Kraybill Church Road view 5/20/18
Finally, after days of rain, we are back to enjoying nice walks with our dogs on Kraybill Church Road.

“Ponder Anew,
What The Almighty Can Do

Message summary: As we study God’s Word and meditate on His precepts let us be faithful to “Proclaim the works of God and ponder what He has done and what He is going to do.”

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them” (Psalm 111:2). “Proclaim the works of God and ponder what He has done. Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in Him; let all the upright in heart praise Him!” (Psalm 64:9b,10).

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee,
Who from the heavens the streams of His mercy doth send thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
Who with His love doth befriend thee.

We often mention our enjoyment of flowers in this series. Yesterday late afternoon we worked outside on the lawn and garden. After all the rain we’ve had our plants are thriving (so are the weeds)! Brooksyne takes great delight in her flowers and Ester and I thoroughly enjoy photographing them. One of the features about digital photography we enjoy is the ability to get close-ups such as the photo Ester took of the Clematis we shared yesterday.

We have three bushes in our back yard that bloom one after the other; the Azalea, Rhododendron, and Mountain Laurel. The Rhododendron is the second to bloom and is now blooming.

Photo of Mountain Laurel flowers One of these plants was initially a puzzle to us shortly after we moved here sixteen years ago. We observed the flowers and were stunned by its beauty as we examined it up close; the tiny, delicate pink buttercups that open into beautiful flowers. Since it was planted by the previous owner we didn’t know what it was. We wondered if it was some type of exotic, rare plant.

Turns out it’s the Mountain Laurel, the Pennsylvania state flower! We have often seen these laurels at a distance in mid-June when the Pennsylvania mountain sides are covered with them creating pink, white and red floral landscapes along the roads. However we had never taken the time to get out and see what they looked like up close. The beautiful distant floral panorama was actually a vast collage of these tiny, beautiful flowers.

The same principle is true with Scripture. We benefit from both the panoramic and close-up views of the Holy Word of God!

We’re more familiar with the panoramic view when we read larger portions of Scripture in a Bible reading plan, with the intention of reading through the entire Bible in a year. In our church we are now going through a helpful survey series titled “The One Story” which seeks to give us a unified view of God’s work from Genesis to Revelation.

But we also need the close-up view in which we really examine and ponder each verse, phrase, or even consider the meaning of just one word. This may include comparing translations, word studies from the original languages, consulting commentaries and so forth. Of special spiritual value is memorizing portions of God’s Word.

“Praise To The Lord, The Almighty” is one of the classic hymns of the Church. It has these  words tucked into one of the verses, “Ponder anew, what the Almighty can do.” I believe it’s a daily discipline to ponder anew what the Almighty has done, is doing and will do. We enjoy God’s creation (nature) and that sure gives us plenty to ponder.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, I confess to You my need for sensitivity from Your Holy Spirit when I read Scripture. Following the schedule of a yearly reading plan gives me an overall understanding of Your sovereign work in creation and in the lives of individuals and nations as it also instructs me in holy living. But the very personal message that You have for me generally comes from pondering a newly discovered truth or considering a Scripture portion and poring over it throughout my day. It opens avenues of understanding and oneness with You that I miss when I ignore or hurry through my devotions. I want to be purposeful in my Scripture reading and invite the inspiration of Your Word to illumine my path and deepen my faith in You, the Changeless One.  Amen.


Lehigh River Gorge rhododendron, Poconos, PA
Here’s a photo of the rhododendron bloom.

 

Chaplain David H. Hicks 5/20/18
Yesterday I went to a men’s luncheon and heard Chaplain David H. Hicks share his testimony. He became a Christian as an enlisted man in the army in the mid-sixties due to the witness of his unit chaplain. He went on to become a chaplain himself and rose to the rank of Major General and the highest position of service in Army chaplaincy as the Chief of Chaplains, leading 3,000 Army chaplains. Here’s his testimony, “A Soldier’s Journey Of Faith”.  Yesterday he also shared how he has overcame a stoke he had two years ago.

Baby corn 5/20/18
Week after week we’ve had lots of rain. It was so refreshing to walk in our neighborhood and see that the corn our neighbor planted has survived the deluge of rain and is now starting to grow!

