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Friday, October 30, 2009

Barn near Lampeter, PA
Yesterday we passed this stately white barn and silo near Lampeter, PA

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"Exposing Darkness With Light"

"The light shines in the darkness" (John 1:5). "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them" (Ephesians 5:11).

For about 7½ years we served the Lord Jesus Christ in New England, pastoring a church about 35 miles south of Boston in Taunton, Massachusetts. Only once did we drive through Salem which is about 16 miles north of Boston. This historic town is best known for the witch trials held in the late 1600's. It is still a center for witchcraft and other deeds of darkness. In fact it proudly promotes its reputation as the "witch city".   I recall sensing the spiritual darkness even as we drove through.

There are several Bible-preaching churches in the city and certainly in the surrounding area. What a mighty job they have in letting the light of Christ shine through them to the darkness that pervades that area. Halloween is a very significant day for witchcraft and other satanic activities in Salem (and elsewhere), and yet the true church will have mission outreaches.

The light of Christ will shine as they expose the fruitless deeds of darkness. May the Lord bless these worthwhile efforts! Thankfully, God has a light shining in the midst of this darkness and the true church has seen many people turn from fruitless deeds of darkness to God's marvelous light. 

The first daily verse fundamentally speaks of Christ. He is the Light and indeed He shines in the darkness. Wherever you live there is darkness, although some places are certainly much more spiritually dark. We noted such a difference in this regard when we moved from Northern Pennsylvania to New England and now to Lancaster County.  But when we compare our Christianized nation to dark places such as Papua New Guinea and other unreached tribal regions the darkness is even more pervasive.  (We do thank God for Bible translators and missionaries who are going into these dark strongholds and reaching these souls for Christ.)

"The light shines in the darkness."  The verb "shines" is in the present tense and can be understood as "the light keeps on shining." Jesus teaches His followers. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).

In our second daily verse the Apostle Paul makes a very unambiguous statement: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."  It's a call desperately needed in our culture and increasingly so in the Church but it will subject us to ridicule among many who "love the darkness rather than the light" (John 3:19).  In fact the world wants to silence those who speak out for truth exposing darkness with the Light of His Word.

You see, when we become accustomed to the darkness it just may not seem as dark anymore.  When we were children playing at dusk our moms would call out, "Come into the house.  It's dark outside."  But we'd continue to play since we could still see.  A few days ago I was mowing my lawn in the early evening. Afterward I entered the house and looked out the window and it was dark. But while I was mowing my eyes got used to the dark since the dimness was gradual. I believe that can be true of our spiritual eyes as well and all the more reason why we must be on guard.  

Today, all over the world serious believers are allowing the light of Christ to shine through them. 
This light exposes the fruitless deeds of darkness and this is the essence of spiritual warfare. Darkness hates the light. Yet faithful followers of Christ will continue to let their light shine, essentially reflecting the true Light, who is Christ.

May each reader today shine brightly.  As for me and my house we will stand up for the One True God today and seek to let His light shine through us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, You created us to be people who function and thrive by light.  Your placement of the sun by day and the moon by night is the way You provide for our physical needs enabling us to see as we carry out our multitude of duties.  As important as light is for the eyes to see, it is even more essential that the eyes of our heart see the magnificent light of Your glory.  As we walk in Your light we will be able to discern that which is evil from that which is good.  Jesus, we know that goodness cannot partner with wickedness for there is no harmony between You and the devil. We are one with You as we walk in Your truth and dispel the darkness everywhere we go, for greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Amen.

Yesterday we had a number of visits throughout Lancaster Country including several chaplain calls, a memorial service, a Company Bible Study and in the evening a banquet. We would like to share some photos from our travels.

Village Farm Market near Ephrata, PA
We stopped by the Village Farm Market east of Ephrata PA to purchase some apples. We bought delicious northern spy, crisp and sweet, which is how we enjoy them. The market is beautifully decorated for Autumn.
Amish playing volleyball
As we drove through the country we passed an Amish wedding. Following harvest time on Tuesday's and Thursdays hundreds of Amish gather in homes and barns for weddings.  The wedding service starts early in the morning and the festivities lasts through the evening. We passed this spot in the late afternoon and three groups were playing volleyball; older boys, younger boys, and girls (left in photo).  Several years ago we were invited to an Amish wedding and share of our experience here.

Balloon over Lancaster County
Driving along from a distance we saw this big red hot air balloon and ended up driving practically underneath it. As we snapped photos the people in the basket waved down to us.

Amish children watching balloon
As we were watching the balloon we came upon some Amish children also watching. The photo doesn't really show how cute the five children appeared as they excitedly looked on. One girl was walking (in front of the pony). A little boy was riding the miniature pony. The older girl in the front of the photo was on a scooter with a basket holding two very little children! (You can see only the arm of the little girl in pink, but another young girl was also squeezed onto the bike.) 

Amish traffic jam
We never know what interesting sights we will encounter.
This is a minor traffic jam caused by an Amish mule team followed by an Amishman on a steel-wheeled tractor pulling some farm equipment.

Back to the Bible banquet 10/29/09
Here in Lancaster County we have many banquets to raise funds for ministries. Local individuals and businesses pay for a table setting of food (usually for 8 -10 people). People sign up and come for a great meal at no cost.  (Of course the table sponsors are prayerful that those who eat the free meal will give money to support the represented ministry or cause in the offering that is taken). Last night we attended a banquet at the Willow Valley Resort sponsored by one of our local Christian radio stations (WDAC) and Back To The Bible with Woodrow Kroll speaking. He is one of our favorite Bible teachers and shared a message concerning God's faithfulness to all generations and gave a testimony from his own life.

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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.)

"Here I Am To Worship"  Video  "Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness..."  Michael W. Smith

"Shine On Us"  Video  Avalon

"This Little Light Of Mine"  Video
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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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