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Monday, August 1, 2022

Cherry Hill orchards store
We enjoy shopping at the colorful Cherry Hills Orchards Farm Market on the New Danville Pike south of Lancaster City.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Living In Hooterville"

Message summary: A fundamental focus on properly understanding the times and dealing with living in Hooterville is a steady, growing understanding of God and His Word. "The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure" (Isaiah 33:5,6).

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

This weekend I read an interesting article by Mark Oshinskie that rather humorously and accurately describes our world. His opening illustration alluded to the TV show Green Acres, a sitcom that ran on CBS from 1965-1971. Many people our age will remember it and younger crowds have probably viewed the reruns.

Green Acres Oliver Wendell Douglas, a New York City lawyer wants to live out in the country, "farm living is the place for me", so he purchases a farm near Hooterville. The characters in the show are stereotypical country bumpkins who constantly express crazy, incongruous views on life that really perplexes Oliver and practically drives him nuts. But his love for the country keeps him there.

Oshinskie writes:

"In Hooterville, his adopted domicile, Oliver wears a three-piece suit while he rides his tractor and is surrounded by hicks, hucksters and bumbling bureaucrats. The show portrays this naive romantic’s daily encounters with the loony locals and his ingenuous, Hungarian immigrant, incongruously glamorous, reluctant farm wife, Lisa, who’s also a very bad cook. Every interaction ends with Oliver exasperated by the ludicrous statements or conduct of those in his new sphere." *

Increasingly I feel like we are living in Hooterville! I certainly am not speaking about my rural neighbors, most all of them have not lost their God-given common sense. (BTW, the vast majority of rural people have never been like those depicted in the show).

The new Hootervillians are more likely to be in cities, in academia, media, tech and those working in the government!
  • In today's Hooterville people, even young children, can "identify" as a member of the opposite sex and we are expected, in some cases required, to join them in their delusion. And help pay for expensive drugs and surgery to alter reality.
  • In today's Hooterville men can become pregnant and chestfeed.
  • In today's Hooterville we are subjected to the utter absurdity of all the pronoun craziness.
  • In today's Hooterville some are identifying as animals and this even has a name, trans species.
  • In today's Hooterville science, as we were taught and understand by Scripture and natural law and the long established scientific method, is abandoned while insisting novel, ever-changing speculations are now science.
  • In today's Hooterville an unborn baby is a "parasite".
  • In today's Hooterville a prominent college football coach is vilified for merely being pro-life.
  • In today's Hooterville long established rules of economics are abandoned for political expediency.
  • In today's Hooterville words are redefined at whim to suit one's agenda. The online dictionaries and Wikipedia are edited on the fly.

And I could go on and on and on, but will restrain myself!

In light of this how shall we then live? Many Scriptures would speak to this but let's consider today's text.

"The end of all things is near". The end is used here by Peter to refer to the end of this present church age which will be brought about by the return of Christ in glory. The sense here is the imminency of Christ's return. Paul, Peter and other New Testament writers lived with this sense of imminency and so should we.

Peter wrote of time from God's perspective. "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (2 Peter 3:8).

John Piper writes, "When a man realizes the nearness of Jesus Christ, he is bound to commit himself to a certain kind of life. If you knew that when you arise tomorrow morning you would see Jesus face to face in the evening, would it not affect the way you conducted yourself during the day!"

Thus we need to be:

1) Clear-minded. Other versions translate "sound mind" which is from the Greek word "Sophroneo" used only six times in the NT. Twice in the Gospels it refers to a formerly demon-possessed man who, after his miraculous deliverance, was in his "right mind" (Mark 5:15, Luke 8:35). William Barclay states, "The man who is sophron has every part of his nature under perfect control, which is to say that the man who is sophron is the man in whose heart Christ reigns supreme".

2) Self-controlled. Other versions translate this "sober" which literally means to be free of intoxicants and thus sober or not drunk.  It calls for one to behave with restraint and moderation, not permitting excess. Be self-controlled and restrained, moderate in your behavior.

"so that you can pray". "A calm and collected spirit is conducive to the act of praying. It results in prayer. The Christian who is always on a tear, whose mind is crowded with fears and worries, who is never at rest in his heart, does not do much praying. If we are sober-minded, we will “watch unto prayer.” If our prayer life is confused, it is because the mind is confused." (Precept Austin Online Commentary)

Yesterday I taught a lesson in our Crossroads Sunday School class titled "Understanding The Present Times" with a subtitle, "Making Sense of The Nonsense Of Our Age".

A fundamental focus on properly understanding these times and dealing with living in Hooterville is a steady, growing understanding of God and His Word. "The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure" (Isaiah 33:5,6).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we seek to be clear minded and sober in these evil days. We want to live for You and not ourselves nor for those who dictate what is acceptable or not by the standards of this godless world. We choose not to live our earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. Help us, through diligent study of the Scriptures reinforced by our prayer life, to remain faithful to the Scriptures and our testimony in Christ. Help us not to be surprised at the testings we must endure to prove the genuineness of our faith is of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire. As we remain true to the teachings of Scripture it will result in praise glory and honor when Christ Jesus is fully revealed. Keep our eyes on the heavenly prize as we walk the pilgrim pathway here below. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Firm Foundation"  Video  Cody Carnes

I've still got joy in chaos
I've got peace that makes no sense
I won't be going under
I'm not held by my own strength
'Cause I've built my life on Jesus
He's never let me down
He's faithful through every season
So why would He fail now? He won't!

"Faithful Now"  Video  Vertical Worship

* The article alluding to Green Acres, written by Mark Oshinskie, an attorney from New Jersey, is here.

"Green Acres" Opening and Closing Theme Song  Video

Green Acres sample  Video 

Harvest time always leads to some wholesome scenery

Corn wagon
You can't get corn much fresher than right from the Corn Wagon near New Danville, PA!

Team pulling cabbage
We passed our neighbor Eli's team with a wagon load of cabbage for our local CSA, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. Eli's farm adjoins with the Amish school in our neighborhood.
Click on photo to enlarge

Children holding cabbage boxes
We pulled over to Eli's farm stand to purchase some watermelons and saw Eli coming up behind us. His children were on the wagon steadying the boxes of cabbage!

Mule team near Strasburg
This mule team patiently awaits their next assignment.
Click on photo to enlarge
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Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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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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