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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Greystone Manor Bed and Breakfast, Bird In Hand, PA 7/27/11
The Greystone Manor Bed and Breakfast
in Bird In Hand, PA has beautiful gardens.

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"A Purposeful Resolve"

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself" (Daniel 1:8). "At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent" (Daniel 6:4).

Andy Larrimore
Andy Larrimore is a long-time friend from New England who runs his own website design business, developing websites for both secular companies and churches. He began work on a large multi-thousand dollar secular account when he encountered a problem. He noted that the site would contain material that he had determined in the formation of his business he would not work on. 

He declined the job and wrote back to the client; "Several years ago I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, and as a Christian have determined to live by the principles set forth in the Bible. I determined when I started my web design business that I would continue to follow the Scriptures in my business dealings and my company would abide by them no matter what the financial impact it may be. One of the policies I established is: 'Webs by Andy will not build or consult on web sites that contain or will contain material of an adult only nature, langua
ge of a morally questionable nature, profanity or other morally offensive content'."  He had clearly drawn his line in the sand and he stood by it.  We sure need people who live by their principles today don't we?

Daniel in his youth
Some sixty years separate the events described in our two daily texts.  The first describes Daniel as a young man separated from his family after being taken captive into Babylon. He made a purposeful resolution to stay true to his faith. I have always drawn strength and encouragement from this verse and consider the unseen influence of his parents and other godly leaders when he was young in equipping him for such a decision.

Daniel praying
The second describes Daniel as an old man, still faithfully serving God and admired even among his most ardent critics for his integrity. Here we find him late in his career serving in government office during the reign of Darius, who happened to be the third world emperor he served under. His righteousness and Darius' intention to further promote him prompted jealousy in the other leaders. They looked for a basis to make charges but were unable to find any. What a powerful testimony he had: "They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent." The events that follow lead to the lion's den and one of the great stories of deliverance in the Bible.

Daniel in lion's den
What a steadfast man Daniel was! Every generation needs men and women like him. Surely we need such strong unwavering followers of Christ today! The specific sources of temptation may vary, but we all need to "purpose in our heart" that we will stay faithful to God and His truth.  Like Daniel we need to be trustworthy. How do people view our character?  Are we trustworthy? Have we made a purposeful resolve to stay faithful?  Let us take the proper steps to make sure that we do.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I thank you for the "Daniels" of our day. Many of us grew up with fathers and mothers who not only taught us right from wrong, but modeled it daily in their relations with family and others. So many today are growing up without Biblical models or Scriptural instruction which has brought about much confusion about what is right and wrong, true or false. The power of Your inspired Holy Word reveals absolute truth and is taught by examples of people such as Daniel. He didn't allow his fear, pride, or earthly ambitions to compromise his integrity. Even as Daniel stood the test while continually overcoming the tempter, I pray that You, Father, would help us to prove our loyalty to You when faced with daily temptations, especially those that are subtle. May our resolve to do good far exceed our temptation to do evil. Amen.  

"More Men Like Daniel" framed hymn

I have a framed copy of an old hymn that hangs on our office wall beside me as I work. It's not well known and in fact I'm not sure I've ever seen it in a hymnal.  It has long been out of copyright so I can share it here. Although written nearly 100 years ago like all Godly truths it is "forward compatible" (see Monday's message).

We need more men like Daniel to stand for God and right;

Men clean and strong, who hate the wrong,
And for the truth will fight.
When those controlled by evil their base designs pursue,
We need more men like Daniel who never prove untrue.

We need more men like Daniel their virtue here to show;
Men bold, sincere, who know no fear when called to face the foe.
Though dangers dark may threaten, they crave not ease or rest.
We need more men like Daniel who boldly stand the test.

We need more men like Daniel whose faith defied the king;
Who knelt and prayed when plans were laid
his shameful death to bring.
But God sent down His angel His all to guard and shield;
We need more men like Daniel whose hearts will never yield. *

* "More Men Like Daniel" Neal McAulay/Charles Gabriel © 1922 Homer Rodeheaver

Some Scenes From Yesterday

Lancaster County melon harvest 7/27/11
We had a meeting in the morning then went over to our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth to see their new baby. On the way we passed this tractor and wagon with a load of freshly harvested melons (watermelons and cantaloupe).

Lancaster County melon harvest 7/27/11
One of the benefits of working the fields is a slice of fresh watermelon right from the field. It looks like this worker was enjoying it but I prefer my watermelon chilled!

Pony ride 7/27/11
This little boy was enjoying his miniature horse ride.

Nick Nichols 7/27/11
We stopped at the Bird In Hand Farmer's Market for lunch and while sharing a cup of corn chowder and fresh pecan sticky buns we met Nick Nichols. Nick is a long-time reader from our area. He is enthusiastically hi-tech and is wearing a blacktooth device around his neck, and explaining to me how it works with his I-phone. He had just taken my photo! He would be a good salesman for Apple.

Greystone Manor Bed and Breakfast, Bird In Hand, PA 7/27/11
Another view of the Greystone Manor

Jason and Becky Oberholser 7/27/11
Last night we heard a report from Jason and Becky Oberholtzer who are in Navajo mission work in New Mexico. Becky grew up in the church we served in northern Pennsylvania, the daughter of our friends Greg and Linda Burns.

Burns familyHere's a photo of the Burns family in 1986 at the groundbreaking for our new church building. Greg and Linda are holding their son, Danny, while Becky looks up with a big smile wondering what's going on. I recently received notice that Daniel is now in missions service in Mexico with CAM International! A heartwarming pastoral story comes out of this home. One year I challenged the people to memorize a  verse from each book of the Bible. I reasoned that when we get to heaven and meet Haggai, Habakkuk or other more obscure Bible characters it would be nice to recall something they wrote. So I carefully chose a verse from each book and over the course of 66 weeks challenged the people to memorize one selected verse per week. About half way through that same year we were visiting the Burns family and Becky, a very small child at that time, was memorizing these verses right along with her parents. She has told us she still remembered doing that (although she could not necessarily remember every verse now!) We considered that when we see these verses or hear them read, even if we don't remember them word for word, we can remember the setting or book from which they came. That's a blessing that remains even when much of our memories fade with time.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Am Resolved"  Video  Ernest V. Stoneman

1. I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world's delight;
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

2. I am resolved to go to the Saviour,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.

3. I am resolved to follow the Saviour,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living way.

4. I am resolved to enter the Kingdom,
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.

I will hasten to Him,
Hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Greatest, Highest,
I will come to Thee.

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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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