Amish school volleyball 3/1/18 (Click to enlarge)

Every week we pass many one room Amish Schools. You can almost always see the students and their teacher during recess playing softball, volleyball and other sports. They’re fast and competitive in a fun way. We saw this school yesterday.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

“Divine Preservation”

Message summary: “We’ll understand it all by and by.” We may not understand the current pain, nor may we always see the end purpose on this side, but let’s keep trusting our Lord for divine preservation!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Preserve me O God, for in You I put my trust” (Psalm 16:1).

Strawberry muffins 3/1/18Among Brooksyne’s many homemaking interests one she especially enjoys is making jams and preserves. Her favorite preserve recipe is her strawberry/rhubarb preserves which she processes during the summer and fall months so that we can enjoy it throughout the year.  Last night she made some strawberry muffins that tasted great all by themselves but were especially good when I asked her to top them with her strawberry/rhubarb preserves.  They’re called preserves because the rhubarb and strawberries are preserved in chunks of fruit in a syrup or a jam rather crushed fruit or fruit juice.

Some 3,000 years ago the Psalmist refers to a different type of preserve.  “Preserve me O God, for in You I put my trust.”

Psalm 16 is a short Psalm with only eleven verses that can be read in a few minutes providing a great source of Scriptural comfort. It’s known as a “miktam” of David with “miktam” thought to be a literary or musical term.

This Psalm, unlike several others written by David, gives no background regarding the source of his distress. We can find comfort in this general, non-specific description since our distresses vary greatly, yet the prayer we find in this Psalm is applicable to any need.

David experienced many days when despair would cloud his faith blurring his vision of a loving and faithful God who provides an overcoming attitude or deliverance from the troublesome circumstances of life. But as he began to meditate on the Scriptures his hope was renewed and his faith preserved.

We all need divine preservation don’t we? Joseph is a tremendous example with whom most readers are familiar (Genesis 37-50). Perhaps you are going through a “Joseph” type trial and are at the point where Joseph was thrown into the pit. Unable to pull himself out Joseph could overhear his brothers plotting for his death. God preserved his life, in spite of those who plotted his death, but He certainly put him through the pressure cooker of injustice and godless authority.

In severe times of testing the enemy thoroughly enjoys playing mind games with us where we second guess our every thought or action. Fear and insecurity replace our confidence. Sometimes the God-ordained circumstances of life make the appeal for divine preservation more urgent and heartfelt. The word “preserved” translates a very descriptive Hebrew word that literally means, “to hedge about.”

Psalm 16 ends with this wonderful testimony of assurance, a result of steadfast trust: “You have made known to me the path of life. You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” Some of you reading this may especially need this reassuring Scripture today. Our responsibility is placing our confidence in the One who changes not and deepening our trust in Him.

The late Bible teacher James Montgomery Boice observes, “The God of the Bible is not weak; He is strong. He is all mighty. Nothing happens without His permission or apart from His purposes, even evil. Nothing disturbs or puzzles Him. His purposes are always accomplished. Therefore those who know Him rightly act with boldness, assured that God is with them to accomplish His own desirable purposes in their lives.”

For many years we have been blessed by this statement by Blaine Allen, another Bible teacher, “Tuck this thought away: Never in eternity will we want to walk up to Jesus and say, ‘I surely wish you had answered my prayer differently'”.

Deep in my spirit I believe that to be true. A hymn writer expressed it another way in his words, “We’ll understand it all by and by.” We may not understand the current pain, nor may we always see the end purpose on this side, but let’s keep trusting our Lord for divine preservation! “For 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).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, as You call us to walk the narrow path the vast majority rejects, we thank You for the godly examples who have gone before us and shown us the way.  Such giants of the faith as Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Paul and countless others throughout the generations including our own. We thank You, Father, for the sterling example in our godly brother, Billy Graham, who has left a spiritual mark upon millions of lives in our own lifetime.  These giants of the faith have shown us the way to be faithful even in the midst of adversity. They made great sacrifices in their lifetime to gain an eternal inheritance in heaven. Their sacrifice was temporal and short in duration compared to the eternal pleasures they now enjoy.  Help us not to resent the struggles that lead us to seek You in a deeper more intimate relationship.  May we, like Job, declare “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.  My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You” (Job 42:2,5).

