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Monday, January 28, 2013

Amish youth in buggie 1/27/13
We've had some very cold weather here and this morning an ice storm came through. We came up behind this buggie of Amish youth yesterday after our church service.  They must have been very cold but I suppose they bundle up well. Looks like he's going ice skating. Perhaps the ladies have their skates in the seat! As a photographer I am especially intrigued by the shadow of the wagon wheels. (Interestingly, this is a photo taken on the "fly" by Brooksyne as we were preparing to pass.)

Today I stepped outside for some chores and heard one of the pleasant sounds of life, a light sleet hitting the brittle leaves that remain on our oak trees.

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"When You Wonder, 'What's The Use?'"

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:12,13). “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:13).

On Friday Brooksyne and I, along with several hundred thousand others, participated in the March For Life in Washington DC. It was very much a heartfelt and memorable experience to take a visible stand for something good and so vital to our Christian heritage. In the midst of an evil spirit dominating Washington we were pleased to join other ambassadors in that powerful city standing up for a righteous cause.

When standing for a just and righteous cause against a tide of evil we may wonder, "What's the use?" This is true at all levels so we hope today's message will be a special source of encouragement to those who are weary of their ensuing battle and might be saying to themselves, "What's the use?".

"Put on the full armor of God" In Ephesians 6 the Apostle Paul urges Christ's followers to "put on the full armor of God." Putting on the full armor of God is a daily exercise for believers in every generation. It is never optional for the Christian who desires to be effective in their Christian witness and to live in victory over the enemy.

"So that when the day of evil comes"  We all face the day of evil and in so many ways it seems our young people face degrees of evil that my generation was never exposed to. Of course our parents could say the same thing to us, but it seems that the outflow of sin has greatly accelerated in our lifetime. I read an article about the extent of sexual perversion that is actually being taught and affirmed as "good" in schools and of course this evil is spreading. A state university here in Pennsylvania now has vending machines distributing ... (too vile to place in this point in the message, see below for link but please read our message first).

Godly parents, students and ministers who seek to take a stand against evil are reviled by the powers that be. Good is called evil and evil is called good. I really wonder if we are entering the period known as the great apostasy (see 2 Thessalonians 2).

"The day of evil" is something that believers of all ages, beginning with the original recipients of Ephesus, could identify with. However Paul may also have had in mind a specific day of evil that sure seems to describe our age with confusion abounding concerning two fundamental elements to God's created order; life and marriage. This confusion is unique to our age. Indeed there have always been perversions to both but now it is asserted that these perversions are good and opposing them is bad. Oh, may God send a revival, a worldwide revival! It's our only hope for turning the evil tide that has swept through our land and around the world.

"And having done everything, to stand firm." For many years I have been intrigued by the final phrase in our daily text, "and having done everything, to stand firm." We must, by God's grace and the appropriation of His appointed armor, stand firm and unwavering in the midst of false teaching and the resulting sinful behavior. We will most certainly encounter adversity and it will increase as more and more people reject God.

The Life Application Bible notes speak to this: "With false teaching and loose morals comes a particularly destructive disease - the loss of true love for God and others. Sin cools your love for God and others by turning your focus on yourself. You cannot truly love if you think only of yourself." Aren't we seeing more and more people who live only for their own desires and don't care about the pain they inflict on others?

Today we pray for each of you, however old you are or wherever you may live, to have a holy boldness in appropriately standing up for your faith. It's especially hard when you're dealing with those in your own family who come against you in your stand for righteous living. Yet I find depth of wisdom and a nod of agreement to Scripture in this popular quote, "Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything." Indeed, let us all courageously stand up for Jesus and remember His sobering words,
"He who stands firm to the end will be saved."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to be vigilant in equipping myself today as I battle the spiritual forces of evil. Though I wage war in this present and evil generation I have a body guard in the presence of the Holy Spirit who gives me power over the enemy of my soul. Today, I stand against the devil's schemes because I take on the full armor of God; the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  As I prayerfully cover my vulnerable self with godly armor I am fully equipped with the necessary provisions to overcome discouragement, disappointment and seeming defeat. Instead I am an enduring conqueror who stands triumphant by Your grace, through our Lord Jesus Christ in whose name I pray!  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  Though Stephen has attended a number of pro-life rallies over the years this was my first participation. It was a moving experience that kept my eyes wet, but I held them back for fear that I would have icicles  dangling. It was terribly cold, but I am so thankful that I made the choice to stand among thousands upon thousands who are visibly passionate about this righteous cause.

