Harvest on Colebrook Road 6/21/18 (Click to enlarge)
Lilies and Larkspur dress up the harvest on Colebrook Road across from the Hoffman Farm
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Stop And Consider God’s Wonders”
Message summary: Today, we encourage you to consider God’s wonders. His wonders abound surrounding us night and day. And then hear this important reminder from Elihu; “Remember to extol His work, which men have praised in song” (Job 36:24).

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Stop and consider God’s wonders” (Job 37:14).

Yesterday was the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in terms of daylight. It didn’t get dark till after 9:00 PM when we sat out on our front porch to watch a predictable summer spectacle, the nightly firefly show.

During this season the fireflies appear each night like tiny twinkling Christmas lights flashing all across our lawn and in the cornfield beyond the road. I sure wish I could capture it in a picture and share it with you. It’s a stunning scene.

Firefly The firefly is a bioluminescent insect, scientifically known as Pyractomena borealis. It sure is an interesting creature and we marvel as a family observing this special creation of God.

Hopefully you’ve all caught fireflies and held them in your hand at some point in your life. They have a very distinct odor, which I can still remember from playing with them as a child (we called them lightning bugs in Missouri and Oklahoma). It’s not necessarily an unpleasant odor but it is distinct and is believed to be from defensive chemicals the fireflies secrete to deter predators. Birds, spiders and lizards have learned that fireflies will make them sick, so they leave them alone!

A firefly is not hot or even warm to the touch.  Amazingly nearly 100% of a firefly’s luminescent energy is converted to light.  As you might expect, the light has a “romantic” purpose.

During Job’s trial he had four human “comforters” or friends. Elihu, who was younger, spoke after the three older friends. His viewpoint on Job’s suffering is surely not the final one, and like all human perspectives on this mysterious subject, it is flawed and incomplete. (God has the final word later in the book.) But Elihu makes some interesting points in trying to minister to Job that we believe are very helpful, particularly at the end of his discourse where he points to God’s creative wonders.

He urges Job to “Stop and consider God’s wonders”.  That’s a good exercise in getting a proper perspective on any matter. A few verses earlier Elihu declared, “How great is God–beyond our understanding!” (36:26).

How can you explain the firefly using an evolutionary model? Surely it’s been attempted and various theories have been postulated. Believing these theories is like taking a leap in the dark but it’s the only available option for those who have rejected the Biblical Creator. The firefly is just one of scores of God’s wonders.

Today, we encourage you to consider God’s wonders. His wonders abound surrounding us night and day. And then hear this important reminder from Elihu; “Remember to extol His work, which men have praised in song” (Job 36:24).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we do extol Your work and praise You with our lips, with our voice and with our devotion to follow You all the days of our life. We stop and consider Your great wonders and mighty works as we acknowledge You to be the Creator of all things. Your ways are perfect and beyond human understanding. It is all the more reason why we must rely on Your guidance and not lean on our own understanding. Today we acknowledge You in all our ways and ask You to direct our paths and increase our understanding in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Hoffman Farm on Colebrook Road 6/21/18 (Click to enlarge)
We always enjoy the beauty of the yucca plants that bloom alongside the Hoffman barn every year in June on Colebrook Road.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Tiger lilies on Colebrook Road 6/21/18 (Click to enlarge)
Tiger lilies on the Hoffman Farm on Colebrook Road
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Horse looking out stall in rain 6/21/18
Yesterday morning we passed this horse looking out a window to the rain.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“God Of Wonders”  Video  Chris Tomlin

“O Come To The Altar”  Video  Voices Of Lee

Finally today:

Val-Co watering pipe assembly 6/21/18
We are pleased that all the companies we serve as chaplains are very busy. These workers are assembling components for watering systems for poultry. Most of you reading this having eaten an egg or chicken raised in a chicken house that uses these watering systems. Consider offering a prayer of thanks to the Lord for these hard workers who make this equipment as well as to the farmers and all others in the supply chain. Above all of course praise God from whom all blessings flow.
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Lebanon Valley farm 6/19/18 (Click to enlarge)
Lebanon Valley farm with Blue Mountain in background
(Click to enlarge)

“A Letter From Christ”

Message summary: “You show that you are a letter from Christ.” What do people see in that letter from Christ? Hopefully it will be the fruit of His spirit, supremely His love.

