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Friday, September 3, 2010

Amish youth in open cart, Lancaster County, PA 9/2/10
These Amish youth are out for an afternoon cart ride.
We passed them yesterday and then saw them later near the Shady Maple.

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"Don't Refuse Him Who Is Speaking!"

"See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking" (Hebrews 12:25).

Witness sign, Lancaster County, PAPeriodically we refer to the witness signs posted in Lancaster County and all throughout this region. We see these signs as we pass through areas heavily populated by old-order type Mennonites. These are brief expressions of faith placed on signs along the road, on barns and even high on silos. We regularly see messages such as "Prepare to meet Thy God"; "Where will you spend eternity?", and other such similar expressions of faith. Many people drive past these signs giving no attention or even scoffing at the message, like the people who ignored or scoffed at the prophets in Scripture as they spoke forth the Word of God.

Our text today, "See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking", is a passage that has been going through my mind lately. It's as though I see the warning on a road sign in my mind's eye.  How does God speak to us today?

1)  He speaks not from Mount Sinai, which was on this earth, but He speaks from heaven through general revelation, signs and wonders, earth's calamities, and even through the folly of man. I just read that a notable scientist has written a book proclaiming that we don't need God for creation (see Romans 1:22).

2) He speaks by His inspired Word and by His Spirit, which bears witness to the Scripture. He does not give new revelation that would contradict anything in His Word but confirms that which is already spoken through the prophets and the apostles in the Holy Scriptures.

3) He speaks powerfully and effectually through the church body He formed during the Acts of the Apostles and which remains to this day.

4) He speaks to us through the godly actions and attitudes of men and women, boys and girls.  As the old adage goes, "More is caught than is taught."  What are we teaching others by our actions and attitudes? During our chaplaincy visit yesterday I asked a woman whose grandmother passed away last week at the ripe age of 101 years, "What is the one thing you remember most about your grandmother?" She responded very quickly, "I never heard her complain.  She was a very content woman."

The latter portion of Hebrews 12 speaks of receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Our focus must be on this Kingdom not on the kingdoms of the world, which most certainly are shaking and indeed rise and fall. But God's Kingdom abides forever!

As I read the daily text I considered how vitally important this is to the human race. God is speaking; He is not silent. In fact the Book of Hebrews is all about God speaking; through the prophets, through His Word, through His Son and through the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 11. Since He is always speaking we must "see to it that [we] do not refuse Him who is speaking."

Though the majority refuse Him who is speaking, may our hearts receive Him. The Amplified version expands the challenge even more; "See to it that you do not reject Him or refuse to listen to and heed Him who is speaking to you now."

Today, I pray that each of us would truly receive, listen, and heed Him who is speaking. Herein lies the source of assurance and security in these times of turmoil.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we recognize You as our Creator; therefore we do not reject You, but receive Your words of instruction, warning, assurance and affirmation.  We not only want to give attention to Your teachings, but we want to observe and obey them as we live out our lives here on earth.  Through the grace given to us by Your Spirit we can do so.  Amen.

The last several messages we've shared regarding the mission we should all have of impacting others for Christ. I received this note from Rick Masciantonio who was an active part of our church in Massachusetts and who also has had a prison ministry for at least 15 years. Yesterday he met another man from that same church he had lost contact with since moving on many years earlier: "I wanted to let you know that I was at the prison today and when I walked in Tom Hanley was there waiting for me. He wants to get started in prison ministry, so the chaplain had him come in this morning to sit in on the Bible study..... I thought you might be interested [hearing about] another brother, "staying faithful"!

Note: Tom has an interesting testimony of deliverance. He had at one time been a bar room bouncer in Boston and shared with me stories of being in knife fights, showing me the scar on his chest. He converted to Christ and attended the church we pastored in Taunton Massachusetts and grew in the Lord. Indeed we are very pleased to hear of this ministry step he has taken and that he is "staying faithful"!

Yesterday a reader from an Asian country wrote: As one of the Lord's servants to an Asian country, I have had very few fruits. Mr Harding's story and Al's story on 2 September gave me such encouragement. Thank you for the word "Your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Bless your ministry. Note: We pray for and encourage all our readers who are seeking to make an impact for Christ!

Amish corn wagon, Lancaster County, PA 9/2/10
We passed this young Amish man yesterday afternoon. He appears to be tired as he hauls a load of corn to be chopped and stored in the silo.

Amish clothesline, Lancaster County, PA 9/2/10
A big wash day on this farm!

Reidenbach windmill, Lancaster County, PA 9/2/10
Windmill on old order Mennonite farm.
Yesterday we encountered a particular sect of the old-order Mennonites for the first time when we stopped at a roadsign stand to get some watermelon east of Ephrata PA. We got to talking and they were members of a very small group known as the Reidenbach Mennonites. We shared our contact information and a devotional booklet, "Our Daily Bread". Across the road we met a neighbor selling apples. When we went back to pay for the apples a bunch of cute puppies surrounded us. We almost brought home a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix male pup.  It was one of those compelling pups you immediately take to, but we decided to think on it before making such a huge decision, do a little studying on this mixed breed in addition to a little praying about the matter!

Balloon, Lancaster County, PA 9/2/10
This balloon was flying over New Holland PA, an area known as the Garden Spot due to the rich, fertile soil.

Church sign
One of my favorite witness signs is this one at the Erb's Mennonite Church near Lititz, PA. It's appropriate not only in regard to expressing a Biblical truth but also it's location at the end of a fork in the road where people easily get confused concerning which road to take. The church building can be seen in the background.
See here (google map).

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.)

"Speak O Lord"  Video  Kristyn Getty

The blue sign used in our daily message is posted in an area near where we met the old order Mennonites yesterday. These signs with a variety of messages are all over Lancaster County and are so similar that they apparently are mass produced, but I've never found out where to get them. Perhaps a local reader can tell me!

Finally today:

The other night my brother Mike and I went to a Lancaster Barnstormers baseball game. (The Barnstormers are our local minor league team.) Mike and I were discussing a famous homerun by Bobby Thompson in 1951 referred to as "The shot heard around the world" and a book he read about the fate of the baseball. We went on to discuss about foul balls and homeruns and getting a ball from a ballgame. Our brother Pat got one many years ago at a Pittsburgh Pirates game but his son lost it playing with it.

Barnstormer foul ball 9/2/10Last night Ester went to a Barnstormer game with a friend and called me from the game excitedly telling me that she had retrieved a foul ball!  And here it is!  You can see the date she wrote:  9/2/10

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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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