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Friday, November 4, 2022

The Golden Gate Bridge Walkway (from the south side)
The white tarp is covering where the bridge is undergoing maintenance.

"Not Maintenance-Free"

Note: I returned home from San Francisco early Thursday morning (2:30AM) and due to weariness and a load of catch-up work we did not post a message yesterday.

Message summary:  Today we encourage you to recognize that your life, both physical and spiritual is not maintenance-free. We must "exercise self-control in all things" (1 Corinthians 9:25) and "train ourselves to be godly". A foundational component of this maintenance is the implementation of God's Word to our hearts so that it is carried out in our actions. Remember,  in pursuit of godliness, we must always be in maintenance mode!

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"Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:7b,8).

In Monday's message I mentioned walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco this last Saturday. I first crossed the bridge (in a car) as a child in 1967 when we visited my oldest brother Mike, after the birth of his daughter, Greta, my parent's first grandchild. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the top tourist attractions in the city and probably its most photographed landmark.

Golden Gate Bridge towerThe bridge was built in just over four years from 1933-1937 during the Great Depression. A rough estimate of the $76 million dollars the bridge cost (including interest) in 1933 is over $1.64 billion in 2019 dollars (even more today with inflation!). Some 44,000 southbound toll paying vehicles cross the bridge daily at over $8.00 per car ($40.00+ for trucks). Do the math and that generates a lot of income! Northbound is free!

When any toll fee is this large amount there's a lot of people who wonder where all the money goes (the original cost of the bridge with interest has been paid off since 1971). However I don't live there so the $8.00+ I paid to cross back into the city was worth it as a tourist visiting every five years or so! However rental car companies also charge a $15.00 additional fee for "processing" the payment! So I won't be crossing very much.

Undoubtedly a lot of money is required for maintenance. The bridge is constantly being maintained. I walked across the bridge on Saturday and saw evidence of this ongoing maintenance, including port-a-potties on the walkway for the workers. (They were locked up for any walkers who may have needed such a place.) It looks like the towers (left) are due for a painting. They are also installing netting to catch attempted suicides, although I'm not sure what would keep the determined from just jumping off the netting. (see photo below)

With exposure to the harsh elements, including the salty sea air, the bridge is certainly not "maintenance-free".

"Maintenance-free" is a quality we value in life. We especially see this term used in building materials. We live in a brick home which requires very little exterior maintenance and vinyl siding covers other parts. These components may be considered maintenance-free and last over my lifetime but certainly not forever!

We'd like to be in a condition where our lives are maintenance-free but that would be a figment of our imagination. From the point of conception on - our lives require regular maintenance. The same is true for our spiritual nature.

The daily Scripture portion is an allusion to sports. Paul writes, "train yourself to be godly". The Amplified uses an expression that has blessed me over the years, "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness [keeping yourself spiritually fit]".

Surely the apostle Paul is speaking here of maintaining the spiritual development and disciplines we enlist as we participate in our growth in godliness. This maintenance includes Bible reading and study, Scripture memorization, prayer and praise, church participation, Christian service and other forms of spiritual discipline.

1 Timothy 4:7,8 Photo from https://brewsterbaptistchurch.org/august-23-1-timothy-47-8/Train" translates the Greek word (gumnaze) from which we get the English word "gymnastics". It indicates a present, ongoing action we participate in and is strongly enjoined upon us.

The verse continues, "Physical training is of some value". Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit so properly caring for our physical nature is a means of glorifying God.

But comparatively speaking physical training is of little value in relation to spiritual training expressed in the phrase, "Godliness has value for all things". Godliness impacts every area of our personal life: our family, our church, our work and our society at large. And this godliness holds "promise for both the present life and the life to come".

A linguistic resource I use has a powerful thought on this point: "It is not the self-centered aesthetic struggle of the individual for his own moral and religious perfection, but the training necessary for the unhindered pursuit of God's purposes. This exercise was a vigorous development and application of all Paul's strength and ability that he might bring glory to God with every thought and action." *

Today we encourage you to recognize that your life, both physical and spiritual is not maintenance-free. We must "exercise self-control in all things" (1 Corinthians 9:25) and "train ourselves to be godly". A foundational component of this maintenance is the implementation of God's Word to our hearts so that it is carried out in our actions. Remember, in pursuit of godliness, we must always be in maintenance mode!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know there is a deeper work within our soul which cannot be accomplished by mere physical exercise. Just as we maintain our bodies to submit to a rigorous routine of endurance, abstinence, and sacrifice, we must apply the same maintenance tools to bring our spirit into submission to Your will for our lives. We must train ourselves to be godly. Though physical training is of value in this life, godliness has value for all things, and holds promise not only for this present life but also for the life to come. Help us to fervently pursue this noble task in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Take Time To Be Holy"  Video  Joseph Habedank

* Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament

Some more photos from my trip to San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge safety netting
This is the safety netting they are in the process of installing on the side of the bridge.

San Francisco skyline at night
A city view at night from the Twin Peaks area.
Click on photo to enlarge

San Francisco cityview from air
The San Francisco city view as I departed Wednesday morning.
These types of views remind me to consider God's assessment of Nineveh in Jonah 4:11.
Click on photo to enlarge

Three Weber brothers
The three Weber brothers (left to right; Mike, Pat, Stephen.)
Mike moved to San Francisco in 1966 with his wife Billie. He was one of the original hippies of the 60's. His work career was was operating a cable car. (After the Golden Gate Bridge the cable cars are probably San Francisco's most iconic sight.) For many years we were at the opposite side of the political/ideological spectrum but in recent years we are much more compatible (he's not "woke"). My brother Pat and I are both minister's the Gospel. Our desire of course is that Mike would come to the same understanding of faith that we have in Christ! He's been a widower since the 80's and his daughter and family live in Saint Louis, MO. Mike is 77 and dealing with the inevitable consequences of aging so we flew out seeking to lift his spirits and encourage him. It was the first time in our adult years that we three brothers gathered together without other family members. Mom and Dad would be pleased!
Click on photo to enlarge

Finally today:

Corn crib
This morning we stopped by the "Corn Crib" for freshly picked broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. The tractor brings wagon loads in right from the nearby fields.

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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