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Wednesday, February 15, 2023
This 1948 Tucker was the first off the prototype production line.
Notice the center headlight which moves with the steering wheel!
Message summary: What are the areas in your life in which you need to exercise self-control? Take some time to pray and reflect on those things that have become fetters and take steps to improve the situation or in some instances eradicate it from your life. Remember, passions forge fetters.
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"Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control" (Proverbs 25:28). "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet" (1 Thessalonians 5:8). "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ..." (Titus 2:11-14a).
Today I will use myself as an example since I have given myself permission to tell this story, as unflattering as it may be. For many years now (since my mid-forties) I have struggled with my weight. In high school I was so skinny I recall my Aunt Mary telling my mom, "You need to take that boy to the doctor".
But certainly being underweight has not been an issue for me since my marriage took place 46 years ago. I guess some might politely say, "He's pleasantly plump and then some." I especially carry weight in my stomach area, sort of like a beer belly, although I don't drink beer or any alcoholic beverages. My dad was also heavyset and there were many ways I wanted to be just like him, but the "belly thing" was not one of them!
Following my surgery last month I lost some significant weight, in part due to not eating at all for about six days before and after the surgery. Then I had very little appetite in the early days of my recovery. It has not gone without notice and I'm receiving many comments such as "You've lost weight haven't you".
A friend Keith noticed my weight loss following my surgery and commented, "I don't want to sign up for that program". I wouldn't advise it either, it's painful, dangerous and expensive. However there are many weight loss programs and new ones are introduced all the time. Some are free and others quite expensive. Some are effective, others not so much.
But at the heart of any effective, long-lasting weight loss program will be self-control.
Self-control is needed in many areas of life and most of us struggle in one way or another and to various degrees with some form of self-control.
Today's three Bible verses are powerful reminders of how important self-control is. It's one of our responsibilities as believers, since "we belong to the day".
We are to live self-controlled lives. "Self-control" or "longsuffering" (KJV) is the ninth Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 and is one of the most deficient virtues found in the lives of believers in this present generation. We can fall into a lax state of self-control and thus the call to self-control is repeated all through the New Testament.
Some 250 years ago British statesman Edmund Burke wrote,
"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."
You might need to read the above quote several times to more fully grasp the message that Burke conveys. (It is a powerful statement in light of the condition of our country!) In the context of Burke's writing he is referring to undesirable or destructive passions. Clearly, one of the great virtues lacking in our day is that of self-control.
As Burke observed we can see the awful consequences for those whose "passions forge their fetters". The moral chains on our own appetites (self-control) are disregarded in the heat of passion. Actions are justified and consequences forgotten until they're unavoidable. In many, many instances the consequences are far-reaching forcing many innocent lives to deal with those some aspect of those consequences as well.
I am aware in my own life of the need to keep this discipline ever before me not just in food choices and quantities but in every area of temptation. Each of us can likely identify areas where we lack self-control. It may be in our eating, use of time, finances, spiritual disciplines, our temperament or in a host of other areas. Some struggle to overcome destructive habits while others may need to apply self-control in their attitudes toward anger, worry, jealousy, or any other ungodly way of thinking or acting.
What are the areas in your life in which you need to exercise self-control? Take some time to pray and reflect on those things that have become fetters and take steps to improve the situation or in some instances eradicate it from your life. Remember, passions forge fetters.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as children of the light, we no longer desire the attitudes or behavior we practiced when living in ignorance where darkness reigns. After dying to self You took up residence and equipped us with the necessary tools to battle our struggle against sin. Help us to throw off everything that hinders, entangles, or identifies us with the enemy. Your discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in Your holiness. Self-control is a difficult exercise since it requires self-denial, restraint and full surrender to You. The reward follows as we enjoy a wonderful harvest of right living. Not only will it benefit us personally, but it will result in a testimony of thanksgiving to You, make us more like Christ and be an example to those we seek to influence. We ask for Your help in the name of Jesus. Amen.
(Inspired by Hebrews 12:2,10 & 11)
Stephen's additional note:
In recent years I've battled this unhealthy weight issue so I share several perspectives:
1) My dad was a large man and also carried his weight similar to what I describe above (a large potbelly), so I am likely genetically predisposed to this problem. However I don't feel it honors God for me to use this as an excuse. Virtually everyone has some issue(s) in life to overcome. For many it's a lifelong battle and will likely be for me as well, but Philippians 4:13 is a great Scripture to quote and live by, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
2) I have sympathy and identify with those who have addictions of various types. If I have an open bag of chips and a jar of dip I "just can't stop eating". Do you ever have that problem? It's in those settings that I can identify with those who lack control with alcohol and drugs. (Brooksyne says to me "Take out a handful of chips and a couple spoons of dip and put the rest away. You'll be less tempted to eat "the whole thing". God does give us promptings within our own conscience, sometimes from people and other resources that can help us in our areas of temptation.)
There's no place for pride. Ever. "But for the grace of God, there go I."
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Jesus Breaks Every Fetter" Video This old chorus from our Bible School days that speaks of the fetters (chains) that keep us bound in our life of sin. The word, "fetter" is a word not often used these days but it is used in various hymns describing the wonderful freedom that Christ brings.
Jesus breaks every fetter,
Jesus breaks every fetter,
Jesus breaks every fetter,
And He sets me free!
"Self Control" Video Music Machine We recall this song from teaching children in the eighties.
"Give Me Self Control" Video Sovereign Grace Kids Another children's song. We need some self-control songs for adults!
Walking Streets of South Sudan Last night I came across this video after considering the feedback we received from readers ministering in South Sudan. It's practically unbelievable how different it is there than the life most of us live.
Brooksyne was genuinely surprised early yesterday morning when I handed her a stem of flowers at Audreys Warehouse in Lebanon. Our friend Phil snapped the photo after providing me with the flowers to give Brooksyne. They carry the artificial peonies in the wholesale warehouse at Audrey's.
We visited with these diligent workers at the second warehouse in Palmyra yesterday. Much of their work is preparing floor samples for various stores such as Lowes. The men in the foreground have served prison time in the past but are overcoming past mistakes by seeking to live responsible lives. Henry (next to Stephen) is their supervisor and we also observed he has a mentoring role. We always enjoy visiting with them and include them regularly in our prayers.
After our Valentine's day meal yesterday at the Red Robin we headed over to the America's Transportation Experience museum in Hershey, one of our favorites. They rotate their collections and now they are featuring race cars.
We always enjoy seeing the Kissmobile when we're visiting the Hershey area. This is a retired mobile that sits just outside the Car Museum.
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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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