Devotional

“Unimpeachable”

Lauxmont Mansion, York County, PA 8/15/19Lauxmont Mansion, York County, PA
“Unimpeachable”
 
Message summary:  God cannot be impeached for He is unimpeachable!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth” (Psalm 47:2). “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17). “We don’t want this man to be our king” (Luke 19:14).

Laura Story wrote a song made popular by singer Chris Tomlin called “Indescribable”. In it she uses a variety of words to describe God.

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Especially catching our attention are unusual words like uncontainable and untameable. But today let’s consider a word I have only heard one time in reference to God.
 
S.M. Lockridge preached a message many years ago titled, “That’s My King”. It really, really blessed me and its posting on the web has blessed me each time I listen. In fact I listened to it again as I prepared this message! (See link below.) I particularly like a line which is a colorful expression of God’s eternal sovereignty, “You can’t impeach Him and He’s not gonna resign!”

Now of course impeach means to remove from office.  Here in the USA it’s used to describe the procedure for removing an elected official or judge. Regardless of who’s in power we often see efforts to impeach them. But today let us consider how many are desperately trying to impeach God.

The first daily verse describes a timeless truth that builds my faith and assurance. In our fallen world of violence, terrorist threats, corrupt politicians and other evidences of brokenness may it speak to your heart today as well. “How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth.”

The Psalmist wrote the words of our first text some 3,000 years ago yet they remain timelessly true: “How awesome is the LORD Most High.” Many of us have sung the chorus: “Our God is an awesome God”. The sense of the Hebrew word “awesome” means “to fear, revere or cause to frighten”; emotions seen in the Bible when people had a close encounter with God. But it is a holy and healthy reverence.

He is the “great King over all the earth”. He is King over the macrocosm and the microcosm. He rules over you as much as He rules over nations. He is King over the fallen sparrow and the fallen world leader. Indeed He surely is King over all the earth and the universe!

The second daily verse is a powerful expression of praise by the Apostle Paul, a benediction-like prayer found early in the epistle to Timothy as he concludes his testimony of God’s grace in his life, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

But finally let us consider that 3rd verse. It’s from The Parable of the Ten Minas which Jesus told shortly before His death recorded in Luke 19:11-27. Today let us especially consider this expression of rejection, “We don’t want this man to be our king”. Jesus is essentially applying the attitude of the people toward Himself. He had come into this world “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Thank God for those who have received His message and been saved. But there are others who doubted it and yet others who violently reject Christ’s message and His provision.

Today this continues to be the case and a brief description of many concerning Jesus Christ remains, “We don’t want this man to be our king”.

The apostle John wrote, “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). And for the last 2000 years men and women are given the choice of whom to worship. Pilate placed before the people this question, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” And really that remains life’s dominant question.

Today we have a choice as to whether we submit to the Lordship and Kingdom of Jesus Christ or reject Him and essentially proclaim, “We don’t want this man to be our king”. We pray that each reader will join Brooksyne and me in choosing to serve and worship the Lord and joyfully proclaim, “I want this man to be my King!”

Today, as many ignore or even seek to impeach Him joinus in exalting this great King. We hope we can all declare, “That’s my King!” And He cannot be impeached for He is unimpeachable.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, You are immortal, invisible, God only wise. All of creation is subject to Your authority so we, along with millions of other committed believers, choose to bow our knee and lift our hands toward You, our blessed and only Ruler, the king of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal. You live in unapproachable light, but we can and do worship You in Spirit and in truth. We worship and honor You in this life, gladly receiving Jesus as our unimpeachable King, and will do so through the eons of time. Amen.

 


Buggie with corn, New Holland, PA 8/15/19Looks like someone is getting ready to either can or freeze dozens of ears of corn.

New Holland, PA produce stand 8/15/19
New Holland, PA produce stand before Brooksyne purchased the pile of yellow zucchini squash in the center front of this photo. What caught our attention was the sign, “Everything grown on our farm”.
 
Nellis and Mike, trapmakers at Safeguard 8/15/19

Yesterday morning we visited with Nellis and Mike who are trapmakers at Safeguard. They are both from Haiti and we share our faith in the Lord. It’s a special blessing to walk back to their area and hear Bible teaching from WDAC every Thursday we visit.

Taylor Frey wedding rehearsal with parent 8/15/19
Late yesterday afternoon we attended a wedding rehearsal for Taylor and Joe. I will be officiating their wedding on Saturday afternoon at Lauxmont Farm. Taylor is standing between her parents, Gary and Julie Frey, following our delicious rehearsal dinner. We see Gary each week in the course of our chaplain ministry.

