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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tulpehocken Manor 9/12/17
Manor near Myerstown, PA was built in 1769

"Unless You Repent"

Message summary: "But unless you repent, you too will all perish". This is a message not only to the original listeners but to us as well. What about you today? Have you repented?

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"But unless you repent, you too will all perish" (Luke 13:3). "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

We had a tragic accident here in Lancaster County last weekend. (Of course all accidents are tragic but some are even more poignantly tragic due to the nature of the accident). A man returning home from work broke down along a busy four lane highway so he called for a wrecker truck to pick him and his vehicle up. They had his vehicle loaded on the wrecker truck and were just preparing to leave when a drunk driver slammed into them, killing them both.

Yesterday we spoke to Tim, a friend of ours, who will conduct one of the funerals. The motorist whose car was broken down, along with his wife and two daughters, were close friends to Tim's family. His last words to his wife was a phone call informing her
he had broken down and would be late getting home and was waiting for the wrecker truck.

Accidents stun us. In other forms of death we have some time to prepare. Accidents may also especially seem random and make no sense. Why that driver? Why did the drunk driver come along at that precise time and not a few minutes later when the tow truck would have been gone? And, as so often seems to be the case, the drunk driver was not injured. That doesn't seem fair.

We so want answers to these questions, we want things to be just and fair, to make sense. At times like this people will often look to their pastor not only for comfort but often expecting some type of explanation. But so often we must simply acknowledge there is no explanation from our understanding. This is an ancient dilemma experienced all through history.

In a rather obscure gospel story recorded in Luke 13:1-5 Jesus made a point concerning this. He refers to some martyred Galileans and some people killed when a tower fell.

"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices." Apparently this was a well-known current event at that time and, although we have no other details, it seems they were looking to Jesus for His reaction and explanation. Why was an evil Pilate allowed to get by with this?

Jesus then calls to their attention another contemporary event that we otherwise know nothing about, "Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them."

The point was a prompt to the inevitable question, "Why?" Just like us, the listeners wanted some explanations. It seems they wanted to hear that this happened because they deserved it, that they were "worse sinners". But Jesus challenged their reasoning:
Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?
Do you think they (those killed in the tower fall) were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

Jesus doesn't answer the "Why" question. And so often on this side we also don't have the answers to the "why" question(s).

But Jesus twice states a truth that I have come to see as a central warning to the human race. "I tell you, no!"(They weren't worse sinners or more guilty.) It sort of feels good (though we're careful about saying so) when something bad happens to those whom are visibly evil! We may like to think that we are better and that tragedies like this just can't happen to us.

Consider, for instance,
Dzhokhar, the Boston bomber who ran over his older brother in his stolen SUV. In this example the brothers' mischief and evil did catch up with them. But we should not put God in a box and think we can figure out the way He works in each individual life or circumstance since Jesus forcefully disposes of such a notion.

"But unless you repent, you too will all perish". This is a message not only to the original listeners but to us as well. What about you today? Have you repented?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, mysteries abound and always have due to our finite understanding. One of the greatest blessings of following You is that, though we don't have full understanding about a matter, we can trust You since You are the Alpha and Omega, and You know the end from the beginning. We acknowledge that Your ways are higher and wiser than ours. We find comfort as we're reminded that You promise to care for us in the midst of our heartaches and in the unraveled mysteries that could otherwise bog us down or lead us toward unbelief. Help us to be careful in judging others, when dealt with unpleasant circumstances, since You are present in the good and bad that visits us and You can use either for Your glory and for our growth. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Early yesterday morning on the way to one of our chaplain visits we stopped by Tulpehocken Manor near Myerstown, PA and saw an interesting assortment of buildings, many built in the 1700's in colonial times. George Washington came here several times.

Tulpehocken Manor outhouse 9/12/17
7 Hole Out House - Built in 1883
The "ole 7 holer" was built in 1883 with separate entrances for men and women. On the women's side you will find 4 holes in varying heights with an enter and exit door to accommodate large
hoop skirts common in that day. On the men's side you'll find the 3 other holes with only one door.

Tulpehocken Manor outhouse 9/12/17
Another view of the main manor house with the smokehouse and bakehouse in the foreground.

Tulpehocken Manor spring house 9/12/17
The spring house was built in the 1740's right over a spring.
Tulpehocken Manor horses 9/12/17
In the meadow front of the property are three large concrete horses.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Blessings"  Video  Laura Story

"It Is Well"  Video  Guy Penrod, David Phelps

Tulpehocken Manor is near Myerstown, PA along Rt 422. It is now a venue for weddings and other functions.

"Toilets From Around the World" I read about the Tulpehocken Manor outhouse on this site and realized it was a place we practically passed by each week on the way to a company in Lebanon County, so of course, I told Brooksyne we had to check it out and we did!

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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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