 


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

 

“Praise To The Lord, The Almighty”  Video  Altar of Praise Chorale

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“Follow Me”

May 21, 2018

Clematis in Mount Joy, PA 6/19/18 (Photo by Ester)
With all the rain we are now enjoying thick, green grass and bright flowers. Ester took this photo of a purple clematis in Mount Joy late Saturday afternoon. It was a bright view following days of pouring rain though the sun was not yet shining at the time.
“Follow Me”

Message summary: Today we urge all our readers to consider again the simple call to Peter and to all of us to “Follow Me”. Make it your resolve for this to a be a lifelong pursuit.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Come, follow Me” (Matthew 4:19). “You must follow Me” (John 21:22). “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Friday afternoon as I was walking through a company for a chaplain visit I received a call from James, a bright eleven year old and deep thinker who’s already gifted in the art of conversation. He asked if I could take him and his older brother to an animal sale at the Green Dragon, a huge weekly auction here in Lancaster County. I was unable to do so since I had other commitments but we talked for a few minutes. They were going to buy some pheasants (not to be confused with peasants!).

James is being raised in the ways of the Lord and, as our conversation concluded, I asked him, “Are you going to stay faithful to the Lord all your life?” He responded with an affirmative, “Yes”.

He then asked me a very thoughtful question. “Does anyone ever tell you they’re not going to stay faithful?” I paused but a moment and answered that I never had anyone tell me they were planning to be unfaithful. Sadly though, as life progressed, there are those who have not remained faithful in following the Lord, though they indicated that they would.

Matthew 4:19 I shared with James that I hope, years from now when he’s older and worldly temptations are beckoning, that the Spirit would bring to remembrance our conversation and it would be a source of encouragement and reminder for him to stay faithful.

I can think of such conversations and experiences from my past that have given me residual encouragement. If you stop to think about it, you surely can as well!

Jesus with Peter in John 21Perhaps that was the case for Peter in his last recorded personal conversation with Christ before He ascended back to the Father. That conversation is our second daily text, “You must follow me”. Many years later Peter could draw on this personal teaching from the Lord to encourage him when the going got tough, as it surely did for Peter, as he stood firmly in his faith, even in the face of persecution.

Interestingly the first recorded words that Peter heard from Jesus directed personally to him were, “Come, follow Me” (Matthew 4:19a). And the last recorded personal words to Peter from Jesus were, “You must follow Me” (John 21:22). What a clear message to Peter and to all of us who are called to be His disciples! “Come, follow Me” remains the supreme call of Christ to each of us from the beginning of life to the very end.

In His Steps Many years later when Peter was writing his epistles he again recalled this call to follow and writes, “You should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Following in His steps, we should “walk, even as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

Charles Sheldon wanted to attract local college students to God, so he began preaching a series of practical Sunday evening sermons on how to follow “in His steps”; in business, in journalism, in other careers. From the popular series he wrote magazine articles, which in time became the best-selling book, “In His Steps”.

Today we urge all our readers to consider again the simple call Jesus made to Peter and to all of us; “Follow Me”. Make it your resolve for this to a be a lifelong pursuit.

His faithful follower I would be
For by His hand He leadeth me

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Faithful Jesus, help me to determine in my heart that Your words, “Follow Me” will far surpass the importance of any other mission I undertake in my lifetime. I pray that my goals, achievements, and ambitions never conflict with the major calling You have placed on my life. Lord, may all that I pursue establish for me a firm foundation where my faith will grow so that I bring glory to Your name, both in life and in death. Amen.


91 year old Civil Air Patrol chaplain 5/18/18
On Friday I attended a luncheon with retired chaplains (although I am not yet retired!). Chaplain Ressetar is 91 years old and still serves a local Civil Air Patrol squadron in Harrisburg, PA. (My first chaplain experience in the late 80’s I served as a Civil Air Patrol chaplain in northern Pennsylvania.)Sertoma chicken BBQ in Lancaster, PA 5/19/18
Saturday morning started out with pouring rain, but it let up by early afternoon. Ester and Stephen volunteered at the 66th Annual Sertoma Chicken BBQ event in Lancaster. They packed over 500 bags of 1/2 chickens for what is billed as the world’s largest chicken bbq. According to reports the Sertoma Chicken BBQ serve some 24,000 chicken bbq dinners.

Sertoma chicken BBQ in Lancaster, PA 5/19/18
A scene of the grilling action at the Sertoma chicken bbq on Saturday.

