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Monday, July 23
, 201

Mennonite hay wagon 7/20/12
Last Friday I shared a photo of a loaded hay wagon. On the way to a company Friday morning we came across this interesting sight of a Mennonite farmer transporting some hay. He is entering a major intersection on US Highway 322 though this view makes it look like he's  on some back road with little traffic.  I wonder if he is wearing a seatbelt?

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"Filled With Violence"

"Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth" (Genesis 6:11,12). "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man" (Luke 17:26).

The recent rains have rejuvenated our plants and Brooksyne's flowers are blooming heartily with the foliage far more vibrant than before the rains. We're praying for other regions of our land that are in desperate need of the rains we appreciated last week. This morning as we walked through the front and back yard we enjoyed the quiet we experience in the country, apart from nature sounds, which we find pleasurable.

What a contrast to the experience of so many. Late last week we were again reminded of the violence that fills our world. As we departed early Friday morning for our chaplain visits we first heard the reports of the shootings in Colorado. Due to the scale and nature of the attack it has been especially newsworthy but in reality such acts of violence happen daily and are most certainly increasing.

In today's Biblical teaching and analysis I want to make clear our sympathy for all affected. We are hearing plenty concerning this as well as all kinds of talking heads about the matter. I want to seek to hear the Word of the Lord above all.

The daily verse describes conditions prior to the Great Flood from God's perspective. The Fall had disastrous results on the peaceful world God had created. Violence is first recorded in the murder of Abel by his own brother Cain. It increased in the pre-flood era to a point we have described in the daily text "
and the earth was filled with violence."

Evil and violence in one form or another have been a part of the human experience all through history and is recorded
both in the Bible and in the secular historical record. However there are times of increased evil and violence. Matthew 24:12 states that there will be an "increase of wickedness" characterizing the last days.

Our second daily text is from an eschatological
(end times) context. Jesus said, "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man." The main focus of this teaching is how we need to be ready in that there would be a sense of normalcy right up to the time of the Lord's return, "People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all." However I also find the verse intriguing as the original hearers and good Bible students would also associate the days of Noah with violence.

So what do we want to share apart from the instructive material above that may be encouraging to followers of Christ today? These times can cause despair and realistically as mankind continues to and increasingly raises a defiant fist to God we see conditions similar to those at the time of Noah when "the earth was corrupt in God's sight and the earth was filled with violence."

Our Lord forewarns His listeners with this instruction: "Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near."
In the midst of increasing violence we are reminded that the kingdom of God is near.  The day is short so let us be diligent in winning as many as we can for His kingdom.

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we consider Jesus' solemn warning that "due to the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved". We want to be diligent to make our calling and election sure so that no enemy or deceiver shall ever prevail against us, causing our hearts to harden toward that which we learn through the Scriptures. Though troubles assail us daily our hearts are not weighed down when we cast all our daily cares upon You who cares for us. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loves us unconditionally and gave His all for us completely. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Prayer for Aurora victims: Father, the horrendous act of terror and slaughter that took place in Aurora, Colorado reminds us that we live in an ever darkening world that is choosing evil over good, the prince of darkness over the Prince of Peace. We pray for the families who lost their loved ones in the massacre shooting and for those recovering from wounds inflicted as well as the emotional terror they were subjected to. Father of Compassion, only You can turn evil to good, so we pray that from this evil tragedy people's hearts will be turned to You where they can find comfort, peace, healing and above all salvation that comes through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

An additional thought on today's topic: As I age I am increasingly oblivious to popular culture and was not even aware that a new Batman movie was out, which makes me a "dinosaur" to some. (My only days of Batman were my childhood years when it was a series on TV and even at that time I don't recall watching it much.)

When I first heard the reports of the shooting I thought it peculiar that moviegoers would be in a theater at midnight but I guess this is not unusual for new movies. My pastor did some research on the movie and I am astounded at the degree of violence that people find "entertaining", although I suppose making a connection between the violence that fills the entertainment world and that which fills the real world will draw a snooty "there's no relationship whatsoever" from many in the world, including those who are supposedly experts in human behavior. Nevertheless I will unabashedly make that connection.

For those who may be interested here is a review of the movie. Caution: The description of violent content is obscene and should disturb readers.

Newspaper headline
In May we shared a message about a large truck that got stuck in a covered bridge here in Lancaster County. This is the method they're using to try to protect the bridges.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resource

Legacy Five 7/22/12
Last night we went to a concert in Lebanon PA along with our pastor John Keefer and his wife Faithe to hear the gospel group "Legacy Five" with about 3,000 other people at an outdoor amphitheater. It was a beautiful evening and we had a great time. Here is some of the music we enjoyed last night all by Legacy Five unless noted otherwise.

"I've Been Changed"  Video  Amen, our testimony as well!

"For What Earthly Reason"  Video  The Cathedrals (I was unable to locate a good Legacy Five video of this.)

"We Shall See Jesus"  Video  A power-filled song about Christ's return.  This one song in the concert prompted all attending to stand to their feet in praise to God, for He is coming soon!!  

"Ask Me Why"  Video  A great song answering the four W's (who, what, when, and where) of the Christian faith.

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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