Colorful wooden flowers

All through Lancaster County we pass all kinds of small stands with items for sale along the road. These colorful wooden flowers at an Amish Farm are rather popular.

“Brighten The Corner Where You Are!”


Note: Due to a trip to Knoebel’s Amusement Park today we do not expect to post a message tomorrow (Thursday, 8/16/18). We leave early this morning, get back late tonight and have an early start on Thursday for chaplain duties.

Message summary: Today we want to encourage our readers who live or serve in what may seem like a dark place. In some ways that’s all of us! Our degree of influence will vary but each source of light is significant. We urge you to brighten the corner where you are!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

Wood flowerToday’s lead photo is an example of something that can brightens an otherwise dull spot. Amish children cut out these flower shapes, paint them in bright colors and then sell them at roadside stands. It gives them some spending money for some of the same activities all children enjoy such as going to an amusement park. We have one of these wooden flowers hanging on the exterior of our home. Today we will be taking five of our Amish “grandchildren” to Knoebels amusement park which is about 55 miles due north of us but farther by driving due to the winding roads and mountains.

On Monday we shared about a worship service I attended and Brooksyne participated in on Sunday evening in the Mount Gretna Tabernacle. Mount Gretna is known as the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, a reference to the other more famous Chautauqua Campmeeting in western New York. So today let’s consider a song that has some connection to this Chautauqua.

In 1912 Ina Duley Ogdon received an invitation to be a Chautauqua Circuit speaker. This was a great opportunity for her since Chautauqua Lake was a place in upstate New York where performers, musicians, lecturers and motivational speakers were invited who were famous throughout the country. At the time it was the most popular spot where people by the thousands came to visit. Theodore Roosevelt called it “the most American thing in America.”

Miss Ogdon, a brilliant orator, had felt God’s calling on her life. Upon receiving the invitation, she excitedly considered the thousands of people that she might influence for the cause of Christ. But as she was packing for the upcoming tour her father was seriously injured in one of the new-fangled “horseless carriages.”

Ina, deeply disappointed and somewhat angered toward God for allowing this tragedy to happen, eventually cancelled her travel plans to care for her father. After making her peace with God about the matter, she determined in her heart that she would be happy and remain “true to the many duties near” her. She would do her best to “brighten the corner” wherever God placed her, even if it was in her own home. So she commenced to writing a poem with this theme.

Ina completed this poem over the next year. It became the theme song of Billy Sunday’s evangelistic ministry for twenty-two years. Instead of reaching a few thousand in her lifetime Ina Duley Ogdon’s inspired words have reached out to millions from 1913 right up to our own lifetime. Her father’s mishap brought about a “dark place” in Ina’s life placing a damper on her large scale plans, but God’s plans were even more far reaching.

Peter does not specifically identify the “dark place” in our second daily text.  Peter is likely using “dark place” as a metaphor to describe this corrupt world system. However “advanced” our secular civilization becomes, this world in its willful rebellion to God (whose essence is light), lies in the darkness of sin, ignorance, despair and death which keeps people from seeing God’s truth until His light shines into their hearts. (Precept Austin commentary)

Warren Wiersbe, who has long been one of our favorite Bible teachers, comments regarding the Greek word “auchmeros” used here for dark. It “is the picture of a dank cellar or a dismal swamp. Human history began in a lovely Garden, but that Garden today is a murky swamp. What you see when you look at this world system is an indication of the spiritual condition of your heart. We still see beauty in God’s creation, but we see no beauty in what mankind is doing with God’s creation. Peter did not see this world as a Garden of Eden, nor should we.”

Today we want to encourage our readers who live or serve in what may seem like a dark place. In some ways that’s all of us! Our degree of influence will vary but each source of light is significant. We urge you to read or sing the words of this cheerful song and brighten the corner where you are on this day!

“Brighten the Corner”

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do.
Do not wait to shed your light afar.
To the many duties ever near you now be true;
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear;
Let not narrow self your way debar.
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the Bright and Morning Star.
Ever from your humble hand the bread of life may feed;
Brighten the corner where you are.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, sometimes we are frustrated by what little we have to offer others when we compare ourselves with those who are greatly talented or those who have a special way with words, or even those who may have financial resources to bless others in ways that we cannot. But we are not limited in reaching out to one who may be looking for a reason to smile or to the one who simply needs a helping hand. Paul indicated that the comfort You dispensed to Titus, was then transmitted to him, and then he passed it onto the Corinthian church. We pray for the prompting of the Holy Spirit to show us ways that we can encourage those around us so that it will naturally be passed on to others as well. We pray for this through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.



Little Swatara Creek flooding 8/13/18We continue to have lots of rain in our region and due to the saturated soil the water is not absorbing into the ground well so the creeks and rivers remain high. This is the Little Swatara Creek in Lebanon County, PA.
 
Honey Bear Orchards, Lebanon County, PA 8/13/18
During this season we enjoy stopping by orchards. This is a photo of Honey Bear Orchards in rural Lebanon County, PA where we stopped by on Tuesday.



Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Brighten The Corner Where You Are”  Video  Fairhaven Baptist Church
 
Knoebel’s Amusement Park  For several years we have taken the kids up to Knoebels each summer and they really look forward to the trip. It’s a park in a mountainous, wooded area with an old-fashioned feel similar to the amusement parks we went to as children.
 
Finally today:

Mystery photoMystery photo

What is this?

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“Dealing With CRS”

August 14, 2018

Mount Gretna home
Home in Mount Gretna, PA

“Dealing With CRS”

Message summary: Do you receive the reminders of truth with joy?

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (2 Peter 1:12-15).

Paul Hollinger 8/12/18On Sunday evening as Brooksyne was rehearsing with the Calvary Church choir for a worship service at the Mount Gretna Tabernacle I visited for a few minutes with Paul Hollinger. Paul worked for 52 years at WDAC, one of our local Christian radio stations, serving most of that time as the general manager. Now in his eighties he maintains his vibrancy, although he has endured numerous health afflictions.

For over 15 years now we have had an abbreviated “Minute of Daily Encouragement” program on WDAC twice a week and have developed a friendship with several on the staff. Because we are able to produce the messages in our home, and send them in as an email attachment, it does not require our being at the station.

Twelve years ago I was visiting the station during an “Open House” and in Paul’s office I saw a napkin on his desk that stated, “I Have CRS”. Considering all the disease acronyms such as MS, COPD, ALS, OCD and so forth I thought it might be a disease I had never heard of so I asked him what it meant and he informed me it stood for, “Can’t Remember Stuff”.

Well, that’s probably a descriptive acronym many of us identify with! Like many others, we often use the term “having a senior moment” to describe brief lapses in memory which tends to increase for many as we age. A younger friend describes it as “data overload”.

As we get older we generally deal with short-term memory loss (like forgetting where we put our wallet, coffee cup, car keys, cell phone, etc). We all need memory prompts to keep us on track.

We live in an age when the “new” is highly valued and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy new stuff, especially technology. I am typically several years behind the state of the art, which I recall a computer engineer friend in New England telling me was no longer “state of the art” at the time the device came on the market.

In regard to Biblical and spiritual truths I also appreciate a new insight, perhaps something in a Bible text I had never considered. As we prepare these messages we hope that takes place. But we are foundationally committed to expressing and contending for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints.  Our goal is to highlight an old truth that readers might not have explored before or provide a refreshing thought regarding its application in their lives.

But there’s such a tendency to have a view of “I’ve already heard that before” and this can lead to a negative, unreceptive outlook. It can also be dangerous as we may run after new “truths” that are really old errors being recycled to attract a new following.

Today we would like to consider the benefits of being reminded of important truths. Truths that teach, reinforce and remind us are indeed a blessing because:

1) We forget! CRS can also afflict us spiritually. If our forgetfulness is limited to the smaller, inconsequential stuff of life that’s one thing, and that is certainly frustrating. Now in our early sixties Brooksyne and I are having real “senior moments.” But how critically important it is that we remember that which is of foremost importance; spiritual, Biblical truths.

2) Being reminded is a means of reinforcing truth in our lives and helping us keep a Biblical/spiritual perspective. The Apostle Peter is writing about it in his last letter which we know as 2 Peter. I find today’s Scripture especially pertinent. Hopefully you read the Scripture portion I placed at the beginning. It really shows the heart of a caring servant. As this first generation believer was passing the torch of faith on to the next and all subsequent generations he emphasized the vital importance of remembering the crucial, foundational truths of the faith that were known and firmly established in his initial readers.

3) Others may need to hear the reminder or may be receiving the teaching for the first time. In a group setting such as a church there will be all ages and levels of Bible knowledge and spiritual maturity. A healthy church will have those who have just come into the faith. For some the Bible teaching is a reminder of a truth they learned long ago, for others it’s a new teaching.


In Peter’s text notice the repetitive emphasis; “So I will always remind you”; “it is right to refresh your memory”; and “I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things”.

Today we bring no new revelation, no teaching that will “tickle” itchy ears or bring about a large following because of our “unique” message. Instead we simply prompt you to consider the need for being reminded of that which is of first importance and encourage you to faithfully proclaim these truths to others! And never grow weary of being regularly reminded or being the one who does the reminding, which is good discipleship.

The daily text expresses an attitude we should have when we are reminded of familiar truths. Peter was confident his readers not only knew the truths he had shared, but they were also established in their hearts and minds. Nevertheless he pledged to be steadfast in reminding them of these things. Today Peter might preface his message by saying, “I know I’m preaching to the choir. but….” He was determined to “make every effort to see that after his departure others would always be able to remember these things.” That’s a faithful minister!

Do you receive the reminders of truth with joy? I recall the line in an old hymn that put it this way, “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” May we never lose interest or find ourselves yawning when hearing or reading of the foundational truths of the Gospel, even if it is the umpteenth time! May it instead reassure and refresh our spiritual appetite.


