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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Herrs Mill, Lancaster County 9/16/18 (Click to enlarge)
Herrs Mill is one of many historic grist mills still standing in Lancaster County.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"The Man Who Ate Locusts"

Message summary:  May the Lord empower us today to stand as John did no matter the consequences! As the apostle Paul said "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain" 

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"John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey" (Mark 1:6).

Last night and again early this morning I was outside and heard the distinct sound of hundreds, or more likely, thousands of insects.
As the days get shorter and nights cooler the sounds are fading compared to the volume heard in August. It's a sound I recall hearing wherever I have lived. There is actually a field of science devoted to these sounds known as bioacoustics.

LocustsOne of the critters making the noise is the locust which brings to mind the colorful prophet John the Baptist. Probably the thing we find most interesting in the daily verse is that John the Baptist ate locusts. After all, we still wear clothing made with animal hair and leather belts. Most of us also enjoy the sweet taste of honey (which is essentially bee spit). We spread honey last night on our corn bread and this morning we're enjoying honey butter on our biscuits.

But most in our culture draw the line at eating locusts. Entomophagy is the scientific name for insect eating. There are more than 1,450-recorded species of edible insects, many of which are lower in fat, higher in protein, and have a better feed to meat ratio than beef, lamb, pork, or chicken. So locusts were actually a good diet choice for an active prophet!

John the Baptist is one of the most interesting characters in the Bible. His start in life was unusual and his death gruesome.  He was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, a godly infertile couple, who were both "well along in years" (or as the KJV colorfully puts it "well stricken in years").

Zechariah was a priest who had a mighty encounter with an angel of the Lord informing him that he would have a son. I've wondered what in the world his wife thought when her speechless husband got home and had that twinkle in his eyes! Anyway, she became pregnant and they received a blessing they surely hadn't planned for. 

John's mission in life was very clear and he fulfilled it well in his brief lifetime. His mission was summed up in the words, "Prepare the way for the Lord." Jesus commended him with these words, "Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist." John died in his early thirties as a result of his stern rebuke of Herod followed by Herod's order to have him beheaded. (Matthew 14:10)

On this day, as we live out our lives and seek to please God in a world with many Herods, let us recall the faithfulness of John the Baptist. I note particularly his bold declaration to Herod, renouncing his sin. He was not interested in being liked or living on the politically safe side but in speaking out for God's truth. And for that he literally* lost his head.

May the Lord empower us today to stand as John did no matter the consequences! As the apostle Paul said "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we count our lives on earth as nothing compared to the glory of heaven where we will worship You for all eternity. Among us will be John the Baptist who will tell us of the way He was used to prepare the way for Christ's mission on earth. We'll listen with keen interest as Elizabeth tells of how the disgrace she felt among family and peers due to her barren state was lifted after learning of her miraculous pregnancy. Zechariah will speak of his amazing nine month silence before baby John arrived. Heaven will be filled with people through all the centuries who have amazing stories to share. We will be in personal fellowship with each of them; no longer will the time line separate us nor the geographic location. What a glorious day it will be when we come together around Your throne singing Your praise with every generation blending their voices together. We give glory to the Holy One of Israel right now and for all eternity. Amen.

Donegal Springs Road, Lancaster County 9/16/18
A very early Sunday morning on the way to choir sound check along Donegal Springs Road in Mount Joy. The sun was seeping through the fog and it turned into a refreshing sunny morning after many dismal days of cloud and rain.

Herrs Mill, Lancaster County 9/16/18 (Click to enlarge)
Another view of Herrs Mill built in the 1730's
(Click to enlarge)

Amish boys going to youth service, Lancaster County 9/16/18
The Old Windmill Farm is on a long gravel farm lane. These young Amish boys are using it as a shortcut on their way to youth group, which is a rite of passage for Amish young people and a means of solidifying the social units. We have been to Amish youth groups which begin Sunday afternoon usually with field games such as volleyball and ends in the evening with a hymn sing. Of course they have a huge meal as well!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Jesus, Only Jesus/Majesty/Cornerstone" Video Medley from Sunday's service with the Calvary Church Choir and Orchestra

* Literally has become one of the most overused and misused words in the English language. It seems so often when it's used it's really not literally true. However even the dictionary now has this informal meaning: "used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true." For further study see this article Did We Change the Definition of 'Literally'?

Yesterday we shared a photo of two horses peering out of a barn window. Ed, from northern Pennsylvania suggests a caption with the horses saying, "We would like to order 3 8X10's and 20 wallet size".

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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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