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Monday, March 24, 2014

Maple sap buckets, NY 3/23/14
A pleasant sight this season in upstate New York are the maple buckets collecting sap for maple syrup! Though it's late March there's plenty of snow in New York!

"The Lord Watches"

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"The LORD watches over the way of the righteous" (Psalm 1:6).

Over the past year or so we've been reading or hearing about the concern regarding privacy and to what extent we are being spied upon even by our own government (at least here in the USA). The technical means of watching everything we do is growing day by day and has vastly changed in our lifetime, especially the last twenty years. We should have many concerns about these "watchful eyes".

When Ester was little I often took her to a nearby park to play. After we arrived she'd look up at me, and in her tiny little voice ask, "Will you watch me, Daddy?" As she played I indeed watched her and she would also watch me to make sure I was watching her!  As a young child she found security in knowing that I was watching over her, but of course, as she got older she would prefer more that I watched less, especially during her rebellious periods as she struggled with growing up. Of course I can relate to that as well through my teen years. The thrill of impressing a parent is long gone as well as the need to see their observant eyes watching over us. (For parents of young children I remind you to enjoy those tender young years that so quickly pass, when you are the center of your children's universe.)

Ester just recently turned 25 and is "all growed up" now. Not enough, in our eyes, since she continues to depend on us for many things. In our heart to heart talks she will agree that she still wants and needs our watchful care, but she prefers to decide how, when and where. She increasingly understands that a major aspect of parental love is keeping watch over our children. I'm confident that those of you whose children are grown and have left home are still under your watchful eye, but expressed with sensitivity and in a different way than when they were young. Aren't you glad that the Lord watches over us from our moment of conception through all eternity.

"The LORD watches over the way of the righteous." The righteous find great assurance in this truth. Among my favorite more obscure verses in the Bible is this promise, "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). The righteous are blessed in the cognizance of God's watchful care.

But the rebellious do not desire to be "watched over". One of the first evidences of Adam and Eve's transgression and rebellion against God was a desire to hide. They didn't want God watching over them. Rebellion does that. Millions live their lives wanting nothing to do with God. The apostle Paul writes, "For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret" (Ephesians 5:12).

The concept of God watching over His children is a common theme in the Bible, particularly in the Psalms. Here are few verses that bless me: "He will not let your foot slip— He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand." "The LORD watches over all who love Him."  "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."

I trust that I am writing to people today who have accepted by faith the sacrificial death of God's Son. If so, the Bible describes this as "the righteousness that comes by faith." We have essentially two choices today: to live in submission to God or to live in rebellion toward Him. My decision is to live in submission to God and His Holy Word.  Will you join me?  In doing so we greatly rejoice that "The LORD watches over the way of the righteous." May you find great assurance in this most important truth today!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, Your watchful eye brings great assurance to my heart as You lead me in the way of the righteous day by day. You watch over me in my time of recreation and in the midst of my struggles and losses. In times of temptation Your watchful eye and words of Scripture prevent me from yielding to sin. I invite You to protect me from those who seek to do evil as You watch over me day and night. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:  We choose either to submit to God or live in rebellion toward Him (as indicated in our last paragraph). This reminds me of a message I heard on the radio Friday by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She told the story of her preacher father who was a tremendous evangelist. He witnessed to folks everywhere he went though Nancy admits that he often used a method that at times would embarrass his children. He would witness about Christ and challenge his listeners to pray the prayer of salvation. He'd then pull out a card and ask them to sign their name to the card that (in effect) said, "Today I accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, to be born again and receive forgiveness for my sins." But if they were not interested in praying for salvation he'd turn the card over and ask them to sign their name. The message on the other side stated (to the effect), "Today I refuse the offer to be saved. I choose not to receive Christ as my Saviour." That would really stir some people up as they didn't want to commit to that message either. But the real fact is it's one or the other. There are no in-betweens according to Scripture.

Several photos from New York trip

This last weekend I took a van load of two Amish families to upstate New York to visit family. We had two couples and eight kids joining a family that has 7 kids, 21 altogether. It was an exciting time for all of them and the love of family is so heartening. I took them up Friday and we returned last night about 10:00 PM. Ester came back via her friend's dad, Jeff. And Brooksyne was here to meet us as she had stayed home to do some catching up with things at home as well as some other duties she was committed to.

Amish breakfast table, NY 3/22/14
I stopped by early Saturday morning and they had the table all set for breakfast. As it turned out the women and girls had breakfast here since I took the men and older boys went to visit a sugar Shanty.

Maple shanty, NY 3/22/14
We visited the Stone House Farm where they tap over 5,000 trees. The owner explained the maple syrup making process to us and the men and boys enjoyed a big pancake breakfast with real maple syrup (lots of it!)

StoneHouse Farm, NY 3/22/14
The Stone House Farm. Note the tubing in the lower part of the photo. Many of the taps are tubed directly to the sugar house for processing.

New York grass fed beef 3/22/14
We passed a farm that sold grass fed beef and chuckled at the farmer's means of seeing that the cattle had grass during the winter.

Erie barge canal lock, NY 3/22/14
Following the breakfast we dropped the older boys off and picked up the women and girls who wanted to go to a dry goods store to buy fabric for clothing. Along the way we took a look at one of the locks on the Erie Barge Canal.

Amish boys jumping on trampoline, NY 3/23/14
The older boys had a great time
jumping off the roof of an old cabin onto a trampoline they had pushed up beside it.

Utica friends 3/23/14
Sunday morning I attended a church near Utica New York. Jim, a retired firefighter met me at the door and befriended me. He is with his ninety-two year old mother, though she sure didn't look that age. She missed the first part of the service since she volunteers at a Nursing Home! She came to the Lord in her 60's so that's a reminder that we must never give up praying for our loved ones to come to faith.

Meanwhile back in Pennsylvania Brooksyne shares:
Dyed Easter eggs
Colored Deviled Eggs - For our church potluck on Sunday I took some colored deviled eggs. They were gone before I even got in line so I guess the colored egg whites weren't a turn-off. If you're interested here's what I did:

I first boiled and peeled the eggs, removed the yolks carefully, and then with a spoon tried to remove any trace of the yolk before soaking the egg whites in the food dye. I used three colors but the photo didn't pick up the yellow or green very well.

3/4 C. cold water
Several drops of food coloring
1 tsp. vinegar (I used white)
(If you have kool-aid you can use it instead of the food coloring & vinegar)

Mix in containers and add up to three egg whites.

I let mine sit for about 30 minutes until they got to the color that I wanted. I did sample an egg on Saturday night when I made them and you could not taste the food coloring as I would expect.

While the egg whites were "dying" I mixed the yolks, mayo, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper with the food processor. Then I scooped the "deviled egg mix" into a plastic bag, cut off the corner of the bag so I could easily fill the egg whites. Then, like all good cooks in the south, I sprinkled paprika on the eggs and chopped chives.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"The Lord Is My Shepherd"  Video 
Dennis Jernigan

"I Will Be There"  Video 
Dennis Jernigan

"The Blessing Song"  Video  Dennis Jernigan

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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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