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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Corn shocks on Lancaster County PA farm
Corn shocks on an old order farm.
Corn shocks standing in corn fields were once a common sight during harvest. This method
of drying corn was replaced once mechanical harvesters appeared on the scene. However we are blessed to see them still on some of the old order farms serving as a living history demonstration!

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"Remember Your Creator"

"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them'" (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
"As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been" (1 Kings 11:4).

In our Daily Encouragement series we regularly feature stories about people our age or older. However our ministry also includes working with and challenging the younger generation. A noteable example of this in Scripture is Paul working with young Timothy.

Solomon is often reckoned as the wisest man who ever lived.  He presided over the building of the temple during a time of great peace and prosperity in Israel's history when he lived around 1000 BC.

However he also had some serious moral flaws and the Biblical record faithfully acknowledges them, an evidence of the integrity of Scripture. I recall a professor pointing out that the inclusion in the Bible record of events such as David's sin with Bathsheba or Solomon's never-ending list of wives and concubines gives evidence to its authenticity. The writers of the Bible applied no airbrush to Biblical characters.

Ecclesiastes seems to be the expression of a man who, although rich in wisdom, had grown cynical in his faith.  I believe this is related to his disobedience, for the Bible specifically states, "As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been" (1 Kings 11:4).

In the final chapter of Ecclesiastes Solomon reaches deep and again expresses the faith of his youth. He acknowledges the trouble that inevitably is a part of life and even the cynicism that many experience with age, but I'm intrigued by his call to "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth."

I like the way the Life Application study note treats this verse: "A life without God can produce a bitter, lonely, and hopeless old age.  A life centered around God is fulfilling; it will make the "days of trouble" - when disabilities, sickness, and handicaps cause barriers to enjoying life - satisfying because of the hope of eternal life.  Being young is exciting, but the excitement of youth can become a barrier to closeness with God if it makes young people focus on passing pleasures instead of eternal values.  Make your strength available to God when it is still yours - during your youthful years. Don't waste it on evil or meaningless activities that become bad habits and make you callous.  Seek God now."

I know many who have remembered their Creator and have done so throughout their lives  right into their senior years. They're not cynical, but amidst the inevitable disabling effects of aging, they rejoice in God's love and provision. They demonstrate a great spiritual maxim: Obedience brings blessing. 

This day whether you're young or old I challenge you, deep in your soul, to remember your Creator!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we're reminded by the cynical attitude of Solomon in his latter years, that it is essential for us to stay on the straight and narrow path laid out for us. We have no way of knowing when we yield to temptation just how far sin will take us, how long it will hold us, nor the damage it will do. So we must be wise and resist sin so that we find blessing instead of shame, victory instead of failure, and life instead of death.  Help us to never weary of following You. All the days of our life we want to remember You, our Creator. Amen.

We enjoy visiting with folks of all ages and nationalities.
Today we will share several photos of some of our younger friends

Dennis came to the states from Cuba as a young teenager about ten years ago. He gave his life to the Lord about four years ago and is now active in his church teaching the adult Sunday School class!  He is standing beside a large pump he assembled at Valco where we serve as chaplains.

Jeff and Isiah
Jeff and Isiah work together as a team on machines that make live animal traps in New Holland. I enjoy visiting with them weekly and challenging them to serve the Lord faithfully. As I walk through the plant Dennis, Jeff, and Isiah often have Christian radio playing with  good biblical teaching by proven ministers of the gospel, most from my generation.

Mmele recently came from South Africa and is a real source of light with his big smile and appreciative, joyful disposition.

Jack & Michelle Diffendarfer
Jack is a young man who went on a mission trip this last summer and testified concerning his experience at a company Christmas banquet we attended last Friday night.
He is shown here with his wife Michelle.

Jack Diffendarfer on missions trip
Here's a second photo of Jack. During his mission trip he helped make a playground for the children. It looks like they're wasting no time in breaking it in even during the construction phase!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"When Love Was Born"  Video  Mark Schultz

"Love Came For Me"  Video Shannon Wexelberg  This is a CD Brooksyne has repeatedly played this Christmas season. This particular song has a great message written by Shannon.

"God Of The Ages"  Video  Charles Billingsley

Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)

Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season.

"In Remembrance of Me" pdf  This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services many years.  We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.

"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.

Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18  pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him"  pdf

My First Christmas In Heaven  This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year.  This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.  

Christmas Knowledge Test

We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).

Are you Christmas shopping online?

Christianbook.comDaily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com. Any orders placed to Christian Book Distributers using this link or any specific product link to a recommended resource in a daily encouragement message will help our Daily Encouragement ministry through a small commission on the sale. Thank you for considering using these links when purchasing online through CBD! Tip: If you are regular CBD customer consider bookmarking this link and using it whenever you shop. This Christmas many of our readers will be shopping for gifts that have spiritual and lasting value as well as a means of witness and encouraging others.

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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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