"Day of Blessing" at Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA 5/19/18
While Stephen and Ester worked I was being blessed and even pampered! I was invited to participate in the “Day of Blessing” at our church, an event to honor Caregivers such as moms raising a special needs child, wives caring for their dependent spouse, etc. I had volunteered to serve but instead was asked to be among those who received. This photo shows the “Blessing of the Hands”. As music was being played on the piano and the “Blessing of the Hands” prayer was being read two leaders stood at a table and poured water over our hands while praying for us and the need we had shared.

"Day of Blessing" at Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA 5/19/18
This was the tenth year for “Day of Blessing” and their theme was “Sweet as Honeycomb” based on Psalm 119:103. Following our time of singing, devotions and Blessing of the Hands we enjoyed lunch, made some crafts and were pampered with our choices of haircut, manicure, pedicure, chair massage, special session of prayer, etc.  The best part of all was getting acquainted with other caregivers responsible for their loved ones such as spouses whose husbands have Parkinson’s disease, mothers raising autistic children, those caring for a family member permanently injured in an accident. Their stories touched me deeply. The day spent with these precious caregivers reminded me that each of us is given a unique opportunity to serve others as we serve the Lord.

"Day of Blessing" at Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA 5/19/18

Clematis in Mount Joy, PA 6/19/18 (Photo by Ester)
A close-up of the Clematis that Ester took on late Saturday afternoon.  Ours are blooming as well but aren’t as far along as these beauties.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“He Leadeth Me”  Video  Marshall Hall

“Follow Me”  Video   Kelly Willard

“Follow Me”  Video   Larry Ford

Finally today:

Bird house view 5/20/18
Yesterday afternoon we were sitting out on our back deck when we noticed the side had fallen off our birdhouse requiring an emergency repair, though the birds nestled together inside their nest, did not seem distressed at all.
Hershey Hotel tulips (Photo by Ester)
Tulips on the grounds of the majestic Hershey Hotel
(Photo by Ester)

“A Lesson From A Stiff Cat

Message summary: Since the consequence of sin is not always immediate we may be under the illusion that all is well. But eventually our sin will find us out.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

We have been getting a lot of rain in our area. Although the dreary weather can be a bit wearying it sure does make everything green. The other day we mentioned how our border collie Mollie is terrified during thunderstorms. During a storm she looks for a “safe” hiding place, her favorite being the bathtub (though she hates taking a bath). But she also tries to get in the refrigerator or oven when she sees a family member open the door(s)! Anywhere to hide from the booming thunder!

On the other hand our 17 year old cat Dottie, shows no fear during storms but she does demonstrate characteristic cat curiosity, especially having a compulsion to check out any new place to lie down. However thus far she has had her nine lives and then some.

Yesterday we spoke at “Golden Nuggets” a senior citizen luncheon and shared the story about Mollie trying to find a safe hiding place during a storm. Jesse, an elderly friend, related a story that took place some 40 years ago. (Note: this story may be distressing to some).

They had a cat, like ours, which demonstrated characteristic cat curiousity. He told about how one day their cat, unbeknownst to them, had managed to get into their upright freezer when they had opened the door. Sometime later he opened the door and found the cat curled up and frozen stiff, a literal expression of how “curiousity killed the cat”.

In considering our friend’s cat story we think of an Old Testament verse that applies to all of us, “Be sure that your sin will find you out.” In this case that is just what happened for their cat when they opened the freezer door!

Now, any illustration from the animal kingdom is bound to have some deficiencies. After all, animals are not moral beings and although we may say “bad doggie or bad kitty” they really aren’t sinning in the sense we sin when we disobey God.

But there is an aspect of sin related to curiosity expressed in these lines from a hymn, “prone to wander”. In our fallen human nature we may wonder just how far down the road of sin we’ll travel before facing the consequences. That’s been a part of human nature since the Fall.

Let us examine the background to this verse. In Numbers 32 the new generation is camped east of the Jordan preparing to enter the Promised Land.  Leaders from the tribes of Reuben and Gad approached Moses and made a proposal to Moses that they would settle and consider as their inheritance the lands east of the Jordan, which they had already settled and found suitable for their livestock. Moses initially misunderstood their request, assuming they were attempting to dodge their responsibilities in the conquest of Canaan.