Taylor Frey wedding rehearsal 8/15/19
The wedding will be held Saturday on a bluff overlooking the Susquehanna River.
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Indescribable”VideoChris Tomlin
 
“That’s My King”Video  S.M. Lockridge

Finally today:
 
Central Manor Camp 8/16/19This morning we passed the Central Manor Camp which began in 1892. They are having campmeeting all this week.
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Devotional

“Moved With Compassion”

Butterfly and flowers on the Old Windmill FarmButterfly and flowers on the Old Windmill Farm
 

“Moved With Compassion”

 

Message summary: God calls us to receive His compassion and in turn express compassion to others.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

As most of our regular readers know, in addition to our daily writing ministry we serve as corporate chaplains, a field of ministry most are unfamiliar with since it’s relatively rare. In it’s most visible expression we have the opportunity each week to walk through various companies (we presently serve ten), greet the employees and express care and as the doors open we can be a witness for Christ.

The companies we work with are not large corporations but rather smaller family run businesses. The owners have a real burden for their employees and see our chaplain role as one way to express care. In addition to our company visits, which I have seen described as “roaming around looking for someone to talk to”, we provide a variety of services such as hospital visits, crisis intervention, counseling, conducting weddings and funerals, writing for newsletters, and so forth. In one company we even have an opportunity to share a short devotional each week.

We see a real slice of humanity working with all ages, the churched and unchurched, the religious and the not so religious. We see virtually all races and ethnic backgrounds. Our view is red and yellow, black and white they’re all precious in His sight!

Last week a company owner expressed his concern for a new employee that was struggling. We were unable to see him during our visit but had intended to seek him out during our next visit.

However we received a call early this week that the young man had died over the weekend of an overdose. Our owner friend expressed genuine compassion as he shared the loss with us. Brooksyne had the opportunity to call his mother and express our condolences personally and on behalf of the company. His mother was broken but very receptive and appreciative. Brooksyne will follow up with a card and additional literature.

We are called to serve a broken world. Jesus provided an example to us in the various ways He demonstrated His compassion to the human need of His day.  Such an instance is found in our daily verse. Matthew gives us a summary of the itinerant ministry of Jesus in chapter 9:35-38. He showed His compassion by healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding the multitudes, forgiving sin and preaching the truth. We are called to do the same. He said to His disciples before His ascension back to the Father, “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

Today let us respond to His call. The words “moved with compassion” translate the single Greek word ‘splagchnizomai’, which literally means “to have the bowels yearn”. (At that time it meant the internal organs in a general sense and not what we specifically mean when we use the word ‘bowels’ today! Interestingly our word for ‘spleen’ is derived from this word.) It means being deeply moved, to feel sympathy, to pity. Today, look around and respond with the compassion of Christ!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: God, we are so blessed to know You as the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles. Your glory, displayed in the face of Jesus, is seen in the compassion He expressed for the crowds of people who were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. It’s one thing to have troubles but it’s another thing to have no Shepherd to guide, encourage, or help us in our troubles. Thank You for being our Great Shepherd who leads and cares for us, who made a way for us to be freed from the penalty of sin through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Amen.

 

Audrey's men's display 8/12/19

Audrey’s has a nice selection of men’s home decor as well!
 
Ester at K-Mart 8/12/19

For several weeks now Ester has worked as a part-time cashier at K-Mart, in addition to her job at Fuddruckers!
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“The Broken Ones”  Video  The Talleys

“Prodigals”  Video  The Steeles

Finally today:

 
Tommy CarpenterTommy Carpenter is a friend of ours from Arkansas we met many years ago. He shared about a recent event in his life on a mission trip to Belize where he had served as a missionary over 50 years ago. Tommy is now 80 years old and retains his zeal and energy for the cause of Christ. In the last three years Tommy and his wife Jane have led short-term teams back to Belize for 14 building projects.

Responding to yesterday’s message on “It’s Harvest Time” Tommy shared a recent experience reminding us we may not always know the extent of our impact for many years.


Harvest Time


“He that goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing the fruits of his labor with him”
(Psalm 126:6)

Fifty-two years ago, Missionary Russell Schirman and I traveled through the jungle of northwest British Honduras (now Belize) going as far as the old logging road went until it turned into a footpath. Then using a machete to widen the path to accommodate my vehicle, we made it to Santa Cruz Village on the edge of the Rio Hondo.

With our pastor from Corozal, Sylvester Encalada, we were the first to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to about 50 people assembled in a thatched roofed house! It was crowded! As I remember, there were 42 people who prayed with us as we introduced them to Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save those who are lost.

I wondered, who would follow us to teach them God’s word and disciple them in their newfound Christian faith?

Two years ago, in a pastors’ meeting in the Orange Walk District, Pastor Jose Palanco told me he had started a church in Santa Cruz! A lady had brought her elderly mother to the church and the mother told Pastor Palanco that she had been saved many, many years before when two white missionaries had come to their village.

It was thrilling! Proverbs 25:25, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country!”

On Sunday, August 4, 2019, at the close of the service in San Lazaro Village, a lady asked if she could have a few moments to talk with me. She told me that her grandmother had been saved in Santa Cruz many years before when missionaries had come with the gospel. Her grandmother’s name is Umberta Macul and she is still attending the Santa Cruz church!