Be encouraged today,


Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit. May Your Words be impressed upon our hearts as we give regular attention to them through reading and memorizing the Scriptures. We don’t want a casual attitude about Your Holy Word, but rather we want to be earnest students of Your Word genuinely contending for the faith. Help us not to be absent minded when approaching the gospel truths but rather be wholly present that we might partake of all that You have to teach and show us in Your Word. May we never weary of the basics of the gospel or lose the awe and wonder of seeing a life that is changed when redemption takes place. We want to hunger and thirst after righteousness and not lose sight of the old, old story that will be our theme throughout eternity. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.



I have several little gadgets that I’m sure many of you are familiar with and have also used. It’s a tiny USB Flash Drive that holds memory. These have far more memory than the hard drive on my first computer in the early nineties. In our computer-lingo laden age a familiar phrase we used to hear, “I need more memory.” I recall how the early hard drives filled up so quickly, as well as the internal RAM memory. Actually, at least in my case, these have not been issues now for many years. My current workhorse computer has 16gb of RAM and a 2TB hard drive!

But a far more important type of memory is the necessity of remembering Biblical/spiritual truths.



Today we will share some photos from Mount Gretna

Mount Gretna Campmeeting sign

Mount Gretna is an interesting community only about 15 miles from our home but its heavily wooded and hilly landscape feels like we’re in an entirely different region. It was established in the late 1890’s as a campmeeting location but has developed into a year-round community with pricey homes and an “artsy” feel.

Mount Gretna Tabernacle Plaque
Mount Gretna Tabernacle Plaque

Mount Gretna Tabernacle

It appears the old tabernacle has remained about the same as when it was built nearly 120 years ago for about $1100.00.

Mount Gretna Jigger Shop

A popular spot in Mount Gretna is the “Jigger Shop” Notice how they allow the trees to grow through the roof!

Mount Gretna home

The homes are characterized by large porches and almost always when we are there a lot of people are out on the porch visiting with one another, a very pleasant setting.
 
For the history of Mt. Gretna tabernacle see here.
 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
WDAC

“Tell Me the Story of Jesus / I Love to Tell the Story”  Video  Gaither Homecoming Singers

Finally today:


Fred and Tom with their Mom 8/12/18 Sunday afternoon we shared in the chapel service at our local senior residence. What a blessing to see Fred and Tom with their Mom, Winnie, whom they visit Sunday afternoons and join regularly with her in the afternoon services.
Quilt mural on building at Kitchen Kettle Village
Quilt mural on Village Quilts shop in Kitchen Kettle Village

“Don’t Build Your Life On A Sink Hole!”

Message summary: Eventually, sometimes sooner, sometimes later the type of foundation we have built our lives on will be revealed. Are you building on the Rock or on sinking, shifting sand? “Don’t Build Your Life On A Sink Hole!”

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:26,27).

Tanger Outlets sinkhole 8/10/18Shoppers at a local Tanger Outlet Mall in our area were in for a shock last Friday afternoon when their cars sunk into a sink hole. (Photo here) The hole swallowed six cars but thankfully no one was hurt. However one woman was in her car at the time and she had a very “unsettling” experience to share with her family and friends (probably on Facebook). She initially thought it was an earthquake.

It is believed the sink hole was caused by the very heavy rains in our area over the last several weeks. We have certainly had plenty of pouring rain, rising streams and blowing winds. Events like this make you wonder just how susceptible any of us might be.

Regarding the sink hole at Tanger Outlets it was in an area where there had been some new construction. Although contractors are supposed to compact the soil over building foundations and parking lots one considers that this may have been a factor.

Matthew 7:24-27Jesus concluded His “Sermon on the Mount” with a teaching contrasting two types of foundations. It’s a short section and you can read it here in Matthew 7:24-29. It has long been one of my favorite passages of Scripture and one which has frequently been cited in the 22 years of writing these Daily Encouragement messages and the basis of numerous sermons in nearly 45 years of preaching.

In building our lives there are two places we can build our foundation; on rock or on sand. Today let us give special focus to the second foundation, described in our text as “a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

Everyone is building a house, speaking of what we believe and how we live our lives. Jesus calls one a wise builder and the other a foolish builder.

Matthew 7:24-27There are several identical similarities. In both cases they:
1) “Hear these words of Mine”
2) “built a house”
3) Face an identical storm, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house.”

However the dissimilarities are critically significant:
1) One builder is called “wise”, the other “foolish”.
2) One, upon hearing the words of Christ, “puts them into practice” (obeys them), the other “does not put them into practice” (disobeys them).
3) One house “did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock”, the other house “fell with a great crash”.

