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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Birdhouse gourds at Apple Fesitival
These colorful gourds were on sale at the National Apple Harvest Festival we attended over the weekend. You probably recognize the birdhouse gourds, but the less common slotted gourds are butterfly houses.

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"The Blessing Of Family"

"God sets the lonely in families" (Psalm 68:6).

JK Kitten with Sharon
We were making our first chaplain visit of the day to a business last Friday when we saw an uncommon sight; Sharon stroking a little kitten. No one said anything about a "Bring Your Pet To Work Day" but there it was, a little kitten with a big purr. Actually the story gets more interesting.

Stephen, one of the service techs, had arrived at work that morning and upon leaving his van heard a meow. He and other workers investigated only to find a little kitten coming out from under from the service van. Stephen lives out in the country and shared that a couple stray kittens had found their way to his house and he didn't know what to do with them. Apparently this little one had crawled up near the engine to get warm and then hitched the twenty minute ride to work with Stephen!

JK Kitten with Bob and Stephen
Although she wore a little grease the kitten was fine (notice the black spots). Bob (holding kitty), another service tech, impulsively chose to take the kitten and give her a good home. Don't we all like good homes! Of course this caused a bit of a human interest, or more precisely pet interest, stir in the office and several suggested Bob name the cat "Lucky", which he informed us he did not intend to do. Perhaps he will get theological and name her "Sozo" (the NT Greek word for "saved" or "rescued").

Sozo (as I will call her) experienced the reality of today's verse:
"God sets the lonely in families" (Psalm 68:6).

Many of us enjoy our pets and, in a sense, consider them part of our family although we make a clear distinction between animals and humans!

Thank God for the human family. God observed Adam at Creation and said, "It's not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." At this time Adam had a lot of animals around him but in God's view he was still "alone".

God, in a remarkable and intimate way, made Eve. Thus the earliest human institution is the marriage established by God. This is the foundation of the family.

But marriage and the family are under tremendous stress today. Attempts are being ardently made to redefine its basic God-ordained constitution. I project, if current trends continue those of us who are committed to marriage and family in the Biblical and traditional sense will be seen as quaint, old-fashioned and perhaps even unusual. Certainly there are those now who see us traditionalists as unenlightened who stand in the way of "progress" (as they see it). One day we might be viewed by dominant culture similar to the way the Amish culture is viewed by many today. *

"God sets the lonely in families." What a wonderful truth.

But I'm aware that not all of our readers have experienced the love, joy and peace that should be experienced in a family unit as God designed. Some are single, others divorced or widowed, and some live in homes characterized by chronic strife.

God's Word speaks of another family in which we are all welcome. Paul calls it "the family of believers" (Galatians 6:10b). This "family" is primarily expressed in the local church, where believers gather to worship our Father and express their love and care for one another as brothers and sisters. I'm glad I have two loving families and I hope you do as well!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I pray for the family unit, which is under vicious attack throughout the world today. Your perfect design cannot be improved upon even when earthly institutions attempt to redefine, enlighten, update or explain away Your original intent. I pray for godly parents to remain resolute in nurturing their children in the ways of the Lord. May Your Word and its instruction filter all that we see and hear so that You remain our absolute authority, not the ever-changing whims of our culture. I pray for our churches and their leaders to be cleansed and purified by Your Holy Word. May their instruction always be from Your inerrant Holy Word, not by those who present a societal agenda. By Your grace and our commitment to holy living we can reside in the world without having the mind of this world. Help us through Christ Jesus our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

* I also project that life as we know it cannot continue with such an unraveling of the social infrastructure as designed by God, which will prompt a future message.

Responding to our "Like Apples Of Gold" message yesterday, Nelson, a friend who works at a local produce distribution company named Four Seasons Produce, informed me he had used a tagline on his e-mail that said: "As apples of gold in pictures of silver, is a word spoken in season." (From the Darby Bible translation). We should speak words of encouragement all four seasons!

The Rest of the Kitty Story: Brooksyne called the ladies at the office today to ask about the kitten. Turns out Bob took the kitty home and his wife's friend wanted her so she took the kitty home with her. Bob then traveled to Stephen's house and picked up the other stray kitten. Now both kitties have loving homes!

More scenes from our trip Saturday to the National Apple Harvest Festival in Adams County, PA.

1953 Pontiac sedan and barn
On the way to the festival we spotted this antiquated scene from a distance, which prompted a trip down a long lane for this photo of a 1953 Pontiac in front of an old barn. The property owner told us it was his wife's grandfather's car that was parked in a garage for over 30 years. It appears in it's original form.

1940 GMC truck
1940 GMC pickup.

1947 Dodge cab over engine (COE)
A beautifully restored 1947 Dodge cab-over engine (COE). I took this photo head on as it looked so interesting next to the other vehicles due to its height. It sits way up high since the engine is under the cab. I should have also taken a side view since, when it was restored, they put a pickup sized bed on it! See here for similar.

Chevrolet cab over engine truck
We passed this unrestored Chevrolet COE along the way. In my earliest memories I recall these trucks along the highway when we would travel to visit my grandparents in the early sixties. Brooksyne said the trucks reminded her of characters in the animated movie, "Cars".

Birdfeeders and birdhouses from discarded kitchen stuff
We appreciate all the ways people try to make a living and find their niche. This vendor at the Festival made birdfeeders, birdhouses and other lawn ornaments by repurposing discarded kitchen stuff. In the foreground of the photo is a flour sifter like my Mom used to use.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"The Family Of God"  
Video  This is the Gaither song many of us sung in the seventies and includes the story behind the song.

"Children Of God"  Video  Third Day

The National Apple Harvest Festival runs the first two weekends in October each year. Local readers have this weekend if they choose to attend but be advised it is very crowded! It is way out in the country and the slow traffic line to get to the parking lot began about three miles away.

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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