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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Painted milk can at Elizabethtown Fair
This beautifully painted milk can on display at the Elizabethtown Fair has a winter covered bridge scene on the other side making for dual season settings!

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"A Jealous God"

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments"  (Exodus 20:4-6).  "For the Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14).

Sign on tractor at Etown FairI saw this interesting plaque on a tractor at the E-town Fair, a rather blunt way of informing the curious to keep their hands off; "This tractor is like a wife, if it's not yours don't touch!"

Now initially it could seem that the owner is expressing a rather brutish, selfish attitude, yet it was he who spent considerable time and expense in restoring the tractor so the plaque seems quite reasonable and is presented in a humorous but very pointed message.

Day by day messages are flashed before our eyes through T-shirts, billboards, text messages, emails, road signs, tattoos, etc.  Many of these messages are benign and simply part of the communication landscape of our day. But  a growing number of these messages are unashamed, blatant expressions of mockery and hatred toward God and toward those who follow Him. This can be seen in a lot of different ways but I most frequently see these messages as bumper stickers or written on T-shirts.

Many of us have learned the Ten Commandments as young children. In our minds we have probably correctly summed up this long second commandment with "no idols". However in our daily text I have provided the entire commandment which essentially gives the basis for no idols; "for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God."

Generally we characterize jealousy as a negative characteristic and indeed the Scripture often portrays it that way such as in 1 Corinthians 3:3 where Paul writes, "You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?"

But there is a place for Godly jealousy and it is revealed that God Himself is a jealous God.  In fact C.H. Spurgeon has an entire sermon on this subject titled, "A Jealous God".

"God is love" inscription (Greek)Over the years I have preached messages and certainly written about the attributes of God such as His love.  The inscription on the left is found on an ancient stele in Mount Nebo and states "God is love" in Greek.

But I have to admit that in over 35 years of ministry I don't ever recall preaching a sermon on the subject of God being a jealous God. In fact I don't even recall alluding to it, though I surely have, at least I hope so! After all, as a minister I am commissioned to preach the whole counsel of God and this is surely one of the characteristics that God has revealed concerning Himself. And I suspect for many readers this may be the first time they ever really considered the Jealousy of God.

C.H. SpurgeonIt's a hard topic though; hard to develop and probably hard for many of you to read. Reading sermons like Spurgeons I am reminded of a comment John Keefer, a pastor friend of mine, made concerning much of today's preaching; "preacherettes preaching sermonettes developing Christianettes."

So today I am going to let Spurgeon help me with the main points! After all, his material is way out of copyright! And if you desire and are up to it you can read the entire sermon online (link below).

Reverently, let us remember that:

Richard L. Strauss in his message also titled "A Jealous God" sums this topic up well, "So our God is a jealous God! The truth of His jealousy challenges us to give God His due and to put Him before all else. But it likewise guarantees that He is looking out for our best interests. Getting to know Him as a jealous God will increase our level of devotion to Him, deepen our trust in Him, and strengthen our dedication to pray for others and faithfully share His truth with them."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is easy to judge the Israelites in their wilderness wanderings as they were continually drawn into idol worship.  And yet we ourselves must daily resist the temptation to make people or things more important than You, our heavenly Father. These idols will capture our hearts, our intellect, our passion, our time, and our finances so that the kingdom of God is no longer that which we seek first.  All glory, honor, and worship belongs to You and You alone. Amen

The Elizabethtown Fair

This week and all through the early fall here in Lancaster County we have many community fairs. These are more like County Fairs in other regions we have lived in. The E-town fair is one of the largest with thousands of people crowding the walkways. Yesterday I posted  photos of some of the people we meet at these community gatherings. Today we will show a few of the interesting stuff we saw!

Ester with tractor display at 2011 E-town fair
Ester knew I would want to walk through the large tractor display and she did so with a good attitude! The Etown fair has a larger tractor display than I've seen at any State Fair.

1911 New Holland tractor at E-town fair
This is a New Holland tractor/engine (not sure) built in 1911.

Landscape display at E-town fair
The fair walkways are crowded with people so I saw this attractive landscape display as sort of an oasis!

The man unidentified in yesterday's photo from the E-town Fair is Tom Corbett, our Pennsylvania governor! I was standing just looking around when I saw a contingent coming by and secret service like characters in dark glasses and loopy things coming out of their ears (headphones). I scanned through the group and saw the governor.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"A Jealous God"  Video  Know Hope Collective  I was pleased to see there is a song written using this theme.

"You Are My All In All"
 Video  Dennis Jernigan

"The Greatest Thing"   Video  Shannon Wexelburg

"God And God Alone"  Video  Steve Green

"You Are God Alone"  Video  Phillips, Craig, & Dean

"A Jealous God" Sermon by C.H. Spugeon  Note: Reading a Spurgeon sermon I realize how shallow so much preaching is today (including my own!) I consider thousands of people gathered in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London on Sunday Morning, March 29th, 1863. Spurgeon also had no benefit of sound reinforcement (did they have crying babies?) or of PowerPoint. But the people at that time were more conditioned to being attentive with less need for entertainment.

"A Jealous God" Study by Richard L. Strauss  Actually this message, written by a contemporary (although he is now with the Lord) is a bit easier to read.

Yesterday I shared this photo, 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.
Suggestions from readers:
"God desires Justice, this requires U to act!"
"Jstice and mercy met U at the cross."
"Justice did not require You, but it did require Christ."
"You and Mercy Met at the Cross"

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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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