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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Amish scooters against barn, Bird-In-Hand, PA 6/24/11
Evidence of a large activity!
I took this photo last week at the Lancaster Auction in Bird-In-Hand.  These scooters are used by the Amish who, at least in our area, do not use bicycles.

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"Faithful Friends"

"Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble" (Proverbs 25:19).

I had a visit to my dentist yesterday. An annual exam revealed some cavities and I had to go back to have them filled. Although it is more preventative to save the teeth it was also causing some pain.

Our friend Wendy works for the dentist, Dr. Dinse, so Ester went with me, not so much to care for her dad, but mostly to see Wendy!  Wendy is our former pastor's wife and a cheerful sister who lights up any room she's in.

We are blessed by having adequate access to dental care here in America, something we may easily take for granted. But I only need to muse for a few minutes of the availability of dental care in many third world countries and view a few photos of rotten teeth to remind me of this blessing!

A toothache is something I suppose all of us have experienced at some point in life. I recall a lengthy period in New England when I had a bad tooth that eventually needed extraction. I procrastinated dreading the pain and the cost but it didn't get any better. Finally I had suffered long enough and had it removed. What a blessed relief when the bad tooth was gone - my whole body felt better.

Many of you can identify with me can't you?  You've had a toothache. You've tried the Orajel and other home remedies. Perhaps you placed a heating pad on your cheek or a bag of ice. Anything to get some relief.  You finally go to the dentist. If not a bad tooth you've surely had "a lame foot" at some time in your life.  I've had both! I get the idea that Solomon was speaking from experience as well in this Proverb.

The Bible has some interesting verses about teeth. The most common reference is the "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" found numerous times in a variety of places. The most colorful reference is when Job describes his physical plight, "I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth" (Job 19:20). And here's a romantic line for men the next time you express affection to your wives: "Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is alone" (Song of Solomon 6:6). Be prepared for her bewildered response to such romantic overtures!  

When Stephen boldly proclaimed God's Word the unbelieving crowd reacted by gnashing their teeth. 
"When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him." What a word picture describing intense anger! To a much less important degree, I can easily see in my mind's eye our 7 year old dog Roxie getting extremely annoyed at Ester's 6 month pup Mollie.  When she's had enough with Mollie's antics she growls and gnashes her teeth at her. Up until we got Mollie I never saw Roxie's full set of teeth.

The Proverb of "a bad tooth or a lame foot" is a simile to describe another condition; "reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble."  And I suspect most of us have experienced this as well.  We've felt the sharp sting and deep disappointment of disloyalty and rejection that is especially painful "in times of trouble". Job stated in the midst of his trouble, "All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me" (Job 19:19).

I've been so blessed by faithful friends but certainly have had the experience of a friend turning against me, although I choose not to focus on those painful memories.  Instead I focus on the blessing of steadfast, loyal friends of whom I have many. In this encouragement I want to consider the wonderful contribution of true and faithful friends who are there and who are reliable in the inevitable times of trouble in our lives.

I especially like lasting, reliable friends. We need good friends don't we; friends who are loyal and faithful, particularly in times of trouble.  I sure want to be known as that kind of friend. I certainly don't want someone's memories of me to be so dreadful it stirs up the painful analogy of a bad tooth or a lame foot!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Jesus, You are a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  We thank You also for our brothers and sisters in the faith who are often closer than our blood relations because we are joined together as a family of believers sharing common experiences and spiritual goals.  So many times we find strength and encouragement from those who bear our burdens, lend a hand, and hold us accountable for our attitudes and actions.  Thank You for loving, supportive, and reliable friends who draw us to our true source of hope and strength, especially in times of trouble. In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Lancaster County, PA watermelon planting
Yesterday I asked why a particular branch of old order horse and buggy Mennonites use tractors with steel wheels (no rubber tires). The answer: Use of steel wheels ensures tractors are not used as a substitute for automobiles to run errands or to make more extensive trips than are convenient with horse-drawn carriages. The steel wheel rule also prevents large agricultural operations, reinforcing an emphasis on small farms that provide manual labor for all of the family members. Source  However... You still see these tractors on the road!

Lancaster County, PA Judgment Day sign
We pass this interesting "witness" sign on Hollander Road between New Holland and Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Reading it in passing makes it appear that, should you happen to be unprepared for Judgment Day, you can still rent a trailer for $25.00 a day!  

When I see this sign I also think of an old song and a memory of my Dad and me traveling about the Kansas City area in his pickup truck back in the sixties listening to one of his favorite singers on the old push-button AM radio!  Video
While I'm at it I am smiling as I recall another Roger Miller song,
"Kansas City Star, that's what I are"  Video

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Old Friends"  Video  Gaither Homecoming  Great song, especially as you get older!  Another version

"Old Friends"
 Video  This is not a religious song but I still like the sentiment and sound and it does go with today's message!

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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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