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"Seeing the Unseen"
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Today we are going to take our Amish friends to the shore. For several years we have mentioned Jesse and Anna Ruth in this series. We became close friends when they moved into a neighboring farm shortly after they married in 2003. Although they moved back near their parents in eastern Lancaster County 2 years ago and now run a dairy farm we still stay in touch. They now have four children and they want them to see the ocean.
Of course the Amish are perhaps best known for their mode of transportation, the horse and buggie. However they do like to get about and will either use public transportation or hire drivers to take them places. I volunteered to drive them to the ocean, so early this morning off we go.
The kids are so excited. They call me steveweber (always running both my names together as if it's one). I think only the older two, Moses and Sadie Ruth, will have a recollection of the trip. I'll try to do my part to make it a good memory for them.
I can only imagine what they imagine. Their world is pretty limited to a small rural area in eastern Lancaster County and a periodic longer trip. How does Dad describe the ocean to them I wonder. Perhaps sort of like the farm pond but a whole lot bigger!
That's similar to our difficulty in our comprehension of heaven. We may take the very best or very biggest in this world and realize it's a lot bigger and better than that. But even that's woefully inadequate.
In the daily text Paul calls us to focus on the unseen. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen." Fixing our eyes in this manner requires concentration and focus. It means to "fix one's gaze upon, to concentrate one's attention on." Physically our eyes observe the seen but Paul is referring to our spiritual eyes here, a focus on the unseen, eternal Kingdom that awaits all who follow Christ.
"For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." What we now see with our physical sight is extremely limited and temporary. Only God who created and oversees the entire universe is stable and unchanging. The Greek word used here for "temporary" (proskairos) indicates the contrast between the temporal, which is also indefinite and the eternal, which is definite.
Today I urge you to focus your heart on the One of whom we sing, "Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, as Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be". Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. In the midst of any struggles you are dealing with on this day view these struggles not just with a temporal viewpoint but an eternal perspective.
I am especially aware of readers who are going through difficult times as they read this. The immediate preceding verse declares, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17). May God's Word bring assurance and confident faith, particularly in these enduring trials.
Remember all that we see with the visible eye is temporary. Let us fix our eyes on the unseen, which includes an eternal glory that far outweighs the visible trials on this side. When we fully embrace this perspective it will make our troubles seem very light and momentary. But if we fail to do so the trials of life will rob us of the wellspring of joy that Jesus gives to each believer to help us endure and overcome. To keep the eternal perspective we must remember to "be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: In the maze of life's events where we're often a passenger on the rollercoaster of life's ups and downs, may we never lose sight of You, Jesus. You are the unseen but ever-present Shepherd who protects, guides and tenderly comforts us in all our trouble. Thank You, Lord, that when change is constantly about us, You remain steadfast, faithful, and dependable. You are the Anchor that keeps us grounded in the unseen but eternal truths we build our lives upon. Keep us faithful and help us to fix our eyes on the unseen as we await that glad day when our faith will be rewarded with the visible blessings You have stored up for those who believe. Amen.
In light of our trip to the ocean today we won't be publishing a daily encouragement tomorrow. We expect to resume Wednesday.
Perry County Amish School Auction
Saturday we attended a benefit sale and auction on the grounds of an Amish one room schoolhouse in Perry County PA (location on Google map). It was a beautiful day and quite an interesting experience.
We have a larger than usual amount of photos to share.
One room Amish schoolhouse.
The kids get a fine education stressing the basics and most turn out to be very responsible, hardworking adults.
A lot of interesting items were sold such as these unusual planters. Four or five auctions were going on at the same time which sure made for an interesting cacophony of noise. I would estimate that were several thousand in attendance and about half were Amish or from other Plain groups. The remainder were "English" as they call the non-Amish.
A highlight of these sales are the home-made quilts that sell for many hundreds of dollars. They had an interesting rotating cart to display the quilt as the auctioneer (hidden by pole) worked the crowd. The men on each side of the quilt slowly rotated it so all could see it. It was quite efficient as they had two women prepared to fold the quilt as soon as it sold and the next quilt in the queue ready to display (table on right of photo).
They made lots of chicken bbq and plenty of other food!
Ice cream maker.
I sure enjoy the sound of these Putt Putt engines!
Amish men playing Quoits
This is similar to horseshoes but uses a round metal disc and is played a lot here in Eastern PA.
See here for a uniquely Amish game.
A buggie near the lot where others were being sold appears to be a showroom model!
Various types of buggies and carriages were for sale and also the shed.
Sticker information on Buggie.
I wonder why a horse-drawn buggie needs a speedometer!
Amish emission control device (if you know what I mean)
(Actually they use these to haul benches from home to home where the Amish have their church services).
Here we are sitting at the desks inside the one room schoolhouse at the end of the sale when we paid for our plant.
(Yes, we fit in the desks but it was on the tight side!)
We are not very good at auctions (we're always afraid we'll raise our hand at the wrong time) but Brooksyne got a sale number and purchased this Mandevilla.
Two years ago we also went to this same sale and posted several photos at that time.
On the way home we stopped in Harrisburg to have a meal at a restaurant where Valerie, a friend of ours, is a chef. It is located in a former firehouse and is now quite appropriately named "The Firehouse Restaurant" (seen in background). On Saturday Harrisburg also had a gathering along the riverfront with antique fire equipment coming in from all over the state and the trucks were starting to return home when we were there so it was sort of like a parade. I learned that fire trucks honk or turn on the siren whenever they pass a firehouse so it was rather noisy and festive!
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.)
"Open Our Eyes Lord" Video This was a popular chorus we sang back in the 80's in our church services.
"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" (Video) This is a beautiful version with a long instrumental intro.
"Be Thou My Vision" Audio This hymn is a beautiful expression of commitment.
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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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