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The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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August 15, 2018

Colorful wooden flowers
All through Lancaster County we pass all kinds of small stands with items for sale along the road. These colorful wooden flowers at an Amish Farm are rather popular.

"Brighten The Corner Where You Are!"

Note: Due to a trip to Knoebel's Amusement Park today we do not expect to post a message tomorrow (Thursday, 8/16/18). We leave early this morning, get back late tonight and have an early start on Thursday for chaplain duties.

Message summary: Today we want to encourage our readers who live or serve in what may seem like a dark place. In some ways that's all of us! Our degree of influence will vary but each source of light is significant. We urge you to brighten the corner where you are!

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

"Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). "So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).

Wood flowerToday's lead photo is an example of something that can brightens an otherwise dull spot. Amish children cut out these flower shapes, paint them in bright colors and then sell them at roadside stands. It gives them some spending money for some of the same activities all children enjoy such as going to an amusement park. We have one of these wooden flowers hanging on the exterior of our home. Today we will be taking five of our Amish "grandchildren" to Knoebels amusement park which is about 55 miles due north of us but farther by driving due to the winding roads and mountains.

On Monday we shared about a worship service I attended and Brooksyne participated in on Sunday evening in the Mount Gretna Tabernacle. Mount Gretna is known as the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, a reference to the other more famous Chautauqua Campmeeting in western New York. So today let's consider a song that has some connection to this Chautauqua.

In 1912 Ina Duley Ogdon received an invitation to be a Chautauqua Circuit speaker. This was a great opportunity for her since Chautauqua Lake was a place in upstate New York where performers, musicians, lecturers and motivational speakers were invited who were famous throughout the country. At the time it was the most popular spot where people by the thousands came to visit. Theodore Roosevelt called it "the most American thing in America."

Miss Ogdon, a brilliant orator, had felt God's calling on her life. Upon receiving the invitation, she excitedly considered the thousands of people that she might influence for the cause of Christ. But as she was packing for the upcoming tour her father was seriously injured in one of the new-fangled "horseless carriages."

Ina, deeply disappointed and somewhat angered toward God for allowing this tragedy to happen, eventually cancelled her travel plans to care for her father. After making her peace with God about the matter, she determined in her heart that she would be happy and remain "true to the many duties near" her. She would do her best to "brighten the corner" wherever God placed her, even if it was in her own home. So she commenced to writing a poem with this theme.

Ina completed this poem over the next year. It became the theme song of Billy Sunday's evangelistic ministry for twenty-two years. Instead of reaching a few thousand in her lifetime Ina Duley Ogdon's inspired words have reached out to millions from 1913 right up to our own lifetime. Her father's mishap brought about a "dark place" in Ina's life placing a damper on her large scale plans, but God's plans were even more far reaching.

Peter does not specifically identify the "dark place" in our second daily text.  Peter is likely using "dark place" as a metaphor to describe this corrupt world system. However "advanced" our secular civilization becomes, this world in its willful rebellion to God (whose essence is light), lies in the darkness of sin, ignorance, despair and death which keeps people from seeing God's truth until His light shines into their hearts. (Precept Austin commentary)

Warren Wiersbe, who has long been one of our favorite Bible teachers, comments regarding the Greek word "auchmeros" used here for dark. It "is the picture of a dank cellar or a dismal swamp. Human history began in a lovely Garden, but that Garden today is a murky swamp. What you see when you look at this world system is an indication of the spiritual condition of your heart. We still see beauty in Godís creation, but we see no beauty in what mankind is doing with Godís creation. Peter did not see this world as a Garden of Eden, nor should we."

Today we want to encourage our readers who live or serve in what may seem like a dark place. In some ways that's all of us! Our degree of influence will vary but each source of light is significant. We urge you to read or sing the words of this cheerful song and brighten the corner where you are on this day!

"Brighten the Corner"

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do.
Do not wait to shed your light afar.
To the many duties ever near you now be true;
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear;
Let not narrow self your way debar.
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the Bright and Morning Star.
Ever from your humble hand the bread of life may feed;
Brighten the corner where you are.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, sometimes we are frustrated by what little we have to offer others when we compare ourselves with those who are greatly talented or those who have a special way with words, or even those who may have financial resources to bless others in ways that we cannot. But we are not limited in reaching out to one who may be looking for a reason to smile or to the one who simply needs a helping hand. Paul indicated that the comfort You dispensed to Titus, was then transmitted to him, and then he passed it onto the Corinthian church. We pray for the prompting of the Holy Spirit to show us ways that we can encourage those around us so that it will naturally be passed on to others as well. We pray for this through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Little Swatara Creek flooding 8/13/18
We continue to have lots of rain in our region and due to the saturated soil the water is not absorbing into the ground well so the creeks and rivers remain high. This is the Little Swatara Creek in Lebanon County, PA.

During this season we enjoy stopping by orchards. This is a photo of Honey Bear Orchards in rural Lebanon County, PA where we stopped by on Tuesday.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Brighten The Corner Where You Are"
  Video  Fairhaven Baptist Church 

Knoebel's Amusement Park  For several years we have taken the kids up to Knoebels each summer and they really look forward to the trip. It's a park in a mountainous, wooded area with an old-fashioned feel similar to the amusement parks we went to as children.

Finally today:

Mystery photo
Mystery photo
What is this?

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, 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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