Some of our 2013 "March For Life" photos

On Friday we arrived in Washington about 9:30 and had several hours before the rally began so we sought out the Reagan Building, a warm place to wait.

March For Life 2013

A large rally with numerous videos and pro-life speakers was held from 12:00-1:15. We saw many, many young people who seemed to make up the majority of the crowd. We also saw the elderly such as the nun in a wheelchair who was in front of us at the rally. There were people of all races and we met many from all over the country.

March For Life 2013
Many had thoughtful handmade signs such as this one (along with thousands of mass printed signs such as the ones we carried that simply stated "Defend Life").

March For Life 2013
Many also displayed large banners. Wow, can you see the line, "Without God We Have Become A Lawless Society". We're seeing the rotting fruit from such godless laws!

March For Life 2013
We were close enough to see the main stage but found ourselves watching the large video screens. The image on the large screen is a powerful video by musician Mark Schultz. We link to this video below as a YouTube video.

March For Life 2013
Many religious faiths were represented though clearly those of the Catholic faith were dominant. Here a priest from Boston is introducing leaders from various Orthodox groups. Do you see the man with the beard to the right of the red cap wearing a black and white bandanna? As the men were first gathering behind the speaker I initially thought he must be representing some cycle group! Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, offered the closing prayer.

March For Life 2013
This is the crowd as I held my camera up and looked back. There was a second jumbotron in the far distance toward the Washington Monument.

March For Life 2013
The stage is barely seen to the left the photo. You can see the Capitol in the background on the big screen.

March For Life 2013
I tried to run up a parallel street to get a view of the front of the march but just could not catch up with the mass of people. It was an astounding sight looking at the sea of marchers coming up Constitution Avenue.

March For Life 2013

Here is a view from one of the Capitol office buildings with the Capitol in the background. This huge group with the balloons was from the Chicago area. They beat drums and belted out many shorts chants with solid pro-life messages as they marched. It was invigorating to see thousands and thousands of young people standing up for the cause.

March For Life 2013
We watched the March for awhile as it was still passing. We then walked over to Union Station for a bite to eat, thawed out our cold bodies and a found a place to sit down! It was jam packed and I (Stephen) was able to identify with Brooksyne in regard to standing in a long, long line to use the restroom, something I have rarely experienced. By 5:00 pm we were back at the designated pickup point for the bus to return to Lancaster. We were very cold and tired. For any who may be interested here is a map with place marks of our day.

We thank you for your prayers and encouragement such as this note from a faithful reader in Florida, "You encourage me daily. I want to encourage you. You are fighting the good fight, standing up for the innocent and against evil. May God bless you and sustain you each and every day. I am praying for you daily."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Some Pro-Life songs:

"Meant To Be"
 Video  Ryan Scott Bomberger  Ryan, who spoke at the rally, has a remarkable testimony of being conceived through rape. Watch the video if you want to see how God can raise up one from such horrible circumstances and use Ryan for His glory.

"Everything To Me"
 Video  Mark Schultz  When Mark Schultz wrote the song "Everything to Me," the story of a young mother choosing to place her newborn baby into the care of an adoptive family, he had more than just a pro-life sentiment in mind.
He had his life in mind. Because that young mother was his mom. (This was the song playing that we mentioned in one of the captions above.)

"Choose Life"  Video  Big Tent Revival

A prolife playlist  We have not listened to all these songs but it should give you an idea of suitable songs.

"Those Who Never Were"
 Video  Lindsey Thompson

"Sanctity of Life"
 Video  Musician not specified but beautiful song!

"Let Them Be Little"
 Video  Billy Dean

"Give me A Chance"
 Karl Kohlhase

"Stunning videos with musical background"  Video

Here's a message we shared several years ago related to this topic titled "Being Hated"

Here is info about the March For Life we participated in Friday.

"Eternity Matters" is a blog I find insightful and provided the tip regarding the article on the liberal Daily Kos (which I don't regularly read!). Here's that post.

Here's the original Daily Kos article along with comments which further demonstrate their hateful, virulent position. However to their credit there are several pro-abortion comment posters that do express their view that the article is way over the top.

In the course of study I also came across this article which demonstrates the horrific blindness. "So what if abortion ends life?"

Shippensburg University vending machine

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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