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Monday, July 21, 2014

Amish family in open cart in Lancaster County PA 7/11/14
This family is out on a pleasant day in their horse-drawn "convertible"

"Genuine Freedom"

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"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh" (Galatians 5:13). "But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification" (Romans 6:17-19). "Trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10).

Over the last several years at various eastern shore points we have noticed that many of the shore workers come from eastern European countries on some type of summer work program. We try to converse with them and learn about their lives.

Last week in Cape May New Jersey I visited with a young man from Bulgaria and inquired about his impression of temporarily living in America. He stated from his perspective the freedoms were greater in Bulgaria and I asked how so. His perspective on freedom was this, "In Bulgaria we could go to clubs where alcohol is served at the age of 13. In New Jersey I have to be 21."  Interestingly, he viewed this law as a limiting his freedom.

One of the great blessings of serving Christ is genuine freedom. Many of us have memorized His statement, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32) although I would venture a guess that most have
only memorized the last phrase, "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

A few verses later in the same teaching context Christ shared another phrase that many have memorized, "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). Jesus is speaking here of being freed from the bondage of sin. In verse 34 He states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin."

However it seems many see this freedom from the bondage of sin as a freedom to sin. Certainly this is not true for earnest followers of Christ.
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh". Rather, we are to experience genuine freedom through our Spirit-empowered life of consecration to God which stands in tremendous contrast to a life bound in sin,  "For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification."

Our sanctification sets us apart for God so that we are always "trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord."

I'm free from the fear of tomorrow,
I'm free from the guilt of the past;
For I've traded my shackles for a glorious song,
I'm Free! Praise the Lord! Free at last!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, we thank You for Jesus who released us from our shackles of sin and provided us the song of salvation. Our debt to sin was more than we could pay, and yet Jesus, who knew no sin, paid it for us. How grateful we are that we have been set free from sin and set apart unto righteousness resulting in sanctification. We set ourselves apart from being molded by the world and the evil influences of our arch enemy, Satan. We want to learn what pleases You so that we daily walk in our freedom provided through the cross of Calvary. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Last week we shared photos of our visit to Philadelphia and the Jersey shore we made early in the week. Today we have a recent collection of Lancaster County photos

Mower repair in Lancaster County PA 7/18/14
Last Friday we passed this old order Mennonite farmer boy who was having trouble with his mower and was working on it as we passed by.

Amish open cart, Kraybill Church Road in Lancaster County PA 7/18/14
This photo taken at sunset on Saturday night is a little blurry, but Brooksyne was trying to pull Mollie (our border collie) back and snap this photo from our front porch. The  green vegetation serves as a vibrant, breath-taking background for our summer photos! And what could be more natural looking than a horse drawn open cart during a lovely sunset evening.

Amish family in open cart in Lancaster County PA 7/11/14
On the way to church yesterday Brooksyne snapped this photo of an Amish family travelling on West Main Street in Mount Joy going to a church service. The children were waving and smiling which we were unable to capture in our photo.

Jason and Amber wedding 7/19/14
The big send-off! The newlyweds, Jason and Amber, aren't boarding an airplane. Instead they're trying to escape "dangerous" paper airplanes flying overhead and many that crash landed around them.

Jim and Wendy Gambini 7/19/14
This last Saturday we attended a wedding in our home church and saw our good friends, Jim and Wendy Gambini. Jim was the first pastor we had when we moved to Lancaster County 13 years ago.

Jim and Shirley at wedding 7/19/14
Jim and Shirley, a couple in our church, prepared the delicious dinner buffet for the 180 guest wedding reception. Both are excellent chefs in the food industry.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Glorious Freedom"  Video  GVB

"I'm Free"  Video  
Gaither Homecoming singers

"Let Freedom Ring"  Video  GVB

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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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