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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
This "hit and miss" engine powered an ice cream maker that made two batches at once and was a real "hit" as far as interest by the men and boys!

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"What A Wonderful Change!"

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath" (1 Thessalonians 1:9b,10).

It's a rather chilly, but absolutely beautiful fall morning here in rural Pennsylvania. In fact at precisely 11:09 here in the Eastern Time zone autumn officially arrived and, of course, the changes are already appearing; all a part of God's design at Creation (see Genesis 1:14). We enjoy the seasonal changes as contributing to the variety of life.

But today we want to share about another type of change.  It's taking place today and it takes place everyday all over the world. Jesus Christ is changing lives!

The Apostle Paul learned from those who had visited the Thessalonian believers about the remarkable evidence of change they witnessed as a result of their genuine conversion.  They had "turned to God from idols."  Likely the idols that Paul referred to are our stereotype image of idols; figures fashioned with wood, metal or stone.  But in turning to God the Thessalonian believers turned away from worthless, lifeless and powerless idols.  That's the healthy norm in genuine conversion!

The Apostle John ended his first epistle by calling on his readers to "keep yourselves from idols."  Today the idols may be fashioned differently than idols mentioned in the biblical records but they're still very much present.  We have them in abundance and in such variety that, should I begin to list them, it would result in too lengthy a message.

Genuine conversion involves turning away from idols which steal our heart's affections from the one true and living God.  Have you turned away?

We make this turn "to serve the living and true God." Everybody is serving someone or something.  A few of our readers may remember the song from the early 80's titled, "Gotta serve somebody"?  (Sadly it appears that the writer of that song served the living and true God but for a very brief season.)  But genuine conversion involves serving the living and true God consistently and faithfully.  Are you doing so?

"And to wait for His Son from heaven." Clearly at the heart of Paul's preaching was a reminder that, as we serve God during our earthly journey, we wait expectantly for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is a great motive for Christian service and godly living while it also prompts us to focus our attention on eternal truths.  Genuine conversion involves expectant waiting for Christ's return, since our heart's affections are to be on things above instead of those things which are earthbound.  Are you looking up expectantly as you live out your Christian life today?  If so, declare with us today,

What a wonderful change
in my life has been wrought
since Jesus came into my heart!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, we're reminded through the writings of the Apostle Paul that our lives are observed by those who see us day in and day out.  What wondrous change comes into our lives as we surrender our hearts to You.  And yet we must be on guard so that we do not allow worthless idols to win our affections; otherwise the light of Your Son Jesus will be diminished in our hearts and in our witness.  We will be no different from the darkened world in which You delivered us from.  No person or object is of greater worth than that of Your Holy Spirit Who resides in our hearts and prompts us to lift our eyes toward our heavenly redemption that is drawing closer every hour.  Thank You for saving us from the coming wrath when Your judgment is poured out on those who do not believe.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  Paul's letter to the Thessalonian believers gave me pause to think about a similar scenario that could happen in our day.  Let's just say there was a crusade, revival, concert, street witness or church service where the salvation message was given and a large number of people responded.  A long period of time has passed since that date and the speaker who issued the challenge returns to see how the people that got saved are doing, and I was among that number.  I wonder if he or she would hear unsolicited reports from others about how different my life has been since that time; how I had become a devout follower of Jesus and influenced others to do the same; how I was a comforter to the broken-hearted, an encourager to those in distress, a witness to biblical truth in a world filled with disillusionment and lies.  How I pray that the above illustration is a reflection of our lives as believers.  I've had opportunity to contact those  who
in my younger years taught me God's Word and let them know personally of the redemptive work God has done in my life.  How much greater when they hear it unsolicited by those who see me day in and day out!

Clinic for Special Children Benefit Auction
Leola, PA
September 18, 2010
(Part 3 of 3)
See Part 1 and Part 2

This last Saturday we went to an auction near Leola, Pennsylvania that raised funds to benefit a clinic that treats Amish and Mennonite children with special needs. It was quite an experience and we want to share our final set of photos from the event.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
In Lancaster County quilts are always a favorite part of any auction of this type. Our area is famous for quilt making and we even have a Quilt and Textile Museum.  This is one of several large rooms which were simultaneously having auctions at the sale.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
Another sale area. Brooksyne and I have never been able to get accustomed to the auction method of buying stuff. Essentially you look over the stuff prior to the sale determining what you might be interested in and then wait till it comes up to bid on it, often hours later.  We feel it's part of the culture that really practices greater patience then we have and the people seem to enjoy each other's company and just watching the sale until the desired item comes up for bid.  The auctioneer is often humorous, colorful and entertaining as well. However, we prefer just knowing the price and then buying it right away!

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
Men's stuff like tools and farm equipment were being sold in this barn.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
All kinds of food was available in this large area including a salad bar!
I had a piece of peach pie, some ice cream and ended with an crispy oatmeal whoopie pie.  Obviously, not a day filled with a healthy food group.  I made up for it the next day.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
Prepping the freshly roasted pork for sandwiches.
This really was a less appetizing sight!

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
BBQ chicken. Hmmm, can you smell the appetizing aroma of chicken being barbequed over red-hot charcoal!  It wafted throughout the air.

Benefit auction near Leola Pennsylvania
The pastry prep tent. The Amish and Mennonites are sure examples of having a strong work ethic, both the men and the women. The children are taught that at an early age. They also really appear to work with joy.

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.)

"What A Wonderful Change In My Life"  Video  I can't understand the language but it's the song I want and these folks sing it with great enthusiasm!  My, can these folks sing!

"Jesus Is The Answer"  Video   Andrae Crouch  This song really tugs at my heart and has since I sang it in a large concert in Springfield Missouri some 35 years ago. And the message is still true!

"Change My Heart O God"  Video  Eddie Espinosa

Final time I will offer this link: 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.

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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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