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Friday, July 23, 2010

Rural scene in Lancaster County, PA 7/22/10
A rural summer scene in Lancaster County PA

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"Keeping The Faith"

"When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8).

Sturbridge Village is a living history museum that depicts life in a rural New England village and the surrounding countryside in the early 1800's.  The characters dress in the costume of the period and it is as if you are walking right into an authentic village at that time period.  The cobbler is making shoes, men are working at the sawmill, farmers are in their fields, women are baking in the open fire, etc.  They are very proficient in describing the manner of life at that time.

Especially interesting to us is the village church where the organist describes the typical service and plays several hymns.  We actually attended this church for a service when we visited the Village on Thanksgiving one year and heard an excellent Bible-based and doctrinally sound sermon that was written over 100 years earlier.

I wonder what obstacles to faith believers experienced while living in that period.  We can be certain that they faced obstacles, for certainly all did not believe and follow the Lord.  But historical evidence indicates that they did not contend with the overall culture of unbelief that we do today!  The basic moral fabric was strong and in those days it was based on the Bible.  The little schoolhouse used the Bible and the McGuffy readers to instill spiritual and ethical values in the children.  The emphasis was on the objective teaching of the three R's. *  Hard work and family life were the overwhelming norm.  I found it very interesting the way in which the destitute were dealt with, which reflected both compassion and an expectation of personal responsibility and accountability.

Evidence of decadence in culture is by no means new. I consider how my generation's parents and grandparents viewed some of the cultural expressions of the "younger generation" and how their parents did before them. Many were appalled at Elvis Presley's dance style which was considered vulgar. But can the incremental regression into increasingly depraved expressions really be denied?

My concern, personally, for my family and for all whom I have the privilege of impacting for Christ is the tendency to become desensitized. We get so accustomed to hearing and seeing the decadence that it loses its shock value. If the Bible's standards are not the daily filter of that which we accept or reject, we eventually become accepting of the world's value system which might have shocked our natural and spiritual senses years earlier!

Today in our generation a remnant seeks to stay faithful to God.  In the daily text the Lord Jesus asks a probing question. "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"  The question presumes a period of time before the Son of Man comes.  I suppose the initial hearers would not have imagined that period of time being nearly 2,000 years (up to the time we now live).

But the question clearly asserts that the "Son of Man" (a term used for Jesus in Luke's gospel) will come.  He asks the question: "Will He find faith on the earth?"  The Greek word can also be translated "faithfulness."  By God's grace which is altogether sufficient for our needs, I want to be among those in my generation who keep the faith in spite of the obstacles of unbelief, decadence and materialism that seem to flood our lives. I will even dare to be labeled "old-fashioned" if by aligning my convictions with the Ancient of Days makes me appear to others to be "behind the times."  Will you join us in staying faithful?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we look into the book of Daniel and see that the Babylonian society in which he was held captive, from youth through old age, was godless and hostile to those seeking to live a Christian lifestyle.  Nonetheless Daniel prayed openly and faithfully to You, never forsaking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He did not seek to fit into the mindset of his society but willingly stood apart from them as a follower of the one true God.  Today we have many brothers and sisters who follow Christ; we have the Scripture that teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions; we have living examples throughout Scripture and history of those who courageously remained faithful to the end, and we have the infilling of the Holy Spirit which strengthens us daily in our Christian walk.  When the Son of Man comes back to find faithfulness on the earth, may we be among that number.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

* Personal note: When we pastored in New England we had an older lady, Hope Winchoba, in our church who has since gone on to be with the Lord.  Hope recalled as a child studying the Bible and praying in public schools in Massachusetts!

We enjoy sharing scenes from our neck of the woods and had an especially interesting day yesterday as we drove through eastern Lancaster County.

Hibiscus on mailbox in Lancaster County
We stopped to take a photo of the large Hibiscus beside the mailbox when a horse and buggy suddenly appeared!

Mound of pink impatiens

Fancy buggy in Lancaster County PA
This is certainly an elegant looking convertible buggy as the ladies enjoy an afternoon drive!

Open cart in Lancaster County PA
This mom and her children sure had a beautiful day to travel.

Witness sign in Lancaster County PA
Many of the farms seek to provide a witness for the Lord with signs like this one. Evidence seems overwhelming that this farmer is a John Deere man!

Conestoga River in Lancaster County PA
The above four photos were taken near the Conestoga River close to Martinsdale, PA. It was interesting to see the ducks sitting comfortably on the top of the dam with the fast-moving water spilling over.

Biking family in Lancaster County PA
Near Blue Ball we got behind this young family who planned to do some shopping at the Shady Maple Farm Market.

Produce stand in Lancaster County PA
South of New Holland we passed this colorful roadside produce stand. These stands dot our area during growing season, but this one was especially colorful!

Amish shopping at Costco in Lancaster County, PA
These ladies are transferring their shopping items from the Costco carts to their buggy pickups, just like us when we put the items in our vehicle trunks.  We take many of our photos on the fly and the larger, original version of this photo illustrates this.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Find Us Faithful"  Video  Steve Green

Note: YouTube apparently changed or disabled the links for full screen videos as I've been using, so the music links the last couple of months no longer work.  Sorry!

Old Sturbridge Village

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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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