Encouragement on Facebook and Twitter:
Encouragement on Facebook.
Encouragement on Twitter.
A selection of prayers written
by Brooksyne used in these
Story Net: Stories and
backgrounds behind the great
Memory Songs: A
selection of Scripture verses we
recorded in our home with
some friends. The words are
set to familiar music
as an aid to memorization in a discipleship training class.
Songs recorded in my home studio.
Little Foolishness" I
invite daily encouragement readers to visit our
blog which is a collection of humorous and satirical
mostly from our years of ministry, as well as my sometimes fertile
imagination. We also welcome submissions from readers.
articles on life
booklets on life issues.
& contemporary issues.
directory of online
articles on various topics.
through a Christian worldview.
the authority of the Bible from the
very first verse.
device counts unique visitors by nation and
installed the international version in mid April 2010 and the state
version later. They thus register unique
visitors to this page since then.
weekday around Noon Eastern
your "refresh" or "reload" button for our most recent
Friday, November 21, 2014
Cardinal at feeder
(Photo by Doris High)
Listen to this
Today we conclude our series of weekly messages from Romans 13:11-14
"Understanding The Present Time"
"Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and
drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension
and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and
do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature"
My Mom died 9 years ago this month (2005). I suppose I
first heard the word "behave" from her and there's no doubt I heard it
a lot. In fact she usually sent me off to school with this daily reminder,
"Now Stephen, I want you to behave yourself today." But truth be told I didn't always obey and
I very distinctly recall my first spanking at school in either first or
second grade. The principal used a big paddle but I survived and I am
sure it was reinforced when I got home. (Note: The photo to the left is not really Stephen).
early as five years of age I (Brooksyne) had my first paddling in
school. As a kindergartner I was required to bring a small rug with me
on the first day of school which was placed in my locker until Quiet
Time. When the teacher told all the students it was Quiet Time we were
instructed to pull out our rug, lay down on it, and go to sleep or just
lay quietly, not even a whisper was to be heard. But I couldn't keep
quiet and was probably warned repeatedly but didn't heed. Miss Fulton
called me out into the hallway and gave me one swat with the paddle. I
probably cried myself to sleep after that. (Note: The photo to the right is not really Brooksyne).
There are far
worse behaviors mentioned in the Bible than chatting with a friend
during naptime or cutting in line in the cafeteria. Today we want to
examine a straightforward command in the Bible in which we are to
behave. As the behaviors worsen the consequences are far more reaching.
"Let us behave decently." Other English translations offer
slightly different wording; "behave properly" (NASV), "walk properly" (ESV), "live decently"
(NET) "live and conduct ourselves honorably and becomingly" (Amplified).
Behaving decently speaks of our conduct from day to day, our
lifestyle, what we choose to look at, listen to, what we say or think --
all these are bound up in what it means to behave properly.
"As in the daytime." This is a follow-up to the previous verse (v.12) that states, "Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
Paul then specifies six specific deeds of darkness those who live in the light
are not to practice. Revealing the timeless truths of the Bible each of
these sins of the flesh are common in our age and every age among those
who walk in darkness. They are expressed in three groups of two, what one commentator calls "negative couplets":
1) "Not in orgies and
The Greek word translated "orgies" ("carousings"
in some versions) was used generally of “feasts and
drinking parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in
revelry”. Today's the "let's party" outlook that so many have is
nothing new. We who strive to live as children of light do well to heed
a timeless woe expressed in Isaiah 5:22, "Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant men in mixing strong drink." The apostle Peter firmly issues this call, "For
the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the
desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts,
drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries" (1 Peter 4:3).
2) "Not in sexual immorality and debauchery"; The first word
refers here to sexual intercourse outside of marriage. The second word
means licentiousness and unrestrained lust. Other translations use the words "indecency", "promiscuity", "sensuality". The New Century Version states, "There should be no sexual sins of any kind." Sexual morality can be simply expressed as sexual intimacy expressed in a covenant
relationship (holy marriage) between a man and a woman. Although we
live in an age with a massive attempt to redefine marriage and morality the faithful contender for truth must not budge. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20).
