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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Amish school window 2/17/20
Looking out the window of our neighborhood one room schoolhouse at the heavy-duty swing set located within the fenced in school yard on Kraybill Church Road.
"Everyone of us lives in a tent; Content or Discontent"

"Content Or Discontent?"

Message summary: "Everyone of us lives in a tent - content or discontent"

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (Philippians 4:11).

Yesterday I (Brooksyne), along with my neighbor, Jane, visited the one room Amish schoolhouse that was built last July right up the street from us. Due to the increase of Amish families in our area last summer the families went together and built Scenic Ridge School for the seventeen students who attend (grades 1-8).

The teacher was delighted when we stopped by and set up chairs in the back so we could observe the children while they were studying and hear them sing three songs for us. We were invited to participate by quizzing the children using flash cards or other fun learning activities.

I am always impressed with the excellent behavior of the children, the expertise of the very young school teacher teaching eight grades in one classroom, the order of the classroom and the learning that takes place when I visit Amish schools. It has mostly been visiting the Lapp children at their school in Strasburg, but I've now observed four different school teachers, and have been very impressed with each of them.

Just before we left each child stood up beside their desk, one at a time, and bid us farewell by sharing a brief thought or a Scripture. The last young girl stood up and said, "We love you." What a major contrast to visit a classroom like this as compared to public education in our schools today!

The teacher welcomed me to take photos once the children were outside for recess and then asked if I would send some to her, which certainly I will. The Amish schools have a lot of folksy sayings on the walls and throughout the classroom that are intended to build character and uplift the Lord as well. Yesterday, looking out the window I read this thought-provoking statement, "Everyone of us lives in a tent - content or discontent" (see photo above).

From the beginning Satan has tormented the human race with this lie, "That which God has provided for you is not enough". At the very heart of Satanís first lie to Adam and Eve was that the outstanding beauty and provision of God in the Garden of Eden was not enough. That lie led Adam and Eve to believe that God was actually withholding the best. God sets boundaries and it's always Satan's strategy to get us to cross those boundaries. Consider the Ten Commandments for instance.

Satan's lies persist today don't they!

Today we have an overabundance of things promising to fulfill; a special place that promises to be better, a new item that will thrill, and for many someone else to be that special person.

All believers should take to heart the Apostle Paulís confident assurance expressed in the daily verse: "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances". He wrote this from prison and yet he exudes a deep, abiding peace and assurance so lacking in our world today, even among many professed believers.

I typically read this in the sense of contentment with material possessions but Paul is referring to "whatever the circumstances" not just material things. Other versions translate "whatsoever state I am" (KJV), "whatever situation" (ESV). The New Century Version states, "I have learned to be satisfied with the things I have and with everything that happens".

Today I want to experience the contentedness that Paul speaks of. I want to resist a false sense of entitlement so common in our age. After he spoke of this contentment Paul wrote, "I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:12,13).

And all of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank you for those who model contentment by living with less so that others can have more; more of the basics of life and the provisions needed to reach others with the Gospel message. Contentment from You cannot be packaged and sold, but it can be a way of life as we align our priorities in accordance to Your will. Teach us the great gain we experience by setting our heartís affections not on this worldís changing and peril-stricken economy, but by storing up treasures in heavenís economy where eternal riches can never perish, spoil or fade. May that precious truth help us find contentment in a non-content society. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Amish school window 2/17/20
Valentine's Decorations were certainly present throughout the bright, cheery classroom.
Here's a photo of the school last summer when it was being constructed.

Amish school window 2/17/20
You can see the trusted lighting system in the upper right hand corner of the photo. You might also notice at the top of the chalkboard a "Dove" bag of candy. To the left of the bag, written on the chalkboard, is the number, 90, circled. That's the number of visitors the school has had this year. When Jane, her high school daughter, Janae, and I dropped in the school teacher, Naomi, informed us that she will change the number to 93. When the 100th visitor shows up the children will share a bag of Dove candy. So if any Daily Encouragement readers are in our area let me know and we'll pay a visit to Scenic Ridge School so that the children will get to finally dig into the bag of Dove candy!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Enough"  Video  Chris Tomlin

Finally today:

Plymouth MA
Three weeks ago we visited Plymouth, Massachusetts when Ester and I went to New England to visit my former secretary. Ester took the photo above of some colorful "seashell" artwork seen all through Plymouth. This will be the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing and Plymouth is expecting millions of visitors this summer. Sadly over the weekend the town had a spate of senseless anarchist vandalism, including damage to the iconic Plymouth Rock.

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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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