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Friday, April 1, 2022

Mollie with red bandana 3/17/11
Mollie in March 2011 after we had her for two weeks.

"The Foolishness Of This Age"

Message summary: One of our spiritual goals in life is to be wise in God's estimation, not the standards thrust on us by this present age.  In doing so we may be called a 'fool' by those who think they are wise by the standards of this age. But then remember this: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight".
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"Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become 'fools' so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight" (1 Corinthians 3:18,19).

Today is April Fool's Day. For many it's a day to share harmless pranks. In our home Brooksyne is the master prankster and I am sure she will come up with something to fool me (she hasn't yet). Probably her most memorable prank was eleven years ago when she pulled a prank on Ester. She tells her story:

For her birthday on March 9, 2011 Ester we gave her a 3 month old puppy, Mollie, the border collie we have featured over the years in our photos. Ester picked her out from a litter of four at the humane league and was crazy about Mollie so I decided to have some innocent fun (or so I thought). The best time to fool someone on April Fool’s day is first thing in the morning before they awaken so they haven't had time to consider that it's April Fool’s Day - beware!

I awakened her with these words, "Ester, you have to wake up, I have some very sad news. The humane league called and told me that the puppy we brought home last month was the wrong puppy. We accidentally took Mollie's sibling and we have to take her back and exchange her for the right puppy."

Ester was beside herself! I felt so bad for causing Ester to burst into tears and then expressing her anger toward the humane league for having to return Mollie. In fact she stated that she WOULD NOT take Mollie back. So I could only hold her in suspense for a very short time before blurting out, "April Fools!" To this day Ester is very suspicious of anything I say or do on April 1st and this "harmless" prank in 2011 backfired on me.

Fun pranks on April Fool's Day make life colorful and interesting but today let us examine a serious lesson and a great source of destruction, "the foolishness of this age". We will consider a text that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3:18,19.

Paul begins with a solemn warning, "Do not deceive yourselves". This warning against self-deception is consistent in all versions. The precise wording is interesting since other verses in Scripture use this warning, "Do not be deceived". It's a warning against external forms of deception such as from other people, other teachings or authorities. We sure have to heed this passage as there is a lot of deception coming at us.

But "Do not deceive yourselves" describes self-deception and is the most dangerous form of deception. It’s often easier for us to assess objectively when we’re looking on rather than looking within. Isaiah 5:21 bluntly says, "Cursed are those who seem wise to themselves, and who take pride in their knowledge".

The nature of this self-deception is specified as "If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age". There are many who consider themselves wise by the standards of this age. In fact there is great pressure, especially among young people, to be viewed by their peers as being smart and educated. They certainly would not want to be viewed as "foolish", a label now being used for those of us who do not espouse the foolishness of this world. And the truth is, it doesn't matter how young or old we are, we all like to "fit in" rather than stand out if we can do so.

So many are accepting of any of the latest foolish fads that come rolling down the road. Just consider the sexual anarchy we are experiencing with the progressive desecration of marriage and in recent years all this trans nonsense we are currently flooded with. So many young people and far too many older folks who consider themselves wise by standards of this world might call me an old Fuddy-duddy for not going along with this utter foolishness and evil. (See below for origin of "Fuddy-duddy.)

But the standards of this age constantly change. Many of what was at one time called the most certain findings in science and other fields have changed. In some cases what had been a consensus on an issue 50 years ago or even 20 years ago has now been thoroughly debunked, and who knows what issues now held as certain will be debunked in the future. Actually when we get to the other side of eternity I suspect a lot will be debunked!

The verse continues for those who think they are wise by the standards of this age: "He should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise". It's significant that the NIV placed the quote marks around fool. That is, he will be considered a fool by those who think they are wise. Those who follow Christ are increasingly seen as fools by worldly standards. For instance I testify unashamedly to my long held beliefs which are contrary to what is now popular and faddish. But many in the world now mock at these beliefs; I and others who hold them are now seen by some as "dangerous" or "hateful" for holding these views. *See immediately below today's prayer for a partial list.

One of our spiritual goals in life is to be wise in God's estimation, not the standards thrust on us by this present age.  In doing so we may be called a 'fool' by those who think they are wise by the standards of this age. But then remember this: "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight".

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber 

Praying manDaily prayer: God of all wisdom, we ask for a discerning heart so that we walk circumspectly in Your way and effectively lead the people entrusted to our care. We need Your wisdom to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and error though the world may view us as fools. So many live by opinion polls, current trends, and that which makes them acceptable to the world.  But as we pray in the Spirit and absorb Your Word into our hearts we will want to walk uprightly and do justly. It is a natural outflow of Your wisdom and Spirit that abides within us as we choose to walk in Your ways. Be our vision during the light of day and in the darkness of night; whether waking or sleeping we yield our all to You, Omniscient Father. Amen.