Twin Pines Auto mystery photo 3/1/18
Yesterday afternoon I stopped to visit with some electricians working on major renovations to a car dealership. One was installing lighting and I was curious as to what this was. It reminded me of a railway turntable but I didn’t see what use they would have for that in an auto dealership. Does anyone have any idea what this will be used for? See below for answer.

Weavertown Coach Shop carriage lot 3/1/18 (Click to enlarge)
Wherever we may live we are accustomed to passing new car dealerships. This is the Weavertown Coach Shop, a carriage dealership along the Old Philadelphia Pike near Bird In Hand, PA.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Trust His Heart”  Video   Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute Singers

“We’ll Understand It Better By And By”  Video  Homecoming Singers

The mystery turntable photo above is in a room at the dealership used to photograph vehicles for sale and will be used for the 360 degree photos such as here.

Winter flowers 2/28/18
Yesterday, the final day of February, we saw these tiny flowers making their appearance on an unseasonably warm day. Just enough to give us a bit of spring fever!

“A Lesson From Pretzels”

Message summary: Now, as much as any time in history we need to see God’s Word and truths expressed and impressed upon those who follow us.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

Shuey's pretzels, Lebanon, PA 2/28/18Yesterday we stopped by the Shuey’s Pretzel Shop in Lebanon, PA, a family owned business, making pretzels in a coal oven since 1927. The two master pretzel makers are the older grandchildren of the founder. We have a lot of pretzel makers in our area, including the Sturgis Pretzel House of Lititz, Pennsylvania, which was founded in 1861. Sturgis is the oldest commercial pretzel bakery in the United States.

Until the 1930s, pretzels were still manufactured by hand. But in 1935, the Reading Pretzel Machinery Company introduced the first automated pretzel maker, which enabled bakers to put out some 245 pretzels per minute, compared with the 40 per minute an individual worker could make by hand. Today, Pennsylvania remains the American pretzel-making capital, as a full 80 percent of U.S.-made pretzels come from the Keystone State.*

PretzelsPretzels have an ancient history, although their origin remains a mystery. There are many stories as to how the first pretzel was created, the most common being that in 610 A.D. Italian monks used scraps of dough to form the shape of children’s arms in prayer, with three holes to represent the Christian Trinity. They were called “pretiola” in Latin or “little reward” and were given to children who learned their Bible verses and prayers.

We still try to incentivize children in learning Bible verses and other spiritual disciplines. We also look for object lessons that can serve as a reminder of a spiritual truth much like the pretzel.

Today’s Scripture text is one of the most important to the Jewish people. It is known as the Shema and is an an affirmation of God’s singularity. Its daily recitation is regarded by traditionally observant Jews as a biblical commandment.

Today we want to focus on a command to parents concerning God’s commands, “Impress them on your children.”

PhylacteryMoses then lists several specific means of how we are to impress, “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

The most culturally unusual to many of us would be the command to “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” But observant Jews still practice this by wearing a phylactery, small leather box containing Hebrew texts on vellum, worn by Jewish men at morning prayer as a reminder to keep the law.

A thought to consider today: How are we impressing God’s truths upon our children, grandchildren and all who we may influence? The ancient Jews used the phylactery, middle-aged monks used the pretzel.

Now, as much as any time in history, we need to see God’s Word and truths expressed and impressed upon those who follow us. Are you doing your part?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we know that You are the Lord our God and that the Lord is one, for there is no other. We love You with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength. For that reason we want to impress upon our children and our children’s children the commands of Scripture so that they will have an understanding of who You are and learn about the way You want us to live. This duty of showing our children the righteous path is best taught by example and Scripture when we talk, when we walk, when we lie down at night and upon awakening in the morning. Surround us with Your blessed presence and covering we pray. Amen.

