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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Stock tank flowers Allensville PA 7/7/15
Stock tanks with flower
arrangements can be seen along the highway in Allensville, PA in the "Big Valley".

"Renew Them In Our Day"

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"LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known" (Habakkuk 3:2).

On July 8, 1741 (274 years ago today) Jonathan Edwards stepped behind the pulpit and methodically delivered the most famous single sermon ever preached in America. (We referred to this sermon in a message several weeks ago.) Few preachers have not heard of "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God" or read the account of the astounding conviction that came over the assembled listeners that day. People wept and cried out to God for mercy and many were saved. It wasn't because of a dramatic slick sermon delivery or a personality filled with charisma. Instead Edwards was described as "one who preached powerfully although lamely dependent on his manuscript, who delivered his sermons in a monotone, with his eyes never straying from the back wall of the church.”

The next several years our country experienced a revival known as "The Great Awakening." The meeting house itself where Edwards preached burned down in 1775 and only a small, engraved stone now marks the spot where it stood in Enfield, Connecticut.  Brooksyne, Ester, and I prayed at the spot many years ago and renewed our commitment to serving God in our generation.

In our daily encouragement series we emphasize the aspect of daily choice and commitment a lot. Each of us has an apportioned amount of time to live on this earth known only to God. We are physically designed to die. Each day approximately 150,000 people die worldwide. The Bible forthrightly states, "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Habakkuk is one of the lesser known and read Biblical books. It is among a collection known as the "Minor Prophets". The basic theme of his book is living by faith. He wrote at the time of Jeremiah when the nation was under judgment and his focus was to encourage the godly remnant to understand God's ways in regard to their sinful nation and impending judgment. He greatly desired that they were to live their remaining days exalting God and witnessing His awesome deeds.

What matters most is the decision to follow Christ. Habakkuk stood up for God in his day. Jonathan Edwards stood up for God in his day as have millions through the church age.  Now it's our turn. 

Our daily Scripture portion has two elements:

1) "LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD."  As the people of God, let us rejoice in hearing the fame of God far surpassing any human fame that exists for only a season and touches relatively few. May our Lord's supernatural deeds keep us in a state of awe and wonderment of His great power and His message that supernaturally spreads to the uttermost parts of the world. 

2) "Renew them in our day, in our time make them known."  My, how an awareness of and appreciation for God's fame needs renewed in our day.  Perhaps the availability of Scripture and access to learning more about God somehow diminishes people's interest in our time. How desperately we need a restoration of awe for His deeds.  Consider the incredible moral confusion and idolatry demonstrated in the last week. Consider how God's Name is all too often trampled, cursed, and used as a mindless exclamation instead of being reverenced and held in awe by those who speak it.  My heart grieves at the apostasy and blindness sweeping our land.  Good is called evil and evil is called good.

Today, join Brooksyne and me among those with a steadfast heart who declare, "Lord I lift Your Name on high, Lord I love to sing Your praises!"  "In our day, in our time", may the Lord use you and me and each faithful follower to make His fame and deeds known among the people!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Heavenly Father, we want to be a shining light to the nations, bring a word of hope to the peoples of this earth so that the whole world will know there's salvation in Your name, there's awe in Your supernatural deeds and there is eternity to be gained in exchange for a temporal world. We don't want to take for granted Your awesome deeds recorded in Scriptures or things done for us in the past. Would you do it again, Lord!  Reveal Your power anew and make it known in our time, we pray. Amen.

Big Valley

The Big Valley is a very rural part of PA that has lots of Plain folks and beautiful agricultural scenery in a wide valley between two mountain ridges about 100 miles northwest of us.
Big Valley, PA 7/7/15
In our view the Big Valley has some of the best rural scenery in all of Pennsylvania.

Kneeling cow in Big Valley 7/7/15
This cow was kneeling in an attempt to graze the grass on the other side of the fence. She was nibbling on it as we approached her.  You tell me, is the grass any greener on the other side of the fence? Is it worth the cow's discomfort bearing all the weight on her front knees? What a sight to watch her get back up! I don't think Veterinarian are doing knee replacements just yet, but who knows! Seeing her made me think of the saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." And, as you can see, in this photo it really isn't!

Paul Kampa 7/7/15
We drove by a church where I recalled meeting this pastor at a conference. Paul Kampa is a faithful contender of the faith
. We had a nice visit followed by prayer.

Tractor and wagon in Big Valley, PA 7/7/15
Some old-fashioned farming equipment

Yellow buggy in Big Valley, PA 7/7/15
In the Big Valley they have a similar branch of Amish as those who live here in Lancaster County using gray buggies, but also two additional branches identified by the buggy color; yellow and white.

White buggy in Big Valley, PA 7/7/15
If I am not mistaken this is the most "conservative" branch, the Nebraska Amish. Notice the blue kerosene lanterns they use at night rather than battery operated lights as we are accustomed to in our area.

We find these old order groups interesting although we sure don't understand their ways. One peculiar feature in one of these groups is that the men wear suspenders attached to only one side of their britches. According to one source this is to avoid any pride associated with two matching suspenders! It just never occurred to me that this could be a source of pride. I consider suspenders instead to be functional!

Amish hay harvest 6/25/15
An abundant hay harvest in our region!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Famous One"
  Video  Chris Tomlin

"Jesus, Only Jesus"
  Video  Charles Billingsley, Guy Penrod, Michael O'Brien and Travis Cottrell

"Revive Us Again"  Video  Homecoming sisters

"Sweet Holy Spirit"  Video  The Isaacs

The Big Valley is located here.
  (Google Map)

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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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