*Regarding the foolishness of our age, sadly many issues that would not have been political or even considered just a few years ago are now a source of divisiveness. Nevertheless we affirm our belief in regard to several issues where the foolishness of this world is currently demonstrated. Here's our most recent "We Believe" statements regarding what we believe that might very well contradict the "wisdom" of this age:
  • We believe in the Creation account as taught in the Bible. The denial and mocking of God as the Creator is the first step for all manner of foolishness.
  • We believe that marriage is ordained by God and is designed to be exclusively between a man and woman until death separates them.
  • We believe that life begins at conception.
  • We believe God created two sexes, male and female.
  • We know what a woman is (xx) and her distinguishing physical characteristics and we know what a man is (xy) and his distinguishing physical characteristics. Admittedly, neither one of us has a degree in biology!
  • We refuse to cater to the foolishness of our age by stating our preferred pronouns!
  • We will not enter the fantasy world of those who insist on being addressed with a pronoun inconsistent with their sex. We will treat people with respect as human beings but we won't contribute to their lie.
  • We don't believe taking hormones or altering God-given body parts so people can fulfill a fantasy they have that they identify with the opposite sex is affirming medical care. This is especially evil when imposed upon confused and manipulated children.
  • We are stunned that anyone would think it fair that a man pretending to be woman can compete against women in sports.
  • We believe God has entrusted parents to be the primary source of conveying morals and values to their children and not a government run school.
  • We expect people not to insist that we say anything contrary to our beliefs and likewise will not insist that people say what is contrary to their beliefs. It would be very wrong to demand someone else to make a profession of what we believe concerning Christ and other beliefs we hold if they don't really believe it. We certainly pray and seek to persuade as Paul sought to persuade Agrippa to become a Christian (Acts 26:28) and earnestly desire that others place their faith in Christ, but forcing people to say or support what they don't believe is evil.

"Fuddy-duddy" The expression "Fuddy-duddy" is of American origin, with the first printed instance being found in an 1889 copy of Texas paper, The Galveston Daily News: “Look here; I’m Smith – Hamilton Smith. I’m a minister and I try to do right … I object to being represented as an old fuddy-duddy.”

The increasing insanity of academia: I write this as a graduate of a small (now closed) Bible College in the Midwest which was certainly no bastion of eliteness or prestige, just earnest, well studied professors who taught us the Bible and theology in class and in daily chapel services and weekly mission meetings with pastors, missionaries and other speakers from all around the world. Not being educated at an elite institution will discount any opinions I have on this matter for many, but that's OK; my main goal is to be wise by God's standards not man's.

I observe that often the more elite and prestigious an institution the greater the foolishness coming out of it, although there is foolishness and insanity coming from everywhere it seems these days. Of course this is not an absolute statement. We know a good number of people who became students of these institutions and were shocked at what they were being taught, also godly professors who are being instructed to go along with particular worldly fads that stand in contrast to Scripture so they can maintain their educational status.

The sad state of so many churches: I was perusing a church website of a very liberal church. It had all the credentials to indicate it was fully woke and into all the world's foolishness, such as a banner with slogans such as "Science is real" and support of other social issues of the day. However I could find absolutely nothing about Christ and His redemption  or anything conventionally Biblical or faith-oriented on the entire website. And I tried.

"Science is real" is typically used as a pious indicator that they are woke and believe in man's view of origins (the ever changing views on evolution), the environment (the ever changing views on climate change, etc.) and now anything to do with covid policy (accepting the ever changing advice and dictates from certain government experts, while fervently discrediting the viewpoints of others).

But these same "science is real" proponents will claim they have no idea when life begins, that a man can be a woman and so much utter foolishness that goes against real science!

Here are some other April Fools’ Day perspectives we have shared through the years:

Many years ago I knew a pastor in New Jersey who started a church on April Fools’ Day. His very first message had this interesting title: "I'm a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?"

I have long appreciated the sentiment of missionary martyr Jim Elliot who wrote, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

I once saw a bumper sticker that proclaimed "April 1, National Atheist's Day." Intrigued and annoyed, but not necessarily surprised initially thinking that someone had actually created such a day. I moved my car in closer to read the small print.  It was actually a witness for the Lord, as it quoted Psalm 14:1. It was then that I made the connection, "O yeah, Fool's Day is April 1!"  (Psalm 14:1 states "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"It Was Finished Upon That Cross"  Video  CityAlight  A reminder of God's foundational demonstration of wisdom! "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate'" (1 Corinthians 1:18,19).

Finally today:

Ester holding Mollie
Ester taking Mollie out of the van after we got home from the animal shelter in March 2011.

Kraybill Church Road plowing
Yesterday we passed our Amish neighbor plowing with a team on Kraybill Church Road.
Look how green that grass is!

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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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