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Friday, May 13, 2022

Amish field work
Yesterday we shared a photo in the morning of our young Amish neighbor tilling a field. Late yesterday afternoon he was still out working, along with his younger brother.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Fruit Of Deception"

Message summary: Today let us consider some fruit we should not eat; the fruit of deception.

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"But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors" (Hosea 10:13).

We pass a large orchard in Lebanon County and presently see the workers out pruning the trees; apple, peaches, cherries and other fruit. The farm store will soon be open with fresh fruit grown in the rich soils of our area, often called the Garden Spot.

But today let us consider some fruit we should not eat; the fruit of deception.

Yesterday we considered a timeless call from the Lord of the universe. "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness on you (Hosea 10:12).

This verse is immediately followed with the daily text and seems to present the following contrast: “But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception.” This passage concerns the northern Kingdom just prior to its destruction by the Assyrians about 2,700 years ago.

Notice the parallelism in these two verses:

God’s will in verse 12 is that His people sow righteousness and reap the fruit of unfailing love. Instead they planted (sowed) wickedness and reaped evil.

In the New Testament Paul seems to allude to this verse when he wrote, "A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please the flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life" (Galatians 6:7,8).

When we examine the current mess we are in; whether it's individual lives or so many families, whether it's our nation or worldwide, is it any wonder as we consider the Scriptures and the massive amount of planting wickedness and thus reaping evil?

The final phrase that particularly grips my attention and explains so much about what is happening: “You have eaten the fruit of deception.” What a striking contrast to God's desire that we "reap the fruit of unfailing love" as a result of obeying His commands.

Deception is misrepresentation, misleading falsehood and it abounds like never before. I firmly believe deception will increase as mankind continues with a passion to reject God’s commands. One of the final cautions Jesus directed to his disciples was, "Let no one deceive you".

Paul has a solemn warning concerning deception in Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

Today we need to guard ourselves against the many, many forms of deception that we encounter, particularly spiritual deception that pummels at us like the flaming arrows from our enemy. It can lead us astray from the truth and rob us of our future eternal home in heaven, the ultimate fruit of unfailing love.

Following our confession of sin and accepting Christ as our Savior and Lord several disciplines are required to guard against deception:
  • A personal, growing relationship with Christ so that we learn spiritual discernment
  • A firm and growing knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation
  • A sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and obedience to God
  • A solid foundational knowledge in theology (study of God), church history and world history
  • An accountability to others in the body of Christ, particularly our elders
  • A discerning wariness of the "new"*
The final phrase in the text is a timeless explanation and caution for all of us: Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors". May we all depend on God's strength!

So when I fight I’ll fight on my knees
With my hands lifted high
Oh God the battle belongs to You
And every fear I lay at Your feet
I’ll sing through the night
Oh God the battle belongs to You

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:  Father, I pray that You will help me to sow for myself righteousness, so that I will reap the fruit of Your unfailing love. Break up the unplowed ground of my heart that is stony and hard so that I acknowledge my sins, receive Your forgiveness, and look to You for discernment and guidance. When no one else stands for righteousness help me to be bold and courageous as I stand for that which honors You. I want to follow hard after You so that You shower Your blessings upon me. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Battle Belongs"  Video  Phil Wickham

Tonight we are going to see "David" at the Sight and Sound Theater!

* Discerning wariness of the “new”*  We have seen so many new things come along that go from unthinkable to bizarre to tolerated to accepted to normal then perhaps even celebrated in a very short time. The next step is demanding that others approve. Eventually that which was once normal may even be reckoned by some to be abnormal! On a number of issues I have seen this happen.

David, a reader from Arizona was prompted to share this concerning our farming illustration yesterday:

"When my wife was a new believer 30+ years ago, she had a Prayer card she prayed from daily. One of the prayer suggestions was to pray for the harvest. So she prayed for rain, for good crops, to keep the pests out, and other farm needs. Then, she found out that the harvest Jesus was referring to was the harvest of souls.😊 We laughed about that today. She has read the Bible numerous times since then, but new believers need Biblical teaching, for sure."

Our white dogwood tree
Any ideas of how we can keep this Dogwood tree in our front lawn flowering all summer? It has been prettier this year than the twenty spring seasons we have lived in our present location.

Shocks Mills Bridge
I have ridden on the entire rail trail that is along the Susquehanna River the last two days. The trail under the Shocks Mills railroad bridge had flooding but it was still passable although it sure muddied my bike!
Click on photo to enlarge

Mollie, umbrella Cockatoo
A friendly man on the trail had a 23 year old umbrella cockatoo named Mollie with him as he walked. Mollie is very comfortable with strangers, including me! She even has videos on YouTube.

Pet trailer
This man had a neat bike (electric) and a trailer for his dogs who seem to really enjoy riding.

Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna River from the Enola Low Grade trail.
Click on photo to enlarge

Finally today:

Samson famously told riddles (Judges 14).
I saw this one on a company whiteboard this morning.
Anyone want to venture a guess for the answer?
After thoroughly exhausting your riddle-solving skills the hint/answer is in this photo I took yesterday on the rail trail.

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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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