However, they further clarified their proposal, indicating that they would indeed be sending their fighting men to assist the other tribes and pledging that they would not return until the conquest was complete. Moses’ tone changed with the clarification and he accepted their proposal, but in the first daily text he reminded them of the consequences of failing to keep their word. Tracking through the history of the conquest we see they did indeed fulfill their commitment and were commended by Joshua for their faithfulness in Joshua 22.

There’s a lot of good teaching in this chapter but let me just focus on today’s first text which has a timeless spiritual principle. Moses cautioned the tribal leaders about the consequences of failure to keep their word: “But if you fail to do this (what they had promised), you will be sinning against the LORD.”  Ultimately Moses solemnly reminded them that the failure to honor their word in regard to their responsibilities to others is a sin against the Lord. The principle is the same for us and we do well to always keep that before us, especially when circumstances make it attractive to opt out.

Then Moses states, “and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” It’s interesting the precise way this is worded, “your sin will find you out” and it is consistent in standard translations. We might expect it to read to the effect, “Others will find out about your sin” which is also the case. However the wording is significant due to self-deception. Sir Walter Scott stated it this way, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

I consider a parallel of how it is in our dealings. We may very well think we are getting away with something but we can be sure our sin will find us out, sometimes sooner, other times later. Since the consequences of sin are not always immediate we may be under the illusion that all is well. But eventually our sin will find us out.

The apostle Paul’s word to the Galatians is so powerful in this regard, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:7-9).

Today let us live with the solemn realization that our sin will not go undetected by an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-present, holy God.  Indeed, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.” But we also live with the solemn blessing of His forgiveness when we go to Him with a humble and contrite heart.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Faithful Father, Your Word shows us that obedience brings about blessing but disobedience brings about dishonor. I want to honor You with my life, for there is nothing hidden from Your eyes. Help me to uphold the standards of truth and honesty as revealed through Your unchanging Holy Word; not by the standards of this world that customize “truth” to suit people’s ever-changing whims, nor by my brothers and sisters of the faith who often come up short. When I’m confronted with my sin help me to have the fortitude and courage to deal with it. May I not cover it up, seek to justify it, blame others, procrastinate or deceive myself. Thank You for granting complete forgiveness to those who come to You with a contrite heart willing to lay down sin and take up righteousness. Amen.

Today’s text is an example of what many have called the “sin of omission” expressed in James 4:17: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”


Oren and Naomi Hofstetter
“Golden Nuggets” is a monthly gathering of seniors that has been going for some 15 years. My Mom enjoyed going for several years before she died in late 2005. It was established by Oren and Naomi Hofstetter who are still part of a team of dedicated volunteers who prepare a tasty meal and provide a wholesome program to honor seniors from the church and community. Oren and Naomi demonstrate great servant’s hearts and representative of the millions of Christ-followers who serve faithfully in their local churches and communities with little to no fanfare.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

 

“Search Me O God”  Video  The Cathedrals, traditional version

“Search Me O God”  Video  Maranatha Singers, country style!

Geese family at Donegal Springs (Photo by Ester)
Geese family in Donegal Springs
(Photo by Ester)
“Are You Rich Or Poor?
Message summary: Do you consider yourself rich or poor?
ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

We just heard a news report describing the horrific living conditions in South Sudan. This prompted a study of the country which is typically ranked near the very bottom in any livability spectrum. South Sudan deals with poor medical conditions, famine, civil war, drought, religious persecution, you name it. It is home to some of the world’s most impoverished people. Many years ago we befriended two boys that were among the “Lost Boys Of Sudan” who had made it to the US and worked at the Turkey Hill Dairy where we served as chaplains at the time. What a dramatic story they had.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is one of the richest people in the world. Our lives partially intersect in that, like us, he is also a 1973 high school graduate. There’s a tendency to reckon my wealth by making a comparison to Bill Gates which can make me feel fairly “poor”. However as we prayed for the people in South Sudan (and really many other parts of the world) I realized that my life has been way more like Bill Gates than people living in countries like South Sudan. We even wonder how many born in the mid-fifties would still be alive.

In 1 Timothy 6 Paul gives instructions to those who want to be rich (1 Timothy 6:9,10) and to those who are rich (1 Timothy 6:17-19). You can self-assess and take whichever instruction appropriate but we feel there’s good advice here for all! Today we focus on a condition virtually all our readers are in, especially in comparison to South Sudan. We are “rich in this present world”!