 

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2,3).

If not in you, I wonder where
Will they ever see the One who really cares?
If not from you, how will they find;
There’s One who heals the broken heart
And gives sight to the blind.

Have you ever been mistaken for someone else or told you resemble someone in appearance? You probably have. That may be flattering or not so flattering depending on who you are mistaken for!

BB's Grocery Outlet Schaefferstown, PAThe other day we were shopping at a BB’s grocery store near Quarryville, PA. BB’s is a locally-owned discount store ran by the Amish with an interesting, grammatically puzzling motto, “Bents, Bumps and Bunch of Bargains”. It generally sells items that are slightly damaged, overstock and in some cases near or even passed their “Best By” date. But if you search hard you might also find interesting items like the time we found Apple lightning charging cords for $1.50.

When we go shopping I typically am ready to move on much faster than Brooksyne who scans carefully for bargains; checking the labels, expiration dates, etc. As I was moseying through the store last Friday waiting for her to finish shopping I noticed an older lady watching me carefully and smiling.

At one point I walked right past her and she whispered, “Are you catching any shoplifters?” It was then I realized that she thought I was an Amish store security guard, I suppose due to my secret service-like appearance and black suspenders commonly worn by the Amish men and boys. Well, I’m a big tease so I went along with her, leaning close within ear range and said in as much a whispered tone as my loud voice could muster, “Please, don’t say anything to anyone.”

She looked at me with seriousness and said, “Oh, I won’t”. I then quietly asked her how she knew and she said, “Oh, I could just tell.”

Later I was with Brooksyne pushing the cart and disclosed to the lady the fact that I was really just an ordinary shopper! We had a good chuckle!

What interesting mistaken identity stories do you have?

There is one identity we all should all aspire in being mistaken for. For most of us it won’t be our physical appearance* but rather our countenance, behavior, and character. Richard Stearns writes, “As followers of Christ, we bear the responsibility of demonstrating to the world what Jesus might look like were He to walk the earth today. Those who will never enter the door of a church or read a Bible or hear a sermon can still know Jesus by watching us!”

And if not you, I wonder who
Will show them love;
And love alone can make things new.
If not from you, how will they learn;
There’s One who’ll trade their hopelessness
And give joy in return.

QuotePaul had established the church in Corinth and spent 18 months as Pastor, “teaching them the Word of God” (Acts 18:11), before moving on and leaving the church under the care of others. We have more material written by Paul to the Corinthian believers than to any other single church.

He wrote to them (and as part of the Holy Scriptures to us). “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts”

Notice especially the phrase, “You show that you are a letter from Christ.”

What do people see in our “letter from Christ”? Hopefully it will be the fruit of His spirit, supremely His love.

You’re the only Jesus, some will ever see
And you’re the only words of life some will ever read,
So let them see in you
The One in whom is all they’ll ever need,
‘Cause you’re the only Jesus some will ever see.

 

Be encouraged today,

 

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as we walk according to Your commands we become more and more like Jesus, as though we are a letter sent from Him written not with ink but by the guidance of Your Spirit with in us. We want to help those who walk in darkness to see the light of salvation through Christ Jesus; the One in whom is abundant life and life everlasting, the One who heals the broken heart and gives sight to the blind. May our lives reflect the very image of Christ in all we say and do. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Apple Cart” A touching story of being mistaken for Jesus!

* Here’s a message we wrote about a time it was the presumed appearance of Jesus playing the piano! We also recall another time we saw “Jesus” cleaning our hotel.

BB’s Grocery Outlet

“You’re The Only Jesus”  Video  The Imperials (Song used in today’s message)

“Let Them See Jesus”  Video  Chris Machen

“Let Them See You”  Video   JJ Weeks Band with lyrics

Finally today:

Chicken Coop in greenhouse 6/15/18
We think this is pretty neat, a small chicken coop for sale at a greenhouse presumably for decorative purposes. However it kind of looks like the coop I would see in my grandparent’s neighbor’s yard.

