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August 10, 2018

Val-Co view 8/2/18
Such a beautiful vista view in front of Val-Co, where we serve as chaplains, near New Holland, PA.

"Come Back To Your Senses!"

Message summary:  Today let us thank God for the blessing of brakes. When He flashes the yellow light of caution we need to slowly, carefully, and Scripturally assess the situation. When He flashes the red light we need to STOP!

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"Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.' Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame" (I Corinthians 15:33,34). "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).

We enjoy our work as chaplains and see such a cross section of the people who make up our world. We see all ages and of course the two God-ordained genders. We see many races and people from many different countries. Yesterday we spoke to people from Kenya, Vietnam, China, Bosnia, Mexico, Columbia and other countries. We see everyone from CEO's and board chairmen to the folks on the factory floor. Red and yellow, black and white they're all precious in His sight.

We also speak to people who share their story. Mike is a service tech. Yesterday he told me of his deliverance from alcohol. His father was an alcoholic and Mike got his drinking start at 12 years of age and progressed downward for some twenty years before "coming to his senses" and he has been sober for the last ten years. He is now committed, along with his wife, to helping others come to their senses and stop sinning. He works in a halfway house.

Mike came to a point in life when he fully realized the destructive nature of his ways and put the brakes on. (Note: Mike gave me permission to share his story.)

It's quite unlikely that any one of you would venture out on the road today if you knew that your brakes wouldn't work. Though your intent is to get to a particular destination and you mostly use the accelerator pedal to go, all through the trip and certainly at the end, you expect to apply your brakes to stop. If you've ever had a brake malfunction you know what a blessing brakes are!

My most heart-pounding braking experience took place nearly 40 years ago. I drove a school bus to supplement our income when we planted a church in northern Pennsylvania in a very mountainous region. Mostly I drove kids to and from school but I was asked to make a special trip driving an adult fellowship from the Shiloh Presbyterian Church to a Penn State football game in State College. A designated bus was used for these longer trips but I received no special training on how to drive it.

As I was going down a long grade on a mountain on Rt 322 in Northcentral Pennsylvania I used the brakes as I was accustomed to doing on my regular school bus. But this road bus had air brakes and the more I pumped the less brake power I had until I lost them completely. To this day I still can't explain how that bus stopped without having an accident short of divine intervention. But that experience is a lasting reminder of the blessing or should I say necessity of brakes!

Today let us consider the blessing of another type of brake in regard to our spiritual life. We may very well find this brake annoying, slowing us down or stopping us in places where we would rather see a green light. Tragically the vast majority are charging right through the red lights as they completely disregard the God-ordained brakes that He so wisely and graciously provides, such as this passage from I Corinthians 15:34: "Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning."

What a needed word for each one reading today and for all of humankind! The Jamison, Faussets, Brown commentary states regarding the sense of "stop sinning" in this passage, "Do not give yourselves up to sinful pleasures. The Greek expresses a continued state of abstinence from sin."

The Scripture tells it the way it is to those who choose to forsake God's commands: "Come back to your senses". Once you begin keeping company with the people who wrongly influence you, and you choose to engage in sin, you lose control to the point of even losing your God-given common sense. You no longer see things the way they really are because you've given the enemy a foothold and he will distort your present view and the future outcome of your choices.

Today let us recognize the blessing of God's brakes as an expression of His love, His care, and His protection. Remember, when your vehicle brakes stop working it not only brings danger to you, but those in your path of destruction. It's also true when we don't apply God's brakes to our own hearts; it will not only bring personal destruction but it will bring painful, lasting harm to those near and dear to us and even those who aren't.

If you're caught in a destructive descent at the present time we implore you to come to your senses and stop sinning, applying the God-ordained brakes. Stop and use the reverse gear to back up, get things right with God, yourself, and anyone caught in your path of destruction.

Today let us consider four brakes that God has given us:

1) The brake of Scriptural commands and prohibitions. God's Word has both "go" and "stop" commands. When facing temptation from the enemy we do well to recall the stop commands. Our second text today states, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge". This is speaking about the knowledge of God and His Word. So many disregard this knowledge and we see our society racing headlong to most certain judgment. The faithful church and ministry will continue to "devote themselves to the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42) and "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3).

