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Thursday, July 19, 2012
Ocean City NJ has a long (2.5 mile) and wide boardwalk with beautiful, well-maintained flower pots all along the ocean side. While others in our party were swimming we walked the boardwalk! Of all ocean cities we have visited from Maine to Florida and the US west coast we especially like Ocean City's family atmosphere and its beautiful setting.
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"Tossed Here And There By Waves"
"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14).
Yesterday we took our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth along with their five children and niece, to the shore in Ocean City, New Jersey. Since their personal mode of transportation is a horse and buggy they hire others to take them on longer trips or, as in our case, "English" friends join with them and take a trip together (i.e. we didn't charge them).
Jesse arranged for me to pick up a rented 15 passenger van before we proceeded to pick up his family very early on Wednesday morning. We got home after midnight after dropping off some very tired kids and adults (though the children slept most of the way home, which made it a quick trip for them).
Several years ago we took the Lapp family to the shore but they've grown in age and number since then. Eli, two at the time, studied the vast ocean by turning his head as far as he could from the north shore to the south shore. He then took in a deep breath and flashed a big approving smile to his parents. They took him out into the water and each time they'd head for shore he'd cry, "Take me back to the big pond!" (He was accustomed to seeing the small pond on his farm.)
Those who have the opportunity to go out in the ocean know what it is like to be "tossed here and there by waves." Ester learned this a couple weeks ago when she finally mustered the courage to withstand the big waves. She stands at only 5' tall and clung to me the whole time. Try as I might to get my feet planted firmly in the sand bottom each ripping wave threw me off balance. Waves will toss anyone or anything in its path regardless of size!
When I read the daily text I wonder if Paul had ever taken children to the shore, presumably beside the Mediterranean Sea. He uses the observation to illustrate spiritual instability that results from not standing firm in our faith. The text describes the result of failure to be built up in the Body of Christ. In this instability we are like "children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine."
Tossed by waves means to surge, to be tossed in billows or the waves. Metaphorically, it means to be agitated mentally like the waves in a stormy sea. (To be disturbed or thrown in confusion.) It describes one of unstable opinion who fluctuates or frequently changes the way he or she thinks or believes depending on the latest fad teaching. Picture a small sail boat being blown in one direction and then another by the wind that keeps changing direction.
Today, let us implement the God-ordained means to stability and health in our spiritual lives. Through our unwavering commitment to read God's Word and the practice of other spiritual disciplines the character of Christ is developed in us as we are rooted and grounded in Him who is the Head, which results in spiritual stability.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we're reminded by the words of Paul that we are to remain firm when the deluge of deceitful tactics from the enemy comes against us – through the media, books, false prophets and even well-meaning but confused individuals. Your Word is the stabilizing and authoritative manual for all that we need for life and godliness. You promise to bring maturity into our Christian walk as we firmly plant ourselves into the solid teaching of Your Holy Word. We apply Your teaching so that we will attain to the fullness of Your Son, Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone. Help us to be wise, studied, and firmly planted in Christ so that we will not be like children tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
It was very hot yesterday (over 100) but our friends stayed on the beach from late morning till after 5:00 with lots of water and sunscreen which kept them hydrated and not burning. The kids had a great time as we expected.
We visited with Ed and Gladys Berkey. Ed was my District Superintendent when I pastored in New England before he retired and moved to Ocean City. He was an early encourager of our web ministry about 15 years ago. He made an interesting observation about yesterday's message, "Jesus Is The Answer". He pastored a church in Huntingdon PA with the message "Christ Is The Answer" painted on the building. The church later constructed a new building and sold the original one to a labor union. As the church building was being remodeled for its present owners Pastor Berkey heard that the workers were very uncomfortable painting over the words, "Christ is the Answer."
We've been acquainted with Bill and Pat Preston for about five years now. Bill is a college track coach (just retired) and Pat is very active in Christian Women's Connection. We enjoyed a very nice lunch with them as we visited together. We stepped outside the restaurant to get this photo, but my camera didn't cooperate, I suppose due to the haze, humidity and very bright sunshine!
We joined Jim and Dorothy Schmidt with the full crew after a day at the ocean. Their son, Scott and his wife, Lori, joined us later. We met Jim over ten years ago when we were promoting Daily Encouragement at a conference in Boston and he was in a display booth across from us representing SEND Int'l (a mission agency). We enjoyed a very nice meal before we headed back for our long trip home.
The van Jesse rented which we filled with 12 passengers and a lots of beach stuff! These vans are a common sight in Lancaster County and they're commonly rented for "hauling the Amish" as they refer to it around here.
And all had a good time! Young Eli sleeping on Holly in the back seat. Holly is a friend of Ester's from church.
Late last night we drove through Philadelphia and viewed "Boat House Row" along the Schuylkill River.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resource
This Sunday evening we will have the opportunity to hear Legacy Five, a gospel group we enjoy at a community park, in Lebanon PA. See here for information if you may be interested in attending. Today and tomorrow we will share some of their music.
"Boundless Love" Video
"That's What Grace Is For" Video
"Champion Of Love" Video
"Farther Along" Video
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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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