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Friday, September 20, 2019

Amish home and clothesline 9/19/19 (Click to enlarge)
One of our most photographed clotheslines we post from Lancaster County
(Click to enlarge)

"Endurance And Encouragement"

Personal Note: Tomorrow we (Stephen and Brooksyne) are taking a trip to see several of the western scenic areas and national parks in Nevada, California, Arizona and Utah. Ester is headed to San Antonio to stay with her aunt and visit her boyfriend, Jason, who lives next door to her aunt.

We plan to visit Death Valley, Hoover Dam, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. We'll enjoy the scenery in the driving distances between them as well! We hope to take a train ride in Sedona, bike around the Grand Canyon (not all the way around it of course!) and a float trip through Glen Canyon.

We do not expect to post daily encouragement messages till October 2. In past travel we sought to keep up the daily messages but find it very difficult since we are accustomed to using two computers in our own home setup. Our whirlwind sightseeing adventure will require us getting out early each morning!

Message summary: Some of you reading this message are in a season of setbacks or face a discouraging situation. May this brief word of exposition of the daily text bring you endurance and encouragement!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).

One of the greatest joys in ministry is staying connected and observing the Lord's continuing work in the lives of those we have associated, whether it's in churches we have served, our chaplaincy role or in various other associations.  As a Bible teacher I am so gratified when I hear, "You really taught us the Bible." Any pastor or Bible teacher reading this surely knows what I mean.

The apostle John stated, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4). In this context John is not speaking of his biological children (although that is also true!), but his spiritual children, those he had taught, ministered to, and with whom he had broken bread.

We heard yesterday from Marvin, one of the children from Guatemala we had in our home 30 years ago for medical care when he was six years old.  For several years he has wanted to bring his family up from Guatemala to meet us and finally he was in the process of doing so but hit a snafu when his visa application was denied.

He's very disappointed, as are we, but he sent us this email by using an online translator to translate his Spanish text:

"At times like this, we like to trust this biblical text. 'Give thanks you in everything, because this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus' (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  'The plans are of man; the final word is of the Lord' (Proverbs 16:1). We are happy and trusting in God."

Undoubtedly, like Marvin, some of you reading this message are in a season of setbacks or face a discouraging situation. May this brief word of exposition of the daily text bring you endurance and encouragement!

"Everything that was written in the past." Paul here acknowledges the truth of what he later expounded on to Timothy when he wrote, "All Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16). We can be assured that the divine Editor has provided in His Word all we need and we should diligently seek the Bible in its entirety for His teaching. If we faithfully study we find that even the harder passages, where the meaning and value are not as apparent, are rich with truth. This week Rick, a reader from North Carolina, called me. He and his wife Debbie have been bombarded with troubles. He shared how a rather obscure verse from Job had ministered to them during their devotions. Often life's experiences will bring added meaning and understanding to these difficult passages over one's lifetime.

"Was written to teach us." The purpose of that which was written in Holy Scripture is that we might be taught. Significantly, Jesus' followers are called disciples (Greek "mathetes" which primarily means a learner). The great commission was and is to make disciples. Are you learning today? Are you growing in Christ? Specifically can you remember the central truths your pastor shared in his last sermon? What about the Word you read this morning? The Word is always an effective teacher, but we have a responsibility as learners. Most learning takes place by constant exposure, experience and familiarity. (See the Bible knowledge test below.)

"So that through endurance." This is a great and vitally necessary truth. A quality so lacking in our world, even among many Christ-followers is endurance. The Greek word that is used here (hupomone) conveys, "to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere, abide". In our world of vacillation and instability we need maturing followers of Christ to demonstrate the character quality of endurance! By God's grace let us demonstrate it today. Even and especially when the going is tough.

"And the encouragement of the Scriptures." God's Word applied to our lives develops this endurance and richly encourages us. Feed on it today, all day. Hide it in your heart. Memorize it. Sing it.

How sure the Scriptures are! God's vital, urgent word,
as true as steel, and far more sharp than any sword:
So deep and fine, at his control they pierce where soul and spirit join.

"We might have hope."
Do you need hope today? Sure you do. Some more acutely then others. Hear from this Scripture and be encouraged: "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us" (Romans 5:5).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, I'm so thankful for the hope You give us that is far more than just wishful thinking. It is based upon the unshakable foundation of the inspired Word of God. It is through the enduring Word that we find encouragement and needed strength to stand firm during the times of testing and when others scoff or try to revise Your instruction for our lives. Our hope is in the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth! Amen.

This test is intended to check your overall knowledge of the Bible, based upon your personal reading and exposure to Biblical teaching over time. This is not material you "cram" for, since it is a broad overview of Biblical knowledge and understanding.

Knowing the answers to many of these questions indicates your overall familiarity with the Bible. I would not expect a newer Christian who has only recently started reading and studying the Bible to know as many answers as a long-time student of Scripture.

This test will take awhile so take it when you are able to concentrate for an extended period of time.

I suggest you initially take it with your Bible closed and then do so with an open Bible by going back over it.

You may also print the test out and share it with others if you would like.

This test is completely anonymous and collects no personally identifying information.

Click here to get started with the test. If you'd like to leave the test at any time, just click
"Exit this test". Your answers will be saved.

Yesterday had the feel of Autumn in the air and we will share some photos we took which are quite different that the ones we expect to take next week out west.

Pops produce stand 9/19/19 (Click to enlarge)
Pops Produce Stand near Strasburg features this colorful display
(Click to enlarge)

Val-Co lunchtime basketball 9/19/19
These Val-Co employees, Isiah (correct spelling) and Logan, shooting hoops during their lunch break sure have a nice rural background.

One day old piglet at Old Windmill Farm 9/19/19
Yesterday I held this one day old piglet on the Old Windmill Farm.

Kitchen Kettle Village scarecrow 9/19/19
We stopped by the Kitchen Kettle Village where they had a piggy/scarecrow competition.

Kitchen Kettle Village scarecrow 9/19/19
We liked this "hogwash"!

Church sign 9/19/19
This church near Ephrata PA often places thoughtful messages on their church sign.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"By His Hand He Leadeth Me"   Message we shared several years ago about Marvin.

"The God Who Stays"  Video  Matthew West

Finally Today:

Trip to Paradise sign 9/19/19
This sign is for the Strasburg Railroad which has a short tourist ride from Strasburg to Paradise PA.
A riddle: Tomorrow we are going to another place also called Paradise although it's hardly that and is usually known by another name. However technically the airport is in an unincorporated area known as Paradise. See here.

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Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

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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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