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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gordonville Mud Sale 3/12/11
Gordonville Mud Sale
The carriage sale was a major source of interest to the Amish.

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"Contend Earnestly"

"Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

When we lived in New England our local paper had a section called "Church Briefs" which gave a brief preview of coming activities in local churches. In a stunning example of apostasy one local "church" announced "First Parish Church will have children dressed in costumes parade in the sanctuary Sunday.  They will then sit down and hear the Rev. Bill Wagner read to them from the new Harry Potter book on how Harry learned to fly a broomstick."   I recall speaking to a layperson who attended this church who told me that his church was really growing with young families in search of "religion".  They apparently find the "faith" expressed in this "church" fits in well with what they already believe!

Jude, who wrote a single chapter book near the end of the New Testament felt a compulsion from the Holy Spirit to write to the early church with the exhortation expressed in our daily Scripture verse. He was concerned about apostasy (falling away from the faith). We must heed Jude's warning today. The ongoing faithfulness to Christ's truth requires that each generation do so.

We are urged to "contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the saints." "Contend" means to "struggle for" and indeed maintaining sound doctrine in the midst of Biblical error, prevailing philosophies or even political correctness can be a struggle.

False doctrines, which are contrary to the Scripture, abound. Some are new, others are ancient errors resurfacing. Early in my ministry I recall Thomas F. Zimmerman, an older preacher respond to a popular, but unscriptural fad that was sweeping through the churches at that time.  "Some of us are old enough that we have seen these errors come around, go away, and come back again." Now, all these years later, I too can say that I've seen the recycling of false doctrine over my over 35 years of ministry.

We are to hold to "the faith that was once for all handed down to the saints." This is the Apostle's doctrine expressed in the Holy Scriptures.  Faithful ministry in every age subsequent to the Apostles has been a declaration of this faith.

Preacher friends, Bible teachers, and Bible students stay true to this faith today.  Contend for it and declare it unashamedly to those whom you influence.  Paul wrote, "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions" (2 Timothy 4:3).

Faithful lay person, be like the Bereans, "who received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).  We must all do our part to abate apostasy.  

Thank God for the faithful remnant who continue to proclaim "the faith once for all handed down."  Let us be counted among them today as we stand up boldly for this faith and confront the heresies of our day.  

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, as we earnestly contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints, we recognize the great responsibility we have to carry out this command in our own generation.  Doctrinal error, intentional or unintentional, brings confusion and division. It can very well lead to eternal damnation instead of eternal life in heaven when we force Scripture "to suit our own passions."  We want to be conveyors of the pure gospel, accepting Your standard of truth, and live righteously through Jesus our Lord.  It is in His name that we pray.  Amen.

Note: We expect to continue with a study from Jude in the next several messages dealing with the specific error he encountered and refuted.  It still exists today.

Brooksyne's Personal Note: Thank you for your prayers that went up on my behalf.  I have been under the weather since Friday but today I was up at 6 A.M. and am starting to feel more like myself.  Not there all the way, but thanking and trusting God that I soon will be.

More photos from the Gordonville Mud Sale held this last Saturday
(For background info in regard to what a "mud sale" is see yesterday's message.)

Gordonville Mud Sale 3/12/11
You bought it, now you have to get it home!

Gordonville Mud Sale 3/12/11
The sale site is right next to the main rail line and every time a train went by a group would walk over for a look.

Gordonville Mud Sale 3/12/11
The Amish boys are ready to help haul the items purchased for a tip. They were kept very busy.
The teenage girls helped out in the food booths or gathered like other American teenagers and fiddled with their cell phones.

Gordonville Mud Sale 3/12/11
It was a great outing for the family and these boys who enjoyed looking out over the sale site.

Katherine's flower
"Pom Pom" Flower
This exotic looking "flower" is really not a flower! We had quite a number of thoughtful responses to a rather tricky question (somewhat rascally really!)  We didn't think anyone would get it but, lo and behold, when I opened the computer this morning we had a correct answer from Patrick in Perth, Australia who wrote, "Looks like chicken wishbones to me!  Could it be?"  
Indeed that is correct.

Now Brooksyne shares the rest of the story!
Jim Showers of Elizabethtown created this most unusual, if not unique, "flower" arrangement.  It's a total of 225 wishbones from chicken, duck, turkey and geese that his Aunt Catherine Fry saved following the special holidays she hosted for her family. She gave them to Jim recently and suggested he find something to do with them, and he did just that.  Of course the  pom poms are the wishbones and the two stems are made of pliable electrical cord.  Once the arrangement was painted and placed in the lovely piece of pottery one would think it to be a flower.

I was visiting Catherine at the nursing home and she said, "What kind of flower do you think this is?"  I had no idea and when she told me I knew we had to share this with our readers.  Catherine is a devout woman of faith who, along with her husband, raised a godly family on a large farm near Elizabethtown, PA. Jim told me this morning, "She was a Martha Stewart of her generation...housekeeping, decorating, baking, and gardening."  Jim has had many years of experience in gardening himself as he worked at Longwood Gardens and headed up many projects there including the beautiful topiary gardens.  He presently works at a nursery near Hershey.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Believe In Jesus"  Video  Marc Nelson

Gordonville Mud Sale  Video  Video

2011 Lancaster County Mud Sale schedule for any who may be interested! This coming Saturday we plan to go to the Penryn Mud Sale which is closer to us.

Like many of you we continue to pray for the people in Japan. Here's a prayer by John Piper that Brooksyne and I prayed together this morning.

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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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