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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Planting 5/7/11
We passed this strange looking contraption on the farm around the corner from our house and heard lots of laughter from the riders.
Anyone know what this is and what they are planting?
(Answer here and I will post the correct answer tomorrow)

40 Day New Testament Reading/Listening Plan: We began a 40 day New Testament reading plan on April 3. If you want to participate and have not been following the reading schedule up to this point we suggest starting with today's reading and reading previous portions after this reading period ends. Here's the entire 40 day scheduleThe links below will open to the selection to be read along with a built-in listening device.  Three more days!  Today we begin Revelation.
  • Today's reading (May 10): Revelation 1-7 beginning here.
ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"A Faithful Witness"

"I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to My name. You did not renounce your faith in Me, even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives" (Revelation 2:13).

At any given time scores of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted for their faith. Most of the time these persecutions take place under the radar but periodically the awful plight of Christians living in Muslim-dominated lands does make the news. Consider the horror of being a Christian in Egypt, which is presently in the news.

Book of RevelationToday in our 40 day New Testament reading schedule we begin the book of Revelation, certainly one of the hardest books to understand which leads to a variety of interpretations by earnest followers. The first several chapters are letters from Christ to churches.

In the daily Scripture text Christ is speaking to the church in Pergamum, an otherwise unknown church in Asia Minor, and one of the seven recipients of the letters to the churches.  It was a wealthy city whose name meant citadel. 

Jesus said to this church, "I know where you live."  Aren't you glad today that Christ knows where you live?  He knows all about your special circumstances and difficulties. Pergamum had a remarkable distinctive and we are uncertain precisely what Christ meant – "where Satan has his throne."  Suffice it to say that this must have been an evil and hard place to hold the faith!  Christ commends this church for
remaining true to His name and not renouncing their faith in Him.

Antipas, who had the descriptive character of being Christ's "faithful witness" was martyred late in the lifetime of the Apostle John, although little else is factually known about him from respected historical sources. However, by tradition he was reputed to be the Bishop of the Christian church at Pergamum, and martyred because of his consistent faithful witnessing in the face of all the satanic evil present there.

When Antipas was advised, "Antipas, the whole world is against you!", he replied, "Then I am against the whole world!" Antipas was supposedly roasted alive in a hollow life-size bull, which had a bonfire under its belly, because he refused to renounce his faith in Christ Jesus. His faithful witness and martyrdom for his unshakable faith in Christ Jesus are what earned Antipas mention in the pages of Holy Scripture.

The verse ends with this phrase, "
where Satan lives" which suggests that there are specific locations of evil and satanic influence that are harder to serve in than others.  God bless our faithful brothers and sisters who live for God in difficult outposts like this and missionaries who follow God's call to serve in these extremely oppressive areas. Christ commended this church for remaining true to His name. They did not renounce their faith even during the most difficult of circumstances.

What about you?  Be assured that the immutable God of the universe knows where you live and where you stand.  Today, let us make a renewed commitment, like Antipas and the church in Pergamum, to remain true to His name and be His faithful witness!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, like the seven churches in Revelation, we too have strengths and weaknesses, in which we receive Your commendation and need Your correction.  We want to be so yielded to Christ that we live for Him and are willing to die for Him.  We pray for our brothers and sisters who are currently facing all kinds of torment, suffering, and loss as they stand firm in the faith.  We pray that the Good News of Christ is reaching even more due to the persecuted church just as it has throughout the centuries.  Those who work the hardest to dispense with the Gospel are now exposed to it through the bold witness of those being imprisoned and persecuted.   Bibles, freedom, and personal rights may be withheld, but no ungodly official is able to quench Your Spirit that is very much alive in the hearts of those being persecuted for their faith.  The Word of God concealed in their hearts gives them power from on high to overpower the authority of sinful man. Encourage our brothers and sisters as they endure for the sake of Christ.  Prompt us by Your Holy Spirit to be faithful in prayer for them, that they will be released from their oppressors, and that their oppressors will come to faith.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

  • This morning we heard from a reader in a country currently undergoing great persecution in the Middle East. We immediately went to prayer on their behalf and considered how our message today is target-on for these dear people.
  • Last week we shared a story about man who has a custom manure application business and affirmed his service. His sister wrote "Thank you for featuring my brother for your dirty jobs special edition piece.  His family is so proud of him and it was a joy to see his children showing Dad on the internet!"

We went over to our neighbors Elam and Naomi Stoltzfus who operate the Creekside Greenhouse for some of our plants this year.

Creekside greenhouse (children on wagon) 5/7/11
As we pulled into the parking area three of their seven children were playing on a wagon.

Creekside greenhouse (interior) 5/7/11
Elam and Naomi have done a great job developing their small business and work very hard, along with their older children.

Creekside greenhouse (canned goods) 5/7/11
You can always count on an Amish-run business to have some canned goods for sale!

Creekside greenhouse (robin eggs) 5/7/11
As Brooksyne looked for flowers I poked around a bit (as is my custom) and noticed nests high among the plants on the upper shelves where flowers were growing in large trays. I raised up my camera to point inside the nest to investigate.  These aren't Easter eggs!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"John The Revelator"  Video  Acapella

"Praise To The Lord, The Almighty"
 Video  Travis Cottrell

"He Leadeth Me"  Video  Acapella  "A faithful follower I would be"

"My Jesus I Love Thee"  Video  Selah

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;

On the home front:

Brooksyne and Ester Mother's Day 5/8/11
Since our 35th wedding anniversary fell on Mother's Day our dinner out became a family affair.  I sat in the booth across from mother and daughter.  It's hard to believe that Ester is now 22 years old.

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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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