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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Amish hay harvest

Amish hay harvest
All through the summer there are different times for harvest.
This is alfalfa hay being harvested by my friends Eli and Jesse.
The team pulls the operation but a gasoline-powered generator is used to run the hay baler. Do you notice the puff of smoke in the background (center left)?  That's the steam engine from the Strasburg Railroad.

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"A Safeguard For The Soul"

"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you" (Philippians 3:1). "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).

Safeguard soapWhat do you think of when you hear the word "safeguard"? For many years it has been a popular brand of bath soap and we periodically use it in our home. I like the fragrance and supposedly using it is a "safeguard" against offensive body odors.  We also serve as chaplains at a company called Safeguard that, among other things, makes pet homes and thus the name.  But today's first text deals with another type of safeguard, one we will call a "safeguard for the soul."

For many as we get older we tend to be more forgetful and may speak of "senior moments" or as a friend shared in last night's Bible Study, "data overload".  This is generally short-term memory loss (like forgetting where we put our wallet, coffee cup, car keys, cell phone, etc.).  These are common sources of minor frustration in our home.

Post-it note "Remember the Lord your God"
Apparently a different part of our brain is used for long-term memory and it is not necessarily related. When my mom's fall resulted in a major head injury over ten years ago we were advised to expect the greatest impact would be her short-term memory and that proved to be true.  We need certain prompts to keep us on track, like some tying a string around a finger or post-it notes (we use a lot of those!).

Today we want to share about the most important memory prompts, reminders of spiritual truths.

I have on occasion taught a senior class.  Most class members have been believers for many years and are familiar with the teachings of the Bible.  I realize particularly with this group my function as a teacher is to remind and reinforce truths they already know and spur them on to faithfulness toward God.  Now certainly I hope that I periodically share a new insight or perspective on an old truth but I am fundamentally committed to "earnestly contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). I am not interested in "
tickling ears" (see 2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Let me ask you a question as a maturing believer (if we are a believer we should all be in the process of maturing whether young or old in age).  How do you respond when you receive teaching that you are familiar with?  Among some I have noticed a critical spirit expressed by a cavalier, "I already know that" attitude, while many clamor after "new teachings".  I so appreciate those who have a sweet, receptive spirit and accept the reminders of truth with joy. That's how I want to be as I "mature" in years and Christian experience.  May old well-known truths bring reassurance and refreshing to my inner soul.

The daily texts, although written by two different apostles (Paul and Peter), are similar and express an attitude we should have when we are reminded of truths of which we are already familiar.  The apostle Paul was aware that he had shared the same things before with the Philippians but spoke of them as a "safeguard".  That's a great attitude for us to have as we receive unchanging truth in this day where the shifting sands of relativism abound. 

Although Peter was confident his readers not only knew the truths he shared but were also established in them, he pledged to be steadfast in reminding them of these things. He was determined to "make every effort to see that after my departure you will 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 puts 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."  That's how I want to be!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, may our hearts reflect that of songwriter Catherine Hankey who found it a privilege to repeat the gospel message to all who would hear.  With each telling of the salvation story she found its message more wonderfully sweet within her own spirit.  May we never weary of the basics of the gospel and never 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 never lose sight of the old, old story that will be our theme throughout eternity.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.  

Brooksyne's grandpa, Elbert SherrellAn old memory! Brooksyne's paternal grandpa, Elbert Sherrell, was one of the godliest men I ever met.  He and his wife lived in a very simple concrete block home on a desolate mountain ridge in northwest Arkansas which was reached after traveling about twenty miles of rugged dirt roads.  He didn't drive and used a team of mules for farming.  He and Brooksyne's grandma made a monthly trip to town with one of his children for food supplies.  He had a very simple but extremely earnest faith that set him apart as one who loved the fundamental truths of the gospel. Over thirty years later I can still hear his earnest voice as he prayed nightly for his children and grandchildren. He was mentally as sharp as a tack until he died suddenly of a heart attack while going about his farm work. 

Brooksyne with her grandpaOne night shortly after we married we drove down from the Springfield MO area and visited her grandparents. We thought it would be exciting (or perhaps I did) to go back into a corner of the property and sleep out under the black canopy of stars in the back of our little pickup. Brooksyne had heard many stories of weird things (unsolved mysteries) that had happened on the mountain since childhood which she began to speak of as we lay in the wide open space. The sound of the summer insects and wild animal sounds in the mountains was practically deafening. Needless to say we didn't sleep very well.  It was very scary and we were most anxious to see the sunrise in the very early morning hours!  For the curious here's a google map of the location.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"I Love To Tell The Story"  Video  The Chuck Wagon Gang

"Wonderful Words Of Life"  Video  Gaither Homecoming

Safeguard Products We will visit this company today.

Call 2 Fall logoRegardless of what country you may live in we sure need a revival! On Sunday morning July 5 our church will join many others in participating in "Call2Fall", a nationwide prayer meeting. We encourage others to look into this, especially pastors here in America. Essentially this is a definite time during worship on Sunday, July 5th when we get on our knees before the Lord in repentant prayer, pleading with God to reshape our lives, renew our land, and send times of refreshing (See 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 3:19). 

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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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