Shuey's pretzel making 2/28/18
Shuey’s pretzel making. Notice the long pole used to reach the back of the oven.
Click on photo for larger view

Shuey's pretzel making 2/28/18
Shuey’s pretzel making. The employee who invited us to view the workings of the Pretzel Store referred to “the old man sleeping”. We were uncertain as to who he was and even wondered if he was a prop until he lifted his head during our visit.
Click on photo for larger view

Shuey's pretzel making 2/28/18
Shuey’s pretzel making.
Click on photo for larger view

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“What You Leave Behind”  Video   The Talley’s

“What Children Believe”  Video  Gold City

“Statement of Faith”  Video   The Booth Brothers, The Hoppers & Greater Vision

“Preach The Word”  Video  Gold City

* The Pretzel: A Twisted History

Romans 5:6 (Kember print)
Kember Scripture Print

“Christ Died For The Ungodly”

Message summary: The recognition of our own powerlessness is critical in accepting the true gospel. We don’t need a little extra help, we are dead and need spiritual resurrection.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

You thought I was worth saving
So you came and changed my life
You thought I was worth keeping
so you cleaned me up inside
You thought I was to die for
so you sacrificed your life
Walter KemberFor many years I have appreciated and shared about the Scripture prints prepared by Walter Kember, a Canadian, who saw his mission in making calligraphed prints of Scripture verses, placing them in a simple 11×14 wood frame and freely distributing them. Many years ago I made a separate web page (see below for link) about his ministry and periodically receive an email with a photo of a Kember print.

It seems like I have most of the variety of Scripture verses he worked with but yesterday received the daily Scripture verse which I had never seen on a Kember print. It was from Brian, a man who lives in neighboring Lebanon County, here in Pennsylvania. He wrote, “My father has numerous Scripture mottos that he got from Walter Kember (he stopped at Walter’s home in Ontario in the 1990’s and visited, very encouraging testimony and work).”

So today let us give consideration to this simple verse. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

J. Vernon McGeeIn my early days of following Christ I listened to Bible teacher J. Vernon McGee, who’s been with the Lord since 1988. He had a teaching ministry called “Thru The Bible” for many years and can still be heard online. You never had to guess who was preaching if you turned the radio on and he was speaking, as his southern preacher’s voice very similar to Billy Graham’s, was distinctive.

He told the story of a young boy down South who wanted to join a church. So the deacons examined his spiritual knowledge.

They asked him, “How did you get saved?” His answer was, “God did His part, and I did my part.” They wondered if there was something wrong with his doctrine, so they questioned him further, “What was God’s part?” He said, “God’s part was the savin’.” “And what was your part?” the deacons asked. The boy answered, “My part was the sinnin’.”

Now, that’s good theology! Essentially the boy was stating, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

This is good news for each reader today. No, it’s not new news. It’s the old, old story of Jesus and His great love and His sacrificial death on the cross. We are all powerless apart from the work of Christ. This is true for all of us concerning our sin and separation from God. We simply can’t pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We can’t be good enough. We can’t earn God’s favor. “Christ died for the ungodly.”

The recognition of our own powerlessness is critical in accepting the true gospel. We don’t need a little extra help, we are dead and need spiritual resurrection (see Ephesians 2:1-10).

But with current events in mind, as we write this, we consider another dimension to powerlessness. An amazing aspect of God’s character is His interest in the powerless. And as His redeemed children we reflect His character when we value the powerless. We have seen and experienced this and it’s an outstanding dimension of God’s supernal love.

