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Friday, January 27, 2017

Eshleman's Mill Covered Bridge
Eshleman's Mill Covered Bridge near Gordonville, PA

"Speaking The Truth,
Declaring What Is Right"

Message summary:
God has revealed Himself so powerfully in the daily Scripture portion: "I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right" (Isaiah 45:19). Indeed He does and so must we! Let us also faithfully speak the truth and declare what is right.

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"I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right" (Isaiah 45:19).

March for Life
Today tens of thousands (likely hundreds of thousands) will participate in a peaceful march through the streets of Washington DC in the annual "March For Life". Since 1974, our first year in Bible College, this march has been held. I have participated many times since the mid- eighties when we lived in northern Pennsylvania and went with a group on a big yellow school bus. I flew down from New England and have attended several times in recent years. This year we are not going but express thankgiving for those who do. For many years my Aunt Mary, a devout Catholic attended the march, riding in a bus all the way from western Missouri.

When we lived in Massachusetts we had a large changeable message sign on the busy highway (US 44) in front of our church.  For many years Bill and Veda, a dedicated senior couple, faithfully changed the message on the sign each week to provide a sentence sermon for drivers and pedestrians passing by. We normally used a Scripture portion or short spiritual saying as a witness for the Lord. 

Abortion Stops A Beating Heart
One week we used a saying simply stating, "Abortion Stops A Beating Heart."  A day or two later I received a call from a lady identifying herself as a neighbor who was very upset about the message. She didn't feel that she and her children needed to be exposed to this "hate speech" and told me how much better the world would be if there weren't people like me.*¹ She ended the call by saying, "I wish someone would stop your heart from beating" and hung up. Wow, that was sure a loving statement! Her sentiment expressed to me is similar to the hateful dialogue we've heard for years that is increasing.

Now the statement "Abortion Stops A Beating Heart" is incontrovertibly true. It's not just a figurative statement, but is a literal scientific truth. The tiny unborn baby's heart is indeed beating by the time the vast majority of elective abortions are performed. In fact the heart is beating in a matter of weeks after conception, often before the mother even knows she has a growing life inside of her.*²

Unborn baby
The angry caller typifies the world's response to light and truth. In our postmodern world the vast majority of learning institutions are proponents of making truth relative rather than absolute. But the ultimate giver of truth is Jesus and Satan tried to silence Him, but was unsuccessful. The church is to be the "the pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). The world (Satan) also wants to silence the true church yet we must unapologetically, unashamedly, and unfearfully speak out the truth even if it's not popular. We must do it even though we will be increasingly hated and ridiculed for taking such a stand.

God has revealed Himself so powerfully in the daily Scripture portion: "I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right" (Isaiah 45:19). Indeed He does and so must we! Let us also faithfully speak the truth and declare what is right.

Matthew Poole comments about this verse, "I require nothing of my people which is not highly just and good; whereas the idols commanded their worshippers to do many sinful and shameful things, even in their worship, as is notoriously known." We not only read about this as practiced in the dark ages but also now we witness it before our very eyes in this present dark age.

Another commentator writes: "This enables us to see clearly how wicked are the speeches of those who say that no certainty can be obtained from the Word, and who pretend that it is a nose of wax, in order to deter others from reading it; for thus do wicked men blaspheme, because the mere doctrine of the Word exposes and refutes their errors. But we reply with David, “Thy word, O Lord, is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our paths.” (Psalm 119:105.)

Indeed God does speak truth and righteousness and so too must we faithfully speak the truth in love, declare what is right, and live in righteousness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You established the very essence of what truth is, by its definition as well as its character quality. Truth is not subject to our moods, circumstances or desires, but it is absolutely established by Your Holy Scriptures. Though deception is a way of life for many people help us to be people of truth. Help us restrain from telling half-truths, twisting facts in our favor, or practicing any form of deception. We desire to be people of truth who are not harsh or proud. We want to be Your representatives, Father, who are humble and obedient as we speak the truth in love. Amen.

A Prayer For Life: Father, we thank You for the gift of life. We bless the courageous girls and women who, in the most difficult of circumstances, choose to give life over choosing to dispose of their "problem." We thank You for the vast groups of men and women who lend support to crisis pregnancies, who assist young women who made that choice, to those who take in and raise children who are given up for adoption. We thank You for those who have dedicated their lives to this tremendous cause, keeping it very much alive so that those who view abortion as a viable option, will come to realize that Your Word is the first and final authority on life, not the fallible legislation, public opinion or court decisions of our day.

Bless those who speak today, those who march, and those who work among pregnant girls and women who are presently in the very midst of making a life or death decision regarding their unborn child. We also pray for those who made the wrong choice to abort, that they may find Your enduring grace that brings healing and restoration. In many instances, You have used their troubling experience to be an influencing voice for others to make a right choice. We commit the Pro-Life cause to You this day, in Jesus' name.  Amen.

