The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Home About Us Archives Free email subscription Listen to these messages
Text only for printing
See here for more info.
<Previous Message Next Message
Friday, November 12, 2010
Village of Farmersville, PA
Many of the trees in our area have dropped all their leaves
but this bright yellow tree seemed to be spreading its wide branches as if to say, "Hey, photograph me. I'm still in my spectacular stage!"
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"You who love the LORD, hate evil" (Psalm 97:10). "Cease to do evil. Learn to do good" (Isaiah 1:16,17). "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21). Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God" (3 John 11).
An interesting distinctive in our area of Pennsylvania are the Amish and old-order Mennonites who live among us or perhaps I should say we live among them. They're also referred to as "plain people". We often meet up with these folks and have become friends with many of them. Last night Brooksyne and I joined some old order Mennonite friends for dinner in their home. They enjoyed showing us around their place and invited us to share photos with our readers following today's message.
The "Plain People" are best known for their simple lifestyle and separation from the "English" lifestyle. "English" is how they refer to those of us not in their culture (whether we are actually English or not). These folks make any travel through our area interesting as you may come upon a horse and buggy or perhaps a group in their distinctive clothing riding on bicycles, scooters or young people in-line skating.
Our friends live in a peaceful little hamlet with the quaint name of Farmersville, which is, as its name indicates, surrounded by farms. Several years ago a bully was attacking old-order Mennonites in this area, shooting at them from behind bushes with pellet rifles or ambushing them as they drove by with sticks and baseball bats. Since the Mennonites have a conviction of non-resistance and choose not to fight back they are especially vulnerable to such attacks. Thankfully the police caught the culprit; a young high school student. I certainly hope justice was served although I don't recall the outcome.
This is a relatively small example of evil, probably not even making the press outside of our region. But to me it illustrates the ever growing hatred and evil of fallen man. It is all too common to hear stories of bullying and the new venues where it is happening such as cyber bullying (bullying over the internet).
But bullying has always been around. I experienced it in Junior High and still specifically recall the bully who wanted to fight me. In the Bible you have bullies such as Nabal in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 25) and Diotrephes in the New Testament (3 John 9,10).
But as the restraints of God's law are neglected and forsaken we see more and more bullying, from crass rudeness to violent road rage. Modern man so wants to be freed from God's laws.
Here in the United States we have an ongoing dispute about posting the Ten Commandments, with the secularists bent on freeing us from even being exposed to them. After all, those who have been exposed to the steady stream of evil permeating our culture, might actually be influenced by them in a positive way! Make no mistake, we have an enemy who is out to steal, kill, and destroy us. He's honed his craft and mastered his techniques ever since the creation of man right up to our present day.
Notice the simple, straightforward command in today's second Scripture text. "Cease to do evil. Learn to do good." God's Word defines evil, both generally and specifically. But today we have increasing confusion about the nature of evil, its origin, and the continued reality of an ever-present enemy of darkness. Let us take to heart this passage: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).
We who follow Christ experience transforming grace which leads us to eagerly heed the commands of Scripture. Our actions and thoughts turn from evil and then we begin the process of learning to do good to others. This includes those who have sought to harm us as we seek to overcome evil with good.
Here's Adam Clarke's perspective on this passage: "He who avenges himself receives into his own heart all the evil and disgraceful passions by which his enemy is rendered both wretched and contemptible." So this is all the more reason we must not return evil for evil, because when we do so we ourselves have chosen to embrace evil if only to dispense of it.
Christ's transforming grace "teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" (Titus 2:12). Today I urge each serious reader who follows Christ to "cease to do evil and learn to do good."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, just as Scripture indicates that Your Spirit who dwells within us is greater than the spirit dwelling in the world, so also the good that dwells within us is greater than the evil from the world. In our human nature we cannot overcome evil, but through our spiritual nature we conquer the ever present evil with the all-powerful good that comes from Your Holy Spirit residing within our hearts. We choose to hate evil and cling to that which is good and thereby overcome evil with good. We go forth as conquerors in the power of Jesus Christ. Amen.
A further reflection worth memorizing:
"Today avoid sin's tempting lures and evil thoughts subdue,
Or sinful things may take control and someday master you."
My old order Mennonite friend was pleased to show me around his place and allowed me to take photos to share with our friends on the internet but requested I not use his name or any facial photos. (A characteristic typical of the old order groups.)
In a small barn behind his house our friend showed us the "motor" to his means of conveyance (a buggy). The horse was happy to receive his daily allotment of oats while we were there.
His property is just over half an acre. He has several fruit trees, a grape arbor and a large vegetable garden.
A tidy toolshop! (Brooksyne suggested I take note of it, and I did!)
He has an interesting hobby collecting real train whistles!
This one is under repair.
What initially prompted our visit was a discussion about the family's canning proficience, especially apple sauce. They put up 250 half gallon jars of apple sauce annually! It's a staple food in their diets everyday. So... they practice the adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctors away."
Of course his wife was making a quilt! This is for one of their children. It's called "The Grand Dahlia" and certainly resembles the dahlia flower. I recognize it from Brooksyne's favorite flowers in the summer. She also sews professionally; in fact she has made over 700 fully lined Mennonite Sunday dress suits for her male customers over the years.
Finally, a quiz. Do you know what this is?
See below footers for answer.
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.)
"How Great Thou Art" Video
"People Need The Lord" Video I chose this song due to recalling a line in it that states, "We are called to take His light, to a world where wrong seems right."
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.
Sign up here for the free daily email encouragement.
Permissions: Please feel free to pass on, reproduce and distribute any material on Daily Encouragement Net, in part or in whole, in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way or charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. It is our desire to spread this material, not protect or restrict it. I do request that you keep the contact, copyright and subscription information intact.
Text only version for printing: To make a text only version for printing (without photos or any of the supplemental materials)
1) Open the basic text editor that comes with all computers (known as wordpad, textpad, etc.) You can also use a program like Word and select paste text only.
2) Select and copy the text from the portion of the message you want to print.
3) Paste into the text pad. (The photos won't show up but you will have a brief text description of the photo which you can delete or just ignore.)
4) Format if you desire (change font, increase or decrease size, etc.)
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."
Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com
© Copyright 2010 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved
Daily Encouragement Net - 495 Kraybill Church Road - Mount Joy, PA 17552 USA
New feature: I am not much for publishing website statistics but sure enjoy geography. When I saw this widget that counts visitors by nation and state I thought it would be interesting to some of our readers. I installed the international widget 4/16/10 and the state widget 4/19/10 (thus the disparity in US state totals). This widget only counts visits to the main page and daily archive.
"Living securely today anchored in God's solid foundation"
Answer to today's photo quiz: The photo is of walnuts drying!