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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Middle Creek Lake
Yesterday we stopped by the Middle Creek Lake hoping to see the thousands of Snow Geese that are often on this lake on their migration north. However they have mostly moved on and yesterday we saw these ducks!

"Stinging Salt"

Message summary: Salt will sting an open wound and truth will sting a dying culture, but it's a vital sting in reversing the decay of death!

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"You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).

Our Sunday School class is studying passages in the Bible that deal with engaging our culture while standing faithful for Christ and the truths of Scripture. One of our resources is a book by Erwin Lutzer titled "We Will Not Be Silenced: Responding Courageously to Our Culture's Assault on Christianity". The sentiment is that we need as individual believers and the church as a whole to present bold proclamation of God's truth in our age. We have appreciated Erwin Lutzer's books and radio programs for many years as he has been a bold contender of the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

This is a vital message we need to consider as we see so many falling all around us. Yesterday I received a very disappointing message expressing the view of Hershey Medical Center concerning an experience I shared about several weeks ago.* It reminded me of just how extensive the cultural rot is and how so many are being affected.

Another resource we have used is a sermon by Laurence White, a preacher I was unfamiliar with. I since learned that he has been featured on Focus on the Family and at the Family Research Council, both ministries I am very familiar with and have valued greatly.

The message we listened to by White, "The Sin Of Silence" is over 20 years old but is even for more timely now it seems. In fact it is one of the most outstanding sermons I have heard in my lifetime. He likened the acquiescing church in Germany during Hitler's ascension to power as similar to the mostly silent church of our age. It is a very convicting message!

Laurence White challenges believers to stand up for the right and speak out like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and several other Christian leaders unlike the majority who did nothing in Germany. Here's the way he put it:

"If we fail to meet this challenge, and rise to this opportunity, our nation will not survive. It is as simple, and as stark as that. This is our moment, my friends. Our time of testing. I pray that we may be equal to the challenge of these days; that we may seize this precious opportunity from God; that we may be within this dying culture the stinging salt that stops the decay of death; the shining light that dispels the darkness of doubt and despair, that America may once again be the gleaming city set high upon a hill, that shines as a beacon light of life and hope for this nation, and to every nation."

Both of us were struck by the phrase "stinging salt". We have often considered the daily text, "You are the salt of the earth". Normally we consider salt's use in flavoring and preserving, both qualities used in the Bible times and in our own day.

But if you pour salt on an open wound it stings and has a disinfecting quality. One medical source states, "Infections can spread quickly through open wounds and cuts. Salt water can protect the wound from bacteria until it is cleaned with modern disinfectants. For this, add a teaspoon of table salt to a glass of water (250 ml / 8 oz.) and rinse the wound with this solution."

White uses this analogy in a powerful sense I am not sure I have previously considered, "that we may be within this dying culture the stinging salt that stops the decay of death."

Salt will sting an open wound and truth will sting a dying culture, but it's a vital sting in reversing the decay of death so desperately needed in our time!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know, because of what Jesus said to His followers, we are to be the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again; it is no longer good for anything. We have squandered that which You have given us to preserve Your message of salvation and the abundant life You grant to all who believe. Help us to be wise to those outside the faith in our daily conversation, always seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to respond to those who have questions and for those observing our lifestyle, that they may see Christ in our words and actions, as we point them to Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Matthew 5:13; Colossians 4:5,6

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Sin of Silence"  Laurence White| Message on YouTube  (49 minutes)

"The Sin of Silence"  Laurence White| Transcript

* Personal note: I shared the experience I had at Hershey Medical Center several weeks ago in this message. I expressed my viewpoint very kindly and the response I received was essentially that the Penn State Hershey Medical Center has instituted new changes that assert having respect for other people means just going along with this profoundly unscientific nonsense. For sure Hershey is not alone and this craziness is affecting institutions of all types.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area  According to the report on this site there were still 28,000 snow geese yesterday, down from 78,000 several days ago. However they take off to feed in area fields and we must have been there while they were away.

Kevin and Tammy
 With camera in hand I couldn't resist getting a photo of this happily married couple that go to work at the same company! Tammy and Kevin are a delightful couple we visit with weekly in Lebanon County.

Phil Huber
Yesterday we ate a late breakfast at the Railroad Diner in Richland PA with Phil Huber, general manager at Audrey's. Phil is an earnest Christ-follower and we sure enjoyed our meal and fellowship. Phil has an interesting background having worked for Sight and Sound for many years and was instrumental in opening the second Sight and Sound Theater in Branson MO in 2008.

Railroad Diner cooking team
The Railroad Diner is a tiny slice of American eatery that sits right along a busy freight line in Richland PA assuring many train sightings while you eat your meal (we saw three yesterday). The young man in the photo is only 22 and bought the business when he was teenager! They have great food and a very friendly and hard working staff.

Ester's birthday at Lapps
Last night we went over to the Old Windmill Farm to visit the Lapp family where the children surprised Ester as she walked in the door. They burst into the Happy Birthday song and brought her balloons and one of her favorite desserts - Tiramisu (a day early so we will also celebrate today on her 33rd birthday which is OK with her!)

Bench wagon
The Lapps had church service in their home this last Sunday and the bench wagon was loaded last night ready for transport to a youth group meeting next Sunday.

Bench wagon
The efficient storage for the transport of the benches!

Snow geese at Middle Creek
Here's a photo of the Snow Geese at Middle Creek last year.
Snow Goose (Photo by Robyn Waugh)
Snow Goose
Robyn Waugh, 
a friend from Kleen-Rite, took this stunning photo at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area here in Lancaster County. Each spring over 100,000 snow geese stop by Middle Creek on their journey north. (You can't miss all the geese in the background.)

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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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