The lady who shared this is Josilie Vasquez, whose mother is Pastora Vasquez and her cousin Wendell Vasquez is our pastor at Yo Creek Rose of Sharon Assembly of God. Our construction team built the Yo Creek church in September of 2016. We planted the seed and God gave the harvest!

I am coming with rejoicing that GOD has given the increase!

Devotional

“It’s Harvest Time”

Tractor trail of Kraybill Church Road, Lancaster County, PA 8/4/19The view up the tractor trail that starts across from our home and provides a wonderful walking path. Our neighbor even keeps it mowed!
“It’s Harvest Time”
 

Message summary: The harvest will only be fully revealed after we have pulled up the stakes from our earthly dwelling here on earth. So hang on, dear friend, the half has not yet been told!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

All throughout our area we are seeing various harvests. Soon we will see the corn choppers changing our front yard view looking as though the field gets a crew cut when the 10 feet tall corn is cut and chopped down to the stub. Another neighbor is harvesting his field tomatoes which will go into sauces. Produce stands are probably at their peak of variety. Brooksyne just bought a peck of juicy peaches at the Seyfert’s Orchards in Lebanon County. We will now see various harvest activities through the fall.

The Bible uses the harvest as an analogy of our service for Christ and His Kingdom. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (9:37,38).

All of us living for Christ are called to impact the world around us for His cause. Husbands and wives are to demonstrate unity in their love for one another. Parents are to raise their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ministers are to “preach the word”.

Yet we at times wonder if we are making any significant difference since the harvest we see may be sparse. Some do not have a marriage characterized by love and unity. Some have children who reject the Lord. There are ministers who faithfully “preach the Word” yet see little receptivity.

The perspective we must have is the future harvest promised in Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We do at times become weary in doing good, don’t we? The apostle Paul knew the Galatian believers were growing weary and encouraged them to keep on keeping on for the future harvest. In our “instant gratitude” society we especially have difficulty waiting for “the proper time” for God’s blessings to be revealed. Our mindset is more like a lot of commercials selling high priced items on credit, interest free for the first year. They appeal to customers who have the attitude, “I want it and I want it now”, rather than save up money for a future purchase.

At times our lives just don’t seem to be making much difference from our visual perspective. But Paul reminds us that, “at the proper time we will reap a harvest”. That “proper time”, (“due season” in the KJV) will most assuredly come. Fret not, dear friend! Your life, lived for Christ, is making a difference.

 
At His appointed time He will bless us with a harvest as we remain faithful in our walk (Proverbs 4:26,27), seasoned in our conversation (Colossians 4:6), and prayerful for those we influence for the kingdom (Romans 10:1).

Remember this very important truth: unlike farmers who expect a harvest at the end of each season of planting, our harvest will not be fully realized on this side of heaven. The harvest will only be fully revealed after we have pulled up the stakes from our earthly dwelling here on earth. So hang on, dear friend, the half has not yet been told!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, like Paul who desired that his kinsmen not be destroyed by their sin of unbelief, we too bear a burden for our fellowman that they come to repentance and find salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord. Jude warns us that there will be mockers in the last time who walk according to their own ungodly lusts. We see it with our eyes and it is evident in the news every day. But we are encouraged in our witness knowing that salvation is available to any mocker or unbeliever who turns to you in repentance. Jesus is the only name under heaven by which we can be saved so we proclaim Him who lived among the people, was sacrificed for our sins, was buried and rose on the third day. How we pray that the life of Christ might resonate through our lives so that others might see Jesus in us. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray for a plentiful harvest in declaring the gospel through our witness and our lives. Amen.


 
Some Lancaster County harvest scenes
 

Tobacco harvest, Lancaster County, PA 8/9/19

The most labor intensive harvest and stunning plant is tobacco. As we pass throughout the County we drive past many workers harvesting this crop. Unfortunately it is not a crop beneficial to people’s health. A large percentage of farmers, years ago, gave up farming tobacco after learning of its addictive and health destroying factors.
 
Tobacco harvest, Lancaster County, PA 8/9/19
For many in the Amish community this is a family project with the children working alongside the adults.
 
Cramer flower farm, Lancaster County, PA 8/9/19
The migrant workers at Cramers Flower Farm just up the road south of us were planting fresh flowers last week.
 
Tomato harvest near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Our neighbor Lester’s tomato harvest on Colebrook Road around the corner north from our house.
 