“Quietly Faithful”

June 20, 2018

Hay harvest on Kraybill Church Road 6/15/18
Hay harvest on Kraybill Church Road
(Click to enlarge)

Quietly Faithful”

Message summary: The Bible lists many qualities of a good person but today let us consider just one; being “quietly faithful”.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“I put Hanani my brother, and Hananiah the commander of the fortress, in charge of Jerusalem, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many” (Nehemiah 7:2). “A faithful man will abound with blessings” (Proverbs 28:20a).

He was the kind of man that good men talk about
The way he showed his faith was how he lived it out
His hands were rough and calloused
and his shoes were old and torn
And the lines that framed his smile
were lines so well and deep and worn
Better faithful than famous quote

Theodore Roosevelt is attributed with a quote we have seen used effectively as a thought-provoking spiritual message on a church sign: “It is better to be faithful than famous”.

Although there are some famous people who are also faithful many who are recognized as “famous” are certainly not faithful!

Merely consider so many of the famous names in sports, entertainment and politics. The desire for fame drives many to seek outrageous behavior to get attention such as the goal of creating something “viral”. Others use evil means such as a mass murderer several years ago who left a suicide note which stated, “Now I’ll be famous.” *

Eldon Lehman

Eldon Lehman is a friend who departed this world after a long, fruitful life as a follower of Jesus Christ. Eldon was our Sunday School teacher many years ago and although I can’t recall the specific lessons he taught I recall his studiousness as he had attended Lancaster Bible College while being a farmer in his middle ages. His pastor used an interesting phrase at his memorial service describing Eldon’s life as “quiet faithfulness”.

That’s the best kind of faithfulness, not flaunted or promoted, but quietly demonstrated day after day, month after month, year after year in the long course of life. We’ve met many “quietly faithful” people like Eldon and continue to meet them. If you stop and think about it, you can also think of many who are “quietly faithful” and most of them won’t be famous.

In our first daily text Nehemiah refers to an obscure man named Hananiah, who was the commander of the fortress. His sole Biblical distinctive is that he was “a faithful man and feared God more than many”. In considering this text I observe that being a faithful man and having a fear of God are so inter-related. We believe the massive breakdown in faithfulness we see in our own age is related to the loss of having a healthy, holy fear of God.

Faithful man tombstone

In previous generations families commonly imprinted portions of Scripture as an epitaph on tombstones and it’s still practiced by some today. On my parent’s tombstone we have, “For Me To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain”. A phrase from today’s verse has been used on many tombstones, “He was a faithful man and feared God more than many”. The above pictured epitaph is on the tombstone of Deacon Samuel Peck in Greenwich, Connecticut who died in 1793. Such an epitaph makes us want to hear his story.

Many believers came out of a life of sin but still deal with the consequences of their past and many will do so for the rest of their life. That surely includes some of you reading this message. In fact, the challenge of being found faithful may very well relate to the way you deal with those unwanted consequences.

The road to being faithful is a long steady slog, the accumulation of many small decisions made throughout life. You decide each day that you will live faithfully but the characteristic of being faithful takes time. Good intentions and reality too often do not present the same outcome.

Proverbs 28:20The truth of the second daily Scripture is often most evident in the later years of life: “A faithful man will abound with blessings.” Faithfulness has its rewards, both in this life and the one to come. If you know Jesus as your personal Saviour you are actually abounding in blessings right now, but you can become discouraged with present or recurring trials. God’s Word is ever true. Perhaps you need to consider someone you know who has served God faithfully for many years and observe how they abound with blessings, even in the midst of their ongoing trials. But just remember the greatest blessings are yet to come!

Character qualities like faithfulness, steadfastness, and consistency might sound boring to many today, but they still matter to God. “A faithful man shall abound with blessings”, and he does; both in this life and the life to come. Let us aspire to hear these wonderful words from the supremely Faithful One, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

So what will be remembered of what he left behind?
What will stand the test of time?
How to love your neighbor, how to love your wife
Wrap your arms around your children and pray with them each night
Thank God for all the good things ’cause the good things are enough
The ties that bind and leave behind a legacy of love

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, may my life be marked by faithfulness and integrity. I know that these character traits are not developed over a short period of time but over the duration of my life, most especially during the challenging times. Obedience does bring blessing and it does bring eternal reward. Help me not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time that You have ordained, I will reap a harvest if I do not give up.  Amen.


