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Note: Due to a family reunion we are hosting in the Poconos next week we will be unable to post messages Monday-Wednesday next week. We expect to resume on Thursday, July 23.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mennonite boy on cart 7/10/15
Getting around in Lancaster County

"Peace In Our Time?"

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"Such things must happen, but the end is still to come" (Matthew 24:6). "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9).

This week there has been much news concerning the nuclear deal with Iran. There are some who actually believe it will usher in an era of "peace in our time", for others, including me, not at all. Meanwhile here in the states we had an ISIS attack killing four marines and shooting a police officer at a naval reserve center yesterday. Our leadership is in a deep slumber or worse and so many, many are deeply deceived. We sure live in interesting times. It seems like mankind seeking for peace is futile.

In fact Biblically it is futile although as individuals we are called to seek peace. But world peace will only come at the time of our Lord's reign. As His kingdom is rejected to a greater and greater extent we see in our own age turmoil will only increase. Jesus' teaching, concerning this turmoil in the days leading to His return, stated, "Such things must happen" (Read Matthew 24).

However followers of Christ have a promise of God's peace in Christ who said, "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Instant access to news reminds us of the turmoil so many face today in much of the world. It's a blessing to awaken in peace in our little spot on this terrestrial ball. This is true for many readers as well, although we may easily take it for granted though it could end very quickly.

We like to awaken to music that gives us a Godward focus. Today our alarm awakened us to "Ten Thousand Reasons" by Matt Redman. It has these words,
"The sun comes up.
It’s a new day dawning.
 It’s time to sing Your song again."

"Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name."

It's great to get that kind of theological perspective sung to a catchy melody when you first awaken in the morning.

But we continue to observe the turmoil and chaos in so many parts of the world. Some entire regions are beset by violence. Here in America the majority of our inner cities are wracked in violence. And regardless of where we live somewhere in our vicinity people are experiencing domestic violence.

We wonder what all this means. When it will be resolved, and when will it end? When will there really be "peace in our time"? Certainly earnest believers should pray for and pursue peace and sympathize with those who are suffering.

Among the titles that the Messiah was prophetically given in Isaiah 9, Jesus is declared the "Prince of Peace." I don't believe we will have "peace in our time" on earth in the political sense until Christ returns. However as individual followers of Christ we can have "peace in our time".

The peace that Jesus brings has several dimensions that are presently available:
  1. Peace with God (reconciliation) "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). Bible commentator Harry Ironside summarizes the justified man or woman's peace. "Peace, as used in Romans 5:1, is not a state of mind or heart. It is a prevailing condition between two who were once alienated. Sin had disturbed the perfect relations of Creator and creature. A breach occurred that man could not mend. But peace has been made by the blood of Christ's cross. There is no longer a barrier. Peace with God is now the abiding state into which every believer enters. The sin question is settled."
  2. Peace with each other (relational) "Live in harmony with one another" "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:16a,18).  I believe this speaks of the local sphere in our lives, relational peace within our family, friends and church.
  3. Peace within (spiritual/emotional) "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). Peace in this context is a state without anxiety and worry about how and when our needs (physical or emotional) will be supplied. This peace is the result of going to Him and confidently committing everything into His trustworthy hands.
However there is no promise that in this present age there will be world peace in the geopolitical sense. In fact Jesus forthrightly declared in Matthew 24 that there will be wars and rumors of wars; nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. He said, "Such things must happen." That may not be very encouraging, but the Bible does promise a future time of peace in this sense when the Lord returns.

In the meantime, as followers of Christ, we should seek to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and as far as it depends on us we are to live at peace with all men (Romans 12:18). But as we live among these and future days of growing tribulation may our hearts be filled with peace. Jesus reassures us with these words, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, knowing that Jesus is the Prince of Peace I pray for His peace to fall upon our land. We pray that many will turn to You today and accept that wonderful reconciliation You freely offer. That is the first step to all other types of peace. We pray for relational peace among our countries, families, and churches. We pray for inward, emotional peace, especially for our brothers and sisters affected by these wars. We pray for those suffering loss from yesterday's brutal attack at two military recruitment centers. We look forward to that time spoken of when the whole world will be at rest and in peace. But until that hour we serve You faithfully today as we seek to be peacemakers for Your glorious kingdom. Amen.

We are pleased to be a part of Christ's church and join many in seeking to bring peace and blessing as much as we are able. This afternoon we plan to attend a Haiti Benefit Auction here in Lancaster County. If you are local or otherwise and may be interested here's a brochure (pdf). It includes an evening meal followed by a Gospel concert. Many of our Plain communities (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) support this auction and our Amish friends invited us. In fact Anna Ruth is making 50 Whoopie pies and assisted other ladies in her church in sewing a quilt for the auction!

Family Visit

Family visit 7/17/15
Yesterday afternoon my oldest brother Mike, who lives in California came in for a visit along with his daughter Greta, son in law Dean and their children
, Scott, Zachary and Carolyn who live in Saint Louis, Missouri. I snapped this photo this morning before they headed to Hershey Park. We will be visiting through the weekend after which we will all be traveling up to the Poconos on Sunday for a reunion with relatives from my mom's side of the family. The three Weber brothers are hosting the reunion this year so we expect to be busy giving our extended family a memorable time! Due to this we do not expect we will be able to post messages on Monday-Wednesday. We do hope to resume on Thursday, July 23.

Some more local scenes

Old-order Mennonite on bike 7/16/15

The Mennonite man was pulling a cart with ears of sweet corn to a produce stand.
It must have been a heavy load as he was exerting quite an effort!

Costco Amish parking shed 7/16/15
It was a busy day yesterday at our local Costco which courteously provides a shed for the Amish customers to park their horse and buggies. I wonder if there's another Costco store anywhere with this accommodation!

And some fun with our very active border collie Mollie

Mollie "climbing" tree 7/16/15
Mollie "climbing" a tree to get her frisbee. She is jumping about 6 foot 6 inches!
Watch the video (25 seconds) Ester recorded yesterday. This new ability Mollie has acquired for climbing should eliminate the need for trimming her nails!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Ten Thousand Reasons"
  Video  Matt Redman

"Fill This Place"  Video  Red Rocks Church

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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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