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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Produce wagon near Mount Joy Pennsylvania
Fall produce wagon near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

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"We All Stumble"

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand" (Psalm 37:23,24).  "Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet" (Psalm 140:4).  
"We all stumble in many ways" (James 3:2).

We stopped by a neighborhood produce farm wagon and took the photo that we feature at the top of our post today. As we were looking at the pumpkins and gourds a man drove in behind us and asked, "Are you Steve Weber?"  He had seen the Daily Encouragement message on our van and connected the dots. He introduced himself as a pastor who had contacted me several weeks ago by phone to discuss an interest he had in business chaplaincy.

As he and I were talking we spotted a small security camera. We assumed it was used to monitor the activity and most especially the honor system payment box. It was the first time I'd seen this kind of high tech set-up though I've been to many produce stands with honor systems in our area.

I stepped in closer to get a better look, carefully examining the camera when suddenly……KERPLUNK! Before I realized what I had hit or what hit me I met the earth in a horizontal position with my face not staring at the camera but the hard ground instead!

My investigative mind went to work immediately since I was humiliated and wanted to justify my clumsiness.  And there it was for the whole world to see - the extended tongue of the wagon was the culprit.

I quickly got up, dusted myself off, and although quite embarrassed assured everyone, "I'm Ok, I'm OK" even though I sure did hurt.  My new friend expressed concern while Brooksyne and Ester, after finding out I wasn't hurt, laughed until they were red in the face. Growing up on a farm Brooksyne would have known to watch out for wagon tongues.  I now have a bruise on my right shin to prove it and a few other aches and pains as well.  And I made a first impression on a new acquaintance that he'll probably never forget!

Have you ever fallen?  Of course you have!  You did so a lot when you were learning to walk.  Just ask your parents.  You've all very likely also fallen a few times after being full-grown and how embarrassing that is!  Some of us will remember the low budget TV ad from the eighties with the memorable line, "I've fallen and I can't get up."

We've also fallen spiritually; all of us.  The Apostle James says, "We all stumble in many ways" (3:2).  Sometimes we fall "big time", but more commonly in the "small ways". The seasoned Christian pilgrim recognizes spiritual bruises from plummeting falls.  The persevering believer has a testimony of overcoming falls. 

I liken the Christian journey to hiking through the heavily wooded forest. I consider our favorite trail across from our home. Because of the uneven terrain and the extensive tree roots, rocks and now walnuts (lots of them), I often stumble as I walk along and might even occasionally fall.  I can linger in a fallen position or I can choose to get up, brush off the debris, and trudge on. And when I'm unaware of what made me fall I need to examine the terrain and see what obstacle I stumbled over. That's a good lesson for the Christian life.

In the latter part of the first daily text the Psalmist acknowledges that the godly man falls, but gives us two great promises. 

1) "He shall not be utterly cast down."  Thank God that we have no excuse for staying down after we fall.  God has promised that we will not "be utterly cast down."
2) "For the Lord upholds him with His hand."  Grip hold of that truth today, believing friend. The immutable God continues to uphold His children. What an assuring promise.

Have you goofed up, messed up, or even blown it big time?  Perhaps this is even your condition as you read this today. Call on the Name of the Mighty God of the universe.  He will come and save you.  We simply have no reason for saying, "I've fallen, and I can't get up."

Be encouraged today,   

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we thank You that You are guide; that our footsteps are ordered by You.  Though we stumble or fall, we are not cast down for You uphold us with Your right hand.  In ourselves we may be clumsy, weak, or nearsighted, but following You, our Great Shepherd through dangers, toils and snares to the high places of Your love, we will be like that of hind's feet in high places. When we unexpectedly find ourselves in a fallen position we feel pretty foolish and somewhat helpless. We usually bounce right back to an upward position.  But there are times, Lord, when we get trapped in a fallen position and especially need Your help and assistance from others to help us walk upright again.  When we're in a fallen position spiritually, Lord, it is Your hand that we reach for.  You uphold us with Your hand because You are the changeless, faithful One who sees our fall before we even know it will happen.  You do not abandon us nor cast us down but You only want to lift us up again.  Our hope is in You alone so help us to cling tightly to Your hand as we walk the potholed terrain of this life.  In Your name, we pray.  Amen.

As Brooksyne and I completed this message today we prayed for those who would read it. May you know the living hope we have in Christ and have a deep assurance of His steadfast love and care.

Clinic for Special Children Benefit Auction
(Part 2) See here for Part 1

This last Saturday we went to an auction near Leola Pennsylvania to benefit a clinic that treats Amish and Mennonite children who have special needs. It was quite an experience and we want to share some more photos from the event.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
We have seen the parking at Amish weddings and funerals but have never seen as many buggies congregated as we did at this auction. This is just a small representative group. The buggies were from a variety of old order communities, each having distinctive colors that identify their group. The Amish have gray sides while the Mennonites have black.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
I found this colorful buggy intriguing. I wonder if it was from a special group or merely a young teenager asserting himself.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
Several buggies were up for sale in the auction, although I doubt if these two men looking at this one were serious buyers.
I don't know whether they kick the wheels or not. If they do it would sure hurt!
The sticker price was $6,775 with all proceeds going to the auction cause.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
The old order Mennonites also use bikes and typically place a cardboard box on the back for hauling stuff.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
This customized hit and miss engine powered an ice cream maker.
We all enjoyed a bowl of fresh delicious home-made ice cream.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
This one was made to look like a train engine.
The smokestack was over 10 feet tall!

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania

Tomorrow we will share some more photos from the auction focusing on the auction sales and food!

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.)

"Order My Steps"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"He Will Come And Save You"  Video  Bob Fitts

"Faithful One"  Video  Robin Mark

Regular readers know I enjoy observing, commenting and taking photographs of the old order way of life of the Lancaster County "Plain People".  Here are some beautiful photos from our local tourism site. They also offer a high resolution link for each photo.

By the way: The security camara in today's produce wagon photo did not appear to be working but was merely a deterrent!

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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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