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Monday, May 17, 2010

Amish family going to church 5/16/10
We are glad our brakes worked when we came up behind this Amish family travelling to church yesterday morning. It was a beautiful day and they appeared to be enjoying the ride in their two horsepower open wagon traveling through downtown Mount Joy.

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"The Blessing Of Brakes"

"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).

Last Saturday I went with a friend to a NASCAR race in Dover, Delaware. I can't say I'm much of a racing fan but when the opportunity arose I figured I'd do this at least once in life!  It was just as I was told; very loud, the cars were very fast, and there were several accidents. The cars have extremely powerful engines designed to go very fast, over 150 miles per hour.  Less fascinating and much less talked about, but absolutely essential, are the good quality brakes each car is equipped with!

That sure got me thinking. I'm confident that not one of you would venture out on the road in your car today if you knew that your brakes didn't work. Even though your intent was to get to a particular destination, all through the trip, and certainly at the end you expect to apply your brakes. If you've ever had a brake malfunction you know what a blessing stopping is!

My most memorable brake experience took place over 30 years ago. I drove a school bus to supplement our income when we planted a church in northern Pennsylvania. Mostly I drove kids to and from school but I was asked to make a special trip taking an adult fellowship from the Shiloh Presbyterian Church to a Penn State football game in State College, Pennsylvania.  A designated bus was used for these longer trips but I received no special training on how to drive it. Northern Pennsylvania is very mountainous. As I was going down a long grade on a mountain I pumped the brakes as I was accustomed to doing on my other bus.  But this bus had air brakes and the more I pumped them the less brake power I had until I lost them completely. To this day I still can't explain how I was able to stop the bus without having an accident but that experience was a lasting reminder of the blessing of brakes!

Let us consider the blessing of another type of brake in regard to our spiritual life. We may very well find them annoying, slowing us down or stopping us in places where we would rather see a green light. Tragically the vast majority are charging right through the red lights as they completely disregard the God-ordained brakes that He so wisely and graciously provides.

1) The brake of Scriptural commands and prohibitions.  God's Word has go commands and stop commands. When facing temptation from the enemy we do well to recall the stop commands. Our main text today states, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge."  This is speaking about the knowledge of God and His Word. So many today disregard this knowledge and we see our society racing headlong to most certain judgment. The faithful church and ministry will continue to "devote themselves to the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42) and "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).

2) The brake of Godly counsel. Solomon wrote, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity" (Proverbs 3:1,2).  We need to heed the counsel of the wise and esteem the elderly who have gone on before us. Wisdom has been defined as "knowledge rightly applied."

3) The brake of Holy Spirit conviction. The Holy Spirit not only compels us forward but at times will lead us to stop. Paul was intending to continue his mission work in Asia Minor when he had his Macedonian vision where the Holy Spirit essentially stopped him and led him in another direction.  "When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to" (Acts 16:7). As we walk with the Lord, in sensitivity to His Spirit, we need to rejoice in both the goes and the stops!

4) The brake of tradition. This point is most difficult to develop since many have developed a negative attitude toward tradition and even the Scriptures speak out against tradition at times. Certainly, tradition for tradition's sake needs to be evaluated carefully.  But it seems to me that an attitude prevails in the church among more than a few that "different" is seen as better, cooler, more appealing to a current generation.  Good practices developed over years can be too quickly shrugged aside in favor of the new, without considering what significance is lost in the process. Yesterday we had Communion in our church and I am sure it was somewhat different than the New Testament Church which commemorated this God-ordained sacrament.  Yet I hope there were more similarities than dissimilarities as we seek to hold true to the command of Christ who told His followers: "Do this in remembrance of me."

Today let us thank God for the blessing of brakes. When He flashes the yellow light of caution we need to slowly, carefully, and Scripturally assess the situation.  When He flashes the red light we need to STOP!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, it is because of Your wise, loving ways that You teach us about the wiles of our adversary, the devil, and his cunning ways.  We are not caught unaware but recognize his strategy as we regularly read Your Word and store it up in our hearts. Your knowledge is powerful as it opens the eyes of our hearts. Your precepts are right and because of that we hate every wrong path.  The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  Direct our footsteps according to Your Word so that we are in pace with You, observing the yellow lights of caution and stopping at the red lights of danger. As we do so we will not allow sin to rule over us.  Amen.

We had a very busy weekend as we left Friday afternoon on the way to Dover and stayed in North East Maryland, along Chesapeake Bay.

Windmill on Amish farm
On the way down to Dover we stopped to visit for a few minutes with some Amish friends in eastern Lancaster County and I compiled this short educational video of a "Visit to an Amish dairy farm".

Long pier on Sandy Cove 5/14/10
Friday evening we stopped by Sandy Cove, a Christian retreat on Chesapeake Bay where I was hoping to catch a beautiful sunset over the bay.  Instead we got a heavy thunderstorm shortly after this photo was taken!  
See here for a sunset from this same spot taken last fall.  
See here for an arial view of Sandy Cove.

Dover NASCAR race 5/15/10
At the race my friend Ken Pierce and I sat at the first turn, apparently considered a good seat in racing. The cars had to slow a bit at each turn but were still roaring by at mearly 150 miles per hour. The cars have over 800 horsepower. Brooksyne joined us for awhile but after watching the Sprint cars practice and hearing the volume and seeing the rather monotonous action (at least to a non-racing fan) she walked over to a mall next door.
See here for an arial view of the Dover race track.

NASCAR humor
A scene we didn't see this last Saturday!

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.)

"Lead Me Lord"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Order My Steps"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Thy Word"  Video  The Maranatha Singers based on Psalm 119

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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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