The adjective “present” that precedes world is not accidental.  It reminds us of the temporal state of this world, in contrast with the eternal life referred to in verse 19.

We often hear about “financial security”.  Millions aspire to have financial security; being set for life. Although planning for our temporal future is prudent, most give little to no attention to their eternal future. Notice especially the phrase, “wealth, which is so uncertain”.

Today’s generation desperately needs to hear this. The world’s wealth will always be uncertain as is proven in the history books and in our own lifetime. Nevertheless so many focus their life on bigger homes, cars, more toys, bigger bank accounts, retirement savings, etc. But ultimately there is no “financial security”.  Jesus spoke of a man who thought he had it when he kept building bigger barns, but God called him a fool (Luke 12:16-21).

Today let us put our hope in God and thankfully rejoice in all He has richly provided for our enjoyment. Our ultimate security is in God alone! Let us exclaim with the Psalmist David, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

We are commanded “to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

The daily Scripture portion ends with a wonderful promise. “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” Let us ever keep before us the acknowledgment of the life that is truly life!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, help me not to strive for worldly riches that would cause me to place my hope in material wealth that is only temporal. I know that money cannot buy love, joy, peace, forgiveness or lasting security. I cannot expect my riches to fulfill my greatest need since money cannot solve matters of the heart, but You do. For the riches You have entrusted to me I want to be wise, accountable, and generous toward those who have less, all the while laying up treasures in heaven that await me once I get to my final and lasting home.  Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“William Borden, No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets”  Video

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video  Dallas Holm

“I’d Rather Have Jesus”  Video  Jason Crabb

Cattle along Gibble Road 5/15/18
A pleasant walk along Gibble Road after the storm late yesterday afternoon.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“The Blessing Of Fences

Message summary: Although Moses gave the wonderful promise in the daily text to the children of Israel shortly before they entered the Promised Land it is also a great principle applicable to all of His children today.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess” (Deuteronomy 30:15,16). “Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28).

We had a strong thunderstorm pass through our area late yesterday afternoon with heavy rain, strong winds and lots of thunder and lightning. Mollie, as is characteristic of border collies, was terrified. Her favorite hiding place is the tub although she also tries to get in the refrigerator or oven when she sees a family member open the door(s)! Anywhere to hide from the booming thunder!

Cattle along Gibble Road 5/15/18After an hour or so the skies cleared and we went outside commenting on the pleasant smelling “fragrance after the rain”, which we think would be a great line in a song.

Brooksyne went for a walk with the dogs and I took a bike ride meeting up with them on Gibble Road about a mile from our home. At the corner of Gibble and Musser Roads about twenty head of cattle clumsily ran to the fence to greet us. We don’t know whether they were interested in seeing us or the dogs. But they stopped at the electric fence, sensing the rather unpleasant consequence that awaited them if they touched it!

The farmer established the fence as a boundary to keep the cattle in for their safety and danger out. We don’t know how the cattle feel about this fence although they clearly see fresh green grass tasty for grazing on the other side!

Greener grass“The grass is greener on the other side” is a common assumption in our fallen human nature as well!

But God, in His love and care for us, has also established fences (or boundaries). Figuratively speaking we have a propensity in our sin nature to consider the grass on the other side to be greener, denser, and tastier! What a blessing to have an outlook which sees boundaries as blessings.  God has set up boundaries expressed in different ways in the Scripture. There are negative boundaries of prohibition such as “Thou shalt not” and there are positive boundaries of command such as “Thou shalt”.

Man’s nature since the fall has always been to mess with these boundaries! Just consider the world’s problems in light of this. But how vitally healthy to recognize that these boundaries are for our good.

Although Moses gave the wonderful promise in the daily text to the children of Israel shortly before they entered the Promised Land it is also a great principle applicable to all of His children today.

“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Truth be told we might prefer if this just said, “I set before you today life and prosperity”; leave the negative stuff out. But God (in this case through Moses) tells us the truth, that death and destruction are also set before us if we get off the right path.

