“Living In Lawless Times”

March 4, 2016

Amish boys in back of pickup near White Horse, PA 3/3/16 (Click to enlarge)Yesterday we passed these three Amish boys in the back of a horse-drawn pickup who were huddled under a blanket on a chilly day near White Horse, PA
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Living In Lawless Times

Message Summary: Let us live under the realization that “the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Let us commit our hearts fully to Him this day and receive His strength and blessing as we live in these very challenging, lawless times.

Note: Due to busy morning and late posting a podcast not prepared for this message.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

Keith Newswanger 3/4/16This morning I heard some great news, news that isn’t here today and gone tomorrow but the kind of news that has eternal ramifications. I was visiting with the employees of an HVAC company when Keith, the purchasing manager, approached me with news any godly father would like to share. Last night he took his son Stuart to a Christian-themed outdoorsmen banquet where the speaker interwove stories from the great outdoors with his faith in Christ.

This morning Keith found a note on his bureau that simply read, “I want Jesus to be my Savior and Lord, Stuart.”

Keith drove Stuart to school this morning hoping they could talk along the way and led his son to faith in Christ as they paused to pray together in the school parking lot. Now that’s a report that heartens all of us as we consider the other news of the day. It was a blessing to rejoice with Keith and consider the life changing decision his son had made. He makes that decision as a young man in a world that is increasingly hostile to people of faith in these lawless times where you see and hear just about anything leaving us very little shock value to process.

Unashamed t-shirtIt’s increasingly amazing what you will see on clothing as well as directly on bodies (tattoos and piercings) these days. Last week I met a man wearing a shirt that boldly asserted, “Unashamed”. I inquired as to what he was unashamed of and he informed me “God”. Due to the work flow I didn’t have the opportunity to really drill into what he meant. We have learned that sometimes people know the “right” answer for the chaplain!

Living Lawless Apparel stocking cap The next day I visited with a young man in another company who was working as a temp. His stocking cap caught my attention with the words “Living Lawless” (See photo). Turns out it’s a new clothing company based in Lancaster. Now I don’t know for certain what to read into it but it is sure a fitting description of how many do live their lives.

Where is our culture heading? When will the Judge of the universe act in a dramatic way to judge evil as He has done so all throughout history? These are questions I have today, particularly as I consider the moral apostasy evident throughout our land and the world.

The Book of Judges ends with the summary statement that describes the moral climate of Israel at that time as expressed in the daily text. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

Judges 21:25 The first part of the verse describes the period as a time when “there was no king in Israel”. As later history proved, this in itself was not necessarily significant. Even when the nation had kings there were periods when the people earnestly followed and obeyed God. But there were also periods of spiritual decline and apostasy. However if we understand “king” in the sense of “moral authority” this portion has enduring meaning.

The latter part of the verse really sums up the period: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes”. The NIV phrases it, “everyone did as he saw fit”. The period of the Judges was one of the most barbaric times in history. Some are troubled at the events recorded and even wonder why they are mentioned in the Bible, but they merely document the sordid history of the period and the consequences of living without regard to God. Details were very possibly worse than recorded in Scripture due to the sensitivities of the writer.

2 Peter 3:15-17But is it that much different than our day? Stories of barbarism are far too common in our own time. Listen to the news any given day and the increase in lawlessness is evidenced all around us. Surely the phrase, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” describes our times as well.

Fellow believer, let us who follow the Lord heed the words of Scripture through Moses: “Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 12:28). Today, let’s strive to do what’s good and right in the eyes of the Lord!

2 Peter 3:17 gives a warning we all do well to heed, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”

Let us live under the realization that “the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Let us commit our hearts fully to Him this day and receive His strength and blessing as we live in these very challenging, lawless times.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we read throughout the period of the Judges that the people of Israel endured great heartache and spiritual defeat because each one became his own authority and acted on his own opinions of what was right and wrong. They did not look to You as the final authority; they disregarded Your holy laws and chose to do that which was right in their own eyes. We see this prevailing attitude in our own day. But as believers we acknowledge that our judgment is flawed and our motives are selfish when we do not submit our will to a holy God who knows what is best for His children. We want to obey Your laws and surrender our will as we seek to do what is good and right in Your eyes. This will result in our hearts being strengthened and our lives being blessed as we walk in the ways of Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.

Today we will share more photos of eastern Lancaster County where a tornado went through last week as we mentioned in yesterday’s message.

Amish wedding parking near Intercourse, PA 3/3/16 (Click to enlarge)
Yesterday we passed this Amish wedding with buggies parked in the fields near Intercourse, PA. The Amish have weddings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the home of the bride. Notice the large temporary function building (right), presumably where the meal will be served.
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Amish wedding wagons near Intercourse, PA 3/3/16 (Click to enlarge)
These wagons were parked in the field behind the wedding location. An Amish friend thought they might have been used to transport guests to the wedding.
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Amish portable function hall near White Oak, PA 3/3/16 (Click to enlarge)
This Amish portable function hall near White Oak, PA is similar to the one in the photo above. In this case it is being used to feed meals to the tornado relief workers.
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New Amish school after tornado rebuild near White Horse, PA 3/3/16 (Click to enlarge)
New Amish school rebuilt after a tornado went through last week near White Horse, PA. Brings back memories to see the slide on the left, teeter-totter in the middle and it looks like the kids even got a new swingset on the right!
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Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Aerial Footage video of first ever February EF-2 Tornado in PA History | Lancaster County. It’s interesting to see some of the same places we saw driving through. This was taken from a helicopter the day after the tornado came through. It’s interesting to see the Amish men working like ants!  The cleanup in just over a week is astounding.

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