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Monday, March 23, 2015

Amish church service on Kraybill Church Road 3/22/15
On the way to our church yesterday we passed buggie traffic and I reasoned that the Amish were probably having church on our road. Sure enough yesterday afternoon we passed our neighbor's farm on Kraybill Church Road and saw all the buggies parked. (The Amish have church services in the homes of their members.)

"At All Times"

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"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:28). "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1).

Yesterday afternoon we led the chapel service at Longwood Manor, a nursing home in Maytown, Pennsylvania. Brooksyne selects music familiar to the elderly and they sure sing out. A group attends from a memory care unit and we note how the old hymns are deeply embedded  in their memory. One lady who has greatly diminished memory loudly sang, word for word, as Brooksyne played the hymns before the service began.

I preached a message based upon our daily encouragement message this last Friday from Hebrews 12 concerning the shakings in life. I looked out over the congregation of about 40 residents, now in their "golden years", and considered all the shakings they've experienced in life. Heartaches, brokenness, profound disappointments. Most have lost their spouses, certainly some have grieved the loss of a child. Of course further shaking will most assuredly come as we consider the words from a hymn, "I'll fight life's final war with pain". *

I shared how we all have these shakings while at the same time, "we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken". What an assurance this is for all believers but even more keenly felt by the elderly since their time of departing is more evident.  Our response, according to the Scripture, is to "
be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."

Now this is a very attentive group. In fact I didn't see anyone piddling with their phone during the entire service. But I still like to test for attentiveness and purposefully misquoted a Scripture (being prepared to immediately correct myself if my misquote wasn't detected). I challenged how we were to live our life characterized by worship and praise and misquoted Psalm 34 by saying, "I will bless the Lord whenever I feel like it." Well, immediately Dale Singer (and probably several others) quickly corrected me and quoted correctly, "at all times".

Dale Singer 3/22/15Take some time to interface with these seniors who have so much wisdom to offer. Let me just share a bit about Dale. He's very familiar with life's shakings. His first wife died of cancer many years ago. He remarried and, for some time now, has lovingly attended to his second wife who has Alzheimer's Disease. Of course I don't know all the shakings he's been through but, now in his eighties, he maintains a faith-filled outlook on life.

As a child he was raised in a God-fearing home but rebelled as a teenager and soon became addicted to alcohol. In the Navy he served on the
Aircraft Carrier Midway during the Korean War. (He was so pleased that we had seen his carrier on our recent visit to San Diego and wanted to tell me just where he had been stationed on the huge ship.)

Jesus SavesWhile in a training meeting in Memphis he passed a rescue mission and recalls seeing the bright neon sign, "Jesus Saves". He walked in and surrendered his life to Christ and his heart and life was changed! While reflecting on the goodness of the Lord his eyes welled up in tears several times.

Dale told me that sometime later, following his conversion, he returned home.  It was eerily quiet as he entered his house. Assuming his folks were away he walked into his bedroom and there he saw his mother kneeling at his bed praying for him.

Dale went on to Messiah College and, for many years, was a public school teacher as well as a preacher. He still teaches a Sunday School class in his church to this day.

Dale's story should encourage readers who have been praying for their prodigal child(ren). Sometimes you wonder if the godly upbringing you gave them was in vain, or you might question where you went wrong. Be assured that Bible truths, taught and modelled, are deeply imbedded in your children. We pray that they will come to their senses once they've consumed enough of the devil's poison, and they will know again of the good things the Lord has prepared for those who love Him.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we want to bless You at all times. May our praise toward You continually flow from our tongues so that it brightens our outlook and even our countenance. May our lives, set apart for your glory, be as neon lights to this darkened world where so many have lost their way. They've become slaves to sin and need to be rescued and set free. Enable us to genuinely care for these needy souls, in their lostness and despair, to lovingly guide them to salvation through Christ. No one is too lost, or beyond hope, of find saving grace through Christ Jesus. So we continue to pray, believe, and trust You to save our loved ones before it is eternally too late. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Good neighbors! Last night we had three neighborhood families over for dinner and fellowship. We wanted to thank them for their blessing in our lives. One has been so kind to keep our driveway cleared in the winter using his big John Deere tractor, another cares for our dogs while we are away and still another, our cat. They are trustworthy people. We didn't take a photo since we thought it might make some of them, who are part of an old order Plain group uncomfortable.

Keefer twins
Our pastor has an identical twin and yesterday we met his brother for the first time. We had some fun with that, after our initial confusion, when they weren't side by side!

Lancaster homeshow flowers
Saturday afternoon I went to the Lancaster Homeshow where vendors demonstrate their various home improvement services. These real flowers at a hardscape dealer's display get us more than ready to enjoy our spring season!

Colander planter
A repurposed kitchen colander serving as a planter!

Friday we shared this photo of a very friendly squirrel we saw along I-5 in southern California. He was reaching up to us for a morsel and we asked our readers for suggested captions.

California squirrel
"I need a hug."
"Please hold me, I just want to be loved."
"Let's just praise the Lord."
"Do you suppose I could borrow your toothbrush?"
"I thank You, Jesus, You have brought these kind people here to feed me!"
"Please, don't hit me, I won't steal any more bird feed!"
"Can I have some of those Crest Whitestrips?"
"Smiling for the camera so I have a treat...please."
"Come on, come on, come on. Let's eat."

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* "Because He Lives"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"Jesus Saves"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"Somebody's Praying Me Through"  Video  Allen Asbury

One more touching scene from yesterday in our nursing home ministry: As we walked into Longwood to prepare for the service I noticed two women praying for Warren, an elderly man in his nineties. I placed my hand on their shoulders and joined them even though I didn't know who they were. Afterwards it turns out it was Warren's daughter and granddaughter.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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