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Monday, July 4, 2016

View from front porch 7/1/16
A pleasant view from our front porch. The corn is growing well in spite of the late planting and is at a glistening green stage. Our border collie Mollie is long past her car chasing stage but will still run out to visit the horse. (Click on photo for larger view)

"The Blessing Of Freedom"

Please note: This week I (Stephen) will be traveling to Arizona to attend a chaplain conference. I will also be leading a workshop on corporate chaplaincy. Due to travel our messages will only be posted sporadically depending on time and internet connection. I will be spending several days before the conference with my oldest brother, Michael, who lives in California. We'll meet together for several days of sightseeing, including the Grand Canyon. Brooksyne and Ester will care for matters at home and work while I'm away.

Message Summary: If you are a citizen of a free country don't take it for granted. Give thanks to God for this wonderful privilege and consider those who sacrificed for your freedoms and pray for our brethren who do not have these freedoms. Above all give thanks to God that Jesus paid the supreme sacrifice so that we might be freed from the slavery of sin. That's something that we can all rejoice in no matter the political persuasion of our country. 

to this message on your audio player.

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

Today is a holiday here in the USA and many are off work as well. Although it's July 4 regardless of where you live the words "July 4th or 4th of July" have special meaning here in the USA. It's Independence Day and should be a time we consider our history and express thanks for our political freedoms, although many take these freedoms for granted and may not notice they are systematically being diminished.

Our fellow brothers and sisters who read these messages all over the world live under varying degrees of political freedom. Many live in countries with relative freedom. Others live in places with religious oppression and in some cases outright persecution. However we really doubt if this material reaches those living in slavery, although millions live under such conditions.

Today we want to share about a freedom that is available to all that is infinitely greater than any political or religious freedoms we may or may not enjoy in this present life. One hundred or one thousand years into eternity we suspect that where we lived during our brief earthly sojourn will be of little regard, with the one exception of our decision to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.

In John 8 Jesus confronted the Pharisees and religious leaders of His day who had challenged His authority. The encounter specifically began when Jesus asserted, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). The Pharisees challenged Jesus and the validity of His testimony and of course that has been at the heart of resistance to God's redemption plan ever since.

Jesus taught that those who "hold" to His teaching are truly His disciples (v. 31). He said to them "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).  This especially insulted the proud Pharisees who responded, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" (v. 34).

But Jesus was speaking of a slavery that impacts the entire human race; rich or poor, powerful  or weak, intellectual or unlearned, politically free, oppressed or even enslaved. People from every background are slaves to sin!  Yet this is the very slavery that Jesus came to free us from: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

If you are a citizen of a free country don't take it for granted. Give thanks to God for this wonderful privilege and consider those who sacrificed for your freedoms and pray for our brethren who do not have these freedoms. Above all give thanks to God that Jesus paid the supreme sacrifice so that we might be freed from the slavery of sin. That's something that we can all rejoice in no matter the political persuasion of our country. 

Today, are you free indeed?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, how glorious it is to enjoy the many freedoms provided to us in our homeland of the brave and the free. We're also mindful and grateful for our freedom from sin, thanks to the sacrifice of Your Son on our behalf. Our lives, once enslaved to sin, can now enjoy freedom from that which once held us captive to Satan's bondage. We live in victory because You have set us free and we are now free indeed. Thank You, Father, for delivering us from the dominion of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of Your Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin!  Amen.

Christ provides:
1) Freedom from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:18).
2) Freedom from guilt and shame (Colossians 1:21-23).
3) Freedom from fear of death (Hebrews 2:15).

Paul and Sheila Heil of "The Gospel Greats" 7/3/16
Yesterday we had some interesting guests in our church. For many years we have enjoyed a radio program called "The Gospel Greats" with Paul Heil which originates here in Lancaster County. Paul and his wife Sheila are visiting local churches unannounced and, for whatever reason, made it out to the countryside of Mount Joy to join us for a church service. Their program is nationally syndicated so it may be on your own local Christian radio station. It's aired on Sirius satellite radio at 8 PM on Sundays. For locals you can hear The Gospel Greats on Saturday afternoons on WDAC 94.5 FM from 3:30 to about 5:20. We're always refreshed and challenged as we listen to the many dedicated gospel singing groups and hear their stories; so many with godly parents who steered them in the right path, others overcoming and enduring major health matters or the loss of a loved one, and all of them living out their lives seeking to honor God just like the rest of us in the family of God.

Bluebirds (photo by Robyn Waugh)
As we visit employees at different companies  we are blessed by the photographs on many computer screens. Robyn from Kleen-Rite shares our two bird photos today that she took recently - the blue bird couple appear to be caring for their young family.

Robin (photo by Robyn Waugh)
This robin is either filling its belly or maybe its gathering food for the youngin's.

4th of July dessert 7/4/16
Last night we cut into our fourth of July dessert. Many of you recognize this cake made popular many years ago; a sheet cake poked with holes so jello can be poured into it making it very moist. And of course the replica of the American flag. Tasty & easy!

View of front porch 7/1/16
In our lead photo today we showed the view from our front porch looking out over the road to the corn field. We would also like share the view of our front porch and home from the road. Everything is so green after numerous showers.
(Click on photo for larger view)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Glorious Freedom"  Video  GVB  We ended our service yesterday with this powerful song

"America Medley [Live]"   Video  GVB

"Jesus Paid It All"  Video  Fernando Ortega

"Jesus Paid It All"  Video  Altar Of Praise Chorale

Finally today:

Ester reading Lancaster paper with statue!
 Ester continues to develop her photographic skills including this great idea for composition in this photo. This statue is in downtown Lancaster. (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 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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