Seyfert's peaches, Lebanon County, PA 8/12/19

We picked up peaches this week at Seyfert’s Orchards Fruit Barn in Lebanon County, PA The see through barn looks over to the peach orchard across the road.
Seyfert's peaches, Lebanon County, PA 8/12/19
Seyfert’s peaches
Brooksyne is pleased with the gigantic peaches this year, speeding the process of her making peach jam. They’re also quite juicy and sweet which will lessen the amount of sugar needed for a peach cobbler (which I hope she will be making)!  It is a very good harvest for peach growers this year!
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“We Work The Field Of Souls”  Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
 
“It’s Harvest Time”  Video  Crabb Family
 
“Is He Worthy?”  Video  Chris Tomlin
 
A reminder: The ads on YouTube can be disgusting and at times in complete opposition to the song just played! Of course I have no control over this.
 
Responding to Monday’s message “Which Side Are You On?” a reader suggested this video from the Prager University online series titled “True for You but Not for Me”. This sentiment is also expressed in a quote we have seen stating, “speak my truth” or “speak your truth”. In this view truth is no longer an objective fact but rather your opinion or however you feel. Yesterday we saw a van in York County that was plastered with bumper stickers making it very clear the owner’s ideological leanings. But one especially caught our attention. Photo
 
Finally today:

Kreider Farms trailer, Lancaster County, PA 8/13/19

Yesterday we followed this Kreider Farms trailer with a creative safety message.
Devotional

“A Lesson From Two Gardens”

Lancaster County gardenA Lancaster County garden on an Amish farm.
“A Lesson From Two Gardens”
Message summary: Today let us consider two great gardens in the Bible.
 
Listen to our message on your audio player.

“The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed” (Genesis 2:8). “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray'” (Matthew 26:36).

Saturday afternoon we went with our friend Jerry to Longwood Gardens and the outstanding Fireworks & Fountains Show scheduled for late that evening. We arrived early enough to set our chairs up and then toured the vast gardens for several hours. This garden is among the best botanical gardens in the USA and among the finest in the world. The show began at 9:15PM with fountains, lighting, fireworks and Swan Lake orchestration all coordinated for a spectacular display. A feature that was especially intriguing and beautiful was actual fire that was atop the fountains using some type of blast of propane (see below for link to explanation). We shared a couple of photos yesterday but it’s really hard to capture in a photo how stunning the show is.

Some gardens, like Longwood Gardens, are primarily decorative bringing great pleasure as we see the wonders of God’s creation. We were so blessed to see the variety of plant life from huge trees to tiny Bonzai trees to ground cover and of course many, many flowers.

Other gardens are primarily functional, providing our food. However these well-watered, well-tended gardens can also be very beautiful especially here in Lancaster County.

Today let us consider two great gardens in the Bible:

1) The Garden of Eden: the garden of man’s decision. The first garden mentioned in the Bible is the Garden of Eden. It was here that Adam and Eve made a decision that has impacted the entire human race due to their act of disobedience. They were banned from that garden.

We believe that this was an actual historical event but it also symbolizes the decision we all have in life; whether to place our trust in God and obey Him or live in unbelief and obey the devil in whatever form he may appear (not always a serpent!)

2) The Garden Of Gethsemane: the garden of Christ’s decision. In this garden Christ agonized but made the decision for our redemption when he “fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will'”. We are all eternally grateful for the decision that Jesus made when He paid the price for our redemption.

We believe of course that this was also an actual historical event but that it also symbolizes another decision we all have in life when facing a heavy trial. May God give us grace and strength as we properly appeal for the affliction to be removed “let this cup pass from me” but then in faithful resolve similarly declare, “Yet not as I will, but as You will”.

There’s a future garden we can look forward to although the word “garden” is not used in the text. The NIV Bible uses the heading Eden Restored”. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him” (Revelation 22:1-3).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, since our birth we have only known what it is like to live under the curse of sin due to Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. But we have the blessed assurance from Scripture that one day we will live in the restored Eden where we will not be affected or influenced by the evil of sin. There will no darkness of any kind for we will live in the glory of the light of Christ throughout all eternity. The anticipation of a glorious eternal future in heaven gives us hope, strength, and endurance when we deal with the cup of suffering, loss, or disappointment on this side. Until the day my eyes behold the city of Jerusalem my resolve is to stay faithful, be fruitful and share Your love with all whom I encounter here in my sphere of influence. Amen.

 
Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States in the Brandywine Creek Valley. It is one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States and is open to visitors year-round to enjoy exotic plants and horticulture (both indoor and outdoor), events and performances, seasonal and themed attractions, as well as educational lectures, courses, and workshops. (from Wikipedia)

Longwood Gardens fountain seating 8/10/19
Here is a portion of the seating at Longwood Gardens in the afternoon prior to the Fireworks and Fountains show. We sat on the level this photo was taken from.

Longwood Gardens platter lilies 8/10/19
Longwood Gardens platter water lilies are one of the many really unusual plants we saw.

Longwood Gardens Bonzai tree 8/10/19
We always enjoy seeing the Longwood Gardens Bonzai tree collection.
This one began training in 1909!