Rhubarb harvest on Kraybill Church Road 6/15/18
Our neighbors harvesting their heirloom rhubarb on Kraybill Church Road, family project.
(Click to enlarge)

Mini-house at Hillside Acres greenhouse, Quarryville, PA 6/15/18
This looks like an aerial view of a local house, but it’s actually a display at a nursery featuring a miniature house with flowers and succulents.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Legacy Of Love”  Video  David Phelps

* Omaha Gunman’s Note: “Now I’ll Be Famous”

View from bridge on the Enola Low Grade trail near Quarryville, PA 6/15/18
View from bridge on the Enola Low Grade trail near Quarryville, PA

“God’s Pattern For Truth Transmission”

Message summary: Fundamentally, for the believer, teaching our children well and seeing that they are successful in what matters most is of greatest importance.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands” (Psalm 78:5-7).

Teaching well may include being kind to others, showing respect to authority, being truthful and so forth. These are not uniquely Christian virtues, but they sure need taught and modelled by those who hold to these virtues.

Parents desire that their children be successful and society has placed some very specific assumptions on what success looks like such as going to college to get higher education, getting a good job, making lots of money and having many nice possessions. In our view many people are successful this way but lack in other far more important ways.

Fundamentally, for the believer, teaching our children well and seeing that they are successful in what matters most embodies the essential truths of today’s Scripture portion. Being successful according to the world’s standards and being successful by God’s standards may be significantly different.

Within the law of Moses a very specific command speaks to this subject, “Teach them (the commands of God) to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9). The Apostle Paul commanded parents (specifically fathers) “to bring them (children) up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The phrase “bring them up” conveys “to rear up to maturity.” Notice the content of the teaching Paul emphasizes which best describes what teaching “well” includes; “the training and instruction of the Lord.”

The main goal of godly parenting is that their children accept and follow Jesus Christ as their Saviour and live their entire life in a manner that pleases God, while fulfilling God’s purpose for their life. That may include some of the same things the world calls success but not necessarily. Unless given the gift of singleness parents desire their children find a spiritually compatible mate (spouse) and raise another generation for God’s glory, being active in Christian service, giving generously of their resources to honorable and godly causes and living a responsible life expressing faith and dependence on God.

That to me is what teaching our children “well” means. (I also expand this to grandchildren and others we may impact for the Lord.) Have you considered what it means to you? Are you taking your job seriously? When life, as we know it on this side, is all over what matters most will be taking up eternal residency with our Lord and bringing our loved ones along with us. What a day, glorious day that will be!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You’ve given us tremendous responsibility as we’re commanded to train and instruct our children in the ways of the Lord.  There are many times when we’ve failed to be faithful in our godly duties as parents. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and unable to deal with the challenges our children present and even more so in this age of modern technology.  Lord, help us to sow seeds of Christian instruction so that we will cultivate children who grow into fruitful, godly adults. Help us not to despair or give up in the present battles we face with our children, for in due time we will reap great blessing from our labor, as we continue to trust You in these matters. Amen.


Last Friday between chaplain visits we biked on the Enola Low Grade rail trail in southern Lancaster County. The trail runs along an abandoned rail line known as the low grade.
See here or here (map).

Bridge on the Enola Low Grade trail near Quarryville, PA 6/15/18
Bridge over the main road into Quarryville.

Enola Low Grade trail near Quarryville, PA 6/15/18
We got off the trail at the end to ride over to a greenhouse and saw some nice rural landscape.

Farm near Enola Low Grade trail near Quarryville, PA 6/15/18
Farm with beautiful horses and a well-tended garden near Enola Low Grade trail in the Quarryville, PA area.
(Click to enlarge)

Enola Low Grade trail near Quarryville, PA 6/15/18
It was a beautiful day to be outside!


Sunday afternoon we went to a graduation party for Nathan Ncube

Nathan with Notsen and Tho 6/17/18
Notsen, Tho, and their graduate son, Nathan Ncube.

