Thursday, August 22, 2013

Daily Encouragement (08/22/13) "Understanding The Increasing Deviancy"

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lancaster County country lane (photo by Frank G. Heron) click to enlarge
Lancaster County Country Lane
Photo by Frank G. Heron
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Understanding The Increasing Deviancy"

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“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24).

As we get older we both are becoming less and less familiar with popular culture, although we never really were to "with it" in this regard, no matter our age. It's practically incomprehensible the degree and scope of moral decadence that is present today, both the culturally approved and culturally unapproved. Practically every day there is some new acceptance, promotion or justification for some type of behavior that was once considered deviant. What will the next frontier look like as those things once considered "deviant" are referred to as "good" by fallen humans? Can anyone deny there is an increase in wickedness?

The daily Scripture portion is longer than we usually post but we felt all was needed to provide a context. It's a good portion to read aloud several times and perhaps put to memory.

Garden of Eden
Today let us focus on two verses that is a succinct description of fallen humanity: "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." "They" describes the human race. It describes all of us apart from the redemptive work of Christ. What we particularly want to focus on today is the last phrase, "a continual lust for more."

This “continual lust for more” began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. God had provided enough, absolutely all they needed. In the midst of all the blessings and that which God permitted in Eden stood the forbidden tree. The crafty serpent enticed Adam and Eve that this forbidden fruit was a "gotta have". Because they did not resist the temptation, their disobedience resulted in what theologians call “original sin”. Since that time mankind has had a hard time resisting the forbidden.

Alcohol abuse
Whatever level of wickedness "satisfies" the sinful cravings for a time, will eventually be insufficient. More will be needed. This can be seen in so many of Satan's vices such as gambling, alcohol, drugs, pornography, and sexual immorality. Each vice so often begins with a "harmless", scaled down introduction but will so often become your master and take you where you never intended to go and keep you much longer than you ever intended to stay. Does anyone really set goals for themselves to live in the gutter?

Today as God’s standards of morality are mocked and shrugged aside we see this phenomenon of a "a continual lust for more" growing at a fevered pitch. Thus I frankly ponder what the next frontier will be when that which is presently considered deviant behavior becomes acceptable behavior. It may be something we can hardly imagine but just consider where we are now and that which was unimaginable just a few years ago, by Christian and non-Christian alike.

The ungodly make big business out of every kind of impurity. Pornography, prostitution, vulgar media, and every other kind of impurity make up one of the largest industries in our country. The vast majority of it is open, shameless, and legally protected.  Many years ago a Christian leader observed that many of the books published in the United States today rival the drippings of a broken sewer. That was before the availability through the internet and other media. Now the drippings have become a surging flood.

With the flood of evil, pornography and perversions sweeping through our land and around the world many of those who have partaken are now having "a continual lust for more." Deeper and deeper depths of depravity can be expected and the evil acts that accompany it. We should not be surprised.

Today is my spiritual birthday. Forty-two years ago I accepted Christ as a high school student in the Kansas City Missouri area and began to serve the Lord. The very next verse brings joy to my
heart today: "You, however, did not come to know Christ that way” (Ephesians 4:20).  Those that experience the life transforming power of Jesus Christ are different. The slide into decadence stops and the renewal begins. We are a new creation. Rather than having a continual lust for more wickedness we become seekers of God's Kingdom and desire more righteousness, peace and joy.

Everyone is headed in one direction or the other. Which way are you heading today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, shape my thinking into that which will bring about growth and conformity to Your will. Teach me to think not in accord with my own human instincts but with the truth as it is revealed in Your Word.  It will keep me from lusting after deadly forbidden fruit if I plant myself into that which is holy and righteous.  As the world continues to slide into decadence help me to delve deeper into Your Word and faithfully commune with You so that my heart does not grow cold or indifferent. Nor will I be drawn into every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more.  I want to stand firm to the end so that I am saved from this world of sin.  In Jesus' name and in His strength I pray.  Amen.

Further study:
Here are various ways the key text is translated. (Bible Gateway)
Online study with detailed commentary

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

May The Mind Of Christ"  Video  Emu Music

"I Want to Be More Like Jesus Every Day"
  Video  Old Friends Quartet

"To Be Like Jesus"  Video  Not specified

"I Want To Be More Like Jesus"  Video  Keith Green

"Does Jesus Care?"  Video 
The Isaacs  All this week we are featuring a song by the Isaacs since we hope to go to an Isaacs concert this coming Sunday evening in Lebanon PA. See here for info if you are in our area and may be interested.

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Stephen, Brooksyne and Ester Weber 04/21/13
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

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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.
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