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Friday, September 19, 2014

Appalachian trail overlook
A vista view from the Appalachian Trail.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Yesterday afternoon we walked a portion of the Appalachian trail in Berks County, PA
I took the above photo several years ago but yesterday the fall foliage wasn't nearly as far along.

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"Hope In An Age Of Terror"

"Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken" (Luke 21:26).

Today's Bible text looks like something that could be in the morning paper or in an internet news headline, especially the line,
"apprehensive of what is coming on the world." That sure speaks to our reaction of current events. New terror groups arise all the time, each it seems more savage. The other day I heard a news commentator list all of the Islamic terror groups spread throughout the world. Of course the latest vying to be most evil is ISIS but if you are living for Christ in Nigeria it's Boko Haram. Nearly every day there is news about their murderous rampage.

But the most difficult threat to contain is what one commentator called the individual Jihadist, who may act independent of any group or plan. This is the case in several places already, including several vicious murders here in the US.

Many have pondered the significance of these current events in light of eschatological studies (eschatology being the long word for studying the end times). Does this mean the Lord's coming is near and we are soon approaching "the end of the world"?

I've been a follower of Christ for over 40 years and all along I have observed that there are those who are able to attach prophetic significance to virtually any event and in part they are correct. In fact it will often result in a moving sermon. But I understand that this was the case long before I came around as well. Sixty years ago among the devout there was plenty of cause to muse the same things. Ultimately the answer is that all events, those that took place years ago and those now unfolding, are part of the Master Plan.

The description of the endtimes when men will faint from terror are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ as He was teaching concerning the end times. The specific source of terror in this verse is cosmic, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea" (Luke 21:25).

But terror of all types increasingly fills our world. It's interesting that among the names that could be used for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes we most commonly use the name "terrorist". After all they are proud murderers and devious destroyers as well. If I look only to the conditions in this world; if I contemplate only that which is being prepared in the secret places, my heart is filled with terror.
I am indeed, "apprehensive of what is coming on the world." Given the number of these depraved souls, the vast array of weapons at their disposal and their willingness to die for their accursed cause I quite simply have little confidence in my government's ability to stop them.

I so identify with these words of the Apostle Paul, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (1 Corinthians 15:19). Well, the glorious truth is that it's not only for this life that we hope in Christ. In the span of eternity "this life" will be but a tiny and ever-decreasing percentage as eternity is experienced once we cross to the other side. In fact Paul has now been in heaven some 40 times longer than he lived on this earth!

This brief time of our earthly sojourn is extremely important though, for during this life we make the decision of where we will spend eternity. Have you done so? Here's a common prayer that expresses faith in God's plan of salvation. Many of you have already expressed your faith in Christ and today I encourage you to reaffirm that commitment. Others have never done so and I urge you to pray this prayer from your heart today.

"Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner.  I believe that You came to this earth and died on the cross in my place.  I place my faith in You and what You have done for me.  I receive You into my life and choose this day to follow You and learn obedience through the Scriptures.  Thank You for hearing my prayer. Amen." 

That's the start; now let us follow and serve Him every day and place our faith in the One who will replace our terror with His hope.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, signs of the times are evident from virtually every point of the globe as we see flesh and blood battles raging. Scripture also indicates that there are spiritual forces of evil doing battle in the heavenly realms. Even as we see this inevitable consequence of mankind's rebellion against God, even as the heavenly bodies are shaken, we will remain firm as we stand on Your promises trusting You to see us through the uncertainties of our times. Keep us ever watchful and prayerful so that we may be able to remain faithful through all that is happening as we keep our eyes on the future coronation day when we will stand before the Son of Man in all His glory. We especially pray for our Christian brothers and sisters being targeted specifically because of their faith. Until that day we remain joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.  Amen.

Prayer based on Luke 21:36, Ephesians 6:12, Romans 12:12

Convene meeting on Don Eaton's farm 9/18/14
Yesterday we joined a group from the Convene group for a tour of Eaton Farms, a large wholesale tree farm north of Reading PA. Don Eaton is the man giving the tour in the center of the photo. He is a walking encyclopedia of all things trees! Don and his wife Kathy have become friends the last several years. Convene is comprised of Christian business owners and leaders who seek to operate their companies honoring Christ using Biblical principles.

Getting ready for Christmas at Don Eaton's farm 9/18/14
Gearing up for Christmas on the Eaton Farm.

Eaton farms 9/18/14
The farm is set in the rolling farmlands of eastern Pennsylvania.

Canning jars salvaged from a Jimmy Buffet wedding
The blessing of salvaged canning jars!
One of Don and Kathy's daughters worked on Long Island at a place belonging to Jimmy Buffet (a famous singer). They had a large wedding at his place and decorated the tables with canning jars with candles. At the conclusion they were going to just throw all the jars away but their daughter asked is she could salvage them, reckoning someone could surely use them. (We like that kind of common sense and resourcefulness!) She piled boxes of jars in her vehicle and brought them to Pennsylvania figuring someone could surely use them. Her mother Kathy recalled Brooksyne canned and offered them to us. Initially we had a concern about how to get the melted wax out of the jars but discovered by placing them in the freezer the wax become brittle and comes out easily. We picked up our first load this last Spring and Brooksyne has already filled them with five kinds of jams: apple, peach, strawberry rhubarb, blueberry & jalapeno. If you receive a gift of Brooksyne's canned jam it will likely come in a famous canning jar! In the quarts she cans apple sauce and pie fillings.

Mystery tool from Kathy Eaton
Yesterday Kathy shared an interesting antique tool she had located on the farm.
Does anyone recognize what it is? (See below for answer)

Appalachian Trail 9/18/14
The Appalachian Trail is just a narrow, very rocky path in most places we have hiked on. On the section we hiked yesterday we did not see a vista view such as today's lead photo but just a long, winding path surrounded by forest. It was very serene.

Martin Farm Market in Schuylkill County PA 9/18/14
After our hike we crossed over the Blue Mountain Ridge where the Appalachian Trail runs and came into a beautiful farming valley in Schuylkill County. We shopped at the Martin's Farm Market along Route 183 where I think Brooksyne tucked away a Birthday present for me (at least she wouldn't let me see inside the big, black bag that she stashed in the back of the van). Observant readers may realize, because of the frequent photos, I enjoy photographing mums!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Until That Day"  Video  Nice song I had never heard prior to preparing for this message.

"Until Then"  Video  Charles Billingsley and church choir (This is actually the song I had in mind when I located the song above!)

But until then my heart will go on singing
Until then with joy I'll carry on
Until the day my eyes behold that city
Until the day God calls me home

Eaton Farms has a clear core values statement unashamedly declaring the foundation for their business.

Convene  Ron Hoover, who has been very supportive of our ministry is the local chair .

Today's mystery tool is a cast iron candle snuffer from the 1800's! (See here)

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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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