The blessings of our salvation are outstanding and we encourage you to focus on one phrase from the daily text, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Do you believe that today? We sure do, with deepest gratitude to our omnipotent (all powerful) God.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, there is nothing we can do or say to merit salvation. It is a gift freely extended to all who believe because Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins. He washed our sin stained garments with the blood He shed on Calvary’s tree. Thank You, Father, for accepting Christ’s blood as a complete payment for our crimson stains inviting us to stand before You in garments white as snow. What a relief and unspeakable blessing it is to know that we have a place in heaven reserved for all eternity because of Jesus. It is in His name that we give You praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

Yesterday our friend Dorothy Schmidt shard a story with us: “I’ve been able to look back on my memory with Billy Graham. His last crusade in Philadelphia I was invited to be up on the platform at the stadium. We had special parking, Jim [Dorothy’s husband] went up in the stadium to sit and I was met and taken down to the dugout where we would be praying. My prayer partner was Reggie White, another wonderful experience. We were all down on our knees, Billy Graham, other members of the team – what power in that room as prayers were lifted up. Then to come out of that dugout, out on the field and across to the platform in front of thousands of people, brought tears to my eyes! At the end of the evening to see God’s power and so many decisions for Christ, God working through Billy Graham’s life was so evident, Praise the Lord!

Note from Stephen: I attended that crusade one night in the old Veteran’s Stadium so I it’s possible that I was in attendance the night Dorothy was there.

  Candied pecans
Candied Pecans

From Brooksyne: I really enjoy giving nuts a coating of “sweet” and “crisp” and came across a new recipe I really like, only four ingredients and the nuts. Here’s the recipe. Pecans are called for which are excellent but I coat mixed nuts as well. If you don’t care for the cayenne, skip it or substitute cinnamon. I only use 1/8 t. cayenne or cinnamon and its plenty. If your mixed nuts are already salted lessen the salt. If you don’t have kosher salt use ground sea salt or plain salt. I don’t endorse blogs usually but Once Upon a Chef is an excellent blog for those who enjoy cooking or baking in the kitchen with many reviews and comments. Mixed nuts and pecans come in large quantities and are far less expensive in places like Sams, BJ’s and Costco.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Such Love”  Video   The Couriers. The Couriers are an older group that some of our old-timers may recall. They actually began in the late fifties at the same Bible College we attended.

“Tell Me the Old, Old Story”  Video  The Scottish Festival Singers

“Worth”  Video  Jason Crabb

Kember Scripture Prints

“Thru The Bible” with J. Vernon MGee

His teaching on Romans 4,5  Video

“God Knows The Heart”

February 27, 2018

Cameron Estate Mansion and Inn in Lancaster County PA

On our walk west of our home we enjoy walking the grounds of the stately Cameron Estate Mansion and Inn on Donegal Springs Road.

“God Knows The Heart”

Message summary: The diagnostic ability of modern medicine is surely astonishing but it does not begin to compare with God’s knowledge. The Psalmist David said it well, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:6).

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us” (Acts 15:8). “For the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12,13).

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
cleanse me from every sin and set me free.

It’s amazing to consider the rapid pace of the increase of medical knowledge in our lifetime, especially diagnostic procedures. In November of 1895 German physics professor Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen made a remarkable discovery. He took a tube similar to a fluorescent light bulb, removed all the air and filled it with a special gas, the genesis of the x-ray. Six weeks later, at the close of 1895, he published his observations and mailed his colleagues a photograph of the bones of his wife’s hand, showing her wedding ring on her finger.

MRI machineDiagnostic procedures continue to be simplified, improved and even performed while infants are still in their mother’s womb at increasingly earlier stages of gestation.

The diagnostic ability of modern medicine is surely astonishing but it does not begin to compare with God’s knowledge. The Psalmist David said it well, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:6).

The first daily Scripture declares, “God, who knows the heart.”  What a powerful thought! In this context it speaks of God’s knowledge of a person’s spiritual heart. God knows not only every minute detail of the physical aspect of this wonderful pumping organ which is vital to life; He also knows what’s in the heart spiritually.  He knows where we lack, when we deceive and the very motives of why we do that which we do.

Hebrews 4:12,13He knows your heart. After the writer of Hebrews describes the effectiveness and preciseness of the two-edged sword he writes, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). That’s pretty humbling and yet I’m sure glad Scripture tells it the way it is.  Aren’t you thankful for that!

