A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Friday, November 26, 2021
"A Consideration Of Two Fridays"
Message summary: Annually there are just two Fridays that I can recall that have an adjective in front of them; Black Friday and Good Friday.
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"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:5,6).
Years ago I shared a brief devotional with a group of employees when I noticed Brooksyne discreetly shaking her head back and forth with a slight anguished smile on her face. I must have said something wrong as I am prone to doing. I figured it must not be that serious so I just went on. Later she asked me if I knew what I had said. Well, I did remember what I said but couldn't think of anything I said that was off topic. Then she told me that when I referred to "Black Friday" I had misspoke and said "Good Friday" instead.
Well that got me musing. Annually there are just two Fridays that I can recall that have an adjective in front of them; Black Friday and Good Friday.
The standard reason given for why today is called "Black Friday" is that "it's on this day the retailers begin to turn a profit--going from red ink to 'being in the black'". So in this sense for retailers it's also potentially a good Friday! The earliest known published reference to this explanation occurs in the Philadelphia Inquirer for November 28, 1981. But the day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of the United States Christmas shopping season since 1952 before either of us was born.
Black Friday is a prime day for buying and selling. Whether we're buying gifts for others or for ourselves. Black Friday is all about stuff and more stuff. All month long we've been seeing TV ads, newspaper ads, email ads, etc. about Black Friday deals too good to pass up. Of course for some stores Black Friday began on Thanksgiving and even before for some specials. It seems I even read of some as early as October urging "buy now" due to the supply chain problems. Just this morning a selection of subject headers in my email were, "The Black Friday countdown begins!", "Rise and SHINE! Black Friday Shopping Deals Start NOW!", "Black Friday Sale: Buy 3, Get 3 Free!" and many more.
How timeless the daily verse is for the Black Friday mentality! Although, surely applicable to the initial readers and to believers of all generations, it seems to especially fit our prosperous age as our lives are loaded with stuff. Putting a positive spin on such matters there are many Resale and Thrift Stores that raise support for good causes due to our excess material goods being deposited at their redistribution centers. Brooksyne enjoys shopping at these stores and indeed has gotten some very good deals on slightly used stuff. She is also a volunteer cashier.
The writer of Hebrews calls us to, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have". The real issue is being content with what we have, which is really one of the greatest blessings and challenges in life (being contented). This command is followed by a promise that frankly does not read as I would expect it to or even necessarily desire. I would expect the basis of contentment to be something along the lines of a verse many of us have memorized from Philippians, "For God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" which of course is a very valid promise (Philippians 4:19).
But here in Hebrews the call to contentedness is based on this foundational promise; "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you' So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'". The basic foundation of contentedness is the realization that God's presence in our lives is enough and He is our helper. Isn't that a great truth! If we really understand this promise and embrace this truth we will experience ongoing blessed contentedness. May the Lord help us all to do so today, this season, and all through life which will help us to overcome the tyranny of discontent so prevalent on many levels.
Finally today, the other famous Friday is "Good Friday", the prime day for remembering the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross to redeem all who place their faith in Him. We are thankful we have done so and urge all readers to do so as well. That's a gift that far exceeds any gift we will purchase on Black Friday.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, far too many live in a state of discontent where we find ourselves loving things and using people. It distorts our priorities and gives us temporary excitement with things, but leaves us with long-term dissatisfaction in ourselves and our relationships. Help us to enjoy and make useful material things but to place a higher value on greater pursuits such as growing friendships, solid marriage relations, growing godly character, giving without receiving and other worthy goals. We will be content as we rejoice in the fact that whether we are in want or whether we have plenty You have promised that You will never leave us nor forsake us. What a treasured promise for the believer both in times of need and in times of prosperity. We are content when we realize our all-sufficiency is in You, Lord. You will meet all our needs according to Your riches in glory. And we thank you for that other well-known Friday when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Godliness With Contentment" Video Mike Book
"Satisfied" Video Gaither Vocal Band
My brother Pat and his wife Laverne drove down from the Lehigh Valley to join us for our Thanksgiving meal yesterday. (This year their three children took a turn with their in-laws families.) Ester informed us she could take a photo of us all and the table with a selfie. The turkey is hiding behind her!
Our extended family is divided regarding the type of Cranberry sauce we prefer. We all grew up with the kind in the can (left in photo). That's all we knew and is still Pat's preference. When we lived in New England in a cranberry growing area and near Ocean Spray headquarters Brooksyne began making fresh sauce with whole cranberries and that became our preference. But seeking to please Pat we bought a can and it sure brought back some sentimental memories from childhood Thanksgivings, especially the slurping sound as you turn the can upside down to empty it.
We had a lot of variety yesterday including Brussels sprouts which we had purchased last week from a farm wagon picked freshly that morning right from the field. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, from which it gained its name. When I was a child Brussels sprouts came in a frozen box and it wasn't till recent years that I came to know they grow on a stem! If you look for them on the table they are hidden behind Ester's head. Brooksyne roasted the sprouts with zucchini squash, garlic and onion, and sprinkled with feta cheese - one of my favorite dishes!
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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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