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Friday, September 14, 2012

Repurposed plant stand
Here is a photo of the mystery stand we found along the road earlier this week.

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"The Blessing Of Guardrails"

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). "For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

This week I visited with a friend who told me of a sermon he had heard on guardrails. Well that got me thinking about a conversation I had with another friend this last weekend at a men and boys campout.

Railroad bridgeFred told me how he enjoys riding his ATV offroad in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania where there are many trails in the remote region. Some were formerly railroad grades and he spoke about a railroad trestle high over a valley that has been converted to an ATV trail. I recall seeing this trestle many times from I-80 in Centre County (as best as I can determine the photo is to the left).

Over the trestle the trail has a guard rail only on one side! When Fred rides it he hugs the guard rail side which is no surprise to me. I think in a place like this you would especially appreciate guardrails.

I remember well our two trips to Guatemala where we drove up narrow roads up large mountains with steep drop offs and no guardrails. In addition people would pass us on blind curves. It was a nail biting experience though we rode with locals who were well acquainted with the area. However the wrecked buses we saw off the side reminded us of the peril of the road. Brooksyne sat in the back seat and later told me she was crying silently as she thought we'd never make it back to the U.S. to care for Ester who was only 18 months at the time.

Today let us consider how guardrails pertain to our spiritual life. Tragically the vast majority are ignoring these God-ordained guardrails that He so wisely and graciously provides.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

1) The Guardrail of Scriptural commands and prohibitions.  God's Word is like a guardrail. Our second text today states, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." This is speaking about the knowledge of God and His Word. So many disregard this knowledge and we see our society racing headlong to most certain judgment. The faithful church and faithful ministry must continue to "devote themselves to the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42) and "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).

2) The Guardrail of Godly counsel. Solomon wrote, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity" (Proverbs 3:1,2). We need to heed the counsel of the wise and esteem the elderly who have gone on before us and those yet with us. This is so lacking in our view. Wisdom has been defined as "knowledge rightly applied."

3) The Guardrail of the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can function as a spiritual guardrail. Paul was intending to continue his mission work in Asia Minor when he had his Macedonian vision. The Holy Spirit essentially stopped him and led him in another direction: "When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to" (Acts 16:7). As we walk with the Lord, in sensitivity to His Spirit, we need to respect the guardrails of God's oversight and protection!

4) The Guardrail of Tradition. This point is most difficult to develop since many have a negative attitude toward tradition and even the Scriptures speak out against tradition in some circumstances. Certainly, tradition for tradition's sake needs to be evaluated carefully. But it seems to me that an attitude prevails in the church among more than a few that "new" is seen as better, cooler, and more appealing to a current generation. But good practices developed over years can be too quickly shrugged aside in favor of the new, without considering what significance is lost in the process.

Gil's exposition says, "
Turn not to the right hand nor to the left, either into the road of immorality and profaneness, or into that of error, superstition, and false worship; but attend to the way of holiness and truth, directed to in the Word of God. Don't be cast down with adversity, nor be lifted up with prosperity; but keep on in an even way, attending to that which is just and right; leaving all events with God, as knowing you are in the way of your duty, and in which He would have you walk."

Today let us thank God for the blessing of guardrails. When we see spiritual guardrails keeping us on the right road during our earthly journey we need to carefully and Scripturally assess the situation, recognize the danger that is close at hand, and prayerfully stay on course.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is because of Your wise and loving character that You teach us about the wiles of our adversary, the devil, and his cunning ways. We are not caught unaware but recognize his strategy as we regularly read Your Word and store it up in our hearts. Your precepts are right and because of that we hate every wrong path. Direct our footsteps according to Your Word so that we stay in pace with You, observing the yellow lights of caution, stopping at the red lights of danger, and staying within the confines of Your guardrails. As we do so we will not allow sin to dominate our lives or lead us astray. We pray for Your guidance in Jesus' name. Amen.

Yesterday we shared a photo of a mystery item we had found free along the road during our walk the other night. I inquired if any of our readers had input concerning what it was. The majority responded that it might be used to hang quilts on or as a trellis for hanging vines with flower pots on the shelf below. We visited last night with our new neighbor, Kate, where we picked it up and asked her. Kate and her husband recently moved into what was Kate's grandmother's home. Many local readers would know her grandmother, Mary Sweigart, who recently relocated to a retirement home. Mary was daughter to Roy M. Stauffer, founder of Stauffer's of Kissel Hill. 
Here's an ad for a similar rack. Kate said her grandmother bought it second hand and had used it as a flower stand which is what we will do as well.

Lancaster County autumn color
In the autumn we enjoy seeing the rainbow of fall colors at the Village Farm Market!

Multi-colored mum
At the Village Market a new and stunning arrangement of three different color mums grown together in baskets caught our eye.

Ester with giant Hershey bar
In one of our weekly visits we serve a company near Hershey, PA and periodically stop at Hershey Chocolate World even though we have been there many, many times. Last Friday Ester joined with us since she participated in our volunteer work day and after our long day she wanted to visit Chocolate World (we all find it an enjoyable place to visit). She posed with the world's largest Hershey's bar.

Lancaster County old-order Mennonite tobacco harvest (9/13/12)
Yesterday we passed this harvest scene in the course of our travels. Can you identify what these old-order Mennonite farmers are harvesting? (see below)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resource

"Guard Your Heart"  Video  Steve Green

"Order My Steps In Your Word"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Slow Fade"  Video  Casting Crowns

"I Know Whom I Have Believed"  Video  Irish Church service  Note: This is how I like church singing although it would be nice to see a little more joy in the faces!

"Three Reasons Why You Must Guard Your Heart" Michael Hyatt

"What does it mean to guard your heart?" (From gotquestions.org)

The railroad trestle mentioned in today's message is located here. (Google map)

On Monday we shared concerning our participation in a community service workday with a local company last Friday. Yesterday during a visit to the company I was informed that I was in a brief news report! (YouTube video 47 seconds). Maybe you will recognize me.

Today's harvest photo is tobacco (not endorsed by Daily Encouragement Net!)

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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