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Friday, July 22, 2011

Produce stand in Lancaster County PA 7/21/11
It was very hot yesterday and these innovative Amish folks, along with many other home producers, decided an umbrella might keep the produce a bit fresher. We bought tomatoes, peppers and eggplant and had them all for dinner. Brooksyne made me one of my favorite dishes, "Eggplant Parmesan"!

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"I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands" (Haggai 1:11).

Gatorade bottleIt is very hot and dry in our part of the world. Yesterday it reached 100 degrees and it's supposed to be even hotter today. The temperatures and dry weather is presenting drought-like conditions and it's beginning to really show with some plants. Brooksyne spends a good deal of time watering, although we hope we don't run our well dry!

Yesterday during our chaplain visits the work conditions were quite hot and large fans were placed close to workers in an effort to keep them cool (although cool is not exactly the word, but you know what I mean). One company thoughtfully provided a large ice tub full of bottles of Gatorade! I teased the workers suggesting they pretend they're in a sport's training camp. I was offered one and enjoyed it as I walked through the production area visiting with the employees.

Somali drought 2011Last night I watched a news report about a severe drought in Somalia that has a way of putting things in proper perspective. Due to the drought conditions 500,000 children are considered imperiled. Graphic scenes of life in the refugee camps should be a "get real" slap on our face for any complaining we might do!

Last night Brooksyne talked to her brother, Jody, who lives in Oklahoma. They discussed the drought that is hurting the farmers in parts of Oklahoma and through much of Texas. Times of relatively short-term drought such as Oklahoma and Texas are presently experiencing reminds us of one of God's ways of getting the attention of His people in the Scriptures.

I've often wondered what would happen if God sent a major drought upon our land. I'm curious as to the reactions of the politicians. What would the scientists do? I wonder about the religious community.

I would hope that true followers of Jesus Christ might spring into action and recognize God's Hand in the matter realizing that we've been given an opportunity to demonstrate our trust in God.  Sure, we will pray for rain.  I remember my very first country church in Missouri and the very earnest prayers for rain in that small farming congregation and the deep joy when those prayers were answered.

But there may very well come a time when they are not answered in the short term. The God that called for the drought at the time of Haggai has not changed. Today there are parts of the world like Somalia that have had very serious and prolonged drought with disastrous consequences. I marvel at why God's Hand of judgment has not swept over our land. I believe it will and I encourage you today to confess your sin, prepare your heart, and place your trust fully in the Lord.  Thank God for His many promises to take care of His children even as judgment is being pronounced!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, you rain showers of blessings on us daily. They're so bountiful and normal to our daily lives that they go by unnoticed by the vast majority.  But when nature goes off course and there is flooding, drought, earthquakes, or other disasters we recognize that we are totally reliant on Your mercies and goodness. We thank You for providing for our needs and hearing the cries of Your people when we call upon You for help. Teach us Your ways in answered and unanswered prayer, we pray.  Amen.

Wagon wheel revolving mailbox post in Lancaster County PA 7/21/11
This mailbox post on Mount Pleasant Road has an interesting feature. It's has a swiveling wagon wheel mounted on it with the mailboxes attached to the wheel. The mailman can pull up and just rotate the wheel to fill each box!  J. Kopp happens to be a friend and also a shop teacher.

Old order Mennonite on bicycle in Lancaster County PA 7/21/11
Did we mention how hot it was here yesterday? We had a visit to the Fairmount Nursing Home near Farmersville PA to see an elderly resident. The home sits on a beautiful bluff overlooking Lancaster County farmland from each direction. We came up behind this old-order Mennonite bicyclist riding up the hill to the home in mid afternoon sweltering heat. When we passed we noted it was an older lady. May God bless her! (This particular type of old-order Mennonites use both horse and buggy and bicycles, often with a plain cardboard box for hauling stuff such as the one above.)

Ester with miniature horses
We stopped by a stand  and Ester likes Root Beer. This was Amish home-made root beer and she didn't really care for it!  We did enjoy visiting with the miniature horses and the new colt born to April Breeze.

How Hot Is It?

(Someone sent me this observation)

You know it's hot when:
  • The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.
  • The trees are whistling for the dogs.
  • The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance. (SCW note: What's new about that!)
  • Hot water now comes out of both taps. (SCW note: I recall as a child in Belton Missouri on hot summer days never getting cold water out of the tap on a really hot summer day)
  • You can make sun tea instantly.
  • You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron. (SCW note: Remember the old vinyl seats?)
  • The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.
  • You discover that it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.
  • You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.
  • You actually burn your hand opening the car door.
  • You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.
  • Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"
  • You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
  • The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
  • Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.
  • The cows are giving evaporated milk.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Let It Rain"  Video  Michael W. Smith (This song is speaking spiritually but it still fits well with today's message.)

"There Shall Be Showers Of Blessing"  Video  Statesmen Quartet

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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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