“For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess”.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we are grateful for the boundaries You place throughout Scripture that guard us from danger. Often it’s to protect us from the devil who lurks waiting for the opportunity to pounce and other times it’s to protect us from our own vain vices that can be equally destructive. Wise us up so that we don’t resent or rebel against the fences intended for our own eternal good. Rather help us to see that You are an all-wise, all-knowing God who looks after us and sets boundaries so that we don’t lose sight of our spiritual heritage here on earth which will keep us on the straight and narrow way that leads to our eternal inheritance in heaven. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


John at Jubilee missions in Lebanon, PA 5/15/18
Yesterday morning we stopped by the Jubilee Thrift Store in Lebanon, PA to make a donation. Thrift stores in our area sell second hand items and use the proceeds for ministry. I spoke to John who told me his testimony of converting to Christ while in jail and he is now in a discipleship program. It was a blessing for John to tell me that Jim Artz, a ministry associate, had led him to Christ while in jail and just that morning had led in the devotional time. John’s story reminds us that we serve a God of the second chance!

Hershey's Kissmobile in Hershey, PA 5/15/18
You can imagine where we saw this in our travels yesterday! It sure must be interesting to be the driver of this sweet mobile.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“O Come To The Altar/Come Thou Fount”  Video  Closing song at Calvary Church this last Lord’s Day (includes pastoral prayer).

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

“Saviour Like A Shepherd Lead Us”  Video  4Him

“The Blessing Of The Ancient Landmarks”  A message on today’s theme written several years ago.

“A Christian College Gone Pagan”: When living in New England we were not far from Wellesley College which is now a liberal bastion of “elite” academia. (AKA nonsense). I was not aware till reading this article of the Christian foundations this school has. This quote from the article is especially pertinent to today’s message: “Following the 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage, historian Paul Kengor stated: “an American majority no longer holds fast to the traditional-religious boundaries that navigated the lives of their ancestors” (Kengor, Takedown, 202–5). This is now equally true about august cultural centers of present Western education, like Wellesley College. “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

Almost always funny and insightful The Babylon Bee reports: “Progressive Mob Tears Down Oppressive ‘One Way’ Street Signs Throughout City”

Finally today:

Downspout in Palmyra, PA
This homeowner in Palmyra, PA wants to be certain his roof water is not draining near his foundation! There are a number of residents who use this method with their downspouts in Palmyra.
I Must Tell Jesus

“I Must Tell Jesus!

Message summary: What a blessing that we can cast all our cares on the Lord and have an assurance that He cares for us. He ever loves and cares for His own!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

On Tuesday mornings we travel through Lebanon County which is the county directly north of us. It is more rural than Lancaster County and we pass a lot of beautiful farm land. Lebanon is the county seat and main city. Like many places in this part of Pennsylvania it has a Bible-based name. In fact the name of the high school sports teams are the “Cedars”. See Psalm 104:16

But up until last week we were not aware that a beloved hymn has its origins in Lebanon County. As we often do while traveling a distance Brooksyne reads aloud from a devotional book. Last Tuesday, as we were driving through Lebanon County, she read a story from Robert Morgan’s book “On This Day” about Elisha Hoffman who was born in 1839 in a little town called Orwigsburg, PA (which most of you have never heard of). However from 1821-24 it was the scene of what church historian Ammon Stapleton calls “the greatest local revival the Evangelical Church has ever known.” (However, apart from this quote, I was unable to find any details!)

Elisha Hoffman Hoffman became a minister and prolific songwriter and many of us still enjoy singing his songs today such as “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”, “Are You Washed” and others.

When Hoffman was not working in his study, he could often be found chatting with poor people in the homes “across the tracks”. In fact, we pass over these same tracks each week. One day, in 1894, he visited the home of a parishioner in the hills near Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Sorrow and affliction were frequent visitors there. He found a woman in the depths of mental anguish.

He counseled with her and quoted verses from the Bible, which he thought would console her. However, she seemed to be unable to rise above her distress. He then suggested that she could do nothing better than to take all of her sorrow to Jesus. “You must tell Jesus,” he told her. A light broke across her face and she cried, “Yes! I must tell Jesus.” And so she did. After a period of prayer, she rose from her knees with a brightness in her face.

Hoffman left immediately with the words, “I must tell Jesus”, ringing in his heart. As soon as he arrived at home, and while still under the influence of this experience, he wrote:

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.

