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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Columbia County farm 6/28/17 (Click to enlarge)
We passed this picturesque Columbia County farm last week way off the beaten path. We saw evidence of a resurgence of farming in the area with Plain folks moving in.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Good Counsel For All"

Message summary: As we seek to practice this simple to understand command from the Bible we will have harmony in our homes and witness it in our churches as well.

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"Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity" (1 Timothy 5:1,2).

A healthy church is intergenerational. Certainly there are campus churches and newer congregations that tend to attract a younger crowd. When we started a church in northern Pennsylvania in the seventies it was mostly young people similar in age to us at the time. However we certainly welcomed older folks. Of course something remarkable happened since then; we all got older!

Several years ago we wrote a story about a church that catered to "cool people" and it concerns us that there is so much generational division in many churches. But in our view a healthy church has crying babies, squeamish toddlers, giggling even rascally children (like I SCW was), note-passing teens, young families, singles, and graying patriarchs. We really do need each other!

Several years ago an older friend told me a story that hurt my heart but sadly, it's happening all over. He expressed himself to the pastor and worship team leader concerning music and his concerns were rather rudely dismissed. Now we realize you can't please everyone, especially with music, but thankfully we have found this elder brother, now in his nineties exhibiting a good spirit.

Another story was told to us by an elderly lady who had been in one our area's premier retirement communities. She observed a younger worker berating an older person. We are now in our younger older years but are certainly experiencing the effects of the aging process. We would like to ask these young people, "You are going to get old someday, how do you want to be treated?" The Golden Rule is especially applicable in respecting one another, no matter the age.

Paul's words to Timothy in our daily text may be easily overlooked, but they contain good counsel for all interpersonal relationships. This is in a message to the young minister, Timothy. The advice he gives is timeless and is helpful in all relationships. It can be summed up with the word "respect". The principle applies to how we treat these various groups, covering each situation we will encounter. This verse, which deals with non-family relationships presumes a knowledge of a healthy family, something more and more have no experience with as we see such a breakdown in the God-ordained social order as people continue in their rebellion against God.

1) The passage deals with how we treat those who are older than ourselves.
"Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father." Treat... older women as mothers." A foundational aspect of honor in a society is how the elderly are treated. There is rarely a time in life when this would not apply to us but I suppose there are some very elderly who have no one older they associate with. It's interesting what Paul says our attitude toward the elderly should be; that which we should also have toward our own parents.

I consider especially the call to "exhort him as if he were your father" and "treat older women as mothers". The cross-reference to this verse leads us straight to the Fifth Commandment, which commands "Honor your father and your mother."

2) The passage deals with how we treat those who are younger than ourselves. "Treat younger men as brothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity" (We believe this would also apply to our age peers.) Isn't it wonderful to see a family of siblings really love each other? On July 4th we went to Knoebel's Amusement Park and shared some photos yesterday. I had told the Amish kids I would like to take them as well but due to space could just three of the four who were old enough to make the trip. They felt so bad for their younger sister who wouldn't be able to go they decided not to go at all so later this summer we will take them all up since I made a promise.

In speaking to our male readers, let's be sure that we treat younger women "with absolute purity". Bible teacher David Guzic makes this point: "Timothy, as any godly man, was to always make certain his conduct towards younger women was always pure and above reproach. A godly man is not flirtatious or provocative, and does not use double entendre’ (witty words that can be taken in a flirtatious or provocative way)."

Finally, as we seek to practice this simple to understand command from the Bible we will have harmony in our homes and witness it in our churches as well. That's good counsel for all!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have a purpose as revealed in Scripture for every person; male and female, for every age; babies, children, teens, as well as young, middle-age, older and elderly adults. We want to serve in every season of our life to advance Your kingdom, build up the saints, and to provide an example of what it is to live a life fully dedicated to Christ. You used Moses, Samuel, Daniel, David, and countless others in Scripture while they were very young and you continued to use them as they aged in their physical and spiritual years. Their teaching, acts of service, and their godly example furthered Your kingdom in their lifetime and all these generations later. Dedicated servants like John Wesley, D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, Charles Swindoll and many, many others such as our parents, youth leaders, pastors and dedicated lay persons have cheered us on in the faith as they've transmitted the gospel message in our lives. We respect the elderly and heed their words of wisdom even as we lovingly take interest in those younger than us realizing they have much to offer us in their enthusiasm and zeal in applying Scripture in their lives. Help us to work together in unity, preferring others above ourselves, so that Your will is done both in heaven and on earth. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today we will share some more photos from our recent trip to rural Columbia County.

Columbia County blue barn 6/28/17
Columbia County blue barn. You sure don't see many blue barns!

Columbia County flowers in tree stump 6/28/17
Here's a good idea if you have a big tree stump. The plants are in pots embedded within the tree.

Columbia County bike in tree 6/28/17
An interesting way to hang a bike for decoration. You can't see very clearly in the photo but the handle bar has a basket with flowers.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"No Longer Slaves"  Video  Voices of Lee The last several days we have really been enjoying this group from Lee University in Tennessee. We rejoice to see young people serving the Lord.

"Worth"  Video   Jason Crabb & The Voices of Lee Choir

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening (July 9) The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received) We plan to go over with some friends and perhaps we will see some of you.  Here's a sample of Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers music.  "I Won't Go Back"  Video  (The Singers are the travelling component of the more famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.)
If you're interested here's a full concert on video. (It's amazing with hi-def how nice these videos are to watch over the internet!)

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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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