Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Daily Encouragement (08/28/13) "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes" ("The Danger Of Incrementalism")

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chevrolet pickup
This old Chevrolet pick-up adds character to our neighborhood!

"Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes"
"The Danger Of Incrementalism

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"Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance" (2 Samuel 11:2).

Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see,
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see,
For the Father up above, is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.

All around us we are bombarded with visual temptations; billboards, magazine ads, images on the web. Sometimes even in the course of reading or watching the news a visual temptation will pop up as an ad on the side of the screen. We passed a billboard advertising show girls with pictures of gorgeous women. I admit there are times when I do wonder if they're as pretty in real life as the photos. But by God's grace I have no intentions of pursuing such vain thoughts!

One of the great cautions in life is for believers to be aware of how the slide into sin and decadence often takes place incrementally. This is true on both individual and societal levels. Incrementalism has been described as a slippery slope, often illustrated by the frog in a kettle of boiling water. A frog placed in cold water supposedly won't jump out as long as the heating surface is brought slowly to a boil since the frog becomes acclimated to the slowly rising water temperature. *

The slide into sin often takes place incrementally,
that is, small step by small step. Casting Crowns has a stirring song that deals with this called "Slow Fade." Surely as the prodigal left his father and childhood home he did not aspire to feeding pigs.  People don't have a deep longing to be addicts.  So often they will testify that they began with "just a little" tobacco, alcohol, or "harmless" weed.  Consider other areas where this is true. "Just a little won't hurt" the devil continues to whisper.  After all, the slide (original sin) began with just a little bite from the forbidden fruit.

We consider the lustful temptations common to all and the many times Brooksyne and I have dealt pastorally with those who have fallen into sin and now do so as a chaplain when people confide in us for help.

Today let us consider a small verse concerning David and what led up to his adulterous sin with Bathsheba recorded in 2 Samuel 11. We have here a profile of an individual's incremental slide into sin. 

David and Bathsheba"Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house." The is innocuous enough. Perhaps David had trouble falling asleep. Occasionally we take night walks through the country, but never on the roof of our home! (Of course architecture was quite different in that culture and time period.) Walks are good for our health and there was certainly nothing wrong with David taking a walk.

"and from the roof he saw a woman bathing." This phrase prompts a critical question. Was she doing this knowing she might be seen? There are those who seek to allure others by their dress (or lack of it). I wonder about the lighting conditions. You can see a lot on a clear night with a full moon. Perhaps there was also some lamp light or this was early in the evening. Some versions suggest this was early evening when there still would have been some daylight. In the course of walking around "he saw". This may have been inevitable. Perhaps like a billboard along the highway the brief glance just couldn't be avoided.

"and the woman was very beautiful in appearance."  David's glance turned into curiosity and once the assessment of her beauty became pleasing to his eyes David lingered.  This was the starting point of his problem. Centuries earlier Job in asserting his integrity states, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl" (Job 31:1).

The next incremental step is taken when
"David sent and inquired about the woman." This was a bad decision! What is he inquiring for? He was a married man and knew the seventh commandment by memory. That should have settled it.

And one he sent reported, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" And when the messenger reported "the wife of Uriah the Hittite", that should have once and for all settled it.

But "David sent messengers and took her". It was all downhill from here on out.
The Life Application Bible note brings a thoughtful truth:  "The deeper the mess, the less we want to admit having caused it. It's much easier to stop sliding down a hill when you are near the top than when you are halfway down.  The best solution is to stop sin before it starts."

The chapter ends with this timeless assessment of sin from God's perspective: "But the thing David had done displeased the LORD." The following chapter and remainder of the book chronicle these harsh consequences that affected his entire family for generations. It is a powerful reminder that sin always has consequences. A lesson for all of us to heed.

Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see,
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see,
For the Father up above, is looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, help each of us to be on guard against the trappings of the devil and remain steadfast in resisting temptation at each step.  We want to live in a way that pleases you, Father, as You have taught us. You command us to resist all sexual sin, and in doing so, we will control our body and live in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as the pagans do, in their ignorance or willful disobedience to You. We want to guard our hearts against the lure of the enemy, so that we continue to experience the holy and abundant life that You have provided for us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

See II Thessalonians 4:3-5, Proverbs 4:23

Post-It note collection
Elsie, a longtime reader, surprised us yesterday when she sent in the mail a sampling of her collection of post-it notes in response to our message last Friday titled "The Blessing Of Spiritual Reminders". We spoke of Marjie, a prolific post-it note user, in our opening illustration. We'll pass this collection on to Marjie as we are sure she will use them, and Elsie gave us permission to do with them as we want!

Gardner family 8/27/13
Last night we visited with Mike and JoAnna Gardner and their family. The younger boys stayed with us when they took their daughter to a Kindergarten orientation. The boys entertained us as they were very inquisitive. Zane who is 3 years old was sitting at the counter eating when suddenly he looked at Stephen stomach and asked,  "What's in your belly?" Imagine Stephen's ashen face and our roaring laughter at his inquiry. Stephen then asked, "What do you think, Zane?" After a little while he answered, "A ball!" The boys kept asking for more strawberries as Zane informed us, "Us don't have any of these at our house." This morning when Stephen asked me to slice some strawberries for his cereal I responded, "Us don't have anymore in our house." Stephen conducted the Gardners' wedding in 2005 and we have enjoyed watching their family grow as well as their commitment to the Lord as they choose to live according to Biblical standards.

Lawn tractor with Zane 8/27/13
Unable to offer a BIG tractor ride with a BIG wagon, Stephen drove Zane around around our lawn with his lawnmower and garden cart!

Front view before harvest 8/27/13
The corn harvest has begun in our area and soon our front yard view will change. This will depend on whether they harvest for silage which grinds up the entire stalk or if they come in later with a combine and harvest only the grain. Click on photo for a larger view.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Slow Fade"  Video  Casting Crowns

"Guard Your Heart" Video  Steve Green

"O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See"  Video  Cedarmont Kids  A longtime favorite author writes: "Our minds are mental greenhouses where unlawful thoughts, once planted, are nurtured and watered before being transplanted into the real world of unlawful actions... These actions are savored in the mind long before they are enjoyed in reality. The thought life, then, is our first line of defense in the battle of self-control." Jerry Bridges

* Frog in boiling water:  Modern sources tend to dispute that the phenomenon is real. In 1995, Professor Douglas Melton, of the Harvard University Biology department, said, "If you put a frog in boiling water, it won't jump out. It will die. If you put it in cold water, it will jump before it gets hot—they don't sit still for you." Dr. George R. Zug, curator of reptiles and amphibians at the National Museum of Natural History, also rejected the suggestion, saying that "If a frog had a means of getting out, it certainly would get out."

In 2002 Dr. Victor H. Hutchison, Professor Emeritus of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma, with a research interest in thermal relations of amphibians, said that "The legend is entirely incorrect!". He described how the critical thermal maximum for many frog species has been determined by contemporary research experiments: as the water is heated by about 2 °F, or 1.1 °C, per minute, the frog becomes increasingly active as it tries to escape, and eventually jumps out if the container allows it.
See here.

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Stephen, Brooksyne and Ester Weber 04/21/13
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