Nathan with Coach Chris 6/17/18
Nathan with his soccer coach, Chris – both of them our friends and neighbors.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Legacy Of Love”  Video  David Phelps

“Faithful Man”  Video   Johnny Minick

Finally today:

Scripture on fridge
A reader named Joy sent us this.
“This is a picture that my niece created from the verse in Hebrews that says we should encourage each other daily. She loves to illustrate verses, and she does a great job! Her name is Janelle, she is 12 years old, and she lives in Ohio. I just love this one because I think it is so important that we encourage each other, because I know when I have been encouraged, it has kept my heart soft!!”
Father and son near Quarryville, PA 6/15/18
A father conversing with his son near Quarryville, PA last Friday

“Our Good, Good Father”

Message summary: Today whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever your experience has been with an earthly father, the Lord Almighty, our perfect heavenly Father, has a call to all, “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me.”ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48b). “‘And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty'” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

Yesterday was Father’s Day here in the U.S. providing extra incentive for children to honor the fifth commandment and personally express how special their father is to them. Families gathered for cookouts, fishing, camping, etc. honoring their dads. And for many others it was a time of remembrance since our fathers have departed from life on this earth.

But for some it was not a day of celebration but rather a day every year that brings unpleasant memories. Our pastor thoughtfully acknowledged this in his opening prayer (link below). There are those who do not have a good relationship with their father and so many have never even met their birth father. There are those who are estranged from their father and those who did not receive loving recognition from their children.

We certainly see this brokenness in our chaplain ministry. One worker shared with me that, during his childhood years, his father would leave him in the car during extreme cold and hot weather, while he bar-hopped and womanized. This was in addition to the physical abuse he endured. To this day this man has a very poor relationship with his father, although he is still trying to do the right thing in helping care for him during his old age. Sadly, this model of fatherhood has been a great detriment to him in placing his trust in a good, good heavenly Father.

Thankfully, most of us testify to having good fathers and, hopefully, if you are a father you are a good father! However none of us had perfect fathers nor are there any perfect fathers reading this! There is only one perfect father, our heavenly Father. Jesus taught, “Your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48b).

Yesterday we sang a popular song in church that seemed fitting for the day titled, “Good, Good, Father”. What a wonderful blessing that regardless of any deficiencies in our earthly fathers we have a good, good heavenly father!

You’re a good, good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Today’s second text is a verse not often cited. In over 20 years of writing these messages I’ve never even used it as a reference. But today it is especially blessing me.

Consider it as a personal message from our good, good Father: “‘And I will be a Father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty”.

Today whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever your experience has been with an earthly father, the Lord Almighty, our perfect heavenly Father, has a call to all, “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You are a good, good Father. It’s who You are and we are blessed by Your goodness, Your love, and Your provision for salvation through the sacrificial death of Your only Son, Jesus. We pray for our earthly fathers who seek to raise their children in the ways of the Lord. May they be an example  of godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


M&H railroad, Middletown, PA 6/16/18
Saturday for my Father’s Day gift we took a train ride on the Middletown and Hummelstown railroad along Swatara Creek. Due to the initials the line is also known as the Milk and Honey line.M&H railroad, Middletown, PA 6/16/18
Waiting at the luggage cart alongside some pretty old luggage, the kind that doesn’t come with a extendable handle or wheels to make carting luggage a little lighter!Swatara Creek from M&H railroad bridge, PA 6/16/18
Swatara Creek from the Milk and Honey line.

Father's Day, Calvary Church 6/17/18
Each Father’s Day Ester insists that I wear a Veggie Tale tie she gave me 19 years ago. We’re standing in front of a beautifully restored dual cab 1966 Chevy C-10 in our church parking lot. A photo of this truck (before and after) was used during Pastor’s sermon as a visual reminder of how God restores us inside and out.

Father's Day 1999
Ester gave me the Veggie tale tie in 1999 and helped Brooksyne bake and decorate a cake with a flavorful M&M tie.

Ester with Jim Schmidt, Father's Day, Calvary Homes 6/17/18
We enjoyed a delicious pot roast lunch with the Schmidts yesterday at Calvary Homes. Jim is a great example of one who is never lacking in zeal but keeping his spiritual fervor. In many ways he is like a spiritual father to me and a grandfather figure to Ester.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Good, Good Father”  Video   Calvary Church worship service, begins with Pastor Eckert’s prayer for fathers.

