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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Danville, PA
Crossing the Susquehanna River into Danville locals and visitors are welcomed by this well manicured park.
Click on photo to enlarge

"Shining In A Dark Place"

Message summary: Today we want to encourage our readers who live or serve in what may seem like a dark place.

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"So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).

The last couple of days we have been up in north-central PA where we took two bike trail rides. On Tuesday we rode on a very isolated trail in the Roaring Creek Watershed in a beautiful mountain valley passing three lakes. After this we walked around Knoebel's Amusement Park (no rides for us), viewing the beautiful flowers and observing the excited children, before heading to Danville, PA where we spent the night.

Centralia PA homeOn the way up we drove through Centralia which at one time was a booming coal town reaching its peak population of 2,761 in 1890. It's population has dwindled down to only 4 people in 2020—a result of an underground coal mine fire which has been burning beneath the borough since 1962. Nearly all residents evacuated though a few remain, including one in this home which stands alone and is still occupied by one of the few residents who refused to leave.

We noted the house has a very nice garden in the back but wonder what it would be like to live in such a place. Of course they don't have to worry about noisy neighbors nor do they endure traffic jams, and it can be truly said that they know everyone in town! But they surely must weary of cars slowly driving by photographing their place.

We first went through the town in the 1980's when there were still many residents. At that time you could see holes in the ground where smoke was escaping we but didn't this time. The main road through town is still a state highway and for many years was covered in graffiti but is now repaved. It's interesting to see on a Google satellite map.

Centralia has been used as a model for many different fictional ghost towns and manifestations of Hell. That would make living there all the more daunting but these are longtime residents who probably just love their hometown.

CT StuddBut living there reminds me of a quote by mission pioneer C.T Studd,

“Some want to live within the sound
Of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop,
Within a yard of hell.”

The sense seem to be the willingness to serve the Lord in the most needy places which are often also the hardest places. Today we consider those who sacrificially serve in such places.

Peter does not specifically identify the "dark place" in our daily text. It seems most natural however to view this dark place as the world, the way it presently exists. Peter is likely using "dark place" as a metaphor to describe this corrupt world system. However "advanced" our secular civilization becomes, this world in its willful rebellion to God (whose essence is light), lies in the darkness of sin, ignorance, despair and death which keeps people from seeing God's truth until His light shines into their hearts. (Precept Austin commentary)

Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe makes this comment regarding the Greek word "auchmeros", used here for dark. It "is the picture of a dank cellar or a dismal swamp. Human history began in a lovely garden, but that garden today is a murky swamp. What you see when you look at this world system is an indication of the spiritual condition of your heart. We still see beauty in God’s creation, but we see no beauty in what mankind is doing with God’s creation. Peter did not see this world as a Garden of Eden, nor should we."

Today we want to encourage our readers who live or serve in what may seem like a dark place. Some of us plant, others water but God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6). God will also bring growth and blooming wherever you are, even if it's a dark place, as You look to Him for strength, light, and persistence! A gentle reminder from the Good Book to Christ's followers, "Do not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You that You shine Your light through us often in unusual circumstances. We are to let our lights shine before others that they may see our good works and glorify You in heaven. There are times when we cry out, "No More! I just can't do this anymore." But, Father, in Your infinite wisdom You give us daily strength and spiritual resolve to carry on in the darkest of circumstances so that the light of Christ might be made manifest in our lives. We want to carry the light of Your salvation through our words, our actions, and the way in which we seek to be fruitful and bloom where we are planted. In due time we will reap a harvest, whether we see it on this side or the next. It's in Jesus' name that we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Rescue the Perishing"  Video  Billy & Cindy Foote

CT Studd (1860 – 1931) was a missionary to China who also wrote a well known poem with this oft' repeated refrain, "Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last".  Full poem

Today and tomorrow we will share some photos from our trip.

Roaring Creek trail
The trail was a nice gravel surface though forests with slight inclines (not a rail trail) but we rode our Ebikes so it was not an intense effort.

Roaring Creek trail
McWilliams Reservoir was one of three lakes we passed along the trail riding right beside it.
Click on photo to enlarge

Johnson Covered Bridge, Columbia County
Johnson Covered Bridge, Columbia County

Knoebels flowers
There are so many flower arrangements at Knoebels surely they have their own greenhouse(s). Any farmers reading this interested in trying to drive a tractor with round front wheels and back octagonal wheels! It might be a bit bumpy even on level ground.

Doctor's Inn Bed and Breakfast, Danville, PA
Tuesday we stayed overnight at the historic Doctor's Inn Bed and Breakfast in Danville, PA. Over the years two different doctors owned the house and for a period of time patients were cared for there as well. The innkeepers have tastefully decorated the home and kept it looking much like it would have in years gone by.

Doctor's Inn Bed and Breakfast staircase, Danville, PA
The woodwork was absolutely beautiful. This is the stairway from the living room/parlor area leading up to the guest rooms.

Doctor's Inn Bed and Breakfast dining room, Danville, PA
I wanted to show you the formal dining room where we enjoyed our breakfast. As you can see Stephen is ready to eat, me as well, though I got up to take the photo. We ate a fresh fruit salad along with a delicious egg and cheese placed on a warm bagel. Chas, along with his wife, Tina are the innkeepers and are very good at making guests feel right at home.

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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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