There are various diagnostic procedures to determine if there is an abnormality or if there is a foreign substance attacking one’s healthy body. When we are undergoing these kinds of tests we don’t want them to miss anything. We want the procedure to be precise and accurate, so that we can make a wise, informed decision in how we might best deal with the problem.

We also want to rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal to us that which we might be neglecting or are unaware of that would hinder or destroy our spiritual relationship with God.  It might be through Scripture reading or during prayer. It might be through a trial or through a godly messenger that God uses to speak to our heart. It might be through our observation of the way God is working in another’s life that His Spirit speaks to us. Whatever method God chooses I pray that we are watching and listening to Him, “to whom we must give account.”

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, it is because of our sinful human condition that we spend so much time worrying about what others think and live our lives with their view in mind, instead of Yours. You who sees our minds and hearts from inside out – You know that which motivates our actions, while others simply judge us by what they see. We lay out our hearts bare before You today and ask Your Spirit to reveal that which honors You and that which  should be burned like chaff. Remove our pride and replace it with humility as we confess our need for cleansing.  “More of You and less of me” is my prayer today. In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Search Me O God ”  Video   The Cathedrals

“Open The Eyes Of My Heart”  Video  Paul Baloche

“From The Inside Out”  Video  Hillsong

“Give Us Clean Hands”  Video  Chris Tomlin

The First X-ray, 1895

Cameron Estate

“More Alive Than Ever”

February 26, 2018

White Horse Thrift Shop quilting room 2/15/18 (Click to enlarge)
Quilting room – Room with a View
White Horse Gift & Thrift Shop
(Click to enlarge)
The Amish women and other volunteers sew quilts in this room in White Horse, PA. The quilting frames drew my attention but after I snapped the photo I was drawn more to the center window that framed a large farm (no pun intended). With a rural setting like this our quiltmaking friends might just want to join these volunteers.

“More Alive Than Ever”

Message summary: We urge each of our readers to consider how you have given attention to your eternal plan. Are you prepared to be more alive than ever?

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

Last week I greeted Joe, a colorful man we see in the course of our chaplain work, and I asked him how he was doing. He told me “Excellent” and added with enthusiasm, “I have a five month plan!” I responded, “Wonderful! But do you have an eternal plan?”

Having a plan is a good thing and we all have them in various ways. Many in high school begin to develop their college and career plans. When we are younger we have marriage and family plans. We make short term plans for vacations and many other areas of life. As we age we have finance and retirement plans. And of course there’s funeral planning!

But do we have an eternal plan? That is, preparations for the life to come? Many only focus on their existence while living here on planet earth. But the wise realize that this life, as we now know it, is only a small, but vital part of our eternal existence. Yet the planning we make here has consequences for eternity.

Billy Graham had an interesting way of expressing his plans for eternity. He said long before he died, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead—don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

D.L. MoodyOver 100 years ago D.L. Moody, a famous evangelist in the late 1800’s, expressed a similar sentiment written before his death, “Someday you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1855. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”

DL Moody tombstoneToday’s text happens to be the Scripture text inscribed on D.L Moody’s tombstone in East Northfield Massachusetts, a place we have visited several times. “He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” What a solemn reminder of the importance of our eternal plans, not only for ourselves but our family and all whom God brings into our sphere of influence.

“When we love anything more than the true and living God revealed in the Bible, we are worshiping it. Whatever it is, it won’t last. And it won’t be able to help us when our plans shatter, our health fails, or death beckons. Only the one true and living God can help then. Beloved, time is passing — have you chosen the eternal love of the Father for the passing, empty love of the world?” (Precept Austin commentary)

We urge each of our readers to consider how you have given attention to your eternal plan. Are you prepared to be more alive than ever?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, over the years we have made many plans and spent lots of money planning our trips and vacations that last for a week or two. We dream, gather resources, and learn from others about all that we should see and do to make it a meaningful event. And yet the majority of people neglect to make plans for the trip that we will all take which will last, not for a week or two, but for all eternity. Help us not to be so temporal minded that we neglect preparation for our eternal destination, for it will be of great or disastrous consequence. Thank You, Father, for making heaven possible through the sacrifice of Your Son, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, in whose name we pray. Amen.

