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Monday, September 8, 2008

Laughlin Mill in Cumberland County PA
Laughlin Mill
Yesterday we passed this beautiful grist mill constructed in 1763 in Cumberland County PA.
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"Not Ashamed"

"They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail" (Acts 5:18). "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16).

Last Friday I wrote about a message I saw on a church sign; "Contentment is enjoying the scenery while on a detour." I also observe bumper stickers when I'm driving on the highway. An interesting glimpse of a society's moral state and values can be seen by the messages people post on their bumpers.  Some display thoughtful messages, their favorite sport's team or college but there are also tasteless, profane, and offensive messages that we'd rather not see. Now that we are entering the main political season here in America we also see a lot of political signs and bumper stickers.

Awhile back I saw a car with a number of bumper stickers pasted all over it.  These cars get my attention since the owner is often strongly committed to a particular cause or viewpoint.  I saw the familiar fish outline on the car. As I looked closely I thought I might find the IXTHUS expression connoting an ancient symbol for Christianity.  But instead of IXTHUS it had Darwin in the middle of the fish. Other bumper stickers on the car flaunted expressions that mocked God and the Christian faith, boldly and unashamedly proclaiming the owner's particular humanist-based "faith".

Bumper stickers can be tacky but they also give us an opportunity to display a faith-based message to others. As a young Christian I remember a challenge to commitment seen on a bumper sticker, "If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

In the daily text the early disciples had been arrested and unquestionably the ruthless religious authorities had enough evidence to convict them.  The apostles had been very public in their witness for the Lord, unashamed in the proclamation of their testimony.

Following their arrest the Lord miraculously intervened and they were delivered from their prison cell by an angel. "But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 'Go, stand in the temple courts,' he said, 'and tell the people the full message of this new life'" (Acts 5:19, 20). They could have easily sneaked out of town through the dark night and escaped the fury of the high priest and the Sanhedrin.  "But at daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people" (5:21).  They were not afraid or ashamed to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Today, let us who bear the name of Christ, without fear or shame, follow the disciples' example. I consider once again that old saying, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"  I've never sought to be convicted of a crime, but I pray that others do accuse me of being a Christian.  And if ever arrested for that accusation I pray there will be abundant and indisputable evidence for a conviction. That's an accusation and conviction that I would humbly accept. May God help me to never be ashamed to bear His name!

I'll tell the world that I'm a Christian,
I'm not ashamed His Name to bear.
I'll tell the world that I'm a Christian,
I'll take Him with me everywhere.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, we pray for the courage and conviction to stand up for You and respond, "We choose to obey God rather than men!" when ordered by authority to contradict or rebel against Your commands. May we be found faithful in standing up for that which is right, rather than that which is popular. This will give us cause for rejoicing, like the apostles who left the Sanhedrin, "rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Christ."

(For an inspiring example of the apostles' uncompromising obedience to preaching the Gospel message read the entire chapter of Acts 5.)

Weekend photos

This weekend I joined a group of friends from our church for our annual campout in the central Pennsylvania
mountains where we had quite an adventuresome time.

Tunnel explorers
Jere, Ken and Jay
On Saturday afternoon a group went to visit the abandoned turnpike tunnels as we did last year. This year four of the more energetic rode all the way from the first tunnel (Sideling Hill) along an abandoned portion of the PA turnpike to the second abandoned tunnel (Ray's Hill). (See here for photos and a story from last year.)

Click here to see what it looks like inside the middle of the 6,782 feet long Sideling Hill tunnel with the lights off.

Camp breakfast
We always have plenty to eat and there's nothing like the smoky taste of camp food!

Preaching on the mountaintop
Yesterday we had a brief service on top of the mountain before taking a long bike ride back down the mountain to camp. I suppose you could call it my "sermon on the mount" and it looks like most of them were paying attention!  We also sang, "Go tell it on the mountain." 

Mountaintop view of Cumberland valley
Here's the view we had from our church service yesterday looking out over the Cumberland Valley!

Nelson drinking from mountain spring
On the bike ride down the mountain we found a spring and Nelson took a drink. What's does that sign say in the background?

Nelson drinking from mountain spring
Abel, standing with his son, recently gave his heart to the Lord.  We had an opportunity to share together in meaningful conversation.  I sought to encourage him to keep growing in his knowledge of God.

Laughlin Mill
Here's another view of the Laughlin Mill we passed about halfway home from camp.

Dilapidated house!
This illustrates something but I'm not sure what!  I haven't come up with a story line using this sunken and dilapadated house photo just yet.

Here's a Google map of our weekend adventures.

An alert reader suggests the photo of the butterfly on Friday's message was the great spangled fritillary. Another suggests the meadow fritillary.  They both look mighty similar to me!

Special note and thanks: Today's message is a bit later getting out than normal. This can be for a lot of reasons since we purposefully do not prepare these messages ahead of time and then schedule for a specific time each day (which we could easily do).  We prepare them each morning and send out when we are done. Even though we don't know the majority of readers or listeners personally, we still feel it's an active "from us to you" form of living encouragement.

However today I had problems with the webserver that hosts Daily Encouragement Net which is needed for the website and photos. (Actually I could use the podcast, blogs and email list since they are on a different system but would not have the photos.)  

For many years now Brad, an IT specialist from Canada whom I have never met personally, has paid for the web server space and the Podcast monthly fee as a donation and has been very prompt to provide technical assistance and advice when needed. I called him this morning and he was already working on the problem.  If you are reading this and can see the photos it's been fixed!  And thanks again for Brad and all who bless ministries like this behind the scenes!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

"I'll Tell The World That I'm A Christian" piano instrumental (click on "more info" for lyrics)

"Go Tell It On The Mountain"

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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