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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Colt running
Ester took this photo of the new colt running freely in the barnyard. Here's a photo of the colt, whom Ester named Charlie, next to his mom when he was just 3 days old last month. She's pleased that the name she chose is being used.

"Diminishing Grace Capital"

Message summary: The Bible and history abundantly teach that one day grace capital will be spent and judgment will come. Notice the phrase in our daily text, "until there was no remedy." This is especially applicable to nations. Even as there is often a time lapse between the promise and the blessing, there is also a time lapse between the disobedient nation and judgment that follows.

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"The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy" (2 Chronicles 36:15,16).

Making ice cream on the Old Windmill FarmYesterday we all assisted our friends, Jesse and Anna Ruth, on the Old Windmill Farm* by helping make and serve ice cream to the farm guests. It was another very busy day for them and Jesse thought they had over 300, possibly up to 400 guests.

It was such a blessing to talk to the farm guests, who come to visit from all over the world: internationals from China, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, and other countries as well. There were guests from all over the U.S. with a good number of families who come down from New York City and metro Jersey.

The farm has such an appeal that we spoke to many returning guests, one lady from the metro DC area in Maryland has returned repeatedly, telling us how she appreciates the peacefulness on the farm. That's an interesting viewpoint in light of how busy it was with so many guests visiting!

Our most interesting conversation was with a Russian Jew from Chechnya who is our age. He told us how he had been persecuted due to his faith and what it was like living under communism/socialism. He immigrated to the US with his family as an adult and now lives in New York City. He shared how challenging the early years were with menial jobs as he got established but how he worked hard and began to prosper and now has a business of his own. He is greatly distressed by the direction America is heading and specifically mentioned the failures of socialism which he is seeing signs of more and more. I shared of my similar distress as a fourth generation immigrant. (My great grandfather immigrated from Germany in the mid 1850's.)

"America the Beautiful" is one of our nation's great inspirational and patriotic songs. There is a line that states, "God shed His grace on thee", which we affirm with a heartfelt "Amen". But we wonder how many hear these moving words and stop to consider how God has shed His grace on America? Sadly, many of these types of songs are not heard as much, at least in our observation.

Indeed, God has shed His grace on America. For readers from other countries we affirm that this is not exclusive to our nation. God has and will pour forth His grace wherever people call upon His name, believe in His saving power and follow His ways.

A study of our forefathers indicates that many (but certainly not all) held a deep faith in Christ. Many of the ordinary people also sought to walk in obedience to God and a Judaeo-Christian worldview dominated even among those who may not have faith in God. Churches were strong with people of godly convictions. This is rapidly being lost, which is the work of Satan.

Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote "Democracy in America" made this observation in our nation's early history,

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

These previous generations left something we will call "grace capital". That is, the residual effects of grace extended to previous generations who had served God faithfully that benefits subsequent generations.

Yet we earnestly believe that America is rapidly running out of this "grace capital". Violence fills our land and every type of evil. Good is called evil and evil is called good.

Notice carefully here, we are not suggesting there is any deficiency in or limit to God's grace. Not at all. But we do believe those walking in disobedience to God may very well experience "grace capital" that is residual from previous generations. And this applies to nations as well.

The Bible and history teach us that one day, for individuals and nations, this grace capital will be spent and judgment will come. Today's text describes the final days of the southern kingdom at the time of the impending Babylonian conquest and captivity: "The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people until there was no remedy." Can you see the parallel?

Notice the last phrase, "until there was no remedy". This is especially applicable to nations. Even as there is often a time lapse between the promise and the blessing, there is also a time lapse between the disobedience and judgment that follows. But judgment always follows disobedience.

The daily verse may sound very harsh in our age of moral relativism and the pluralistic society in which we now live, but it expresses a profound truth and can be applied to both individuals and nations. Have you received the knowledge of the truth? Are you living your life with faith and obedience to God, in light of that truth?

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is not Your will that any should perish but that all would come to repentance. Yet You don't force us to follow Your prescribed plan, but give us a free will to come willingly, lovingly, obediently, and gratefully when we finally realize that there is none like You. No one else could touch our hearts like You do, grant us peace that is eternal and prepare a home for us to last for all eternity. We don't presume upon Your grace, but we do receive it by faith with thanksgiving, as we walk in faith and obedience to Your word. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

See here for quotes from "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville. I don't have a copy of this book and there is some dispute as to whether the quote used in the message is his and if not who wrote it and when. But nevertheless its message is true!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

* The Old Windmill Farm - We often mention the Old Windmill Farm but for newer readers or those needing a refreshing here's the story. The farm is owned by our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth whom we met as our neighbors here on Kraybill Church Road right after they got married in 2002. In 2007 they moved back to the Strasbug area and Jesse began dairy farming. About five years ago they established a farm tour as a means of demonstrating an authentic Amish farm and a way to share their faith. The last several years it has really taken off and they just received a 2022 TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice award.

Later this month Stephen's mother's family (mostly from the Midwest) will have their annual reunion here in Lancaster County and will gather on the Old Windmill Farm one evening. It will be a time of reminiscing for us older ones when we gathered on a farm in southwest Missouri over 50 years ago.

Old Windmill Farm guests
Through much of the day this is how busy it looked at the farm yesterday. Of course there was a constant churning of people coming and going. There were still others touring in the barn and other gatherings where animals were present. At one point we saw a large orthodox Jewish family gathered out in the pasture land - the children seated eating their lunch as the father stood and waving his arms about and spoke to them, perhaps telling them a story. It made me think of the oral tradition of parents repeating Scriptures and historic stories to the next generation.

Gathering on the Old Windmill Farm
Between the busy times of making and serving ice cream we enjoyed a bowl as well (maybe two). We took our friends Jim and Dorothy Schmidt over and they enjoyed the afternoon on the farm as a respite from Calvary Homes. In this photo Stephen is visiting with a Jewish medical doctor and his wife from New York City and perhaps Brooksyne is off washing her hands as dipping ice cream for customers can be a sticky business!

Old Windmill Farm clothesline
I (Brooksyne) was drawn to this beautiful setting in the side yard. The distant view includes the children's train museum in the far background, the day's laundry drying high in the air with animals grazing in the pasture land below. Collie puppies were also relaxing in the shady yard, and if I were a few years younger, I'd have been tempted to sit down right down in the shady grass beside them and do a little day dreaming about my early years of growing up on a farm.

Old Windmill Farm mule-drawn hayride
A highlight of the tour for many is the mule-drawn hayride which concludes each tour. These mules got quite a workout yesterday.

Old Windmill Farm mules
Ester had so much fun on the wagon that she rode several times and captured this rear view of the mule-powered hay wagon.

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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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