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Monday, August 15, 2011

Old tractor and wagon at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
 This past Saturday we had an Antique Tractor Expo hosted by Dave Becker on his farm about 4 miles from our home. I passed the site Friday in the course of my travels and decided to attend the expo on Saturday. (See below for more photos.)

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"Living Carefully"

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15,16).

I just read an article by Albert Mohler asserting that we are in the midst of a "Moral Revolution" in which he observes that long held standards of morality are being thrown by the wayside. He writes, "There is no escaping the fact that we are living in the midst of a moral revolution. And yet, it is not the world around us that is being tested, so much as the believing church. We are about to find out just how much we believe the Gospel we so eagerly preach."

Things are becoming increasingly topsy-turvey with the continued slide into decadence and denial of God's ways. The prophet Isaiah's words from 2,700 years ago are so amazingly timeless and powerful. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isaiah 5:20).

The Apostle Paul wrote, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight" (1 Corinthians 3:19).  Consider the timely message of these verses in light of the evil behavior that pervades our world today.  Those who engage in wicked behavior have been exalted as role models and trend setters while those who continue to hold to God's holy standards are now being referred to as the "evil ones" for standing in the way of progress.

Yesterday I preached from Ephesians 5:15-20 and challenged our church to use the opportunities God places before us. The daily verse expresses an outstanding expression of truth. I have memorized it and encourage you to do so as well. What a somber expression of reality, as vitally needed today as when the Apostle Paul wrote it nearly 2,000 years ago.
We need to be very careful how we live. Our enemy, the devil, goes about like a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour. Many have lowered their guard but we must resist him, standing firm in our faith.

We need to "live--not as unwise but as wise." We need "the wisdom that comes from heaven" (James 3:17) and this wisdom is increasingly contrary to the wisdom of the world. Remember the old saying, "What's popular may not always be right and what's right may not always be popular." Jesus never let the desire for acceptance or popularity among his hearers dictate the truths he would disclose or errors He would refute.

"The days are evil."  In seeking the true wisdom that comes from heaven I want my eyes to be open to the evil, not blinded by it.

As God's people seeking to live out our faith in these evil days we need to make the most of every opportunity, which the KJV translates as "redeeming the time."  Opportunities abound for the Spirit led, earnest follower of Christ. 

Today how can you and I make the most of every opportunity to express our faith in Christ? As we are open to the daily opportunities God provides for us, seeking to make the most of them, we are living as those who are wise and fortifying ourselves against the evils of our day.

I suggest three commonly held opportunities we have today:
1)  The opportunity to walk with God.
2)  The opportunity to witness for Christ.
3)  The opportunity to worship in the Spirit.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we can be devoured by the evil that surrounds us if we don't walk in the light of Your truth. We want to walk in the true wisdom that comes from heaven, not in the flawed wisdom that comes from the world. Help us to make the most of every opportunity to stand up for divine truth in our speech and in our actions. We want to be the light that shines forth revealing the creeping darkness of our land so that we can show others the way to eternal life.  In the name of Your dear Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

The Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
Dave Becker, a local farmer with a tremendous interest in old time farming, has an annual expo on his farm attracting what seemed like thousands from all over the area. I first met Dave shortly after moving to Lancaster County and rode with him the first time I ever rode in a combine.

Tractor pulling at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
The tractor pulling contest had a lot of spectators and serious contenders!

Loaded hay wagon at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
Old wagon with loose hay.

Loaded hay wagon in barn at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
Hay wagon in barn.

Old wagons at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
Old wagons

Tractor and wagon ride at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
They had lots of people attending the expo and several family rides as well. I especially like this photo because it's the same kind of tractor my Uncle Gentry had on his farm in southern Missouri when I was growing up. I have a lot of great memories on that tractor which was the first I ever drove.

"Train" ride at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
We see this popular "train" ride at many local activities.
The train "cars" are made from 55 gallon barrels!

Old time laundry display at the Northwest Lancaster County Antique Tractor Expo 8/13/11
Displays of other old-time equipment such as these laundry tubs - some of you will remember those days.  The Amish community continues to use ringer washers.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  Video  Christ For The Nations Choir

"Take Time To Be Holy"  Video  Collingsworth Family

"This Little Child"  Video  Scott Wesley Brown  This song is some 25 years old now but seems prophetic in light of how conditions have changed.

Here's the article by Albert Mohler referred to in 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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