The following may be very convicting.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself, to evaluate whether you love the world or the Father (adapted from A. W. Pink, Exposition of 1 John [Associated Authors and Publishers], p. 126):

· Which do you seek with more fervor: the wealth and honors of the world, or the riches of grace and the approval of God?

· Which have the greater attraction: the pleasures of the world, which are only for a season, or those pleasures at God’s right hand, which are for eternity?

· Wherein lies your confidence: in the money you have in your bank account or investments, or in the living and faithful God, who has promised to supply all your needs?

· Which causes the deeper sorrow: a temporal loss, or a break in your fellowship with God?

· Upon which do you get more joy: spending money for personal comforts and luxuries, or spending money to further the gospel?

· What most dominates your mind: thoughts and schemes after worldly advancements, or resolutions and efforts to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord?

We need to make the basic choice: Will we love the Father, or will we love the world? Most of us have made that choice, but we need to maintain it. Do not yield to the temptations of the world, but do the will of God. You will abide forever!

Mark and Carolyn Pulliam 2/23/18
Friday morning we had breakfast with our long-time friends, Mark and Carolyn Pulliam. Mark is a hospice chaplain and conducts several funerals each week. Hospice chaplaincy is a rather challenging ministry but can also be very fulfilling since hospice chaplains can deal with the eternal plan at a time when people may be especially receptive!

WDAC staff 2/23/18
Barbara Musser and Mike Sipe
Also on Friday we stopped by to see the staff at WDAC, one of our local Christian radio stations. Since 2002 we have sent over 1,000 one minute devotional messages that are played on the station Tuesday and Thursday mornings just after 8 AM. We are able to prepare the messages on the same program we use for our podcast messages. We then send them to the station as an attachment. Barb Musser processes the messages and Mike Sipe is the morning announcer who plays them.

Sharon Campany 2/25/18Yesterday we drove up to the Lehigh Valley to visit my brother Pat and his family and church. I (Stephen) also visited for a few minutes with Sharon Campany, a longtime reader, who attends the church. Sharon gave her life to Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Syracuse New York in 1989 when she was 48 years old. Sharon shared that at that point in her life she had a nominal Christian background but no understanding of salvation. She attended with the crusade with others which was held in the Carrier Dome. She then returned the second night and responded to the invitation.

The last several days we have been listening to old Billy Graham sermons now playing on a station we listen to. His messages are timeless presentations of the gospel and just as impacting now as when he preached them, in some cases when we were little children (Actually his ministry began about 20 years before we were born).

We also observed how he would boldly deal with contemporary moral issues and how in many cases his messages are prophetic as he saw what was coming in regard to the moral breakdown and rebellion against God.

White Horse Thrift Shop quilt 2/15/18
From Brooksyne: One more photo from the Quilting Room at the White Horse Thrift Shop. Since red is my favorite color this is the quilt that initially drew my eye to the quilting room.
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Room With A View”  Video   11th Hour

“Present in the Presence of the King”  Video  The Guardians

White House Thrift Shop

We are grateful for feedback from Friday’s message, “An Asset To The Planet”. The greatest sense we can be an asset is by faithfully proclaiming and living the message of Christ and His gospel.

Friday we shared a photo of a truck for 3:16 Gutters which we had driven behind. Duke, a thoughtful reader from Delaware, took the time to look it up and if you, like us, thought it stood for John 3:16 you were right!

“Mike and Melissa decided on the name 3:16 Gutters, taken from John 3:16, as a way to put their faith first in the business. Also March 16th is their wedding anniversary, making the name a perfect fit for their family business!” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“An Asset To The Planet”

February 23, 2018

Forry's Mill Covered Bridge 2/18/18 (Click to enlarge)
Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge
(Click to enlarge)

“An Asset To The Planet”

Message summary: “You’re an asset to the planet.” Well, that got me to thinking in a Biblical sense about people who are an asset to the planet. Of much greater importance, and Biblically speaking, they’re an asset to the Kingdom of God.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).