Eventually, sometimes sooner and sometimes later, the type of foundation we have built our lives on will be revealed. Are you building on the Rock or on sinking, shifting sand? “Don’t Build Your Life On A Sink Hole!”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we place our faith on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. The sweet glorious message of Scripture teaches us that yesterday, today, and forever, Jesus is the same. All may change but Jesus never, glory to His name! In this day of shifting sands where philosophical rubbish on every front seeks to snare even the elect if possible, we take a firm stand as we anchor our faith in the bedrock of Your unchanging Holy Word, not the hollow and deceptive philosophy that depends on the basic principles of this world. Instead we look to Scripture for daily guidance on how we are to live our lives here and now, even as we prepare for our future eternal home. Amen.



Quilt store at Kitchen Kettle Village
A photo of the Village Quilts shop in the Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse PA.
Note the quilt mural on the side of the building which is our lead photo today.

Calvary Church choir and orchestra at Mount Gretna Tabernacle 8/12/18
Last night Brooksyne joined fellow choir members and the orchestra of Calvary Church in singing at the Mount Gretna Tabernacle.

Calvary Church choir and orchestra at Mount Gretna Tabernacle 8/12/18

Brooksyne took this photo looking out over part of the gathering from her location in the choir.

Beau Eckert preaching at Mount Gretna Tabernacle 8/12/18

Calvary Church Pastor Beau Eckert preached the message, “Everyone Has A Story”.
We’ll share more photos from Mount Gretna with tomorrow’s message.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“The Wise Man Built His House”
  Video  Brooksyne’s Note: While listening to the children sing this great Scripture chorus I was taken back to my booster band years MANY years ago. As a youngster growing up in a small country church we children opened the worship service following Sunday School with our booster band songs. The leader lined us up along the altar railing and we sang our hearts out with such numbers as “Zaccheus was a wee little Man”, “Only a Boy Named David”, “The Wise Man Built His House” and other such tunes. Our parents beamed as we did all the motions with the songs.

Yesterday we led the chapel service at Paramount (formerly Longwood Manor) and Stephen preached the sermon we present today. As he was preaching I thought this would be a great song to lead the people in after his message. I did so and I believe every person sang along and did the motions as well since it didn’t require moving anything below the waist. It was a lot of fun and later I considered how my small hands that “built the house upon the rock” as a child is now nearing my senior years where I am still building upon the rock. Much has transpired in the many years that I first sang it, but now I really know what it means, and I know that building my life on Jesus has helped me stand firm through the many storms over the years. My life has not been like the “house on the sand that went splash” but the “house on the rock” that stood firm.

“The Solid Rock”  Video  Sovereign Grace Music

“Praise The Name Of Jesus”  Video  Shane and Shane “He’s my Rock”

“Hallelujah What a Savior”  Video  Calvary Church choir and orchestra from the service last night at the Mount Gretna Tabernacle. Note: Video was recorded in low light thus some loss of quality.


Finally today:

Sally with Stephen 7/1/18
Our longtime friend, Sally Novosat, whom we visited and then wrote a tribute for in July has now taken on immortality in heaven this past Friday. We include this link to her obituary where friends and family have posted their fond remembrances of her. Since 1993 when we left our pastorate in St. Marys, PA Sally has written to us regularly and always expressed her great love for Jesus in every letter. Now she can express it personally as she is there with Him!

Val-Co view 8/2/18Such a beautiful vista view in front of Val-Co, where we serve as chaplains, near New Holland, PA.

 

“Come Back To Your Senses!”

Message summary:  Today let us thank God for the blessing of brakes. When He flashes the yellow light of caution we need to slowly, carefully, and Scripturally assess the situation. When He flashes the red light we need to STOP!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame” (I Corinthians 15:33,34). “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

We enjoy our work as chaplains and see such a cross section of the people who make up our world. We see all ages and of course the two God-ordained genders. We see many races and people from many different countries. Yesterday we spoke to people from Kenya, Vietnam, China, Bosnia, Mexico, Columbia and other countries. We see everyone from CEO’s and board chairmen to the folks on the factory floor. Red and yellow, black and white they’re all precious in His sight.

We also speak to people who share their story. Mike is a service tech. Yesterday he told me of his deliverance from alcohol. His father was an alcoholic and Mike got his drinking start at 12 years of age and progressed downward for some twenty years before “coming to his senses” and he has been sober for the last ten years. He is now committed, along with his wife, to helping others come to their senses and stop sinning. He works in a halfway house.

Mike came to a point in life when he fully realized the destructive nature of his ways and put the brakes on. (Note: Mike gave me permission to share his story.)

It’s quite unlikely that any one of you would venture out on the road today if you knew that your brakes wouldn’t work. Though your intent is to get to a particular destination and you mostly use the accelerator pedal to go, all through the trip and certainly at the end, you expect to apply your brakes to stop. If you’ve ever had a brake malfunction you know what a blessing brakes are!

My most heart-pounding braking experience took place nearly 40 years ago. I drove a school bus to supplement our income when we planted a church in northern Pennsylvania in a very mountainous region. Mostly I drove kids to and from school but I was asked to make a special trip driving an adult fellowship from the Shiloh Presbyterian Church to a Penn State football game in State College. A designated bus was used for these longer trips but I received no special training on how to drive it.