Longwood Gardens pond 8/10/19
A Longwood Gardens pond

Longwood Gardens with Jerry 8/10/19
Here we are with Jerry Smoker, our friend who is a longtime member of Longwood Gardens.  We became good friends when he worked at Kleen-Rite, one of the companies where we are chaplains. He recently retired. Not only did he generously invite us to join him on Saturday but he insisted on pushing Ester in her wheelchair. Due to Ester’s legs being weak when she walks long distances we take along a wheel chair to reserve her strength.
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“In The Garden”Video  Selah

Here’s a video someone posted of the same Fireworks & Fountains Show at Longwood Gardens we saw Saturday night  In our lifetime we have now seen two truly outstanding fireworks displays. The other time was along the Charles River in Boston for the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular about 20 years ago. Here’s a video of this year’s show.

* How Longwood allows fire to dance on water

 
We didn’t take this but here’s a photo of the fire on top of fountain. Link to photo
 
Finally today:

Joe Snavely 8/9/19In the course of our work we never know who we’ll see such as meeting Joe Snavely in a Kleen-Rite warehouse. We met Joe about ten years ago when his daughter served with our youth in a small church we had served in an interim role. As you can see he now works for FedEx. Joe respectfully calls me Dr. although I am not one and I don’t even play one on TV.

Audrey's Open House 8/12/19

Yesterday we attended an Open House at Audrey’s where customers came far and wide for a special day at the huge gift and home decor warehouse in Lebanon. These are gift shop owners since Audrey’s only sells wholesale.
Devotional

“Which Side Are You On?”

Longwood Gardens  Fountains and Fireworks 8/10/19

Longwood Gardens’ Fireworks and Fountains

“Which Side Are You On?”

Message summary: “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” I certainly want to be on the side of truth and thus I want to hear the voice of truth. Lord, give us discernment to tune in to hear, listen to and heed Your voice today! The lesson for us: let us listen to the One who is the author of Truth, even if it goes against the answers we want to hear!

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me”. “‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, ‘I find no basis for a charge against Him (Jesus Christ)'” (John 18:37,38).

This last weekend we both donated blood, something we have done together ever since we were in college in the early seventies. Anyone who has donated blood in the last thirty years knows that you are subject to an interview with a variety of often very frank and embarrassing questions to determine whether you might have a condition making you ineligible. They use a tiny confessional-like room for this interview.

But Brooksyne got a new question yesterday indicative of our nation’s hastening slide into craziness. She was asked “How do you state your gender?” After a less than pleasant blood donation experience (she had sat outside and waited nearly two hours to be called into the Bloodmobile) she was in no mood for responding to such politically correct nonsense.

She told the interviewer, “Really, you have to ask that now?” In an apologetic “I know what you mean” tone the interviewer responded, “Yes, I know what you mean but we now have to ask that.” For those that may not be following the plethora of nonsense in our present age there is a trans movement that asserts there are many genders, with new ones being added all the time. In fact according to this line of thought no one really knows how many there are. I don’t even try to keep us with this stuff but they have names like ze and zit. For some reason I didn’t get asked that question probably because my interviewer could detect I wasn’t a ze or zit!!

Today’s message is in part prompted by this and other sordid new expressions of rebellion and godlessness, some too graphic to describe in the opening paragraphs but given the downward spiral this is not surprising. These are a validation of Paul’s statement in Romans 1:30, concerning “inventors of new forms of evil”.

One of the great casualties of our increasing drift from a foundation of Biblical morality is truthfulness. Psalm 51:6 states, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being.” Today let us examine a lesson from Christ’s final hours before His sacrificial death on Calvary.

The last person recorded to have a one-on-one conversation with Jesus prior to His death was Pilate. It’s plausible that Christ might have spoken to others on the Via Dolorosa and many are familiar with His last words from the cross. But His last recorded conversation was with Pilate.

This conversation so typifies humanity’s response to Jesus. Pilate is an enigma. On the one hand he was very reluctant about proceeding with the conviction, sensing that Jesus was not guilty with his famous words, “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4). But on the other hand he was a typical politician “wanting to satisfy the crowd” (Mark 15:15), thereby developing his helpful alliance with Herod; “that day Herod and Pilate became friends” (Luke 23:12). As an old line states, “politics makes strange bedfellows”. Political interests can bring together people who otherwise have little in common.

Jesus said to Pilate, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” to which Pilate responds with the probing question, “What is truth?” That is the crucial question humanity has always dealt with and we recognize it most especially in our postmodern era.

Jesus had said hours earlier to His disciples, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

Pilate asks the question, “What is truth?” I believe it’s significant that he does not give Jesus an opportunity to answer. Instead the text records, “With this he went out again to the Jews”.  Pilate was face to face with truth but his ears were not open to truth.

Last week I made the point that I firmly believe we have entered a period in history prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11: “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

One of the great spiritual responsibilities we have is exercising discernment and teaching those whom we influence to do so as well. There is a cacophony of voices that call out to us to go against the truth. We are exposed to these voices at all ages, but our youth are particularly vulnerable.  We need to constantly commit to hearing the voice of God, foundationally through His authoritative, inspired, and inerrant Word, the Holy Scriptures.