1 Peter 5:7 This song is a musical expression of Peter’s short command in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Perhaps Peter was alluding to Psalm 55:22 which states, “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

But when I read this text I also wonder if Peter, who was famously a fisherman prior to his call to become a disciple, might have had a fisherman allusion in mind when he wrote the verse. During his last recorded fishing trip, an event following the Resurrection, he had heard Jesus say, “‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.’ So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish” (John 21:6)

What a blessing that we can cast all our cares on the Lord with the assurance that He cares for us. Indeed, He ever loves and cares for His own!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I must tell Jesus all of my troubles, for He is a kind, compassionate Friend. If I but ask Him, He will deliver, make of my troubles quickly an end. During times of trouble and tribulation; during times of sorrow and care; when tempted or lonely Jesus is there for me so prompt me, Father, to take my troubles to Jesus rather than foolishly wring my hands in utter distress. Jesus alone is the One who can help me when I go to Him, by faith, in prayer. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“I Must Tell Jesus”  Video  RBC singers

“I Must Tell Jesus”  Video  Interesting version

“I Must Tell Jesus” Video  Joni sings “I Must Tell Jesus” and introduces songwriters, famous for their hymns, who had disabilities.

The Story Behind I Must Tell Jesus”

“Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”  Video  Gaither Homecoming

“Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”  Video  Iris DeMent (Dedicated to my brother Mike Weber)

“Tell It To Jesus”  Video  Another old song that came to mind in the course of preparing today’s message.

In the course of looking for music complimentary to today’s message I came across this: Hymn History of “How Great Thou Art

Finally today:

Dottie in barnToday is our cat Dottie’s 17th birthday. She was born on this date in the summer kitchen beside the rental farmhouse we first lived in when we moved to Lancaster County from New England in 2001. The barn cat who hung around the house had a litter and Ester selected Dottie to keep. By far she is the pet we have had for the longest time and she seems to be doing fine. She lives in our utility barn but we let her out daily so she can prowl around a bit. She still catches critters.
Foggy Mother's Day morning 5/13/18
A foggy early morning view on Mother’s Day from our front porch.
Quite a contrast to the traffic Brooksyne and Ester were in on Saturday!
(see photo below)

“The Blessing Of Honor

Message summary: Today let us make a renewed resolve to faithfully obey the Fifth Commandment to honor our father and mother. For children this is expressed by obeying our parents. For adults it’s expressed by living a life that will bring them honor.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, which along with Father’s Day, is set aside to practice the 5th Commandment, although we suppose few consider it that way in our increasingly Biblically illiterate age.

We had a very moving presentation in our church (not your typical Mother’s Day sentiment). Four women in the same family (a grandmother, mother, daughter and daughter-in-law) gave brief descriptions of women who have experienced challenging roles in their motherhood experience; some joyful, others sad. An individual flower was laid in the basket to honor each of them. To watch the video click on the photo below or we also post a link to the video below in our resource section.

Calvary Church Mother's Day presentation  5/13/18 (Click on image for video)

“Honor thy father and mother”, is the first Commandment dealing with human relations, our responsibility to other people. It really is foundational to the remaining commandments. If this commandment is obeyed the others will very likely fall into place. The human race is blessed, both in the short-term and long-term when this commandment is practiced. When the Apostle Paul quoted this portion in Ephesians 6 he follows with this promise, “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 6:3).

What a blessing to observe this commandment when it is obeyed.  And yet it is increasingly violated or virtually ignored by many. And of course in just the last several years we have seen the abominable redefinition of marriage and parenting.

Sam Rohrer, the President of American Pastor’s Network makes this observation:

“God, in His Word and His pattern for life and living, set the model for the family long ago when He established the pattern of a man leaving his family, choosing and cleaving to his wife and from that union to bring forth children, teaching them and raising them in the ways of God and His truth, and then inculcating God’s moral standards for human sexuality, life and death, marriage and its fulfillments and its duties into the minds and hearts of the children.”

Honor describes the disposition out of which obedience is born. In other words, obedience is the duty, honor is the disposition. To honor one’s parents means to show them respect and love, to care for them as long as they need, and to seek to honor them by the way one lives. We believe this expression of honor is not only through our childhood but also all through our lives, including the years following their death.