As I was going down a long grade on a mountain on Rt 322 in Northcentral Pennsylvania I used the brakes as I was accustomed to doing on my regular school bus. But this road bus had air brakes and the more I pumped the less brake power I had until I lost them completely. To this day I still can’t explain how that bus stopped without having an accident short of divine intervention. But that experience is a lasting reminder of the blessing or should I say necessity of brakes!

Today let us consider the blessing of another type of brake in regard to our spiritual life. We may very well find this brake annoying, slowing us down or stopping us in places where we would rather see a green light. Tragically the vast majority are charging right through the red lights as they completely disregard the God-ordained brakes that He so wisely and graciously provides, such as this passage from I Corinthians 15:34: “Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning.”

What a needed word for each one reading today and for all of humankind! The Jamison, Faussets, Brown commentary states regarding the sense of “stop sinning” in this passage, “Do not give yourselves up to sinful pleasures. The Greek expresses a continued state of abstinence from sin.”

The Scripture tells it the way it is to those who choose to forsake God’s commands: “Come back to your senses”. Once you begin keeping company with the people who wrongly influence you, and you choose to engage in sin, you lose control to the point of even losing your God-given common sense. You no longer see things the way they really are because you’ve given the enemy a foothold and he will distort your present view and the future outcome of your choices.

Today let us recognize the blessing of God’s brakes as an expression of His love, His care, and His protection. Remember, when your vehicle brakes stop working it not only brings danger to you, but those in your path of destruction. It’s also true when we don’t apply God’s brakes to our own hearts; it will not only bring personal destruction but it will bring painful, lasting harm to those near and dear to us and even those who aren’t.

If you’re caught in a destructive descent at the present time we implore you to come to your senses and stop sinning, applying the God-ordained brakes. Stop and use the reverse gear to back up, get things right with God, yourself, and anyone caught in your path of destruction.

Today let us consider four brakes that God has given us:

1) The brake of Scriptural commands and prohibitions. God’s Word has both “go” and “stop” commands. When facing temptation from the enemy we do well to recall the stop commands. Our second text today states, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge”. This is speaking about the knowledge of God and His Word. So many disregard this knowledge and we see our society racing headlong to most certain judgment. The faithful church and ministry will continue to “devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) and “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3).

2) The brake of Godly counsel. Solomon wrote, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity” (Proverbs 3:1,2). We need to heed the counsel of the wise and esteem the elderly with us now and those who have gone before us. Wisdom has been defined as “knowledge rightly applied”.

3) The brake of Holy Spirit guidance. The Holy Spirit not only compels us to move forward but at times will lead us to stop. Paul was intending to continue his mission work in Asia Minor when he had his Macedonian vision where the Holy Spirit essentially put the brakes to that and led him in another direction. “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (Acts 16:7). As we walk with the Lord, in sensitivity to His Spirit, we need to rejoice in both the go’s and the stop’s!

4) The brake of tradition. This point is most difficult to develop since many have developed a negative attitude toward tradition and even the Scriptures speak out against tradition in some circumstances. Certainly, tradition for tradition’s sake needs to be evaluated carefully.  But it seems to me that an attitude prevails in the church among more than a few that new is seen as better, cooler, more appealing to a current generation. Good practices developed over years can be too quickly shrugged aside in favor of the new, without considering what significance is lost in the process.

Today let us thank God for the blessing of brakes. When He flashes the yellow light of caution we need to slowly, carefully, and Scripturally assess the situation. When He flashes the red light we need to STOP!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber 

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, would You help us to be quick to recognize and respond to Your brake promptings. Often You speak to us through Scripture, daily prayer, and other believers. You also speak to us through the undesirable consequences that come from our acts of disobedience. We want to see Your cautions and “stops” as part of Your loving way of keeping us from danger and redirecting us to that which will be of blessing in our lives and to those whom we seek to influence. It is because of Your wise, loving ways that You teach us about the wiles of our adversary, the devil, and his cunning ways. We are not caught unaware but recognize his strategy as we regularly read Your Word and store it up in our hearts. Your knowledge is powerful as it opens the eyes of our hearts. Your precepts are right and because of that we hate every wrong path. Direct our footsteps according to Your Word so that we are in pace with You, observing the yellow lights of caution and stopping at the red lights of danger. As we do so we will not allow sin to rule over us. Amen. 


 

Eric and Clarence 8/9/18During our first chaplain visit yesterday I visited with these two men, Eric and Clarence, who have a great story of redemption; having met in prison they now work together and seek to live a life of responsibility and purpose.
(They gave me permission to share photo and story.) 

Brandon 8/9/18

Most of our chaplain visits are at the company where the employees are based but in the case of field workers when possible we enjoy seeing them out on their jobsites. Yesterday we passed this church on Strasburg Pike, spotted several roofers, and stopped to greet them even though we had seen them earlier that morning. We consider the extreme heat construction workers deal with, especially our roofers and HVAC workers who may have work in a very hot attic!