2) The brake of Godly counsel. Solomon wrote, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity" (Proverbs 3:1,2). We need to heed the counsel of the wise and esteem the elderly with us now and those who have gone before us. Wisdom has been defined as "knowledge rightly applied".

3) The brake of Holy Spirit guidance. The Holy Spirit not only compels us to move forward but at times will lead us to stop. Paul was intending to continue his mission work in Asia Minor when he had his Macedonian vision where the Holy Spirit essentially put the brakes to that and led him in another direction. "When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to" (Acts 16:7). As we walk with the Lord, in sensitivity to His Spirit, we need to rejoice in both the go's and the stop's!

4) The brake of tradition. This point is most difficult to develop since many have developed a negative attitude toward tradition and even the Scriptures speak out against tradition in some circumstances. Certainly, tradition for tradition's sake needs to be evaluated carefully.  But it seems to me that an attitude prevails in the church among more than a few that new is seen as better, cooler, more appealing to a current generation. Good practices developed over years can be too quickly shrugged aside in favor of the new, without considering what significance is lost in the process.

Today let us thank God for the blessing of brakes. When He flashes the yellow light of caution we need to slowly, carefully, and Scripturally assess the situation. When He flashes the red light we need to STOP!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, would You help us to be quick to recognize and respond to Your brake promptings. Often You speak to us through Scripture, daily prayer, and other believers. You also speak to us through the undesirable consequences that come from our acts of disobedience. We want to see Your cautions and "stops" as part of Your loving way of keeping us from danger and redirecting us to that which will be of blessing in our lives and to those whom we seek to influence. It is because of Your wise, loving ways that You teach us about the wiles of our adversary, the devil, and his cunning ways. We are not caught unaware but recognize his strategy as we regularly read Your Word and store it up in our hearts. Your knowledge is powerful as it opens the eyes of our hearts. Your precepts are right and because of that we hate every wrong path. Direct our footsteps according to Your Word so that we are in pace with You, observing the yellow lights of caution and stopping at the red lights of danger. As we do so we will not allow sin to rule over us. Amen.

Eric and Clarence 8/9/18
During our first chaplain visit yesterday I visited with these two men, Eric and Clarence, who have a great story of redemption; having met in prison they now work together and seek to live a life of responsibility and purpose.
(They gave me permission to share photo and story.)

Brandon 8/9/18
Most of our chaplain visits are at the company where the employees are based but in the case of field workers when possible we enjoy seeing them out on their jobsites. Yesterday we passed this church on Strasburg Pike, spotted several roofers, and stopped to greet them even though we had seen them earlier that morning. We consider the extreme heat construction workers deal with, especially our roofers and HVAC workers who may have work in a very hot attic!

New Holland area roadside stand 8/9/18 (Click to enlarge)
Here's one of the many roadside stands we pass in the course of our travels. This one is north of New Holland PA. We picked out a couple of 50 cent cantaloupes. How about $4.00 per bucket of tomatoes or $3.00 for a bucket of peppers?
(Click to enlarge)

Old Windmill Farm hay wagon 8/9/18 (Click to enlarge)
Late yesterday afternoon we stopped by to see our friends at the Old Windmill Farm. Several Jewish families from New York were waiting to take a farm tour.
(Click to enlarge)

Children 8/9/18
We had fun with the children we often refer to as our Amish grandchildren after we gave them railroad hats we picked up a couple weeks ago at a community luncheon provided by the railroad in Columbia, PA. Only the baby is missing since he was taking his late afternoon nap. The children had fun with this photo and in consideration of the Amish tradition we kept their faces less visible than typical photos we English post every day.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Slow Down"
Video Chuck Girard  A great song from our early days in following Christ with a message so pertinent to today's message. Bluntly I still haven't learned the lesson of this song.

"He Will Carry You"  Video  Brian Free and Assurance  This song is prayerfully dedicated today to those who may be having trouble with the brakes.

Finally today:
Children playing in puddle
We have mentioned in several posts that we've had excessive rain in our area. It's miserable for those with flooded basements, businesses, etc., but it's sure a lot of fun for children who are enjoying the mini wading pools in their yards. This is a photo of Alexandria with a friend. She is the daughter of Natalie, who is employed at Val-Co.

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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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