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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Thomas the Tank, Strasburg Railroad
Thomas the Tank Engine on the Strasburg Railroad.

"A Lesson From Trains"

Message summary:  Are you "walking in the light"?

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple" (Isaiah 6:1).
"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

A popular tourist attraction here in Lancaster County is the Strasburg Railroad, which provides not only a train ride for tourists but is also the oldest continuously operating railroad in the western hemisphere. It still provides freight service for local farms and businesses hauling grains, bulk feed additives, dry fertilizers, lumber, steel, bedding, and bio-fuel.

This last weekend was one of the more popular weekends for the Strasburg Railroad when  Thomas the Tank Engine attracts people from near and far for a special ride. Sunday afternoon we visited our friends on the Old Windmill Farm, celebrated a couple of the children's birthdays and heard the distinct sound of the train whistle, although the train itself is over the ridge and thus
unseen from the farm.

I have liked trains since I was a small child. Like most boys growing up in the sixties I had a train set and made my first cross country trip out to California on a train. We live near an Amtrak station in Mount Joy and can take passenger trains to practically anywhere Amtrak goes. About fifteen years ago we rode across the state to Pittsburgh but we mostly use it for trips to Harrisburg or Philadelphia.

We also ride tourist trains in various places we visit, Brooksyne and Ester kindly indulging me. Generally there's a trade though, like going to the Yankee Candle flagship store when we are in New England!

An old chorus we sang in Bible College was taken from Isaiah 6:

I saw the Lord, I saw the Lord,
He was high and lifted up and His train filled the temple,
He was high and lifted up and His train filled the temple,
The angels cried holy, the angels cried holy, the angels cried holy is the Lord.

What do you suppose would be the natural way for a child, especially one who likes trains, to understand this verse and song? I am sure more than a few children have visualized heaven's throne room having the best model train set imaginable, a train set so big it filled the whole temple!

Well, it turns out that is not the meaning of this verse, which is probably a bit disappointing to a child who loves trains but the real meaning is much greater. The NASV elaborates, "the train of His robe". Isaiah's vision is one of the many glimpses we have into the heavenly realm.

Isaiah's response to this vision is so spiritually instructive, "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5). Indeed when we come into the presence of God we are cognizant of our own sinfulness.

But God, as is His nature provided a provision for Isaiah: "Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged" (Isaiah 6:6,7).

That was the customized provision in Isaiah's vision. The New Testament provided a solution applicable to all following the completion of Christ's mission, "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Are you "walking in the light"?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, like Isaiah, I was born into a sin-filled world and recognize that I am unclean before You, apart from the saving blood of Jesus Christ. I also declare along with the prophet, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I have unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips" and am made aware of this when I focus upon You the King, the Lord of Hosts. I envision You, high and lifted up with Your glorious raiment filling the temple. Falling to my knees I cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is and who is to come." Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.

Another reference in the Bible to a train capable of being misunderstood by a child concerns the visit by the Queen of Sheba to visit Solomon, "And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart" (1 Kings 10:2). Can't you just picture that long train track coming up all the way from Ethiopia and the train cars filled with all kinds of goodies!

We had fun day Sunday afternoon on the Old Windmill Farm, celebrating birthdays for Moses, the oldest, and Stephen, the youngest child. In praying for them I considered them to be the bookends of the seven children of Jesse and Anna Ruth Lapp.

Brooksyne with mules, Old Windmill Farm 9/16/18 (Click to enlarge)
I had fun leading a team of mules as the Lapp family, along with Stephen and Ester, rode on the haywagon through the fields. I was surprised they offered me the chance but I jumped at it as I still remember like yesterday when Grandpa Sherrell let me lead his team of mules, as a young teen, after we had done a day's work of plowing his fields on his 200 acre farm  on top of the mountain in Batson, Arkansas. It was a bit harder to lead Jesse's team since I had to stand and guide the mules. Grandpa had a bench seat, as I recall, on his wagon. Stephen tried it for a few minutes as well. A fun time was had by all, me the most, and we returned none the worse for wear back to the barn. I'm sure the mules were relieved!

Goats, Old Windmill Farm 9/16/18
Can you guess whose baby I'm holding!

Horses, Old Windmill Farm 9/16/18
Any ideas for a caption for this photo? Here's what I think they might think as they look at me, "What is like to have such a little nose?"

Baby pigs, Old Windmill Farm 9/16/18
The baby pigs are learning to go down the slide, a favorite of Old Windmill Farm guests.

Throwing hay from barn loft, Old Windmill Farm 9/16/18
Pitching a few bales of hay down from the barn loft to the wagon.
Earlier this summer I pitched some hay up into the loft. See here (Scroll down).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus, Only Jesus"  Video  Phillips, Craig & Dean

"Hallelujah"  Video 
Triumphant Quartet

"The Great I Am, Still Is"  Video  Triumphant Quartet

The area around the Old Windmill Farm is a great place for those who love trains. In addition to the Strasburg Railroad mentioned in our message, there's the Pennsylvania State Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Toy Train Center and even the Red Caboose Motel where you can stay in cabooses! Note: BTW, If you like airplanes in Stockholm you can stay in an airplane hotel?

Finally today:

Front porch view 9/17/18
Saturday morning neighbors harvested their corn across from our home so our seasonal view has changed. Yesterday we had the inevitable but less than glamorous aspect of country living. Can you guess what that was? the answer is here (photo).

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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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