 

New Holland area roadside stand 8/9/18 (Click to enlarge)
Here’s one of the many roadside stands we pass in the course of our travels. This one is north of New Holland PA. We picked out a couple of 50 cent cantaloupes. How about $4.00 per bucket of tomatoes or $3.00 for a bucket of peppers?
(Click to enlarge) 

Old Windmill Farm hay wagon 8/9/18 (Click to enlarge)
Late yesterday afternoon we stopped by to see our friends at the Old Windmill Farm. Several Jewish families from New York were waiting to take a farm tour.
(Click to enlarge) 

Children 8/9/18

We had fun with the children we often refer to as our Amish grandchildren after we gave them railroad hats we picked up a couple weeks ago at a community luncheon provided by the railroad in Columbia, PA. Only the baby is missing since he was taking his late afternoon nap. The children had fun with this photo and in consideration of the Amish tradition we kept their faces less visible than typical photos we English post every day.

 

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Slow Down”
Video Chuck Girard  A great song from our early days in following Christ with a message so pertinent to today’s message. Bluntly I still haven’t learned the lesson of this song.
“He Will Carry You”  Video  Brian Free and Assurance  This song is prayerfully dedicated today to those who may be having trouble with the brakes.

 

Finally today:

Children playing in puddleWe have mentioned in several posts that we’ve had excessive rain in our area. It’s miserable for those with flooded basements, businesses, etc., but it’s sure a lot of fun for children who are enjoying the mini wading pools in their yards. This is a photo of Alexandria with a friend. She is the daughter of Natalie, who is employed at Val-Co.

“Debt Paid”

August 9, 2018

Kraybill Church Road rainbow 8/7/18 (Click to enlarge)Kraybill Church Road rainbow
(Click to enlarge)

“Debt Paid”

Message summary: The certificate of debt has been canceled out. The stamp on the certificate of debt of the redeemed reads, “Paid In Full”.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13,14).

Debt is a huge problem in America. Finances are a major source of many marriage problems and this often concerns debt. But even those who have managed their finances carefully are caught up in a debt mess since our various governments are also in debt and that means us!

Here in the USA we have been hearing a lot about government debt all throughout our life and it keeps getting worse. I understand that this situation is true in many other countries as well. Politicians love to spend money.

According to an online article concerning federal debt in the USA, “As of April 30, 2018, debt held by the public was $15.3 trillion and intragovernmental holdings were $5.7 trillion, for a total or “National Debt” of $21 trillion and rapidly rising which is over $60,000 for each citizen.” So, my family’s share of the national debt is nearly $180,000.

Our politicians are constantly hashing out ways of dealing with it and essentially keep kicking the can down the road. The situation is so dire that although I am not being apocalyptic I have virtually no faith that there is a political solution out of this mess.

However we all have a far greater debt problem regardless of where we live. Ellis Crum penned the lyrics of a song that describes the sin dilemma that each person born into this world deals with:  “I owed a debt I could not pay”.  It’s an overwhelming debt that leads to a hopeless situation.

We are of course speaking of sin’s debt. So many live in ignorance and denial of this debt but it is a debt that every single human must deal with now or later. In fact it is a far more serious situation than the national debt of any country or the personal financial debt of any individual. How we deal with this debt has eternal consequences.

But we are pleased to share today that the Holy Scriptures reveal a full payment has been made! It is in fact the very heart of the gospel (Good News).

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” The certificate of debt has been canceled out. The stamp on the certificate of debt of the redeemed reads, “Paid In Full”.

So how do we respond?

First we believe by placing our faith in Christ and receiving His free gift.

Then we declare verbally and through our life, “Jesus Paid It All, All to Him I Owe!” In view of God’s mercy, we offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him, which is our spiritual act of worship” (See Romans 12:1).


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, thank You for solving my debt problem by dying on the cross for me. I owed a debt I couldn’t pay but, because of Your great love for me, You paid in full the debt of my sins. You made me alive together with You, having forgiven me all my transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against me. Your love is so amazing and so divine that it demands my soul, my life, my all. In view of Your mercy, I offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You, which is my spiritual act of worship. Amen.

 
Seyfert's Orchards peaches 8/7/18 (Click to enlarge)Baskets of peaches at Seyfert Orchards fruit stand in Lebanon County
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Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Jesus Paid It All”
  Video  Ivan Parker

“He Paid A Debt He Did Not Owe”  Video  Billy & Willie Pollard’s Country Gospel TV Program  (You know you’re getting older when the music you recall as a young person is on a program called “Strolling Down Memory Lane”)

Finally today:

 
For local readers: This coming Sunday evening (August 12) the Calvary Church choir and orchestra that Brooksyne sings in will be sharing music at the Mount Gretna Tabernacle at 7:00 PM with Pastor Beau preaching. This is part of the Mount Gretna Bible Festival. Mount Gretna is located here.