Pilate seems at one point to have the correct revelation that Jesus is a king when he said, “You are a king, then!” Since Pilate’s body language (which often speaks louder than words) is not described by John, we don’t know whether he said this in jest as he raised his eyebrows and grimaced at those who stood nearby? Whatever the circumstance, he certainly did not act appropriately and of course was instrumental in the consequential false conviction of Jesus.

I am so enriched by what our Lord Jesus said to Pilate and through the Word He says to us, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”  Christ knew who He was and why He had come. He came to testify to the truth.

But finally today let us consider the latter portion of our Lord’s response: “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.  I certainly want to be on the side of truth and thus I want to hear the voice of truth. Lord, give us discernment to tune in to hear, listen to and heed Your voice today! The lesson for us: let us listen to the One who is the author of Truth, even if it goes against the answers we want to hear!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, I want my heart to be committed to Your Truth and righteousness, for You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. I place my complete trust in You and reject the godless trends and vain philosophies promoted by the world regardless of how popular they may be, no matter what celebrity or famous person promotes them or how they may be validated by the wisdom of this world. Like our Lord Jesus stated, “Thy Word is truth.” May Your words be embedded in my heart and mind through the faithful study of Scripture so that I might not sin against You and so that I will recognize truth from error. Keep me faithful and true. Amen.

Saturday night we visited Longwood Gardens with our friend Jerry and after touring the magnificent gardens we watched the Fireworks and Fountains Show.

Longwood Gardens  Fountains and Fireworks 8/10/19

It was a spectacular display of beautiful fireworks, one after the other, perfectly synced with the music of Swan Lake. And as spectacular as the fountains, fireworks and music was the moon (lower right) was witness to it all. I was in awe of our Creator when I considered the greater wonder – one man made, one God created.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Voice Of Truth”  Video  Casting Crowns

Longwood Gardens is included in most lists for world’s best gardens such as here and here.

Longwood Gardens Fireworks & Fountains Show

Short promo video (30 seconds)

Devotional

“What You Have Become Convinced Of”

Strasburg Pike pond, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19 Click to enlargeStrasburg Pike pond, Lancaster County, PA
Click to enlarge
“What You Have Become Convinced Of”
 

Message summary: Today’s church needs men and women and young people like Timothy, who will continue in what they have learned and have become convinced of.
 
Listen to our message on your audio player.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14,15).

Today we complete our short series from 2 Timothy 3:14,15. Wednesday we considered the importance of “continue” and in Thursday’s message we studied the portion that states, “what you have learned” and “because you know those from whom you learned it”.

Today let us consider the phrase “have become convinced of” which is an expression of our personal convictions. We hear the word “conviction” a lot these days. It’s a talking point in both secular and religious circles. Opposing parties may have strong convictions though their views may stand in stark contrast.

Paul emphatically called Timothy to continue in what he had learned and had become convinced of.

Paul was confident that Timothy not only learned the great truths of the faith, but he had become personally convinced of them as well. He had an inner conviction concerning the truth and reliability of these things. Such confidence produces personal stability. Without this conviction of heart, it would have been difficult for Timothy to hold fast in the things he had learned amid so many persecutions and deceptions.

Conviction is defined as “the state of being convinced; of having a fixed or firm belief”. This word has certainly trickled down from its original meaning, most especially in the political world. These days when many speak of their convictions they merely mean their present opinion which may very well change at any time with the current political and cultural winds. It’s not hard to find prominent politicians only ten or fifteen years ago expressing what they called a deep conviction that marriage is between a man and woman only to flip flop when their position cameat a cost. They are among the many who, as the Apostle Paul described, are “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

About 35 years ago a well-known politician expressed this view in writing to a constituent when he was in the House of Representatives, “It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong.” This same politician has now completely changed his view on this “conviction” (and many more I might add). You may think of similar examples, among politicians, theologians and even in your own life, which I hope will lead to you being “convicted” by the Holy Spirit in a theological sense about those subject matters in the Bible that “change not”!

What do you stand for today? What is it which you are convinced of and have a fixed and firm set of beliefs regarding? I believe this is one of the most important questions of life. Today, although the expression “having convictions” is bantered about and sounds good, many, including those who claim to be Christians, have convictions that vacillate with the wind. Their views are more established by current notions than a Biblical foundation.

Let us consider Paul’s statement to Timothy in today’s text. I want to receive it myself and urge you to do the same. “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of”. This is in a section designated with the heading “Paul’s Final Charge To Timothy”.

Paul established two foundations for these convictions:

1) The Source of our convictions: “Our Godly Heritage”
  For Timothy “the source” of his biblical faith was from his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, who passed it down to him from childhood on (2 Timothy 1:5, and 2 Timothy 3:15). Paul discipled Timothy as a son in the faith along with other godly people of his time period.

