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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lancaster Barnstormer Fireworks display 7/4/14
Lancaster Barnstormer fireworks display following the baseball game this past Friday evening.

"A Summer Light Display"

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"Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart" (Psalm 97:11). "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Get Outdoors PA logo"Get Outdoors PA" has a campaign to encourage Pennsylvanians to get outdoors, especially during these summer months. When I was a kid no campaign was needed to get me outdoors. I loved playing outside! Actually I am still that way. But things have changed and this was illustrated by a conversation I overheard this last Sunday. Mike, a young man who has a real love for the great outdoors, was seeking to converse with a teenage boy before Sunday School.  He asked what he had been doing during his summer break and the boy answered, "Playing on my Play Station 2." Mike encouraged him to get outside and play in the great outdoors. The student informed Mike that he would but he didn't have the right connection to play his Play Station 2 game outside!  

Today's lesson draws from the great outdoors that can't be duplicated by a smartphone, tablet or play station. It's just not the same as enjoying the warm summer outdoors and seeing nature up close and personal.

The smallest light still shines
 in the darkest night.

Lawn glider We enjoy sitting on an old glider in our front lawn watching the brilliant sun gradually descend below the horizon marking the start of twilight which launches into yet another light show that we write about today. This last week we watched a lot of fireworks, both official displays such as those launched at the Lancaster Barnstormer's ballpark on the 4th of July and the annual Marietta Fourth of July fireworks right from our home. We also enjoyed our neighbor's aerial display as they fired off a number of firework images, some of which must have cost a small fortune. The ooohs and aaahs surely must have echoed throughout our neighborhood.

Another light display we enjoy is the starry night sky, which always seems more brilliant when you're out in the country. But a light display we especially enjoy for a short time each summer is a view from our front lawn that few of our readers have probably ever seen.
Thousands of fireflies descend upon the fields of corn across the country lane twinkling their lights making it appear as though it's Christmas in July.

Firefly Fireflies (also known in some regions, such as the Midwest where we grew up, as "lightning bugs") abound in our area. This bioluminescent insect, scientifically known as Pyractomena borealis, is sure an interesting creature and we marvel as we observe this special creation of God. Occasionally we come across one or two in the winter months as well.

The Scriptures acknowledge God's work in Creation when He said, "Let there be light." These are the very first recorded words spoken by God in the Bible. It's God's nature to create light and dispel darkness.

As believers we all have His light shining in our hearts. The same God who initially created light has "made His light shine in our hearts." The purpose is "to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." Another version reads, "He is the One who made His light shine in our hearts. This brings us the light of knowing God's shining-greatness which is seen in Christ's face." Still another paraphrase states, "It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful."

In Benjamin Franklin’s day the streets of Philadelphia were dark after sunset. Nighttime pedestrians had to walk cautiously to avoid rocks and holes (sidewalks were yet to be provided in the late-1700's).

Franklin decided to set a good example for his fellow citizens by placing a lantern outside his home. As people stumbled down his street at night, they would come to that oasis of light and realize what a blessing it was. Soon other Philadelphians were putting up their own lanterns. After sunset the whole village became a place of illuminated safety.

The world around us is dark with spiritual ignorance. For multitudes of people, the aimlessness of their existence leads to unspoken despair.

We can’t single-handedly drive back the darkness everywhere, but we can brighten the corner of where we live. We can let our redeemed, Christ-ignited lives serve as lanterns of light. Our Savior commands us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Vernon C. Grounds writes, "Instead of bemoaning the darkness, we can show the way to those around us. As Christ shines through us, lost souls stumbling in spiritual darkness will be attracted to Him who is the Light of the world."

May the Lord fill us all with the Light of His truth and may we, like the thousands of fireflies in the cornfield across from our home, shine brightly from within!

Fanny Crosby

O let your light, tho’ little, shine out,
Our Lord’s command fulfilling,
To live for Him wherever we go,
And seek His will to do.

Shine on, little light, shine on,
Shine on so bright and clear;
Shine on, little light, and bring
A smile for ev’ry tear.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, You make our light shine brightest when we're surrounded by darkness.  We don't seek to blend into the darkness but want to shine Your light so that those walking in darkness can see the way to repentance. Even as we're able to see God in the face of Christ, may the world see Christ in the face of Christian believers all over this dark planet.  In Your name, Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

G. Campbell Morgan said that the church did the most for the world when the church was the least like the world. Today, many churches have the idea they must imitate the world in order to reach the world.

Lawn glider
Our old glider doesn't look like much and is not too comfortable but is very sentimental to Brooksyne who salvaged it last summer from her dad's old shed he built many years ago in Arkansas on her grandparent's farm. We stuffed it into the back of our van after visiting that area and have enjoyed it over the summer months.

Today we share a final set of photos of the New Holland horse auction last Friday taken by our friend Lee Smucker. Lots of old order Mennonites gathered along with the Amish at this sale along with some English folks as well.

New Holland horse auction 7/4/14 (photo by Lee Smucker)
Teenage boys hanging out at the gate.

New Holland horse auction 7/4/14 (photo by Lee Smucker)
This little Amish boy is having a great time. Over time you learn to distinguish between the old order groups based on clothing. The Amish tend to wear solid colors.

New Holland horse auction 7/4/14 (photo by Lee Smucker)
This little Mennonite boy is enjoying some ice cream which is free for the asking.

New Holland horse auction 7/4/14 (photo by Lee Smucker)

New Holland horse auction 7/4/14 (photo by Lee Smucker)

I enjoy the different expressions seen among the individuals in this photo, and the bright brown eyes of the youngster in the forefront. I've got a shirt that looks alot like his, but I don't have any white suspenders as of yet.

New Holland horse auction 7/4/14 (photo by Lee Smucker)
Waiting to see how much it's going for!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Shine, Jesus, Shine"  Video  

"In Christ Alone"  Video  Travis Cottrel

"Brighten the Corner Where You Are"  Video  The Statesmen Quartet
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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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