“You’re an asset to the planet.” Years ago I received this rather unusual commendation from my older brother Mike, who holds a political, religious, and ideological outlook very different than my own. (Although as we both get older these differences seem to be diminishing.) His expression of genuine appreciation toward the modest contribution I make in my sphere of influence was and still is very meaningful to me.

This last week as a means of encouragement I have been sharing this expression with people I encounter who are assets to the planet in various ways. I was prompted to do so after recent news of people doing terrible things who are in essence liabilities to the planet. When I went on chaplaincy visitation following the horrific school shooting last week I had a renewed appreciation for the ordinary people I would meet who are trying to make this planet a better place.

When I use the phrase, “You’re an asset to the planet.” I often get a rather quizzical look as people think through what I mean. They’re likely wondering whether my comment is meant for good or bad!), but usually their pause is followed by a smile of comprehension, often followed by a sheepish, “Well, thank you.” I hope my remark is a bright part of their day and a reminder that doing good is always good!

Assets to the planet 2/22/18 For instance yesterday I stopped by the dealership where we recently purchased a small crossover that replaced our older 2006 van. The new vehicle (to us) needed a few repairs to bring it to certification standards since it was pre-owned (AKA used). The photo shows Jerry, our salesman and Scott who repaired our vehicle. Jerry provided a very pleasant buying experience and Scott was proficient in making the repair and explaining to me what he had done. They both represent scores of people all over the world who are making this planet a better place and I let them know that before I drove away in our newly repaired car.

Today’s Bible text is from a passage in Galatians where the Apostle Paul is addressing the early church in Galatia instructing them to be faithful. Today especially consider that phrase, “Let us not lose heart in doing good.” Apparently, even in the Bible times, people grew weary of doing good, perhaps becoming discouraged when they couldn’t see that they were making a difference. You might be feeling that way as well.

Well, that got me to thinking in a Biblical sense about people who are an asset to the planet. Of much greater importance, and Biblically speaking, they’re an asset to the Kingdom of God.

Consider those who have made a significant impact in your life. If we were able to do a survey of all who read this message we would probably have some common names such as Billy Graham and others who may have a national and even an international ministry. But most of the people who impact us personally are not well known. I expect that among those you would list would be godly parents and grandparents, pastors, Sunday School teachers, educators, coaches and many others, including those who witnessed to you, either in words or in their actions, even when you refused to listen, both literally and figuratively.

I recall a phrase from my years of ministry training, “Do something big for God” which is a great aspiration. But doing something big for God is often a series of small, seemingly insignificant attempts to be an asset to the Kingdom. Most of us are just not in a place today that we can do something really big for God, but we all find ways to let our light shine to a darkened world around us in the small things. Let us listen to God’s promptings and obey His voice!

Years ago I received this bit of wisdom from an older person: “The older I get, the more I realize that it is in the small things that we can make a positive difference in a person’s life. It isn’t our grand accomplishments that makes the difference but it’s the little ways we show others we care that will brighten their day, and that is of great importance to Christ. It also fulfills the Scripture, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Consider the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

Let us be humble in ourselves, but let us be boastful in the things of the Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, our little becomes much as You show us how to do good and honor You. We choose not to be crippled by our limited abilities or inadequacies. We don’t give to others according to that which we don’t have, but we give to others from the abundance You pour into our lives. May it overflow to those around us as we seek to be a blessing and an asset to the planet. Direct our footsteps according to Your Word as You give us opportunity for divine encounters this day while reaching out to others in the name of Christ Jesus. It is in His name we pray. Amen.

Our final set of photos from Sunday’s snowfall

Forry's Mill Covered Bridge 2/18/18 (Click to enlarge)
Another view of Forry’s Mill Covered Bridge
(Click to enlarge)
This week we have shared photos from our drive home from church through the Lancaster County countryside last Sunday. On our way home, which included some meandering, we crossed five different covered bridges.