We thank God for the many elected to office who not only support the Pro-life cause but are trying to enact laws that promote a culture of the preciousness of all life from conception to natural death. This is very encouraging to those of us who are praying for leadership in Washington. There is so much we must pray about in this dark world in which we live, and we must especially pray for our spiritual and political leaders that they will see the light, walk in the light, and spread the light of truth (Matthew 5:16).

A Visit To An Amish School

Yesterday we were invited to an Amish schoolhouse (grades 1-8) where we brought lunch to the children. Our friends have four children who attend and it was their turn to provide the students with lunch. Anna Ruth prepared Stromboli, veggies and fruits, whoopie pies and ice cream. We gave them a packaged treat for which they were very good about thanking us. We thought our readers might enjoy our photos and our observations.

Amish schoolhouse
These one room schools dot the countryside in our area, built and maintained by the parents of the children who attend.

Amish schoolhouse
A warm and happy welcome at the school entrance! They may be small schoolhouses but the teacher utilizes about every square inch to get in good positive messages about learning and about character. (The teacher gave the OK for us to photograph the classroom, so now you too, will have a visit to our one room schoolhouse.)

Amish schoolhouse
Signs like this plaster the walls of the bright room.

Amish schoolhouse
The room has no electric lighting but is well lit with lots of windows and they too have motivating messages written on most of the window panes and on the ceiling!

Amish schoolhouse
The room is heated by a coal stove which was turned off due to the warmer weather yesterday. Notice the mitten drying station.

Amish schoolhouse
Following lunch most of the 18 children went outside to play soccer and invited Stephen to join them. When I looked out the window I didn't see Stephen playing as much as cheering them on, since that was an easier way to participate.

Amish schoolhouse
Stephen enjoyed a genuine Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch home-made whoopie pie and we brought a few home with us as well!

Amish schoolhouse
I rang the school bell that is concealed in the attic. It's used to call the kids in from recess. Notice the handle of the rope is a jar ring from a canning jar.

Brooksyne's description: Our "grand" children were very excited upon our arrival yesterday morning. We often refer to our Amish friends as our kids and their six children as our grandchildren, because of our close family like relationship. And the children get so excited to see us they treat us like grandparents.

Following our lunch at 11:00 when we had opportunity to meet the school children personally and observe their work posted on the walls, we were given chairs to sit in the back of the classroom while the class resumed their studies. The children study at different levels since this is eight grades in one room so it is a very different atmosphere than your usual classroom (as well as many other factors). The teacher (maybe 19 years old), with no aid, should get Teacher of the Year award for her enthusiasm, energy, patience, affirming spirit, disciplinary approach and for the beautiful smile she shares with every child as she speaks or listens to them. Each class is invited to the front of the class to go over their lesson while the rest remain in their seats doing their individual studies. At one point she instructed the children to recite their Scripture verses aloud though there were eight different verses since there are eight classes represented. Was that ever interesting - it sounded like they were speaking a foreign language, but if you listened carefully you could hear one group reciting Psalm 23, one reciting John 3:16, etc.

At one point the children read from their text books at their seats aloud while another age group was meeting with the teacher in the front learning their lesson. It was amazing to observe and see that it was not distracting to the children, but they were clearly learning facts and reciting them back to the teacher. Children as young as grade three were reciting state capitals (I remember learning that in 7th grade and having a hard time doing so). Also, in the midst of so much happening at the same time, a gerbil is rolling through the classroom in a round cage, which is a lot of fun to watch as it goes from desk to desk.

It's a remarkable setting and it's amazing to see what children can learn without tons of money poured into their educational training. Just give them a good teacher, supportive parents, along with solid discipline and there is no limit to what they can learn. The Amish are often made fun of for only completing 8th grade, but when the three R's are firmly established in their education along with solid character training they learn what is necessary to live and raise a family.

Children Singing: Here's a surreptitiously recorded audio of the Amish children singing yesterday in the one-room schoolhouse. Our favorite part of visiting the children's classroom is the children singing. They are not shy but sing out vigorously and memorize verse after verse of music. You would think you're listening to 50 children but this medley is 18 voices blended with their teacher's leading.  Video  (Note: Hear the voices but we do not show the faces)

Here are the lyrics to the first song:

Like the grass lying still 'neath the flowers on the hill,
Without you Lord, they just wouldn't grow;
Like a lost sheep astray I'd be wandering each day,
Without you Lord, I'd have no place to go.

I can vision a tree with no branches,
I can vision a church with no pews;
I can vision a well with no water,
But, Lord, I can't picture me without you.

In 2013 Brooksyne and I went down to the "March For Life" together (Washington is only a little over 100 miles south of us). In this post we share some photos from that trip.

One day the true church will be removed and the world will indeed have the opportunity to see how much "better" things will be!

*² See here. Here's a nifty calculator that informed me (Stephen) that my 62-year-old heart has experienced approximately 2,511,467,685 heartbeats since birth and 2,565,456,178 heartbeats since fertilization!

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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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