Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Daily Encouragement (10/16/13) "Watch Your Life And Doctrine Closely"

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

  Delaware lookout towers
World War 2 Look-out Towers at Cape Henlopen on Delaware Shore.
These two towers are battered by forceful waves at high tide so there is some concern as to how much longer they will stand.

"Watch Your Life And Doctrine Closely"

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"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Timothy 4:16).

Among the interesting features of the coastline in southern Delaware are the Look-out towers. Unless someone can correct me I believe this is the only location along the entire eastern US
coastline where these towers remain standing today. They were used during World War 2 to keep a watch on the mouth of Delaware Bay for any sign of enemy activity off the coast. At that time the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was a major supplier of ships during the war effort and it was vitally essential to protect the Bay.

The towers ranged from 39 to 75 feet high and consisted of concrete walls one foot thick.
 Construction took place from 1939 to 1942, with the expectancy of the towers to hold up over a 20-year period. But quite a few remain over 70 years later! However the two in our lead photo are threatened since water reaches them at high tide.

These towers didn't actually have gun emplacements - they were used in conjunction with other nearby towers to determine the location of a "hostile" vessel. The coordinates of the lines of sight between 2 different towers were noted & given to the battery commander. The angles were then plotted in relation to the known distance between the two towers to form a triangle (triangulation) to determine the angle & direction of artillery fire. Triangulation is actually the same principle used in GPS. Interestingly, the guns at Fort Miles at Cape Henlopen were never called upon to fire at an enemy vessel.

The principle of planning strategy and keeping watch is found throughout the Scriptures, sometimes in a literal sense but often in a spiritual. Our duty of watching is to be both outward and inward. Outward watching includes watching for deception and false teachers.

But today let us consider the sense of inward watching. The two Scripture texts we share above were initially intended for spiritual leaders but we all do well to apply their teaching, regardless of our title or position. The first is in the Apostle Paul's address to the Ephesian elders.
"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock." Being on careful watch is a part of the shepherd's duty.

The second verse I committed to memory as a young Christian and I have sought to live by it;
"Watch your life and doctrine closely." A helpful way I have interpreted this is to watch the way you live and what you believe. Some other versions word it a bit differently: "Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching" (ESV); "Keep a critical eye both upon your own life and on the teaching you give" (Phillips); "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching" (NASV). The Bible Gateway has a helpful tool that allow you to look at a verse in many translations (see here).

Bible teacher John Piper, observes, "When a pastor takes heed to himself and his teaching and thus walks in the good works prepared for him by God, he proves himself to be the workmanship of God and a new creature in Christ. But when a pastor grows lax in his personal holiness and forsakes the apostolic doctrine he shows that he is not the workmanship of God, he is not a new creature in Christ, and his faith was vain like that of Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20) and Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) and Simon the Magician (Acts 8:21) and all the wolves in pastor's clothing that Paul and Jesus warn about in Acts 20:30 and Matthew 7:15."

Today we encourage you, as a follower of Jesus Christ, to watch your life and doctrine closely!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as we watch our life and doctrine closely we  will regularly examine our lives to see if the prevailing philosophy of our day is governing our lives or the timeless principles and commands established in the Word. Likewise attitudes and behaviors condoned by this world are not the template from which we build a framework for daily living. Instead our choices, attitudes, and actions must originate from the teachings of Scriptures where we see it modeled in godly leaders throughout the ages, right down to our present generation. May we counted among the faithful in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Other input on second text:  Bible teacher David Guzik observes: Timothy, and every pastor, must examine constantly the two great areas of concern - one’s life and one’s doctrine. Failing to do this would mean peril for both Timothy himself and for those in his congregation.
i. Without giving heed to his life, Timothy might suffer shipwreck (as in 1 Timothy 1:19). Without giving heed to his doctrine, Timothy might lead others astray or leave them short of God’s salvation.
ii. Those who hear Timothy as a pastor should be hearing doctrine. Timothy’s primary call was not to entertain, amuse, or even help with practical things - it was to present Biblical doctrine, and to give heed to that doctrine.

Thomas Brooks in "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ" comments, "Heavenly doctrines should always be adorned with a heavenly life. Ministers must preach Christ as well in their life—as in their doctrine. They must not be hot in the pulpit, and cold and careless in their lives. The lives of ministers oftentimes convince more strongly than their words; their tongues may persuade—but their lives command."

Here are some other coastal Delaware Look-out Tower photos
I took this week.

Delaware lookout tower
Brooksyne is standing near one of the towers showing how large they are. The oversized door and lower openings were sealed shut, as you can see. But later that evening we found one in Cape Henlopen Park open for viewing.  An amazing panoramic view of the shore and ocean could be seen through the horizontal window slits.

Delaware lookout towers
Here's a view of the two towers from inland across Gordon's Pond.

Delaware lookout tower plaque
Here's a plaque explaining the purpose of the towers.
(Click here for a larger version.)

Delaware lookout tower interior
The tower in Henlopen State Park has been renovated and we climbed to the top of this spiral staircase. It was getting dark as we climbed but we breathlessly made it!

Delaware lookout tower view
  After climbing to the top of the tower I was hoping to get a sunset photo but alas I was too late. This is a view out into the harbor.

Deer on Cape Henlopan DE (photo by Greg Schneider)
After climbing the lookout tower we passed an area where we always see lot of deer all in one field (16 this time). I recalled a photo our friend Greg Schneider took of a doe and her fawn on Cape Henlopen and submit his excellent photography today.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"People Of God"  Video  Wayne Watson

John Piper's excellent commentary on this verse.

Someone made a video climbing the tower. For the terminally curious here it is.

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