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

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Monday, November 1, 2021

Horse and Buggy along Kraybill Church Road
Our Amish neighbors may have had church services up the road from us yesterday due to horse and buggy traffic on Kraybill Church Road in front of our house.

"Being The Salt Of The Earth"

Message summary: You may feel your salt contribution is insignificant, but it’s not. In concert with millions of other believers you are presenting, flavoring, and preserving the truth, righteousness and order in this increasingly chaotic world. Stay faithful and don't let your salt lose its savor!

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"You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).

Saturday evening we joined with about 1,400 other grains of salt at a banquet in Hershey sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute. This is an organization whose stated purpose is: "A Pennsylvania where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished".

Pennsylvania Family Institute mission statement

The Pennsylvania Family Institute has been around for over 30 years and does an outstanding job of seeking to restrain the flood of evil that is impacting our state, nation and world. Of course there were plenty of current events to demonstrate this flood of evil, but for us the most poignant was a video of a young female track runner from a local high school.

The teen shared that when the track season began a boy joined the team who had been on the boy's cross country team the previous fall. It traumatized her and the other girls on the team, especially in the locker room as he would openly undress in front of them while gawking at them. Their discomfort led some of them to changing their clothes in a port-a-potty.

I really can't begin to fathom how anyone can get so smitten by evil to think this is the slightest bit acceptable, but many have, including leadership at the school.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus told His disciples, "You are the salt of the earth". There have been various interpretations of what this means based on how salt was used in that period of time, most notably as a seasoning and as a preservative. Today we consider the sense of salt being a preservative.

Salt was one of the earliest of all preservatives and was a valued commodity in the ancient world. Without any source of refrigeration, salt became the means of preserving meat from decaying, as the ancients rubbed down meat and fish to preserve it for regular use. Seafarers just a century ago would salt down their fish and meat to preserve them for the long transatlantic journeys. Salt was so important as a corruption preventative in the ancient world that wars were fought over it, and entire economies were based on it. In short, salt could literally make the difference between life and death in a time when fresh food was unavailable. (Precept Austin Commentary)

The church as a whole is a great hindrance to our world in the advancement of evil. Hundreds of millions of individual believers are like grains of salt. Hundreds of thousands of tiny units known as local churches dot the globe. And there are many outstanding parachurch organizations like the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

Part of this call is surely not losing the sense of outrage as we slide deeper and deeper into a moral morass. The world's call to tolerance seeks to mold us and to force us to respond to evil with the attitude "to each his own", which leads to acceptance for every form of wickedness. That which once shocked will be condoned, normal, and even respectable. 

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian believers, "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way" (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Commentators differ on what is holding back this power of lawlessness and the text is indeed a difficult one.

We agree with the interpretation of Warren Wiersbe that "God has a 'restrainer' in the world, which we believe is the Holy Spirit working in and through the church." Follower of Christ, you are like a tiny grain of salt today. You may feel your contribution is insignificant, but it's not. In concert with millions of other believers you are preserving God's truth, righteousness, and order in this increasingly chaotic world. Stay faithful!

Our dominant culture has become so Biblically illiterate that for many people spiritual salt has become objectionable. This will continue to happen as the restraining salty influence of older believers is diminished after passing on to their reward. An increasing number have no knowledge of God or His law; having been raised on the Simpsons, MTV and an often godless public education system. Most have no idea what Sunday School is and few parents, particularly fathers, take their Scriptural mandate seriously (Ephesians 6:4).

Today Christ's followers spread out like grains of salt through the culture that surrounds us. You may see your role at work as necessary but an unrelated part of your Christian ministry. But I believe God uses our work to evenly distribute our presence throughout the culture around us. How salty are you?

You may look around and see but a few grains of salt where you work. In a few cases you may be the only grain. “What difference am I making?”, you might think. At times the difference we make is recognizable. What a blessing it is to lead an individual to faith or to bring encouragement to a fellow believer. But at other times we must practice a steady obedience and in due time we may very well see the impact of our saltiness. Let us stay faithful!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as I commit myself to You this day, I ask that You help me to preserve Your truth, righteousness and order in this increasingly chaotic world. I want the light of Your glory to be present in my conversation so that it is full of grace seasoned with salt, enabling me to know how to respond to each person in accordance to Your Word. May I be like a tree planted by streams of water, bearing fruit each season unlike the godless whom Scripture describes as worthless chaff, scattered by the wind which leads to destruction. We choose not to be overcome by evil but to overcome evil with good. By Your grace and our obedience we will be victorious through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Additional notes:

* Teacher friends and family: We realize there are many good and godly teachers. We both have them in our family and in churches we have served and attended. But we contend the public education system increasingly promotes ungodly behavior such as the caving to the transgender nonsense and many other issues. We are heartened to see teachers stand against this but some have paid a price. In whatever field we serve we must keep our first allegiance to God and His truth. We need to be in prayer for our Christian instructors as they seek to be salt and light in the classroom and in their sphere of influence.

We contend that two critical components of this saltiness is living righteously and expressing truth in love:

1) Living righteously; that is, living in obedience to God’s Word: In the context speaking of light Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). As a result of God’s transforming grace in our salvation we seek to earnestly find out what pleases the Lord. The grace of God “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11,12).

2) Speaking the truth in love. We need to lovingly address and confront sin, first of course in our own life but also as a salty, preserving influence to others. This is now so politically incorrect that some readers will chafe at our words. We can hear people saying, “But that will be seen as judgmental, intolerant, unloving.” Sadly this attitude has silenced so many that those who do speak out are rarer and rarer. I am intrigued by the words in the second passage, “so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Pastor David Guzic writes,
"A key thought in both the pictures of salt and light is distinction. Salt is needed because the world is rotting and decaying and if our Christianity is also rotting and decaying, it won't be any good. Light is needed because the world is in darkness, and if our Christianity imitates the darkness, we have nothing to show the world. To be effective we must seek and display the Christian distinctive. We can never affect the world for Jesus by becoming like the world. The figures of salt and light also remind us that the life marked by the beatitudes is not to be lived in isolation. We often assume that those inner qualities can only be developed or displayed in isolation from the world, but Jesus wants us to live them out before the world. Jesus points to a breadth in the impact of disciples that must have seemed almost ridiculous at the time. How could these humble Galileans salt the earth, or light the world? But they did. Jesus never challenges us to become salt or light. He simply says that we are - and we are either fulfilling or failing that responsibility."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Christ Be Magnified"  Video  The concluding song from our service yesterday at Calvary Church. May Christ be magnified in each of our lives!

Pennsylvania Family Institute table
Ken and Audrey Mull, owners of a company we serve in Lebanon County, invited us to the banquet. We joined with several others, including their pastor Alan Walter, whom I have come to know as we attended conferences together in the past.

PFI banquet
The banquet was held at Hershey Lodge. It was nice to see many friends we have met over our 20+ years of living in this area.

ABF table at PFI banquet
Including a table from our "Crossroads" Sunday School class.

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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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