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Tuesday, June 24, 2014
This purple malva is beautiful both in our flower gardens where Brooksyne intentionally plants them and where they grow "volunteer" across the country lane from the clippings we discard!
"A Time to Flee"
Due to travel a podcast is not available today.
"But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house" (Genesis 39:12). "From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her" (2 Samuel 11:2,3). "Flee from sexual immorality" (1 Corinthians 6:18). "Keep yourself pure" (1 Timothy 5:22). "But thou, O man of God, flee these things" (1 Timothy 6:11).
Churches all over the country it seems are trying creative names to get attention and to stand out. Here in Springfield we passed a church along I-44 called "Courageous Church". I suppose that church is not for cowards! In Tulsa there is a church called GUTS Church. According to the website, "The personality of Guts Church is made clear with one simple question, "Do you have the 'Guts' to serve God?" Although I am not so sure how I like these trendy names, especially GUTS, there is certainly a Scriptural call to courage (Joshua 1:9) as well as a solemn warning about being cowardly (Revelation 21:8).
But today we want to consider a positive command to flee. I (Stephen) am attending a training conference here in Springfield, Missouri with several hundred chaplains. Yesterday we had a speaker, Jonathan McKee, who presented the importance of understanding the culture. He demonstrated what people are listening and watching by using short clips of videos. I suppose I am both old-fashioned and sheltered. It's hard to imagine just how decadent popular culture is.
Yesterday Jonathan shared that a tragic choice is generally preceded by several less tragic or even seemingly innocuous choices. He illustrated with a man overcoming an addiction who is clean for a year. He's out driving and passes a street leading to a bar he used to frequent. He turns down the street just to check things out. He comes to the bar and decides to turn in the parking lot to see if any of his friend's cars are there. He then decides just to go in and say "Hi" to his friends. Next thing he has "fallen off the wagon". He would have been best off "fleeing the scene" when he came to the street leading to the bar!
There is a time to flee and that is the courageous act. Today let's look at this matter particularly in regard to sexual temptation. Due to our God-ordained hormonal constitution people in every generation have dealt with sexual temptation.
One of the greatest examples of victory over sexual temptation is Joseph. The Bible tells his story in Genesis 39 and today's first text records the essence of this victory. Joseph was being seduced by Potiphar's wife and he recognized God's commands, "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" (v. 9). Rather than succumb to temptation he ran, "But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house." He still faced consequences but he did the right thing.
The Bible also forthrightly records failure and David's tragic story is perhaps the most familiar. Today's second text records the essence of what led to his moral failure. "From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her." David should have fled the scene!
But today we face a situation far more intense and distinct from what most in previous generations faced. There is a flood of material from the entertainment industry condoning and even glamorizing immorality, so much of it as close as a smart phone or tablet. In many cases it's even taught as good and acceptable in public schools and through government agencies. Interestingly there is a parallel sense by popular culture of condemning those who still maintain a Biblical outlook on morality. We are seen as old-fashioned and intolerant.
I simply do not believe this condoning and condemning took place in recent generations. In fact it was the reverse! Marriage as defined in the Bible was presented as normal and healthy. The Bible was revered by most and its teaching held sacred. Sexual immorality was wrong and understood to be sinful behavior.
But we have entered an age when good is called evil and evil is called good (see Isaiah 5:20).
Certainly there have always been people in every generation who practiced sexual immorality; some engaging in pre-marital sex and adulterous unfaithfulness in marriage and a small segment engaged in sodomy. But except in the most uncivilized cultures this was known to be wrong, even by the participants.
There are those reading this today who have engaged in sexual immorality in the past but have repented and found the purifying scrub brush of the Holy Spirit brings renewal, cleansing and an invitation to start over according to God's design. Some of you are fighting this battle as you read this. You know in your heart this message is for you.
The apostle Paul wrote, "Flee from sexual immorality." Today we need to practice, maintain, and proclaim the Biblical teachings. Those who do so will be increasingly reviled.
My word of encouragement today is to stay faithful in word and deed to God's teachings. "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised" (Hebrews 10:35, 36).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it is Your desire that we stay faithful to Your teachings. Scripture gives many examples of those who knew to do right, but chose to do wrong. The consequences of their wrong actions inflicted a great deal of loss, life-long regret and emotional pain. Help us to avoid the traps Satan has set for the believers by not only reading the Word, but applying its truth to our lives, and standing firm when the temptation to do wrong is ever before us.
Visiting with some longtime friends at the chaplain conference:
I went to college with Manuel Cordero who had a call to be a prison chaplain at that time. He served in the Federal Prison system until his retirement and he is now the correctional representative for Chaplaincy. He interviewed me over ten years ago when I received my chaplaincy endorsement. Manny had a serious affliction several years ago and has a wonderful testimony.
Steve and I played racquetball back in Bible College days and he informed me that I won! (I couldn't recall). He served as a Navy chaplain and now works in corrections in North Carolina.
Last night I joined several chaplain friends for dinner at Lamberts Cafe, the home of the throwed roll. Frank is a correctional chaplain at a state prison in Pennsylvania. He has a sense of humor and uses it in reaching the inmates in the prison he serves as head chaplain with 2000 inmates.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"A Pure Heart" Video Rusty Nelson
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber (Click on photo to enlarge)
"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"
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