“What A Beautiful Name/Agnus Dei”  Video  Travis Cottrell with Lily Cottrell

Finally today:

Roxie with shorts 6/18/18
This morning I absent-mindedly tossed a pair of shorts up for Brooksyne to mend and unintentionally made a ringer around Roxie’s neck. She stood in place for the longest time uncertain of what had happened to her but eventually worked her way out of the shorts!

“Barley Harvest”

June 15, 2018

Horse on shore at Outer Banks, NC (Photo by Doug Maxwell) Click to enlarge
Our neighbor Doug took this photo on the outer banks in North Carolina.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Barley Harvest”

Message summary: Today let us consider a barley harvest which took place about 3,200 years ago.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning” (Ruth 1:22).

We have a young friend named Naomi Grace who just celebrated her tenth birthday. Naomi is from the Hebrew language and means “beautiful, pleasant, delightful.” Grace, from the Latin, means “favor, blessing.” This beautiful name prompts a message about her namesake, the only Naomi in the Holy Scriptures.

Darrel in combineAlthough we tend to consider late summer and autumn as harvest time, we actually have various harvests through the season beginning in the spring. Hay is harvested throughout the growing season. Earlier this week we shared a photo of large round hay bales we spotted in a field in Lebanon County and last week I helped (a little bit) with the alfalfa harvest, unloading the small bales.

There is a predictability regarding the times of each harvest from year to year. I spoke to Darrel, a young farmer friend (shown here driving the combine) and he told me the next major harvest in our area will be the barley harvest which is starting now.

BarleyBarley turns a beautiful yellow indicating harvest is near. In the next several weeks we will see the combines working the fields all throughout our region. It’s a beautiful sight to see and hear the combines slowly working back and forth across the fields.

Today let us consider another barley harvest which took place about 3,200 years ago. Of course there is a vast difference in harvesting methods from that age and our own but the goal is the same.

It’s interesting to note how many times the Bible reminds us to consider our roots.  History was very important in the life of the Jewish people. Great New Testament sermons like Peter’s (Acts 2) and Stephen’s (Acts 7) are rooted in history; the record of God’s providential work in space and time.

“Arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.” This simple, easily overlooked, detail in the daily text places the lives of two ordinary women, Naomi and Ruth, beset by heartache squarely in history, in the context of a specific place “Bethlehem” and a specific time “when the barley was harvested”.

Naomi’s husband had died along with her two sons in Moab, a neighboring land devoted to other gods. Her heart was broken as she returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, her daughter-in-law who insisted on joining her in one of the greatest faith verses in the Bible, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16).

When they arrived and Naomi was recognized by the women of Bethlehem she plainly instructed them, “Call me Mara” (which means “bitter”). Thankfully the name didn’t stick and in a wonderful way God worked things out for both Naomi and Ruth.

Grief (identity unknown)Some of you have lingering heartache which has resulted in bitterness today. We all have experiences where it seems life has just not been fair. Our experience is not at all unique to our lifetime and surely, all through the ages, people have dealt with heartache, disappointment, injustice. Dealing with the hurts of others is a major part of ministry. We read in an “Our Daily Bread” devotional, “One of God’s purposes in pain is to brand the image of Jesus in our hearts.”

Let us learn from history and rejoice as we see how the unchangeable God worked out His plan in these two ordinary women, Naomi and Ruth. A wonderful New Testament verse that many of us have memorized expresses this truth: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Rest in deep assurance today that this is absolutely true!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have great purpose for our lives and for the legacy we leave those who follow. In our journey there are the bitter waters we drink from and the sweet fragrances that fill our nostrils. Through it all Your plan is to bring the good out of bad circumstances, as You remind us of our calling to live according to Your purpose. We want to be trustful in the hard times and faithful all the time. Amen.


Combine at wheat harvest
I took this photo of Darrel operating the combine for a harvest 11 years ago. Look closely and you will see that Darrel had company, his girlfriend Kelly who joined him and went along for the ride! Darrel and Kelly just celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary and now have two children whom they are raising to follow the Lord.

Home view at sunset 6/14/18
Brooksyne and I sure enjoy coming out to the front porch and drinking our coffee while enjoying the beauty of spring all about us. Usually Mollie shows up with her Frisbee or triple ring set that she wants us to toss until she finally peters out, but that’s her enjoyment of spring as well.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Faithful Men”  Video  A Cappella Christian Classics Performers A song challenging men to join the harvest of souls.

