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Monday, November 9, 2009

Turkey Hill mobile cow
The Turkey Hill cows are often seen throughout our area for special functions. This last weekend, Longwood Manor, an assisted care center where we serve as chaplains had their tenth anniversary and had a special celebration. Yesterday when we made a visit we ended up parking right next to the Turkey Hill cow! 

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"Holy Matrimony"

"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral" (Hebrews 13:4).

Several years ago Fox TV aired a reality show called, "Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire?"  It caused quite a stir at the time, though sadly not for the reasons of which I write today.  It was essentially a contest where a millionaire would select a bride from among 50 potential candidates who were vying for the "honor" of marrying him though none of them had ever met him.  The show ended with a broadcast wedding with all the expense and beauty of a wedding ceremony but it was void of an honorable marriage.  Two months later their marriage was annulled and the bride sold the 3 Karat diamond engagement ring on an online auction site.* 

So let's turn from a shallow example of an industry seeking to make money and gain ratings from a media blitz marriage ceremony and look instead at the sacred meaning of marriage as taught in the Scriptures.  The Hebrews author is writing to believers under intense persecution and encouraging them to remain faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the thirteenth chapter the Apostle provides some very specific teaching that seems to aim right at the heart of our generation, with a statement esteeming marriage and a solemn warning against immorality and materialism. Today we will examine the marriage statement and tomorrow the materialism.

"Marriage should be honored by all." This simple, straightforward command is so needed today.  It doesn't single out a specific marriage but rather the institution of marriage itself.  Today it's under severe attack with radical and ungodly efforts seeking to redefine it, contrary to its divine design.

Marriage is the oldest human institution, established by God Himself when He created Eve from Adam. Marriage is ordained by God, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

Marriage is an ongoing expression of God's wisdom. He stated, "It is not good for the man to be alone."  He created a complementary "helper suitable for him." 

Marriage is exclusively the covenant relationship between a man and a woman. The Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry powerfully reinforces this view, "Haven't you read, that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?'" (Matthew 19:4,5). In another Scripture He said, "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:9).

"And the marriage bed kept pure." The "marriage bed" translates the Greek word "koite" from which we get the English word "coitus", which of course describes the act of sexual union. It seems the Apostle is emphasizing that the very act of marital love is holy and is to be "kept pure" (also translated "undefiled").

"For God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." In an age when the judgment of God is so often mocked we do well to solemnly hear the words that conclude the daily Scripture. Adultery is the specific form of immorality in breaking of the marriage vow (faithfulness pledge) while married and "all the sexually immoral" refers to all sexual activity apart from committed marriage between a husband and wife.

Marriage is under terrific attack today by the one whose dastardly objective is to steal, kill and destroy.  The downward progression has gone from violating marriage vows (adultery) to broken marriages (divorce) to ignoring marriage (immorality), to redefining what it fundamentally constitutes (the current attempts by the homosexual movement).  The last is unique to our age.  Surely when God's fundamental human institution is so greatly violated judgment will soon come.

Let us honor marriage.  I find the statement "by all" interesting.  If you're married I hope that it's a vibrant, joyful relationship, but even if yours is not, honor marriage. If you're single (by choice or otherwise) or if you're widowed and the deep grief still lingers, continue to honor marriage.  Though your marriage may have ended in a painful divorce still choose to honor marriage. It is to be honored by all, regardless of your personal circumstances!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, one of the greatest mysteries in the human experience is how You blend two individuals and make them become as one.  The "me" becomes "us" in our shared interests and goals in life.  Things are no longer "mine" but "ours."  Our times of celebration as well as times of sadness and loss become shared experiences.  Thank You, Lord, for the tremendous companionship that we can enjoy with our spouse as we both allow You to lead us making us helpers suitable and pleasing to each other. We uphold our marital vows and honor marriage today in Jesus' name.  Amen.

* I admittedly did not watch the reality show but did read up so I could share the opening illustration.

Of course the current effort to redefine what marriage as established by God and what mankind has always known it to be is a major source of contention today and will remain as the slide into apostasy continues.

Ironically the "let the people decide" (a constitutional marriage amendment) is now the concession many moral leaders are making in regard to stemming the downward spiral of the radical social deconstructionists. This very well may be needed in a secular society. But what happens when the people decide contrary to what God has established? Does it then become a valid definition? Readers know what I would say. One of the darkest times in human history was during the period of the Judges in the OT. The summary description of that time was, "everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25).

Do you recall the term "holy matrimony" (which now sounds rather archaic in our present language)?  The sense of this term is that the institution of marriage is "set apart" or "holy." Marriage is not defined by judges, current opinion polls or at the ballot box. God has clearly spoken.

Amish Corn Harvest

Friday afternoon we stopped by an Amish farm where they were harvesting corn for grain and I took several photos of the process.  Several weeks ago I shared some photos of an Amish corn silage harvest (silage is when they grind up the entire corn stalk).
The photos below are of the grain harvest, although the Amish harvest the entire ear and later grind it up for feed, cob and all.
(Modern combines harvest only the corn kernel.)

Amish corn harvest in Lancaster County PA
Elim is preparing to make a round through the field.  He's behind the team on a cart, followed by a generator, then the harvester, followed by a wagon. It takes a large team for this process!

Amish corn harvest in Lancaster County PA
The harvester separates the corn from the stalk and the corn on the cob goes up the chute into the wagon.

Amish corn harvest in Lancaster County PA
Here's the team (you can only see the front row).
The gray harvester is to the left in the photo.

Amish corn harvest in Lancaster County PA
The loaded wagon is pulled up to a chute powered by the PTO on the tractor which loads the corn into the crib.

Jim & Dorothy Schmidt (11/6/09)
On Friday afternoon we were invited to a meal at the Shady Maple, a huge smorgasbord here in Lancaster County, to celebrate our friend Dorothy Schmidt's 75th birthday. We met Jim and Dorothy about 10 years ago at a conference in Boston and we have stayed connected ever since. They
will soon celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. They live near Ocean City, New Jersey and work with SEND, a mission group. They have a vibrant, faith-filled walk with Christ and have had a spiritual impact on many. Dorothy gave her abbreviated testimony following our meal which always blesses our hearts.

Amish children at the Shady Maple
Our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth, joined us for the meal.  We introduced them to the Schmidts this past summer which turned into a lasting friendship.  Moses was in school, but the other three children came along.  As we were visiting afterwards the children enjoyed the view out the window as people were coming and going!

Dorothy Schmidt with Brooksyne (11/6/09)
It was a beautiful fall afternoon and Brooksyne had the opportunity to visit with Dorothy for a few minutes in the parking lot. She gave her some jam and ginger snap cookies to take home.

Al Worthley at Valley Forge Chaplain's ConferenceSaturday we attended a chaplain's conference near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. We met up with several friends we've known in ministry for many years and also enjoyed visiting for a few minutes with Al Worthley, my immediate supervisor in chaplain work. For many years he was a prison chaplain. Here's a photo of Al and his wife Adeline when we had dinner with them this summer in Springfield, MO.

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.)

"When God Made You" Video This song has an interesting sentiment.

"Love Songs"  Video  A selection of love songs by Leon Patillo. I found this video while searching for a song that Leon Patillo sang when we got married in 1976 (or at least in that time period). That song is called "Flesh of my flesh". However it's not in this collection!

"Wedding Song"  Video  Darla Day

"Here We Stand"  Video

Regarding today's top photo - 
Turkey Hill is a local dairy.  It sells throughout the east and each carton has a small logo, "Imported from Lancaster County" on it!

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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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