3) "Not in dissension
and jealousy"; These are relational sins that we often shrug off
as no big deal. But they are opposed to the second greatest
commandment, which is to love others as we love ourselves. Leon Morris
observes, “Both indicate a determination to have one’s own way, a
self-willed readiness to quarrel. All six of these vices stem from
self-will; they are all the outreach of a determined selfishness that
seeks only one’s own pleasure.”
The chapter ends with a positive injunction "Rather" (in opposition to the previous six sins of the flesh) we are to "clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Father, we desire to clothe ourselves in Christ
Jesus, whose Spirit resides within our hearts. We pray that our
behavior would honor You as we seek to behave decently and live
according to the pattern of Holy Scripture, for "we were taught,
regarding our former way of life, to put off our old self, which is
being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the
attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like
You in true righteousness and holiness." May lust of the flesh be
burned up by the fire of the Spirit that ignites us as we redirect our
affections, energies, and time to that which is righteous and eternal.
Make us like You,
Father, as we follow after You in righteousness and holiness. In
the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
See Ephesians 4:22-24
Some notes by Pastor Steven Cole for further study:
"Carousing (orgies) and drunkenness."
Paul lists drunkenness and carousing as deeds of the flesh (Galatians
5:21). But such things are not appropriate for believers. I’ve always
had trouble understanding why people go to wild parties and get drunk.
To me such parties are superficial and stupid. But venturing a guess,
it helps them, at least for an evening, forget about their troubles.
From hearing them brag about how wasted they got, it must give them
some sense of being cool, at least with their fellow drunks. And, it
often lowers inhibitions and leads to sexual encounters, which appeal
to those who do not have satisfying marital relationships. I’ve
known a few who claim to be believers, but they still go out partying
and drinking. But these are deeds of darkness, not fitting for children
of light. (Pastor Steven Cole, Your Present Walk and the Coming Day)
"Sexual immorality and debauchery" It is also a deed of the
flesh (Galatians 5:19), characteristic of unbelievers, not of believers
(Ephesians 4:19-20). God has given the marriage relationship as the
proper place for sexual relations. To engage in any sexual activity
outside of marriage is to participate in the deeds of darkness (Ephesians
5:3-12). Let me remind you that no one who is walking in the light,
suddenly and without warning, falls into sexual immorality. Sexual sin
always begins when we toy with it in our minds. We relish lustful glances by
replaying them in our thoughts. We sneak a peek at pornography, which
leads to more frequent and longer looks. Eventually, the temptation to
flirt with a tempting woman comes and it sucks us into the fatal act
(see Proverbs 7). The key to avoiding it is to judge every sinful
thought as quickly as it happens and to make no provision for the lusts
of the flesh. Much of our sin can be traced to the fact that we made
provision for it by toying with it. (Pastor Steven Cole, Your Present
Walk and the Coming Day)
For these quotes from Pastor Steven Cole and other insights into this passage see the Precept Online Bible commentary on this passage.
A few photos from our chaplain ministry yesterday
Our first stop yesterday was before 7:00 AM to S.S. Smucker & Sons, a home
improvement company. We visit with the men before they head out to
the jobsite. These men were preparing for a day of gutter work and
Adrian (center) is showing a huge frozen hunk of gunk he dug out of a
gutter the previous day. Later in the day we happened to drive by the
jobsite where they were up on the roof working but stopped to visit a few minutes.
We view our ministry as letting Christ shine
through us wherever we are. In the mid morning we stopped by "The
Village Farm Market", a locally run store where the owner, Keith,
appreciates our visits. He renovated an old bank barn leaving the stone
walls and exposed beam ceiling, which is now covered with hanging
James is a new employee at Vallorbs, the last company we visited
yesterday afternoon. He moved down from Brooklyn where he regularly attended
the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. He told me it was Pastor Jim Cymbala's mother's 100th birthday.
