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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge in Lancaster County PA
Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

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"The Living And Active Word Of God"

"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" (Hebrews 4:12).

Yesterday we shared a story about a soldier from World War 2 and his marvelous testimony. We received quite a number of comments on how this blessed readers concerning the power of love and prayer.

This brings to mind another testimony Brooksyne and I heard when we lived in New England. We attended a State Convention of the Gideons, a men's organization committed to the distribution of the Bible, all over the world.  It was a remarkable testimony of John Parkinson regarding the power of God's Word and a faithful, persistent witness.  He also shared it in our church service the following Sunday morning.

John joined the Marines during World War II and was given a small Gideon New Testament and Psalms. He had no interest in spiritual things at the time but still carried the Testament in his pocket. A short time after enlisting he met a fellow Marine by the name of Charlie Kline, who bore witness to Christ and persistently tried to persuade John to become a follower of Christ, but John just as persistently refused.

The war was over by the time John got to Okinawa and upon the completion of his first term of service he returned home to his farm in upstate New York. But as a young man he determined that there was nothing to keep him there so he re-enlisted.

This time he was traveling through the Mediterranean when, lo and behold, he met up with Charlie Kline again, who was still witnessing for Christ. And John was still rejecting.

While at sea the Korean War broke out so John and Charlie were deployed to Korea and were a part of the famed Inchon landing. They marched inland and just when it appeared the war was nearly over the Chinese entered the war and John described the horrendous battles that followed in November 1950.

One night he and Charlie were two of only 6 men left from the original 96 men in his unit and things looked hopeless.  Greatly concerned that they might not make it out alive, Charlie witnessed to John again. Yet again he refused, angrily shoving him away.

But later that same night in desperation John cried out to God. He pulled out his Testament and "randomly" turned to the 23rd Psalm where he read the phrase, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." This was a remarkable personal message as he looked out on the dark valley literally filled with scores of casualties, since he had no Christian training and was unfamiliar with this well-known passage of Scripture.

John miraculously made it out and immediately found a chaplain who led him to the Lord. He was curious about Charlie, but several thought they had seen him removed on a stretcher so he was assumed to be dead. John returned to upstate New York and this time the farm looked pretty good! He married and began to farm and in time became a Gideon, sharing God's Word.

Now, for the rest of the story:

As a Gideon Parkinson began to share his testimony in various settings. In 1985 he was at a Gideon's Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While being introduced he noticed a commotion in the back of the room. A man stood up and shouted, "We finally gotcha, John!"  It was none other than Charlie Kline!

What a reunion that was! As it turned out Charlie had gotten separated from the rest of the unit that dark night in 1950 and lost his direction. He walked right into the Chinese camp and had to spend three nights in a culvert in sub freezing temperatures to avoid detection. He also eventually made it out, but of course had no idea what happened to John. At least not until 35 years later!

"For the Word of God is living and active" and penetrates right to the heart of men and women, boys and girls!  Has it penetrated your heart? I'm sure thankful that it penetrated my sinful heart!

Be encouraged today and keep spreading the Word!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, You are the Holy One of Israel who saves those who call upon Your name.  You have shown Your mercy with kindness to those who have cursed, mocked, and rejected You. Your Word penetrates the calloused walls of pride, rejection, and resentment.   Thank You for Your relentless love that captured my heart and called me out from spiritual darkness into the Kingdom of Light. When we speak the Word of God to others it does not go forth without effect.  Your Word is never cancelled or rendered void, for it will either bring spiritual life to those who choose to receive it or bring condemnation to those who refuse its message.  Scripture in Your Holy Bible is our lifeline to salvation on earth and eternal bliss in heaven.  We thank You for Your wondrous work in our lives through the sacrifice of Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen.
See Isaiah 55:11

Note: I would imagine John Parkinson was in his seventies when I heard the testimony and wonder if he or Charlie are still alive
(on this side of eternity).

Yesterday we visited with Gary and Lynne Forry, friends of ours, who operate a large farm. We passed some beautiful country scenes along the way including the covered bridge.

Field pumpkins in Lancaster County PA
We thought this farm was pretty with all the pumpkins in the foreground and wondered why they weren't harvested.

Amish fall plowing in Lancaster County PA
An Amish neighbor was plowing on this blustery, cold day with the first flurries of snow we've seen thus far this season.

Sheep in Lancaster County PA
This sheep was a bit curious that we were taking his photo.

Autumns sunset in Lancaster County PA
On our way home we drove into a beautiful sunset over the Susquehanna River. It wasn't stormy but in the photo it sure appears to be ominous.  The sun was just setting on the ridge across the river.

Amish raisin bread
We enjoyed several toasted slices of home-made Amish raisin bread we picked up at the Farmers Market.

Today's suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"Word Of God Speak"  Audio  Video

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

Stephen's final note may not be for the squeemish. As periodically mentioned we typically have a mice problem in our home, especially in the winter months when the tiny critters (that Brooksyne refuses to accept as pets) manage to find ways into our downstairs closet. This is my exclusive duty and I caught three over the last 24 hours. I actually set several traps at a time in the basement level closet where they seem to habitat. This morning I found this interesting catch. Apparently the mouse was only partly caught by the wood trap and flailed over to the plastic Safeguard trap where he backed in and was finally caught for good.  See today's photo.  Compare this to my double catch photo shared several weeks ago and you will see we have some mice stories we would really rather not have.
 Interestingly we serve as chaplains at Safeguard and I am sure they will be pleased to see their trap so ably used!

Brooksyne's final note:  As I'm proofing this post today I want to put a disclaimer.  I don't especially get a kick out of sending mice photos, but since Stephen injects his interests and accomplishments :) into our posting I won't deny him the pleasure of impressing other mice catchers.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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