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Friday, January 19, 2024

Side of house during snow storm
Our mid-morning view at the south side of our house.

"The Blessing Of Warnings"

Message summary: In whatever way we are serving the Lord, our mission includes warning others to "be on their guard". We should not only give warnings but we must also heed the warnings ourselves and recognize the blessing that comes in doing so.

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"You shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do" (Exodus 18:20). "So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears" (Acts 20:31).

Smoke alarmThis week we had the final inspection on our new bedroom and received approval to move in. I knew I was required to place a smoke detector in the room and the inspector showed me where it was acceptable to put it on the wall. After he left I braved the ladder and screwed it in the wall and sent him a photo.

I'm a big believer in smoke alarms along with CO alarms. They make a lot of sense and we have personally experienced the value of the smoke alarm.

It was some 35 years ago when we lived in northern Pennsylvania. We had been out of state all day and came home exhausted. After a short time were ready for bed. In those days we both slept well and were soon fast asleep.

But we were startled awake by beeping smoke alarms and a house filled with smoke at 2 AM.

I recall how hard it was in my panic and discombobulation to dial the fire department. But within minutes the first of many firefighters from our local volunteer fire company arrived and immediately recognized the source. To this day I recall how professional and courteous they were.

Unknowingly, I had serviced our furnace blower and inadvertently tightened the belt too much. When the furnace called for heat and the blower motor turned on, the belt stalled filling our house with smoke through the duct work.

The firemen stayed several hours with fans clearing the smoke out of our house, for which we were very grateful.  We felt somewhat foolish for calling after there was no fire and explaining the situation to many neighbors who had gathered in our front driveway. But we learned that we could have died of smoke asphyxiation had we not awakened, so we are very grateful for their assistance and for the warning from the smoke alarm. I do remember how much our throats hurt for days from that brief exposure of smoke-filled air.

Warnings are for our good though we may not necessarily like them. We might even find them unnecessary, interruptive and annoying.

Years ago I recall visiting a friend and seeing their smoke alarm disabled with the wire that attaches to the 9 volt battery dangling out of it. I asked why and he told me it had an annoying chirp. Well, the chirp is a low battery warning and means to replace the battery, not remove it! If I am not mistaken I bought a battery and installed it for them.

Today let us consider spiritual warnings. Among the first uses of warning in the Bible is advice from Jethro to Moses concerning the people: "You shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do" (Exodus 18:20).

When we hear repeated spiritual warnings we can give attention or be annoyed at the message directed to us. We need spiritual leaders who faithfully proclaim God’s Word and give warning like Paul in our second daily text, “So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears”.

The daily Scripture portion is from Paul’s final message to the Ephesian elders. This message is a great model for all preachers and has actually served as the text for the final messages I preached in the churches I have served.

Paul’s specific warning is in regard to his knowledge that after his departure “Savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29,30). These “savage wolves” come in a variety of forms; such as bad teaching, licentiousness, and other such evils.

“So be on your guard!”: a word with timeless urgency regardless of where and when we live.

The brief daily verse truly shows Paul’s transparent heart filled with love and genuine concern. We must be on our guard and view warnings from our spiritual leaders as evidence of their care. The immediate threat was false teachers whom Paul called “savage wolves” had come among the innocent flock (v. 29). Paul said to these believers, "I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears". Try to picture Paul’s sincerity and consider the genuine ongoing burden that his message conveys.

Today, in whatever way we may be serving the Lord, our mission includes warning others to "be on their guard". And as the Spirit leads let us show our deep burden perhaps even as the Apostle Paul did with tears. We should not only give warnings but we must also heed the warnings ourselves, to be an example to those we seek to influence, and to recognize the blessing that comes in doing so.

Be encouraged today, Hebrews 3:13

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, thank You for Your repeated warnings in Scripture that informs, instructs and protects us from the evil one. Help us not to ignore Your warnings or procrastinate in our obedience to Your commands. Embolden our spiritual leaders to be fearless watchmen who speak out Your truths, even when they’re not popular or politically expedient.  May we be receptive to Your Word and obedient in our response. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Personal note: Last night four members from the Lapp family came over and helped us move into our new bedroom and rearrange the larger furniture in our upstairs bedroom area. Jesse and Moses moved the beds and heavy furniture. Naomi and Lizzie cleaned. Now we (mostly Brooksyne), have the chore of moving and arranging the smaller stuff. Today due to the snowstorm (largest of the season) we expect to be home all day.

Side of house during snow storm
Here's the view from the other side of our house looking down our drive way. Today we are having the most snowfall of the season, although only a projected 3-6 inches, nothing like we received when we lived in northern Pennsylvania or where many people live that get heavy snowfall every winter.

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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 and a variety of other versions.

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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