I asked him how he was
doing and he answered, "I'm greatly blessed and highly favored" which happens
to the title of a song we enjoy (see below). I expect to learn more
about James but I got some idea of his earnestness when I heard he came
for his job interview to be a machine operator wearing a suit.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Come Broken - Just As I Am" Video
Travis Cottrell Outstanding song with excellent visual. This song
really breaks it down to the truth that it's all about Jesus and not
what I have to offer Him. The contemporary arrangements and additional
lyrics to this traditional hymn really gets your attention in a fresh,
new way and will surely touch your heart.
Today's message is a serious call to followers of
Christ to behave decently. We urge all who have not been living in the
light to come home to Him who forgives. A wonderful phrase in Ephesians
describing those who have placed their faith in Christ includes another
list of sins of the flesh (past tense) "such were some of you". "Or
do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of
God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such
were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you
were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit
of our God."
As I prepared this a story from
a Max Lucado book I read many, many years ago came to mind and due to
the internet search I found this condensation online. It is worth the brief read!
In "No Wonder They Call Him the Savior", he tells the story of Maria
and her daughter Christina. Longing to leave her poor Brazilian
neighborhood, Christina wanted to see the world. Discontent living at
home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning
stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she ran
away, breaking her mother’s heart. Her mother knew what life on the
streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, so Maria
quickly packed to go find her daughter. On her way to the bus stop, she
went to a drugstore to get one last thing—pictures. She sat in the
photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all the money she could
on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white
photos, she got on the next bus to Rio de Janeiro. Maria knew Christina
had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too
stubborn to give up. Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs,
any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. At
each place she left her picture--taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to
a hotel bulletin board, or fastened to a corner phone booth. On the
back of each photo she wrote a note. It wasn’t too long before Maria’s
money and pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. The tired mother
cried as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. A
few weeks later, Christina was coming down the stairs in a seedy hotel.
Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth
but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had
become a nightmare. A thousand times she had longed to trade all those
countless beds for her secure pallet. And yet the little village seemed
too far away. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed
a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a
small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat
tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo.
Written on the back Maria had written this: "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home." And Christina went home.
God is the same way. He wants us to come home. It doesn’t matter what
we’ve done. It doesn’t matter what we’ve become. We can always come
home to Him. It is like Maria, reaching out for her daughter even when
her daughter didn’t realize it. It is like God reaching out to us while
we are living a life of sin and we are lost and yet, Christ is
there...reaching....longing...desiring to bring us home. It is
prevenient grace—it has kept us, as Newton writes, “safe thus far.”
We dedicate this message to a friend who recently "came home".
"Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored" Video Gaither Vocal Band
"Take My Life" Video Scott Underwood
Our friend Doris High, who took the photo of the cardinal, has an outstanding nature photo collection in her post "Enjoying Our Winter Birds & Animals"
to Stephen &
EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION: Join
thousands of readers from all
receive the free daily email version of this message! To receive
daily messages merely use our online form. You
will receive a
confirmation email to the address you subscribed to.
Merely follow the simple instructions in this email
reply to it) and you will be added to the mailing list immediately and
will receive the next message. We hope the messages will be a
e-mail address is held in a password-protected mail list and is not
used for any other purpose but this daily encouragement. You
easily unsubscribe at any time." If you are having trouble getting
subscribed or you are subscribed but are not getting the encouragement
in your email see: Subscription
to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily
Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that
you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost
of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect
or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and
subscription information intact. Ideas
spreading this ministry.
am created by God to bring
Him glory. Through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, I have been
redeemed and I make it my life’s goal to honor God through my
faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for
Encouragement Net 495
Church Road Mount
C. Weber All
the weak things in the world,
That no flesh will glory
in His presence."