The fifth commandment is so important that God attaches the inherent motivation of a promise, because this commandment is the key to all human relationships and the passing on of a righteous heritage. God designed the family and if this commandment is not “functioning”, that design will be disturbed. Witness the dissolution of the family in America, one cause being the failure of children to obey this important command! (Precept Commentary)

Today let us resolve to faithfully obey the Fifth Commandment to honor our father and mother. For children this is expressed as we obey our parents. To adults this is expressed when we live a life that will bring our parents honor as we uphold respect toward the family name. An even harder commission for some is to bring honor to the family name which has been tarnished by an errant parent(s). “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your perfect design for creating a family started with Adam and Eve. You gave them tremendous responsibility as parents to raise their children as responsible individuals who would in turn raise their children in the same way. And so your order continues to our own generation. At the heart of our family relations the fifth commandment indicates that we’re to honor our father and mother which includes a promise that we’ll live long full lives. When we honor our parents, Lord, we also honor You and show appreciation for Your marvelous workmanship in our lives. We acknowledge that You ordained the family of our origin and we give thanks to You for our mother and father, brothers and sisters. Make us a blessing to them as the Fruit of the Spirit continues to grow in our lives and is played out in our relations to them. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Have you told your mom and dad that you love them lately? If not, please do so and let them know of their powerful input in your life. I believe God’s command that we honor our parents is in effect all our lives. Don’t procrastinate! As life progresses and we look back it will never be something we regret.

Some of you have strained relations and communication is difficult at best. Maybe you’ve not felt appreciation or love toward your parent(s) for more years than you can remember. Perhaps you had to make the very difficult choice in obeying God rather than obeying your parent(s) as many have been put in this conflicting position. Due to deep hurts or, for some readers, you have been painfully rejected over the years in your stand for righteousness. May God give you innovative ways to show respect to His command in spite of your experience. Do it as unto God and He will bless your endeavor. It will also serve as an example to your own children and others whom you seek to influence.


On Saturday Brooksyne and Ester joined some friends for a bus trip to NYC. It was a Mother/Daughter gathering so Stephen was not included.

 

NYC selfie 5/13/18
Brooksyne and Ester standing just off Fifth Avenue at the head of the Channel Gardens with a backdrop of Rockefeller Plaza.

NYC traffic 5/13/18
Here is the all too common traffic scene in NYC that we contrast with our peaceful rural view from our front porch yesterday morning in our lead photo! Brooksyne and Ester are sitting on the top deck of a touring bus, thus they’re looking down at the traffic below.

NYC window washer 5/13/18
It rained several hours during their visit. Next time you’re tempted to complain about your work conditions consider these window washers who are actually washing a large skyscraper in the pouring rain! Not a good time to be washing windows but they were doing so.

NYC Chick-fil-a 5/13/18
One of the thriving NYC Chick-Fil-A restaurants!
When I saw this photo I thought of this bizarre article I read several weeks ago called “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City” It illustrates just how messed up some people are. Amazing that someone can be “triggered” by a wholesome chicken sandwich!

Rockefeller Center 5/13/18
We wonder how many who see this inscription at the Rockefeller Center realize it is a portion of a Scripture verse?
“And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure” (Isaiah 33:6). Unfortunately they print only the first portion of the Scripture and no context, leading one to interpret this expression based upon man’s wisdom rather than God’s!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Calvary Church Mother’s Day presentation of honor  Video

Here is the script of the presentation:

  • To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.
  • To those who lost a child this year—we mourn with you.
  • To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains—we appreciate you.
  • To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions or running away—we mourn with you.
  • To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears and disappointment—we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make things harder.
  • To those who are foster moms, mentor moms and spiritual moms—we need you.
  • To those who have warm and close relationships with your children—we celebrate with you.
  • To those who have disappointment, heartache and distance with your children—we sit with you.
  • To those who lost their mothers this year—we grieve with you.
  • To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother—we acknowledge your experience.
  • To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests and the overall testing of motherhood—we are better for having you in our midst.
  • To those who have aborted children—we remember them and you on this day.
  • To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children—we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.
  • To those who stepparent—we walk with you on these complex paths.
  • To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you.
  • To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year—we grieve and rejoice with you.
  • To those who placed children for adoption—we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.
  • And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising—we anticipate with you.
From here

“A Mother’s Love”  Video   Jim Brickman

“Everything to Me”  Video  Mark Schultz

“He’s My Son”  Video   Mark Schultz

“Call Her Blessed”  Video  Stacey Noll

“A Mother’s Prayer”  Video  Keith & Kristyn Getty

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