerned with the time that is drawing near!"

One critical duty of every serious follower of Christ is to understand the present time.
This of course is not merely knowing what time it is but understanding the times. This is particularly important for those in leadership who have a responsibility for others whether that be a parent, pastor, business leader, government official, or otherwise.

In this technological age we’re bombarded with information. Up to the nineties we heard news on the hour on our radios, evening news on the TV as well as printed newspapers and magazines. Now at any time, wherever we are our smart phones give instant news updates from around the world, along with 24 hour cable news. Some apps give notifications with this attention grabber, "Breaking News". But understanding and discerning what news is really significant is greatly needed.

Romans 13:11I sense in my spirit and in my discernment of the times that we are at a point of some type of significant threshold being reached, a tipping point as some would say. I want God to give me wisdom to understand the present time, and know how to respond properly, boldly and confidently as He more clearly reveals the bigger and more important picture.

2 Timothy 4:3 states, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables". There is a pandemic of deception all around the world, afflicting many. Untold numbers fall ill from its effects which is being packaged and marketed as 100% pure truth.

Understanding the present time requires:

    * cutting through all the clutter
    * practicing clear-minded thinking
    * having Biblically-informed discernment and guidance from the Holy Spirit
    * speaking and acting on the truth in love and boldness

We have a model to follow in the little-known "men of Issachar". Our only insight into these otherwise unknown men is a rather obscure passage from I Chronicles concerning those who joined David in Hebron at the time the kingdom was transitioning from Saul to David. It’s in a part of the Bible we may gloss over following the laborious genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1-9. But there are some powerful gems in this section such as a description of the 50,000 warriors who had "helped David with an undivided heart" (1 Chronicles 12:33).

Understanding the timesLet us consider the spiritual discernment of these men of Issachar, “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do". Issachar was one of Jacob’s sons and his descendants later became a tribe which had amazingly maintained their distinct identity for some 800 years up to the time of David. This verse is found in a section of Scriptures chronicling David’s soldiers.

Two qualities marked these men of Issachar and the special contribution they made during the time they lived.

1) They "understood the times". What a powerful statement! Understanding the times involves spiritual discernment; that is, connecting the dots. We find contemporary events interesting yet often disturbing, frightening and even potentially despairing. But the fundamental focus on properly understanding the times is a steady, growing understanding of God and His Word. "The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure" (Isaiah 33:5,6).

2) They "knew what Israel should do". As a result of spiritual understanding and godly discernment we need God’s direction in these times to keep our life, family and ministry on the right track. A powerful apocalyptic verse at the end of Daniel states, "Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand" (Daniel 12:10).

I wonder if Paul had these men of Issachar in mind when he begins a section, "And do this, understanding the present time" (Romans 13:11).

Today let's seek the Lord to help us understand the present time and show us how to remain faithful and fruitful, as we prayerfully represent His kingdom here on earth.

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father of all wisdom, we who are children of the light, do not live as those in darkness. Instead You have shown us right from wrong, truth from error, and You have given us discernment to test the spirits to see that which is from You and that which is from the evil one. The foundations are shaking as we are flooded with a tidal wave of twists and spins that seeks to confuse or demean the believer. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but rather the authorities from this world. Keep our souls untainted by the spiritual forces of evil like the men of Issachar did. Help us to walk boldly in the conviction power of the Holy Spirit today, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

We want to be wise in the sight of God by interpreting and discerning the mindset of our present culture with Scriptural understanding. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (Proverbs 1:7).

The Life Application Bible study notes shed further insight on this familiar Scripture:

"In this information age knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce. Wisdom means far more than simply knowing a lot. It is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life. The foundation of knowledge is to fear the Lord – to honor and respect God, to live in awe of His power and to obey His Word. Faith in God should be the controlling principle for your understanding of the world, your attitudes and your actions."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"When It's All Been Said And Done"   Video   Slater Armstrong   A great song!

Kleen-Rite wall
This morning we saw this neat wall in the break room at Kleen-Rite, a wholesale distributor of car wash equipment and supplies. It features the employees. What a great way to show the value of your workforce!
(click on photo to enlarge)

Finally today:

Septic tank cleaning
Yesterday I had a necessary but rather unheralded part of rural home maintenance performed when I had our septic tank cleaned out! This has to be done periodically or we'd a real mess. We are thankful for hard workers like our driver who told me he has been doing this for twenty years. Not a job most workers aspire to, but a very necessary one!

Years ago I wrote an article about this most needed home maintenance.

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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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