“The Victor’s Crown”  Video  Calvary Church choir

Seedtime on an Amish farm, the rarely seen view of the farmer!  Video  (26 seconds) See if you recognize the whistled tune! My friend Jesse recorded this yesterday as he planted corn. He wrote, “Beautiful day, I got done with the planter today. Thought I would share the experience of planting corn.”

Finally today:

Smucker meeting 6/14/18
Yesterday morning our first visit was to the Smucker Company which had an employee meeting. Marlin, the owner, is good-naturedly tossing out gift cards to employees who had perfect attendance.
Amish scooters with baby trailer, Lancaster County, PA 6/9/18
Last Saturday afternoon we passed this young Amish couple riding their scooters along Hartman Bridge Road pulling their baby in the bike cart.

“All Over The World”

Message summary: Today, “all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing”. Members of our spiritual family are spreading the Gospel and planting spiritual seeds all over the world.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

Solar-powered globe“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth”  (Colossians 1:6).

A small solar-powered globe sits on my desk, a gift Brooksyne gave me for our 40th wedding anniversary. When the sun shines it turns, using the energy from the sunlight. It’ss quite a conversation piece and suits my propensity for enjoying gadgets.

She looked at the globe as it was turning yesterday and said “There’s a really good song that would go with a circling globe.” I couldn’t think of one but I did think of a good Bible verse which would be John 3:16!

Then she broke into song, singing a chorus we learned during our Bible College days:

All over the world the Spirit is moving
All over the world as the prophets said it would be
All over the world there’s a mighty revelation
Of the glory of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea

In yesterday’s message “Educated Into Imbecility” we considered man’s rejection of God and the resulting foolishness. This message may have been a bit distressing or even depressing to some readers. So today let’s once again remind ourselves that His truth continues to march on. Jesus Himself said, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against My church.”

One year during a missions convention in New England I used a large, inflatable world globe to illustrate the work of Christ’s Gospel being spread all over the world. We tossed the large globe throughout the congregation sort of like a beach ball, although it was much larger than that. There might be several of our readers from New England who would remember that particular mission’s service over 20 years ago!

I have always liked maps and globes. Now I enjoy sites like Google Earth! I try to imagine the people living in various parts of the world and the continued impact of the Gospel even in the hardest to reach places, both spiritually and geographically speaking. I have also found this useful as a prayer guide.

The statement made in the daily text, by the Apostle Paul to the early believers at Colossae, illustrates the rapid spread of the Gospel in the first century.  In fact it had extended into every quarter of the Roman Empire within three decades of Pentecost when the book of Colossians was written.

However, this is not just a statement from history but a present tense description of God’s work around the world. Today, “all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing”. Members of our spiritual family are spreading the Gospel and planting spiritual seeds all over the world.

We are citizens of many different countries and there is a sense of national pride that most all of us experience. But all who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior have an infinitely greater citizenship. Paul, writing from a prison to believers in the Roman colony of Philippi, declares a citizenship we all share and rejoice in today, “But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Although he found his Roman citizenship a helpful defense in a time of trial, undoubtedly he considered his heavenly citizenship of incomparably greater value. And so should we!

How Paul rejoiced as he wrote the daily text. Indeed “all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing”. Paul didn’t just focus on those he had direct fellowship with as is evidenced throughout his many writings. He had a spiritual interest in all of God’s creation, local or distant, that the gospel would bear fruit and grow in their lives.  We, too, need to broaden our circle and embrace those of other nationalities, skin color, and culture. We should pray earnestly for those whom we may never meet on this side but will spend all eternity with as we worship the One and only true God.

As we do so the gospel will be bearing fruit and growing in our lives today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we join with the apostle Paul as we repeat his prayer for our brothers and sisters….Since the day we heard about you, our brothers and sisters in the faith, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer from Colossians 1:9-13: A prayer suitable for each of us to pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“All Over The World”  Video

Old Windmill Farm video from Lancaster County Must-Dos

Finally today:

Amish field work, Lancaster County, PA 6/7/18Many farmers are very busy with their field work.
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