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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Backyard view August 2011
View from our bedroom window
With abundant rains over the last several weeks our backyard is a verdant oasis.
We often sit on the deck swing and enjoy the picturesque view.

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"The Good Deposit"

"O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you" (1 Timothy 6:20). "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you" (2 Timothy 1:14).

Several years ago I rode to the bank with an Amish friend in his horse and buggy. I could have driven him which would have been a lot faster, but he drove the team and I rode along for the visit. His young son Moses joined us (mostly for the lollipop offered by the cashier). The trip was pleasant as I observed sights along the way I hadn't noticed before all the while listening to the excited chatter from Moses as he asked his dad questions in Pennsylvania Dutch.

At the bank drive through I found myself embarrassed a bit as the horse made an exhaust emission as we were taking our turn right in front of the cashier. My friend Jesse just smiled, probably a bit amused at my consternation. After all, he was used to this.

Amish buggy at drive-through laneYesterday I shared the photo to the right taken last week in New Holland, PA of an Amish buggy at a bank drive-through lane. A careful observation will reveal that this horse had also made an exhaust emission, or as we may say "left a carbon footprint". Nelson, a friend of ours and local reader, observed after viewing the photo, "One would have to guess what kind of transaction they were there for. However it is already very clear that they did make a “deposit”!

It's funny what may prompt a spiritual message but let's transition that rather coarse thought to a much higher level, one of great importance, I'm talking about a spiritual deposit, that is, the good deposit of faith entrusted to our care.

In the two Biblical epistles to Timothy the apostle Paul was passing the torch of faith to the succeeding generation. Paul calls this faith the "good deposit".  Although the direct recipient of these letters was Timothy, each believer in every generation does well to heed the solemn charge in the daily Scriptures.  Perhaps you will do so as well.

I recall preaching from this text and coincidentally we had a visitor by the name of Timothy. He told me later that when I emphasized, "O Timothy…" it shook him up a little, as he thought, "Oh no, the preachers preaching right at me."  He was doubly attentive after that point! Well the fact of the matter is I was preaching to him and all others in attendance!

Today I place my name into this charge that Paul so solemnly gave to Timothy and encourage you to do so as well. In my case the passage would read, "O Stephen, guard the deposit entrusted to you."

Each generation has a responsibility in guarding the deposit of faith passed on by the preceding generation and in turn passing it on unchanged to the succeeding one.  That's at the very heart of what Biblical Christian faith and ministry is all about.  We must vigilantly continue to, "Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).

Paul set forth the pattern to Timothy, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2). In a sense I am both receiving the faith and passing it on simultaneously.

As I study the Bible I'm still reaching back and receiving.  I also benefit from many believers in past generations who have guarded the good deposit as well as my elders in my generation who are still living.  And I'm passing it on as well. Brooksyne and I view this online writing ministry as a part of our passing on the faith.

Open Bible to Genesis chapter 1However I consider my generation and more specifically my own life. I consider this both individually and for the church at large.  In my heart I believe there are significant ways the modern, visible church is slipping in this regard and it brings grief to my spirit. For many years now some have felt the need to concede to modern science certain long held biblical views in regard to the Creation account. I have always maintained that once you start conceding where do you stop? Not surprisingly to me is that now supposedly "evangelical scholars" are denying that there was a literal Adam and Eve. (See below for link to article.)

And yet I am convinced that there will always be a remnant church, consistently holding to the faith and truths of Holy Scripture until our Lord returns. Christ has stated that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18). This true church may very well be hated by the world, for as it contends for the truth and the faith once for all entrusted to the saints, it will be labeled stupid, ignorant, intolerant, mean-spirited, hateful and even dangerous. In fact it already is.

May the Lord help us to be faithful in holding onto the Living Word, not compromising its message through our speech, lifestyle, or our doctrinal views.  As we pass it on to the next generation in our present generation, may we do so without changing or watering down the truths and commands God sets forth in His Word.  Let us not customize or interpret God's timeless truths to more comfortably adjust our viewpoints to the trends of our society.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
 Father, the commandments that You give are to be impressed upon our hearts. Your love motivates us to obey Your commands and Your holiness teaches us to align our desires with Your own.  Help us to be extremely cautious about new teachings that are pleasing to the ear and popular with our present generation, but do not bear witness with our spirit or Scripture.  As we study Your Holy Word, from cover to cover, and meditate upon Your principles we will hold on to that which is of most importance and pass on to those who come behind the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints of all generations.  Amen.

Selected portions of verses implemented into our daily prayer: Deuteronomy 6:6, Colossians 1:13,14

The Elizabethtown Fair

Beginning this week and all through the fall Lancaster County has many community fairs. These are more like County Fairs in other areas I have lived in and the E-town fair is one of the largest with thousands of people crowding the walkways. Last night Ester and I went on opening night and over the next couple of days we will share some photos. Our first set is some of the people we meet at these community gatherings. It's a wholesome sight to see people gathering and visiting with one another.

Rohrer family at E-town fair
The Rohrer family are a real blessing to the Webers since they are our dog sitters when we are away!  This is doubly appreciated during Mollie's rather rascally puppy days.

Note regarding Mollie: Several weeks ago we shared a video about Mollie learning to catch a Frisbee. Well she's become quite proficient and now loves to play Frisbee (I toss and she catches it in the air and will do so non stop day and night. (Indeed one night she had to go to the bathroom and we played about 3:00 in the morning. In fact if you just say "Frisbee" she practically goes crazy with excitement so we spell it out and what do you know; now she also knows what we are spelling.

Clay Henry and wife at E-town fair
You just may see people you haven't seen for a long time. Clay worked in a plant I visited as chaplain about 8 years ago. He told me his joy is now working as a QC manager in a large feed mill operation here in our area.

Galen at Gideon booth at E-town fair 2011
I stopped by to see Galen and another Gideon at the Gideon booth. They were distributing Gideon New Testaments.

Joe and   Sherer at E-town fair 2011
Nice to visit with Pastor Joe and Mary Lou Sherer. I commended him and his church for passing out free water and a witness for Christ

E-town fair visitor
I can't claim this man as my friend but it was interesting to see him.
Anyone recognize him?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Will Not Offer Anything That Costs Me Nothing"  Video  Bobby Michaels  This is an outstanding song of commitment.  This version also includes the lyrics.

"Find Us Faithful"  Video Steve Green  Brooksyne received an interesting phone call. An elderly friend, although healthy at the present time and having no reason to believe her death is imminent, is wisely making preparations for her funeral.  She wanted the lyrics to this familiar Christian song by John Mohr titled, "Find Us Faithful".  It has a recurring line that states "May all who come behind us find us faithful."

"False Start? The Controversy Over Adam and Eve Heats Up" The article referred to in today's message by Albert Mohler The denial of an historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the Gospel.

Finally today, a reminder to do a spell check when you place lettering on a church sign:
E-town fair visitor
This church, which is near the fair, blesses the fair goers with free parking. (Some lots were charging as much as $5.00 per car).  I wondered when I looked at the sign if there might be some spiritual or humorous message in the missed letter sort of like one I've seen that states, "What's missing in Chch?"  But so far I have been unable to come up with one.
Any one have any ideas?

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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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