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Friday, May 29, 2020

Amish sales, Lancaster County, PA
Amish roadside sales abound along the back roads of Lancaster County.
This one is especially colorful. Brooksyne found established perennials @ $2.00 so she sure enjoyed shopping at this spot. 
Click to enlarge


Message summary: The next time you end a prayer or express agreement to a sermon point by saying "Amen"; you're proclaiming "I believe". Do you really believe the Lord today? We sure do. Praise God! He continues to credit His righteousness to them that believe (Hebrews 11:6).

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).

This week we have been featuring a song that has become immensely popular all around the world during this Pandemic season. It's simply called "The Blessing" which is based on the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. I suppose you could say it's gone "viral"! It has a verse repeating a very common word over and over again:

As we receive, we agree, amen
Amen, amen, amen
Amen, amen, amen (amen, amen)
Amen, amen, amen
Amen, amen, amen

Amen indeed means "we agree", "it is so", or "so be it". It is expressed in most circles at the conclusion of a prayer and in many others to express agreement with a sermon point. For several weeks we've been attending a drive-in church service where "Amens" are expressed with the beeping of the horn. That's been fine but it does seem there are a few who tend to get a little carried away or perhaps their horns are louder than others! Reminds me a little of a young man we called "Hallelujah Frank" from our Bible College days. When he would amen the preacher with his "hallelujah" he shouted it not just for the preacher but for the thousand or so in attendance no matter where they sat! Frank had been saved out of a very rough inner city background with drugs and so forth so special grace was given.

In the church I attended growing up (Stephen) the only time the word "Amen" was used was at the end of a prayer. People were very quiet and non-expressive during the sermon. Thus during my childhood I took "Amen" to mean the prayer "the end" and you can now open your eyes. I don't suppose I am the only one that made that assumption! Brooksyne however attended churches with hearty agreement expressed as "Amen" throughout the preacher's messages, and thus she frequently affirms the preacher's message with "amen".

Brooksyne recalls a humorous memory of her dad, Brooklyn, who frequently fell asleep in church, the kind of sleep that comes with snoring; that is, until her mom would kick his feet with her high heels which got his attention. She tells the story:

Daddy was sitting on the front row without my mom and fell asleep. For some reason my dad, in his sleep, thought he heard his name called from the pulpit and woke him with a startle. Assuming he was being called upon to close in prayer he stood up and began to pray. After he concluded the prayer with "Amen" he was informed by the pastor that he was still in the midst of his sermon, not yet ready for closing prayer. Oops!

We've been around a few folks who may use it more out of religious habit than careful listening, since I've heard some "amens" in rather inappropriate places! I recall the story of the preacher who woke another rather sleepy member with a loud, "How many of you really want to go to hell?" to which the now awakened and startled member shouted "AMEN". Now I don't know whether this actually happened or was just an illustration.

I enjoy the study of words and their background which is known as etymology, not to be confused with entomology or epistemology!

Today let us consider the etymology of the word "Amen", one of the most frequently used words in a church setting. It's interesting to me that traditionally its use is pretty much limited to church and spiritual settings.

Our daily verse is full of wonderful material for those with an interest in etymology. The late R.C. Sproul, asserts that this is his favorite Bible verse. "Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness".

Three key theological words are found here for the very first time in the entire Bible: "believed", "credited" and "righteousness." That's significant due to a basic principle of Bible interpretation known as "the law of first usage", which asserts that the first time a word is used in Scripture is very important in determining its meaning throughout the rest of the Bible.

Today, let's just consider the word "believe". It translates the Hebrew word "Aman" which is the basic root of "Amen". This is the very first time it's found in the Scripture and it lays a foundation for all subsequent uses. It is spoken to express solemn ratification or agreement. It means “it is so” or “so it be.” Amen is derived from the Hebrew āmēn, which means belief, certainty, truth, and verily.

"Abram believed the Lord." This is a fundamental description of the man known as the father of faith. He believed the Lord. The background of "amen" is foundationally belief, faith or trust. It's absolutely significant that the object of Abram's faith was the Lord. It's not just belief but he believed "the Lord".

Consider that the next time you end a prayer or express agreement to a sermon point by saying "Amen"; that you're proclaiming "I believe". Do you really believe the Lord today? We sure do. Praise God! He continues to credit His righteousness to them that believe (Hebrews 11:6).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, like Abraham, who was not justified by his own works, but by the righteousness of his faith, so it is with those of us who believe, by Christ's righteousness revealed to us by faith, and received by faith. It is not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to Your mercy that You saved us, so that, having been justified by Your grace, we might become heirs with the hope of eternal life while we remain steadfast and faithful. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Blessing"  Video   Hebrew version dedicated to Messianic Jews all around the world

The Blessing (Symphonic Version)  Video  Passion City Church  This is an amazing presentation made in early May after the social distancing guidelines. We wonder if this is what live presentations will look like in the near future.

Amish sales, Lancaster County, PA
The sign on the cooler offers asparagus, rhubarb, brown eggs and an item not offered in the past:  face masks!
Click to enlarge

Amish hay harvest, Lancaster County, PA
Making hay before the rain (they hope!) It was already starting to sprinkle.
Click to enlarge

Young couple in Amish open cart, Lancaster County, PA
This couple passed our house early evening yesterday. Both dogs enthusiastically alert us to Amish traffic.

Finally today:

Last night we drove over to Bainbridge to ride a new section of the Rail Trail along the Susquehanna River from Bainbridge to Falmouth. Well, a small mom and pop type ice cream shop was open so we indulged in some delicious Hershey's ice cream before our bike ride.

We sure enjoyed our ride on this new unpaved section with tall trees on each side. Thus far it's not nearly as busy as the older sections.

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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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