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Monday, August 1, 2016

Ohio Barn 7/30/16
Barn in rural Ohio. This barn caught our attention from the interstate with its message printed large enough for all who drove by to consider Christ's command from Scripture.

"A Lesson From Sodom"

Message Summary: The teaching on Sodom certainly may not be among the more "encouraging" parts of Holy Scripture but it is vital that we heed the teachings inspired by God concerning this city and learn from its example.

Note: Due to family travel we will not be podcasting this week.

"But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:29).

We are in southeastern Wisconsin for our annual family reunion at Lake Delavan. Due to the distance we take several days to travel since anymore I have a hard time travelling over 350 miles in one day. Quite a contrast to our younger days when we would travel nearly 1000 miles from our home in northern Pennsylvania to Kansas City or Springfield.

Chevrolet VegaAt that time we recall stopping at interstate rest stops to sleep by using our reclining seats for a couple of hours in the little Chevrolet Vega we had at that time, something very dangerous today and even back then. However it was practically unthinkable to waste money on a motel just to sleep in! We lived on a shoestring budget so we couldn't see wasting it on lodging. A few times we slept in a pup tent - I wince to even think of that kind of rugged lodging at our present age!

So now we pace ourselves on trips and do some sightseeing along the way. We left Friday afternoon after some chaplain visits and had dinner with our friends, Howard and Sharon Blichfeldt, near Grove City PA. Saturday evening we stayed in Fort Wayne, Indiana and reconnected with Brooksyne's cousin, David, who manages the impressive hotel where we lodged.

We enjoy traveling Americana on the back roads whenever possible and feasible. As Charles Kurwalt, who had a news segment on CBS titled "On the Road" said regarding the interstate system, "Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything. From the Interstate, America is all steel guardrails and plastic signs, and every place looks and feels and sounds and smells like every other place." So we often get off the interstate and travel the old US highways and sometimes state roads. We got off the well traveled path to take the barn photo above that states, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN". You see more variety that way and you might just pass through some interesting towns.

Saturday morning we drove through Sodom. No, not the Sodom of the Bible of course, which was destroyed in God's judgment but a little town in Eastern Ohio (see here on Google map). The derivation of the name is quite interesting. It must have been quite a party town and the community was so named when a frustrated temperance activist compared the community to the infamous Biblical city of Sodom. But as we drove through it looked pretty peaceful, at least on Saturday morning!

The Biblical city of Sodom is mentioned 47 times in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Christ referred to it 5 times always in a literal sense. The writer of the epistles likewise refer to the city as a warning such as Peter's statement, "He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly" (2 Peter 2:6). In the tiny book of Jude we read, "
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7).

Today's texts are the matter of fact words of Jesus,
"But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:29). The initial account of this judgment is recorded in Genesis 19 and it's not a pretty picture.

Today many mock these Bible accounts. The notion of past and future judgment is just a religious myth to many. Sadly there are those in the church that can have a very selective approach to what Scriptures they accept, ignore or outright reject. A popular outlook for some time now has been the designation "Red letter Christians" meaning those who accept the words of Jesus but discount or outright reject the other Scriptures, especially teachings in the epistles, particularly those contrary to the new morality (which is really old immorality). This is a faulty and dangerous notion since all Scripture is inspired by God.

The teaching on Sodom certainly may not be among the more "encouraging" parts of Holy Scripture but it is vital that we heed the teachings inspired by God concerning this
city and learn from its example.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, we thank You for the many promises, assurances, and encouraging words we receive from reading the Scriptures. Likewise we're thankful for the warnings that are scattered all throughout the Bible - through the admonitions and commands as well as the examples of those who failed to heed them and those who did. It's natural for us to pick our favorite verses that reassure and inspire us but we're also wise to meditate and memorize verses that serve as warnings as to how we live out our lives while journeying here below. Your loving protection and guidance are for all who walk the straight and narrow way that leads to righteousness. Even Your warnings are packaged in love and concern since You want us to experience the best of life You have for us here on this side and even more so on the other side. Keep us faithful we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Note: Stephen's back continues to improve and now it's a just a bit stiff. This morning we took a hike along Lake Geneva with some of his cousins, though he only went part of the way and rested on a bench overlooking the beautiful lake.
Lake Geneva 8/1/16

Howard and Sharon Blichfeldt 7/30/14
Two years ago we visited with Howard and Sharon in Pittsburgh and Ester snapped this shot from a bluff overlooking the city skyline. Friday evening we met for dinner and had a less dramatic background. This delightful couple is a great blessing to us and many of you enjoy Howard's nature photographs which we feature often on our site.

David Waymire 7/31/16
On Sunday morning I, Brooksyne, reconnected with David Waymire, my first cousin that I hadn't seen for over 40 years. He has managed hotels his entire adult life and we decided it would be nice to stay in Hotel Fort Wayne where he is the general manager. Sadly, much of our conversation included those no longer with us including our parents. Our reunion was a stark reminder that we have our family only for a season.  It's all the more reason to live not just for here and now, but to make sure we're prepared to live forever in heaven, where we'll meet up with those who chose to follow Christ here on earth.

Deathproof cyclist 7/31/16
Perhaps fast and loud but certainly not deathproof! This motorcyclist that was stopped in front of us yesterday in Illinois bears a message in direct contrast to Scripture and the reality of life. I'm thinking of the Scripture that warns, "It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Amazing God"  Video  Triumphant Quartet

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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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