Kraybill Church Road farmhouse 2/18/18 (Click to enlarge)
This old farmhouse is on Kraybill Church Road around the corner from us and is where our Amish friends lived when we first met them in early 2003 shortly after they got married. They moved to the eastern part of the County about twelve years ago but we remain very close friends. They now have seven children!

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“Little Is Much When God Is In It”  Video  Larry Ford

Finally today:

3:16 Gutters
We came up behind this truck yesterday.
What do you suppose prompted this company’s name?

“Grace Alone”

February 22, 2018

Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge 2/18/18 (Click to enlarge)
Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge
(Click to enlarge)

“Grace Alone”

Message summary: What are the issues you battle as you seek to conquer sin’s strongholds and the cravings of the flesh in your life?

Note: Due to Brooksyne being at choir practice and the time required for administrative changes to the email list we did not prepare a podcast for this message.

“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Staples is a large office superstore that has presented some creative and humorous advertising through the years. Years ago they had an ad showing a man who was absolutely determined to get his office organized each January but kept procrastinating year after year and never got it done. He started out as a young man but finally when he’s middle-aged he comes across a Staples ad with items that are the key to maintaining a neat, well-organized office. (If only organization was that easy!) The next frame shows him in a perfectly organized office and now his new determination is to lose weight. That is until his buddies yell out, “Bob, we’re going out for pizza”. He jumps up to join them.

Wow, do I identify with that ad! And I’m still working on both disciplines. Now, Brooksyne reminds me that the bigger challenge is not getting organized but maintaining that organization. It’s not taking the weight off but keeping it off.  Of course I already know this.  At times my office has been picture perfect and I’ve lost hundreds of pounds through the years. But shouldn’t I have all this conquered by my early-sixties?

Paul’s candor in Romans 6&7 is astounding. These chapters are among the most difficult portions in the entire Bible to interpret. Devout expositors have grappled for centuries with just what Paul was seeking to communicate.

I believe Paul is indeed writing from the perspective of his current relationship with Christ since in 7:22 he writes, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law.” (Another interpretation views Paul writing Romans 7 from the perspective of his unregenerate state before he was converted.)

He writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  Can you identify with Paul? I sure can.

What are the issues you battle as you seek to conquer sin’s strongholds and the cravings of the flesh in your life? I can think of several in my life. These are the obstacles that I believe are referred to in Hebrews 12:1 as “everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” that we are to throw off.

We don’t know the personal issues that Paul was dealing with and any conjecture as to what they were would most likely be based upon the interpreter’s own experiences. But he bluntly confesses his inward frustration, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).

So who will rescue us? The great apostle tells us in the very next verse, “Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  (Romans 7:25).   In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul writes, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.”

Romans 8 goes on to speak of the power of the Spirit that enables us to live a victorious, overcoming life. Now that is encouraging!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, the words of a song come to mind; “I’m not what I wanna be, I’m not what I’m gonna be, but thank God I’m not what I was.” There is a major difference in my actions and attitudes since I made You the Lord of my life. If I trace back to the beginning of my relationship with You I see more clearly the major changes You made in my heart. But since my life is a living sacrifice there are always new challenges to tackle, temptations to resist, and trials to endure as a believer. It is not in my own physical strength or power that I am equipped to conquer the enemy, but it through Your Holy Spirit that I come against the giants of doubt, fear, bitterness, greed, lust, discontent and all the other negative foes Satan throws in my path. Though I’m far from perfect and always will be on this side, help me to endure to the end when that which is imperfect will be gone. Sin will no longer have a grip and finally I will be completely whole. All because of Your amazing grace as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Mount Joy farmhouse 2/18/18 (Click to enlarge)
Today we continue to share photos from our journey through the Lancaster County countryside after Sunday morning’s snow. We always enjoy seeing this big old farmhouse in the snow.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“By Grace Alone”  Video  Maranatha! Praise Band

“Rescuer”  Video  Rend Collective

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