2) The Basis of our convictions: “The Holy Scriptures” From his infancy Timothy was introduced to “the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

The faith message and lifestyle was passed down generationally to Timothy. This led to his own faith experience based on deep convictions about eternal matters. Today’s church needs men and women and young people like Timothy, who will continue in what they have learned and have become convinced of. The church needs mature people who continue to proclaim truth regardless of how contrary it may be to the world’s vacillating standards. What a sad spectacle to see an older person abandon previous convictions they held to be popular with culture. When barraged with attacks on these foundational convictions we should not weaken but uphold our resolve to remain firm. Will you join us in being a people of deep Biblical convictions?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, there are so many gray areas in life where we  may differ with our own family or even the best of friends. We may vary in our preferences of personality styles, giftings, and tastes. But when it comes to the eternal truths, unchanging principles and commands of Scripture it is not for us to pick and choose. We must give full attention to the words of Scripture and build a godly heritage that we can pass on to our children and our children’s children. We must uphold and teach the Scriptures that are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We want to remain steadfast and faint not as we seek to be people of deep conviction with growing faith and sterling character, making a positive difference in our sphere of influence. Help us, in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

* Study note: “have become convinced of.” This phrase is translated a bit differently in various versions each adding value to the rich sense of the Greek word it translates. “and hast been assured of” (KJV), “and are confident about” (NET), “and which you know are true” (Phillips), “and have been assured of” (Wuest), “things of which you are certain” (BBE), “and have become convinced of” (NASB, NIV), “of which thou hast been fully persuaded” (Darby), “and your belief that has been confirmed” (Barclay), “firmly believed” (ESV), This word (epistothes) is used several other times in the New Testament such as “in full assurance” (Hebrews 6:11, 10:22).


 
Yesterday we made six company visits and want to share some photos taken in Lancaster County as we traveled from location to location.
 
Amish horse-drawn wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
We came up behind this Amish horse-drawn wagon with a father and daughter early yesterday morning as we crossed the Conestoga River on Route 322 east of Ephrata. There was a convoy of similar wagons probably headed to a harvest.
 
Amish horse-drawn wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
As we passed we saw their non-padded makeshift seats.
 
Mennonite children on wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
These Mennonite children are riding along with dad for a wagon ride north of New Holland, PA.
 
Amish mother and two children on scooter, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
Also north of New Holland this Amish mother had apparently been shopping and was returning home on her scooter. You can’t see them but she had a little boy and girl standing on the scooter in front of her!
 
Amish on spring wagon, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
This family was out enjoying a pleasant summer day on a spring wagon near Bird In Hand. As you can see this is a real wagon, not the commercialized “buggy rides” advertised in the sign on their right. We wonder if the little girl is pointing to the sign and saying, “We are on a real Amish Country buggy ride”.
 
George the goat in van, Lancaster County, PA 8/8/19
We picked some items up at Costco for the Lapp family on the Old Windmill Farm.  One of the family goats just had to get in our van to see if there was anything for him.
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“I Know Whom I Have Believed”  Video  Antrim Mennonite Choir

You won’t find this old hymn in most modern hymnals. Consider its words today.

We need more men like Daniel to stand for God and right;
Men clean and strong, who hate the wrong,
And for the truth will fight.
When those controlled by evil their base designs pursue,
We need more men like Daniel who never prove untrue.

We need more men like Daniel their virtue here to show;
Men bold, sincere, who know no fear when called to face the foe.
Though dangers dark may threaten, they crave not ease or rest.
We need more men like Daniel who boldly stand the test.

We need more men like Daniel whose faith defied the king;
Who knelt and prayed when plans were laid
his shameful death to bring.
But God sent down His angel His all to guard and shield;
We need more men like Daniel whose hearts will never yield.

Devotional

“What You Have Learned”

 
Kraybill Church Road Amish farm 8/7/19 (Click to enlarge)
Kraybill Church Road Amish farm
(Click to enlarge)
“What You Have Learned”
 
Message summary: Today we consider the importance of what we have learned and who we learned from.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

Enoch with ChrissyEarly in our marriage we took in foster children through our county’s Children and Youth Services department. We were planting a new church at the time and were pleased that a foster child or two added to our fledgling attendance!
To be a foster parent required a home study. We made no attempts to hide our faith and the county social worker was fully aware of who were were and at that time probably saw it as positive although I don’t recall her expressing any faith. We unabashedly sought to provide a Christian witness to these children who were from broken homes. To this day we remain in contact with several of them including Chrissy, who came into our home as a little 5 year old. She is pictured with our dog Enoch whom she was hugging after he had a tussle with a porcupine (note the quills).

News abounds of our country’s slide into decadence but a recent report especially caught our attention. Now some states have decreed that foster parents are to affirm the various sexual aberrations including the gender confusion heresy. It would seem to me that this would exclude Bible-faithful Christian parents from providing foster care.

