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Thursday, March 30, 2017

First seasonal roadside flower wagon 3/29/17
First roadside wagon of pansies we spotted in Lancaster County yesterday

"What We Ought To Be"

Message summary: Today, let us heed these solemn words from the Holy Scriptures. An event far greater than the worst type of nuclear accident or terrorist attack is forthcoming. Our call as followers of Christ remains to live holy and godly lives, to look forward to that glorious Day, and to do our part in speeding its coming.

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"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming" (2 Peter 3:10-12).

Photo of Three Mile Island nuclear power plant
At this very time thirty-eight years ago (1979) the area where we now live, southcentral Pennsylvania, was in the midst of a gripping fear. An accident occurred at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant which is only 10 miles away from where we now live. At that time we were just beginning our ministry in the northcentral part of Pennsylvania, but I remember the gripping fear and variety of speculations being made as to what might happen. I remember my older brother, Mike, calling from California and expressing concern. Living some 140 miles away (geodesic distance) from the accident site I don't recall having any urgent fear at that time, but we were listening intently to any news regarding the potential disaster, and just how far reaching effects from the fallout might be.

However for those who lived in close proximity to the plant it was a very stressful time. Pregnant women and children were urged to leave the area. There was concern about the release of radiation or even a catastrophic meltdown. Thankfully the situation was contained and here we are thirty-eight years later. I have a friend who was one of the technicians working at the plant at the very time of the accident who was impounded on the island during the entire event.

Duck and Cover drill
But yesterday I heard a story that reveals how fear can lead people to respond, sometimes in irrational ways. I was visiting with John who was in third grade attending school in this area at the time of the accident. He recalls his teacher instructing the children to practice getting under their desk. Now, as John and I talked we weren't sure how this was supposed to protect them from radiation poisoning, but since "duck and cover" safety exercises were repeatedly practiced with students of all ages during the early years of the Cold War perhaps it made her feel that she was better serving and protecting her students. Futile as such an act might be, perhaps it had a psychological effect on their thoughts of improving the risk factor for radiation fallout.

Our daily text speaks of a most certain future catastrophic event. "The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." Now certainly there are various interpretations regarding what this future event will entail but it certainly speaks of a level of cataclysmic destruction barely imaginable, and no form of "duck and cover" will protect those who have postponed or neglected their spiritual preparation.

My purpose in this encouragement is not to speculate as to what this event might be or just how it fits into an eschatological (endtimes) view. There are scores of books and various views written about the end times. The Apostle Peter gives us no further details, but goes on to ask a question, "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?" Notice, he doesn't advise as to how we are to protect our property or treasures we've stored on earth, but rather it's directed at who we are, not what we have accomplished or accumulated.

This same warning and counsel is directed to God's people today. Whether living in view of our imminent death or uncertainties concerning world situations, financial upheaval, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or the most certain future destruction of the current order. What kind of people ought we to be? We ought to be people who live holy and godly lives as we look forward to the day of God's future dealings with His creation and speed its coming. Though God is longsuffering, and may postpone the fulfillment of His promise so that those from every tribe and nation may hear the gospel, the prayer Jesus taught His disciples and followers in Matthew 5, "Thy Kingdom come" has been echoed billions of times by faithful followers petitioning the Lord's return.

And how do we speed the Lord's coming?  It is hastened by our obedience in fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:19, 20). A few verses earlier Peter wrote that Jesus is not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. So the sooner we spread the gospel message to others the sooner Christ will return. And lastly, we speed His coming by living holy and godly lives.

Today, let us heed these solemn words from the Holy Scriptures. An event far greater than the worst type of nuclear accident or terrorist attack is forthcoming. As followers of Christ we choose to live godly lives, as we look forward to that glorious Day, and do our part in speeding His coming by spreading the gospel.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You desire that we live holy and godly lives as we eagerly await the reappearing of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Nothing here on earth compares with the anticipation we feel about that glorious day. We want to speed Christ's coming by sharing the gospel message to those near and far. Help us not to be timid or apathetic, but keep us enthused and eager to share the message of salvation so that our family, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances will also be prepared for the glorious day of Christ's return when we will receive our eternal promotion to enter into the glories of heaven. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

* The Three Mile Island power plant continues to produce power. The unit that was involved in the accident is no longer used, but the other unit (which was not involved in the accident) still produces electricity.

Greg Esh at Goodhart plant 3/29/17
Yesterday we visited with our friend Greg Esh, who serves as a Human Resource manager in a steel fabrication company, where he gave us a plant tour of Goodhart and Sons. We met Greg when he worked for another company and have maintained our friendship through Daily Encouragement. He and his wife are very dedicated in their faith to God.

Goodhart welder 3/29/17
This scene captures hard conscientious work.

L&S Sweetener cabooses 3/29/17
The conference room at L&S Sweeteners in Leola, PA is in an old railroad caboose!

"Blessed" tattoo 3/28/17
In the course of our chaplain work we look for opportunities to converse and share a witness. Meeting John the other day prompted a question about his rather prominent tattoo
(permission granted for photo). He said it was an expression of how much he had been spared from.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Take My Life And Let It Be"  Video   Maranatha Music

Finally Today:

Periodically I refer to "The Babylon Bee", a satire site I have come to enjoy this last year. Whoever writes these has a real pulse on what's happening in our world and this piece on recent events concerning the evil Planned Parenthood organization is far too true. "Undercover Videos Exposing Animal Cruelty Still OK, California AG Clarifies" (This is based on this recent news story.) Interesting I had a friend here in PA who went through quite an ordeal with undercover animal rights activists by those who were opposed to his work in a large chicken house.

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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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