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Thursday, October 13, 2022

Vermont countryside (Photo by Jim Hain)
Scenic view in rural Vermont
Photo taken by our friend Jim Hain

"Keeping Your Head On Straight"

Message summary:  Today let us strive to to keep our head on straight and have a clear mind!

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"My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words" (Proverbs 4:20). "But you, keep your head in all situations" (2 Timothy 4:5a). "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray" (1 Peter 4:7).

During my growing up years, especially as a teenager, I regularly heard my dad repeat this warning, "Stephen, keep your head on straight". I've talked to others who have heard this same fatherly advice. This sage advice usually followed a heart to heart talk about a serious matter, seeking to steer me on the right course in life. When Daddy said this I knew exactly what he meant. He was not speaking in the literal sense, of course, but he was cautioning me to stay in control of my thoughts and be careful lest I make a rash decision that was not in my best interest or that of my family's.

As an adolescent it was good, sound advice from a father who really cared for his kids. My dad was a big man and could be rather gruff in tone and personality but we knew he loved us.

Gene WeberHe didn't fit the profile nor the image of Ward Cleaver, the famous father on "Leave it to Beaver" who had wise words for his sons and protected them from bad influences such as the rascally Eddie Haskell.

But getting back to my dad, he was a good man who was devoted to his wife and kids. He wanted us to turn out right and we all knew it.

He’s been gone over 20 years now and I miss hearing his "cut to the chase" words of wisdom and challenge. They are similar to the "My son..." commands in Proverbs.

Now fast forward 50 years and imagine a godly father’s counsel to his adolescent son (or daughter of course) in light of the increasing evil that permeates our society. Along with the prevailing philosophies, confusion and delusions of our day. Increasingly it seems that wrong is endorsed as right and right is denounced as wrong, so the godly dads of today have even greater challenges when it comes to giving needed guidance to their growing children.

We must be on our guard lest we be seduced into this topsy-turvy, touchy-feely system of beliefs based on popular and politically correct notions of morality, especially to the exclusion of critical or sound judgment based on the Holy Scriptures. To hold to ancient, proven truths is being viewed more and more as old fashioned and will likely bar you from being academically and politically correct (which is so often Biblically wrong). Here in America and around the world a battle for the heart, soul and mind rages.

Among the greatest challenges for us as believers in any age is keeping our head on straight. Or as Paul puts it in his
final letter to Timothy, "Keep your head in all situations". Other versions translate the phrase "always be sober-minded" (ESV), "control yourself at all times" (NCV), "keep a clear mind" (NLT).

Greek scholar Fritz Rienecker points out that in this passage Timothy is called "to be in a vigilant, wakeful, considerate frame of mind, taking heed of what is happening and pursuing a course with calm and steady aim."

We live in a time of moral confusion and I believe Greg Nelson and Phil McHugh got it right when they wrote: “We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right....” in the inspiring song, “People Need the Lord”.

In a similar way Peter wrote, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray" (1 Peter 4:7).

Today let us strive to to keep our head on straight and have a clear mind!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we seek to be clear-minded in this generation where many seek to confuse, delude, and undermine that which we learn from Your holy Scriptures. Instead of feeling despair help us to see it as a challenge to more deeply dig into the Scriptures and embrace the truths contained therein. Its truth does not change according to the whim of society nor the ills of the day. We resolve not to interpret Scripture in light of our generation, but instead we interpret our generation in light of Scripture, clearly defining right and wrong, good and bad as taught in Scripture not in the “scholarly” academia of our time. We must keep our head in all situations on a personal level as well as that which affects our society at large. We desire a clear mind, trusting spirit, and a steady aim at following You no matter the cost. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

For further thought: "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). This is so timely in light of what we see around us. We may very well be in or approaching the time that this powerful delusion is sent out over the earth. As I am confronted with so many contemporary news issues I am again reminded of the great deception and powerful delusion that is sweeping our world and am even more convinced of the absolute importance of keeping my head on straight!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"People Need the Lord"  Video  Steve Green

Ken, a thoughtful reader from Kansas shares regarding yesterday's message, "Dead End Road".

This DE reminded me of a street sign in South Portland, Maine.  I noticed it one day as I was getting gas at the fuel station on the corner of a small street off of Route One. The name of the street on the sign is Memory Lane and is on a standard street name sign, directly underneath is the yellow sign proclaiming “Dead End”.  I mused on that for a couple of minutes and thought that this combination of signs was a wonderful philosophical statement (notwithstanding that recalling some of our past could prove to be beneficial for our future choices).

Will, a California friend wrote:

A priest and pastor from local parishes were standing by the side of the road holding up a sign that read, "The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it's too late!"

They planned to hold up the sign to each passing car. As the first driver sped past, he yelled, "Leave us alone you religious nuts!"

From around the curve they heard screeching tires and a big splash.

One clergy said to the other, "Do you think we should just use a sign that says, 'Bridge Out' instead?"

Vermont countryside (Photo by Jim Hain)
Another scenic view in Vermont taken by our friend Jim Hain

Joe with sweet potatoes (Photo by Mary Lou)
Our friend Joe Sherer is holding two homegrown sweet potatoes with the following interesting history he and MaryLou provide: "It has been a good year for growing sweet potatoes! Our largest weighs over 3.5 pounds. The cool thing is our family has been using sprouts from last year’s sweet potatoes to harvest them every year, started by my Grandpa Miller over 100 years ago. He would be 130 years old this year.  He passed away when I was very young, so I never knew him well. It warms my heart to know I’m eating my grandpa‘s sweet potatoes."

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Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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