“You, However”

August 8, 2018

Kraybill Church Road flower harvest 8/7/18A fresh, field-picked zinnia bouquet for Brooksyne right from our own neighborhood!

“You, However”

Message summary: You, however, did not come to know Christ that way” (Ephesians 4:20). Rather than having a continual lust for more wickedness we become seekers of God’s Kingdom and desire more purity and righteousness.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way” (Ephesians 4:19,20).

I’ve been changed, healed, freed, delivered
I’ve found joy, peace, grace and favor

The first part of today’s text is a description of the unregenerate. It was surely observable when first written in the first century and it is certainly observable today. Consider the harsh truth, “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

Garden of EdenThis began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. God had provided enough, absolutely all they needed. But in the midst of all the blessings of Eden stood the forbidden tree. The crafty serpent enticed Adam and Eve that this forbidden fruit was something better. Because they did not resist the temptation, their disobedience resulted in what theologians call “original sin”. And ever since that time mankind has had a hard time resisting the forbidden!

Whatever level of wickedness appeases the sinful cravings for a time will eventually be insufficient.

The daily verse is a succinct description of fallen humanity. The pronoun, “They”, is referring to the human race. It describes all of us apart from the redemptive work of Christ. But today especially consider the phrase “a continual lust for more”. It began in the garden with a desire for more. It’s at the heart of the sin problem. Whatever level of wickedness “satisfies” the sinful cravings for a time will eventually be insufficient. More will always be needed. The progression can be seen in so many of Satan’s vices such as gambling, drugs and pornography.

The ungodly make big business out of every kind of impurity. Pornography, prostitution, vulgar media, and every other kind of impurity make up one of the largest industries in our country. The vast majority of it is open, shameless, legally protected and only a tap away. Some time ago a Christian leader observed that many of the books published in the United States today rival the drippings of a broken sewer. This preceded the massive availability through the internet and other modern media. Now the drippings have become a surging flood.

With the flood of evil, pornography and perversions sweeping through our land and around the world many who have partaken have “a continual lust for more”. Deeper and deeper depths of depravity can be expected and the evil acts that accompany it. We should not be surprised by the continuing depth of depravity, although in another sense we should be.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way” (Ephesians 4:20). Those who experience the life transforming power of Jesus Christ are different. As a result of genuine conversion we are regenerated and the slide into decadence stops and the renewal begins (Romans 12:1,2). We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Rather than having a continual lust for more wickedness we become seekers of God’s Kingdom and desire more purity and righteousness.

As we conclude our message an old hymn comes to mind, one that we haven’t heard for many years.

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, shape my thinking into that which will bring about growth and conformity to Your will. Teach me to not to go by my own human instincts but by Your truth and guidance as it is revealed in Your Word. It will keep me from lusting after deadly forbidden fruit if I plant myself into that which is holy and righteous. As the world continues to slide into decadence help me to delve deeper into Your Word and faithfully commune with You so that my heart does not grow cold or indifferent. Nor will I be drawn into every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more. I want to stand firm to the end so that I am saved from this world of sin and influence others to live a godly life. Through Christ’s strength and my prayerful resolve I will remain faithful.  Amen.



Today’s study prompted a consideration of where, in addition to today’s text, the phrase “You, however” is used in Paul’s epistles:

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9).

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance” (2 Timothy 3:10).

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 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 3:14-17).

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).


 
Today we will share some harvest photos from our neighborhood

Kraybill Church Road flower harvest 8/7/18 (Click to enlarge)Around the corner from our home we have a large commercial flower farm on Kraybill Church Road. Yesterday the workers were cutting the zinnias and arranging them in bouquets as they picked them. After taking their photo the field worker handed Brooksyne a bouquet about as fresh as possible!
(Click to enlarge)
 
Kraybill Church Road hay harvest 8/7/18 (Click to enlarge)Across the road from the flower farm our Amish neighbor had finished bailing his alfalfa. The “horsepower” team is resting after the hard day of labor in the hot sun.
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Kraybill Church Road hay harvest 8/7/18 (Click to enlarge)He was wrapping the hay with this contraption.
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Kraybill Church Road hay harvest 8/7/18 (Click to enlarge)A close-up view

Colebrook Road tomato harvest 8/6/18 (Click to enlarge)
On Colebrook Road, in the opposite direction of our first pictures, we passed a team of migrant workers harvesting tomatoes on the Hirsch farm.
(Click to enlarge)

Amish boys playing in "pond" 8/6/18 (Click to enlarge)
After all the rain in our neighborhood these Amish boys had a “pond” to play in. Hidden behind the middle fence post the youngest was standing right in the middle of the big puddle.
(Click to enlarge)
 

 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
 
“More About Jesus”  Video  The Blackwood Brothers

“I Won’t Go Back”  Video   Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

“Redeemed”  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

 
Finally today:
 
Tomato pie recipe. As per request from our readers, since I mentioned this pie in our photos on Monday, here is the recipe link from SimplyRecipes.com. I refer to it as Tomato Corn Pie because I added a cup of fresh corn and about 6 slices of crumbled bacon (both flavors enhance the texture and flavor.) If your mayo/cheese mixture for the top crust does not adequately cover the entire pie just make more of the mixture to spread since the mayo/cheese (sharp cheese is my favorite) blends so nicely to make it a juicy and tasty combo. Tomatoes can also be sliced rather than chopped, according to preference.