I wonder if we are entering a period described in the Bible as the great falling away in 2 Thessalonians 3. It’s so very important to reinforce our call to continue in faithfulness to God and His Word as we taught in yesterday’s message which begins, “But as for you, continue”.

Today let us consider the phrases that follow, “in what you have learned” and “you know those from whom you learned it.” (We will examine the phrase “and have become convinced of”on Friday ).

Timothy
“Because you know those from whom you learned it.” Timothy’s early learning, “from infancy”, was from his mother and grandmother whom Paul had mentioned earlier in the book. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).

This is very instructive in light of the verse that introduces Timothy in Acts 16:1: “A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” The contrast between “believer” and “Greek” is quite pointed indicating almost certainly that Timothy’s father was not a believer.

That his initial spiritual influence was primarily from his godly mother and grandmother should connect with a lot of people all these centuries later. Although God’s ideal design is that mothers and fathers both spiritually influence their children, we know plenty of grandmothers and mothers who are assuming the primary role of spiritual leader due to absent and negligent fathers. The reverse is true as well with fathers assuming this role without the mother’s participation (though less common).

But Timothy had many others who provided spiritual influence in his life, including his mentor, Paul. Let’s consider that phrase again, “Because you know those from whom you learned it.” For so much of the church’s history teaching would have been face to face giving people an opportunity to personally know their spiritual leader. Now many receive teaching from those they do not know through books, radio programs, the internet, etc. That’s true for us and our teaching role in your life. Some of you know us but many we have never met so you really don’t know us.

Now the point is not invalidating our ministry of course, let alone that of many others who faithfully share God’s Word using technology unavailable in previous generations. I have benefited greatly from many I don’t know personally.

 
Three points to consider:
1) Everyone should have those in their lives that they do know personally.
2) Even though
we may never know face to face on this side many who provide input in our lives, we should still learn about who they are, their beliefs, integrity, reputation, credentials, accountability, etc.
3) Regardless of the extent we know or may not know our teachers the highest standard is God’s Word. The latter part of the passage states “you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”. This is followed by the majestic passage that states “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for  training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Regardless of where we receive our teaching and from whom we learn we need to practice as the Bereans did, who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
 
Tomorrow’s message will be another key component of continuing in faithfulness in regard to phrase, “have become convinced of“.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, it has been written that he who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Most within our generation stand for very little that has eternal value, in great part because they were never instructed in the Scriptures and had no godly example to follow. We want to fill in that chasm by being hearers and doers of the Word, leading men and women, boys and girls into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. We are convinced of these teachings by the Holy Spirit, by men and women of deep faith who led and instructed us, and by our own defining experiences in life. Help us to stand unashamedly and fearlessly as people of deep conviction adhering to the Scriptures so that we are equipped for every good work. Amen.



Further study note:

Consider parents raising children in Judea back in about 620 BC. We can read about that turbulent period in 2 Kings 25 and 2 Chronicles 36. It was a terrible time as God’s judgment finally came upon the apostate nation. Jeremiah was a prophet during this period and of course we know him as the weeping prophet. He poignantly wrote in Lamentation 2:11, “Myeyes are spent with weeping.”

Stop and consider with us the godly remnant raising their children during that time period. What about the grandparents who would have greater perspective about the political and spiritual attitudes and changes of the day? Surely they must have despaired at times. Yet God always has a remnant, those who remain faithful regardless of the severe conditions.

Three HebrewsFollowing the destruction of Jerusalem and as the people entered captivity some of this remnant is identified (I am convinced there are many others who remained faithful but are unmentioned). The Bible books classified as “historical” end with three smaller books that chronicle this period (Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther). But the prophetic books also have history and today we consider the well-known stories of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who are identified as devoted followers of God in Babylon, the latter three youth more commonly known by their Babylonians names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.


We can receive great inspiration from their faithful stand. But let’s consider the phrase from our daily text as it pertains to them, “Continue in what you have learned” and “you know those from whom you learned it.”

Someone taught and prepared these young men for their godly stand. As in all generations it was likely their parents and grandparents and other unnamed mentors.

 

 
Today we share some scenes from Kraybill Church Road, the relatively short country road we live on. See here on Google map.
 
Kraybill Church Road rainbow 8/6/19
Kraybill Church Road rainbow last evening
 
Kraybill Church Road sunset 8/6/19 (Click to enlarge)
Kraybill Church Road sunset last evening
(Click to enlarge)
 
Kraybill Church Road sunset sunflower 8/6/19 (Click to enlarge)
Kraybill Church Road sunset sunflower last evening
(Click to enlarge)
 
Kraybill Church Road flowers 8/7/19 (Click to enlarge)
Kraybill Church Road this morning
(Click to enlarge)
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“Tell Me the Story of Jesus/I Love to Tell the Story”VideoHomecoming Singers