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Monday, May 18, 2020

Today we share two lead photos taken by friends in our area of birds we now see but have not yet been able to photograph!

Baltimore Orioles (Doris High)
Doris High has Baltimore Orioles at her feeders. So far we've seen them only at a distance up in the oak trees in front of our house.

Red-winged blackbird (Lamar Dourte)
Lamar Dourte shares this photo of a red-winged blackbird in his feeder. We see these beautiful birds every time we walk along the Donegal Creek trail that begins across from our house. For the first time this year we've had some visit our birdfeeders.

"A Non-Congested Mind"

Message summary:  Today let us strive to have a non-congested mind!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"But you, keep your head in all situations" (2 Timothy 4:5a). "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray" (1 Peter 4:7).

Vicks VaporubA truckload of Vick's VapoRub overturned on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Saturday. Amazingly, there was no congestion for eight hours.*

I (Stephen) deal with chest congestion due to asthma and allergies. Many take for granted the blessing of being able to breathe in and out without obstruction, but those who suffer from asthma, allergies and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) know just what I'm talking about.

But there's another type of congestion that's so prevalent most all our readers will identify. I will call it mind congestion. People need to be clear-minded. We need to have a non-congested mind. Rubbing VapoRub on our heads won't help with this type of congestion although it might smell good to some (me), medicinal to others!

Gene WeberDuring my growing up years I regularly heard my dad repeat this bit warning, "Stephen, keep your head on straight". This sage advice usually followed a heart to heart talk about a serious matter. When Daddy said this I knew exactly what he meant. Not speaking in the literal sense, of course, but he was cautioning me to stay in control of my thoughts and be careful lest I make a rash decision that was not in my best interest.

As a confused adolescent it was good, sound advice from a loving father who really cared for his kids. My dad was a big man and could be rather gruff in tone and personality.

Ward Cleaver
He didn't fit the profile nor the image of Ward Cleaver, the famous father on "Leave it to Beaver" who protected his sons from bad influences such as the likes of antagonist Eddie Haskell, regularly meted out sage advice and, when needed he disciplined his boys’ errant ways, unlike many of the bumbling dads portrayed on sitcoms these days.

But getting back to my dad, he was a good man who was devoted to his wife and kids. He wanted us to turn out right and we all knew it. He’s been gone over 20 years now and I miss hearing his "cut to the chase" words of wisdom and challenge.

Now fast forward 50 years and imagine a father’s counsel to his adolescent son in light of the increasing evil that permeates our society along with the prevailing philosophies and confusion (or should I say delusion) of our day. Increasingly it seems that wrong is endorsed as right and right is denounced as wrong, so the godly dads of today have even greater challenges when it comes to giving needed guidance to their growing children.

We must be on our guard lest we be seduced into this topsy-turvy, touchy-feely system of beliefs based on popular and politically correct notions of morality, especially to the exclusion of critical or sound judgment. To hold to ancient, proven truths is being viewed more and more as old fashioned and will likely bar you from the “cool, hip or cutting edge” in-crowd (not that I’m really trying to get in that setting anyway.) Here in America and around the world a battle for the heart, soul and mind rages.

I believe among the greatest challenges for us as believers in any age is keeping our head on straight. We live in a time of moral confusion and I believe Greg Nelson and Phil McHugh got it right when they wrote: “We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right....” in the inspiring song, “People Need the Lord”.

In Paul’s final letter to Timothy he writes,
"Keep your head in all situations". Other versions translate the phrase "always be sober-minded" (ESV), "control yourself at all times" (NCV), "keep a clear mind" (NLT).

Greek scholar Fritz Rienecker points out that in this passage Timothy is called "to be in a vigilant, wakeful, considerate frame of mind, taking heed of what is happening and pursuing a course with calm and steady aim."

In a similar way Peter wrote,
"The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray" (1 Peter 4:7).

Today let us strive to have a non-congested mind!

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we seek to be clear-minded in this generation where many seek to confuse, delude, and undermine that which we learn from Your holy Scriptures. Instead of feeling despair help us to see it as a challenge to more deeply embrace the ancient Holy Word. Its truth does not change according to the whim of society nor the ills of the day. We resolve not to interpret Scripture in light of our generation, but instead we interpret our generation in light of Scripture, clearly defining right and wrong, good and bad as taught in Scripture not in the “scholarly” academia of our time. We must keep our head in all situations on a personal level as well as that which affects our society at large. We desire a clear mind, trusting spirit, and a steady aim at following You no matter the cost. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

For further thought: "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). It sounds so appropriate in light of what we see around us. We feel we may very well be in or approaching the time this powerful delusion is sent out over the earth. As I am confronted with so many contemporary news issues I am again reminded of the great deception and powerful delusion that is sweeping our world and am even more convinced of the absolute importance of keeping my head on straight!

* Of course the turnpike accident is a joke! You can tell it and change the name to a highway in your area!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Ancient Of Days
"The Ancient Of Days"  Video  CityAlight
"The Ancient Of Days"  Video  CityAlight (Church setting)

Amish Bishop's hatIn Friday's message we shared a photo of me (Stephen) wearing a straw hat and inquired as to what was distinct about this hat in Amish culture. I provided a link for what I intended as an opportunity to venture a guess regarding this distinction. However it seems many thought the link would reveal the answer, including my wife. Sorry about that!  Several guessed that it signified a married man. In Amish culture the married men wear beards, single men do not. The correct answer which is very hard for me to see as a distinction is the width of the brim. Amish men and boys wear hats with a 3 1/2 inch brim. But the hat I was wearing has a 4 inch brim worn only by the bishops (church leaders). The Amish can spot this 1/2 inch difference instantly!

DJ and Anna Mae Paglia
Yesterday we attended a drive-in service at a local church and were so pleased to see DJ and Anna Mary Paglia. Now in their nineties they maintain a vibrancy that is a blessing. Their unmasked smiles speak volumes of love, peace and joy!

God loves you!
This little girl displayed this "God Loves You" message for departing church-goers through her sunroof.

Finally today:

Purple finch
We are happy to share Doris and Lamar's photos today. Our main colorful bird feeder visitors are finches, mostly purple (although they look red to me!)

Doris High posts her photos here: Two Interesting Days with the Birds
Lamar Dourte shares his photos on his Facebook page.

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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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