“Inventors Of Evil”

August 7, 2018

Laurel Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State park 8/5/18
Clouds above and reflected below in Laurel Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State Park

 

“Inventors Of Evil”

Message summary: Let’s be on the lookout, avoid evil and walk in the path of righteousness.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Inventors of evil” (Romans 1:30).

Trail ride 8/5/18Sunday afternoon following our visit to Roxbury Camp to see the Lauren Talley concert we drove over to Pine Grove Furnace State Park. We took a long trail bike ride using a portion of abandoned railroad grade and through one of the few places a bike trail runs concurrently with the Appalachian Trail. It was a beautiful rustic area on South Mountain that feels more like northern Pennsylvania as far as remoteness with a few camps here and there.

Years ago this area had a thriving forge and iron ore mining beginning even before the American Revolution. Iron-making is certainly not new technology but an ancient invention that has benefited us all. Perhaps the earliest recorded inventor in the Bible, even before the Great Flood, was “Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron” (Genesis 4:22).

Mankind continues to invent and so many inventions are a great blessing. Just consider modern plumbing!

Although we normally think of inventions as a good thing and as a sign of progress such is not always the case. Today let us consider the only time the word “invent” is used in many standard translations of the New Testament.

This verse from Romans 1 describes another kind of inventor in Paul’s inspired assessment on the consequences of rejecting God. Other versions translate this passage: “Invent ways of doing evil” (NIV) “inventors of evil things” (ASV), “Their minds teemed with diabolical invention” (Phillips). “They invent new ways of sinning” (NLT).

The underlying Greek word for invent (epheuretes) is found only here in the New Testament. It describes a person who is not content with the usual, ordinary ways of sinning, but one who seeks out new vices because he has grown blasé and seeks a new thrill in some new sin.

With or without any regard to newer technology we see a proliferation of ways in which people have become “inventors of evil” in the most sordid ways. People created in God’s image who could be using their minds for noble, God-glorifying purposes, instead have been given over to depraved minds that think up unspeakable evil! (From Precept Austin Study notes).

Today, as God’s standards of morality are mocked and shrugged off by indifference, we see this phenomenon of inventing new ways to do evil growing at a fevered pitch. Thus we frankly ponder what the next frontier will be when that which is presently considered deviant becomes socially acceptable and then celebrated. It may be something we can hardly imagine but just think about where we are now and that which was unimaginable only a few years ago, by Christian and non-Christian alike.

Alcohol abuse Just consider the moral anarchy in our own lifetime. More will always be needed, a new way of doing evil will have to be invented. This can be seen in so many of Satan’s vices such as gambling, alcohol, drugs, pornography, and sexual immorality. Each vice so often begins with a “harmless”, scaled down introduction but will so often become the master to many and take them where they never intended to go, keep them much longer than they ever intended to stay, and change them in ways they never expected. Do people actually set goals for themselves to live in the gutter? No, not really but remember Satan distorts his evil plan so that, if we’re not careful, even those who profess to follow Christ will be brought down.

Let’s be on the lookout, avoid evil and walk in the path of righteousness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we’re warned in Proverbs 4:27 that we must avoid evil and walk straight ahead, not taking one step off the right way. We don’t want to be lured by the enemy or caught in his diabolical trap. Living in this ever growing sin-filled world might lead us to despair especially those raising children or grandchildren, but we look to You for grace, strength and a firm resolve to remain faithful and hopeful because the Scripture reminds us, “Where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound.” Where there is the existence of sin there is the presence of grace to help see us through our troubled world, to help us see the kingdom of God that will last for all eternity where sin will not enter so it can no longer destroy! Until that day we choose to remain faithful, hopeful, and to spread the good news of Jesus Christ wherever we live, work, and commune. Amen.


 
Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State park 8/5/18Fuller Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Laurel Lake dam 8/5/18

Laurel Lake dam

Pine Grove Furnace State park office 8/5/18

The state park office is a well maintained building surrounded by colorful perennials.

Appalachian Trail museum 8/5/18

The Appalachian Trail museum is housed in an old 200 year old grist mill. This is the midway point on the 2200 mile trail.


 
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Pine Grove Furnace State Park is located here (google map)

“Take My Life And Let It Be”  Video  Norton Hall Band

“May The Mind Of Christ”  Video  Emu Music

“I Want to Be More Like Jesus Every Day”  Video  Old Friends Quartet

“I Want To Be More Like Jesus”  Video  Keith Green

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