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Monday, November 14, 2016

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16
Yesterday we visited the Eastland Alpaca farm open house near Mount Joy, PA

"Standing In The Gap"

Message Summary:
Today we issue a call to stand in the gap.

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"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none" (Ezekiel 22:30).

Brooksyne dressed as Pilgrim 11/11/16
Since 1999 Brooksyne has given an historically accurate presentation about the Pilgrims 1620 voyage on the Mayflower emphasizing their deep Christian convictions. This last Friday she shared at Willow Valley, one of our area's large nursing care facilities. She spoke to both the elderly residents and preschoolers, which makes for an interesting pairing audience-wise. Breaking history down to children's level makes it interesting to all - both children and adults, especially when she involves the children! (Here Brooksyne is showing a fish, eyes and all, illustrating that Squanto taught the pilgrims to use fish as fertilizer. Fish heads tossed among the corn seeds would make the corn grow stronger and taller.)

She began teaching about the Mayflower voyage 17 years ago in an Elementary school in Taunton, MA. Taunton is only 25 miles from where the pilgrims landed in Plimouth. It was so well received that she began sharing the remarkable story in Christian schools, homeschooling co-ops, churches, nursing homes and women's groups over the years. 

When she began telling the story to some 200 students in the public school, God providentially had some of them ask just the right questions throughout the presentation. With the Bible in her hands, for "that was the one treasured possession that pilgrim families would not leave behind in Holland", she was able to speak repeatedly of their faith and how they treasured the Word of God using select portions of Scripture. She weaved in how its text would strengthen and guide them throughout the hardships, heartaches, and losses they would endure over the next several years.

We thank God for the unusual opportunity that has come her way to present the Biblical truth of the Pilgrim's expedition. In a sense she is one among many devoted believers who are standing in the gap widened by secularist teachings seeking to revise or even eliminate solid historical truths associated with the Judeo-Christian foundations in our country.

God is always looking for people to take up the cause of righteousness. The Biblical prophet Ezekiel lived for God at the time of the fall of Jerusalem and the first period of the exile in Babylon about 2,600 years ago.

The daily text is a word of the Lord to Ezekiel: "I looked for a man among them." Previous verses reveal the horrendous state of Jerusalem during its final days; they were desecrating the Sabbath, shedding innocent lives, sexually immoral, unjust, corrupt in leadership, and worshiping idols to name just a few of the serious offenses.

Fast forward to our generation and consider how much our society parallels Jerusalem just before its fall. I believe God is still searching for men (and women) who will hear and heed His call.

We see two requests here regarding the man God is looking for.  He is to "build up the wall" and "stand before me in the gap". Although they did have literal fortified walls and gaps the image is surely spiritual. The walls were a means of protection and the gaps had to be closely guarded as entrance points. God looked for a man who would stand against the tide of spiritual apostasy, political corruption and social oppression so prevalent in the land.

City wall God is calling each of us to "build up the wall".  The city wall was an essential aspect of protection in ancient times. We find it mentioned throughout the Old Testament. However, I believe Ezekiel is speaking figuratively here. One commentary observes "no one could be found to repair the moral damage done to the nation." Are you standing bold and unwavering today? Are you rebuilding and repairing the broken walls around you? Are you exposing the shameful deeds of darkness? Let's keep building and repairing the foundation wall of faith.

"Stand before me in the gap." The second major element in the man that God is searching for is a man who stands in the gap. The gap is a breach or break in the wall. Ezekiel records that God is unable to find even one individual who, taking his life in his hands, will shout at the top of his lungs: "In God's name and for God's sake, stop!" The image is that of intercession, a godly man standing before God and the people. Moses filled such a role when he pleaded with God on behalf of the people. John the Baptist boldly confronted King Herod about his immoral behavior, though it cost him his life. Yet his testimony emboldens all who read the Scriptures even thousands of years later. Today such men are needed.  Thank God for those who speak out for truth, but many more remain silent out of a spirit of fear or compromise. Will you speak out today?

"But I found none."  Surely this is one of the saddest verses in the entire Bible!  "None" should certainly not be taken as absolute. After all, Ezekiel himself was staying faithful to God, along with aged Jeremiah, young Daniel and others such as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Daniel 1:7). But among the political leadership none was found who would meet these qualifications. And the land was indeed judged and the people taken into exile in Babylon.

Two lessons today:
1) Let us all determine that we will meet this call in our age. I want to be a man who will build up the wall and stand before God in the gap. I want to build up the wall by holding to God's truth and His standards of righteousness. I want to stand in the gap regarding the moral filth that is far too prevalent.
2) Let us remember to pray for the godly remnant in leadership in each of our lands. They need our prayers to stand faithful!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I am an ordinary person who has submitted my heart to You. But it is in the ordinary people that the infusion of Your power makes them extraordinary. Your Holy Spirit gives me boldness that does not come naturally to my personality. Thank You for giving me the strength to stand against the basic principles of this world when they conflict with Your eternal principles. Lord, help me to be a watchman for my family, my co-workers and my friends as I pray for their salvation or for their continued spiritual fruitfulness. I thank You that I do not stand in the gap alone but You, my Father, are with me so I stand in Your strength! And I find additional courage as I observe committed believers who stand up for You when others bow their knee to the idols of our day. Keep me faithful, I pray. Amen.

Brooksyne dressed as Pilgrim 11/11/16
The children from kindercare especially enjoyed crushing with a pestle four different herbs I harvested from my still fresh herb garden - rosemary, thyme, parsley and mint. The entire room smelled like an herb garden. We were demonstrating what the women and girls did at the first Thanksgiving held in October 1621. The men and boys hunted and competed in outdoor games while the women and girls prepared foods for the 50 pilgrims and 90 Indians.

Brooksyne dressed as Pilgrim 11/11/16
Since I also had chaplain visits among my duties on Friday I visited companies in my pilgrim attire which brought about a "stir" as I walked from employee to employee.

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16
I wonder what these alpacas think during the Open House with total strangers leading them around the pasture!

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16
We saw this newborn alpaca born only hours earlier.

Eastland Alpaca farm 11/13/16
Trying to get this alpaca to show off his pretty face and pompadour hairdo!

Operation Christmas Child collection 11/13/16
We had the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection on Sunday morning. The children love to carry out boxes and load up the trailer after church.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Preacher Tell Me Like It Is"  Video  
Greater Vision

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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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