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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Three Season Produce
One of the many blessings of country life is fresh produce abundantly available in our area.

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"Our Primary Citizenship"

"Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body" (Philippians 3:17-21).

Under desk drillWe both grew up during the early sixties in the Midwest (Missouri and Oklahoma). At that time the U.S was in a Cold War with Russia. Safety drills were commonplace in grade school in preparation of a nuclear attack. The little girl in the photo to the left could have been Brooksyne! Surely other readers in our age group will recall these drills and the sense of danger and uncertainty during that age.

Fall-out shelterI (Stephen) lived near an Air Force base (SAC) and had many service kids as friends at school so I had that perspective as well. I still recall how Chuck French, a friend at the time, had a real fall-out shelter under his home stocked with items needed for survival. His dad was an Air Force officer and I assumed he was especially "in the know" regarding the dangers we faced. It was a special treat to go into the shelter but as I recall we were not allowed to play in it.

That was nearly fifty years ago and now in retrospect some of it seems pretty silly, especially the notion that crawling under a desk would be of much value in a nuclear attack! (Should the Lord tarry I wonder what we are doing now that people will look back in fifty years and consider silly?)*

In our young minds Brooksyne and I both assumed that all Russians were "bad people". Of course as we got older we learned that this was not the case. A couple of Russian teens spent their summer in our home about fifteen years ago who had been affected by the Chernobyl accident. Sunday we heard testimonials at a Russian church service recounting the persecution they were enduring during that time period. We have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world in every country.

The Cold War is over but other wars have started and continue. Worldwide peace will not come during our lifetime, nor will it arrive on this side of heaven.

Here in the United States we are also involved in a very heated "culture war" and this is really true in one way or another wherever this message is read today. Each of us must decide whose side we are on and whose leading we will follow. As God's people we need the Word of God and His perspective to help us carefully align our allegiance here on earth with God's kingdom in heaven.  After all, Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

As I study today's text I note that Paul left an example and pattern. Through the inspired Word of God this example and pattern, initially provided to the Philippian believers, is also for us today.  We do well to heed it carefully.

An ongoing faith struggle for the believer is to remember where our home really is. This is particularly true in places where life has been very good. Voters listen to the political leaders and wonder who can best keep them safe, revive the economy, and make their lives better. Of course both candidates project a rosy outlook if elected, yet our nation's critical moral and spiritual condition is not changed by a political election.

Note the contrast in the daily Scripture portion. First
Paul states that "Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ" (Ephesians 3:18) and summarizes their outlook; "Their mind is on earthly things."

The phrase, "earthly things", conveys a perspective for those whose view is limited by the natural eye. Paul observes that "many" live this way and it is evident by the choices we make and the philosophies that guide our lives. I consider how relatively few of the people I encounter are likely giving any thought to God and their eternal destiny. Their minds are consumed with earthly things.

"But our citizenship is in heaven."  Now that's the perspective I want! I'll be voting this November and praying for our country (particularly for a great spiritual awakening that I believe is the only hope for genuine reform). I have American citizenship and this is the country where God has providentially ordained that I would live out my earthly existence.

No matter what country grants us citizenship, as believers we have dual citizenship and should be cognizant daily of where we hold our primary citizenship, where our real home is.  It's not here!  We want to have the perspective of Paul regarding the return of the Lord; "And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ."  Where is your primary citizenship and thus your spiritual focus today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Heavenly Father, it is because of Your great compassion and the sacrificial death of Jesus that we, through faith, qualify for citizenship in heaven. We want to live as responsible citizens here on earth and conduct ourselves properly in accordance to the law of the land. We also choose to live responsibly as citizens of the heavenly kingdom reflecting that which is in accordance to Your Holy Word. We enjoy so many wonderful privileges here and now, but we will enjoy many privileges not yet revealed on this side of heaven when You transfer us to our eternal home land. Help us not to be so tied to this temporal life that we crave the pleasures and merits of this world above the future eternal inheritance promised to faithful followers of Jesus Christ. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.

Paul testified that he was also a Roman citizen and utilized the benefits of that citizenship. Acts 22:25

* I am sure there are those who may assume we have arrived and now have full understanding. They are certainly guilty of what C.S. Lewis calls "chronological snobbery", the notion that our generation is intellectually superior to previous generations.

The Blessing Of
Roadside Produce Stands

Today we will share a selection of photos of produce stands taken in the course of our Lancaster County travels.

Brooksyne with giant sweet potato
Brooksyne holds a whopper of a sweet potato at a stand along Rt. 322 east of Ephrata PA

Small produce stand in Lancaster County PA
Some stands are very small selling the excess from a home garden. These innovative Amish folks decided an umbrella might keep the produce a bit fresher. We bought tomatoes, peppers and eggplant at this stand and had them all for dinner, Brooksyne making one of my favorite dishes, “Eggplant Parmesan”!

Onions for sale on Amish farm
Others are specialized such as this one selling onions.
The fresh locally grown produce is great but the home-made signs sure add some interest along the way. This one is on an Amish farm that sells onions. Have U had an onion today?

Produce stand rooster
Some have animals such as this one with a real rooster,
including several entertaining cock-a-doodle-doos.

Team and wagon behind old-order Mennonite Produce Stand Lancaster County PA
A sign of freshness!
You know you are buying fresh produce when it's off the wagon, fresh out of the field, as on this old-order Mennonite farm. Notice the unattached plastic lawn chair on the wagon for the driver. It doesn't look very safe or stable to me but this is a common sight.

We were in a produce stand last week and saw this interesting poster of "Farm signs of Lancaster County" (I made this as a link to a photo since it's a large size)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"The Light Of That City"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"Heaven On My Mind"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"New Jerusalem"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"There Will Be A Day"  Video  Jeremy Camp

"Citizenship In Heaven" (1 of 3) Video 
Sermon by Charles Spurgeon

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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